1 Trade Idea for Every MLB Team Before the 2022 Deadline
There have already been several massive moves in advance of Major League Baseball's 2022 trade deadline (Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET), but we've barely scratched the surface of the madness still to come.
With just one day remaining until last call, we've put together one trade idea for each of the 30 franchises to consider.
One big note before we dive in: These are all mutually exclusive trade ideas. For example, the Cleveland Guardians trading for Willson Contreras makes sense, but entirely independent from that possibility, so does Oakland trading Sean Murphy to Cleveland or the Chicago Cubs dealing Contreras to the New York Mets. I'm not trying to spin some web of 30 trades that could all happen simultaneously. Rather, it's one potential deal that I like for each of the 30 teams.
Moreover, this is entirely speculation based on a combination of team needs and recent rumors. I don't have any #sources telling me the Chicago White Sox are deep in negotiations with the Texas Rangers for Matt Moore or anything like that. I'm just doing my best to read the tea leaves and play around with the trade simulator at Baseball Trade Values to try to find things that make sense for both parties.
Teams are listed in alphabetical order by location, so enjoy your scrolling if you just want to see where we have Washington sending Juan Soto.
All references to prospect rankings are according to MLB.com.
Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles
Arizona Diamondbacks: Christian Walker to the Houston Astros for José Siri
There's no time like the present to buy low on José Siri, who is under team control through 2027. He couldn't buy a hit for the Astros this season, batting .178 and slugging .304 in 48 games played before getting demoted back to Sugar Land.
Combine what he has done at the Triple-A and MLB levels since the beginning of 2021, though, and he's batting .284, slugging .531 and roughly on a 162-game pace for 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases.
And the Astros need both a short-term and long-term plan at first base with 38-year-old Yuli Gurriel still struggling to find his batting title swing from last season. Christian Walker is under team control through 2024 and would give the Astros a fourth bat on pace for at least 30 home runs this season.
Atlanta Braves: Vaughn Grissom, Jared Shuster and Tucker Davidson to the Chicago Cubs for Ian Happ
Adding another starting pitcher would be great, but Atlanta's greatest need is a corner outfielder.
With Andrew Benintendi no longer available, swinging big for 1.5 years of Ian Happ is the best route left.
Braves fans will likely scoff at the idea of trading away two of their top-10 prospects and the pitcher who started Game 5 of the 2021 World Series, but I'm not sure that's even enough to get Happ. We'll see what Atlanta and its weak farm system can pull off in its pursuit of the Mets in the NL East.
Baltimore Orioles: Yusniel Diaz and Carter Baumler to the Pittsburgh Pirates for José Quintana
Despite sitting just outside the wild-card picture, it's hard to imagine the low-budget Orioles being aggressive buyers at the deadline. But a left-handed, back-of-the-rotation starter on a one-year, $2 million deal should be right in their wheelhouse.
Yusniel Diaz entered 2019 looking like one of the can't-miss stars in the Orioles farm system, but the now-25-year-old outfielder hasn't panned out. In exchange for José Quintana, though, the Pirates might be willing to buy low on Diaz's potential, while also getting a Single-A, right-handed pitcher who the O's took in the fifth round in 2020.
Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox
Boston Red Sox: Brayan Bello to the Oakland A's for Frankie Montas
Brayan Bello got lit up by the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays in his first three career starts and is currently saddled with an 8.82 ERA. But he is a highly touted prospect with way better swing-and-miss stuff than he has displayed thus far.
If the Red Sox are still legitimately trying to make the postseason in 2022, however, replacing Bello with Frankie Montas in this injury-riddled rotation would give them a better chance of pulling it off.
Even though he's a top-50 overall prospect, the A's might demand more for Montas. (Seattle giving up top-20 prospect Noelvi Marte in the Luis Castillo deal didn't help the Red Sox one bit here.) Maybe they would do it if the Red Sox throw in Connor Seabold—another right-handed pitcher who has been great in the minors but who got torched in his first few MLB appearances.
Chicago Cubs: David Robertson to the Boston Red Sox for Jeter Downs
The Red Sox are a massive deadline domino, but if they do end up in the buying camp, a closer is surely near the top of their wish list.
And if that's the case, they'll be battling the Minnesota Twins for David Robertson's services, which could inflate the price tag.
