With trade season entering full swing, we’ll be doing these lists with greater frequency. We last checked in about a week ago. Click here for the first one, including an explanation of the approach. Basically, we’re looking at both trade likelihood and trade value (in all its facets).
There’s quite a lot of change in the new list, in large part reflecting some shifts in the standings — and shifts in apparent stances from a few key organizations. Just because a team moves into a likely or plausible selling position, though, doesn’t mean that it will necessarily be open to dealing away all of its shorter-term assets. I considered every organization’s strategic position closely in making the list, with the result that some big names snuck in and others did not. That’s all open to debate — and also to modification, as new information reaches the market.
On to the rankings:
1. David Robertson, RH Reliever, White Sox (LR: 1): The results are still there, though Robertson doesn’t carry the same kind of lock-down profile that several top relief trade candidates did last summer. Still, he’s an obvious trade piece for the White Sox and continues to hold down the top spot.
2. J.D. Martinez, OF, Tigers (LR: 14): The Tigers are streaking in the wrong direction, and Martinez is doing the opposite. He’d be an impact rental bat for any lineup and isn’t even all that expensive.
3. Pat Neshek, RH Reliever, Phillies (LR: 4): He hasn’t allowed a run since mid-May and could be the likeliest pitcher in all of baseball to be traded.
4. Jed Lowrie, 2B/3B, Athletics (LR: 8): The writing is on the wall with Franklin Barreto up and in the lineup at second base today. Given Oakland’s aggressive paring of veterans, a deal could conceivably come at any time.
5. Jose Quintana, SP, White Sox (LR: 4): “Q” is finally on a bit of a roll, with a 2.25 ERA and 24:8 K/BB ratio over 24 innings in his last four starts.
6. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Athletics (LR: 3): It’s not clear just how realistic the extension chatter is, but that does create some alternative to a trade. He’s also on a bit of a cold streak at the plate, though in the aggregate the stock is still up.
7. Addison Reed, RH Reliever, Mets (LR: NR): With the news that New York is likely lining up to sell, Reed becomes their top trade asset. The 28-year-old has been somewhat susceptible to the long ball, but otherwise has dominated and will be a top rental reliever.
8 (tie). Justin Wilson, LH Reliever, Tigers (LR: NR): With rising strikeout (12.8 K/9) and swinging-strike (13.8%) rates, and a power arsenal from the left side, Wilson looks like a very appealing chip. He’s also earning just $2.7MM this year with another year of arb control remaining.
8 (tie). Brad Hand, LH Reliever, Padres (LR: 7): Since surrendering a four-spot two weeks ago, Hand has turned in six straight scoreless outings. While he’s holding steady, there are alternatives for teams looking at southpaw relievers.
10. Sonny Gray, SP, Athletics (LR: 4): While the A’s are clearly lining up sales, and do have a variety of young pitchers to use in the rotation, it’s still a bit unclear where things are headed with Gray. He has looked quite good at times, but was knocked around in his last two outings and has generally failed to find consistency.
11 (tie). Ryan Madson (RH Reliever) & Sean Doolittle (LH Reliever), Athletics (LR: 13, 27): With solid peripherals (8.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 53.8% GB) and good results (2.45 ERA), Madson continues to look like a nice target for contenders. Meanwhile, a dominant return from the DL has Doolittle rising. While the A’s are clearly selling, though, his health history and advantageous contract make his status a bit uncertain as the deadline ramps up.
11 (tie). David Phelps & A.J. Ramos, RH Reliever, Marlins (LR: 15, 18): There have been some ups and downs, and the command remains a concern, but Ramos has been at his best in June. Over 8 2/3 innings, he has racked up 13 strikeouts against three walks while allowing only two earned runs on five hits. Phelps has been touched a few times of late, but still has strong peripherals and looks to be a nice, sturdy pen piece. Both pitchers are reasonably affordable and come with an added season of arb control.
15. Howie Kendrick, LF/2B, Phillies (LR: 8): The steady veteran is hitting as well as ever, but it’s not yet clear when he’ll be made available and just how much demand there’ll be, especially with other corner outfielders and utility infield types available.
16. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Marlins (LR: NR): Miami seems to be itching to deal Hech, in large part to save some of the $2MM+ he’s still owed in 2017. He’s a gifted defender who doesn’t hit all that much, but would represent a useful fill-in at short who could then slide into a utility role for a contender.
17. Todd Frazier (3B) & Melky Cabrera (OF), White Sox (LR: 11 (tie)): Chicago has little reason not to simply get what it can for these expensive veterans, though other organizations may well first prefer to look into other options.
19. Marcell Ozuna, OF, Marlins (LR: 13): It’s still anyone’s guess whether Miami will look to deal Ozuna with the franchise up for sale, but he’d be a big trade chip if he’s shopped.
