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25 MLB players that could be traded during the 2024 season

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The 2024 MLB season is right around the corner, and it is never too early to start thinking about how it might unfold. Seemingly, every year, we have a decent handle on who should contend and who is likely to struggle, which makes looking ahead to the trade deadline inevitable. Veteran players on mediocre teams are always on high alert in July. Their clubs often look to capitalize on some of their value by bringing back talented minor leaguers. With that in mind, let’s speculate about 25 guys whose names you could be hearing a lot about in just a few months. 

 

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

White Sox righty Dylan Cease has heard his name floated in trade rumors for over a year now, and it feels more likely than not that this summer’s trade deadline is when he finally gets moved. Cease has not missed a single rotation turn in the last four years, and while his career 3.83 ERA looks mediocre, he’s put together much better stretches than that. Just two years ago, he delivered a 2.20 ERA across 32 starts and finished 2nd in the AL Cy Young voting. He’s under contract for this year and next, meaning the longer the White Sox hold onto him, the more their negotiation leverage goes down. An acquiring team would have Cease’s services for potentially two postseason runs, and if the White Sox don’t deliver a fantastic first half that has them in the thick of a playoff race, you’d have to believe they would deal their ace to a contender. 

 

Paul Goldschmidt

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There was not a more disappointing team in baseball last season than the St. Louis Cardinals, who inexplicably were a mess from opening day on, en route to finishing with the 2nd worst record in the National League. This is a proud franchise that has always had a reputation for doing things the right way and constantly fielding a contender, and the way the 2023 season unfolded was downright demoralizing. That’s one of the reasons the 2024 season will be one of the most interesting ones St. Louis has experienced in a long time. On paper, this club should be able to stay in the thick of a wide-open National League Central. But if they again stumble, it puts the status of 2022 NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt extremely up in the air. The veteran first baseman is now 36 years old and, should he become available, would be the most sought-after bat on the trade market. Trading him in a few months is the last thing the Cardinals want to do because it would mean they experienced another brutal first half, but it is definitely within the realm of possibilities. 

 

David Bednar

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Pittsburgh closer David Bednar is another player who is no stranger to trade rumors, but his contract situation has given the Pirates an exorbitant amount of leverage in negotiations that has prevented an interested team from meeting their price. The big righty is still under team control for three more seasons, and with three consecutive years with an ERA under 2.61 he’s positioned himself as one of the elite relievers in baseball. Last season was his best in the big leagues, as in 66 outings, he delivered a 2.00 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP while striking out 80 hitters in 67.1 innings and notching a National League-high 39 saves. Bednar is a Pittsburgh native who is incredibly popular with the Pirates fanbase, but he’s also already 29 and has not once sniffed postseason contention. It might not come this summer, but Pittsburgh is eventually going to have to make a decision here, and his value will really never be higher. 

 

Eloy Jimenez

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The White Sox could be one of the teams most open for business this July, and if they do ultimately decide to fold their tent and trade the aforementioned Dylan Cease, it stands to reason that big right-handed slugger Eloy Jimenez could go as well. Jimenez boasts as much pure power as any hitter in the game and crushed 31 homers in only 122 games as a rookie in 2019. Unfortunately, he’s never played in that many games since, as injuries have consistently derailed his campaigns–though when he’s been on the field his power numbers have never faltered. Jimenez is in his final season of arbitration, but his contract does carry two additional club options that could keep him under team control through 2026. If he has a strong first half, that could make him an attractive option for teams in search of offense, and it would be silly for Chicago not to pick up the phone. 

 

Elias Diaz

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Should a contending team find themselves in need of a catching upgrade in July, there will likely be one name that stands well above the rest when scouring the market. Colorado’s Elias Diaz. Dependable two-way backstops are hard to find, and last season very few were better than the Venezuelan native. In 141 games with the Rockies, Diaz slashed .267/.316/.409 with 14 homers, 72 RBI, and 25 doubles. He is incredibly sound defensively and has high baseball IQ, and it was nice to see his offensive breakout lead to his first all-star game appearance. Colorado is going to have its hands full competing in the NL West, and with Diaz set to be a free-agent at the conclusion of this season, it makes sense the Rockies could look to deal him. 

 

Aroldis Chapman

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Hard-throwing southpaw Aroldis Chapman is obviously one of the most dominant closers in baseball history, as his 321 career saves currently place him 21st on the all-time list. With the Rangers last October he just earned his second career World Series ring, and even at 36 years old he remains incredibly effective. Which is why it was somewhat surprising that he landed in Pittsburgh as a free-agent this winter. The Pirates already employ an all-star closer–the earlier mentioned David Bednar–and Chapman’s resume would certainly indicate he should have been able to find a 9th-inning role elsewhere. Regardless, his tenure with the Pirates may not be long, because if he delivers a strong first half he should be in high demand at the deadline. 

 

Joey Gallo

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Joey Gallo is literally the definition of an all-or-nothing hitter, as when he connects, he can hit the ball a long, long way, but making contact in the first place is continually a struggle. In 282 at-bats with the Twins a year ago, the veteran slashed just .177/.301/.440 and struck out 142 times. He did, however, blast 21 home runs which does carry value in its own right. This winter Gallo landed in D.C. on a free-agent deal with the Nationals, but he is certainly not in the long-term plans for a rebuilding team trying to construct its next winner. If the left-handed slugger can swing the bat well during the first few months, it’s much more likely than not that he’ll be traded to a team that wants to add power. 

 

Alex Wood

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Lefty Alex Wood spent the last three seasons in San Francisco with the Giants, and after securing a free-agent deal with the Athletics this winter he’ll be crossing the Bay and playing his home games in Oakland. In ’23, Wood served as a little bit of a swingman for the Giants, appearing in 29 games (12 of which were starts) and pitching to a 4.33 ERA in 97.2 innings. The motivation behind him signing with the A’s isn’t hard to decipher. Oakland is clearly a team deep in the throes of a rebuild, and they offered Wood the chance to once again pitch regularly out of a big-league rotation. The carrot on the end of the proverbial stick is that if he takes advantage of his opportunity and pitches well, it will position him to be a desirable deadline addition for contenders. 

 

Brooks Raley

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Mired in the midst of a woefully disappointing first half last summer, the New York Mets made the somewhat surprising decision to trade away essentially anything that wasn’t nailed down. Countless big-name veterans walked out the Citi Field door, and it was a little curious that lefty reliever Brooks Raley wasn’t among them. Keeping Raley signaled the Mets at least plan to contend in 2024, which remains to be seen. For his part, the veteran was excellent a year ago, pitching to a 2.80 ERA in 66 appearances spanning 54.2 innings. He’s under team control through 2025, and should New York fall out of contention again this July, he’ll be a hot name on the trade market. 

 

Tanner Scott

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Speaking of potentially available left-handed relief pitchers, Miami’s Tanner Scott certainly falls into that category as well. The 29-year-old was fantastic for the Marlins in 2023 and has quietly blossomed into an upper-echelon late-inning reliever. In a career-high 74 games, he pitched to a 2.31 ERA with a 0.98 WHIP while striking out 104 hitters in 78 innings, converting 12 saves, and earning nine victories. Miami surprisingly earned an NL Wild Card berth right at the end of last season, but if they fall out of the race earlier this year, expect Scott, a pending free agent, to be wearing a different uniform. 

 

Charlie Blackmon

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Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon was on this list last year and he finds himself here again, though the prospect of him being moved is more complicated than essentially any other player on this list. The 37-year-old is a franchise icon in Colorado, and dealing him would certainly cause an emotional reaction from the Rockies fan base. Though in the spirit of full transparency, the decision to leave would be Blackmon’s more so than the organization’s. The veteran has spent his entire 13-year career in Denver. He’s made four all-star teams, won a batting title, and earned two Silver Sluggers. He’s due to be a free agent at the end of this season but possesses a full no-trade clause. If the Rockies came to him and asked if he’d like to be traded to a contender, the club would certainly do it. But if Blackmon wants to stay, that’s the end of the conversation. 

