The best free agents have been discussed at length this winter, so let's pivot to the trade block. Rumors have swirled around Kris Bryant, Francisco Lindor, Mookie Betts and other stars as potential trade chips. So what sort of major deals might unfold offseason? SI's MLB staff weighs in.
The Mets need to support their pitching with better defense. They could use a true centerfielder (only the Rockies and Tigers were worse at the position by Defensive Runs Saved), and preferably a righthanded bat. That's why Starling Marte of the Pirates makes sense for New York. Jackie Bradley is the better defensive option, but Marte is the better overall fit. Backup plan: Harrison Bader or Manny Margot.
Marcus Stroman to the Astros. It’s unlikely—Houston had a chance at him at the trade deadline and went with fellow Blue Jay Aaron Sanchez instead—but the pennant winners are going to need another starter when they inevitably decide not to give Gerrit Cole $300 million. Stroman would be a fascinating fit: The Astros generally ask acquisitions to ditch mediocre two-seamers, but Stroman’s is exceptional, so they would likely emphasize it. And it would be so much fun to watch him generate groundballs in front of that defense.
Along with its pursuit of a third baseman, Texas is also looking for some rotation help—a "yet to be determined" number of starters, per GM Jon Daniels, which would seem to indicate the possibility of more than one (or even more than two). So what about one from Cleveland? The young trio of Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, and Aaron Civale are said to be available, and while it's hard to imagine the Rangers chasing (and paying in prospects for) someone on the level of Bieber, one of the other two would seem like a smart target.
Mookie Betts to the Yankees. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe also raised this hypothetical blockbuster between rivals. I'd peg the odds at extremely low—it seems unlikely to me Betts gets traded this winter—but the entertainment value for fans at the absolute highest. The Red Sox' best player ending up on the Yankees? There's an attention-grabbing headline for Major League Baseball.
Noah Syndergaard to the Padres. The Mets and Padres have long been in talks for Thor, with New York reportedly asking for too much and San Diego not quite ready to compete. Now, the deal makes sense. The Winter Meetings are in San Diego this year, and the Padres probably want to build on what they did last offseason. They need pitching, and their best bet to add another arm is via trade despite the availability of Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole. And, the Mets need a centerfielder. San Diego has top prospect Taylor Trammell, whom it acquired from the Reds at the trade deadline. This makes too much sense for it not to happen.
Corey Kluber to the Yankees. New York will likely chase Gerrit Cole on the free-agent market, but if the California kid signs with the Angels or another team, the pressure will be on Brian Cashman to improve the Yankees' staff before spring training. Kluber's velocity took a hit through an injury-riddled 2019, but don't discount his previous accolades. He tallied four top-three Cy Young finishes from 2014-18, and he combined for a 2.58 ERA across 418 innings from 2017-18. The Yankees can land a postseason ace while the Indians restock their depleted lineup. Perhaps Clint Frazier and/or Miguel Andujar land in Cleveland to complete the premier trade of the offseason.