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Jul. 25, 2019 - Michael Stewart

MLB Trading Deadline: Top 15 Players Traded at the Deadline

Introduction: The 2019 MLB trading deadline is only a couple of weeks away (July 31st) and with only one available deadline this season (teams will no longer be able to make moves before August 31st) we should see a very active buying and selling market. I’ve assembled my list of the top 15 candidates who could new homes to possible playoff contenders or to teams just riding out the season. In no particular order, here are my top 15 players likely to be traded:

1. Madison Bumgarner (SP) Giants: Bumgarner has struggled and is not the same pitcher he once was, however; however; some playoff teams might look at Bumgarner and see the glass half full and believe he could provide solid production in the playoffs. The Giants will more than likely try to acquire top tier prospects, but if they truly want to trade the big lefty, they will more than likely lower their asking price.

2. Marcus Stroman (SP) Blue Jays: Lots of teams have been inquiring about the right hander’s availability and the Blue Jays have been listening. Stroman has a reasonable contract (only $7.4M) and has another year of arbitration remaining. The Blue Jays could resist the temptation of trading Stroman at the deadline with notions of possibly competing in 2020, however; if the right package comes along a trade would be likely. 

3. Zack Wheeler (SP) Mets: Wheeler is in the final year of his contract and since the second half of 2018, has been solid for the Mets.  Wheeler has 130 strikeouts in only 119 innings and his velocity has been consistent all season with an average fastball of 96.8; while his slider averages out at 91.8. Wheeler is only making $6M in his final year of his contract and it’s expected he will get a nice raise on his next deal. When you look at Wheeler’s complete package, he should be one of the most sort after pitchers by the deadline, at least that’s what the Mets are banking on.

4. Will Smith (RP) Giants: Smith would be a solid acquisition for a playoff bound team looking to bolster their bullpen on the back end. Smith’s very reasonable salary ($4.225M) and electrifying stuff makes him one of the top targets at the deadline. However; teams interesting better be prepared to offer a solid package as the Giants are not in a hurry to deal away their best reliever; unless it’s the right deal.

5. Kirby Yates (RP) Padres: The Padres have informed the league that they are willing to listen to offers for the talented relief pitcher who is arguably having the best season among relievers in baseball. Yates has another year of arbitration remaining and makes only $3M; which makes him more appealing to playoff contenders. Whether or not the Padres are serious in trading Yates is still unclear as they have some talent on the ML roster and arguably the best farm system in baseball with many top prospects expected to make the jump to the big leagues in 2020/2021. This team could be the surprise team in baseball by next season and holding onto Yates might make more sense.

6. Zack Greinke (SP) Diamondbacks: Hard to imagine that the Diamondbacks would even entertain such a thought as they in the running for a wild card spot. Greinke has veto power among nearly half the teams in the league and some of the teams he would accept a trade to; can’t afford him. Greinke is 35 years old now and can still dominant as evident to his 2.73 ERA his 7.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season; doesn’t seem to be slowly down anytime soon. However; the Diamondbacks could hit the reset button by trading Greinke to a team that is very close to winning for needed building blocks for the future.

7. Mike Minor (SP) Rangers: The Rangers are only a few games out of the wild card race, but something tells me that they would entertain trading Minor if the right deal came along.  There’s a slight possibility the Rangers hold onto to him and make a decision in the off season. Minor would help a lot of teams looking for that missing piece in the rotation and In the end, trade offers may prove too tempting and the Rangers will cave in and trade him.

 

8. Justin Smoak (1B/DH) Blue Jays: Our first non pitcher trade candidate who could benefit in a change of scenery and hopefully onto a playoff contender. Smoak has displayed power this season (14 homeruns), however; has struggled with consistency with only a .217 batting average. However; with the right team Smoak could excel and be a valuable asset during the playoff run. For Smoak, this would more than likely be a trade as a rental bat and nothing more for the team acquiring him.

9. Anthony Rendon (3B) Nationals: Rendon would arguably be the top non pitcher  available if they hit the market.  The Nationals decision to let Harper walk in the off season was solely based on their content to sign Rendon to a multi-year deal, however; those plans seem to have changed and it appears that Rendon could find a new home.  Rendon’s combination of power and defensive play would be ideal for any team in the post season. However; expect the Nationals to be looking for a solid return for Rendon.

10. Nicholas Castellanos (OF) Tigers: Castellanos name has been mentioned many times in trade rumors, but this time could be reality for the 27 year old. Castellanos has put together quality seasons at the plate and is an adequate defender, which only helps his value. Also, his salary ($9.95M) should also bold well for teams interested.  The Tigers will be listening and I expect them to hold out for the best offer for Castellanos.

11. Freddy Galvis (SS) Blue Jays: Galvis started the season strong, but has tailed off immensely with a .254 average. The switch-hitting shortstop is only making $4M this year, but has a $1M buyout for 2020. Galvis feature a capable glove and has decent pop in his bat (10 homeruns in a little under 270 ABS).  The Blue Jays would most likely get a mid range prospect for Galvis that would probably need to couple of more years to develop before getting the big leagues. While Galvis could help a team looking to improve their defense and also providing a little offense contribution as well.

12. Wil Myers (OF) Padres: Myers could be a sleeper if traded to a team looking for player to provide contribution with the bat, glove and on the bases. Myers checks all the boxes and the Padres should get a decent prospect for him if that’s what they’re seeking. Myers could also be in the long term plan if traded to the right team; especially if he performs in the postseason or for the remainder of the season.

13. Todd Frazier (3B) Mets: Frazier has been solid for the Mets defensively and also has given the Met some power and timely hitting. His .256 BA is the highest he’s had since 2015; which is good considering his normal trend. The Mets would probably receive about the same type of package they did when they traded Jay Bruce (1st time). I do see perhaps a couple of teams showing some interest, but that’s about it.

14. Whit Merrifield (INF/OF) Royals: You may think it would be odd for the Royals to consider trading Merrifield; especially signing him in the off season to a four-year deal. However; with a very reasonable contract in place with 3 more years attached started in 2020, a team could be willing to make it worth the Royals wild with a package that would be hard to refuse. Merrifield offers flexibility as he can play multiple positions and can produce with the bat. Keep an eye on the Royal and see if they cave in and pull the trigger if the right deal comes along.

15.Jose Abreu (IB) White Sox: Abreu has had a solid career (all with the Whitesox), but now could be the best time to trade the 32 year old 1B. Abreu is still producing with 21 homeruns and a .838OPS; which was good enough to be selected to the All-Star game. In order for the White Sox to part with their slugger, they would more than likely want a solid return of prospects and although I don’t see many teams getting involved; we could see a few who might consider making a deal. Adding Abreu and putting him somewhere in the middle of your lineup should definitely help any team looking to go deep into the playoffs.

Final Thoughts:  Other notable players have emerged over the last few days, although the reports I’ve been gathering suggests that other teams are making enquires; while the team’s current player/players have not been actively looking to make a trade. Most talked about players has been Noah Syndergaard of the New York Mets; whether the Mets are seriously considering trading the hard throwing right hander is still unclear. Also, the list of candidates mentioned in my top 15 could considerably change as a few of those teams have been making a push for a playoff spot and could decide to be buyer’s and not seller’s. Most notable candidate is Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants.