An MLB executive chuckled last week about the trade market of 2015-16. "Nobody wants to do a small trade," he said. "They only want to talk about big trades."
The Dodgers made the complicated deal last winter -- multiple deals, really -- that involved the Marlins, Phillies, Angels, Howie Kendrick, Andrew Heaney and Dee Gordon. This winter, the Dodgers were part of a three-team deal with the Reds and White Sox, with headliner Todd Frazier landing in Chicago. As teams seemingly get closer to being able to identifying true value, this is a time of big concepts and big deals, like the eight-player trade between the Phillies and Rangers that involved Cole Hamels.
It seems likely that this trend will continue through the 2016 season, especially because club officials assume they will not be able to find help in what looks to be an incredibly thin free-agent class next fall -- or in another lackluster class in the fall of 2017, for that matter.
There will continue to be a ton of trade discussion during the 2016 season involving star-level players. Some officials believe that these players could be involved in serious trade discussions next summer:
Sonny Gray, Oakland. If the Athletics are better than expected, they could always keep Gray, who has provided high-end production on the cheap; he'll be arbitration-eligible for the first time next winter. But if the Athletics follow their business model of the past 20 years, then at some point they'll move Gray, as they did Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill, while he still has peak value.
Jose Fernandez, Marlins. If Miami contends, the Marlins will keep him. If they struggle, it only makes sense they'll see what they could get for him, as they did last month.