This is the first update to our annual ranking of top trade candidates in the run-up to the trade deadline, drawing from our power ranking approach to pending free agents. You can check out the original list (and review the methodology) here. Essentially, we’re ordering players based upon our assessment of both their trade value and likelihood of being dealt.
One significant name is now off the board as we originally compiled it, as the Nationals landed Royals closer Kelvin Herrera. It has been fairly quiet on the trade front since, with the exception of the Red Sox’ acquisition of Steve Pearce, though plenty of other notable developments have occurred as well.
Here’s the updated ranking as we prepare for tonight’s All-Star Game:
1. Manny Machado, SS, Orioles (LR: 1): All indications are that Machado will be gone before play resumes after the All-Star break. While it will hurt to part with young talent to land a player who’ll reach the open market at season’s end, Machado promises to be a massive upgrade for whatever contender gets him.
2. Jeurys Familia, RP, Mets (LR: NR): At the time of the first iteration of this list, the Mets were still hanging around in the NL East. Not so much anymore. Familia is the best rental reliever available at this point. Though he may not quite be operating at peak capacity — his 12.0% swinging-strike and 50.5% groundball rates are down from his peak levels, though he’s throwing about as hard as usual — Familia carries a 2.88 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 and has shown he’s healthy after an injury-and-suspension-marred 2017 season. He’s earning $7.9MM this year, a manageable enough sum for an established late-inning reliever, and was excellent during the Mets’ 2015 postseason run (though things didn’t go quite as well in the ensuing season’s Wild Card game).
3. Zach Britton, RP, Orioles (LR: INJ): The southpaw really didn’t figure to land this high on the list, but recent developments have knocked down other candidates and he seems to be working out the kinks, with improved results and increased velocity of late. There are also loads of reports on interest, so it’s all but certain he’ll be dealt. Britton is still just 15 games into his return from Achilles surgery, of course, and dealt with elbow/forearm troubles last year. But the Britton of old was one of the game’s best relievers and he has certainly shown some eyebrow-raising signs of late, including increasing fastball velocity and a swinging-strike rate that is up to 14.5% for the year. He’s earning a $12MM salary this year, which will also serve to impact his market and the O’s potential return.
4. Wilson Ramos, C, Rays (LR: 6): While the Rays are playing well, the postseason outlook remains bleak and Ramos is a high-performing, highly compensated player. With some clear potential demand behind the dish for multiple contending organizations, a trade seems inevitable. Unfortunately, Ramos is also now dealing with a hamstring injury of unknown severity. We’ll keep him on the list despite the likelihood of a coming DL placement, since the length of said DL stint isn’t known and he may be moved regardless, but it’s hardly great news given his history of leg issues.
5. Asdrubal Cabrera, INF, Mets (LR: NR): The switch-hitting Cabrera has been a consistently strong offensive producer since coming to the Mets. He’s showing more power than ever before at the moment, with 17 home runs and a .215 isolated slugging mark. Cabrera could be tasked with playing at second or third, though metrics have not smiled upon his glovework. With Jed Lowrie set to stay in Oakland, the Mets should receive some added interest in Cabrera.
6-10. J.A. Happ, Blue Jays; Cole Hamels, Rangers; Tyson Ross, Padres; Matt Harvey, Reds; Nathan Eovaldi, Rays, SP (LR: 3, 4, 7, 27, INJ): The market for pitching rentals has not looked stellar of late, to say the least. There are two rising pitchers here, Harvey and Eovaldi, but both come with long-term injury questions and their share of short-term performance inconsistencies. Since a brutal start to the season, Harvey’s velocity has stayed up, and he’s getting more and more whiffs with his slider. He has allowed just five earned runs over his past four starts, and while he’s hardly the ace he was early in his Mets career, he’s a near-lock to be traded in the next two weeks. Eovaldi is throwing about as hard as ever, getting more swings and misses than ever, and drawing grounders on about half of the balls put in play against him. He’s also continuing to exhibit the home run problems he had in 2016 and was just shelled (eight earned runs, one strikeout, 2 2/3 innings) in his most recent outing. Meanwhile, recent developments have not helped the value of Happ and Hamels, who we have discussed extensively in recent weeks. Both veteran southpaws entered the break with ERAs in the 4.3 range following three consecutive rough outings. Ross also had a pair of messy starts after carrying a 3.32 ERA through the end of June, with his velocity also trending down. But he showed much better against a tough Dodgers lineup in his most recent appearance. In all of these cases, contending teams will surely be watching the next few starts quite closely.
