Even with the offseason still in its infancy, it’s not too early to start looking at the top MLB offseason trade candidates for 2023.
Last summer, we saw one of the biggest trades in MLB history when Juan Soto was traded to the Padres. Who knows what the hot stove this winter has in store as an encore to that?
Ranking the Top 10 MLB Offseason Trade Candidates
That’s why we wanted to think of our own MLB trade ideas and look at the best MLB players available for trade. In all likelihood, it’ll be a little while until there are any major offseason trade proposals made or any big trades made.
We’ll have to see how the early part of free agency unfolds. But big trades are almost inevitable this winter, which is why we wanted to take a closer look at the top MLB offseason trade candidates in 2022 and 2023.
The Braves were in the unusual but enviable position last year of having two all-star catchers on their roster. With the DH now in the National League, that can work at times. But they’re probably going to be better off sticking with William Contreras and trying to trade Travis d’Arnaud rather than trying to find enough at-bats for both of them.
Including a club option in 2024, d’Arnaud is under contract for two more seasons at just $8 million per year, which is a bargain for a player coming off an all-star campaign. He could be a valuable trade chip for Atlanta this winter, so the Braves at least have to consider such a move.
Cody Bellinger is a player who might benefit from a change of scenery one year before hitting free agency. Things have gone downhill for him since he won MVP in 2019. But he’s still young enough to get back on track and become an elite player again despite hitting .210 this past season and .165 in 2021.
With his contract, Bellinger could be a tough sell on the trade market. But he should have enough upside for some team to take a chance on him given his age and upside.
The Brewers traded closer Josh Hader midway through last season, so they’re clearly willing to think outside the box. That means no player is untouchable, not even a frontline starter like Brandon Woodruff who has two more years of arbitration before free agency.
If Milwaukee is worried about his salary taking up too much of his payroll over the next two years, Woodruff could be put on the trade block and garner a lot of interest. On the other hand, the Brewers weren’t far from being a playoff team in 2022, so trading Woodruff would be hard for the fanbase to swallow. But the Brewers may not be that close to being a serious contender in the National League, which could convince them that trading Woodruff is the best move.
Frankly, Gleyber Torres should have been one of the top MLB offseason trade candidates in 2022. The Yankees should have moved on from him last winter and will have another chance to do so this offseason.
The Yankees are probably better off making DJ LeMahieu their full-time second baseman. They also have young infielders and could sign one of the big shortstop free agents available this winter. That doesn’t leave a home for Torres, who hit well enough this past season to still have value on the trade market.
It was a little surprising that Sean Murphy wasn’t traded over the summer during the rest of Oakland’s fire sale. While he has three years left before free agency, it doesn’t look like the A’s will be ready to compete in a serious way during the next three years.
He may not be an all-star, but Murphy is strong defensively and a productive hitter. He’s also not going to cost a fortune to trade for or in salary. Murphy would undoubtedly represent an upgrade at catcher for a lot of teams. If the A’s can continue to add pieces to their farm system, they will consider trading him this winter.
The Marlins were close to trading Pablo Lopez last summer, which makes him an obvious trade candidate this winter with just two years left before he’s a free agent. Lopez looks to be entering his prime right now at age 26. But the Marlins have plenty of pitching in their organization but not enough hitting.
That will likely lead them to trade from a position of strength to address a weakness. While nothing is inevitable this early in the winter, out of the top MLB offseason trade candidates in 2023, Lopez might be the most likely to be traded at some point this winter.
The Red Sox are saying that trading Rafael Devers isn’t going to happen, but after a last-place finish, all options need to be considered.
Boston has already traded Mookie Betts and could be about to lose Xander Bogaerts in free agency. Plus, Devers has already turned down a massive extension, so if the Red Sox can’t sign him to a long-term deal, it’s possible that he ends up on the trade block this winter to maximize his value.
If that happens, he could be one of the best position players to change teams this offseason.
Trading Shane Bieber might sound like an odd decision for a team that just went to the ALCS. But this is what the Guardians do.
They get as much as they can from their star pitchers and then trade them when their salary starts to get too high. Bieber is close to getting to that point, making him one of the more appealing MLB offseason trade candidates.
With two years left before free agency, now is the time for Cleveland to trade him if the Guardians want to maximize his value. They’ll still have the likes of Cal Quantrill, Triston McKenzie, and Zach Plesac to anchor their rotation. Plus, the Guardians always seem to have young pitchers in their farm system who are ready for the majors. That could make Bieber a trade chip if there’s significant interest.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, they still don’t look that close to being competitive in the NL Central. They still have some work to do in the rebuilding process, which is why they must consider trading Bryan Reynolds, who could be one of the top MLB offseason trade candidates in 2023.
For starters, he’s a former all-star who has three more years of team control and a team-friendly salary in 2023. That kind of player would fetch a high price on the trade market, especially since he’s 27 and has posted an OPS over .800 in three of the last four years. Obviously, there’s no rush to trade him, but the Pirates will surely entertain offers for Reynolds.
The Angels have tried to stop the rumors head-on that Shohei Ohtani is on the trading block. But saying that he isn’t going to be traded doesn’t mean he won’t; that can be a strategy to raise the price and start a bidding war.
The fact is that the Angels haven’t been able to win with Ohtani, even with Mike Trout also on the roster. They also aren’t going to be able to afford him when he hits the free-agent market next winter and becomes the most unprecedented free agent in MLB history.
At this point, trading Ohtani would be the best move for the organization because they need to be able to rebuild their farm system and acquire young talent. Even with just one year left before free agency, Ohtani will still have a lot of value on the trade market. Regardless of what the Angels are saying publicly, teams will be calling them about Ohtani and they would be fools not to listen.