MLB Offseason Trades for the Most Underwhelming Teams of 2022

Brandon ScottSeptember 21, 2022

MLB Offseason Trades for the Most Underwhelming Teams of 2022

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    While MLB teams solidify their postseason fate in the regular season's final weeks, some are already left knowing they won't be playing baseball in October.

    Whether it's a rebuilding team knowing it would be in this position, or one that simply failed to reach expectations, a handful of clubs will need to make seismic changes to reach their ultimate goals.

    Here, we take a look at some offseason trade candidates from the most underwhelming teams of 2022. A few of these players' names were active at the trade deadline, but they were not dealt. The offseason will be another opportunity.

Trevor Rogers, Miami Marlins

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    For the second straight offseason, the Miami Marlins will look to trade some of their pitching surplus for more offense.

    Trevor Rogers is the Marlins' most logical trade candidate. The left-hander left Saturday's start with a lat strain, and Miami is shutting him down for the rest of the season.

    While he was a Rookie of the Year candidate last season, his performance took a nosedive in 2022. He is 4-11 with a 5.47 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 107.0 innings pitched, compared to last year when he was 7-8, posting a 2.64 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.

    One argument could be that Rogers' trade value is at an all-time low, and since the Marlins still have team control for another four years, there's no rush to deal him.

    But Rogers could be viewed as most expendable, and the years of control could be intriguing for a team looking to bolster the backend of its rotation.

Eric Lauer or Adrian Houser, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Speaking of a surplus in starting pitching, the Milwaukee Brewers could stand to part with one of their backend rotation guys.

    Both Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer are overqualified as fourth and fifth starters behind Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta.

    Houser hasn't been as good as he was last year, posting a 4.85 ERA and 1.49 WHIP compared to a 3.22 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 2021.

    Lauer has been out with an elbow injury since his last start Sept. 7 but is expected to return Friday against the Cincinnati Reds. His 2022 numbers are closer to last year's.

    The priority for the Brewers should be significantly upgrading their offense and position players. They took a step toward improvement this year, from ranking 20th in OPS, to 10th as of Tuesday.

    They have enough pitching to survive losing either Houser or Lauer. But they don't have the bats to avoid upgrading in this area with whatever resources at their disposal.

Yoán Moncada, Chicago White Sox

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    Yoán Moncada is having his worst season since being dealt to the Chicago White Sox in 2016 in the Chris Sale trade.

    His slash line is .217/.281/.351 through 345 at-bats, all career lows with the White Sox. There was a time, not too long ago, when Moncada was considered a key piece to this World Series window on the South Side.

    That window closed this year as the White Sox underachieved, with Moncada being chief among the underachievers.

    The White Sox signed him to a five-year, $70 million contract in March 2020, shortly before the pandemic. They should think long and hard whether someone who warrants benching is worth paying $17 million next year.

    Given how disappointing this season has been for the White Sox, it would not be surprising to see them part with anyone.

Salvador Pérez, Kansas City Royals

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    Salvador Pérez is a franchise icon in Kansas City. He is the remaining key piece from the Royals' 2015 World Series team and just one year removed from leading MLB in home runs (48), along with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

    Prior to the 2021 season, Pérez signed a franchise-record four-year, $82 million extension, then proceeded to have the best season of his career.

    But his play has declined in 2022, with the OPS dropping from .859 last year to .749. He will hit about half the number of home runs this season, and there is also a clear heir apparent.

    The Royals are transitioning into their future, and Pérez has been along for the ride. Soon enough, though, it will be 23-year-old rookie MJ Melendez's job behind the plate.

    Last Saturday, when the Royals visited Fenway Park, Melendez became the first catcher in team history to score four runs in a game, going 3-for-5 with a double in the leadoff spot.

    Melendez and fellow rookies Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto represent the future.

Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics

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    The Oakland A's don't have much use for useful players these days. It seemed pretty clear they would trade Sean Murphy by the deadline, given the fire sale of the previous months.

    Since March, the A's have traded Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino. They also released veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus in August.

    Murphy, by far Oakland's leader in WAR, is the player remaining who could bring back the most in return. He is having his best season, posting career highs in home runs and RBI with more at-bats.

    With Murphy entering his first year of arbitration, do the A's want to give him a significant raise knowing how far away they are from contending?

    It seems just as unlikely as it is unwise.

Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs

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    A candidate for a long-term extension this winter, Ian Happ was a prized commodity at the trade deadline. It was surprising to see he was not moved, given the energy around him.

    ESPN's Jeff Passan reported "almost everyone wants Happ," and that he was expected to be moved.

    Clearly, the Chicago Cubs did not find a deal worthwhile. President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer talked after the deadline about a number of playoff-contending teams standing pat, which was unlike the previous year's trade deadline.

    So that's likely why the Cubs' stars like Happ and Willson Contreras are still with the team. Happ has one year left of arbitration. As of July, Happ and the Cubs had not engaged in extension talks.

    If the right offer comes in the winter, expect the Cubs to part ways with their 28-year-old switch-hitting left fielder.

Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox

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    If the Boston Red Sox don't reach a long-term extension with Rafael Devers, he could easily be on the trade block this winter.

    Discussions stalled in the spring after Devers rejected a deal closer to Matt Olson's in Atlanta, for eight years, $168 million. The two sides were "very far off," according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com

    Devers, who turns 26 in October, is finishing his second straight All-Star season, currently with a .292/.351/.527 slash line through 507 at-bats. He will likely command a contract closer to Austin Riley's, another 25-year-old who recently signed a 10-year, $212 million deal.

    The circumstances feel eerily similar to when the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers two years ago.

    That was chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom's first major move after taking the job. He told WEEI this week that the organization is in a better spot in terms of resources, indicating it would be more reasonable to sign Devers to a long-term contract than it was for Betts at the time.

    Still, keep an eye out in case they fail to reach a deal.

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

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    If there is any player who should be untouchable in trade discussions, it's Shohei Ohtani. The guy is a perennial MVP candidate, and this season showed he could pitch on a Cy Young level.

    But it is increasingly likely Ohtani leaves the Los Angeles Angels in free agency after the 2023 season if they don't trade him first. The Angels have not been to the postseason in Ohtani's five seasons there. They actually haven't made it since 2014, the only time Mike Trout appeared in the postseason.

    Ohtani has been clear about wanting to play for a winning franchise, which objectively is not the Angels.

    Teams were calling about Ohtani and Trout at the deadline this year, as it was obvious the Angels once again would be out of contention. They were officially eliminated in Monday's loss to the Seattle Mariners.

    Ohtani is a high-level pitcher who's hit 80 home runs the past two seasons. His trade value is as high as it will ever be. If he doesn't reach an extension with the Angels this offseason, it will make more sense to trade him before desperation kicks in during the 2023 campaign.

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