While it will be hard to top a trade deadline that saw the San Diego Padres acquire both Juan Soto and Josh Hader, this upcoming offseason could feature a slew of stars on the move.
Beyond a free agent class that might be headlined by Aaron Judge and Trea Turner, here's an early look ahead at five MLB stars that could be traded this winter:
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
It's going to be hard for the Angels to come to grips with how badly they've bungled the Ohtani/Mike Trout era, but they may not have a choice this offseason. The reigning American League MVP can become a free agent after the 2023 season. If general manager Perry Minasian can't convince the two-way superstar to sign an extension in the winter, they'll have no choice but to seriously entertain trade offers for him. For what it's worth, Jon Heyman of The New York Post says that the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Padres all had interest in Ohtani prior to the Angels deciding not to move him before the trade deadline. Landing Soto likely takes the Padres out of the equation, but there will be plenty of interest in Ohtani if the Angels decide to move him.
Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
Between 2018 and 2019, Bellinger slashed .283/.375/.550 with 72 home runs, a .925 OPS and 11.4 fWAR. But since the start of the 2020 season, Bellinger has slashed just .199/.273/.371 with 35 home runs, 107 RBIs, a .644 OPS and 1.7 fWAR. The former National League MVP is an obvious change-of-scenery candidate, and it's possible that comes in the form of a non-tender from the Dodgers. But if there's a team willing to pay him a relatively large salary in his final year of arbitration eligibility, Bellinger is still only 27 and offers tremendous positional flexibility. If he can get back on track offensively, look out.
Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies
Hoskins is one of the most respected voices in the Phillies clubhouse, and when he's hot, he can hit in the middle of a contending team's lineup. The problem is that Dave Dombrowski and company may need to consider the possibility of upgrading their defense this offseason. That may mean Alec Bohm -- who has -14 defensive runs saved and -6 outs above average at third base -- moves across the diamond. It may mean Kyle Schwarber -- who has -6 defensive runs saved and -5 outs above average in left field -- moves to first base. The Phillies have signed Schwarber, Nick Castellanos and Bryce Harper all well into their 30s. It's entirely possible that the Phillies bring Hoskins back for his final year of arbitration eligibility, but don't be shocked if the 29-year-old ends up getting traded this winter.
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox
Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox made an extension offer to Devers this past spring, but Jon Heyman of The New York Post hears that it was "about half of what he is said to be seeking," suggesting that the star third baseman is targeting a deal around $300 million. If the Red Sox aren't prepared to get serious in their offers to Devers -- which, frankly, they should be -- then why should we believe he won't be traded before his walk year like Mookie Betts was? Interest in Devers, one of the best hitters in baseball, would be off the charts.
Shane Bieber, Cleveland Guardians
While Jeff Passan suggested that the Guardians would have an "exorbitant" price on Bieber, he did report in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline that the team would at least be willing to hear offers on the former American League Cy Young Award winner, if for nothing more than due diligence. Well, with two full years until free agency, it would hardly be shocking if there's a team or two willing to make an offer so impressive that Mike Chernoff and company at least have to ponder it.