Although Opening Day is still several weeks away, the trade market seems likely to remain relatively quiet for now. So let's look ahead to the summer, when Major League general managers will be seeking upgrades to bolster their rosters for a lengthy postseason run -- much like the Astros (Justin
Although Opening Day is still several weeks away, the trade market seems likely to remain relatively quiet for now. So let's look ahead to the summer, when Major League general managers will be seeking upgrades to bolster their rosters for a lengthy postseason run -- much like the Astros (Justin Verlander) and the Dodgers (Yu Darvish) did last season.
Who might be on the move before the Trade Deadline? Find out below.
Zach Britton, reliever (Orioles): Britton could return from surgery on his right Achilles at some point in June, giving him more than a month to prove he's healthy. Even if the Orioles are in contention, the offers should be enticing enough for the club to trade the lefty, especially if Brad Brach continues to perform well in the closer's role.
Alex Colome, reliever (Rays): Many assumed Colome would be next to go after the Rays traded Corey Dickerson, Steven Souza Jr. and Jake Odorizzi in February, but the right-hander remains part of the club's bullpen. Proven late-inning relievers are typically in higher demand during the summer, so Tampa Bay may be able to land a better package for Colome in July than they can now.
J.T. Realmuto, catcher (Marlins): While the Marlins have entertained offers for Realmuto after dealing Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, evidently they haven't found one to their liking yet. That could change during the summer, as contenders may be more willing to pay a hefty price tag to upgrade a difficult-to-fill position after having several months to assess their rosters. Realmuto isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season, which obviously adds to his appeal.
Dan Straily, starter (Marlins): Straily isn't a front-line starter, but he's proven to be an effective innings eater over the past two seasons -- posting a 4.01 ERA in 373 frames. Like Realmuto, he won't be a free agent until after the 2020 campaign, making him an attractive target for any club in need of starting pitching help. And considering the righty is already 29 years old, the rebuilding Marlins will likely be motivated to move him.
Jose Iglesias, shortstop (Tigers): Iglesias is set to be a free agent after the upcoming season, so the Tigers will probably shop him before the Trade Deadline. Although a market for then-Reds shortstop Zack Cozart never materialized in 2017, Iglesias will likely cost less to acquire and re-sign than Cozart would have last year.
Andrew McCutchen, outfielder (Giants): Having acquired McCutchen in addition to Evan Longoria, Austin Jackson and Tony Watson during the offseason, the Giants are clearly hoping for a quick reversal of fortune after going 64-98 in 2017. But if the turnaround doesn't happen, look for San Francisco to pivot and attempt to find a home for McCutchen as the outfielder approaches free agency at the end of the season.
Manny Machado, shortstop (Orioles): Although the Orioles haven't traded Machado yet and are preparing to open the season with him as their starting shortstop, the fact remains that he'll be free to sign anywhere after the 2018 campaign. The O's will need to determine if the offers for Machado are better than the Draft-pick compensation they will receive if the slugger departs as a qualifying offer free agent.
Josh Donaldson, third baseman (Blue Jays): The Jays face a similar situation as the Orioles, with Donaldson approaching free agency and the Yankees and Red Sox looking like the two favorites in the American League East. Toronto will need to weigh its chances of earning a 2018 postseason appearance vs. trading Donaldson for a solid return that can help the club in 2019 and beyond.
Chris Archer, starter (Rays): Top-of-the-rotation starters are arguably the most highly sought after commodity in the game today, and Archer is on an extremely team-friendly contract through 2019 with club options for 2020 and 2021. As a result, the Rays may be inundated with attractive offers for the 29-year-old that are impossible for the front office to ignore.
Kevin Kiermaier, outfielder (Rays): Kiermaier is 27 years old and also has a club-friendly contract, so the Rays likely won't be shopping him aggressively. But if they receive an offer similar to the one the Marlins got for Yelich, they might be inclined to deal the Gold Glove center fielder.
James Dozier, second baseman (Twins); Charlie Blackmon, outfielder (Rockies); A.J. Pollock, outfielder (D-backs); Andrew Miller, reliever (Indians); Michael Brantley, outfielder (Indians): All five of these players will be free agents following the 2018 campaign, so they could be traded if the season goes awry for any of their clubs. But the Twins, Rockies, D-backs and Indians all project to be in the thick of the postseason race and will likely be looking to add at the MLB level rather than subtract this summer.