11. Mike Moustakas, Royals, 3B (LR: 5): Moustakas has been trending in the wrong direction since last we looked, but he’s a known commodity with good power and he remains a reasonably affordable option at the hot corner.
12. Joakim Soria, White Sox, RP (LR: 12): Soria recently saw an end to a string of 18-straight scoreless appearances. He’s earning $9MM this year, with a $1MM buyout on a 10MM mutual option for 2019. With a 2.75 ERA and 11.3 K/9 vs. 2.3 BB/9 on the year — buttressed by a career-high 14.7% swinging-strike rate — Soria looks to be quite a worthwhile target.
13-15. Brad Hand, Padres; Raisel Iglesias, Reds; Felipe Vazquez, Pirates, RP (LR: 8, 9, NR): Vazquez joins the list as the Bucs have faded. This trio represents the field of conceivably available, controllable, high-quality closers. There’s no real reason to think that these hurlers’ respective teams are particularly inclined to deal them, but the deadline is often an optimal time to move relievers and it’s generally easier to imagine one of these pitchers changing hands than a similarly affordable/controllable starter or position player.
16. J.T. Realmuto, C, Marlins (LR: 10): If the Marlins were more clearly interested in continuing their sell-off, Realmuto would rank higher — probably in the top two to three spots on this list. As it stands, the hints are that the 27-year-old won’t be dealt barring an overwhelming return. Will another team step up? Thee possibility of adding Realmuto down the stretch, and for two more affordable seasons, is awfully tantalizing after watching him race out to a .310/.365/.536 slash with a dozen home runs in 303 plate appearances to open the season.
17. Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets (LR: NR): The star righty is firing on all cylinders right now. His two future seasons of arb control are immensely valuable to the Mets, but most of the other top starters that could conceivably be dealt have even more cheap years of control remaining. If a contender is going to line up a monumental offer for a starter, deGrom seems like the clear target. While the likelihood of a deal still seems on the low side, the lack of top-end rental-starter talent should not be overlooked as a factor in driving interest. Given deGrom’s sheer excellence for a lost Mets team, he warrants a fairly lofty spot on this list.
18-21. Eduardo Escobar, INF; Brian Dozier, 2B; Fernando Rodney, RP; Zach Duke, RP, Twins (LR: NR): This group of trade chips may not quite yet be available, given that a nice run has put the Twins back within plausible striking distance in the AL Central. That’s not to say, though, that the organization isn’t readying for a sale, in which case all could well be on the move. Escobar can play short, but hasn’t really been trusted there much of late. He is, however, doing more than ever before with the bat. The same can’t be said of Dozier, but he is starting to turn things on and is a productive all-around player even if he’s not hitting at the levels he did in the prior two campaigns. As for Rodney, the experience has been a good one thus far for Minnesota, which signed him to a $4.5MM deal that also includes some incentives and a 2019 option. Though he’s not a pure rental, the 41-year-old figures to be as available as any other Twins relievers. In 34 1/3 innings this year, the closer-for-hire — he has appeared with nine teams in his career and recorded saves for eight of them — owns a 3.12 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. Meanwhile, Duke has reversed a tough 2017 showing and then some. He has dominated lefties and turned in passable-enough results against righties. Overall, he’s back to producing good strikeout rates (9.3 per nine) with excellent groundball rates (59.4%). Plus, he’s earning just $2.15MM this year plus some reasonably priced appearance-based incentives.
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22-27. Kirby Yates, Padres; Nate Jones, White Sox; Kyle Barraclough, Marlins; Shane Greene, Tigers; Mychal Givens, Orioles; Keone Kela, Rangers, RHP (LR: 21-26): Controllable relievers, anyone? All six of these arms can be controlled cheaply through at least the 2020 season, though some seem likelier to move than others. Yates is a natural candidate to be dealt after adopting a splitter that has turned into a wipeout pitch for him at age 31. Jones has battled injuries over the past three seasons, which could mitigate some trade interest, but none of his three club options are more expensive than $6MM. Barraclough and Givens probably have the steepest price tags of the bunch, as neither Miami nor Baltimore is keen on dealing them with three and a half years of control left. Greene recently returned from a minor DL stint and may not be at peak value. Kela has had some ups and downs with the organization, and the Rangers are set on selling off some pieces to restock the farm this summer, even if they’re not necessarily embarking on a full-scale rebuild.
