1 player each NL team could trade
The offseason may be on hold, but you can expect teams to start picking up the phones once the collective bargaining agreement is figured out. Free agency should be very active once the work stoppage is over, but don't forget about the trade market, which is a terrific avenue for teams to improve.
With that said, here are 15 National League players who could be wearing a new uniform in 2022.
*All table stats are from 2021
*Salary projections courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors
Arizona Diamondbacks: Ketel Marte, OF
2022 salary: $8 million
Marte would fetch a large haul if Arizona decides to rebuild. The 28-year-old owns a .318/.374/.543 slash line with 48 homers and 159 RBIs in 279 games over the last three seasons. He's also under contract through 2024 on a team-friendly deal with multiple club options.
Atlanta Braves: Travis d'Arnaud, C
2022 salary: $8 million
The Braves can afford to deal d'Arnaud after inking veteran backstop Manny Pina. D'Arnaud hit seven homers with a .671 OPS in 60 games during another injury-plagued campaign, while Pina went deep 13 times with a .732 OPS over 75 contests for the Brewers last season. Pina is also much cheaper, as his $4-million salary will cost Atlanta half of what d'Arnaud is set to make in 2022.
Chicago Cubs: Willson Contreras, C
Projected 2022 salary: $8.7 million
The writing is on the wall for Contreras in Chicago. The Cubs' front office has shown it's not afraid to deal veterans, and the two-time All-Star is one of the last remaining pieces from the 2016 championship team. The club also signed catcher Yan Gomes to a multi-year contract in free agency.
Cincinnati Reds: Luis Castillo, SP
Projected 2022 salary: $7.6 million
The 2019 All-Star could be the victim of a Reds salary dump. Cincinnati already got rid of Tucker Barnhart and Wade Miley for basically nothing. Castillo would be a good trade option for any team that fails to upgrade its rotation through free agency.
Colorado Rockies: Raimel Tapia, OF
Projected 2022 salary: $3.9 million
Tapia's ability to hit and steal bases makes him an attractive trade target. The 27-year-old owns a .286 average with 28 steals across 184 games over the last two years. He's also projected to make $3.9 million in 2022 for a Rockies team that isn't expected to do much.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Gavin Lux, 2B
2022 salary: $573,000
The Dodgers have been trying to find a way to consistently get Lux into their starting lineup, and the results have been mixed. The 24-year-old only slashed .242/.328/.364 last season while playing poor defense at four different positions outside of his natural spot at second base. With Chris Taylor re-signed and likely to get most of the reps at second, Lux could be on the move.
Milwaukee Brewers: Josh Hader, RP
Projected 2022 salary: $10 million
The three-time NL Reliever of the Year has been mentioned in trade rumors over the last few campaigns. It remains to be seen if the Brewers, a club not known for giving out big contracts, will ink Hader to a large extension with Devin Williams ready to take over as the closer. Hader has two more arbitration-eligible seasons before reaching free agency.
Miami Marlins: Pablo Lopez, SP
Projected 2022 salary: $2.5 million
The Marlins' rotation depth is strong, which could lead to a potential trade of Lopez to open up a spot for one of their budding hurlers like Sixto Sanchez, Braxton Garrett, or Max Meyer. Lopez has posted a sub-4.00 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning over the past two seasons and is tied to an affordable salary through arbitration in 2022.
New York Mets: Jeff McNeil, IF/OF
Projected 2022 salary: $2.8 million
McNeil is reportedly on the trade block after a disastrous 2021 campaign, which included an altercation with Francisco Lindor. The 2019 All-Star hit .311 or better in three straight seasons before last year, but the addition of Eduardo Escobar and return of Robinson Cano could see McNeil's playing time slashed.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Chris Stratton, RP
Projected 2022 salary: $2.2 million
Stratton has been found money for the Pirates after they nabbed him from the Los Angeles Angels for cash in 2019. The right-hander owns a 3.69 ERA with 172 strikeouts across 156 innings since arriving in Pittsburgh, making him a valuable trade piece for the rebuilding Pirates.
Philadelphia Phillies: Didi Gregorius, SS
2022 salary: $14.5 million
After a solid first campaign for the Phillies in 2020, Gregorius was worth zero WAR last season, according to FanGraphs. His power evaporated and his glove - minus-10 defensive runs saved - wasn't doing the Phillies any favors either. It might be time for Philadelphia to eat the majority of the veteran's $14.5-million salary and offload him to anyone with interest.
San Diego Padres: Eric Hosmer, 1B
2022 salary: $20 million
The Padres discussed a Hosmer deal with the Cubs last summer to rid themselves of the remainder of his contract - $59 million over the next four years - so it wouldn't be surprising if they traded him. The four-time Gold Glover is praised for his leadership qualities but only slashed .269/.337/.395 last season.
San Francisco Giants: Darin Ruf, IF/OF
Projected 2022 salary: $2.6 million
Ruf has been incredible since returning from a three-year stint in Korea, but the Giants have an excess of outfielders on the big-league roster, which could make him expendable. Steven Duggar is also a trade option, but his ability to play center field at the cavernous Oracle Park might be enough for San Francisco to keep him over Ruf.
St. Louis Cardinals: Paul DeJong, SS
2022 salary: $6 million
DeJong went from being an All-Star in 2019 to a bench player in St. Louis after two miserable seasons where he combined to hit .213/.295/.378 with an 86 wRC+. The 28-year-old still has value due to his above-average defense and ability to hit the long ball, so the Cardinals should be able to find a trade partner.
Washington Nationals: Victor Robles, OF
Projected 2022 salary: $1.7 million
Robles was one of baseball's top rising stars after enjoying a solid start to his big-league career, which included a sixth-place finish for NL Rookie of the Year in 2019 when the Nationals won the World Series. He's tapered off since, but there's still promise there for teams interested in taking a chance on the 24-year-old, who's projected to fill a bench role in Washington next season.