Who Will Be Available at the MLB Trade Deadline: AL Edition

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Who Might Be Available at the MLB Trade Deadline, Part I: American League

Chicago Cubs

Today, I am feeling wildly optimistic. So I want to find out if we can get an idea of who might be available at the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline from the American League.

Call it two-parts general league curiosity, one-part blind hope the Cubs are in a position to add come July. What do you want from me … this is the life I chose.

So how will we make a list? Well, that’s the tough part. Every season, guys we absolutely expect to get dealt wind up staying put (Willson Contreras), and guys we never really expected to be traded are on the move (Juan Soto). To limit the scope, we’re not going to try to find any crazy outliers. And we’re going to isolate teams with a 2023 forecast nowhere near the playoffs (max. 2 per division). We’ll also look at only their more interesting players with fewer than 2 years of control.

This is not designed to be an exhaustive list – particularly when it comes to random relievers, who pop up and are traded every season – but it could be a good start.

AL East

This is one of the tougher divisions in MLB this season. The Blue Jays, Rays, and Yankees are absolutely contending this season, and the Orioles are *FINALLY* on the upswing. Maybe Baltimore wants to keep the band together. But also … it’s the Orioles. You can never count them out of a deal.

Baltimore Orioles:

  • Kyle Gibson, SP (R): 1/$10M
  • Adam Frazier, 2B: 1/$8M
  • Mychal Givens, RP (R): 1/$3M + $2M buyout on mutual option

The Orioles signed Gibson, Frazier, and (the former Cub) Givens this past December. And it’s not difficult to imagine why. While Baltimore is loaded with young talent (and the schedule was recently balanced), they still play in the ultra-competitive AL East. These one-year veteran free agents may give them an outside shot early on, but I can see them being trade bait come July. Kinda like the Cubs, frankly. (But hopefully not.)

Boston Red Sox:

  • Adam Duvall, OF: 1/$7M
  • Adalberto Mondesi, SS: 1/$3M
  • Corey Kluber, SP (R): 1/$10M
  • Enrique Hernandez, 2B/OF: 1/$10M
  • Kenley Jansen, RP (R): 2/$32M

The Red Sox are a very difficult team to figure out. They are a big-revenue club in a huge market, with a small market head of baseball operations (Chaim Bloom, from the Rays). They traded Mookie Betts and let Xander Bogaerts walk, but they extended Rafael Devers (11/$330M) and spent big money on a relatively unknown quantity in Yoshida Masataka (5/$90M). But they have a number of tradable assets among their recently signed players, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they wound up selling.

AL Central

The Twins (big winter), White Sox (big expectations), and Guardians (favorites?) are each probably hoping to make something of themselves this season. So that means the only relatively likely sellers are the floundering Tigers and the always-open-for-business Royals.

Detroit Tigers:

  • Matt Boyd, SP (L): 1/$10M
  • Michael Lorenzen, SP (R): 1/$8.5M
  • José Cisnero, RP (R): 1/$2.3M
  • Jonathan Schoop, 2B/3B: 1/$7.5M

Nothing crazy here. A couple of righty starters (Lorenzen is starting, right?), a righty reliever, and a utility man. All four are on cheap, expiring contracts. All four could be easily sent to most contenders if needed.

(Javy Báez can opt out of his deal after this season, which seems unlikely at this point, but would also muddy the waters if he played his way into being a compelling midseason trade piece. We’ll call him one of those crazy outlier trade situations, though, and not project him to be “available” at the deadline.)

Kansas City Royals:

  • Aroldis Chapman, RP (L): 1/$3.75M
  • Amir Garrett, RP (R): 1/$2.65M
  • Brad Keller, RP (R) 1/$5.77M
  • Jordan Lyles, SP (R): 2/$17M

No surprise, but the Royals are set up for easy trades. They’ve got one-year deals for familiar back-end relief types (a lefty and two righties), plus a two year deal for starter Jordan Lyles. Obviously, these guys need to produce to have value – and there are questions across the board – but it seems clear they’re setting themselves up for multiple trades.

AL West

The Astros are favorited (by a mile), the Mariners are certainly trying and trending up, and the Rangers have spent WAY too much money in the short term to be obvious sellers at the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline here in January. That leaves us with the Angels and Athletics as our most likely sellers.

Los Angeles Angels:

  • Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH (R): 1/$30M
  • Hunter Renfroe, RF: 1/$11.5M
  • Gio Urshela, 3B: 1/$9.2M
  • Ryan Tepera, RP (R): 1/$7M

Obviously, Shohei Ohtani is the possible crown jewel of the deadline. And although a trade seemed unlikely when owner Arte Moreno was going to sell the team, that’s no longer in the plans. And that means Ohtani is MUCH more likely to get traded before walking at the end of the year for nothing. Every single team in MLB will want him, and it’ll take a boatload to acquire him, with no guarantee he’ll sign an extension just months before hitting one of the most anticipated free agent journeys in MLB history. There are some other players here, including our old friend Ryan Tepera, but Ohtani inhales all the oxygen in the room.

Moving on … Do the Athletics even have any players left? In the last year, alone, they’ve traded Sean Murphy, Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Chris Bassitt. Let’s see.

Oakland Athletics:

  • Trevor May, RP (R): 1/$7M
  • Aledmys Diaz, SS: 2/$14.5M
  • Jace Peterson, UTL 2/$9.4M
  • Jesus Aguilar, 1B: 1/$3M

Trevor May is their most expensive player — they just signed him this offseason — though he is definitely a sign-and-flip candidate. May had a difficult, injury-marred 2022 season, but was a very solid reliever from 2018-2021, with a 3.33 ERA, a 32.3 K%, and a .209 AVG allowed. Without a doubt, they’ll try to get him healthy, get him right, and trade him to a contender in July.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami