April 20, 2024

MLB insiders predict the 5 players most likely to get traded in spring training

We hope Dylan Cease is savoring every moment with his White Sox teammates this spring. By the last week in March, he might be savoring his moments with a whole new set of teammates.

Then there are Willy Adames and Devin Williams, no doubt loving life in Brewers camp. They might want to take note of the fact that Corbin Burnes’ stuff isn’t hanging in a locker there anymore.

In recent years, the blockbuster spring training trade has become more rare than a Myles Straw home-run trot. But maybe not this year.

In our annual spring training preview survey of executives, former executives, coaches and scouts, we asked the voters which player(s) they thought were most likely to get traded this spring. We’ve done this survey for over a decade, and usually, we get just a handful of names in this category. Again … not this year.

We got votes for 11 different players. And since these names are coming from inside the game, not from your favorite social media rumor specialists, it should make us all pay attention. Here are the five names at the top of that Most Likely to Get Traded leaderboard and their corresponding vote totals:

Dylan Cease — 14
Willy Adames — 5
Devin Williams — 4
Kenley Jansen4
Shane Bieber4

Dylan Cease throws this spring. Will he start the season with the White Sox? (Joe Camporeale / USA Today)

CEASE: Is it possible to argue that Cease’s vote total might actually be slightly misleading? He blew away the field, but that’s just a sign that his trade clock is ticking. Would it surprise anyone if he was dealt in July, at the trade deadline, as opposed to March, when the only deadline is the approach of Opening Day?

From one American League executive: “I think it’s one of those situations they’re open to trading him this spring, but that doesn’t mean that they do. I think historically, if they’re thinking about things, they know that people pay a ton for really good pitching at the deadline.”

But another Cease voter thinks waiting would be a massive mistake: “There is too much risk in holding him. If he gets hurt or underperforms again, he will lose significant value.”

The Brewers traded Josh Hader in 2022. Will they deal their current closer, Devin Williams, this year?  (Charles LeClaire / USA Today)

ADAMES AND WILLIAMS: It’s now been three weeks since the Brewers traded Burnes to the Orioles. So why would we think they’re done? Adames (like Burnes) is one year from free agency. Williams (like ex-Brewer Josh Hader in 2022) is two years away. And by dealing Burnes and Hader, the Brewers were telling the world exactly what their business model is.

From another rival exec: “They’ve already lost the ace (Burnes), and they’re going to lose more. They’re selling off the shortstop and the closer. So put them on (this list).”

JANSEN: It’s possible Jansen’s right lat soreness makes him untradeable, at least for now. But it’s too early to say if that will be the case all spring.

All we know is that he showed up on none of the first 20 votes in this survey — and then landed on four of the final 11. So is there any doubt about what the Red Sox front office would like to do, in a perfect, healthy universe?

BIEBER: Can we lump Bieber and the Guardians’ closer, Emmanuel Clase, in the same category, even though Bieber got four votes and Clase got two? Other front offices say the Guardians have been “listening” on both of them — which explains what their names are doing here.

But what’s the likelihood that they’ll actually be changing addresses before Opening Day? There was widespread skepticism about that. The Guardians are known for their methodical process before they trade anybody, at any time of the year. So most of their listening seems to be for the sake of assessing their players’ value and fit with other clubs — so that when they do get ready to hit the SEND button, they can move quickly and target the right teams and return.

Now, just for fun, here are the other players who received votes:

Emmanuel Clase — 2 
Jesús Luzardo 2
Ha-Seong Kim2
Edward Cabrera1
Anthony Santander 1
Manuel Margot1



Which teams, front offices and managers are feeling the most pressure? Insiders weigh in



2024 spring training survey: MLB insiders on the players, teams and stories to watch



What we learned from MLB’s schedule changes last year and what to watch for this season



Explaining MLB’s new push to enforce obstruction rule and curb base-blocking

(Top photo of Dylan Cease in 2023: Keith Gillett / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)