MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Youth or dare: 9 young players on move?

Quick glance at players under 27 who could be traded

Youth or dare: 9 young players on move?

Five of the six finalists for the Most Valuable Player Awards were guys who played in 2016 at age 26 or younger. And spoiler alert: None of them is going to be traded this winter.

But in a game that, as evidenced by that finalist field, increasingly revolves around young and controllable talent, there are actually several other young bodies who do have the potential to be dealt.

Here are some young guys -- all of whom will be south of 27 on Opening Day 2017 -- who qualify as trade possibilities.

Jurickson Profar, Rangers

He'll be 24 on Opening Day, he's versatile and Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels calls him a "winning piece." It's a piece Daniels would be reluctant to part with, and maybe his uninspiring slash (.239/.321/.338) in 90 games in the bigs this past season limits his trade value.

But every scout in baseball knows of Profar's talent, and his '16 ought to be graded on a curve, anyway, given that he missed two full seasons of development due to shoulder issues. Most likely, the Rangers keep him, but Profar doesn't have a set role in their infield (he currently shapes up as a super-utility sort) and, with three years of contractual control remaining, he could be used as an attractive chip in a deal for a starting arm, especially if the buying team is simultaneously trying to reload and compete.

Profar shows off his speed

Yasiel Puig, Dodgers

He was on this list a year ago, and here we are again. You can pretty much copy-and-paste last year's outlook right here. Puig is still young (he turns 26 next month) and enticing enough to generate trade interest despite the injury absences, the performance lag and the occasional distractions. The Dodgers love the way he responded to his brief Triple-A demotion in '16, and his bat showed improvement down the stretch for a Dodgers team that greatly needed impact against left-handed pitching.

Because of that last element (Puig had a respectable .784 OPS against lefties), Puig is probably more likely to stay put than to move. But if the Dodgers do make a play for one of the big commodities in this trade market, Puig's is a name that will be mentioned.

Marcell Ozuna, Marlins

Another guy who generated a lot of trade chatter -- but not an actual trade -- a year ago. Unlike Puig, Ozuna, who turned 26 earlier this month, arguably upped his trade value with a bounceback year, in which his OPS rose 82 points and his home run total returned to its 2014 form (right on the nose, in fact, as Ozuna hit 23 each year, sandwiched around the 10 he hit in '15).

The Marlins' rise to relevance was dealt a devastating blow with the untimely loss of Jose Fernandez, and it's doubtful they'll spend big money to upgrade their rotation. They don't want to move Ozuna, but if they want to field a competitive rotation in this market, they might have to. It should be noted, though, that some teams will be leery of the big split between Ozuna's first (.892 OPS) and second (.609) halves.

Ozuna's RBI single

Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, Nationals

This really isn't intended to be a list of prospects potentially on the block, and Giolito and Lopez will enter 2017 with their rookie status intact. But they did make their first forays into the big leagues this year, and they are high-velocity, highly-valued arms in this marketplace.

Multiple reports have indicated the Nats have interest in some of the bigger names in the starting pitching trade market (Chris Sale, Chris Archer), and the organization does have a history of adding strength to a rotation already perceived as a strength. Teams would ask about Trea Turner, but he's locked into an everyday position in 2017. The Nats might be more accommodating if/when these names arise.

Jorge Soler, Cubs

Even if the Cubs don't re-sign Dexter Fowler, they've got depth in the outfield, with the potential to add more. The return of Kyle Schwarber adds to a group that counts Soler, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Albert Almora Jr. and Matt Szczur among its options.

Basically, it's hard to know what Soler's role will be in this crowded unit. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein has told reporters he'd like to see Soler "reach his full potential with us, if possible," and we got a taste of that potential late in 2014 and in occasional flashes since. The Cubs could certainly use Soler, who turns 25 before Opening Day, as a trade chip to land pitching depth.

Soler triples to right

Anthony DeSclafani, Reds

He qualifies for this list by the slimmest of margins, because he'll turn 27 two weeks into the '17 campaign, but, with just 341 innings under his belt, DeSclafani is certainly a young'un.

I include DeSclafani here not because the Reds have an eye on moving him. Quite the contrary, in fact. But with the starting pitching free-agent market as thin as it is, we can't rule out the possibility of a team, much like the D-backs with Shelby Miller a year ago, getting drunk off DeSclafani's '16 breakout (130 ERA+, 3.28 ERA in 20 starts) and cost control (he's not eligible for free agency until after 2020) and making the still-rebuilding Reds an offer they simply can't refuse.

Cesar Hernandez, Phillies

By default, the Phillies are closer to contention than they were a year ago, but their mindset ought not be much different than it was a year ago. If there's an opportunity to sell a player at the point of his perceived peak, they have to investigate it. Hernandez, who turns 27 next May, was benched in late June, then played like his hair was on fire. He hit .326 with a .421 on-base percentage, eight doubles, six triples and four homers in his final 83 games, and his speed is a potential strength as his instincts mature.

The Phillies can use the newly acquired Howie Kendrick in left field and keep Hernandez. But the Kendrick acquisition did seem to increase the possibility of Hernandez being dealt.

Tyler Skaggs, Angels

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal listed Skaggs as an "under-the-radar" trade candidate in a recent report, and, really, in this market, that shouldn't be terribly surprising. Yes, the Angels are thin on pitching, so moving Skaggs would seem counter-intuitive. But the Halos are trying to contend without adding any more big contracts to their books, and the 25-year-old Skaggs' potential, now that he's returned from Tommy John surgery, combines with the thin free-agent market to give the Angels the potential of moving him to fill their most glaring need at second base.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.