28-30. Zack Wheeler, Mets; Jake Odorizzi, Twins; Mike Fiers, Tigers, SP (LR: NR, NR, 30): Wheeler has a 3.50 ERA with nearly a strikeout per inning and respectable control dating back to mid-May. He’s controlled through 2019, and while he comes with a lengthy injury history, he’s also earning just $1.9MM this season. A few of his more-prominent rotation mates would fetch better returns, of course, but Wheeler might be the most marketable Mets chip that has a truly realistic chance of being moved. Odorizzi is missing bats again, and he’s controlled through 2019, which should generally hold some appeal. But his walk rate is up a bit, he’s inducing fewer grounders than ever before, and homers look like they’ll always be a problem for him. He’s similar to Wheeler in that he’s a serviceable option with another year of control, but he’s more expensive at $6.4MM and doesn’t have that same type of value. Minnesota may still be able to get a bit more than it gave up to get him, though. As for Fiers, he has been on a solid run as his velocity has recovered over the course of the year. He’s not exactly exciting, but he’s a useful fourth starter who can thrive in a big park. The price tag shouldn’t be sky-high, as he’s earning $6MM and could be in line for a raise to $8MM+ in his final arb year.
31-38. Tyler Clippard, Seunghwan Oh, John Axford & Jake Petricka, Blue Jays; Sergio Romo, Rays; Brad Ziegler, Marlins; Brad Brach, Orioles; Jesse Chavez, Rangers, RP (LR: 31, 32, 33, NR, NR, NR, 11, 34): Teams looking to add solid veterans to their middle relief mix will have quite a few names to choose from. These are some of the most interesting rental arms. Since the start of June, Clippard has recorded 22 strikeouts against just one walk in 16 2/3 innings. And he’s getting gobs of infield flies (20.0%) once again. Oh has been getting it done all year long, with a 2.82 ERA and better than ten strikeouts per nine. Romo ended May with a 6.33 ERA. since, he has allowed three earned in 19 2/3 frames. Similarly, Ziegler carried a 7.88 ERA at the end of the day on June 1st and has allowed only a pair of earned runs in his most recent 21 frames. As for Brach, he has had a rough go of late but has been hurt by a .372 BABIP and is still generating a 13.4% swinging-strike rate. Though Chavez may not represent an exciting target, he’s showing well this year in a multi-inning role, with 56 1/3 innings of 3.51 ERA ball thus far for Texas.
39. Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers, OF/DH (LR: NR): Choo isn’t just having his best season with the Rangers, he’s having one of the best seasons of his career at the plate. He may be 36 years old now, but he’s mashing at a .293/.405/.506 clip with 18 homers already under his belt. (Worth noting: his previous season-high for dingers is just 22.) Choo is due the rest of this year’s $20MM salary plus $21MM in both 2019 and 2020, but trading him doesn’t look quite like the pipe dream it once was. The Rangers, of course, would still have to eat the majority of the money he’s owed. The major question here is whether a National League team will view Choo as a plausible target despite lacking the ability to utilize him as a DH. If not, there’ll be quite a limited group of potential suitors.
40-41. Jose Bautista, Mets; Curtis Granderson, Blue Jays, OF (LR: NR): The Mets were panned for their signing of Bautista, but he’s hitting .241/.399/.457 with five homers and 10 doubles in 188 PAs since joining up with them. Not much has gone right in Queens this season, but he’s been a nice surprise and could fetch a modest return from a team seeking a bench upgrade. As for the Grandy Man, the strikeouts are piling up a bit and he’s drawing poor grades for his baserunning and corner outfield glovework. He’s also riding a .326 BABIP that outpaces his career mark, but he’s hitting right-handed pitching well and still showing impressive pop.
