Three things for baseball fans to keep an eye out for as the New Year gets rolling…
1. Outside of Miami, which teams could plausibly trade a starter?
Fortunately for teams either unable or unwilling to meet the asking price on a member of the Marlins starting corps, there are other teams out there who could be willing to deal from their available starting options. The Mariners have expressed interest in dealing one of Chris Flexen or Marco Gonzales, either of whom could shore up the back of a contender’s rotation. The Mets, who have expressed a willingness to listen to offers on Carlos Carrasco, could also provide a back-end option to teams looking to add to the rotation. Teams looking for a little more upside could discuss Chris Sale with the Red Sox, though he comes with a hefty salary and a great deal of uncertainty following several injury-marred campaigns.
It’s also worth noting that other clubs with an excess of pitching options could move a starting-caliber player who’s been pushed out of the rotation by offseason additions or recent prospect graduations. For instance, neither Adrian Houser (Brewers) nor Adrian Sampson (Cubs) has a clear rotation spot right now. The Braves have multiple MLB-ready arms vying for one rotation spot (Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson, Bryce Elder). The Guardians were willing to listen on names like Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale prior to the trade deadline. Ultimately, there are options still available for teams looking to add starting pitching, though few (if any) with the combined certainty and upside of, for example, Miami’s Pablo Lopez.
2. What options remain for the White Sox at second base?
The White Sox currently project to run out Leury Garcia and Romy Gonzalez at second base, but neither of those options is particularly inspiring. Garcia posted an OPS of just .500 in 2022, and Gonzalez’s .609 mark is not much better. Free agency offers the potential for a reunion with either Josh Harrison or Elvis Andrus, but little else in the way of certainty, though bounceback candidates like Jonathan Villar do remain available. All told, it seems likely Rick Hahn’s front office will have to explore the trade market to find new talent to bring into the fold.
One team with a plethora of options at second base, as discussed yesterday by MLBTR’s Anthony Franco, is the Blue Jays. Toronto appears poised to mix and match between Whit Merrifield, Cavan Biggio, and Santiago Espinal, with Merrifield likely earning the lion’s share of playing time out the gate. Either Biggio or Espinal would represent an upgrade over in-house options for the White Sox, and both would come with some upside, as they’ve shown flashes of being above-average regulars in the past. The Padres, meanwhile, are reportedly willing to listen to offers on Ha-Seong Kim, but he’s also slated to play a regular role in their infield, so he won’t necessarily be easy to acquire. Miami’s Joey Wendle was pushed out of a starting role by the Marlins’ signing of Jean Segura. There’s been ample speculation about the Yankees moving Gleyber Torres throughout the offseason, and the Rockies at least discussed Brendan Rodgers in talks with the Marlins (albeit with Colorado seeking the type of controllable MLB pitching the White Sox don’t necessarily have to offer).
3. MLBTR Chat today at 1pm CT
MLBTR’s Steve Adams will host a chat with readers today at 1pm CT. You can submit a question in advance, and be sure to circle back to participate live this afternoon at 1:00!