We’ve reached January, and the free agent market is still lagging in a big way. The top free agents available seemingly haven’t showed a willingness to lower their asking prices, and with spring training less than two months out, teams may feel a need to complete their offseason shopping lists sooner than later. In some cases, this may cause teams to make stronger pushes for some candidates on the trade market.
There have certainly been some large scale trades so far this offseason. High-end players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Evan Longoria, Ian Kinsler and Stephen Piscotty have changed hands already, and there are still plenty of practical matches left between MLB teams. We’ve detailed many of these in the 2017-2018 installment of our “Looking For A Match” series; the players featured in those articles are listed below, with our noted potential fits listed in parentheses.
- Billy Hamilton, Reds CF (Giants, Dodgers, Royals): Hamilton’s talents as a burner on the basepaths and an elite defender in center field are well-known throughout MLB circles, but in truth, that’s about where his usefulness ends. His .299 OBP was the 11th-lowest among qualified hitters in 2017; that number is about consistent with his career mark. The Giants seem to have shown a strong interest in Hamilton, but Reds owner Bob Castellini’s recently-reported hesitancy to part with the speedster could gum up trade negotiations. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Billy Hamilton Trade]
- Brad Hand, Padres LHRP (Astros, Dodgers, Cardinals, Twins, Braves): Though our evaluation of Hand’s trade market also included the Rays and Rockies, those teams seem like less likely suitors at this point in the offseason; the former decreased their likelihood of contention by shipping Longoria to San Francisco, while the latter has signed three expensive relief pitchers to pad their bullpen. Hand is one of the elite relief pitchers in all of baseball, and he’s certainly one of the best (if not the undisputed best) bullpen options on the trade market. Of course, the caveat is that it would also require a significant prospect haul to convince San Diego to move him. The lefty has two years of team control remaining, and MLBTR projects him to cost just $3.8MM in 2018. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Brad Hand Trade]
- Jose Abreu, White Sox 1B (Astros, Indians, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies): Though the Cuba native has been a mainstay in the White Sox’ lineup since his MLB debut in 2014, his club is unlikely to contend for a pennant before he reaches free agency after the 2019 season. MLBTR’s arbitration projections have him pegged for a $17.9MM salary in 2018, but his expected offensive output makes him well worth that price tag. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Jose Abreu Trade]
- Avisail Garcia, White Sox OF (Blue Jays, Indians, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants, Rangers): Like Abreu, Garcia is a South Sider with two years of team control remaining. However, he comes with a lot more risk; Garcia had played below replacement level over the course of his career prior to a breakout this past season. Still, there are many teams who would benefit from adding a lefty-masher to their outfield corps, and his projected 2018 salary is a reasonable $6.7MM. [LINK: Looking For A Match In An Avisail Garcia Trade]
- Raisel Iglesias, Reds RHRP (Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals, Brewers, Twins, Astros): With three full seasons of team control remaining, Iglesias could prove a valuable long-term asset to either a rebuilding club or a current contender. He’s managed to strike out 10.43 batters per nine innings over the course of his career as a reliever while posting a sterling 2.29 ERA. The Twins have reportedly shown interest in Iglesias this winter, though that was nearly two months ago; there haven’t been any new developments in that story since then. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Raisel Iglesias Trade]
- J.T. Realmuto, Marlins C (Nationals, Rockies, Diamondbacks): Unlike the other players on this list, Realmuto has gone so far as to request a trade from his current team. While that alone certainly isn’t enough to facilitate a trade, some have taken the stance that Miami ought to trade their catcher (along with fellow Marlin Christian Yelich) at his peak value. Realmuto has accrued more than 7 WAR over the past two seasons alone, but the Marlins don’t feel compelled to trade him unless they’re overwhelmed by an offer. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A J.T. Realmuto Trade]
- Manny Machado, Orioles 3B (Cardinals, Yankees, Angels, Rockies, Nationals): Rumors surrounding Baltimore’s prized infielder have cooled off a bit recently, but the Orioles could still be prompted to move him for the right offer. They’re reportedly seeking two talented starting pitchers who are controllable for the long term, however, which seems like a sky-high asking price for a player with just one year of team control remaining. Of course, the O’s probably wouldn’t restrict a return to just rotation options. Machado is projected to earn a $17.3MM salary in his final season before hitting the free agent market. [LINK: Trading Manny Machado]
We’ll open this subject up to reader opinions at this point. Which of the trade candidates we’ve profiled do you think is most likely to be traded before the 2018 season begins? (Link for app users)
Hey! The poll showed up in the app! It’s a good day.
The app was H O R R I B L E for me. It was nothing but trouble. I had it for a few months before deleting it.
