Since last week’s iteration of this list ran, the Mets have traded Jay Bruce (No. 2) to the Indians and Neil Walker (No. 2o) to the Brewers. Meanwhile, the White Sox traded Tyler Clippard (No. 7) to the Astros, and Ian Kinsler (No. 12) was pulled off waivers by the Tigers following a claim from an unknown club. Marco Estrada (No. 1) also appears to have been pulled back, as it’s now been more than 48 hours since he was reportedly claimed, yet he remains with the Blue Jays.
Further mixing up the list of trade candidates is the fact that the Angels and Twins have gone on prolonged winning streaks, with Anaheim seizing a Wild Card spot and Minnesota sitting directly behind them. With both clubs looking like much more plausible playoff contenders, at least for now, their movable assets slide down the list or drop off entirely.
1. Asdrubal Cabrera, Mets: The Mets have been able to unload the vast majority of their short-term veterans and figure to continue exploring possibilities. Newsday’s Marc Carig reported last week that they’ll consider just picking up Cabrera’s affordable 2018 option — not a bad plan given the infield uncertainty they’ve faced in 2017 — but an affordable, versatile, reasonably productive switch-hitter could appeal to a contender before Aug. 31.
2. Curtis Granderson, Mets: The Grandy Man has four homers in the past week, and he’s raked at a .273/.395/.596 clip in his past 250 plate appearances. He’s earning $15MM this season, but he’s revered for his leadership and clubhouse presence. That bat should help a contender, and the Mets should be motivated to find a trading partner.
3. Brandon Phillips, Braves: Phillips has cleared waivers and has hit fairly well in 2017. He’s playing third base now, adding to his versatility, and the Reds are on the hook for $13MM of his $14MM salary, so he’ll be cheap for any contender. There aren’t many clubs looking at second base upgrades, though, and the Angels’ interest is reportedly “limited.” (Per FanRag’s Jon Heyman)
4. Zack Cozart, Reds: There just aren’t many contenders seeking shortstop upgrades, and the Reds could make Cozart a qualifying offer if no trade materializes. If the Blue Jays go on a winning streak to better position themselves for the Wild Card, they’d make sense on paper. The Rays and Royals make some sense, too, and injuries can always create new trade partners.
5. Jed Lowrie, Athletics: Lowrie can play anywhere in the infield, he’s hitting well, and he has a reasonable club option for the 2018 season. There’s likely a fair bit of overlap with his market and with Cabrera. I think he’d be a great fit for the Angels, but the Halos may not want to send minor league talent to a division rival.
6. Drew Storen, Reds: Storen was absolutely rocked by the Cubs earlier this week, so his numbers don’t look as sharp as they did when last week’s list was published. That said, he’s a veteran reliever that can miss a few bats and is earning a modest $3MM base salary. He’s the type of low-cost pickup that can help a fringe Wild Card contender without requiring much of a minor league sacrifice.
7. Jim Johnson, Braves: It’s not fully clear that Johnson is even available. There’s been no word on the result of his placement on waivers back on Aug. 2, so he might’ve been claimed and pulled back. But if he passed through waivers, he’s a veteran ’pen arm with a 55-to-17 K/BB ratio and a 48.1 percent grounder rate in 48 innings. He’s signed through 2018 as well.
8. Rajai Davis, Athletics: Davis is hitting .333/.387/.536 in the second half and has knocked lefties around at a .270/.336/.420 pace. That productivity and his still-excellent speed can make him an ideal reserve/platoon outfielder for a contender’s bench. Speculatively speaking, a reunion with the Indians could make sense in light of Bradley Zimmer’s struggles and Michael Brantley’s injury.
9. Jhoulys Chacin, Padres: Chacin isn’t exciting, but he’s been a durable source of useful innings for a bad Padres team. San Diego GM A.J. Preller says he isn’t willing to move Chacin for a non-prospect just to shed a bit of salary, so it’ll take an offer of at least a mildly intriguing prospect to make something happen.
10. Brad Ziegler, Marlins: Ziegler has fired six scoreless innings with a 77.3 percent ground-ball rate since coming off the disabled list earlier this month. The Marlins would probably need to pay down next year’s $9MM salary a ways, but Ziegler’s track record is excellent and should lead to some interest.
11. Rene Rivera, Mets: A free agent at season’s end, Rivera could be an upgrade over the backup catcher on several contending clubs. He’s known as a strong defender, and he has a bit of power in his bat as well.
