After Francisco Lindor, who are the next MLB superstars on the move? By Ryan Kanne

 

Photo By: Justin Berl via Getty Images

After a full year of rumors and speculation, the soon-to-be renamed Cleveland Indians traded superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor and veteran Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets. With a new owner imminent, the trade freed up almost $32 million in salary for the Indians. After a COVID-19 shortened season, a lot of MLB teams are looking to cut payroll heading into two of the deepest free agent classes in recent history in 2021 and 2022. With that in mind, who could be the next big name to find themselves on the move?

 

Kris Bryant

 

Kris Bryant has been in trade rumors the past two seasons as his production has left Chicago Cubs fans wanting more from the former 2016 NL MVP. The Cubs haven’t been shy unloading their roster this offseason as they’ve already traded Cy- Young runner up Yu Darvish and backup catcher Victor Caratini for prospects. SNY’s Andy Martino has even reported that the Cubs could trade Bryant “as soon as this weekend.” Entering the final year of his contract the Cubs are looking for a trade partner to begin a rebuild.

 

BA

HR

RBI

OPS

OPS+

2016

.292

39

102

.939

146

2017

.295

29

73

.946

142

2018

.272

13

52

.834

121

2019

.282

31

77

.903

132

2020

.206

4

11

.644

73

 

Possible trade destinations for Bryant include the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Toronto Blue Jays. All three teams have deep farm systems to accommodate the Cubs, especially in the form of top pitching prospects. The Braves and Dodgers seem the most likely as they both have championship level rosters and clear holes at third base.

 

It will be hard for Cubs fans to see a player that helped revitalize the franchise and give them a World Series Championship leave, but watching Bryant leave for nothing in 2021 would be worse. He may have been the face of the franchise, but Bryant should get the Cubs top prospects to bounce back soon.

 

Wilson Contreras

 

Sticking with the Cubs, Wilson Contreras has also heard his name in trade rumors recently. The All-Star catcher has always been dynamic offensively while his defense lagged behind. The catcher position is thin in MLB, with a lot of catchers being great hitters and bad defenders, or vice versa. After transforming his defense to rival other top defensive catchers, Contreras has made himself one of the most valuable players in MLB.

 

https://twitter.com/BleacherNation/status/1347973979429085186?s=20

 

Contreras has had a few teams interested, including the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have reportedly looked at Contreras as a “Plan B” if they aren’t able to resign J.T. Realmuto, who is regarded as the best catcher in baseball. The Angels have an outside shot of getting Contreras, but their obvious starting pitching needs and limited salary and prospects keep them on the outside looking in.

 

Wherever Contreras ends up, he will be another hard trade for Cubs fans. His development from hard hitting third baseman to one of the best catchers in MLB has been fantastic to watch. If teams are serious about Contreras, the Cubs could get back a big prospect haul similar to the Miami Marlins receiving Sixto Sanchez for J.T. Realmuto.

 

Nolan Arenado

 

After signing an 8- year contract worth more than $255 million in 2019, Nolan Arenado has become dissatisfied with the Colorado Rockies. Talking to the Denver Post, Arenado said, “I really don’t care what’s being said. I just know that I’m being disrespected over there.” With an opt-out clause after the 2021 season, the Rockies are looking to trade a superstar with Arenado’s declining play and injuries in 2020.

 

 

BA

HR

RBI

OPS

OPS+

Season Averages (2013-2019)

.295

31

105

.897

122

2020

.253

8

26

.738

84

 

While any team can certainly offer a trade for Arenado, his no-trade clause would mean he is included in the process to find a trade partner. The suitors are similar to Kris Bryant as the Braves and Blue Jays could make sense. The likeliest suitor would have to be the St. Louis Cardinals who have been linked to Arenado for over a year.

 

The Cardinals prospect haul may not be as impressive as other teams can offer, the Cardinals can offer a contending culture and roster with Arenado added. The Rockies may not get much regardless as any team that trades for Arenado would likely have to give Arenado a new contract with a raise.

 

Josh Hader

 

Josh Hader has been an electric reliever for the Milwaukee Brewers since his debut in 2017. The two-time Trevor Hoffman award winner is only 27 years-old and entering his second of four arbitration years. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 season and the cash conscious Brewers could work hand in hand to trade one baseball’s best relievers. 

 

https://twitter.com/PitchingNinja/status/1122346854748971008?s=20

 

After missing the postseason, the Brewers are looking for help at third and first base to help former MVP Christian Yelich and the offense. While a trade isn’t imminent, if the Brewers don’t find their answer at the corner infield positions, Hader could be traded to make a postseason run. The emergence of Devin Williams would help the Brewers move on from Hader, but until then the Brewers are happy having a dynamic back to their bullpen.

 

Hader will be making about $5.1 million in 2021 but could balloon in 2022 and 2023 without a long-term deal. The small market Brewers can’t afford much, especially with Yelich’s contact almost doubling to $26 million per year until 2029. Until then, Hader is still more likely to be traded during the season or next offseason rather than in the 2020 offseason.

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