The 2016 MLB free-agent market isn’t a good one, which means the best way to add talent this offseason will likely be through trades.

After seeing what the Chicago Cubs were able to accomplish with a young core of players who were either drafted by the team or acquired before reaching the majors, front offices will likely be cautious about dealing away their prospects. However, there is some elite, proven talent available for those willing to roll the dice.

Here is a look at a few big names who could be on the move in the coming weeks and months of the MLB offseason.


Derek Holland, LHP, Texas Rangers

Although Derek Holland isn’t the pitcher he was a few years back, he could still have some value for a team willing to bet on a return to form.

The 30-year-old pitcher has an $11 million option for the upcoming season, which the Rangers weren’t planning on picking up, per T.R. Sullivan of The organization has until Monday to make a final decision.

In addition to keeping the player or not, another choice would be to trade him. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported last week “the club is proactively making phone calls to gauge a market for the 30-year-old left-hander.”

The price tag is high for a pitcher who posted a 4.95 ERA this past season and only has 38 appearances (35 starts) in the last three seasons. However, he has finally gotten his strength back and isn’t too far removed from the 2013 season where he posted a 3.42 ERA in 213 innings.

Whether he stays with the Rangers or goes elsewhere, the value could be there if Holland returns to form and reaches his potential.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports also added the secondary team option after next season being a factor.

An interested team can take a small risk on a talented pitcher and hope he succeeds. A strong season could result in a reasonable contract for 2018, while a poor year can result in terminating the deal for just a $1 million buyout, per

Texas probably won’t expect much in return, but there could be nice upside for whoever is willing to make a deal.


Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

There is no denying Miguel Cabrera being one of the top hitters of his generation. He’s been to 11 All-Star Games, is a two-time MVP, won the Triple Crown and still put up elite numbers even in a down 2016.

He finished this past season with a .316 batting average, 38 home runs and 108 RBI. The problem is he did so on a team that missed the playoffs and is getting older. Cabrera is 33 years old and is under contract through at least 2023 at an average of over $30 million per season.

Even as one of the best hitters in the game, it’s understandable for the Tigers to see what the player is worth on the open market.

As Buster Olney of reported, the Tigers “will listen to trade offers on everybody,” including Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler.

Olney did note some potential road blocks on a deal for Cabrera, however. He explained, “Detroit would probably have to eat a significant portion of his deal or take on a bad contract to make something happen, and Cabrera can block any proposed trade.”

Even with the challenge, general manager Al Avila noted in October, per Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, “We have to be open-minded to anything.”

Avila added: “We’re going to go out and talk to 29 other clubs and see how we can start, little by little, making this team leaner, younger, more efficient, and at the same time, staying competitive, trying to get to the playoffs.”

Craig Edwards of FanGraphs discussed the possibility of packaging Cabrera and Verlander in one blockbuster trade, possibly targeting the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees.

A move like this would not be easy, but you can be certain a lot of teams will figure out what it would take to add an elite hitter like this one.


Chris Sale, LHP, Chicago White Sox

It was almost a surprise Chris Sale wasn’t traded last season considering all of the discussion about a possible move. However, the Chicago White Sox might finally pull the trigger this offseason.

“More than one GM has said that White Sox GM Rick Hahn is open for business on just about his entire roster,” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote. “That includes Chris Sale and the rest of the rotation.”

Cafardo noted the Red Sox would be interested in a move in order to create an elite rotation that already features David Price and Rick Porcello, among others. The Houston Astros are also listed as a possibility as a team that could target either Sale or Sonny Gray.

Unlike Holland or Cabrera, Sale is a relative steal at his current price. While his salary rises to $12 million for 2017, this is still relatively cheap for a pitcher who has been one of the best in baseball over the past few years.

The southpaw has finished in the top six of the Cy Young voting in each of the past four seasons and has been selected to five straight All-Star Games. He finished this past season with 17 wins, a 3.34 ERA and a career-high 226.2 innings pitched. He led the American League with six complete games.

Sale is as consistent as they come, and whoever acquires him can keep him for two additional seasons on reasonable team options provided he continues to play at this same level. The White Sox will want a big return, but in a weak free-agent market, this is a rare game-changing talent.


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