MLB veterans who could be traded in the 2022 season
With the addition of two more playoff teams in 2022, combined with measures taken by the new ABC to prevent teams from tanking, more teams than ever should think they have a chance this year. That said, as is the case every year, when teams start to fall out of contention, they will start listening to trade offers from some of their veteran players. Let’s look ahead and predict a few guys who might change uniforms by the trade deadline.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
After Sean Manaea was traded to San Diego, the A’s still have a pitcher stuck in limbo in 29-year-old Frankie Montas. Montas has been excellent in 2021 and would be a real boon to a contender’s coaching staff. In 32 starts last season, the right-hander went 13-9 with a 3.37 ERA and 1.18 WHIP while holding the opposition to a .232 batting average and hitting 207 batters in 187 innings. At a club that will almost certainly be one of the worst teams in the American League, Montas is someone who logically needs to be treated for promising young prospects.
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Reds right-hander Luis Castillo got off to a terrible start last year but rallied hugely to finish with respectable year-end numbers. In 14 starts after the All-Star break, he delivered a 3.18 ERA – nearly a full lap and a half better than his first-half mark – and much more in line with the 3.21 ERA than He finished in 2020. Similar to the A’s – albeit to a lesser extent – the Reds have already traded some veterans and let others walk as free agents. If they quickly fall out of favor in the next campaign, it won’t be long before teams start calling about Castillo. And if someone makes them an offer they can’t refuse, Cincinnati won’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Trey Mancini was baseball’s most inspirational player last season and it wasn’t even a competition. The Orioles slugger missed all of 2020 while undergoing treatment for colon cancer, and not only was he able to go back to 21, he immediately became a productive producer again. In 556 at bats for Baltimore, the veteran has cut .255/.326/.432 with 21 home runs and 71 RBIs. The Orioles are playing in what will quite possibly be the most competitive division in the sport in 2022, and they just don’t have the firepower to keep up. Mancini is a valuable right-handed batsman who can play first base, outside corner and obviously take hits at DH. He would be a major asset for the attack of a team in contention.
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Another Baltimore player who could find himself leaving Charm City is left-hander John Means, the Orioles’ top roster pitcher. Pitching on a bad team last season, the 28-year-old delivered a 3.62 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP, while holding opposing hitters to just a .224 batting average. Means isn’t overwhelming, but he can throw, and he could definitely bring some stability to the back of a good team’s starting five.
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Veteran hitter Carlos Santana has been a productive big league hitter for more than a decade, but at 36, his career is definitely drawing to a close. In Kansas City last year, Santana hit 19 homers but only hit .214. He is entering the final season of his contract and if the Royals retire from competing in the AL Central, they will likely look to move him to open the sticks to a young player. It will be an easier proposition if his batting average increases.
Chris Coduto/Getty Images
The Guardians enter the first season of their rebrand without very high expectations. AL Central will almost certainly be a two-team race between the White Sox and Twins, and the Royals and Tigers also have more excitement around them heading into 2022. That puts Cleveland in an interesting position. . If they made All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez available on a trade, he would be the most sought-after bat on the market. The veteran hit .266 with 36 homers and 103 RBIs, and he’s exactly the type of player who could topple a pennant run.
Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Miami first baseman Jesus Aguilar is perhaps the most affable man in baseball, and his ability to constantly have fun on the field is refreshing to watch. In the batter’s box, he’s far from kind to opposing pitchers. In 441 at bats a year ago, the veteran cut .261/.329/.459 with 22 home runs and 93 RBIs. The Marlins are going to have to fight an uphill battle to be able to compete in the NL East, and if they fall too far behind, Aguilar will become an attractive option for bat-needy teams.
Mark Brown/Getty Images
Another Marlins player who could become attractive to other teams is their shortstop, Miguel Rojas. The veteran is a passionate leader who would be an impactful addition to any club’s clubhouse. And on the pitch, he’s just as valuable. A year ago, Rojas hit .265 with 9 homers and 30 doubles in just under 500 at-bats, and if a contender’s shortstop gets injured, he’d be the perfect replacement.
