The non-waiver trade deadline is in the rear-view mirror, and in the since last installment of MLBTR’s Top Trade Candidates, we’ve seen 20 of the players listed on the Top 50 list moved (including each of the top eight) as well as a few names that had originally just missed the cut (Hector Santiago, Joaquin Benoit) and a few that missed the list entirely (e.g. Brandon Guyer, Mike Montgomery, Scott Feldman). The end result drastically altered the top of the list.
- Derek Norris, C, Padres: The Padres still have Austin Hedges demolishing Triple-A El Paso, and with Christian Bethancourt also playing well this year, Norris doesn’t look like a future piece for the Friars. They could hope he rebuilds some value in August and look to move him this winter, but they were shopping him hard in late July and there’s no reason to think they won’t be motivated to move him in August whether he’s claimed or clears trade waivers.
- Adam Lind, 1B/DH, Mariners: Lind hasn’t hit in his lone season with Seattle, and the Mariners picked up another left-handed-hitting power bat for first base/DH in the form of Dan Vogelbach. GM Jerry Dipoto didn’t hesitate to move disappointing veterans (e.g. Benoit, Wade Miley, Joel Peralta), and the Mariners have Dae-ho Lee as insurance even if Vogelbach proves unready.
- Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers: We debated Puig’s placement on the list internally, but I left him with a high ranking not because I feel he’ll clear waivers, but rather because it’s easy to see a team like the Braves (who currently have pole position on the waiver wire) being genuinely motivated to get a deal worked out if they claim him. I can’t see many, if any teams passing on Puig, but in the off chance that he does clear waivers, he becomes even more likely to be dealt.
- Jim Johnson, RP, Braves: Johnson is cheap and has pitched well since returning from a DL stint on June 3 (1.69 ERA, 23-to-10 K/BB ratio, 55.6 percent ground-ball rate in 26 2/3 innings). The Braves explored deals for him prior to the non-waiver deadline, and a claiming team would probably give up a low-level prospect in order to add him to its bullpen for six or seven weeks (plus a potential postseason run).
- Danny Valencia, 3B/1B/OF, Athletics: Even after the trade of Josh Reddick, Valencia still isn’t getting regular playing time in Oakland. Ryon Healy is the top option at third base now, while Valencia jumps between both infield and outfield corner spots. He’s affordable, he’s mashing for the second straight year, and while he doesn’t have defensive value or a great clubhouse rep, Valencia’s bat makes him appealing to a number of teams.
- Kurt Suzuki, C, Twins: Interim GM Rob Antony told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger that he had some talks pertaining to Suzuki but nothing that compelled him to make a deal. Suzuki could easily be blocked if a team that doesn’t need a catcher claims him to stop him from reaching Cleveland (e.g. Seattle), but he can help a fringe contender if he gets there on waivers.
- Melky Cabrera, OF, White Sox: Cabrera isn’t challenging for any batting titles as he’s done in the past, but the switch-hitter is batting .297/.340/.455 with 20 homers dating back to June 1 of last season. He doesn’t provide any defensive value, but then again neither does Jay Bruce, who just netted the Reds a pair of nice prospects. Cabrera is priced the same in 2017 as Bruce ($13MM), and offers more OBP with less pop. He’s not as good of a hitter, but the difference between the two is a lot smaller than many realize when looking at the raw power numbers.
- Brian McCann, C, Yankees: McCann’s going to clear waivers by virtue of the $39.4MM left on his contract through 2018 (as of this writing), and at that point whether or not he’s moved will probably come down to how much money the Yankees are willing to eat to move him and clear a spot for Gary Sanchez to take the reins behind the plate.
- James Shields, SP, White Sox: Like McCann, Shields is all but a lock to clear waivers. He’s pitched well enough lately that the White Sox might not have to eat too much more of the $27MM he was owed upon their June acquisition of Shields. The peripherals on Shields are ugly, but a team in need of a back-of-the-rotation arm could consider him somewhat of a buy-low option if it believes that even his 2015 form can be rediscovered.
- Ervin Santana, SP, Twins: Minnesota doesn’t have an urge to move Santana — if they did, he’d be higher up on this list — and he’s pitched well enough that he could be claimed despite the $28MM he’s owed from 2017-18. Santana isn’t a steal, but he’s a fairly priced mid-rotation arm that could reportedly be obtained with a strong offer. Given the dearth of pitching on this year’s free agent class, a team could look to begin its offseason shopping this summer.
- Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Phillies: I had Hellickson higher on this list originally, but if the Phillies didn’t find an offer to their liking in July, they’ll face a tougher time in finding a suitable offer in August. Hellickson is a lock to be claimed by an NL contender — likely the Pirates, Mets or Marlins — either to block him from other contenders or to try to work out a trade to help a beleaguered rotation. Perhaps a deal can be worked out in the allotted 47-hour window, but not trading Hellickson by the deadline suggests that the Phils are truly comfortable with the notion of a qualifying offer.
