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Analyzing Which Players Could be Traded at the Deadline

February 21, 2024 sutton56 5 min read

Analyzing Which Players Could be Traded at the Deadline

February 21, 2024 Ross Sutton 5 min read

By: Ross Sutton

Even though there are a few impactful players still available in free agency, spring training has officially started, so the offseason is just about over. This means that the weeks leading up to the trade deadline (July 30th) are likely the next time in which a lot of players will be available for top teams to acquire. Although it is too early to know exactly which teams will be sellers at the deadline, I am going to predict which players could be available by projecting which teams I think will be out of contention.

Kenley Jansen

The AL East could very well be the best division in baseball, and the Red Sox had a lackluster offseason which has led to some bad vibes already in spring training, as some players have voiced their frustration with ownership’s unwillingness to sign big free agents. Like many players I will mention in this blog, Jansen is on the final year of his contract, and he is still one of the most reliable closers in the league. The fact that there have been recent rumors that the Red Sox could trade Jansen makes me even more confident that he will be traded by the trade deadline this summer. Lastly, relief pitching is always in demand around the trade deadline, so there will surely be a contending team that would want to add Jansen to their bullpen.

Dylan Cease

Sep 29, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) delivers a pitch against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Cease’s name has been floated around in trade rumors all offseason, so I think there is a very good chance that he is traded between now and the trade deadline. Even though he is under contract via arbitration through the 2025 season and teams usually do not want to throw in the towel on future seasons by trading players that are under contract for those seasons, the White Sox feel far away from being legitimate playoff contenders despite playing in the AL Central, which is the weakest division in the league. Therefore, I think the White Sox would be smart to maximize the value they can get in a Cease trade by trading him before next offseason, as this would allow the team that acquires him to have him under team control for two postseason runs. Cease had a disappointing season in 2023, but he is only one year removed from finishing second in the AL Cy Young voting, so I think he still has a lot of value, but if he pitches well in the first half of this season, the White Sox should be able to get a lot for him in a trade.

Shane Bieber

As I just mentioned, the AL Central is the weakest division in baseball, but I think the Tigers and Royals will both be better than they were last season, so I would not be shocked if the Guardians were sellers at the trade deadline. The Guardians are coming off of a disappointing 2023 season, and did not make any major additions to their roster this offseason, so I’m not confident that they will be the best team in that division. However, two of the Guardians’ top prospects (Kyle Manzardo and Brayan Rocchio) will likely play a lot this year, so maybe they will be contributors right away and make the team a playoff contender. Cleveland also has a new manager this year (Stephen Vogt) after Terry Francona retired after 11 years as the team’s manager, so it is hard to project how the team will do, but if they struggle in the first few months of the year, I think Shane Bieber will be traded. Bieber has been extremely reliable in his career, will be a free agent after this season, and teams are always searching for quality starting pitching in the middle of the season. Lastly, the Guardians have a knack for developing starting pitching and have some other solid starting pitchers behind Bieber, so I think the Guardians would still consider trading Bieber even if they were only a few games back of the division lead by the end of July. Therefore, I think it is likely the Guardians will trade Bieber before the trade deadline.

Lane Thomas

Like Dylan Cease, Lane Thomas is signed via arbitration through the 2025 season, so I would not be surprised if the Nationals decided to hold onto Thomas and not trade him before the deadline, but I think it is worth noting that the Nationals have two outfield prospects, Dylan Crews and James Wood, that are the 7th and 14th overall prospects in baseball, respectively, according to’s prospect rankings. With these elite prospects waiting in the wings, I could see the Nationals deciding to trade Lane Thomas, who is coming off of a very good 2023 season in which he posted a 114 OPS+, with 28 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Since he is signed for the 2025 season via arbitration, the Nationals would likely get a fairly significant haul in return for Thomas, which might convince them to agree to a deal.

Aroldis Chapman

After signing with the Royals before the 2023 season, Aroldis Chapman was traded to the Texas Rangers, who were in pursuit of a World Series, and I think Chapman will have a similar experience this season, as he is currently on the Pirates, who few people think will be any good in 2024. Therefore, Chapman will likely be traded at the deadline for a second consecutive year, as he seems to have regained his form as a very good relief pitcher in this league. In 2023, Chapman pitched to a 145 ERA+, which is much more inline with his career ERA+ of 165 than the ERA+ of 89 that he pitched to in 2022 with the Yankees. As I said before, good relief arms are always in demand come the trade deadline, so it feels extremely likely that Chapman will be traded this season.

Willy Adames

When the Brewers traded Corbin Burnes to the Orioles a few weeks ago, they essentially signaled that they will not be going all-in to win this season. Therefore, it feels like shortstop Willy Adames, who, like Burnes, is a free agent after the 2024 season, will be traded between now and the trade deadline. Adames had a disappointing 2023 season, as he posted an OPS+ of 95, but his career OPS+ before last season was 110, so I think it is likely he will have a better season this year. Although his offensive output declined last year, Adames was still an elite defender, so I think he will be a player that contending teams want as the deadline approaches.

Ross Sutton

University of South Carolina Sport & Entertainment Management and Villanova School of Law graduate.

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