A one-for-one deal for Jeter Downs (2B/SS) might work, though, as the Cubs do need a second baseman.
(Plus, come on, Boston fans are never going to be comfortable rooting for a guy named Jeter.)
Chicago White Sox: Johan Dominguez and Kade McClure to the Texas Rangers for Matt Moore
With arguably the worst of the 30 farm systems and a payroll already pushing $200 million, the White Sox aren't in a great position for wheeling and dealing. But with the AL Central crown and/or a wild-card berth still well within reach, they've got to do something, right?
Adding a left-handed reliever would be big for them, and Matt Moore is as good as it gets on this year's trade block.
In my humble opinion, the trade simulator has Moore's value set way too low (0.3 MTV) for a lefty with a 1.66 ERA on a one-year, $2.5 million deal. He's worth at least one—probably two—pitching prospect with at least fringe MLB potential.
Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians and Colorado Rockies
Cincinnati Reds: Just Keep Selling. Just Keep Selling. Just Keep Selling, Selling, Selling.
The Reds have already dealt Tyler Naquin to the New York Mets and Luis Castillo to the Seattle Mariners, but they're still getting warmed up.
Tyler Mahle (free agent after 2023) and Brandon Drury (impending free agent) are the biggest pieces still to go, but if they can get anything for Donovan Solano, Hunter Strickland, Tommy Pham (mutual option for 2023) and Mike Minor (club option for 2023), they might as well do it.
Here's one specific idea, though, since, you know, we promised that in the headline: Mahle to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor leaguers Garrett Mitchell (OF) and Brice Turang (SS/2B).
Cleveland Guardians: Tyler Freeman to the Chicago Cubs for Willson Contreras
Tyler Freeman (2B/SS) is a 23-year-old, top-100 prospect who is likely going to be in the majors at the start of next season.
But if it's with Cleveland, where would he play?
The Guardians already have Andrés Giménez (under team control through 2025) and Amed Rosario (through 2023) manning the middle-infield spots, plus they have two other top-100 prospects (Gabriel Arias and Brayan Rocchio) clogging that middle-infield pipeline.
So, while this registers in the trade simulator as an overpay by Cleveland, it's one it can afford to make in order to acquire a substantial offensive upgrade at catcher. And goodness knows the Cubs could use a second baseman for 2023 and beyond.
Colorado Rockies: José Iglesias and Chad Kuhl to the Tampa Bay Rays for Tommy Romero
For the second straight year, the Rockies seem reluctant to embrace a seller's mentality, even though they have virtually no hope of making the playoffs.
Perhaps it's because the expected return on investment for their impending free agents isn't anything special. But if they package José Iglesias and Chad Kuhl to the Rays—who are hurting at shortstop with Wander Franco out indefinitely and who could use another starting pitcher—they might be able to get back a solid prospect.
Tommy Romero is a right-handed starting pitcher with a 2.70 ERA in 100 career appearances in the minors.
Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals
Detroit Tigers: Michael Fulmer for a Pair of Not-Top-Tier Prospects
Though they are clearly sellers, the Tigers don't have a whole lot to offer. They have half a dozen impending free agents, and this right-handed middle reliever with a 2.77 ERA and just one home run allowed is the most valuable of the bunch.
Pretty much every contender is in the market for a reliever, though, so pick your trading partner of choice. Choosing one somewhat at random, they could maybe get Donny Sands (C) and McKinley Moore (RHP) from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Houston Astros: Joe Perez to the Detroit Tigers for Andrew Chafin
I've noted this multiple times in the past month, but with Blake Taylor on the 60-day IL, Houston does not have a single left-handed reliever on its active roster.
The Astros have gotten by more than fine in spite of it, but with the New York Yankees trading for another left-handed hitter (Andrew Benintendi), Houston's lack of diversified arms in the bullpen is even more pronounced in advance of that potential ALCS showdown.
For Joe Perez—a corner infielder who has struggled this season but who hit .291 with 18 home runs in the minors last year—they should be able to get Chafin from Detroit.
Kansas City Royals: Whit Merrifield to the Seattle Mariners for Jonatan Clase and Bryan Woo
After dealing for Luis Castillo on Friday, there's no question the Mariners are all-in on making the playoffs this year.
And with the way Adam Frazier has been playing this season, second base is a pretty glaring need for the M's.
