Since last week’s rendition of MLBTR’s Top 25 August Trade Candidates, Yonder Alonso (No. 8) has been traded, while several others on the list — Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera — have reportedly cleared revocable trade waivers. (Click here to see all the players to have cleared.) We’ve also seen infielder Sean Rodriguez return to Pittsburgh via trade, while righty George Kontos was claimed by the Pirates and simply let go by the Giants. Here are this week’s updated rankings…
1. Marco Estrada, Blue Jays: Estrada’s results have fallen off since early June, but he’s still missing plenty of bats and has rattled off three useful outings. Estrada was outstanding in 2015-16 and could help to stabilize a potential contender’s rotation down the stretch. He’s an impending free agent with $4.05MM remaining on his deal, but the Jays were willing to absorb salary when trading Francisco Liriano.
2. Jay Bruce, Mets: July interest in Bruce was tepid, at best, but he’s a 30-homer bat with improved numbers against lefties and improved defensive ratings. There could be some legitimacy to those defensive grades, as well, with Bruce now three years removed from knee surgery that initially caused his once-stellar ratings to plummet. He’s owed $3.76MM and has already cleared waivers.
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, Mets: New York could elect to exercise a reasonable $8.5MM option on Cabrera, especially since it comes with a hefty $2MM buyout. The switch-hitter is in a slump at the plate but has added third base to his defensive repertoire, increasing his versatility. He, too, has already cleared waivers.
4. Curtis Granderson, Mets: With a nearly 1.000 OPS since mid-May, the Grandy Man’s remaining $15MM salary seems rather reasonable. He’s still owed about $4.3MM of that sum, but the Mets could grease the wheels on a trade by including some cash. Like teammates Bruce and Cabrera, Grandy has cleared waivers.
5. Daniel Nava, Phillies: The switch-hitting Nava keeps raking — primarily against right-handed pitching — and the Phillies are reportedly likely to give first base prospect Rhys Hoskins a promotion to play some corner outfield in the near future. Moving a productive short-term piece like Nava would help to clear some playing time, and Nava’s 2017 production should appeal to teams with corner outfield/first base needs.
6. Zack Cozart, Reds: He’s raked all year when healthy and is still one of baseball’s absolute best defenders at shortstop. As an impending free agent on a rebuilding club, Cozart is a clear trade candidate. He’s hit well since being activated from the DL, and even though there aren’t many contenders with clear needs at short, Cozart’s glove is so good that he could be expected to displace a starter. Speaking speculatively, the Rays, Royals and D-backs make sense here.
7. Tyler Clippard, White Sox: Since a trade to the White Sox, Clippard has righted the ship. Over his past seven innings, he’s held opponents scoreless on three hits and three walks with nine strikeouts. It’s a small sample of success after some prolonged struggles for Clippard in New York, but the cost of acquisition should be minimal and his track record is strong.
8. Jed Lowrie, Athletics: The A’s can hang onto the veteran Lowrie for 2018 thanks to a very reasonable $6MM option, but it’d be hard to justify pushing Lowrie to the bench for a prospect like Franklin Barreto when Lowrie is flirting with an .800 OPS and has hit well all year. He can play anywhere in the infield, making him an ideal bench option for a contender — especially a team with a potential infield vacancy in 2018.
9. Drew Storen, Reds: He’s had some recent homer troubles, but Storen has a 13-to-1 K/BB ratio since the All-Star break. Four of the six big flies he’s given up this season have come in his home
bandbox ballpark. Great American Ball Park has been host to the most homers per game in 2017, and while part of that is due to a poor Reds pitching staff, GABP has long been a notorious hitters’ haven. Storen’s velocity is down, but his K/BB numbers are solid. His results may improve with a better home park.
10. Jim Johnson, Braves: Johnson was placed on revocable waivers last week, meaning he’s either cleared or been claimed and pulled back (and thus will not be moved). Until reported otherwise, the assumption here will be that he can be moved, but he drops down the list this week due to the possibility that he’s off the market — and the still-mixed results he has produced.
11. Rajai Davis, Athletics: Davis has quietly raked since the All-Star break, hitting .339/.393/.571 with three homers and eight steals. He’s not a premium defender in center, but he’s been roughly average there and can handle all three spots. And, what team couldn’t use some more speed off the bench in September?
12. Ian Kinsler, Tigers: Kinsler reportedly went on trade waivers this week, and the Brewers are said to have interest. The two sides discussed Kinsler last month, which could provide some groundwork for talks if Kinsler makes it to Milwaukee on waivers. Kinsler hasn’t shown his usual pop but is still a strong defender with a history of offensive production. His affordable 2018 option adds to his appeal.
13. Yusmeiro Petit, Angels: Petit’s ERA continues to hover around the 2.50 mark, and he’s worked five consecutive multi-inning appearances. With a 69-to-13 K/BB ratio through his first 64 1/3 frames with the Halos and a $2.25MM base salary, Petit represents an affordable means of lengthening any ’pen without sacrificing quality innings.
