The Trade Deadline is now just a handful of days away, and we’ll surely be surprised by some of the big names who get traded. There’s always somebody you didn’t see coming. But that said: Some guys aren’t going anywhere. Some guys are so important to their team that no price is high enough.
So with that in mind, today we look at the one untouchable player on each team. To be clear here, we’re not talking about most untradeable: These are not players who have bad contracts no other team would touch. This is just the most integral player on every team, someone each team could not live without. Someone who is going nowhere.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B
The Blue Jays waited a couple of years for Vlad Jr. to reach his true Vlad Jr.-ness. They’d never let go of him just when this is starting to get fun.
Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C
Rutschman would have been the answer two years ago as well. Imagine what’s going to happen when he plays a big league game!
Rays: Wander Franco, SS
You never know with the Rays, but, suffice it to say, they think they’ve got the future with this guy.
Red Sox: Rafael Devers, 3B
He is not eligible for free agency until after the 2023 season, and he has matured into the best hitter on one of the best teams in baseball. Still only 24, by the way.
Yankees: Gerrit Cole, RHP
He looks like his old self again and has secured his spot as the most truly indispensable Yankee.
Cleveland: Shane Bieber, RHP
Never say never with Cleveland, but Bieber is a Cy Young winner and is not eligible to be a free agent until after the 2024 season.
Royals: Salvador Perez, C
After the contract extension (which goes through at least 2025) and yet another All-Star season, Sal sure does feel like a Royal for life.
Tigers: Casey Mize, RHP
Mize is the centerpiece of a Tigers rotation that the team believes can return it to the top of the AL Central.
Twins: Royce Lewis, SS
Suddenly, dramatically, it looks like just about everyone on the team could be expendable, and fast. So we’ll go with Minnesota's top prospect here.
White Sox: Luis Robert, OF
We’re going to see when he comes back from injury just how much we’ve been missing.
Angels: Mike Trout, OF
Yeah … it’s probably still Mike Trout, right? Gotta be, yes? But Shohei Ohtani has sure made this a debate.
A’s: Matt Olson, 1B
The A’s are one of those teams you can never quite be sure about, but Olson has blossomed into a top-shelf hitter, with years of team control still ahead.
Astros: Yordan Alvarez, DH
Lots of players to choose from here, really, but I’ll go with Alvarez, who has the combination of youth and current excellence to be the pick. Kyle Tucker is a sleeper pick here, too.
Mariners: Jarred Kelenic, OF
He and Julio Rodríguez are the future of a very exciting franchise right now. Could go with either one of them.
Rangers: Josh Jung, 3B
Everyone else other than the Rangers’ top prospect has to be on the market right now, yes?
Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr., OF
The season feels just a little bit emptier without him playing every day, doesn’t it?
Marlins: JJ Bleday, OF
The Marlins are constructing a potentially scary roster, and Bleday is going to be up soon to anchor their lineup.
Mets: Jacob deGrom, RHP
What are the Mets without Jacob deGrom? Well, still probably a good team, but still: deGrom, injured list or not, is everything this team is and wants to be.
Nationals: Juan Soto, OF
Ted Williams comps or not, Soto is going to be the center of everything in Washington for a long time.
Phillies: Bryce Harper, OF
Even ignoring the contract, he’s the lifeblood of this team. If only he were also a reliever.
Brewers: Christian Yelich, OF
He’s not the superstar we hoped he was, but he’s still the best hitter on a team that needs all the hitting it can get.
Cardinals: Jack Flaherty, RHP
The Cardinals have seen what happens when they lose their ace.
Cubs: Ian Happ, OF
The answer is probably “no one,” but Happ is a young hitter on cost control, and maybe the face of the Cubs after this offseason, depending on what all goes down.
Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
He’s still the future, the rock on which the Pirates will build their church.
Reds: Jesse Winker, OF
The Reds drafted Winker a whopping nine years ago, which makes his emergence as an All-Star starter this year, at the age of 27, that much more exciting. But don’t get stuck on just this year: He’s been good since he got to Cincinnati, and he’s just getting better. And unlike teammate Nick Castellanos, who can opt out of his contract this winter, Winker is under club control through 2023.
D-backs: Carson Kelly, C
He’s an on-base machine when healthy and quietly one of the best catchers in the league. (When healthy.)
Dodgers: Mookie Betts, OF
Even in a down year, he still feels like the most pivotal Dodger.
Giants: Buster Posey, C
Well they’re certainly not going to trade him when they’ve got him back doing this.
Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr., SS
It feels like I should be fined just for putting the words “Fernando Tatis Jr.” and “trade” in the same sentence.
Rockies: Ryan McMahon, 2B/3B
Of course, you probably would have put Nolan Arenado in this spot a year ago, so who really knows?