Free agency will garner most of the headlines during baseball’s Hot Stove season, but this is also a time for MLB’s general managers to discuss a plethora of trade options.
Some clubs may be looking to shed salary, while others could be looking ahead at next year’s free agents. One thing is certain: Teams are more willing to trade than ever before, meaning we’ll see a number of moves in the weeks and months ahead.
Here’s a look at one trade candidate from every team:
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Baltimore Orioles: Andrew Cashner
With an $8 million salary in 2019 and a $10 million option for ’20, Cashner is a reasonably priced starter who could provide some back-end value for many teams. The Orioles are firmly in rebuilding mode, and they would probably love to shed some of their higher-priced players.
Boston Red Sox: Christian Vazquez
Vazquez signed a team-friendly three-year, $13.5 million contract with the Red Sox that kicks in next season, but his disappointing year at the plate could prompt Boston to try moving him. Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart still remain, though the Sox could try bringing in a better bat behind the plate, as well.
New York Yankees: Miguel Andujar
Sonny Gray was too obvious for this one, as GM Brian Cashman said after the season that he was going to look to trade the disappointing right-hander. Andujar posted a terrific rookie season, but his value may never be higher, questions remain about his defense … and the Yankees might make a play for Manny Machado. If they do, Andujar could be flipped for a controllable pitcher.
Tampa Bay Rays: C.J. Cron
Jake Bauers played more innings at first than Cron last season, while No. 2 prospect Brendan McKay is the first baseman of the future. Cron’s 30-homer, .816-OPS season in 2018 should make him a valuable asset, and he’ll be due a raise from his $2.3 million salary in his second year of arbitration.
Toronto Blue Jays: Brandon Drury
The Blue Jays have an abundance of infielders, and with baseball’s top prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., zooming toward the Majors, it’s only a matter of time before third base becomes his territory. Drury is a versatile, valuable player with three years of arbitration eligibility remaining, so he could bring back a nice return.
Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu
Abreu has been a popular name on the trade-rumor mill for more than a year, and although the White Sox are close to finishing their rebuild, Abreu is arbitration-eligible for the final time this offseason and can become a free agent after next season.
Cleveland Indians: Carlos Carrasco
Corey Kluber could have been the choice here given their ages — Kluber is entering his age-33 season, while Carrasco will be playing at 32 — and contract situations (Kluber is owed $13 million in 2019 and has club options for ’20 and ’21 worth $13.5 million and $14 million, respectively; Carrasco will earn $9 million next year and has a $9.5 million club option for ’20). Kluber’s track record is stronger, so although he may fetch a better return, the Indians would probably prefer to hang on to their ace and deal Carrasco.
Detroit Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
The Tigers are in a full-on rebuild, and while they won’t be able to move the sizeable contracts of Miguel Cabrera or Jordan Zimmermann, Castellanos is a huge chip for GM Al Avila. Fresh off a 23-homer, .854-OPS season, Castellanos has two years of club control left and should bring back some value.
Kansas City Royals: Danny Duffy
The Royals contemplated trading Duffy last summer, but the left-hander had a rough outing the week before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, then got knocked around twice in August before landing on the DL with a left shoulder injury. Trading him might be difficult because of the late-season injury and his salary (he has three years and $46 million left on his contract), but if the chance to deal him for value presents itself, the Royals could make a move.
Minnesota Twins: Jake Odorizzi
Odorizzi will get a raise from his $6.3 million salary in his final year of arbitration, and while he had a decent season for the Twins in 2018, Minnesota could flip him a year before he becomes a free agent.
Houston Astros: Hector Rondon
With Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith, Collin McHugh and Josh James all returning, Rondon and his $4.5 million salary might prove to be an expendable piece for the Astros.
Los Angeles Angels: Kole Calhoun
Three of the Angels’ top six prospects are outfielders, and given that Mike Trout and Justin Upton aren’t going anywhere, Calhoun could be on the move if the Halos can get a pitcher in return. He’s due $10.5 million in 2019 with a $14 million club option for ’20.
Oakland Athletics: Mike Fiers
Fiers earned $6 million last season and has one more year of club control, but given the raises coming to Khris Davis and Oakland’s 11 other arbitration-eligible players, Fiers — who had his best season in three years — could be moved to free up some payroll.
Seattle Mariners: James Paxton
Mike Zunino is already gone from Seattle, traded to Tampa Bay in a five-player deal that landed center fielder Mallex Smith with the Mariners. GM Jerry Dipoto is trying to reshape the roster this offseason, and with Mitch Haniger, Edwin Diaz and Marco Gonzales reportedly not on the block, no player would bring back a bigger return than Paxton, the hard-throwing lefty who, despite a lengthy injury history, is considered by many to be one of the top southpaws in the league.
Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo
Shin-Soo Choo had a terrific year, but with $42 million due to him over the next two years, his contract will be tough to move. Gallo isn’t arbitration-eligible until 2020, and with four years of club control and a powerful bat, he would be valued by many teams and might be moved for a starting pitcher. Texas has Ronald Guzman ready to take over full-time at first base should Gallo be moved.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Atlanta Braves: Johan Camargo
Austin Riley, the Braves’ No. 5 prospect (and No. 43 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100), posted an .882 OPS at three Minor League levels last year, moving closer to the Majors. Camargo had a very solid season in 2018 (.806 OPS, 19 homers), but Riley remains the future at the hot corner. Atlanta might be able to move Camargo for an arm.
Miami Marlins: J.T. Realmuto
A year after trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Gordon, the Marlins could decide to move their All-Star catcher for a haul of prospects — and there would be no shortage of teams lining up to make a deal.
New York Mets: Zack Wheeler
Many believed Wheeler would be traded last summer, but the Mets held on to him. He delivered a strong season (3.31 ERA in 182 1/3 innings) that boosted his value, and with one year remaining until Wheeler becomes a free agent, new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen could bring back a nice return for the right-hander if he decides to move him.
Philadelphia Phillies: Maikel Franco
Franco had a bounce-back season in 2018, his .780 OPS representing a 90-point boost from the previous year. But his streaky nature — Franco struggled badly for most of May and August — and inconsistent defense might prompt the Phillies to try moving him elsewhere.
Washington Nationals: Michael A. Taylor
With Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Adam Eaton in the outfield — not to mention the potential return of Bryce Harper — Taylor would appear to be the odd man out. He should draw interest from several teams and bring something of value back to the Nationals.
Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ
The 24-year-old infielder/outfielder was unable to build on his impressive rookie campaign as virtually every one of his offensive statistics regressed from 2017. Happ’s versatility, talent and age make him an ideal target for any team — small- or large-market — and given the Cubs’ glut of young position players, dealing from that strength to acquire pitching would make sense.
Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton
Hamilton has been on the trade block before and will likely be there again this offseason. The Reds need pitching, which could lead to them moving Hamilton or fellow outfielder Scott Schebler.
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Ray
Brewers GM David Stearns isn’t big on trading his top prospects, but with Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun locked into the outfield, Milwaukee could dangle its No. 2 prospect in an effort to acquire some pitching. Ray hit 27 home runs, stole 37 bases and posted an .801 OPS at Double-A last season.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Francisco Cervelli
The Pirates posted a winning record in 2018 despite trading away Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen, so the idea of dealing their starting catcher isn’t unrealistic. Cervelli’s $11.5 million salary is the highest on the team, and he’s slated to become a free agent after next season. Elias Diaz could take over behind the plate.
St. Louis Cardinals: Jose Martinez
Martinez’s bat has never been a question, evidenced by his career .309 average and .850 OPS. His defense, however, has proven to be less than ideal, making him a prime candidate to be traded to an AL club where he could become a full-time DH.
Arizona D-backs: Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt has one year of club control remaining before becoming a free agent at the end of the 2019 season. If the D-backs decide they won’t be able to re-sign him to a new deal, they could opt to move the franchise first baseman rather than letting him walk for Draft picks. This might not be a likely scenario given Arizona’s desire to contend, but it can’t be completely ruled out, either.
Colorado Rockies: Raimel Tapia
Tapia didn’t find much of a role with the Rockies in 2018, playing in only 25 games during stints in July and September. He posted an .847 OPS with 11 homers and 21 stolen bases in 105 games at Triple-A, so a team in need of speed might have interest in Tapia, who is out of Minor League options.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp
Kemp had a solid regular season, hitting 21 home runs with an .818 OPS in 146 games, but he disappeared in the postseason, hitting one home run with three RBIs with a .548 OPS in 13 games. Kemp is owed $21.5 million in the final year of his eight-year contract, and the Dodgers would surely love to save at least part of that salary.
San Diego Padres: Craig Stammen
Stammen has performed well during his two years with San Diego, posting a 2.73 ERA in 2018 with 10 strikeouts per nine innings and a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. A contender would likely give the Padres something of value for Stammen, who is due $2.25 million and will be a free agent after 2019, his age-35 season.
San Francisco Giants: Joe Panik
Panik had a very disappointing 2018, but with two years of club control remaining, a change of scenery could be just the thing to spark his game. The Giants don’t have an internal candidate to replace Panik at second base, though the position is as deep as any in this year’s market, so finding a new second baseman shouldn’t be very difficult.
Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.