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Monday, July 4, 2022
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MLB players who will be on the move once the lockout ends

The MLB lockout has caused a freeze in free agent signings and trades this winter, but we’re set for a frenzy whenever the stoppage ends. Here’s a look at 25 prominent players who could be on the move.

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Bryant had a rebound season offensively between the Cubs and Giants before heading to free agency, posting an .835 OPS with 25 home runs last season. His defensive versatility makes him a fit for several teams.

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Nick Castellanos, RF, Reds

Nick Castellanos, RF, Reds

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Castellanos established himself as one of the game’s elite hitters during two seasons in Cincinnati, including hitting .309-34-100 last season. While limited defensively, Castellanos would be a welcomed addition for any team needing a middle-of-the-order hitter.

Matt Chapman, 3B, OAK

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Chapman remains one of the elite defensive third basemen in the game, winning his third Gold Glove last year, but he hit only .210 following hip surgery. Oakland could have a firesale following the lockout, putting Chapman on the trade block with two more years before free agency.

Willson Contreras, C, Cubs

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Contreras has been a constant subject of trade rumors over the last few years, and the Cubs added fuel to the fire by signing catcher Yan Gomes just before the lockout. Chicago should be able to get plenty in return for one of the game’s top catchers, especially after Contreras posted a career-best 4.1 WAR last season with 21 home runs and excellent defense.

Michael Conforto, RF, FA

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Conforto is a strong fit for a short-term deal after his nightmarish 2021 season when he hit only .232-14-55 in 125 games. The Mets might not be in the running to bring him back, however, after the team signed Starling Marte and Mark Canha.

Carlos Correa, SS, FA

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Correa is eying a record-breaking contract at age 27. He had an excellent walk year, finishing fifth in the AL MVP voting and winning a Gold Glove. He hit .279-26-92 with an .850 OPS for Houston.

Nelson Cruz, DH, FA

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Cruz continues to age like a fine wine, hitting .265-32-86 between Minnesota and Tampa Bay last season. He will turn 42 in July but remains an excellent addition to any lineup at DH.

Freddie Freeman, 1B, FA

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Some might not believe that Freeman would leave Atlanta, but the lack of an agreement to this point is creating some anxiety for the Braves faithful. After winning the NL MVP in 2020, Freeman hit .300-31-83 last season, leading the NL in plate appearances and runs scored.

Zack Greinke, SP, FA

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Greinke is now far from his Cy Young form as he approaches age 40, but he’s still a viable innings eater. The right-hander threw 171 innings last season for Houston with a 4.16 ERA.

Kenley Jansen, RP, FA

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The top closer on the market, Jansen could be on the move after 12 seasons with the Dodgers. He had a great 2021 season with a 2.22 ERA in 69 appearances, adjusting his repertoire.

Clayton Kershaw, SP, FA

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There are major questions about Kershaw’s health after missing much of the second half to an elbow injury. He was still excellent when he did pitch, with a 3.55 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 121.2 innings over 22 starts. After some time in the offseason to get healthy, Kershaw could be a bargain.

Andrew McCutchen, OF, FA

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McCutchen hit 27 home runs with the Phillies last season but might fit best as a DH option with defense that has slipped in his mid-30’s. The former MVP is still a solid offensive contributor and veteran presence.

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Josh Harrison, 2B, FA

Josh Harrison, 2B, FA

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Harrison did a nice job for Washington and Oakland last year, hitting posting a .741 OPS with still strong defense. It remains to be seen if Harrison will get another chance as a regular, but he should at least be a fine platoon player.

Craig Kimbrel, RP, CHW

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There’s major speculation Kimbrel will be on the move again after he was acquired by the White Sox last season. The team already signed Kendall Graveman in the offseason and could get a nice return for Kimbrel from a closer-needy team. The right-hander had a great rebound season in 2021, with 24 saves and a 2.26 ERA, along with 100 strikeouts in 59.2 innings.

Joc Pederson, OF, FA

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Pederson did not play much late in the regular season after the Braves acquired him from the Cubs, but he was a hero in the playoffs. That should be enough to get him another opportunity as a regular, despite posting a .732 OPS last season.

Tommy Pham, OF, FA

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Pham overcame a scary off-field incident last offseason to hit .15 home runs in 155 games. Turning 34 in March, Pham could have a tough time finding a long-term contract, but should still get an opportunity as a regular somewhere.

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Matt Olson, 1B, OAK

Matt Olson, 1B, OAK

Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today Sports Images

Olson is quickly becoming a superstar, which makes the A’s could have an opportunity to net a huge return if they have a firesale. He hit .271-39-111 with a .911 OPS last season, showing much-improved contact.

Eddie Rosario, OF, FA

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Rosario had a forgettable 2021 regular season but made up for it with a great playoff run. His track record should offset any concerns, as Rosario had a career .788 OPS over six seasons in Minnesota before his regular-season struggles early last year with Cleveland.

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, FA

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The last two years have shown a clear decline in Rizzo’s bat, but he remains a viable option at first base after hitting 22 home runs between the Cubs and Yankees last season. It’s possible he signs a short-term deal to rehab his value.

Kyle Schwarber, OF, FA

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Schwarber made his first All-Star appearance last year, finishing the season with 32 home runs and a career-high .928 OPS in 113 games. He will be a popular free agent, especially if the NL adds the DH.

Jorge Soler, RF, FA

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After a slow start to the year with KC, Soler got on track with Atlanta late in the season. He posted a .882 OPS in 55 games during the regular season and was one of the team’s top players during the playoffs. Soler is best employed as a DH, but his power can overcome his defensive deficiencies.

Carlos Rodon, SP, FA

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Rodon had a tremendous year for the White Sox after years of arm problems, going 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA in 24 starts. Concerns remain after he missed time with should issues, but it’s likely he will be paid for his upside.

Trevor Story, SS, FA

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One of the faces of the Rockies franchise over the last six seasons, Story is destined to go elsewhere after his third 20/20 season. His offensive numbers are likely to take a hit outside of Coors Field, but Story remains an excellent middle infield option.

Ryan Tepera, RP, FA

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Tepera is coming off his best season, posting a 2.79 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 61.1 innings for the Cubs and White Sox. With added strikeouts over the last two seasons, Tepera could get an opportunity to close games.

Jonathan Villar, IF, FA

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Villar was a great addition as a utilityman for the Mets last year, finishing the season with 18 home runs and 14 stolen bases. His difficulties getting on base are a concern, but Villar’s speed and defensive versatility remain very valuable.

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