The MLB regular season is almost upon us, and that means plenty of trades could be on the horizon.
All of a sudden, Opening Day is right around the corner. Spring Training is flying by as MLB teams whittle down their rosters ahead of the beginning of the regular season.
That’ll mean plenty of trades as players are designated for assignment or removed or added to rosters.
The trades won’t stop there, though. There’s sure to be an increase in trade activity come June and July as well, as contenders beef up their lineups, rotations, benches and bullpens for the stretch run.
What’s more, all 30 teams are generally tinker with their squads in the coming months.
All told, plenty of players will be traded in 2018.
Here at Know Hitter, we’ve tried to forecast exactly which players will be moved.
It started out as a blog post as a list of 100, then morphed into an EBook of 132 when the realization was made that it was simply too big of an article.
That way, in an EBook, you’d be able to skip to a specific division to read about your favorite team without scrolling through the other stuff, if you felt so inclined.
Here’s a brief sampling of the EBook (titled 2018 MLB Trade Guide: 132 Players Who Could Be Traded), including two of the 132 MLB players who could be traded in 2018.
This is all speculative mind you.
Additionally, all salary information is via Spotrac
Nelson Cruz has enjoyed a highly-successful three-year stint in the Pacific Northwest since joining the Mariners ahead of the 2015 season.
The slugger has amassed two All-Star game nods, as well as a pair of Silver Slugger awards. He’s also finished sixth, 15th and 10th respectively in American League MVP voting to go along with a collective .925 OPS and 126 home runs in his time in Seattle.
While Cruz doesn’t look to be slowing down any time in the near future, the veteran is 37 and has played just 53 games in the field over the last two seasons—including just 28 innings spread over five games in 2017.
The former Ranger will hit free agency following the 2018 season.
For a Mariners team that is set to pay Felix Hernandez $54.71 million for the next two years and recently tacked on multi-year commitments to Mike Leake, Dee Gordon and Juan Nicasio via trades and free agency, handing Cruz another rich, multi-year commitment might not exactly be prudent.
If Seattle’s rotation can turn things around, the club has the look of a potential Wild Card threat on paper.
However, the franchise also shares a division with the Astros and Angels, and will find stiff competition for Wild Card places in the likes of the Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, Rangers and Rays.
If the M’s are out of it by July, trading Cruz to help replenish a barren farm system would make plenty of sense.
With recent trades for Jose Quintana, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila sapping the Cubs’ farm system of its best minor league talent, Schwarber has moved to the front of the line where Chicago’s best trade chips are concerned.
The 24-year-old brought plenty to the table in terms of power, with 30 long balls and a .256 ISO in 486 plate appearances.
While his 12.1% walk rate wasn’t terrible, his 30.9% strikeout rate was close to it. With just a .315 on-base percentage, a .333 wOBA and a 102 wRC+, Schwarber did little to move the needle offensively outside of his power.
Defensively, the slugger was a mixed bag. His 7.5 UZR/150 and 4.1 ARM are encouraging, but his -9 DRS doesn’t read anywhere near as well.
Still young and with room to improve on both sides of the ball, Schwarber could still be used as the centerpiece of a deal to acquire another impact player.
Chicago has Wilson, Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek on hand as potential closing options to replace the departed Wade Davis. However, if none of them stick in the ninth inning, Schwarber could hypothetically be used as trade bait to bring in an elite closer in the mold of Davis or Aroldis Chapman.
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