With the MLB postseason in full effect, there are several teams that didn't make the playoffs who are already mulling some major shakeups via trade this coming offseason.
Rumors are already swirling, specifically one about the reigning champions potentially moving one of their cornerstone pieces for some much-needed salary cap relief. Whether or not any of these deals go down has yet to be determined, but here are three potential deals that can be brokered this winter.
1. Whit Merrifield For Prospects
One of the best all-around players in the game, Whit Merrifield had a terrific season for the Kansas City Royals, producing a .302/.348/.463 batting line along with 67 extra-base hits and 20 stolen bases. He was the subject of trade rumors all season, but the Royals decided to punt at the deadline, despite ultimately finishing with their second straight 100-loss season. Now 31, on a team-friendly contract over the next four seasons, Merrifield is a great trade chip for the rebuilding Royals, who could receive inquiries from outfield-needy teams like the Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies. It will take a strong prospect package for Kansas City to part ways with the veteran outfielder, but there should be several good offers on the table this winter.
2. Matthew Boyd For Hitting Prospect
Another player who avoided a deadline trade this season despite swirling rumors is Matthew Boyd of the Detroit Tigers. He finished 2019 poorly after a surprisingly good start. Despite his inflated post-break ERA (5.51), Boyd still ended the season with 238 strikeouts, good for 11th most in baseball. There should be a number of teams still interested in Boyd, even though the return package may be considerably lower than what it would have been during his peek this summer. The Tigers may still have a high asking price, but may settle for one top- or mid-tier offensive prospect to get a deal done. Teams like the Red Sox and Brewers could kick the tires on a Boyd trade, after showing interest during the season.
3. Mookie Betts For Pitching Prospects
In a trade rumor no Boston Red Sox fan wants to hear, the team has apparently been mulling the idea of dealing away Mookie Betts, the 2018 AL MVP, in an effort to curb spending for MLB's largest payroll. It's still hard to believe the Sox would trade such a talented player who is only 27 years old and in the prime of his career, but the team has made drastic moves before and may feel inclined to do so again, considering Betts is due for a massive contract. Boston would most likely deal Betts for a top-level prospect package that was headlined by a potential ace starting pitcher. The team can also look towards more proven and experienced talent, but getting some strong pitching behind Chris Sale will clearly be a key for them in any potential Betts talks.
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