MLB Rumors: Top Trade Rumors Ahead of 2022 Winter Meetings

Erik BeastonDecember 1, 2022

MLB Rumors: Top Trade Rumors Ahead of 2022 Winter Meetings

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    Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts wears a winter hat as he looks on from the dugout during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
    AP Photo/Mary Schwalm

    Is Xander Bogaerts really done with the Boston Red Sox and ready to move on with another franchise?

    It is a topic at the forefront of the latest trade and free-agency rumors, but it's hardly the only one.

    Which teams may have interest in acquiring the All-Star shortstop if he does, indeed, leave Boston?

    Find out the answer to that question—as well as a potential suitor for Oakland A's catcher Sean Murphy and which position the playoff-minded Mariners are targeting this offseason—with this collection of rumors and expert reports.

Guardians Showing Interest in Oakland Catcher Sean Murphy

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    Oakland Athletics' Sean Murphy during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
    AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

    The Cleveland Guardians are interested in Oakland A's catcher Sean Murphy, according to MLB.com's John Morosi on Twitter.

    Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

    Sources: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Guardians?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Guardians</a> among the most active suitors for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Athletics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Athletics</a> catcher Sean Murphy, the 2021 Gold Glove winner who could be dealt by the end of the Winter Meetings. <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBNetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLBNetwork</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MLB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLB</a>

    Murphy is not necessarily a stat darling upon first look, but he did achieve his most at-bats in 2022 and is coming off the highest batting average of his young career at .250. His on-base percentage (.332) was higher than his four-year average, and his wRC+ (122) is higher than that of the average hitter in the Majors (100).

    Nothing about Murphy's stat line leaps off of the page, but he is one of the better hitting catchers in MLB and coupled with his defensive performance, it certainly makes sense that the Guardians would at least want to explore the possibility of bringing him on board.

    Especially when Murphy would be an upgrade in nearly every category over last season's starting catcher, Luke Maile, who recently signed with the Reds.

    Morosi saying the Guardians are "among the most active suitors" for Murphy suggests there will be competition, so it will likely come down to the team's ability to come up with a prospect—such as 23-year-old catcher Bo Naylor—and maybe some cash that catches the A's eye and justifies them shipping Murphy off to Cleveland.

Mariners Seeking Second Baseman as Shortstop Market Surges

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    SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30:  GM Jerry Dipoto of the Seattle Mariners looks on from the dugout prior to the game against the Houston Astros at Safeco Field on September 30, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The shortstop position is poised to be the hottest in the offseason, with Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts (more on him in a bit), Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson all available for the right price.

    Unfortunately for the Seattle Mariners, that price is likely too high to warrant entering the competition, forcing them to look for a left-handed second baseman, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

    Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto had previously insisted that current shortstop JP Crawford would remain the team's starter at that position as late as a November 9 press conference:

    "I told him, ‘Hey, you are our shortstop. You will see that we are courting other shortstops, but it is with the understanding that the inquiry is made with the intent that that player is willing to move to another position."

    It is a position he has repeated since the end of the team's postseason run, and it appears Rosenthal's report lends credibility to that, especially if the idea was to acquire one of the top free agents and switch them to second base.

    With those players out of the equation, though, it raises the question of just who the team will attempt to recruit. Especially if there is no intent to re-sign Adam Frazier, who played at second in 2022.

    That leaves the Braves' Ryan Goins or the Orioles' Rougned Odor, both of whom are serviceable and affordable but may not be a vast improvement over Frazier.

Xander Bogaerts Not Expected Back in Boston

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    BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 5: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after hitting a single during the sixth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on October 5, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
    Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Peter Gammons reported that Xander Bogaerts has severed Boston ties and will not be returning to the Red Sox organization as its starting shortstop, per three front-office officials from different teams, with the caveat that there is no telling whether it is negotiation posturing or reality.

    Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reported that, via agent Scott Boras, Bogaerts has not actually closed the door on returning to Boston, a stark contrast to Gammons' report. Again, it cannot be ruled out if it is the truth or merely a negotiation ploy to drive up demand.

    Whether he is open to returning to the team or not, there are other organizations that are vying to acquire his services in 2023. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that Philadelphia and Los Angeles remain as in-the-hunt as they have been all along, and the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs have joined the conversation.

    Morosi of MLB.com reported that the Phillies are the favorites to land Trea Turner, and if that is the case, they would be out of the Bogaerts race.

    Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

    The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Phillies?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Phillies</a> have emerged as favorites to sign Trea Turner. My latest report here. <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBNetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLBNetwork</a> <a href="https://t.co/PVjw5f6NhP">pic.twitter.com/PVjw5f6NhP</a>

    Los Angeles would need to replace Turner and may turn to a proven commodity like the Red Sox All-Star. Both Arizona and Chicago would improve their clubs exponentially by adding him to their roster.

    Turner is likely the first domino to fall, followed by Carlos Correa, then Bogaerts, with the latter two likely linked in terms of where they ultimately end up signing affecting the other's landing place, based simply on need from interested teams.

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