It's never too early to start looking ahead to the MLB offseason.
This year's free-agent class is headlined by middle infielders Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Trevor Story, first baseman Freddie Freeman, third baseman Kris Bryant, right fielder Nick Castellanos and veteran pitchers Max Scherzer, Robbie Ray and Kevin Gausman.
For teams that miss out on those top-tier players, the trade market could be the preferred alternative, and Ketel Marte, Whit Merrifield, Sonny Gray and Willson Contreras are among the top names who could be dealt.
Ahead we've come up with one trade prediction for each MLB team as a preview of sorts for the offseason. Buyers were paired with sellers, so we're breaking down 15 trades with each team involved in one deal.
David Bednar Traded from PIT to HOU
To HOU: RHP David Bednar
To PIT: RHP Shawn Dubin, OF Alex McKenna, C Yainer Diaz
Save opportunities were few and far between for the 101-loss Pittsburgh Pirates, but David Bednar still turned heads with his performance down the stretch.
Acquired from the San Diego Padres in the Joe Musgrove trade, he posted a 2.23 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 61 appearances. Over the final two months, he had a 0.92 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .132 average in 19.2 innings. Under club control through the 2026 season, he is an extremely valuable trade chip, and it might be time to sell high given the volatility of relievers.
The Houston Astros stand to lose deadline pickups Kendall Graveman and Yimi Garcia in free agency, creating a void in the late innings ahead of closer Ryan Pressly.
Shawn Dubin (No. 13) and Alex McKenna (No. 17) rank among Houston's top 20 prospects, according to Baseball America. Dubin is an undersized right-hander with a good fastball-slider combination and could fit best at the back of the bullpen. McKenna is a well-rounded outfielder who had an .834 OPS with 31 extra-base hits in 79 games at High-A and Double-A.
Yainer Diaz is a 23-year-old catcher with a 55-grade hit tool who batted .324/.362/.527 with 43 extra-base hits. He was traded from Cleveland to Houston in the Myles Straw deal and would be a welcome addition to a Pittsburgh system thin on catching behind Henry Davis.
It might sound like a steep price to pay, but Bednar's remaining club control means he'll demand a premium.
Willson Contreras Traded from CHC to MIA
To MIA: C Willson Contreras
To CHC: RHP Elieser Hernandez, RHP Kyle Nicolas, C Jorge Alfaro
Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly told reporters the team is looking at the catcher position.
"It's fairly safe to say it was some kind of message when we grabbed two catchers [Alex Jackson and Payton Henry] at the trade deadline and we also have Nick Fortes up here," he said.
The Fish have a dynamic collection of young pitchers, so finding stability at catcher will be key. A thin free-agent market headlined by Yan Gomes and Wilson Ramos means their focus will likely be on the trade block, and the Chicago Cubs' Willson Contreras has popped up frequently in recent trade rumors.
The 29-year-old tallied a career-high 4.1 WAR, posting a 108 OPS+ with 20 doubles and 21 home runs while also racking up eight defensive runs saved. He will be in his final year of arbitration eligibility but would be an obvious candidate for an extension on the other side of a trade.
In exchange, the Cubs could address their glaring need for starting pitching by adding right-hander Elieser Hernandez. The 26-year-old has a 3.84 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 77.1 innings since the start of 2020, and he's controllable through 2024.
Kyle Nicolas, 22, posted a 4.18 ERA with 136 strikeouts in 99 innings at High-A and Double-A in his pro debut after being selected in the second round of the 2020 draft. He can touch 100 mph with a 70-grade fastball and has a 6'4", 223-pound frame that helps him maintain that velocity deep into starts.