The Major League Baseball season is just over a month old. Arguably, the two biggest surprises so far have occurred in the American League as the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins lead their respective divisions. It is still early days and baseball’s heavy hitters have plenty of time to make a surge.
Rumors of possible blockbuster trades are already being reported as teams look to either strengthen their chances of making the playoffs or to move a soon-to-be free agent.
With the MLB season in full swing and teams looking at potential moves, here is a look at 3 possible player trades to watch out for as the summer approaches.
Zack Wheeler, SP – New York Mets
In the offseason, many baseball media outlets pondered the potential “fat contract” New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler will get next winter. Wheeler is in the last season of his current Mets contract and will be an unrestricted free agent after the World Series.
Wheeler is due $5.975 million this season. The Mets have gone all-in to win the National League as evidenced by their offseason player moves and Wheeler could be a major factor in a successful summer.
The right hander has started the season so-so with a 2-2 record and 5.05 ERA in six starts. The Mets have no reason to move Wheeler unless they are out of the playoff race. Currently, one game back of Philadelphia in the East, it is doubtful Wheeler moves unless the Mets have no shot at winning the division in late July.
Billy Hamilton, CF – Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals made the surprise offseason move of signing center fielder Billy Hamilton from the Cincinnati Reds. Hamilton’s contract is just for one season but does have a mutual option and $1m buyout clause.
So far, life in Kansas City hasn’t been great. Hamilton is hitting just .216 with a .298 on-base percentage after 84 plate appearances. He is also on the disabled list currently with an injury.
The Royals are on the hook for $7.5m next season which makes it seem likely they will move Hamilton before the trade deadline. Kansas City are already 11 games under .500.
Mark Trumbo, First base/OF – Baltimore Orioles
MLB teams are great at paying players for their past successes. We see it every season as a player gets a lucrative contract but fails to replicate his previous home runs, wins, or OBP. Mark Trumbo falls into that category as a big leaguer to get a massive deal but to fail to reach the same heights he once did.
Trumbo hit 47 home runs in 2016 and got a massive three-year, $37.5m contract. Since he was shown the money, he has declined in home runs and RBI in each season. Perhaps the issue for the decline was due to a knee injury, but Trumbo is in his early 30s, so there is fall off due to age.
Trumbo is currently rehabbing his peg after offseason knee surgery. He won’t be ready to play until the end of May at the earliest. If he fails to rehab and get fit for the second half of the season, the Orioles will have wasted over $13m on him this season alone. Trumbo is an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2019.