The 2022 MLB trade deadline is still three months away, but it's never too early to start envisioning what teams might look like as the time nears.
By mid-July, the landscape will be much clearer, and that's when fans can expect the market to move. Contenders will likely have established themselves, while non-contending teams with key pieces and expiring contracts should be ready to sell.
We already know who some of these are, but we're still learning as we go.
With that in mind, let's take a look at seven early predictions for the 2022 MLB trade deadline, given ongoing developments in addition to some healthy speculation.
Mitch Haniger Injury Diminishes Trade Value
Mitch Haniger makes sense as a prime extension or trade candidate for the Seattle Mariners. "[You know what], or get off the pot," so to speak.
He is slated to hit free agency after this season, and his most recent trip to the injured list with a Grade 2 high ankle sprain won't do much to help his reputation for being injury-prone.
Haniger missed more than half of the 2019 season with a ruptured testicle and then all of 2020 with a torn adductor muscle.
Not only will Haniger miss as many as six weeks, but his numbers—like a lot of good hitters early in the season—were not eye-popping (.200/.222/.486 in 35 at-bats) when he was injured last Friday against the Miami Marlins. He will almost assuredly fall short of his career-best 39-home-run, 100-RBI season in 2021, when his value was at an all-time high.
Trey Mancini to the Padres
Trey Mancini spent a few days nursing sore ribs before returning to the Baltimore Orioles lineup Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins. He's hitting well below his career averages (.238/.284/.325 vs. .270/.331/.467) early this season but is considered a viable DH option for any team.
The Orioles and Mancini avoided arbitration with a $7.75 million salary agreement for this season, but extension talks have been quiet.
The arbitration settlement said nothing of Mancini's future in Baltimore, which still figures to be the only AL East team completely out of the mix.
Mancini is an affordable option for a team already with the fifth-highest payroll in baseball.
The Luke Voit experiment is already off to a rocky start in San Diego. The former Yankees slugger, who is only on a one-year deal, has been underwhelming with zero home runs in 13 games and is already back on the IL with a biceps tendon injury.
The Los Angeles Angels checked in on Mancini before switching their priority to starting pitching, according to The Athletic. San Diego is another West Coast destination that makes sense.