One Current or Future Trade Candidate For Each Team in The American League

Every team, whether rebuilding or contending, always has either a surplus of players at one position or a complete hole at others and will want to make a transaction to address those areas. Whether you’re team is looking to cash in on any players they can to get prospects for the future or are looking for the final pieces to the puzzle for a World Series title, every team has at least one player that can be considered a trade candidate or an eventual trade candidate in the near future. Here we will pick one player from each team that could make sense as a current, or near future, trade candidate.

-OF Mitch Haniger(Seattle Mariners)

The Mariners have been perhaps the most active team this offseason due to their tear down of the teams’ roster, and while GM Jerry Dipoto has made it clear he would have to be “blown away” to deal their star outfielder, Seattle would get a huge return for him which could further help out in their small rebuild. Of course, simply keeping him would help too.

-OF Mike Trout(Los Angeles Angels)

Many fans have wondered what the Angels would get in a trade(or who could make that deal happen) for the future hall of famer, and it would make sense due to the uncertain future with the Angels. They have the playoffs in mind in 2019, but if the team falls short once again, it would be interesting if they at least think about the thought of trading Trout in the 2019-20 offseason, especially if the Angels aren’t convinced he would sign an extension to remain in Anaheim for the rest of his career.

-IF Franklin Barreto(Oakland Athletics)

The A’s are relatively set except for a couple of positions next season(catcher and starting pitching) and with a full infield set for 2019, playing time will once again be hard to come by for former top prospect Barreto. Perhaps trading Barreto for an established major leaguer at another position of need, could help out. Of course, Barreto is just 22, so the A’s could take their time with him if they feel he still isn’t ready for consistent major league at-bats.

-OF Kyle Tucker(Houston Astros)

Tucker is the Astros’ top prospect, and one of the top 10 prospects in the game, and he’s mentioned here for one reason, he could very well headline a trade package for an elite major leaguer at a position of need. He’s been mentioned as a possible centerpiece in a trade for Marlins’ catcher J.T. Realmuto, but with Miami still wanting more top talent, it’s unlikely at this time that Tucker would be included in any deal.

-RHP Mike Minor(Texas Rangers)

Minor is the current top Rangers player who is most likely to be dealt and while there’s multiple other players who could eventually be dealt(Jose Leclerc, Shin-Soo Choo), we’ll use Minor in this post. Many teams have been linked to Minor both in a starting and relief role, and the Rangers have made it clear they want meaningful prospects in return for their current top starter.

-OF Nicholas Castellanos(Detroit Tigers)

He’s currently the top trade candidate for the Tigers and they’ve been shopping him hard this offseason as he enters his final year of team control, with the Dodgers being most heavily linked to the Tigers’ outfielder, but with the asking price too high for teams right now, don’t expect a Castellanos deal soon.

-RHP Corey Kluber(Cleveland Indians)

Both Kluber and fellow starter Trevor Bauer have been all over the rumor mill this offseason but the Indians have not connected on a deal with anyone. It’s not known if Cleveland will deal either ace now, but several teams remain in talks with the Indians about Kluber.

-1B Jose Abreu(Chicago White Sox)

Abreu has been mentioned in the past as a trade candidate and teams have tried to trade for the White Sox slugger in the past. While Abreu makes sense as a trade candidate, it’s unlikely at this point that Chicago trades him.

-LHP Danny Duffy(Kansas City Royals)

While Whit Merrifield is the popular player amongst Kansas City players when it comes to teams showing trade interest, the Royals still aren’t interested in dealing their star 2nd baseman, which makes Duffy the more likely candidate if they can find a suitor for his services. Duffy will need a rebound in 2019 however, if KC wants to have a chance at dealing the left-hander for any meaningful return.

-3B Miguel Sano(Minnesota Twins)

This is a bit of an interesting one despite the inconsistencies Sano has had thus far in his career. If Sano can’t rebound in 2019, he could very well fall out of favor in Minnesota, who could look to trade him if he can’t get back to the player he was when he first came to the majors. He’s still just 25 though, so it remains to be seen just how much of a leash he still has left on the Minnesota roster.

-3B Miguel Andujar(New York Yankees)

The young 3rd baseman finished runner up in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2018 but despite that, Andujar has been one of the most popular trade candidates this offseason due to the fact that if New York is to land Manny Machado, Andujar would be supplanted at the hot corner, leaving him with no specific position. Teams have shown a lot of interest in Andujar, but it remains to be seen if the Yankees trade him.

-IF/C Blake Swihart(Boston Red Sox)

Since coming to the majors, the former top prospect has had no real position on the team and continues to be blocked at all positions around the diamond. Swihart has been used all over the field thus far to get more playing time, but he has yet to do much with the bat and eventually Boston could consider a change of scenery type of trade for the 26-year old.

-RHP Dylan Bundy(Baltimore Orioles)

Mychal Givens is the most popular Orioles player when it comes to teams showing interest, but if Bundy can rebound next season, teams could very well have renewed interest in the right hander, in part because he’s had success in recent seasons.

-OF Kevin Kiermaier(Tampa Bay Rays)

If there’s one player that the Rays would consider listening to offers on in the near future, it would probably be Kiermaier. His outstanding defense would be of interest to plenty of teams but it would take not only the Rays falling out of the playoff picture, but Kiermaier’s bat to come back to life in 2019 for Tampa to consider listening to offers on him.

-RHP Marcus Stroman(Toronto Blue Jays)

Teams have shown more interest in Stroman more than anyone on the Blue Jays, but Toronto wants a big return still for the right-hander. However, due to his underwhelming, injury riddled 2018, Toronto would somewhat be selling low on Stroman. The Padres have shown the most interest.

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The Future Ahead: Oakland Athletics

The Oakland A’s have always worked with low payrolls and constant changes in their roster over the years, and while it has worked to keep the team competitive at times, it has also resulted in three consecutive last place finishes in the division prior to 2018. While fans over recent seasons haven’t been too happy about the constant roster overhauls each year, there is a clear light at the end of the tunnel, and 2018 showed just how good this team is, and will be, in the future seasons ahead.

There is work to be done this offseason in patching up the rotation, but all indications are that Oakland will indeed be back in the hunt for a playoff spot in the upcoming season. That, along with Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane saying the team will see an increase in the teams’ payroll over the coming seasons along with some top prospects who will complement an already solid roster, the future of the A’s is nothing short of bright.

When taking a look at the major league roster, there is a lot to like, starting with the bullpen. The Athletics have a strong bullpen featuring one of the top closers in the league in 2018 in Blake Treinen plus a host of other arms in Lou Trivino, Fernando Rodney, Yusmeiro Petit, Ryan Buchter, and new signee Joakim Soria. If this group can replicate their 2018 success, it will be crucial to getting Oakland back to the postseason once again.

With that being said, it’s time to mention the rotation. Despite the fact that the A’s made the postseason in 2018, their rotation was ravaged by injuries, leaving the team relying on names such as Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, and Mike Fiers to help get the team to the playoffs. With top starter Sean Manaea potentially sidelined for the entire 2019 season, that leaves a huge hole in a rotation full of questions already. Mike Fiers was re-signed to a two-year deal after he posted solid numbers down the stretch for Oakland last year following their trade from the Tigers. Expect the A’s to continue to look for more options before the offseason ends.

On the position player side, no one had a better year on the team than breakout star third baseman Matt Chapman. His all-world defense which won him a gold glove award and .278/.356/.508 stat line lead Chapman to post an 8.2 WAR season, making him one of the top performers in all of baseball. The A’s have yet to lock up Chapman to a long-term extension but the team will surely try to sign their franchise cornerstone for the long-term, but with several years of team control ahead, Oakland can take some time before they try to get him locked up to a new contract.

One player who isn’t under long-term control is designated hitter Khris Davis. Davis is only signed through the 2019 season, and with his massive power, in which he hit a career high 48 homers in 2018, he will net a pretty good contract which could be too rich for the Oakland organization to keep.

Young star 1st baseman Matt Olson, Stephen Piscotty, newly acquired Jurickson Profar, and Ramon Laureano are also going to be big parts of the 2019 Oakland roster, which will give this team a strong lineup for manager Bob Melvin to work with. And that’s without mentioning that these players are all controlled for several more years ahead.

We now finish up in the farm system. Despite scattered MLB time, Franklin Barretto has yet to establish himself at the major league level, but he’s just 22 years old and was considered one of the leagues top prospects in recent seasons. With Jurickson Profar now expected to man 2nd base in 2019, Barretto once again has no real spot on the roster for consistent playing time.

One prospect who could make a real big impact on the A’s as soon as this year is starter Jesus Luzardo. Widely tabbed as one of the top 10 or 15 best prospects in baseball, Luzardo shot up the rankings with a big showing through the minor leagues last season and he could catapult his way to the majors in 2019. He may need a little bit of time in Triple-A to start the year but if he’s anything near his 2018 self, expect the A’s to get a huge boost from the young left-hander.

Which brings us to another top left-handed pitching prospect in AJ Puk. Puk may not be ready to make an impact, especially on the big league roster, as Puk will have to make his way back from 2018 Tommy John surgery and will most likely spend any 2019 time in the minor leagues. Once Puk is eventually ready to make it to the big leagues, expect him to be another strong top of the rotation piece,

joining Jesus Luzardo, in the years ahead for Oakland.

Top catching prospect Sean Murphy is another player for Oakland fans to keep an eye on, as he is the catcher of the future, and a really good one at that, who will most likely get to the majors in 2019. He only further adds to the top talent that the A’s currently have on their already contending roster. His 2018 numbers(.285/.361/.489 slash line) across three levels clearly shows he’s very close to making the bigs, but he will most likely start in the Triple-A level in 2019, as he briefly made it there at the end of last season.

The situation with Kyler Murray is another thing for Oakland fans to keep an eye on, as the two-sport star is still reportedly considering going to the NFL instead of embarking on an MLB career. He’s currently ranked as the A’s third best prospect per MLB.com, and it would be a notable hit to the team if he is to jump to football instead of baseball.

Other prospects in the Oakland Athletics farm system to keep an eye on in 2019 are outfielders Austin Beck and Lazaro Armenteros, shortstop Jorge Mateo, and right-hander James Kaprielian, among others.

To sum it up, 2019 is a year in which the Oakland A’s will try to make it to the postseason once again, but it’s not the only year to focus on, as the A’s have a number of young stars either making an impact or are set to make an impact for years ahead.