Even only being one full month into the MLB season, there are teams that are already hitting the eject button on the 2019 season and looking forward to 2020. Teams that have a longer-term plan for how to bring their franchise back from many seasons of missing their goals still do not see 2019 as that year when they come back to compete for a playoff spot.
Good news for any teams that are looking to compete and need to plug holes now in their team, these are the teams that look to be open for business early on in the season. A caveat that comes with any deals made this early in the year is that even if the traded players are on the final year of their deals, they will require more compensation in return if traded now versus if they are held on to and traded at the trade deadline, which may deter a few teams looking to cash in early and beat other teams to certain players.
Here are five teams that are looking to ship out proven players to restock their farm systems now.
San Francisco Giants
Already sitting six games back of first place in the National League West and 4.5 games behind in the wild-card race, the San Francisco Giants look to be well on their way to another disappointing season facing off against tough NL West competition. Even with the early season acquisition of Kevin Pillar from the Toronto Blue Jays (more on them later), that will not hold this team back from making any subtractions from their major league roster starting today.
Pretty much everyone is tradable, except franchise cornerstone Buster Posey, and even guys like starting pitcher and longtime Giant Madison Bumgarner could be on the move sometime this season.
The Giants have a bunch of valuable arms in the bullpen that can look appetizing to teams, as left-handed veterans, Will Smith and Tony Watson, as well as right-handers Mark Melancon and Sam Dyson would be solid additions to any team looking to make the 2019 playoffs. Out of the bunch, Melancon and Smith are the two most valuable guys and would fetch a decent return, although Melancon is 34 years old and Smith has had some injury issues as recent as last season.
Position player wise, the Giants can offer Pillar up in any deal, although a bit more unlikely due to him just having been acquired. More likely options include Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik and Steven Duggar, although more depth options like Yangervis Solarte and Gerardo Parra could be on the move as well.
Kansas City Royals
A mix of veteran pieces and younger players who never lived up to their potential, the Kansas City Royals look to still be in disarray as they are still struggling to regroup after their teardown after they won their second World Series title ever in 2015. Franchise cornerstones like Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez all remain on the team, coupled with newcomers Billy Hamilton and Martin Maldonado.
Perez is out for the season, so the 28-year old will not be traded, which is most likely the same fate for Gordon, who seems to be fully entrenched in left field at Kauffman Stadium.
Position player pieces like Jorge Soler, Hamilton, Ryan O’Hearn and Chris Owings, as well as pitchers Brad Keller, Brad Boxberger, Jakob Junis and former Milwaukee Brewers farmhand Wily Peralta, could all be wearing different threads sooner rather than later.
On a team that is always looking to build back up using farm talent, they are a prime candidate to ship out players to get a return on them, and while they do not have any big pieces like a Mike Moustakas like they did at last year’s deadline, their smaller, utility/bench player pieces are still valuable and could fetch a top 30 prospect here and there, depending on the team.
In what has quickly turned into the laughing stock of the league, the Baltimore Orioles cannot wait until the 2019 draft gets here, as they earned the top selection in the draft after a horrendous 2018 campaign, so they most likely will get to choose between a plethora of high school prospects and Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman.
Having been followed too closely for all the wrong reasons so far this year, more specifically the offensive dumpster fire that was Chris Davis to begin the season, the Orioles are truly having issues staying relevant as an MLB franchise. Playing in one of the oddest MLB parks in the country does not help them either, and it is hard to bring in money if the team is doing as poorly as they are.
In terms of players who would be hoping and praying for being shipped out for a trade, infield utilityman Jonathan Villar and starting right fielder Trey Mancini highlight the list of trade candidates for the Orioles. Other players, like bullpen arms Mychal Givens, Miguel Castro and Paul Fry, as well as starters Andrew Cashner and Dylan Bundy are all likely candidates to be seen in other colors as soon as this week.
While the team has not necessarily been rumored to be already looking to sell, there does not even need to be writing on the wall to understand that this team has been open for business for about three consecutive years now, if not longer.
Taking one of the most unique approaches in an offseason for a non-competitive franchise, the Cincinnati Reds have a plethora of valuable pieces that they should ship out to get some sort of a return on.
After having acquired a good chunk of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ active roster in a deal that sent Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Kyle Farmer and Alex Wood over to Cincy, all of these players – and more – should be fair game to any team in the league.
Although Puig is turning in his worst season statistically so far, he seems to have toned down his antics and become more of a tamer baseball player, which is not necessarily the point of shipping him out but it does show that situations do matter for these players.
Both Kemp and Wood are dealing with slight injuries right now and therefore are on the Injured List, so they are not currently going anywhere. However, both would be solid pieces to ship out, Kemp more than Wood, if the Reds are looking to get a fast return on their offseason deal.
Cincinnati’s bullpen has a lot of solid arms that are ripe for the picking, especially groundball extraordinaire Jared Hughes, Amir Garrett, David Hernandez and slugging reliever (yes, slugging) Michael Lorenzen. Other players that they should gauge for trade value include shortstop Jose Iglesias, left fielder Jesse Winker, utilityman Derek Dietrich and starter Tanner Roark, the ex-Washington National.
The second and final NL West team on this list, the Arizona Diamondbacks are good at treading water right now, which is not necessarily a good trait to have for a team only one full month into the season. Having lost A.J. Pollock to their division rival Dodgers, this team has slowly begun to unravel at the seams.
Held down by the albatross of a contract for Zack Greinke, the team can make a few cost-saving moves while getting good prospects in return. If looking to move Greinke, who they should and would look good back in the home grey for the Brewers, they will need to eat a large portion of his contract to get it off the books.
With the gaping hole at first base after shipping out Paul Goldschmidt in the offseason to the St. Louis Cardinals, this team basically threw in the towel before the year even began, thus opening the door already for trades. Struck by injuries to a decent amount of their pitching staff too, and this team is primed for an early-season teardown.
Nick Ahmed, Eduardo Escobar, Wilmer Flores, Ketel Marte and Adam Jones are all likely trade candidates, although, with the veteran status that Jones has, he may be more unwilling to move if asked (although he does not have veto power with just having joined the Diamondbacks this offseason).