We are now within 24 hours of the trade deadline. Many players have already been moved and most teams have figured out their deadline stances — though, as ever, late-breaking developments can still force a change of plans.
As we enter the home stretch, we thought it’d be interesting to take one final snapshot of the major trade candidates left on the market. As always, the list is compiled with a view to assessing both trade likelihood and trade value (in all its facets). (Note: “LR” = “last ranked.”)
*Note: this post was published at 6:47pm CST on July 30th.
1. Sonny Gray (Athletics) & Yu Darvish (Rangers), SP (LR: 1, 55): These are the top two starters on the market. The controllable Gray looks especially likely to find a new home prior to Monday’s non-waiver deadline, while the Rangers are reportedly telling teams they’re now planning to move Darvish as well. Darvish was shelled in his last outing, but one start is hardly going to torpedo his value. His fastball velocity is strong as ever, and he’s still averaging nearly 10 K’s per nine innings.
3. Addison Reed, RH Reliever, Mets (LR: 2): There’s no better rental asset on the relief market than Reed, who has been a bullpen juggernaut since joining the Mets in 2015 (2.11 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 in 141 innings). He’s still owed about $2.75MM this season.
4. Justin Wilson, LH Reliever, Tigers (LR: 3): With the Nationals, Cubs, Indians, Astros, Dodgers, Yankees, Brewers, Rockies and Red Sox all prominently linked to Wilson in the past few days alone, it seems impossible to imagine that the Tigers won’t be able to secure a big return for soon-to-be 30-year-old Wilson, whose career year is coming at the perfect time for the Tigers. Detroit’s reportedly looking for an Aroldis Chapman-esque return, though Wilson doesn’t have that track record or historically great velocity.
5. Brandon Kintzler, RH Reliever, Twins (LR: NR): Minnesota’s trade-deadline about-face leaves the team shopping a few assets. None is more clearly a trade chip than Kintzler, a pending free agent who has performed admirably in a late-inning role over the past two years. The sinkerballer is not getting quite as many grounders this year (53.9%) as last (61.9%), and doesn’t get very many swings and misses, but has posted a 2.78 ERA and logged 28 saves this year.
6. Joe Smith, RH Reliever, Blue Jays (LR: NR): Smith made it back from the DL just in time to display that he’s healthy for interested teams. With an affordable $3MM salary and a career-best average of 13 strikeouts per nine innings, he should go to a contender in need of setup help.
7. Alex Avila (Tigers) & Jonathan Lucroy (Rangers), C (LR: 12, 42): There are more catchers available than there are teams looking for help. Avila has been the most productive backstop in the AL this year on a rate basis — we all saw that coming, right? — while Lucroy’s production has tanked. But both figure to be available, and Lucroy was an elite option as recently as last season, so some teams could hope a change of scenery and a new environment proves to be revitalizing. Both are free agents at season’s end.
9. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Athletics (LR: 6): Alonso’s bat has gone cold over the past month, and the number of teams looking for help at first base/DH is even more limited now that the Rays have added Lucas Duda. The Yankees reportedly still have some interest, but they also already picked up Todd Frazier, moving Chase Headley across the diamond.
10. Jed Lowrie, INF, Athletics (LR: 8): It’s been quiet on the Lowrie front, which is surprising since he’s a versatile and affordable player that has slashed .265/.339/.436 while calling spacious O.Co Coliseum home (112 wRC+). He’s also got a cheap club option for the 2018 season. It still seems reasonable to expect that he’ll end up on a contender in need of some bench help.
11. Brad Hand, LH Reliever, Padres (LR: 3): There are increasing indications that the Padres will not drop their high asking price, though Hand’s value is very arguably approaching its apex. There could be some posturing on the Padres’ behalf, but they’ll be able to market him to a wider audience this offseason if they do indeed hang onto him.
12. Zach Britton (LH Reliever) & Brad Brach (RH Reliever), Orioles (LR: 18): It’d be a leap of faith for a team to part with elite prospect to take on Britton when he’s missed most of the season with a forearm injury and hasn’t pitched on consecutive days since being activated. A healthy Britton is one of the best relievers on the planet, but teams won’t know if that’s who they’re getting. Brach, meanwhile, is as steady as ever and is one of the top right-handed options on the market. He seems likelier to move than his teammate, though we’ve yet to hear much chatter.
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14. Lance Lynn (Cardinals) (LR: 51): Talk of the Cards moving Lynn has steadily increased over the past week, and he’ll be one of the more appealing rentals in a market that doesn’t offer many intriguing options. Lynn is earning $7.5MM this season, so his salary isn’t excessive. But, he’s also already allowed five more homers (21) than he ever has in any full season and has skated by with the game’s second-lowest BABIP (.225). He’s also in his first season back from Tommy John, so interested teams have reason to be wary. And then there’s the fact that the Cards remain in contention; even if they do feel comfortable with internal alternatives, sacrificing pitching depth at this point isn’t exactly a move typical of a contender.
15. Jay Bruce & Curtis Granderson, OF, Mets (LR: 13): Both are firmly available in trades, but it’s a buyer’s market for corner outfield help, and there aren’t that many teams on the lookout for this type of player. It’s possible that the Mets only find a taker for one of the two, particularly given their salaries. Still, each of these productive lefty hitters could provide a real boost to a contender, so they warrant serious deadline consideration.
17. Marco Estrada & Francisco Liriano, SP, Blue Jays (LR: 22): The Jays are fading and these two veterans just aren’t performing. But each comes with his share of upside and would be fairly easy to move (so long as Toronto eats a decent bit of salary) as rental assets. Teams destined for the postseason likely won’t view these pitchers as likely playoff rotation pieces, but more marginal contenders could roll the dice on the talented hurlers.
19. Jim Johnson, RH Reliever, Braves (LR: 31): There has been persistent chatter about Johnson as a possible trade piece, though perhaps no clear indication that Atlanta will be intrigued enough at an offer to move on. He’d be a useful and affordable ($4.5MM) piece for the Braves next year, though that also increases his trade value. Johnson only carries a 4.22 ERA on the year, but has racked up 10.8 K/9 on a career-high 10.0% swinging-strike rate while continuing to induce grounders on half or more of the balls put in play against him.
20. Drew Storen, RH Reliever, Reds (LR: 28): Unless virtually no interest develops, there’s not much of a reason for the Reds to hang onto Storen, who is affordable and having a productive rebound year in the Cincinnati bullpen. While his velocity is down, he could provide a useful middle-relief option for a variety of clubs.
21. Asdrubal Cabrera, INF, Mets (LR: 36): Reports of late have suggested the Mets anticipate dealing Cabrera, who has drawn interest from teams looking to add an infield option to the mix. Though he isn’t hitting as much as last year and no longer seems to be an everyday choice at short, Cabrera is a switch-hitter who can play anywhere in the infield.
22. Carlos Gomez, OF, Rangers (LR: 47): If Darvish is to be dealt, it only stands to reason that Gomez would also be available. He’s carrying only a league-average-ish .245/.326/.453 batting line on the year and is earning at fairly hefty clip ($11.5MM for the season), and outfield demand is light, so there’s not a ton of value here. But Gomez can still play center while adding value on the bases, so he’s an interesting potential target.
23. Ervin Santana (Twins) & Justin Verlander (Tigers), SP (LR: NR, 25): It’s still tough to get a read on the starting pitching market, but these two are perhaps the most interesting and most available arms after those already mentioned above. Given that it’s less than apparent that either will be moved, though, they land toward the back of the list. While Santana is a late entrant onto the market, he has been evaluated as a trade candidate for quite some time and is surely a known quantity. The Twins will value his affordable remaining year of control, and everyone is aware that the peripherals don’t support his 3.37 ERA, but Santana is a solid workhorse who now seems to be a fairly plausible chip. And Verlander has come on strong of late, bolstering his appeal but perhaps also Detroit’s resolve not to sell low. It’s seen as unlikely that he will be dealt, but teams have scouted him heavily and the Tigers are clearly ready to make a swap if the offer is right. With Jeff Samardzija indicating he isn’t too interested in waiving his no-trade protection, perhaps the top alternative to this duo is the more-affordable but less-accomplished Jhoulys Chacin.
25. Bud Norris, Yusmeiro Petit & David Hernandez, RH Relievers, Angels (LR: 48): Yep, we’re cheating a bit here with a trio to finish the list. But it’s tough to differentiate between these cheap rental arms, with indications only just emerging that the Halos are willing to listen. Norris has had a few rough outings of late, but he still has racked up nearly a dozen strikeouts per nine innings. Petit is in the midst of the best season of his career and is capable of multi-inning appearances. And Hernandez not only has a 2.29 ERA with the peripherals to match (9.4 /9, 2.0 BB/9, 47.8% groundball rate), but has thus far avoided his usual Achilles heel by keeping the ball in the park all year long.
Nate Jones & Avisail Garcia (White Sox), J.J. Hardy (Orioles), Mark Melancon (Giants), Kyle Barraclough (Marlins), Chris Coghlan (Blue Jays), Hector Santiago (Twins), Zack Cozart & Scott Feldman (Reds), Martin Prado & Edinson Volquez (Marlins), Cameron Maybin (Angels), Johnny Cueto (Giants), Tyson Ross (Rangers), Daniel Nava (Phillies), T.J. Rivera (Mets)