Conversely, the Royals are clearly in "sell what they can" mode, and getting out from under the nearly $7 million owed to Whit Merrifield next season would help. Jonatan Clase (OF) and Bryan Woo (RHP) are both Single-A prospects who rank top-30 in Seattle's farm system, though not in the top 10. They could both be factors in Kansas City's rebuilding process that appears to still be a few years away from producing a legitimate contender again.
Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins
Los Angeles Angels: Jared Walsh and Ky Bush to the Cincinnati Reds for Tyler Mahle
More than 10 games out of the wild-card picture, the Angels are theoretically sellers. But why bother? Their only impending free agent with any trade value is Noah Syndergaard, and with a 3.83 ERA on a one-year, $21 million deal—with his injury history, no less—how much value is actually there?
What they should do is trade for Thor's replacement in 2023.
Enter, Tyler Mahle, who would also be a fine arm to have for the rest of 2022, if by some miracle the Halos get back into the playoff picture.
The complete lack of top-100 prospects in this farm system makes it tough for LAA to swing anything substantial, but maybe they can still get 80 cents on the dollar for 2021 All-Star Walsh.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Make the Nationals an Offer They Can't Refuse
The Dodgers have six of MLB.com's top 75 prospects: Diego Cartaya, Bobby Miller, Michael Busch, Andy Pages, Miguel Vargas and Ryan Pepiot.
And here's a fun fact: The trade simulator puts the median trade value of those six guys at 176.7, which is almost identical to Juan Soto's 176.8 grade.
Assuming they wouldn't want to part with that entire sextet of young talent, they could swap in Gavin Lux (under team control through 2026) for Pepiot and Vargas and plan on moving left fielder Chris Taylor (once he returns from his fractured foot) back to second base.
Miami Marlins: Garrett Cooper to the Boston Red Sox for Brandon Walter and Matthew Lugo
If the Red Sox are buyers, Garrett Cooper would be a good target for them. Since the start of 2019, he's batting .281 with 37 home runs, he's inexpensive ($2.5M this season) and he's under team control through 2023.
They definitely wouldn't need to give up a top-tier prospect to get him, either. A mid-tier LHP (Brandon Walter) and SS (Matthew Lugo) should do the trick.
Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and New York Mets
Milwaukee Brewers: Joey Wiemer and Sal Frelick to the Oakland A's for Ramón Laureano
The Brewers are in an unusual spot. Their top four prospects are all outfielders, but they need someone who can both hit and play center field in the majors right now. That means they're looking for a trade partner with a "we've got this outfielder who we know is good now, but we'd love to give him to you for one (or two) who might be good in the future" mindset.
And that has Oakland written all over it.
Ramón Laureano is under team control through 2024 and has been slugging well (eight HR since June 30) after going yard just twice in his first 46 games back from a PED suspension. He's arguably worth Milwaukee's pair of top-100 prospects.
Minnesota Twins: Ronny Henriquez and Jermaine Palacios to the Chicago Cubs for David Robertson
The Twins need a closer. Full stop. And with Colorado working out a multiyear extension with Daniel Bard, it's pretty much David Robertson or bust.
The Cubs are going to insist upon at least one MLB-ready prospect to deal him. In Ronny Henriquez (RHP) and Jermaine Palacios (SS), they'd be getting two of them. Palacios had 19 HR and 18 SB at Double-A Wichita in 2021. And though Henriquez has struggled over the past two seasons, he has solid swing-and-miss stuff.
New York Mets: David Peterson and Eric Orze to the Chicago Cubs for Willson Contreras
Contreras to the Mets seems as inevitable a deadline deal as was Benintendi to the Yankees. Not from a "rumored discussions" standpoint, but just from a "Mets needs" perspective. A three-month rental of a top catcher bridges the gap to MLB.com's No. 1 overall prospect, Francisco Alvarez, presumably being ready for the start of 2023.
Eric Orze (RHP) has struggled this season at Triple-A Syracuse and may still be at least one more year away from joining an MLB bullpen. Pair him with David Peterson, though—a LHP under team control through 2025 who has had a solid season in a sixth starter/long reliever role—and the Cubs may bite.
New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics and Philadelphia Phillies
New York Yankees: Joey Gallo to the San Diego Padres for Blake Snell
The Padres want to add hitters, but they also want to stay below the luxury tax threshold.