I just pull up the website on chrome and have no issues that way.
the app works great on my iphone
I love the app on my iPhone as well. Never had an issue.
Agreed. App is brutal on Android
I’m on a Samsung s6 and have had no issues.
I have Android and App works perfectly.
had 6 and now 8. only had trouble once, on par with any app
I’ve had the app for years and have never had any problems with it.
Only problem on the app is you don’t see who responds to your comments
You can’t see me..haha
Hey John Cena posts here.
All I use is the app. I’ve had it since day 1 and love it. I’m honestly surprised anyone actually goes to the website
have had it for Android for years and never a problem.
I always use the app. I like it better than the website because you don’t have to expand the article to read the comments.
Haha same! Haven’t seen the poll show up on my phone in ages
I don’t see Hamilton or Iglesias getting traded unless it’s in July
I see one of Hamilton or Duvall being traded before opening day. Need to make space for Winker to play regularly. If Hamilton was traded, it’s likely that Schebler would get some time in CF to open playing time for Winker, but they’d also likely sign a cheap CF to play fairly regularly as well. If Duvall is traded instead, that more directly opens playing time for Winker.
As for Iglesias, I don’t see him going anywhere unless they get a ridiculous offer, and even then, I think he stays at least until July, and probably until at least next offseason.
They won’t sign a cheap centerfielder with Phillip Ervin … he will be in center platooning with Schebler if Hamilton is traded
Why in the world would the Rockies need to trade for Manny Machado? They are one of the few teams where he wouldn’t be an upgrade at third base. Yeah he could displace Story at short, but I;d think the Rockies have 4-5 other spots that it would be better to use their resources to improve over short.
Manny plays SS too. He’s above-average there already. How much so is open question for 2018 to play out.
Not saying that he will be traded..but no Jackie Bradley option?
No Ryan Braun? Lol.
the Brewers are contenders and hes their best player lol
Lol the Brewers would move that contract in a second if anyone would take him.
He has 10 / 5 rights, so he can block any trade.
Right. Braun will remain in Milwaukee until that contract expires.
Braun has full no trade rights. He isn’t going anywhere unless the Dodgers make a decent offer (which they probably won’t).
“The top free agents on the market haven’t showed a willingness to lower their asking prices,”
LOL talk about owner bias. I have seem few rumors about any current asking price or offers anyways so how does anyone know if agents have come down or owners have not come up?
Neither has happened, at least not enough has, which is why these guys haven’t signed yet. From what I’ve heard, Cubs have offered Arrieta 4/$90M, which he rejected, JDM is seeking $25M AAV, and Cobb wants $17-18M AAV (or so). Don’t know too much about the other free agents, maybe someone has those rumors. I don’t think any of the players I listed, though, is worth what he’s asking.
I dont see how anyone can determine the probability of someone being traded. So many variables outside of available information. All have a finite probability of being dealt
I’d say none get trade before the deadline because teams are not giving up too much in trades this offseason. Its a buyers market. Better wait for the TD
I know the Reds are in rebuilding mode? Would Iglesias be a piece they would be able to trade and get any decent return for? What could the Reds possibly get in return for him?
Short answer – a lot. Depending on the team I would say two prospects in the Organizational Top 30 would be needed to start the conversation
Did you mean another org’s top 30? I hope not. You may have meant two prospects in another org’s top 5 list maybe. A top flight, multi-inning reliever, signed cheaply for 3 more years should bring back two prospects that are immediately top 6 or 7 prospects for the Reds with one being a top 3 type (top 100 MLB).
If the Reds traded Iglesias and didn’t get back at least ONE MLB top 100 player (if not two), they’d be laughed out of the clubhouse. I’d be steamed. Since he is a top 20 RP in baseball and he has 3 more years of cheap control, the Reds would be better off keeping him than trading him for anything but a eye-popping return of TOP end (elite) prospect talent.
See Chapman to Cubs and Miller to Indians trades for good starting points. Yes, Iglesias is actually BETTER than Chapman, with Aroldis having that fan favorite fastball, but Iglesias the more well-rounded RP and he is every bit as good as Miller.
exactly I would look at the Miller deal as a comp
You’re the opposite of “The Expert” for saying this
Although the Indians could definitely use Jose Abreu, they’ve indicated that their payroll can’t afford his projected salary.
Tribe has Alonso at 1B for the next few years and Encarnacion at DH for 2 more years. I think they’ve given up on trying to trade Kipnis this winter and have slotted him back at 2B moving Ramirez back to 3B. CLE is shopping Salazar right now, and I’d imagine they’re either looking for an OF or bullpen arm in return.
I think it’d be bad GMing if Brad Hand isn’t dealt by the end of the off season
Well Preller isn’t the best GM… I agree with you though, Hand can bring back a decent return for a guy on a team that won’t be winning the next couple years.
