The MLB season has long been concluded and the offseason is well underway. This of course, includes free agency, which is loaded with talent, but also gives teams the opportunity to inquire about players on the trade block.
Several trades are rumored to be ongoing, while we will also look at trades that could be considered a long shot as well as trades where the two teams involved are not on the same page.
Starting off with one of the most intriguing trade rumors is Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres, who are +1600 to win the World Series next year.
It is a known fact that the New York Yankees are interested in acquiring Soto to bolster their outfield after a very disappointing season. The Yankees finished 2023 with a record of 82-80 and missed the playoffs.
Similarly, the Padres also missed the playoffs as they finished 2023 with an identical record of 82-80.
Having one of the highest payrolls in the league and missing the playoffs was not ideal and therefore the Padres have been looking to cut down their financial outlay as they begin to gear up for the new season.
Initially, trade talks seemed to be going well, but recent reports from Ken Rosenthal have indicated that the Padres and Yankees are not close to making a deal.
These reports have stated that the Padres are looking for several players in return for Soto, including multiple top prospects from the Yankees. Of course, trading for Soto's expiring contract could end up being a rental anyway since an extension could be very difficult.
If the Yankees ultimately decide to end trade talks given the Padres’ asking price, there are plenty of other teams who may attempt to acquire Soto, including the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Seattle Mariners just dealt 24-year-old outfielder Jarred Kelenic to the Atlanta Braves, around one week after trading third baseman Eugenio Suarez to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Their payroll is down by about $24 million from 2023, meaning they could make a few moves to boost that number back up.
The Mariners have engaged in trade talks with the Tampa Bay Rays, which isn't necessarily news as these clubs have completed 14 trades together since 2015. But the player in question, Randy Arozarena, is newsworthy.
Arozarena has hit 20 home runs and stolen 20 bases in each of the past three seasons, as well as knocking in at least 80 RBI in each of the past two campaigns. Plus, he has hit over .250 in each of his five MLB seasons, although that number has dropped since entering the Show and earning more playing time.
Another one of the top trade targets for teams this offseason has to be Corbin Burnes from the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers finished 2023 with a record of 92-70 and claimed the NL Central title, but quickly crashed out of the playoffs in the Wild-Card round.
One advantage in trading Burnes now would be that the Brewers would be able to get something for him instead of possibly losing him to free agency.
The immediate disadvantage would be that trading Burnes would hinder their rotation, which has been their biggest strength in recent seasons.
The Brewers have entertained talks from a number of teams, but nothing has been set in stone quite yet and only time will tell what the Brewers will decide to do.
Another elite pitcher that could be a trade target over the winter period is Shane Bieber from the Cleveland Guardians.
The Guardians are coming off a poor 2023 season, one where they finished with a record of 76-86 and missed the playoffs.
Going forward, the Guardians may need to consider rebuilding their roster and that could start with trading Bieber.
This is especially true given that Bieber is expected to become a free agent at the end of 2024.
Trade talks have already started to swirl for Bieber, in what could be a one-year rental for teams who are close to becoming a true contender. Of the teams that appear to be interested, the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds stand out the most.
That being said, it has been reported by Jon Heyman of the New York Post that an extension is possible, but at the same time, the Guardians might not be willing to drop big money on him with some of the extensions they have made over the past few seasons.
If this is the case, Cleveland may be willing to deal the right-hander very soon as they will want to try to get something for him now as opposed to getting nothing if they cannot extend him, and he walks next year.