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
The Rockies spent an incredibly big buck to bring star right-handed hitter Kris Bryant to Denver, but that won’t be enough to stop them from being uncompetitive in a strong NL West. And when they fall too far behind rivals Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, they may be thinking of entertaining offers for Charlie Blackmon, a fixture in their squad since 2011. The 35-year-old cut a decent .270/.351/.411 but only 13 home runs and led in just 78 runs. Either way, though, a contending team that needs a left-handed outfielder might certainly find the prospect of adding Blackmon appealing.
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
Rockies right-hander German Marquez sparked trade interest last summer but ultimately stayed in Colorado all season. That could change in 2022. Colorado’s leading pitcher recorded 180 innings a season ago with a 4.40 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, but we all know the altitude in Denver isn’t conducive at throw. A change of scenery could help Marquez unlock a new dimension in his career, and don’t be surprised if this all comes to fruition in the coming months.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Another Arizona hitter who could potentially switch teams is left fielder David Peralta. The 34-year-old isn’t that far off a season that saw him smash 30 homers and drive in 87 runs, although he’s nowhere near matching that output again. In 21, Peralta hit .259 with just eight homers, but if a team wants to add a reasonably priced left-handed bat, Arizona would definitely be open to it.
Kelsey Grant/Getty Images
Logistically, it would be difficult for the Diamondbacks to move southpaw Madison Bumgarner, but not necessarily impossible. In 26 starts last season, the veteran threw a 4.67 ERA, but his 1.18 WHIP and .242 batting average would indicate he was better than his ERA says. Bumgarner owes $60 million by the end of 2024, and it’s clear he’s not worth that kind of salary at this point in his career. But he was also the best playoff pitcher of his generation, and if a contending team wants to get creative in order to get him up the mound in their uniform in the playoffs, Arizona would listen.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
From a current Arizona pitcher owed a ton of money over the next three years to a former Arizona pitcher who owed even more in the same time frame. The Nationals signed left-hander Patrick Corbin to a whopping six-year deal three years ago, and that move helped bring them a World Series title so they’ll never complain about it. But unfortunately for them, they postponed the contract, which, combined with Corbin’s recent regression, was a bad combo. In 31 starts last season, the veteran limped to a lousy 5.82, and while Washington would trade him if they could, they obviously would have to eat a good chunk of his salary.
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
Vanderbilt product Bryan Reynolds was a coveted commodity this winter, but the Pirates were rightly asking for a lot, and after no one met their asking price, they settled for retaining their star center fielder. We’ll see if that changes at some point in 2022. A season ago, Reynolds hit ..302 with 24 home runs and 90 RBIs, while hitting base at a .390 clip and adding 35 doubles and eight triplets. The Marlins in particular have been aggressive in their pursuit, but the Pirates are in an advantageous situation here. They have Reynolds under the control of the team for several more years, so they don’t have to trade him. They will if someone blows them away, but it’s not something they feel compelled to do.
Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Andrelton Simmons is still one of baseball’s most talented defensive players, but at 32 his bat has regressed to the point that his status as a major league starter is no longer undisputed. The Cubs brought in the veteran this winter as a potential shortstop stopgap, but if he rebuilds some trade value and Chicago isn’t in the running, his stay in the Windy City could be short-lived.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
For much of the winter, JD Davis himself thought he could be traded out of Queens. The Mets entered camp with seemingly an abundance of players to handle DH duties in 2022, with Robinson Cano returning from suspension to join Dom Smith and Davis as candidates to fill that role. Davis is the only one of the group to swing the bat on the right side, however, and he’s not that far off a season that saw him contribute an .896 OPS. He’s still a Met now and the team says there will be a role for him. But if that changed later and Davis could be moved on a trade to acquire some high-end bullpen assist, you should think New York would.
Kelsey Grant/Getty Images
Amir Garrett was a completely dominant left-handed reliever in the 2020 campaign, but fell apart horribly a season ago. Surely Garrett would rather not talk about his 6.04 ERA or his 1.57 WHIP or the nine home runs he served in just 47.2 frames. His brutal regression was one of the reasons Cincinnati traded him to Kansas City this winter, but if he can throw anywhere near the way he did two years ago, and that the Royals are out of the running in July, teams will be lining up to try to acquire him.
Justin Mears is a freelance sportswriter from Long Beach Island, NJ. Enjoys getting frustrated with the Mets and Cowboys, reading Linwood Barclay novels and being yelled at by her toddler. Follow him on twitter @justinwmears.