Think of the offseason as another prime trading period – without one of those annoying nonwaiver deadlines. That’s certainly the way front-office personnel view it. With so many new general managers in place, this offseason figures to be action-packed in terms of star players being moved. And, yes, we said star players. Among the big names could be wearing different uniforms come spring training …
Mets SP Matt Harvey
It’s entirely possible that his final moments as a Met took place in Game 5 of the World Series, though that’s obviously not how Harvey would prefer it to be. Why would the team part ways with a budding ace who has proven he can handle the biggest stage? There are two factors: First, the team has rotation depth with Zack Wheeler returning from Tommy John surgery; second, there is some remaining tension after the innings-limit fiasco. Plus, Harvey obviously would bring a haul in a trade, and the Mets need some bats with Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy hitting free agency.
Getty ImagesAl Bello
Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig
Hamstring problems basically ruined the 2015 season for Puig, who played in only 79 games. Add those durability issues to his reported poor clubhouse reputation and a crowded outfield in Los Angeles, and it’s easy to imagine the Dodgers using Puig as trade bait. Despite the negatives, Puig remains a wildly talented player with a ton of power and upside. He’s still only 24 and has shown signs of improvement defensively and on the bases.
Getty ImagesVictor Decolongon
Reds RP Aroldis Chapman, RF Jay Bruce
A rebuilding team doesn’t have much need for an elite closer who probably will earn more than $10 million next season. Ditto for a right fielder set to make $12.5 million in 2016. The Reds could restock their farm system in deals for one or both of these veterans. The free-agent reliever market is weak this season, and Chapman is one of the majors’ elite closers. Despite his low batting average and on-base percentage, Bruce still has plenty of pop. And then there’s Todd Frazier …
Cubs IF/OF Starlin Castro, IF/OF Javier Baez
As innovative as Cubs manager Joe Maddon is, he can’t create a 10th defensive position that would be necessary to get all of his young sluggers on the field at once. Castro responded well and finished strong after losing his starting shortstop job and spending some time on the bench, and Baez was impressive in his late-season call-up. Castro (25) and Baez (22) are far from finished products but have superstar potential. They both need to start, though that is unlikely to happen in Chicago.
Red Sox LF/1B Hanley Ramirez
The Red Sox are going to turn the shortstop/third baseman into a first baseman after the failed attempt to make him a left fielder. But new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski knows what everyone else does: Ramirez is a DH. Because Boston already has a pretty successful DH, it makes a lot of sense to deal Ramirez. The problem? The three years and $69 million remaining on his contract. It won’t be easy, but the Red Sox will try to get creative in trade talks.
Getty ImagesJim McIsaac
Padres RP Craig Kimbrel
Like the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman, Kimbrel might be a luxury item his team doesn’t really need. If the Padres decide to retool -- a year after GM A.J. Preller’s decision to go all-in -- Kimbrel’s guaranteed $24 million over the next two seasons could be better spent elsewhere. Although he had a down year (for him, anyway) in 2015, Kimbrel remains an elite closer and interests plenty of contenders.
Getty ImagesDenis Poroy
Rockies RF Carlos Gonzalez
No list of trade candidates ever is complete without Gonzalez, who has to get dealt one of these times … right? After all, the Rockies finally pulled the trigger on a Troy Tulowitzki trade over the summer. Gonzalez is coming off a 40-homer, 97-RBI season during which he hit 27 homers and drove in 62 runs after the All-Star break. A franchise always hungry for pitching could acquire some good arms in exchange for CarGo.
Getty ImagesDustin Bradford
Brewers RP Francisco Rodriguez, C Jonathan Lucroy
K-Rod can be lumped into the Aroldis Chapman/Craig Kimbrel category as an elite (and expensive) closer on a non-contending team. It seems as if Rodriguez has been around for decades, but he saved 38 games in 40 chances last season season and is still only 33. Injuries limited Lucroy in 2015, but he is strong defensively and productive offensively. Milwaukee isn’t going to compete for a playoff spot in baseball’s toughest division and started the rebuilding process prior to last summer’s trade deadline.
A's SP Sonny Gray, RF Josh Reddick
Whether it’s in the offseason or at the trade deadline, Billy Beane often can’t help himself. In a market hungry for starting pitchers and power hitters, Gray and Reddick have big-time appeal. The 25-year-old Gray posted a 2.73 ERA this past season and won 14 games for the second consecutive year. Reddick led the team with 20 homers and 77 RBI, which means he could be the next veteran slugger out the door. After a 94-loss, last-place season in 2015, Oakland can’t have delusions of competing in the ultra-tough AL West.
Indians SP Carlos Carrasco
Another hot commodity prior to the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, Carrasco obviously wasn’t moved. In fact, the Indians denied rumors they were shopping him. But where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And Cleveland does have plenty of young rotation depth. In his first full season as a starter, Carraso won 14 games with a 3.63 ERA and a 10.6 K/9 ratio. If not Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Danny Salazar or Cody Anderson could be dealt.