Although the winter meetings are sure to bring plenty of shakeups across Major League Baseball, the trade hot stove is already kicking into high gear with several huge names reportedly available for the right price.

Many of the top free agents remain untouched thus far, and while those dominoes promise to fall in the near future, some of the biggest moves made this offseason may occur on the trade market due to an apparent willingness to orchestrate some blockbuster swaps.

As the trade winds continue to blow, here is a closer look at some of the top players rumored to be available leading up to the winter meetings.


Andrew McCutchen

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen has long been among the most consistent producers in the game, but on the heels of arguably his worst full season in Major League Baseball, his time with the Bucs may be running out.

According to’s Jayson Stark, the Pirates and Washington Nationals have had talks involving McCutchen with Pittsburgh potentially having interest in pitchers Joe Ross and Reynaldo Lopez.

Mark Zuckerman of confirmed the talks and added that the Pirates may be looking to acquire Lopez, outfield prospect Victor Robles and one other player.

The 2016 season was undoubtedly a disappointment for McCutchen, as he hit a career-low .256 with 24 home runs, 79 RBI and a career-low six stolen bases.

McCutchen was an All-Star in each of the previous five seasons and finished fifth or better in the NL MVP voting in each of the previous four seasons, including winning the award in 2013.

While 2016 was a down year, McCutchen was one of MLB‘s top five-tool threats for several seasons leading up to that. He has hit at least 21 home runs every seasons since 2011, he drove in at least 83 runs every year from 2011 through 2015 and he has stolen 20 or more bases in a season five times, although his attempts have gone down progressively over the past four years.

McCutchen also won a Gold Glove in center field in 2012, and he has enough range to cover a ton of ground when healthy.

It is possible that McCutchen‘s best days are behind him at 30 years of age, so Pittsburgh’s interest in trading him is understandable.

Washington’s interest in acquiring him is equally understandable, though, since he could combine with Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner to form one of the most potent lineups in baseball.

The price may be steep in terms of young players, but a returned-to-form McCutchen may be exactly what the Nats need to reach the next level.


Chris Sale

Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale is undoubtedly among the top pitchers in baseball, but he could be on the move, as the struggling Sox look to shake things up.

According to Jon Heyman of, the Nationals, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers are the top teams that have show interest in dealing for the electric lefty.

Heyman also noted the type of value Chicago is hoping to land in return:

The 27-year-old has been a starting pitcher for five seasons, and he has finished sixth or better in American League Cy Young voting in each of those seasons.

Sale tied his career high with 17 wins last season to go along with a 3.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 233 strikeouts in 226.2 innings.

Few pitchers in baseball have nastier stuff than Sale, and the fact that he is both tall and a lefty makes him seem nearly unhittable at times.

A well-documented outburst that saw Sale cut up the team’s throwback jerseys last season may have soured his relationship with the organization, and it is fair to wonder if it is playing a role in Chicago’s potential desire to deal him.

The White Sox are a team that can’t seem to escape mediocrity, however, and the easiest way to take a different approach is by trading a star that will bring back multiple assets.

Sale would do precisely that, and he could also make a team a top World Series contender due to his ability to anchor a starting rotation.


Jay Bruce

Following the return of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets in free agency, Jay Bruce’s days in the Big Apple could be numbered.

The Mets acquired Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds prior to the trade deadline last season, and although he hit 33 home runs overall and was named to his third All-Star team, he hit just .217 with eight homers and 19 RBI in 50 games with the Mets.

That makes him expendable, and one team that has shown major interest is the Toronto Blue Jays, according to’s Jerry Crasnick.

The Jays may lose both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in free agency, and they will be in dire need of additional power should that happen.

Bruce is a streaky player, but the 29-year-old has 241 career home runs to his credit, including four seasons with 30 or more homers.

Toronto plays in a hitter-friendly ballpark much like Cincinnati, so Bruce could bounce back from his rough stretch with the Mets should a trade be consummated.

Bruce isn’t as reliable as Bautista and Encarnacion when they are healthy, but he would come at a cheaper price and the commitment wouldn’t be as great since he can become a free agent next offseason.

A similar player in Mark Trumbo made the leap to the AL East last season and enjoyed a career year with the Baltimore Orioles, and something similar could occur for Bruce in Toronto.


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