20. Ian Kinsler (2B) & Justin Upton (OF), Tigers (LR: NR): In Kinsler’s case, there’s a ten-team no-trade clause to be hurdled — particularly if he continues to seek an extension to waive it (see here and here) — but that may not be as big an obstacle now as it was in the winter. While he isn’t producing like he did last year, and doesn’t play a position that figures to come with much demand, Kinsler is a solid veteran who can be controlled for just $10MM next year. As for Upton, he has yet to turn 30 and is posting a strong .267/.352/.494 batting line through 284 plate appearances. He’ll either hit the open market or stick around for $22.125MM a year through 2021; while that’s quite a drastic difference, perhaps the opt-out clause isn’t as big a barrier to a trade in his case as it is in that of an older pitcher.
24. Jerry Blevins, LH Reliever, Mets (LR: NR): He doesn’t have to be moved, as he comes with a pretty appealing option for 2018, but Blevins could be a nice chip. He’s a power lefty who is in the midst of a strong season, with a 2.13 ERA and 37:12 K/BB ratio over 25 1/3 innings.
25. Brad Brach, RH Reliever, Orioles (LR: NR): Though the O’s still aren’t buried in the standings, their play has been nothing short of awful of late and the rotation is showing little sign of supporting a turnaround. At this point, though, there’s no indication that the Orioles’ biggest stars will be marketed. It would likely be easier to part with players such as Brach, who have plenty of trade value but aren’t considered core pieces. The organization could face some soul-searching over the coming five weeks, but won’t rush into any moves.
26. Lucas Duda (1B), Jay Bruce (OF), Curtis Granderson (OF), Mets (LR: 24, 24, NR): Duda and Bruce hold steady, with the resurgent Granderson joining them. While a Mets sell-off seems increasingly likely, the markets for these veterans may be somewhat limited. Still, they all could represent notable additions for organizations dealing with an injury or significant performance issue.
29. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates (LR: 22): It’s tough to know just what to make of Cutch’s improved play. On the one hand, it certainly increases his appeal. On the other, perhaps it makes it difficult for the Pirates to sell him if the demand isn’t strong — especially with an Austin Meadows call-up seemingly off the table in the near-term and Starling Marte still suspended.
30. Welington Castillo, C, Orioles (LR: NR): Teams looking for a real upgrade behind the plate — though it’s not quite clear there will be many — will surely be taking a hard look at Castillo, who owns a productive .287/.320/.451 batting line entering today’s action. He has had some injury troubles and hasn’t been great since his latest DL stint, but the overall production is strong. Castillo is likely a rental, as his deal includes a $7MM player option that probably won’t be exercised barring a significant fall-off.
31. Alex Avila, C, Tigers (LR: NR): While he’s more of a part-time player and comes with some long-term injury questions, it’s tough to ignore the otherworldly stat line that Avila has put up. He’s slashing a ridiculous .315/.436/.584 with ten long balls on the year — numbers reminiscent of his long-forgotten 2011 campaign. It helps that Avila is a lefty bat and is earning just $2MM under the free-agent deal wisely negotiated by his proud father, Tigers GM Al Avila.
32. Stephen Vogt, C/1B, Athletics (LR: NR): This is something of a temporary placement. His struggles are well-documented, but Vogt is rather likely to find another home via trade now that he’s in DFA limbo.
33. Lance Lynn (SP) & Seung-hwan Oh (RH Reliever), Cardinals (LR: NR): Like some other organizations moving players onto this list, it’s going to be tough for St. Louis to pull the trigger on a sale. And honestly, if they’re still just five games out of the division lead on July 31st, they may not do it. But the possibility is there, especially since the Wild Card race is currently a laugher. If the Cards look to deal, pending free agents Lynn and Oh seem the clear pieces to move. (Trevor Rosenthal could also be a candidate, but he comes with another year of control and could step back into the closer’s role.)
35. Asdrubal Cabrera, INF, Mets (LR: NR): A move off of shortstop has Cabrera asking for a trade, and he may get his wish. Though the Mets could still pick up his $8.25MM option and use him elsewhere on the diamond — as the team has long seemed fairly likely to do, rather than paying a $2MM buyout — a trade now seems rather plausible given Cabrera’s recent comments. He hasn’t hit as much this year as last, and isn’t likely to be used at short by a contender, but still profiles as at least an average hitter who brings some defensive versatility. For the right organization, the option would be a nice bonus.
36. Drew Storen, RH Reliever, Reds (LR: 26): He’s less than thirty years old, doesn’t cost much, and has been mostly effective despite diminished velocity. Storen isn’t a late-inning option anymore for a first-division team, but could deepen a lot of pens.
