The 2023 MLB season is right around the corner, and it's never too soon to start speculation about potential trades that could go down in the year ahead.
With a thin upcoming free-agent class relative to recent years, teams could be more aggressive in pursuing controllable talent on the trade market during the season, which would in turn make for an exciting trade deadline.
Ahead, we've come up with one trade prediction for each MLB team as a preview of sorts for the season to come. Buyers were paired with sellers for each deal, so we're breaking down 15 total trades, with all 30 clubs involved in one deal.
Trade predictions were based largely on speculation, though current roster construction and potential future needs were a big part of matching a seller with a buyer in each of these deals.
Off we go!
Tim Anderson Traded from CWS to LAD
- To LAD: SS Tim Anderson
- To CWS: 2B Michael Busch, RHP Landon Knack, OF Jose Ramos, RHP Joel Ibarra
The Los Angeles Dodgers were dealt a major blow when starting shortstop Gavin Lux was lost for the season to a torn ACL in the early days of spring training.
The under-the-radar move to acquire Miguel Rojas from the Miami Marlins suddenly becomes extremely important, as he will take over as the team's primary shortstop. However, the slick-fielding veteran hit just .236/.283/.323 for a 72 OPS+ in 507 plate appearances last season.
If the Dodgers decide they need an offensive upgrade, Tim Anderson is one potential target. The Chicago White Sox are at a crossroads following a disappointing 2022 season, and a slow start could mean a summer fire sale.
Anderson, 29, leads all of baseball with a .318 batting average since the start of 2019, and he was an All-Star for the second time last year despite injuries limiting him to 79 games. He is in the final guaranteed season of his contract, but he also has a $14 million club option for 2024, so he can be more than just a rental.
That will mean a higher asking price, so this proposed package has the Dodgers sending an MLB-ready Top 100 prospect in Michael Busch and three other quality pieces with impact potential.
Javier Báez Traded from DET to ARI
- To ARI: SS Javier Báez
- To DET: SS Geraldo Perdomo, OF Dominic Canzone, RHP Justin Martinez
The Detroit Tigers signed Javier Báez to a six-year, $140 million deal in hopes of taking another step toward contention following a 77-85 finish in 2021.
Instead, they took a significant step backward, losing 96 games and eventually gutting the front office. Now they appear to be in rebuilding mode once again, and that raises questions about Báez's future with the club.
The 30-year-old had a disappointing first year in Detroit but still finished as the team leader with 2.6 WAR thanks to his defense and power production. He can opt out of the final four years of his contract next offseason, and if the Tigers are not in a position to contend in the short term, that could be his preferred approach.
Before that happens, the Tigers could look to trade him, and the Arizona Diamondbacks stand out as a team on the cusp of contention in need of an upgrade at shortstop.
If the D-backs look like a potential contender when summer rolls around, they could be buyers, and flipping prospects for Báez would make sense, especially if they think they can convince him to opt in after the trade.
Geraldo Perdomo has everyday shortstop upside and could immediately replace Báez in the Detroit lineup. Dominic Canzone posted a .908 OPS with 22 home runs in the upper levels of the minors, while Justin Martinez has a high-octane 70-grade fastball.
Scott Barlow Traded from KC to TOR
- To TOR: RHP Scott Barlow
- To KC: RHP Hayden Juenger, IF Tanner Morris
Scott Barlow has been one of baseball's best relievers the past two seasons, posting a 2.30 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 with 40 saves and 20 holds in 140 appearances. His 5.7 WAR during that two-year span is tied with Emmanuel Clase for tops among all relievers.
With club control through the 2024 season, this year will be the time for the Kansas City Royals to maximize his value if they intend on flipping him.
The demand for quality bullpen arms tends to peak at the trade deadline, and guys with late-inning stuff who are more than just a two-month rental can often bring back a quality prospect return.
The Toronto Blue Jays had a middle-of-the-pack bullpen last year with a 3.77 ERA and 27 blown saves in 73 chances. They added Erik Swanson to a group that includes All-Star closer Jordan Romano, Yimi García, Anthony Bass and Adam Cimber, but another quality arm could go a long way.
Right-hander Hayden Juenger is the centerpiece of this deal after he logged a 3.76 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 88.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, and he could quickly join a young Kansas City rotation.