42-44. Jake Diekman, Rangers; Jerry Blevins, Mets; Luis Avilan, LHP, White Sox, RP (LR: 38, NR, 36): Diekman’s longstanding walk problems have continued, though he has pared them back of late and owns an appealing 3.34 ERA overall. Surprisingly, he’s doing that while carrying rather drastic reverse platoon splits that have never before been apparent. Blevins also has had some struggles against lefties but has finally started racking up strikeouts again of late. It’s tough to know what to make of his season, though, which features a rather incredible turn from being a roughly average groundball pitcher to one that draws grounders only twenty percent of the time the ball is put in play against him. As for Avilan, he has held 58 opposing lefties to a cumulative .203/.263/.302 slash this year, so he’s a potential LOOGY target for the right organization. He’s also controllable for another season.
45-46. Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers; Adam Jones, OF, Orioles (LR: 16, 17): Neither player is really in top form with the bat, but both of these respected vets are still hitting at league-average rates. Their current teams can’t expect much in return given their hefty salaries ($18MM and $17MM, respectively), and full no-trade rights could also impact the outcome, but both should draw real interest from teams that want a boost on the field and in the clubhouse.
47-52. Michael Fulmer, Tigers; Noah Syndergaard, Mets; Dylan Bundy & Kevin Gausman, Orioles; Chris Archer, Rays; Jameson Taillon, Pirates, SP (49, NR): Miss out on deGrom but still want to get a talented, controllable starting pitcher? This list represents the slate of top candidates. The fact that they are all listed together here should not be read as an argument that they’re all on the same tier of talent. But they all share key attributes: low cost, multiple seasons of future control, and high established ceilings in the majors. The odds of any single one of these pitchers being dealt are fairly low, but there’s at least a reasonable chance that one member of this group ends up on the move.
53-55. Justin Smoak, 1B, Blue Jays; Nicholas Castellanos, OF, Tigers; Corey Dickerson, OF, Pirates (LR: 18, 20, NR): Anybody need a corner bat with another season of control? These are probably the most realistic targets out there. Smoak and Castellanos both featured on our original list and their situations remain about the same. That is: both are hitting quite well but neither seems particularly likely to be dealt. It’s not an altogether different situation for Dickerson, who has had a strange season. His power is down substantially from his time with the Rays and Rockies, but he’s also somehow managed to halve his strikeout rate. He’s also suddenly drawing terrific marks in left field after posting poor numbers there for most of his career. Dickerson doesn’t walk enough to be a big on-base threat, but he’s an above-average bat with another year of control remaining on a team that probably won’t want to pay him next season.
56. Derek Dietrich, INF/OF, Marlins (LR: NR): The Marlins can control Dietrich through 2020 — one more year than the others in this bunch — and he can play anywhere on the field besides center, shortstop and catcher. He’s not a particularly good defender at any of those spots, but Dietrich has long been a solid bat and is having his best year at the plate, hitting .286/.349/.450 with 11 homers. His $2.9MM salary is manageable for just about any team.
57-58. Scooter Gennett, 2B & Billy Hamilton, OF,Reds (LR: 14, 41): The 28-year-old Gennett has continued his remarkable breakout, and while there’s probably some degree of regression in store (.371 BABIP), his strikeout rate is down and he’s maintaining much of last year’s power spike. It sure doesn’t sound as if Gennett is going anywhere, but the Reds will have to listen to offers. As for Hamilton, he’s still a compelling presence on the bases and in the field, but carries only a 73 OPS+ on the season — right at his career level of production at the plate. That said, he has been on a hot streak of late. The speed demon is the likelier of these two to move — he’d be of particular interest as a late-season/postseason roster piece, after all — but is also the less valuable member of the pair.
59-62. Jordy Mercer, Pirates; Adeiny Hechavarria, Rays; Jose Iglesias, Tigers; Freddy Galvis, Padres, SS (LR: NR, INJ, 38, 39): Need a utility guy or a plug-in at short? These are the most-established, glove-first rental infielders on the market.
63-64. Devin Mesoraco, Mets & A.J. Ellis, Padres, C (LR: NR, 40): Or can I interest you in an extra backstop? Both of these vets could fit the bill. Mesoraco’s big contract means he’s an equally plausible August trade candidate. The 30-year-old has hit at a league-average rate in 44 games with the Mets.
