The hot stove season is officially underway now, although the start is slow, as usual. My free-agent rankings went up over a week ago, and here’s a companion piece looking at 13 players who might be traded this offseason. Some veterans are heading toward free agency, while others are young players blocked from regular playing time.
This isn’t supposed to represent every big-name player or prospect who might be traded, but rather highlights guys I think are likely to be traded or at least heavily discussed. In some cases, they are players who should be traded for baseball reasons even if the relevant ownership says no for business reasons.
1B Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks: All that hand-wringing over Goldschmidt’s tough start to 2018 — which amounted to a few extra strikeouts and some fluky results in May — was much ado about nothing. From June 1 to the end of the season, he hit .330/.420/.602, very close to his normal production level from the previous five years (.304/.410/.543). He’s a bargain at $14.5 million for one year, and obviously worth a qualifying offer a year from now for a team that acquires him via trade and then lets him leave as a free agent. He’s 31 years old now, so a long-term deal probably buys you no upside while paying for years in which he’s in decline, but outside of that little blip this past season, there isn’t any real reason to expect him to lose value in the short term.
Even for just one year, he’s such a game-changer for any team that Arizona could and should ask for a huge return — one of those four-prospect deals in which two of the names coming back are very significant. Arizona’s farm system has already started to turn around since general manager Mike Hazen took over, and smart selling this winter could accelerate the process so that the D-backs are down for only two or three seasons. The only obstacle here is that there aren’t many contenders with clear openings at first base. But there’s one glaring one in the Bronx, and — if ownership can acknowledge the need — there’s a void at first in Anaheim, too.