Heading into last Monday’s non-waiver deadline, there was no shortage of trade candidates that many expected to be moved (or hoped would be moved). While 20 of the names on MLBTR’s final list of top trade candidates did indeed find new homes, there were still quite a few that stayed put. A quick rundown…
- Jeremy Hellickson, Phillies: As an impending free agent that is enjoying a resurgent campaign on a rebuilding team, Hellickson was the prototypical trade candidate. He’s affordable, effective and was seemingly in demand, with as many as a eight teams connected to him at various points throughout deadline season. However, he’s still with the Phils and now looks likelier to end up the recipient of a qualifying offer than to be traded in August.
- Jeanmar Gomez, Phillies: Gomez entered the season as a middle reliever that was ticketed more for a multi-inning role than high-leverage spots, but he was placed into the ninth inning by manager Pete Mackanin out of necessity early in the year and hasn’t looked back. Gomez is controllable through 2017, so there’s still time to move him if the Phillies wish (be it this month, in the offseason, or next year), but late July was arguably the highest his trade value has ever been.
- Derek Norris, Padres: The Friars reportedly shopped Norris quite heavily in the weeks leading up to the deadline, likely hoping to move him in order to clear a spot on the roster for Austin Hedges. The Rangers, Astros and Brewers were among the teams to show late interest, but Norris ultimately stayed put. He’s controllable through 2018, so the Padres can explore trades for quite some time, but with his replacement absolutely obliterating Triple-A pitching and the Padres aggressively shopping veterans, he seemed a likely candidate to move.
- Kurt Suzuki, Twins: A well-timed hot streak for Suzuki looked like a stroke of good fortune that would allow Minnesota to extract some value in exchange for the free-agent-to-be heading into the deadline. Suzuki was quietly one of the league’s hottest hitters in June and July (.333/.362/.533), making his $6MM salary look plenty affordable. He could go in August, but a trade is obviously more difficult now.
- Jim Johnson, Braves: Atlanta has been willing to trade virtually everyone on its roster other than Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran, and Johnson was a natural candidate to be dealt. He’s on a cheap one-year deal and has pitched brilliantly since returning from a DL stint in early June. His name was all over the rumor mill heading into last Monday’s deadline, but he’s still in Atlanta a week later. A waiver deal can’t be ruled out, but the Braves will be faced with a much more limited market.
- Zack Cozart, Reds: Cozart looked to be on his way to Seattle early last Monday with the deadline just hours away, but the medical hangups in the Reds’ Jay Bruce trade with the Mets reportedly slowed their ability to finalize the details on the Cozart deal with the Mariners. Cozart is controlled through 2017 and could be shopped again this winter, but an August deal looks unlikely since he’s a lock to get claimed — probably by a team with higher waiver priority than the Mariners. The Reds know they’ll be able to market him to more clubs and drive up the price this offseason.
- Yasiel Puig, Dodgers: There’s some hindsight in play here, as Puig looked like a trade candidate as the deadline loomed but looks more likely to be done as a member of the Dodgers a week later now that they’ve added a new right fielder (Josh Reddick) and demoted Puig to Triple-A. Knowing how much Los Angeles had soured on Puig, it’s fairly surprising that no agreement was reached prior to the non-waiver deadline.
- Danny Valencia, Athletics: Despite the fact that Valencia has been one of Oakland’s most productive hitters this year, the A’s called up prospect Ryon Healy and gave him Valencia’s everyday job at third base. Valencia is bouncing around the diamond now, but with just one year of club control remaining beyond the 2016 season, he looked like a very solid bet to be on the move following his displacement at the hot corner.
- Jake Odorizzi, Rays: Odorizzi and teammate Matt Moore were rumored to be drawing interest from seemingly half the league prior to the deadline, but it was Moore who ended up moving. Odorizzi can be controlled through 2019, so there was no rush to move him, and the Rays ultimately elected to move just one of their young arms.
- Yunel Escobar, Angels: What’s perhaps most surprising about Escobar, who is hitting well on a fourth-place team and has a reasonable club option for the 2017 season, is that his name scarcely surfaced on the rumor circuit. Escobar seemed like an obvious candidate based on his productivity and contract, but perhaps questions about his reputation and the Angels’ desire to compete in 2017 made trade chatter minimal.
- Chris Sale, White Sox: I never considered a Sale trade to be all that likely, but there was plenty of speculation about it, and many were captivated by the idea of one of the game’s best pitchers (and one of the game’s best contracts) changing hands. His clubhouse tirade a week prior to the deadline only fueled speculation about his availability.
All that said, it’s time for everyone to weigh in (link to poll for Trade Rumors app users)…