Though the trade market has been mostly quiet early in the offseason, with only a few minor deals having transpired since the Dodgers defeated the Rays in the World Series, recent history suggests that it shouldn’t be too long until a Top 100 prospect gets traded.
Specifically, there have been nine different Top 100 prospects who have been included in trades dating back to the completion of the 2018 postseason.
Two players from that group proved instrumental in their teams' success this past season, with Sixto Sánchez (acquired from the Phillies in February 2019 in the J.T. Realmuto deal) pitching the Marlins to their first postseason berth since 2003, and Brusdar Graterol (acquired from the Twins last February in the Mookie Betts trade) emerging as a lockdown bullpen force for the World Series-champion Dodgers.
The only trade so far this offseason that has involved prospects didn’t actually center around those prospects, as the Reds dealt Robert Stephenson and outfield prospect Jameson Hannah to Colorado for Jeff Hoffman and 18-year-old right-hander Case Williams on Nov. 25. But with roster decisions looming for every team as they look ahead to the 2021 season, it shouldn’t be long until trade activity begins to pick up.
So, which contenders could make moves? Here are 10 clubs with a realistic chance to win in 2021 and farm systems with enticing trade fodder:
Top 100 Prospects: 5
Top-rated prospect: Sixto Sánchez, RHP (No. 19)
The Marlins were one of baseball’s biggest surprises in 2020, as they overcame a COVID-19-fueled roster crisis early in the season to finish second in the NL East, securing the organization’s first playoff berth since 2003. Sánchez, who tied for seventh in the NL Rookie of the Year race, headlines a deep group of young, cost-controlled big leaguers around whom the club could build, and with 13 of their Top 30 prospects already on the 40-man roster, the Marlins have even more help on the way. At the same time, the fact that Miami’s system is deeper at some positions than others suggests the Marlins are more likely to capitalize on the quality of their depth than move a Top 100 prospect in a potential offseason trade. With that in mind, shortstop Jose Devers and outfielder Jerar Encarnacion, both members of the 40-man roster, as well as 2019 third-rounder Peyton Burdick are candidates to be included in a blockbuster deal.
Top 100 Prospects: 2
Top-rated prospect: Josiah Gray, RHP (No. 62)
That next year’s Dodgers roster should look a lot like their 2020 World Series-winning one bodes well for the franchise’s chances of reaching a ninth straight postseason, if not more. Despite their sustained success for much of the last decade, the Dodgers have never been a team to shy away from making a splash in the offseason trade market, even showing a willingness to give up multiple Top 100 prospects in the right deal. Keibert Ruiz, MLB Pipeline’s No. 68 prospect, is blocked by Will Smith behind the plate for the foreseeable future, but the 22-year-old switch-hitter could appeal to a team in the market for a potential long-term option at the premium position. Of course, the Dodgers could sweeten any deal by including one or more of their young infielders and/or hard-throwing pitching prospects.