Top 10 MLB players who could be traded in the 2021-22 offseason

Willson Contreras
As the Cubs continue their rebuild, Willson Contreras is an obvious trade candidate. Photo from NBC Sports.

While this year’s free-agent class is stacked, there doesn’t mean there won’t be any intriguing MLB offseason trade candidates in 2022.

In fact, the trade market could be just as active as the free-agent market. Keep in mind that not every team is that stable financially coming out of the pandemic, so some teams might still be exploring trades before spending in free agency to address their needs.

That begs the question of who the top trade candidates will be this winter. Now that the World Series is over, it won’t be long until the MLB trade rumors for 2022 start dominating the headlines. That means anybody making MLB offseason predictions needs to keep the trade market in mind because there are bound to be some blockbuster trades.

MLB offseason trade candidates 2022

But who’s going to be available on the trade market?

The free-agent market is filled with shortstops, aging aces, and a few excellent relievers. However, some of the top MLB offseason trade candidates could help teams fill some of the other needs at other positions that they might have.

Obviously, not all of these players are going to be traded, but here is our list of the most appealing MLB offseason trade candidates ahead of the 2022 season.

Josh Donaldson

When the Twins traded ace Jose Berrios last summer, it was a clear indication that they won’t be trying to reload in 2022. Small-market Minnesota will surely enter rebuilding mode, making Josh Donaldson a prime trade candidate.

Of course, he’ll be 36 next year and still has multiple seasons left on his contract, so the Twins might need to eat a little money to make it happen. But Donaldson still hit 26 home runs last year, and players like that won’t be easy to find. Once Kris Bryant is off the free-agent market, there should be some demand for Donaldson on the market.


Sonny Gray

There are some mixed signals coming out of Cincinnati right about whether Sonny Gray could be traded or not.

He’s not coming off his best season, but we’ve seen Gray be able to bounce back from a subpar year and go back to pitching like a frontline starter.

He’s also set to be paid just $22 million over the next two seasons, making him a bargain, even if he only pitches like a mid-rotation starter. Of course, that means he’ll have a ton of value on the trade market, which is why the Reds will likely listen to offers for Gray.

Willson Contreras

Willson Contreras is just one year away from free agency, so unless the Cubs have plans to spend a lot and reload this winter, he’ll be on the trade block.

While he could be a candidate to sign to a long-term deal before he gets to free agency next winter, as a catcher who can handle the bat, he’ll be a desirable commodity on the trade market.

Even with just one year of team control, there’s a good chance that the Cubs will get an offer that they can’t refuse. There should be no shortage of teams looking for a catcher, so the Cubs should be able to cultivate a bidding war for Contreras.

Mitch Haniger

It’s a mystery how the Mariners will handle this offseason after coming so close to the playoffs last year. But the one thing we know for sure is that Seattle GM Jerri Dipoto loves to make trades.

We also know that Mitch Haniger has just one year left before free agency, which means Dipoto has to listen to any calls because it’s doubtful the Mariners are going to be able to afford to keep him when he hits the open market.

It’s not going to be a popular move when it ultimately happens, but there’s no denying that it’d be more shocking to see Haniger begin spring training in 2022 with the Mariners than it would be to see him traded this offseason. 

Byron Buxton

Injuries have held Byron Buxton back, but when he’s been healthy over the past couple of years, he’s shown flashes of his immense talent.

With one year left until free agency, there’s no way the small-market Twins will be able to keep him once he hits the open market.

While they could wait until next summer and hope that Buxton has a big year that helps increase his trade value, it might be better for Minnesota to trade him now. The only problem is that the Twins may not get as much as they want for Buxton because he’s been so injury-prone. But there’s still a good chance that somebody will make a suitable offer for Buxton.

Josh Bell

Washington’s fire sale began last summer and it’ll likely continue this winter. The Nationals know that they probably aren’t going to compete in 2022, which will be Josh Bell’s final year of arbitration before free agency.

The problem is that Freddie Freeman, Brandon Belt, and Anthony Rizzo are all free agents, so teams won’t be in a rush to call Washington about Bell unless the Nats can offer them a great deal. That being said, the Nationals will make an effort to unload Bell and keep rebuilding.

Josh Hader

The situation with Josh Hader is a little more complicated than most of the other players on our list. For starters, he has two years of team control left before free agency. He also plays for a team that just went to the playoffs and should be well-positioned to do the same in 2022.

On the other hand, Hader will eventually get paid more than Milwaukee can afford when he gets to free agency. Also, Hader’s trade value will only go down as he gets closer to free agency.

Coming off a season in which the lefty had 34 saves with an ERA of 1.23, this might be the ideal time for the Brewers to trade Hader, as long as they get back pieces who can help them continue to win now.

Ketel Marte

Ketel Marte could be worth a small fortune on the trade market, which is why the Diamondbacks will entertain offers.

He’s been outstanding over the last three seasons and still has three years left on his deal at a price of just $24 million, which makes him a bargain.

Marte also has the flexibility to play multiple positions, further adding to his value. The Diamondbacks have to know that they won’t compete for a few years, so trading Marte could be huge for their rebuild.

Whit Merrifield

There have been trade rumors involving Whit Merrifield for at least two or three years, yet the Royals have decided to keep him this long.

Kansas City is in a tough spot because the Royals are starting to get close to being competitive again.

But Merrifield has two more years left on his deal for a total of just $9.25 million. Even after a down year, Merrifield’s value is still high enough to give the Royals pieces for the future that can help.

Matt Olson

It’s getting to be that time again in Oakland. The team’s core is starting to make too much money, which means the A’s will have to make some trades to save money.

They even allowed manager Bob Melvin go elsewhere to save money. Matt Olson will have one of the highest salaries on the roster and is coming off a 39-home-run season.

He could be worth a king’s ransom on the trade market with two years left until free agency. Obviously, no team wants to trade away its best player. But if the A’s play their cards right, they could trade Olson for a package that could allow them to avoid a full-scale rebuild.

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About Bryan Zarpentine 103 Articles
Bryan Zarpentine is a freelance writer and editor with most of his work focusing on the world of sports. He is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and still resides in upstate New York.

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