Major League Baseball’s 2022 trade deadline was an absolute barn burner, mainly set afire by megadeals involving Juan Soto, Josh Hader and Luis Castillo. That’s a lot for the 2023 deadline to live up to. So, will it?
Heck if we know, but we can at least try to predict a few things.
We came up with 10 outcomes that we can’t say will happen but could if the stars align just so. Don’t worry: Only one of these covers players won’t be traded. The other nine deal with guys who will be on the move and to where.
The trade deadline, which will presumably revert to July 31 after the lockout pushed it to Aug. 2 last year, is still months away, so it should go without saying that we mostly consulted our gut in making these predictions. And no, we didn’t swallow a crystal ball beforehand.
In any case, let’s start with the guys we don’t think will be going anywhere.
Much to Other Teams’ Dismay, the Brewers Keep Their Stars
The trade deadline may still be half a year away, but you can rest assured that prospective buyers are already rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers to crash and burn this season.
Such an outcome would hypothetically put the Brewers in a selling mood, and, goodness, would they have wares to sell. At the least, rebound candidate and free-agent-to-be Jesse Winker. At the most, slugging shortstop Willy Adames, Cy Young Award-winning ace Corbin Burnes and his generally underrated partner, Brandon Woodruff.
But on this, nobody should be counting.
Sure, the Brew Crew subtracted Hunter Renfroe and Kolten Wong from a roster that produced 86 wins last season. But Winker and especially William Contreras were good gets, and the Brewers also added a nice piece of rotation depth when they reunited with wily veteran Wade Miley.
It’s little wonder that Milwaukee projects as the second-best team in the National League Central. Perhaps it’s a minority opinion that those projections potentially underrate the Chicago Cubs, but in any case, it’s hard to imagine the Brewers being anything less than a wild-card contender come the deadline.
Even if the Brewers are out of the race by then, teams that try to get at Burnes, Woodruff and Adames could potentially meet the same resistance that the team has reportedly put up this winter. After all, all three are under club control through 2024.
The White Sox Fall Flat Again, Trade Tim Anderson
The Chicago White Sox, on the other hand, look more like a candidate to play under expectations in 2023.
It’s a fair enough question about how high expectations should be, given that they only salvaged a .500 record last year. And also given that, following Carlos Correa’s odyssey-like return to the Minnesota Twins, the Pale Hose only project as the third-best team in the American League Central.
If not simply mediocre, the White Sox are more likely to be bad than great. There’s volatility aplenty in their roster, particularly among a starting rotation that’s littered with questions and in a bullpen that will miss Liam Hendriks after his non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis.
If Chicago does plummet down the standings in 2023, it can expect to receive plenty of calls about players whose contracts are running short. Those include Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Yasmani Grandal and, best of all, Tim Anderson.
There’s a lot to like about Anderson, ranging from the simple fact that he’s an everyday shortstop who’s hit .318 over the last four seasons to the reality that he’s making only $12.5 million this year with a $14 million option for 2024. He also plays with abundant energy that could further charge a playoff contender.
As for where Anderson could end up, we have our eye on Atlanta. They seem for real about having Vaughn Grissom replace Dansby Swanson at shortstop, but it’s an experiment with a reasonably high probability of failure. A move for outside help may thus be inevitable.