The MLB offseason is all about old faces finding new places. Most of the time, the moves come via a free-agent signing, but there is always room for trades. And this year, there are a handful of players who appear destined to be dealt prior to the start of the 2022 season. Here are four names that will most likely be traded this winter.
Byron Buxton, Minnestoa Twins, OF
As soon as Buxton turned down Minnesota’s reported extension offer of $80 million a few months ago, he was as good as gone (aside: He was right to turn it down at the time). The Twins, coming off of a shockingly terrible 2021 season, might be nearing a full rebuild. Buxton has one year and $7.5 million remaining on his contract before he hits free agency. Although injuries have always dogged him, Buxton has displayed his mouth-watering tools in short stints over the past two years, and at times looked like one of the best players in the league. Availability questions aside, a trade for a 28-year-old star center fielder should bring back quite a haul for Minnesota.
Luke Voit, New York Yankees, 1B
The Yankees have a few trade candidates this year (Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, etc), but Voit is the most obvious. He publicly called for the Yankees to give him more playing time during his injury-marred 2021 season and assuming his demands haven’t changed, there doesn’t appear to be a spot for him in the Bronx, especially since the Yankees will try to retain free-agent first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Voit led the majors in home runs in 2020, and he probably needs a fresh start in order to again showcase that power potential on an everyday basis.
Eric Hosmer, San Diego Padres, 1B
The Padres’ decision to give Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract prior to the 2018 season was viewed askance by many. Now, it looks like a total mistake, one that San Diego would like to get away from. The team tried to trade him during this past season, but there were no takers because first basemen in their early 30s who have a declining hit tool, below-average power, little speed and are owed upwards of $60 million over the next four years aren’t particularly attractive trade targets. But the Padres will try again this offseason to get that money off their books.
German Marquez, Colorado Rockies, SP
I’m not really following directions here because I wouldn’t term a Marquez trade as “likely.” But if that front office knows what’s good for them, they will definitely explore it. The Rockies are one if not the most moribund franchise in MLB right now and are set to lose the face of the franchise, shortstop Trevor Story, as a free agent this winter. Unloading Marquez will inevitably be greeted poorly by the masses who accuse the Rockies of not trying to win, but they aren’t going to contend for anything meaningful while he’s under contract for the next 2-3 seasons anyway. Marquez was an All-Star in 2021 and has a 115 career ERA+ as he enters his age-27 season. Plus, he’s a legitimate workhorse starter, which are in short supply but always in high demand. If the Rockies strike a deal now, they could get a huge return that sets them up well for when they are ready to truly contend — 2025 or so.