Perhaps he isn’t as willing to give up on the next couple of years as some people here. How many of you expected the Twins, Diamondbacks, and Rockies to be in the playoffs this time last year, but it happened. If they sign Hosmer and make a couple more smaller moves, I think the Padres have a chance to surprise some people and challenge for a WC in 2018. Stranger things have happened.
Padres don’t have a good rotation, say what you will about the bullpen and lineup, but they aren’t the twins or the diamondbacks of last year. You have to project your chances of success for the next season and seasons to come. It makes much more sense to flip Hand now for future impact players. My opinion.
I agree, and I don’t think Preller will pull the trigger on a Hand trade until Hosmer chooses a team. If SD deals Hand now it may make the Padres less of a consideration for Hosmer.
Are you saying Brixton that Preller should just take the best offer he has the day before pitchers and catchers report even if it’s not close to what he expects for him? You don’t think it’s possible to deal him for more at the trade deadline? Next offseason? It’s not like Hand if a FA after this season … Preller has time to get as close to what he wants for his most desirable available trade chip …. he’s not going to rush a deal just to appease some anxious fans
From what I understand, he’s received very good offers for Hand. And as he waits longer to trade him, his trade value diminishes and risks injury (ie Britton).
Very good offers? uh no, anything thats been reported, least here, has been players that wouldnt crack the padres top 10, even top 15.
so no, padres arent receiving good offers. low ball offers.
but now that britton is out for a while hand is really their only option for an elite arm.
but once the reliever market settles youll see a hand trade.
I believe the padres recieved an offer from the Astros that included Colin Moran. And the padres countered with Forest Whiltey. Which makes me think the padres weren’t serious about dealing him at the time (before the trade deadline last year). I would imagine Colin Moran plus a couple lower level prospects should be enough for Brad Hand. Or just hang on to him until his trade value diminishes.
I honestly like the trend that some of the rebuilds are taking. Phillies signing Santana and adding bullpen depth for example. So, when you look at teams like the White Sox and the Reds, these are both teams that honestly, aren’t very many pieces away from being contenders..but ya gotta dive into it to see it.
Abreu has great numbers…I mean really his numbers show he is an offensive beast. If they were to be adventurous and try and raise revenue, sign Machardo next off-season, push to keep abreu..etc.. imagine a core of abreu, Machardo, a. Garcia, kopech, moncoda, etc. Same theory with the reds, who, if you look at the lineup, have several weapons offensively. I think any young team, can be only a few solid pieces away and it takes putting that core in place.
A young team that can acquire a guy like yellich, then use that to say hey, we’re serious, we have the money. Use that to lure a younger prime free agent. A team like the White Sox who has good payroll flex, you can imagine those few moves. Acquire yellich, sign Machardo, resign abreu. Those are winning pieces. And if you wanted to be more aggressive and lose the farm, acquire both yellich and Archer .. or Archer and keirmier. Point is all it takes is a few controllable pieces, with team friendly contracts to start to build that core… Red Sox brought in Manny and Pedro. Cubs Lester, Rizzo, drafted Bryant, signed heyward. All fairly young core pieces. I love what the Phillies are doing and how much depth and low payroll, youth that they have to build around. All it takes is a few core moves. My point to this being -. Don’t “have” to trade abreu bc they “probably” won’t contend…. …. Make em contend. Trade for a controllable piece, then sign somebody next off-season. Then that says boom, they wanna win. Can try and resign abreu. Point is you don’t have to trade em all… Make them contend. Be a pro baseball team and not a minor league team trying to win off of a payroll for 24 year olds.
Typically you want to wait to spend before you have confidence in your core. If you squint hard, yeah maybe every team looks like a few pieces away, but there’s inherent risk. Following your White Sox example, if they trade for Yelich this offseason and sign Machado the next, what does that leave for the team? Assuming they’re still even with the organizaion after the Yelich trade, what if Moncada, Kopech, Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez don’t end up being the studs that we projected? Then you’d have to go try to swing some more trades or worse, spend a ton of cash on aging veterans. And if that doesn’t pan out, you have to tear down the organization and start all over again.
What if they don’t pan out if you don’t make those moves? Then you have to start over anyway. However, the big difference is what if they do pan out and you DIDN’T make moves to improve. Then you wasted a possible good season and you never know many of those pop up. Look at the Mets. They looked like they would be long lasting contenders after 2015 and now…not so much. You just never know when your good season might be your only one. I figured if anyone would know that it would be a lifelong Cubs fan.
Cubs fan troll. Nothing more
If you are making those kind of deals, good seasons better be happening a lot.