12. Matt Joyce, Athletics: Matt Joyce is doing Matt Joyce things this season. That is to say, he’s drawing tons of walks, hitting for power against right-handed pitching (.235/.338/.463, 16 homers) and playing unspectacular but passable defense in the outfield corners. He’s signed for $6MM next season, so he could be a bench piece/platoon piece beyond this year.
13. R.A. Dickey, Braves: Dickey has been an effective enough innings eater that the Braves are reportedly at least considering his 2018 option for $8MM. His peripheral stats don’t mesh with his 3.89 ERA, but he has a long history of outperforming ERA estimators.
14. Santiago Casilla, Athletics: Casilla’s velocity has held up even at age 37, and he’s still averaging 8.9 K/9. But, his walk rate has spiked as his ground-ball rate has plummeted. He’s also been homer-prone the past two seasons despite cavernous home parks, which, paired with next year’s $5.5MM salary, will likely give other clubs pause.
15. Clayton Richard, Padres: Richard is a ground-ball machine with an uninspiring 4.84 ERA but considerably better marks in the eyes of fielding-independent metrics. He won’t pitch in a playoff rotation but could be another lefty in a postseason ’pen. And, there are several teams that could use cheap innings for the balance of the regular season. He’s only earning $1.75MM, so any club can afford him.
16. Miguel Gonzalez & Derek Holland, White Sox: Neither member of this duo has pitched well, but they’ve both cleared waivers and are on a team that is trading everything that isn’t nailed down. Gonzalez has been the better of the two, but Holland could potentially be a lefty piece in a contender’s bullpen. They’re earning nearly identical $5.9MM (Gonzalez) and $6MM (Holland) salaries.
18. Juan Nicasio, Joaquin Benoit & Daniel Hudson, Pirates: The Bucs are now 5.5 games out of the NL Central lead, and while it’s not realistic to expect them to put together an Andrew McCutchen trade in August, any of these veteran relievers could conceivably be moved if the Pirates slip further out of contention. Nicasio’s been the best of the bunch by a wide margin and would surely be claimed if the Bucs put him through waivers (which may already have happened).
21. Kurt Suzuki, Braves: The 33-year-old is hitting as well as he ever has, with a .258/.335/.500 slash and a dozen home runs in just 207 plate appearances. (His career high of 15 long balls came in 614 plate appearances way back in 2009.) Suzuki surely can’t keep up quite that power output and is not well-loved for his defensive game, but he’s an affordable, highly regarded clubhouse presence who has been targeted for stretch runs by contenders in the past.
22. Junichi Tazawa, Marlins: Frankly, it’s tough to see much interest in Tazawa, who has pitched poorly and is owed $7MM in 2018. If the Fish eat nearly all of that money, perhaps they could find some team willing to buy low. It’s not likely, but Miami would surely love to shed even a portion of this contract.
23. Jeff Samardzija, Giants: Shark’s contract would likely clear waivers (if it hasn’t already), but he was adamant about wanting to stay in San Francisco prior to the deadline. He has a no-trade clause that would allow him to block deals to 21 teams. It’s not likely, but one of the teams to which he cannot block a trade could conceivably make an effort.
24. Justin Verlander, Tigers: Talk about Verlander will persist into the offseason, but I can’t envision him moving anywhere this month. As is the case in previous weeks, he’s here because he’d be a difference-maker on a contender and is technically available, but there’s no real expectation that he moves.
25. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: Everything said about Verlander applies even more emphatically to Stanton. The Marlins may engage in trade talks this offseason, and he’s cleared waivers so they could get some offers in August, but Stanton is the face of the franchise and owed $295MM following this season. He also has a full no-trade clause. There are too many hurdles to realistically expect anything to happen this month, but the faint glimmer of a chance and the fact that there will no doubt be rumors lands him on the final spot of this list.
Claimed, Pulled Back From Waivers
J.A. Happ & Jose Bautista (Blue Jays); Matt Kemp & Nick Markakis (Braves); Denard Span & Nick Hundley (Giants); A.J. Ellis & Dee Gordon (Marlins); Darren O’Day, Zach Britton & Seth Smith (Orioles); Yangervis Solarte & Craig Stammen (Padres), Hyun Soo Kim (Phillies); Andrew Cashner & Tyson Ross (Rangers); James Shields & Mike Pelfrey (White Sox)