37. Edinson Volquez (Marlins), Clayton Richard (Padres), Jaime Garcia (Braves) & Scott Feldman (Reds), SP (LR: 32, 33, 17, NR): Volquez has struggled badly in two straight outings after a string of gems. Demand likely won’t be huge, but Miami could be motivated by the opportunity to shed some salary obligations. As for Richard, he’s still providing solid innings for San Diego and might be an appealing southpaw swingman for the right contender. Garcia has been tagged in his last two starts, pushing his ERA up to 4.03 and back in line to what his peripherals suggest. Finally, Feldman could help deepen a staff down the stretch; he’s earning just $3.2MM and owns a typically solid 4.20 ERA through 83 2/3 innings.
41. Jeff Samardzija (Giants), Johnny Cueto (Giants), Gerrit Cole (Pirates), Justin Verlander (Tigers), SP (LR: 34, 35, 37, NR): It’s tough to gauge the trade statuses of these four established hurlers. San Francisco is a clear seller, but may hold Samardzija for the future and may find it hard to deal Cueto with his opt-out clause. As for Cole, the Bucs will likely listen but may not pull the trigger given his future control. And while the Tigers would likely prefer to make a trade for Verlander, his situation is as complicated as they come: he hasn’t been great in 2017, has full no-trade protection, is an all-time great in the organization, and is owed $28MM annually from 2017 through 2019.
45. Ervin Santana (SP) & Brandon Kintzler (RH Reliever), Twins (LR: NR): It still feels wrong to really think of the Twins as sellers, given that the team is just 1.5 games out of the division lead entering action today. But it seems the tide may have turned in the AL Central and it’s not difficult to see a path to seller status. If that ends up being the case, Santana will be a nice asset, though he still wouldn’t be a certainty to be dealt with the Twins hoping to make further strides in 2018. Kintzler will be a free agent after the year, and while he’s not likely to be viewed as a closer by other organizations, it’s hard not to like the 3.05 ERA he has turned in over his 85 2/3 innings since coming to Minnesota.
47. Seth Smith, OF, Orioles (LR: NR): The veteran represents a solid left-handed-hitting bench bat and corner outfield option. He’s not the most exciting deadline asset, but could hold appeal for the right organization. Hyun Soo Kim also warrants consideration but just hasn’t hit much over the course of the season and doesn’t seem as likely to be targeted.
48. Marco Estrada, SP, Blue Jays (LR: NR): Like the division-rival Orioles, the Jays won’t rush to make any trades, and it’s arguable that Toronto has greater hopes of staying in contention. At this point, though, it’s reasonable to anticipate at least some modest selling for Toronto, and Estrada seems the likeliest candidate. His ERA is up to 4.98 due to more homers and a much higher BABIP than usual, but he’s also posting a career-best 10.2 K/9 with just 2.5 BB/9. Francisco Liriano and J.A. Happ are also possibilities among Jays starters, but the former has been maddeningly inconsistent and the latter has another year left on his deal.
49. Raisel Iglesias (Reds) & Tommy Kahnle (White Sox), RH Relievers (LR: 49, NR): Both of these high-powered relievers come with control, so they don’t need to be traded. But there’s a possibility of acquiring a significant future-oriented piece, perhaps these rebuilding clubs ought to consider it.
Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Kelvin Herrera, Jason Vargas & Joakim Soria, Royals: The Royals’ surge has taken their players out of trade contention; remarkably, after a victory today, K.C. sits one game over .500.
Jarrod Dyson, Mariners: This’ll continue to ebb and flow, but for now the M’s are playing well and firmly in Wild Card contention.
Matt Kemp, Nick Markakis, Brandon Phillips & Kurt Suzuki, Braves: While Atlanta still seems like a marginal playoff contender, the team is playing well and may not be supremely motivated to deal away veterans that won’t bring much in return and who lack obvious replacements.
Daniel Nava, Phillies: He comes with limited trade value upside and has cooled off at the plate.
Alex Cobb, Rays: Tampa Bay is now four games over .500.
Derek Holland, White Sox: He was battered again in his most recent start.
Nate Jones (White Sox), Trevor Cahill (Padres), Bartolo Colon (Braves), Neil Walker (Mets), Cesar Hernandez (Phillies), J.J. Hardy & Zach Britton (Orioles), Zack Cozart (Reds), Bud Norris (Angels), Yangervis Solarte (Padres), Victor Martinez (Tigers), Eduardo Nunez & Hunter Strickland (Giants), Phil Hughes & Hector Santiago (Twins), Joe Smith (Blue Jays), Brad Ziegler (Marlins)
Twins: Robbie Grossman