You can make big moves for other guts, be it trades or FA signings…..AFTER you see if your group works out.
So…not all prospects work out. We know that. I don’t expect all of the White Sox’ elite prospect (or rookie) talent to work out. But they have enough high-potential guys that if just a couple of them live up to what they can do, they’ll be much improved. The Cubs have had Bryant and Rizzo work out amazingly well, along with a half dozen guys who have been pretty good, even if not superstars. If the Sox get that kind of return and then spend wisely on free agents to round it out, they’d still be a good team. I think the Sox, though, have more speed and pitching than the Cubs did, though perhaps a little less with the hitting.
Bottom line is that it’s just as unlikely that none of them work out as that most of them do, so they should be much improved. I see no reason to not trade for Yelich and try to sign Machado, save for perhaps the cost in prospects to get Yelich.
I’m having a hard time finding it likely that the majority of these players will be traded.
1) Abreu’s price will be too high and we’ve only heard serious interest from the Red Sox, who are now flushed at 1B and are still playing the waiting game with JD Martinez.
2) Teams aren’t buying into Avisail’s BABIP-driven breakout season.
3) Raisel Iglesias is so expensive and it just makes sense for the Reds to hold onto him for another year or so and wait for the perfect offer. They have plenty of control and he provides a ton of value.
4) Marlins should, but don’t have to trade Realmuto. Because they already shipped two of the best players on the team, they have to keep someone so fans will still come to games.
5) And lastly, Machado isn’t getting traded because the Orioles’ front office can’t comprehend logic as simple as 2+2=4
Thanks for your input
Thanks for recapping all the weeks articles.
Did I miss the most obvious choice? Where was Yelich in the write up or the poll?
“With three full seasons of team control remaining, Iglesias could prove . . . “
B.B.-ref doesn’t have Iglesias becoming a free agent until 2022. That would appear to be four years of team control remaining. Am I missing something?
Iglesias signed out of Cuba for 7 years/$27M, thru 2020. He’s allowed to opt out of the terms of that contract (but would remain with the Reds) and file for arbitration once eligible, but he declined to do so this offseason (at 2.154 years service, he’d have been a Super-2).
BB-Ref shows his “Earliest Arb Eligible” as 2021 and “Earliest Free Agent” as 2022. Based on the reported details of his contract, his “EAE” is technically 2019 (and then 2020), if he decides to opt out of his contract and file for arbitration either year (unlikely). Doing so would seemingly delay his “EFA” from 2021 to 2022 by giving the Reds an extra year of arb control thru 2021, per service time rules. So, in all likelihood, Iglesias will be a FA after 2020 and the Reds have “three full seasons of team control remaining.”
abreu, but he’s going to st louis
Just curious, what do you think St. Louis would have to give up for him?
I think multiple
I think Realmuto, Iglesias, Hamilton and Yelich all find new places (as well as Cutch and Harrison).
The Sox may not move either until they get a huge offer- they have leverage and theres a saturated pwr market and Hand is about as marketable as they come. Wait until a team is desperate.
Also Cole,Clint Frazier,Pence,Duffy and so on. No way the White Sox Trade Abreu to a division rival because Indians aren’t giving up Zimmer and other top Prospects to get him.
why would the indians need abreu? their first base and dh is solved
This is the winter of trades, why not all of them, teams are making better deals with trades than free agents. One thing for sure, the price of the free agents is coming down the longer we go into Jan.. Teams are not to keen on long term salarys this winter. Just look a guy like Cobb was only offered 3 years by the Cubs, and he played for Maddon and Hickey.
If the Giants had enough minor league talent to offer CIN for Hamilton, that deal would have already been made. When all is said and done I see either Jon Jay or Jarrod Dyson being signed short term by SF for CF.
they have enough they just don’t want to give up anything because Hamilton isn’t that good of a player
So the Cardinals are in on Hand and Machado? Machado….not likely. Hand…..I’d be surprised if they wold trade him to the Cardinals.
I was surprised the Cardinals aren’t in on Abreau. Abreau would seem to be the fit on offense and defense. Plus protection for Ozuna and under contract already.
Abreu is a consistently good offensive threat, but he’s not a good defender. He’s not an outright embarrassment, but he’s never posted better than -0.9 dWAR.
I’ve seen a couple St. Louis fans say they want Abreu on the Cards. Curious what they (or anyone else) think the Cards would be willing to give up to get him? As a White Sox fan, I hope he’s not traded, but am interested to see what people think a fair price is.
Also, why wasn’t Yelich an option in the poll? I figured he’d be the most likely candidate, right up with Realmuto.
I think he had more value to the Sox than anyone else because of his big salary. he won’t bring back enough to get a deal done. think back of top 10 prospects from an adverage system.