 

Alex Lange

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LSU product Alex Lange debuted for the Tigers in 2021 and has wasted little time blossoming into one of the more exciting late-inning relievers in the American League. Last season, the right-hander took the mound for Detroit 67 times and pitched to a 3.68 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP. He converted 26 saves, struck out 79 hitters in 66 innings, and for the second straight season won seven games in relief. The Tigers certainly do not have to move him and would need to be blown away by an offer they can’t refuse, as he remains under team control through 2027. That said, upper-echelon relief pitching is always in high demand in July, and if a team gets desperate, the idea of Lange changing uniforms isn’t out of the question.  

 

Brent Rooker

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Athletics’ GM David Forst figures to be a popular man this summer, as with the A’s incredibly unlikely to contend in the AL West, they’ll almost certainly be a slam dunk seller at the deadline. One of the names rival clubs will inevitably ask Forst about is Brent Rooker, who came out of nowhere a year ago to emerge as the team’s most productive hitter. In 137 games, he slashed .246/.329/.488 with 30 home runs, 69 RBI, and 20 doubles, and was chosen to be Oakland’s representative at the all-star game. Rooker is under team control through 2027 so the A’s do have some leverage in potential trade negotiations, but he’s already 29 years old, and probably not all that likely to be a member of the next good A’s team. 

 

Brandon Drury

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The Angels begin their post-Shohei Ohtani era with low expectations, and on paper, any way, they’re currently noticeably behind Houston, Texas, and Seattle in their own division. That likely positions them to be deadline sellers, and should that ultimately materialize, they do have a few interesting names. Right-handed swinging Brandon Drury stands out to me as someone who has quietly been a productive big-league hitter for a long time. Last season he slashed a strong .262/.306/.497 with 26 home runs, 83 RBI, and 30 doubles. He has some positional flexibility as well, as he can play most infield positions in addition to corner outfield, and contending teams always value versatility. 

 

Ross Stripling

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Veteran righty Ross Stripling was a teammate of the earlier mentioned Alex Wood in San Francisco last season, and, like Wood, he crossed the Bay this winter and will be pitching for Oakland in 2024. Stripling’s ’23 campaign was a little uneven, as he turned in a 5.36 ERA in 89 innings while bouncing between the Giants rotation and bullpen. Like Wood, Stripling found a chance to be a full-time starter in Oakland, and he’ll likely hope to parlay a strong first few months into a trade to a contender. 

 

Kenley Jansen

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Entering 2024 only six Major League closers have converted more saves than the 420 currently on the ledger of veteran righty Kenley Jansen, and the 36-year-old will undoubtedly add handsomely to that total during the upcoming campaign. Last season Jansen pitched in 51 games for the Red Sox, putting up a 3.63 ERA with a 1.27 WHIP across 44.2 innings– numbers that are a far cry from the ones he delivered earlier in his career but are still extremely serviceable. Boston struggled to a last-place finish in the American League East a season ago, and all four teams that finished above them look extremely strong once again. That could make Jansen, a pending free agent, an interesting name available on the trade market in July. 

 

Mark Canha

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Veteran right-handed swinging outfielder Mark Canha has a reputation as one of the truly good guys in baseball, and he’s been a fan favorite everywhere he’s been. And on the field, he’s consistently proven himself to be a productive hitter and solid glue guy in the clubhouse. Canha split last season between the Mets and Brewers, and slashed .262/.355/.400 with 11 home runs and 62 RBI in 139 games. Milwaukee traded him to the Tigers early in the offseason, and if Detroit is out of the race this summer, he may very well get traded at the deadline for the second season in a row. 

 

Andrew Chafin

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Southpaw reliever Andrew Chafin has pitched in the big leagues for more than a decade and has 539 Major League appearances under his belt, and at age 33, he’s still going strong. The mustached veteran owns a lifetime 3.40 ERA in 452 career innings, and while the 4.73 mark he put up in 2023 looks disappointing, it can be a little misleading. Chafin’s teammates allowed more than half of his bequeathed runners to score, leading to his ERA going up significantly with him not even on the mound. The Kettering, OH native has proven himself to have a bulldog mentality and a strong desire to win, and while he’ll begin the year in Detroit, I’d expect him to finish it elsewhere.  