- Edinson Volquez, SP, Royals: Volquez has pitched poorly this summer and was absolutely shelled in his first post-deadline trade. If he rights the ship perhaps he’ll hold some appeal to other clubs, but he’s a pitcher with a reputation for inconsistency that is flirting with his third season of a 5.00 ERA or worse since 2011. That he’s owed $6.5MM through season’s end (including the buyout of a mutual option) doesn’t help his value.
- Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers: Braun’s contract will clear waivers. However, the Brewers want legitimate prospects in a trade, and any trading partner will almost certainly want some fairly significant financial relief. Whether GM David Stearns and another club can find that nexus in the next three weeks is the question. It didn’t happen in June or July and probably won’t in August, but the very fact that he’ll be available to any team after clearing waivers has landed him on the back half of this list.
- David Robertson, RP, White Sox: With another $28.5MM owed to him through 2018, Robertson is a near lock to clear waivers as well. He hasn’t pitched up to his standards this season, so it’s tough to see a club parting with premium talent based on his results from a dominant 2014 season — his last elite campaign.
- Ryan Madson, RP, Athletics: There’s $17.06MM remaining on Madson’s deal through 2018, and the peripherals here are ugly as well. He’s saved 22 games, but his deteriorating strikeout and walk rates and the complete disintegration of his ground-ball tendencies make even his fairly modest 3.74 ERA look like somewhat of a mirage.
- Brandon Kintzler, RP, Twins: He’s a useful reliever that isn’t earning anything substantial this year due to the fact that he signed a minor league pact in the offseason. Kintzler is controllable through 2017, and while he’s not as good as his 2.08 ERA would indicate, he’s allergic to walks and has an enormous 64.2 percent ground-ball rate. He’s not going to be viewed as a closer, but the money, ground-ball rate and control would make him an appealing middle-relief pickup for a claiming team.
- Jeanmar Gomez, RP, Phillies: The Phils apparently didn’t get an offer they liked in July and have hung onto Gomez despite a lackluster track record. He’s cheap enough and having a solid enough season that he’ll be claimed on the wire. He’s a similar case to that of Hellickson, though; if the Phillies didn’t get an offer they liked in the non-waiver period, will they get something more considerable when they can only negotiate with one team?
- Nick Markakis, OF, Braves: There’s still $24.3MM remaining on Markakis’ contract, and while he’s actually displayed some of the pop that had been missing from his bat over the past month, that’s too much for any team to claim him. He should clear and give the Braves will have an opportunity to discuss him with all 29 other teams.
- Daniel Hudson, RP, D-backs: The Diamondbacks said they weren’t interested in just giving Hudson away, and unless that’s changed since another brutal outing on Aug. 2, he’ll probably remain with the team. It’s tough to envision a club giving up anything of value for a reliever with an unthinkable 26 earned runs allowed in his past 9 2/3 innings, even if there’s plenty of upside to be had. (And there is with Hudson.)
- Zack Cozart, SS, Reds: It’s a stretch to list Cozart, as there’s no way he clears waivers, and the Reds aren’t actively seeking to move him. He’ll be claimed, and not necessarily by a contending club — Cozart is controllable through 2017 — so the only way he’ll be moved is if someone offers a legitimate package. If he had a chance at making it to the Mariners, who nearly acquired him on Monday, it would be likelier, but Cozart would have to clear every NL team and half of the AL as well — that’s an extreme long shot.
Jon Jay, OF, Padres: As a productive free-agent-to-be playing for a rebuilding Padres club that effectively posted an “Everything must go!” sign out in front of Petco Park in July, Jay would probably top the list if he were healthy. He’s slated to come back in mid to late August and should be dealt if he can prove his health even for a few games.
Trevor Plouffe, 3B, Twins: Plouffe is nearing a return and doesn’t necessarily have a place in Minnesota now that the Twins have halted the ill-conceived Miguel Sano-in-the-outfield experiment. He’s a free agent next season and has established himself as a solid defender at third with 20-homer pop. That hasn’t been the case this season, but he could clear waivers given his recent injury and 2016 struggles, at which point the Twins could get creative in finding a deal for him.
Peter Bourjos, OF, Phillies: Bourjos set the world on fire at the plate in the month of June, and even though it wasn’t sustainable, the hot streak brought his batting line up to an acceptable place. Combined with his speed, defensive reputation and $2MM salary, that should make him an appealing outfield option for a club in need of a bench piece once he’s off the DL.
Logan Morrison, 1B/DH, Rays: Morrison had one of the worst starts to a season I can recall any semi-regular player having, but he hit .271/.348/.462 with 10 homers in 234 PAs from May 16 through July 27, when he landed on the DL with a forearm strain. If he gets healthy, he’s at least a bench bat for a contending club, and the Rays have little reason to hold.
Yunel Escobar (Angels), Jorge De La Rosa, Boone Logan & Jake McGee (Rockies), Ian Kennedy (Royals), Shelby Miller (Diamondbacks), Matt Garza & Chris Carter (Brewers), Seth Smith (Mariners), David Freese, Matt Joyce & John Jaso (Pirates)