Even though most teams have 100 or more games left to play, it’s not too early to start looking at MLB trade deadline candidates in 2023.
Last year, the deadline saw some of the best MLB trades ever, including the one involving Juan Soto. While that has set the bar high, there are tons of great MLB trade candidates this year who could be moved this summer and shake up the playoff race in a big way.
20 MLB trade deadline candidates 2023
Just like any other year, there are dozens of MLB players to be traded in 2023. Some teams are more or less out of contention already while others are likely to fall out before the trade deadline.
Plus, there will be no shortage of teams trying to upgrade their roster this summer. While it might be too early for teams to start making meaningful trades, let’s look at 20 MLB trade deadline candidates in 2023.
The Reds surely know it’ll be difficult to trade Joey Votto. He has a full no-trade clause and may not want to play anywhere else. He’s also yet to make his season debut with no clear date for his return from the IL.
However, the Reds are surely going to pay a $7 million buyout rather than bring him back in 2024 for $20 million, so this looks like the end of the line for him. If Votto can return from the IL and show that he can still hit, a contender may look at him as a viable DH.
At the moment, Wil Myers doesn’t appear to be in Cincinnati’s long-term plans. The Reds have a slew of other young outfielders that are better off getting playing time over Myers. Plus, Myers doesn’t seem worth the $12 million option he has for 2024, which means that the Reds will likely try to move him this summer.
The problem is that Myers is having a down year, and going to the IL in late May with a kidney stone didn’t help his value.
With the Mets bringing up several young players, Eduardo Escobar has had a diminished role on the team this year. That could make him expendable for New York if there are teams interested.
Naturally, Escobar hasn’t put up impressive numbers in 2023 because his playing time has been sporadic. But he’s a veteran, a great leader, and a versatile defender, so he brings a lot to the table if the Mets decide to part with him.
Surprisingly, Amed Rosario will be a free agent after the season even though he won’t turn 28 until November. That makes him a viable trade candidate as long as the Guardians are struggling to keep pace in the AL Central.
Cleveland can easily shift Andres Gimenez to shortstop, which is his natural position, and fill second base with one of several candidates. That will surely inspire the Guardians to shop Rosario this summer in hopes of finding a fit.
Among relief pitchers, Joe Kelly could be among the best available on the trade market this summer. Given his $9.5 million option for next season, he could be more valuable than an ordinary rental player.
The White Sox could potentially have a fire sale this summer with Kelly being a valuable trade chip.
It’s been easy to overlook Corey Dickerson in recent years, and after missing time early in the season with an injury, he’s been red-hot since returning from the IL in mid-May.
Obviously, the Nationals aren’t going anywhere this season, so he’ll be a great trade chip for them this summer. He’s not exactly a difference-maker at this stage in his career, although he was with the Cardinals in the postseason last year, so he’s a veteran who’s been around the block and brings a lot to the table.
The Rockies surely signed Jurickson Profar to a one-year deal with the hope that he would become a viable trade candidate at the deadline. While he’s not having a brilliant season, he’s done enough to warrant some interest on the trade market.
Profar is surpassing most of his career numbers and still has some defensive versatility despite playing primarily in left field this year.
The A’s have traded away so many players over the last two years that it’s shocking Ramon Laureano hasn’t been one of them.
He’s still under team control for two more seasons, so Oakland could choose to keep him. But if Laureano can improve his mostly pedestrian numbers this season, there could be some teams inquiring about his services this summer.
The Mets probably won’t be sellers this summer, but they also may not have a lot of playing time available for Canha.
That could open the door for another team in need of a veteran outfielder to trade for him. Canha may not be having his best season, but he still brings something to the table and could be more valuable somewhere else than he is to the Mets.
The White Sox could have a tough decision to make this summer with Tim Anderson. This looks like a lost season in Chicago, although they can keep Anderson in 2024 with a $14 million option. But if the White Sox don’t think they will be serious contenders next season, trading Anderson and trying to rebuild makes more sense.
Things are complicated further by Anderson having a subpar season. However, if he can start to turn things around, Anderson’s track record is good enough to make him a valuable trade chip if the White Sox choose to go in that direction.
C.J. Cron originally signed with the Rockies on a minor-league contract in 2021 and they have gotten a lot out of him.
However, the 33-year-old will be a free agent again this winter and probably isn’t in Colorado’s long-term plans. He can be a great source of power, which means the Rockies should be fielding calls as the trade deadline approaches.
Before Joc Pederson went on the IL, he had been one of the few bright spots in San Francisco’s lineup. Since he’ll be a free agent this winter, Pederson will become a great trade chip if the Giants fall out of contention by the deadline.
He doesn’t always hit for a high average. But Pederson still has plenty of power, which makes him valuable. If he keeps hitting upon his return from the IL, teams will be looking at him as a trade candidate.
As a member of the last-place Rockies and a free agent after the season, Randal Grichuk is the ideal candidate to be among the MLB players to be traded in 2023. Since coming off the IL in late April, he’s been tearing it up.
Even if some of his numbers are inflated by hitting at Coors Field, Grichuk is still having an amazing season. If he can keep it up, he’ll be in demand on the trade market this summer.
The Royals know that they’re not going anywhere this season, which will put Aroldis Chapman on the trade block this summer. The Yankees may have given up on Chapman after last year, but he’s had a resurgent year in Kansas City.
Even at age 35, Chapman is still averaging over 1.5 strikeouts per inning, and being left-handed certainly doesn’t hurt his value. Keep in mind that Chapman comes with over 40 innings of postseason experience, which could make him one of the top MLB trade candidates among relief pitchers this year.
It’s clear by this point that the White Sox aren’t going to be contenders this season, which is going to make Lucas Giolito one of the best MLB trade deadline candidates in 2023. Even at age 28, Giolito is set to be a free agent after this season, making him an excellent option for any team looking for short-term rotation help.
Obviously, his career has had its ups and downs with Giolito never fulfilling his promise after once being the top prospect in baseball. But he’s still a mid-rotation starter and among the best pitchers who could be traded this summer.
There aren’t a lot of catchers among the top MLB trade deadline candidates in 2023, which could put Yasmani Grandal in high demand. He’s a free agent after the season, so the White Sox have no incentive to keep him around if they remain out of contention.
The 34-year-old has surely seen better days, but he’s having a nice bounce-back season after an atrocious 2022 campaign in which he hit .202 and posted an OPS of .570. His current numbers are very much in line with his career numbers except he’s hitting for a higher average. Between that and the lack of catchers available, Grandal should be a wanted man.
It was a little surprising that Shane Bieber wasn’t traded over the winter. Given Cleveland’s struggles to stay relevant in the playoff race this season, he’s likely to be one of the best MLB trade deadline candidates in 2023.
Of course, the Guardians don’t have to trade Bieber because he has one more year of arbitration before free agency. But his salary is starting to get a little too high for the Guards to afford. That could inspire them to trade him, especially since he’ll be one of the best pitchers on the trade market and will be worth a lot because he won’t be a rental player.
The Giants are surely hoping that they can stay in the playoff race and keep Alex Cobb. But if San Francisco falls out of contention, Cobb will become one of the top MLB trade deadline candidates in 2023.
The 35-year-old owns a 2.17 ERA through his first 10 starts and is leading the San Francisco rotation. Keep in mind the Giants have a $10 million option on Cobb for next year, making a trade less likely. However, that also increases Cobb’s value and could make a team more inclined to make the Giants an offer they can’t refuse.
There is no guarantee that Dylan Cease will be among the MLB players to be traded in 2023 because he has two years of arbitration left after this year. But this season has been such a disaster for the White Sox that they might consider moving him.
Since he has two more years of term control left, he’s more valuable on the trade market despite not being as good as he was a year ago. If Chicago wants to commit to a rebuild and expedite the process, Cease could be a useful trade chip.
The biggest question this summer is whether or not Shohei Ohtani will be traded.
He’s set to sign one of the biggest MLB contracts ever – if not the biggest – this summer, and the Angels are going to have a hard time re-signing him.
The good news is that if they trade Ohtani at the deadline, they should get a substantial haul back, even if he’s only a rental player. The question is whether the Angels can stay in the playoff hunt enough to justify keeping him. The franchise has struggled to remain relevant for a full season in recent years, so the fanbase is hungry for meaningful games in September and won’t like seeing Ohtani get traded.
But with the Astros, Rangers, and Mariners also looking like playoff contenders in the AL West, it may not be realistic for the Angels to be a serious contender as well, meaning a trade involving Ohtani is likely.