Trading Snell ($13.1M this year; $16.6M in 2023) for Gallo ($10.3M this year) could be a "two birds, one stone" situation for a team with a surplus of starting pitchers.
With Luis Severino currently on the IL, the Yankees could be willing to take on Snell's bloated 2023 salary with the hope being that he pitches as well in August and September (and next season) as he did in July. And they certainly don't need Gallo anymore now that they have Andrew Benintendi with roughly double Gallo's batting average.
Oakland Athletics: Sean Murphy to the Cleveland Guardians for Gavin Williams, Tyler Freeman and Jose Tena
We've already discussed the Guardians as a suitor for Willson Contreras, but you've got to believe they'd be willing to give up more from their loaded farm system for a catcher who would be under team control through 2025.
(Sean Murphy also won a Gold Glove last season, which is much more than Contreras can say.)
Both Gavin Williams and Tyler Freeman are top-100 overall prospects per MLB.com, and Jose Tena is Cleveland's highest-ranked guy outside the top 100. But, again, they have a logjam at middle infield, making both Freeman and Tena relatively expendable.
Philadelphia Phillies: James McArthur, Francisco Morales and Jhailyn Ortiz to the Texas Rangers for Martín Pérez and Matt Moore
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
The Phillies traded with Texas for Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy at last year's deadline, and it ended up not working out well for either side. But with Zach Eflin injured and with this bullpen seemingly in constant, dire need of an upgrade, another call to the Rangers should be in order.
The Rangers aren't rebuilding, though. They're reloading for next season and need MLB-ready prospects in exchange for their impending free agents. James McArthur (RHP), Francisco Morales (RHP) and Jhailyn Ortiz (1B/OF) aren't among Philly's top handful of prospects, but they each fit that bill.
Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants
Pittsburgh Pirates: José Quintana and Ben Gamel to the Atlanta Braves for Jesse Franklin V and Victor Vodnik
For all the talk of Bryan Reynolds or David Bednar as big-name guys potentially on the move, Pittsburgh should be pretty quiet at the deadline, possibly doing nothing more than turning these two impending free agents into prospects.
If they can do it simultaneously with a team like Atlanta that could use both a corner outfielder and a back-of-the-rotation starter, even better.
Jesse Franklin V (OF) is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he had 24 home runs and 19 stolen bases in 101 games played at High-A Rome in 2021. And Victor Vodnik (RHP) has a 2.13 ERA with an 11.7 K/9 in 25.1 IP between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Both could be key pieces for Pittsburgh's future.
San Diego Padres: Eguy Rosario and Ryan Weathers to the Washington Nationals for Josh Bell
It's not the trade with Washington that Padres fans are hoping for, but it'd be hard to argue with adding Josh Bell and Fernando Tatis Jr. (hopefully in the next two or three weeks?) to what is already a solid team.
The Padres badly need hitting, though. Of the eight remaining viable postseason contenders in the NL, they have the least potent offense. And if they can get Bell for a middle-infield prospect (Eguy Rosario) they don't particularly need and a 2018 first-round pick (Ryan Weathers) who simply has not been the left-handed ace they thought they were drafting, that's a big win.
San Francisco Giants: Heliot Ramos to the Chicago Cubs for Patrick Wisdom
The Giants are stuck in no-man's land.
If you count Carlos Rodón's player option for next season, they have nine impending free agents. But even with the 0-7 start to the second half of the season, they're just four games back in the wild-card race and entered Saturday with a "through 100 games" record of 49-51, which is exactly where the 2021 Atlanta Braves were before winning it all. Throwing in the towel would be a tough pill for these fans to swallow, particularly considering it would happen during a four-game series at home against the loathed Dodgers.
Thus, I suspect the Giants will be semi-buyers. They're not going to want to part with top prospects Marco Luciano, Kyle Harrison, Luis Matos or Heliot Ramos, but they'll try to do something splashy.
Maybe they could get Patrick Wisdom's "three true outcomes" bat from the Cubs? His positional versatility would be great for a team that is constantly batting injuries. And considering Wisdom will be under team control through 2026, this is the type of long-term move for which they might be willing to part with Ramos.
Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners: Dylan Moore and Prelander Berroa to the Cincinnati Reds for Brandon Drury
The M's already got Luis Castillo from the Reds, but going back to that well would be swell.
As previously noted, second base is a clear spot where the Mariners could use an upgrade, and Brandon Drury can certainly play second. But, frankly, any bat would be nice, considering their two primary designated hitters—Carlos Santana and Abraham Toro—are both hitting around .200.
St. Louis Cardinals: Malcom Nunez and Edwin Nunez to the Kansas City Royals for Brad Keller
Hold tight for another minute and we'll dive into the "Soto to STL" possibility in the Nationals' section. For now, let's go on the prowl for a much-needed No. 4 or No. 5 starter for the Cardinals.
Brad Keller has a career 4.04 ERA and would be a two-year stopgap at the back of the rotation, as he is arbitration-eligible in 2023 before hitting free agency. For one Keller, the Royals may accept two minor leaguers with the last name Nunez. Malcom is a corner infielder with good pop; Edwin is a right-handed reliever who has gotten absolutely shelled at Single-A Palm Beach over the past two seasons but who is still rated as one of St. Louis' top 25 prospects.
Tampa Bay Rays: Greg Jones to the Washington Nationals for Josh Bell
Greg Jones is a highly touted shortstop, a borderline top-100 overall recruit and a guy who could be ready for the big leagues as early as Opening Day 2023. He's the exact type of prospect the Nationals are hoping to get at least four or five of in exchange for Juan Soto, but maybe they can get one for Josh Bell—easily one of the best two-month rentals available on this year's trade block.
His salary (around $3.8M prorated left to pay of the $10M) is a bit much for the Rays, so maybe they pitch another lower-tier prospect Washington's way in exchange for some cash. But with DH Harold Ramírez on the IL and 1B Ji-Man Choi struggling mightily over the past six weeks, figuring out the finances to add Bell would be huge.
Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals
Texas Rangers: Go All-In (on the Future) and Get Soto
In the aftermath of Seattle trading for Castillo, a lot of people were surprised when The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the then-44-54 Rangers were another team seriously in the running for that acquisition. But he's not a two-month rental, and they're (at least to some extent) already thinking about future seasons.
Texas has six of MLB.com's top 100 prospects, all of whom have an MLB ETA of either 2022 or 2023. That means they have the pieces (and then some) to make a Soto deal happen. And with as much as they already have invested in Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray through 2025, getting Soto could/should make them a team to beat for years to come.
Toronto Blue Jays: Orelvis Martinez to the San Francisco Giants for Carlos Rodon
The great big fly in the ointment here is the 50-51 Giants actually selling, which is the furthest thing from a guarantee.
If they do decide to wave the white flag, though, getting MLB.com's No. 34 overall prospect for an ace who is very likely to decline his $22.5 million player option for next season would be a mighty fine return.
On the Toronto side of things, with Hyun Jin Ryu hurt and both Yusei Kikuchi and José Berríos struggling, the Jays need an impact arm if they want to A) make the playoffs and B) have any hope of knocking out the Yankees and/or Astros in October. And for as good as Orelvis Martinez projects to be, they do have another top-100 overall SS/3B (Jordan Groshans) in the pipeline.
Washington Nationals: Juan Soto and Patrick Corbin to the St. Louis Cardinals for Brendan Donovan, Jordan Walker, Matthew Liberatore and Alec Burleson
There are a bunch of minor moves the Nationals should make, in addition to unloading Josh Bell, who should fetch a decent return. But all anyone cares about these days are the Juan Soto rumors, so let's go that route and expand this section a bit.
By including Patrick Corbin and the darn near $60 million that he is owed for the next two seasons in any deal, the Nats would be significantly diluting their return for Soto. Per the trade simulator, the outfielder has a median trade value of 176.8, while the pitcher's is negative-54.9. But considering the Cardinals need back-of-the-rotation help and considering they traded for floundering and aging starters J.A. Happ and Jon Lester last year, this is one team that would likely be willing to bite the Corbin bullet to get one of the brightest stars in the game.
One package that would get them pretty close to Soto/Corbin value is rookie utility man Brendan Donovan, top-10 overall prospect Jordan Walker (3B), top-50 prospect Matthew Liberatore (LHP) and Alec Burleson (1B/OF), who isn't in the top 100 but who has 40 home runs and a roughly .300 batting average since the start of 2021.
If that isn't quite enough, the Cards could throw in Lars Nootbaar, an outfielder who is under team control through 2027 but who becomes entirely expendable in a move for Soto.