14. Jhoulys Chacin, Padres: GM A.J. Preller implied that the Friars’ primary offers for Chacin were primarily non-prospects, and the team valued Chacin’s stability and success at home more than adding a warm body to the bottom of their minor league depth charts. The Padres may re-sign Chacin, but if some team steps up and offers even an intriguing low-level prospect, Chacin could yet be moved.
15. Brandon Phillips, Braves: Phillips has been playing third base Ozzie Albies’ promotion, which could add to his appeal. The Reds are paying all but $1MM of his salary, which could make him attractive as an affordable veteran bench option for contending clubs.
16. Bud Norris, Angels: There have been a few notable duds among Norris’s most recent outings, though he’s continuing to rack up the strikeouts. He has now allowed 4.09 earned per nine on the year, but Norris owns a 13.2% swinging-strike rate and brings mid-nineties heat.
17. Matt Belisle, Twins: He’s earning just $2.05MM and has a 14 1/3 inning scoreless streak with a 15-to-2 K/BB ratio. The Twins have won a few games lately and are in the Wild Card mix, but Belisle has been really good this year outside of three catastrophically bad outings that fell between April 26 and May 29. If the Twins slip out of the race by late August, he could go.
18. Brad Ziegler, Marlins: He’s owed just under $11MM through the end of the 2018 season and recently spent more than a month on the DL. Ziegler has a great track record but poor 2017 numbers, so the Fish will need to eat some money to move this contract, which will almost certainly clear waivers if it hasn’t already.
19. Carlos Gomez, Rangers: Gomez raked in June and hit well in July, so he has generally been going well of late and owns a .251/.334/.460 slash for the year. With good baserunning and center-field capability added to the mix, Gomez could represent a plug-and-go option if a team finds a sudden need for a semi-regular up the middle. He is earning a fairly hefty $11.5MM salary, though, so adding him would mean taking on a fair bit of cash.
20. Neil Walker, Mets: Walker is earning at the qualifying offer rate ($17.2MM), so he’s a pricey piece. While he had been hitting quite well before suffering a hamstring injury, he has struggled badly since his return — with just four base hits, none for extra bases, since making it back on July 28th.
21. Santiago Casilla, Athletics: Casilla has turned in six straight scoreless outings since coughing up two home runs on July 26th, leaving the 37-year-old with a 4.07 ERA for the season. He’s also set to earn $5.5MM next year, so teams won’t look to make a move unless they want to install him in their 2018 pen. While the overall record isn’t terribly inspiring, Casilla has shown a mid-nineties fastball with a swinging-strike rate of just over 10% — just as he has for the last several campaigns.
22. Mike Napoli, Rangers: Napoli is struggling to keep the average north of .200 and is striking out more than ever. The power is legitimate, but that’s about all he brings to the table in 2017. Clubs do love to add vets with playoff experience and good clubhouse reps this time of year, though, and Napoli certainly fits that bill.
23. Lance Lynn, Cardinals: With St. Louis on a winning streak, a trade of Lynn looks far less likely. That could change by month’s end, so he’ll remain on the list. But, like the two pitchers following him in slots No. 24 and 25, a trade doesn’t seem likely. He’s listed due to the fact that there’s a faint chance he’ll move and because he’d carry more impact than most August trade candidates.
24. Ervin Santana, Twins: Minnesota still hasn’t given any indication they’ll sell pieces controlled beyond 2017, and the Twins are still in the Wild Card mix. Santana would be among the best starters available if the Twins crater, though, so he stays on the back of the list.
25. Justin Verlander, Tigers: He’s looking more and more like a premium starter, and has cleared waivers, but the 34-year-old’s contract remains a huge impediment to a deal. He’s the best arm out there if the Tigers chance their stance and express a willingness to eat 40 to 50 percent of the $64MM or so that Verlander is still owed through 2019. Odds of that still seem rather slim, though, unless a contender decides it simply has to have another starter for its postseason rotation.
Scott Feldman (Reds), J.J. Hardy (Orioles), Cameron Maybin & Yunel Escobar (Angels), Tyson Ross (Rangers), Ian Krol (Braves), Kevin Siegrist (Cardinals), Johnny Cueto (Giants), Edinson Volquez (Marlins), Erick Aybar (Padres)
Ricky Nolasco (Angels); Matt Joyce (Athletics); J.A. Happ & Jose Bautista (Blue Jays); R.A. Dickey, Kurt Suzuki, Matt Kemp & Nick Markakis (Braves); Denard Span, Jeff Samardzija & Nick Hundley (Giants); Giancarlo Stanton, Junichi Tazawa, A.J. Ellis, & Dee Gordon (Marlins); Darren O’Day, Zach Britton & Seth Smith (Orioles); Clayton Richard & Yangervis Solarte (Padres); Hyun Soo Kim (Phillies); Andrew Cashner (Rangers); Derek Holland, Miguel Gonzalez, James Shields & Mike Pelfrey (White Sox)