2021 MLB Trade Rumors: Five Intriguing Trade Targets

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2021 MLB trade rumors have been the hot topic recently with the signing of George Springer and the rumors of Trevor Bauer, many fans are seemingly forgetting about some of the players that could be available via the trade market.

Given the financial issues that many teams suffered the free-agent market just isn’t an option for them or they simply just can’t afford the top players available and will possibly have to rely on their farm system to bring them in win-now players.

The remaining 2021 MLB Free Agents available would leave teams above the luxury tax or just flat out no money left to resign others, with that being said here are five players that teams should explore the idea of trading for.

2021 MLB Trade Rumors: Save Money And Sell Farm Pieces

German Marquez

Through four seasons pitching for the Colorado Rockies, German Marquez has quickly become one of the more underrated pitchers in today’s game. Marquez has pitched to a career 4.24 ERA over 106 career starts.

Now an ERA over 4.00 and the word “underrated” might not look like they go together, but when you take an easy look at his home/road splits, It will be clear why “The Coors Effect” is still very much a thing.

Home: 293 InningsRoad: 341.1 Innings
5.10 ERA3.51 ERA
3.89 FIP3.82 FIP
3.82 xFIP3.82 xFIP
.287 Batting Average Against.233 Batting Average Against
.465 Slugging% Against.400 Slugging% Against

Among the free agents still available, not many with as much upside as Marquez are tradable for less or equal to Marquez’s very team-friendly deal that doesn’t expire until 2023 and carries an AAV of $8.6 Million.

Marquez is only two seasons removed from a breakout 2017 campaign that saw him strike out 10.56 per nine innings through 196 innings, both of those numbers remain career highs for Marquez who is still only entering his age 26 season and finds himself on a Colorado team that had rumors of Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story trade discussions happening. Marquez isn’t “available” but that doesn’t mean he won’t be sometime soon.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez

The Toronto Blue Jays were big spenders getting one of if not the biggest name among free agents, but it has complicated things in the outfield for the Blue Jays who have been rumored to be in the market for starting pitchers and had previously dangled Lourdes Gurriel in a deal for former Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.

In the Jays outfield, Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel are the most likely options to be dealt with both on team-friendly deals and the fact that they would be more appealing, thus bringing in a much better return than fellow teammate Randal Grichuk would via trade.

Both Hernandez and Gurriel had career years in 2020, with Teoscar Hernandez putting up a .289/.340/.579 slash-line along with 16 home runs and a 143 wRC+. Gurriel has been nothing short of impressive with his time on the Jays and has continued to improve his plate discipline numbers all three seasons; in 2020, Gurriel hit an impressive .308/.348/.534 slash line with a career-best 135 wRC+. Both players have made improvements on the ball’s defensive side, and both can cover each corner outfield at a respectable level.

Kyle Hendricks:

Recently, TSN reporter Scott Mitchell confirmed that there has been at least dialogue about the idea of Hendricks coming to Toronto but Mitchell also stated the talks may not be ongoing or serious talks and its more touching base, but that’s where all trades start.

Since coming into the league in Hendricks has made a name for himself despite being one of the “softest tossers” in all of MLB. Hendricks has a fastball that over the years has averaged at 87 mph, and despite the questions of his velocity, Hendricks has been one of the best starters since making his debut in 2014.

Hendricks holds a career 3.12 ERA and finished third in the Cy Young voting after an amazing 2016 season. In his career, Hendricks hasn’t had an ERA above 3.50, all while having a K/9 of less than eight per nine innings, but Hendricks combats that with his control that has to lead to an impressive 1.94 walks per nine innings throughout his career.

Among free agents, none have shown the consistency over the years than Hendricks. Despite not having the upside of a Trevor Bauer in free agency, Hendricks would bring the consistency as a mid-rotation starter for a contending team.

Mitch Haniger:

Mitch Haniger, who has missed over 150 games over the past two seasons, In 2019 Haniger was having a down season and was shut down less than halfway through the season after fouling a ball off his groin region that would ultimately lead to a ruptured testicle which would later cause back problems and would ultimately wipe out the rest of his season.

2020 was not much nicer to Haniger as he would miss the entire season recovering from back and core surgeries that he underwent in January. Now fully healthy and in the words of Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais in an interview for The Seattle News Tribune

What he looks like today, as opposed to what he looked like this time last year, is entirely different. He looks strong. He looks physical. He’s going through full baseball activity in a high-speed way that he just wasn’t able to do at any point over the last year-and-a-half

Haniger will be entering his age 30 season. With Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez, and Taylor Trammell all slowly approaching the major leagues, Haniger could be involved in trade talks as early as next season.

In three years as a Seattle Mariner, Haniger has been one of the most consistent hitters for the Mariners; despite the career-low 2019 season Haniger still holds an impressive .271/.351/.486 slash line since coming over via trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks. In those three years, Haniger has 57 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 1376 plate appearances, along with a 128 wRC+.

Before the injuries, Haniger was impressive in the field and will be an upgrade for any team looking for a corner outfielder. Among free agents, none have the combination on both sides of the ball that Haniger has. Jackie Bradley the most notable defensive specialist remaining, but he doesn’t share the same hitting ability as Haniger.

Although Haniger hasn’t technically been shopped around but given the talent on its way to Seattle, it’s only a matter of time before the rumors begin surrounding one of the best available bats on the trade market.

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Murray is a college student attending Humber College for Sport Business, can be found on Twitter at @_MurrayBrown