The Cubs’ Willson Contreras surprisingly leads the list of MLB trade candidates who have gone nowhere.

The Cubs’ Willson Contreras surprisingly leads the list of MLB trade candidates who have gone nowhere.


The 2022 MLB trade deadline came and went on Tuesday, and the event was certainly notable for the number of headline trades that went down — namely, the mass landing of Juan Soto in San Diego. But now let’s take a moment to pay attention to the players not at all He beat him.

The trade deadline is full of speculation and rumors about trades, just like actual trades and rumors that never happen. In recent years, this phenomenon has been exacerbated by front offices that prefer to do as little as possible and seem happy to occupy a comfortable space between controversy and necessity. Maybe that was at work in some areas this year, or maybe the divide between what teams want and what teams can get is to blame. Regardless of the underlying reason, here’s a list of names we expected to see dealt before the deadline but ultimately didn’t.

Contreras, 30, is enjoying perhaps the best season of his career, which is why it’s surprising that he’s still on the unbeaten Cubs. In 86 games for the Cubs in 2022, he hit .252/.365/.453 (129). OPS+) with 14 home runs and 20 doubles. He made his third All-Star appearance earlier this season. For his career, Contreras owns a 114 OPS+ in seven major league seasons, all with the Cubs. Contreras’ production at the plate is even more impressive compared to his peers. For his career, Contreras has a slash line of .258/.351/.457, while the average MLB catcher has a line of .236/.307/.392 over the same period.

Contreras is owed $9.63 million in salary for 2022, and is scheduled for free agency this summer. In the absence of an extension, it would have been a hire purchase. But now the Cubs could work out an extension this offseason or make him a qualifying offer and possibly get a compensatory draft pick when he signs elsewhere.

Contreras was a good fit for this. New York MetsBut alas and alas and all.

The soon-to-be-28-year-old Happ boasts positional versatility, and has a 113 OPS+ to go with it. He’s even better this season, his first All-Star campaign. Happ isn’t eligible for free agency until next season, so he’s a candidate for a winter trade or possibly an extension in Chicago.

We’re putting these two together because it’s understandable why the Giants, 4 1/2 games out of the last playoff spot in the NL, opted for the status quo. Rodon is putting together his second straight impressive season, and given the usual demand for starting pitching, he’s no doubt piqued trade interest. Teams, however, may be upset that Rodon has an opt-out in his contract or a $22.5 million salary for 2023. As for Pederson, the left-hander could be eligible on a modest one-year deal. For many competitors. But the Giants are mostly waiting on the bandwagon.

Murphy is an accomplished defender who has put up solid offensive numbers for the position. It is under group control until 2025. It’s a bit of a surprise that the AS’s stayed in Oakland, given that they traded away everything that wasn’t nailed down except for Murphy. Teams are sometimes reluctant to move catchers up the middle, so you might think the A’s could get more for Murphy during the offseason. Or you may see it as a long-term fit. Since the A’s powers that be seem completely devoted to spending tax dollars on a new ballpark, they’ve probably forgotten about it.

Boston’s recent moves haven’t exactly been consistent, as it doesn’t act like a traditional buyer or seller. The team has made several memorable trades, and given that, it’s no surprise that Martinez still calls Fenway Park home. That said, there’s been a lot of smoke surrounding the Martinez swap, and GM Chaim Bloom seems to be working on an ultimately meaningless love affair when it comes to trades.



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