Mookie Betts is a four-time All-Star and former American League MVP that led the Boston Red Sox to their ninth World Series title in 2018. Kris Bryant is a three-time All-Star and former National League MVP that helped the Chicago Cubs to snap a 108-year World Series drought in 2016. Francisco Lindor is a four-time All-Star, the fifth most valuable player in baseball since the beginning of the 2016 season (per FanGraphs), and at age 26, may have the brightest future of anyone in this trio.
The reason they are lumped together is because "multiple MLB team executives" told MLB.com's Jon Morosi in November that they expect at least one of them will be dealt this offseason.
With that in mind, let's get weird. The MLB Winter Meetings - which begin on Dec. 8 - are approaching, so here's five trade ideas that are at least within the realm of possibility:
Braves Acquire Francisco Lindor From Cleveland Indians
We've previously examined Francisco Lindor's trade market more extensively, but the Braves match up extremely well in a potential trade.
The Braves possess a slew of young arms, at or near the major league level. National League Rookie of the Year runner-up Mike Soroka isn't going anywhere, but Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson and Kyle Muller could all be of interest to the Indians.
Outfield prospect Drew Waters is the No. 23 prospect in all of baseball. That said, he's not even the top outfielding prospect in the Braves' system, with 21-year-old Christian Pache the No. 11 prospect in the sport. With Pache and Ronald Acuna Jr., who the Braves can control at a very team-friendly rate through 2028, perhaps the Braves could be talked into parting with Waters.
Braves' shortstop Dansby Swanson, who is still only 25, could offer the Indians an immediate replacement for Lindor in 2020. Swanson homered 17 times and drove in 65 runs in 2019, and is under team control through 2022.
The Braves are the two-time defending National League East Champions, but they've lost in the NLDS in consecutive years. Their division rivals, the Washington Nationals, won the World Series after sneaking in as a Wild Card team. Both the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies expect to compete in 2020 as well.
In 2020 and moving forward, the Braves will likely need to win 95-100 games to win the National League East. They've already signed lefty reliever Will Smith, re-signed right-handed reliever Darren O'Day and added catcher Travis d'Arnaud. Adding Lindor in a trade, even if his addition would likely only be for the next two seasons, would make them the overwhelming favorites in the National League East, if not the entire National League.
San Diego Padres Acquire Matthew Boyd From Detroit Tigers
The Padres aren't messing around.
They've already signed lefty reliever Drew Pomeranz to a three-year deal, bolstering a bullpen that also includes Kirby Yates, who had a career-high 41 saves in 2019.
Next up is adding to their starting rotation.
They've been connected to free-agent righty Zack Wheeler. At least from a speculative sense, they make sense as a suitor for San Diego native Stephen Strasburg, though it appears the reigning World Series MVP is likely to return to the Washington Nationals. It's possible that the trade market could be their best path to adding onto their starting rotation.
Detroit Tigers southpaw Matthew Boyd could be an interesting target. The 28-year-old posted a 4.56 ERA and 4.32 FIP across 185.1 innings for the Padres in 2019. While he wouldn't provide the same type of impact that Strasburg or Wheeler would, he can't become a free agent until after the 2022 season, which makes him appealing as a middle-to-back-end-of-the-rotation innings eating option.
Chris Paddack posted a 3.33 ERA across 140.2 innings in his rookie season. Lefty Mackenzie Gore is the No. 4 ranked prospect in all of baseball, and he's expected to make his major league debut in 2020. Adding the stability of Boyd to their rotation could help the Padres to reach the postseason for the first time since 2006.
Chicago White Sox Acquire Mitch Haniger From Seattle Mariners
The White Sox haven't made the playoffs since 2008, and the Mariners have worked to cut costs over the last calendar year, which makes this an interesting trade possibility.
Haniger, 28, had a pretty miserable 2019 season. He hit just .220 in 246 at-bats, before rupturing his testicle on a foul boul in June, which ended his season.
Still, Haniger is just two years removed from hitting 26 home runs, driving in 93 runs and posting a 4.5 fWAR in an All-Star season. He has three years of team control remaining, so adding him in a trade could allow the Mariners to stabilize their outfield for years to come. Eloy Jiminez is a budding superstar in left field, and their top prospect, outfielder Luis Robert, finished 2019 in Triple-A, so he's likely to debut at some point in 2020 in center field.
The White Sox have been very active early this offseason, signing first baseman Jose Abreu to a lucrative three-year deal and luring All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal to the south side of Chicago in free agency.
Philadelphia Phillies Acquire Blake Treinen From Oakland Athletics
Of the trades on this list, this has the potential to happen the soonest.
The A's have to decide by next Monday whether to tender a contract to Treinen for 2020. Following a disappointing 2019 season, it feels unlikely they'll retain him, as he's projected to earn $7.8 million in arbitration. That said, there's enough interest that the Athletics should be able to find a trade for him, as opposed to non-tendering him. Indeed Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic says that Treinen is among a trio of players that the Athletics have considered trading.
As noted earlier this offseason, the Phillies need to add some juice to their bullpen if they want to compete in a deep National League East in 2020. At his best, Treinen provides that, as he's just two seasons removed from posting a 0.78 ERA and 38 saves in 68 games.
St. Louis Cardinals Acquire Charlie Blackmon From Colorado Rockies
While it's unclear where the Cardinals stand on Blackmon today, there is a strong history of interest here, and rumors continued as recently as July's trade deadline.
Charlie Blackmon is one of the most popular players to ever play for the Rockies, but the 33-year-old has rapidly declined defensively over the past two seasons. While he's still productive as an offensive piece, he's taken a step back from his peak in 2017, when he slashed .331/.399/.601 with 37 home runs and 104 RBIs.
With Trevor Story and Jon Gray both eligible for free agency after the 2021 season, the Rockies could stand to get out from under the up to $73 million remaining on Blackmon's contract.
The Cardinals, while probably not eager to take on the bulk of the money still owed to Blackmon, would improve their World Series chances by adding his bat to a lineup that already includes Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong. This type of trade may be their only opportunity to part ways with Dexter Fowler, who is owed just shy of $30 million over the next two seasons.
There obviously would have to be more going back to Colorado than just Fowler, but swapping one bad deal for another that looks like it won't age especially well is an interesting concept.