65-67. Craig Stammen, Padres & Jared Hughes & David Hernandez, Reds (LR: 13, 47, 48): These relievers are all outproducing expectations on affordable, two-year deals. None have to be traded, but all would likely be available at the right price.
68-71. Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays; Starlin Castro, Marlins; Wilmer Flores, Mets; Josh Harrison, Pirates, INF (LR: 19, 46, NR, NR): Evan as Solarte has faded after a strong start to the year, Castro entered the break on a tear. Flores won’t be viewed as an everyday guy but has been hitting quite well. This hasn’t been a great season for Harrison at the plate, but he’s valued for his defensive flexibility and quality baserunning.
72. Lance Lynn, SP, Twins (LR: NR): It just hasn’t turned out as hoped for the Twins or for Lynn, who’s earning $12MM before reentering the market this coming winter. He has, however, shown quite a bit more of late — even including a disastrous outing on July 1st. Over his past ten starts, Lynn has held opposing hitters to a .683 OPS and carried a 3.67 ERA through 54 frames. He’s also trending in the right direction in terms of velocity. Given his history of success, it stands to reason that some contending team will see the merits in adding Lynn for the stretch run, though in all likelihood the Twins will have to help pay down the deal.
73. Adam Conley, RP, Marlins (LR: NR): Conley is in something of his own category just because he’s still reemerging. The former starter has thrown 25 quality frames this year, with a big boost in velocity (95.5 mph fastball), swinging-strike rate (15.4%), and even first-strike rate (65.6%) as against his prior work from the MLB rotation. Because he didn’t ascend to the majors this year until late May, moreover, he’ll end the season with less than three full years of service (though he’ll qualify for Super Two status). While Miami can certainly choose to stand pat, it also may be an opportune time to deal a player who has had his ups and downs, particularly given the dearth of quality rental lefties this year.
74. Whit Merrifield, 2B, Royals (LR: 50): Merrifield can play all over and isn’t eligible for arbitration until after the 2019 season. He’s a player that doesn’t need to be traded, by any stretch, but could fetch a nice return if the right organization decides it has to have him.
75. Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers (LR: INJ): It’s hard to know how to value Andrus, who has struggled since returning from a lengthy DL stint and has the ability to opt out of his contract either this coming winter or next. His contract includes $15MM annual salaries in 2019 and 2020, $14MM pay-outs for the two following years, and a $15MM vesting option for 2023.
Josh Donaldson (Blue Jays); Leonys Martin & Miguel Cabrera (Tigers); Avisail Garcia (White Sox); Tony Barnette, Chris Martin (Rangers); Darren O’Day (Orioles); Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, AJ Ramos (Mets); Francisco Cervelli & Sean Rodriguez (Pirates); Addison Reed, Twins
Starting Pitchers: Bartolo Colon & Doug Fister, Rangers (LR: 28-29); Marco Estrada & Jaime Garcia, Blue Jays; Francisco Liriano, Tigers; Ivan Nova, Pirates; Dan Straily, Marlins (LR: 43); Clayton Richard & Jordan Lyles, Padres (LR: 44-45); Mike Minor, Rangers; Steven Matz, Mets; Andrew Cashner & Alex Cobb, Orioles; Danny Duffy, Royals; Jordan Zimmermann, Tigers; Kyle Gibson, Twins; James Shields, White Sox
Relievers: Matt Andriese, Rays; Alex Wilson & Blaine Hardy, Tigers; Aaron Loup, Blue Jays (LR: 35); Seth Lugo & Anthony Swarzak, Mets; Drew Steckenrider, Marlins; Blake Parker, Jose Alvarez & Cam Bedrosian, Angels
Infielders: Jose Abreu, White Sox (LR: 15); Martin Prado, Marlins; Todd Frazier, Mets; David Freese, Pirates; Lucas Duda, Royals; Jurickson Profar, Rangers; Kendrys Morales, Blue Jays; Justin Bour, Marlins; Jonathan Schoop, Orioles; Danny Valencia, Orioles; Robinson Chirinos, Rangers;
Outfielders: Starling Marte & Gregory Polanco, Pirates; Scott Schebler & Adam Duvall, Reds; Mark Trumbo, Orioles; Cameron Maybin, Marlins; Carlos Gomez, Rays; Wil Myers, Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe & Travis Jankowski, Padres