 

Kyle Finnegan

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Hard-throwing Nationals’ righty Kyle Finnegan is someone whose name has been mentioned in potential trade discussions for a while now, and at some point, you’d have to believe Washington will eventually pull the trigger on a deal. The 32-year-old has electric stuff and has always delivered high strikeout totals, and last season he got his first real opportunity to close. In 67 appearances, Finnegan pitched to a 3.76 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP, while notching 28 saves and punching out 63 hitters in 69.1 innings. The Nationals have him under team control through 2025, but his value will be higher this summer than it will be a year later. The club would be wise to explore a move sooner rather than later. 

 

Wilmer Flores

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After spending the early part of his career with the Mets before playing one season in the desert with the Diamondbacks, infielder Wilmer Flores has found a home in San Francisco, where over the last four seasons he’s emerged as one of the most critical offensive players in the Giants line-up. His ascension has been fun to watch, and 2023 may have been the best season of his career. In 126 games he slashed .284/.355/.509 with a career high 23 homers. He drove in 60 runs, doubled 22 times, and finished with a new personal best OPS+ of 136. Trading Flores during the 2024 season is certainly not in the brochure for San Francisco, but he is 32 years of age and could be a free agent at year’s end if he doesn’t exercise a player option. If the Giants are not in the mix for a playoff spot this summer, they’d have to at least consider making a move. 

 

Dylan Floro

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Journeyman righty Dylan Floro signed with the Nationals as a free agent in December, and when he first takes the mound for Washington, he’ll officially have thrown a Major League pitch for seven different teams. In 330 career outings, the veteran owns a solid lifetime ERA of 3.42, with 307 strikeouts in 334 innings. Floro turned 33 years old just after Christmas, and it’s safe to assume he doesn’t factor significantly into the Nationals future. He represents a perfect example of a reliever with late-inning experience that could help a contender’s bullpen, and it would be surprising if he’s still in D.C. in August. 

 

Patrick Corbin

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Left-hander Patrick Corbin’s first season in D.C. could not have gone any better, as he fired more than 200 innings and put up a 3.25 ERA, and then played a starring role in the Nationals run to a World Series championship. Since then, though, things have been difficult to say the least for the Clay, NY native. Since the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, Corbin has finished with an ERA north of 5.20 in three consecutive seasons, and he’s served up an incredible 97 home run balls during that same timeframe. Washington has been paying Corbin a lucrative salary for the last several years, but the end is in sight for them. The upcoming campaign is the final season of the six-year deal he signed with D.C., and if he can show even a little bit of promise during the season’s first few months, it would not be surprising if the Nationals pulled the trigger on a trade. 

 

Rowdy Tellez

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First baseman Rowdy Tellez was an interesting addition for the Pittsburgh Pirates this winter, and the big left-handed slugger represents a low-risk, potentially high-reward gamble. Just two years ago he blasted 35 homers and drove in 89 runs for the Brewers, and while last season did not go nearly as well, he obviously possesses a tremendous amount of power. As a division foe of the Brewers, Pittsburgh got a front-row seat to Tellez’s offensive exploits, and the Bucs were extremely excited to add him to their everyday line-up. That said, he signed just a one-year deal, and if the Pirates are not in a playoff race this summer, he could become an option for a bat-needy team.  

 

Michael Wacha

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Veteran righty Michael Wacha’s career looked to be on the rocks after back-to-back terrible seasons in ’20 and ’21 for the Mets and Rays, respectively. But he’s bounced back in a serious way since then. Wacha was good for Boston in 2022, and as a member of the Padres a year ago he turned in one of the best seasons of his career. In 24 starts, the Texas A&M product pitched to a 3.22 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP in 134.1 innings, while earning 14 victories and striking out just under a hitter/frame. He parlayed that into a free-agent agreement with the Royals this winter–his 6th team in the last six years—but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t finish the campaign in Kansas City. 

 

Will Smith

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Southpaw Will Smith has been a terrific left-handed bullpen arm in the Major Leagues for more than a decade, and this winter it was cool to see him sign back in Kansas City where his career began in 2012. Smith has certainly had a knack for being in the right place at the right time, as he’s the only player in big league history to win three straight World Series titles–with three different teams. He’s been a lucky charm in Atlanta, Houston, and Texas, so could Kansas City be next? More than likely, that answer is no–however, don’t discount the possibility of him being traded at the deadline and making another October run with a contender. 

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