It hasn't even been two weeks since Major League Baseball had one of its all-time wildest trade deadlines, so perhaps it's too early to look ahead to the league's next major trading season.
Then again, perhaps not.
We've made our picks for which player from each of MLB's 30 teams is most likely to end up on the trading block during the 2021-22 offseason. This exercise was strictly speculative, though we did our best to make educated guesses by considering these questions:
Which players will have value on the winter market?
Which players will be expendable?
Which players are getting too expensive?
Which players simply need a change of scenery?
To make things even more interesting, we limited our focus to actual major leaguers. Which is to say that you shouldn't expect to read about any prospects here. That's a topic for another day.
We'll go division by division, starting in the American League East and ending in the National League West.
American League East
Baltimore Orioles: LHP Tanner Scott
The Orioles' rebuild has progressed to where their farm system is one of the 10 best in baseball and, save for the immovable Chris Davis, they're basically out of prohibitive contracts to shed. A team in that position doesn't necessarily have to put its wares up for sale on the winter trade market.
The O's could nonetheless field offers for slugger Trey Mancini ahead of his final year of club control in 2022, but it's more likely that they'll listen on two left-handed relievers who were on the block last month: Paul Fry and Tanner Scott. Though both are controlled through 2024, the 27-year-old Scott is younger and thus potentially the more valuable one of the two.
Boston Red Sox: 1B Bobby Dalbec
Though chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has mostly played things cool since taking control of the Red Sox's front office ahead of the 2020 season, this winter could see him become more aggressive in seeking upgrades. If so, some of the club's younger, more controllable talents could be available in trades.
Even if he's not quite as desirable as current top prospects like first baseman Triston Casas, Bobby Dalbec could interest certain sellers on account of his humongous raw power, major league experience and control through 2026. And with Casas knocking on the door, Dalbec will be expendable soon if he isn't already.
New York Yankees: SS Gleyber Torres
This winter will almost certainly bring more trade speculation about left fielder Clint Frazier and third baseman Miguel Andujar. But since the value of both players has cratered as they've played below replacement level throughout 2021, the Yankees might be just as likely to move Gleyber Torres.
He was a rising superstar in 2018 and 2019, but not so much in the last two seasons as he's hit just .251/.336/.356 while playing inconsistent defense at shortstop. So even though he's only 24 and controlled through 2024, he suddenly looks more like a change-of-scenery candidate than a long-term building block. Hence why this isn't the first time he's been speculated on as a possible trade chip.
Tampa Bay Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier
With the Rays, it's always relevant to ask which of their players is getting too expensive. That question has resulted in more than a few stars getting moved over the years, including David Price in 2014, Evan Longoria in 2017 and Blake Snell last winter. Now, it's a fair bet that Kevin Kiermaier will be next.
The Rays were rumored to be shopping the three-time Gold Glover last winter, at which time he had two years and $26.4 million remaining on his contract. Though he'll only have one year and $12.2 million left on his deal this winter—as well as a $2.5 million buyout for a 2023 club option—that surely won't stop the Rays from seeking a taker for that money.
Toronto Blue Jays: OF Randal Grichuk
In the wake of their pre-deadline trades for Jose Berrios, Brad Hand and Joakim Soria, it's clear that the Blue Jays are all-in on winning now. This will still be the case during the winter, in which case they might be open to dealing top prospects like right-hander Nate Pearson and shortstop Jordan Groshans.
Alternatively, the Jays could clear some payroll for the sake of loading up in free agency. That's where they have an all-too-obvious trade chip in the person of Randal Grichuk, whose $10.3 million salaries for 2022 and 2023 are a bit much for a guy who's more or less locked into a role as a fourth outfielder.