This is our latest effort to assess the likeliest and most notable potential August trade candidates. In fact, it was nearly ready to go earlier today before a pair of moves from the Nationals knocked Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams off the list. With the Nats and possibly the Giants joining the selling ranks, there are still quite a few intriguing possibilities.
1. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Giants (placed on waivers; still pending): We’ve discussed him a fair bit of late — including in this poll on possible landing spots — so won’t go through all the details again here. Suffice to say that the Giants have good reason to send the veteran to a contender, at least if they have determined that they will not issue him a qualifying offer at season’s end. There’s about $3.23MM left on McCutchen’s contract between now and the end of the season, at which point he’ll be a free agent.
2. Curtis Granderson, OF, Blue Jays (cleared waivers): The 37-year-old Granderson is still owed about $1.1MM of his $5MM salary and has hit right-handers at a solid .245/.343/.440 clip with 11 home runs. He’s a renowned clubhouse presence who drew quality defensive marks in the outfield corners but has struggled a bit more in 2018. It’d be a surprise if the affable Granderson wasn’t moved to a contender looking to bolster its outfield mix and improve its output against right-handed pitching.
3. Sergio Romo, RHP, Rays: Romo’s return has proved fruitful for the Rays, who’ve received 54 1/3 innings of 3.48 ERA ball from Alex Colome’s replacement as the team’s closer. Romo briefly dabbled as an “opener” for Tampa Bay, but other clubs will likely view him as a late-inning reliever who can still miss bats at a high clip despite a lack of premium (or even league-average) velocity. Romo has 10.0 K/9 against just 2.9 BB/9 and has turned in a quality 12.9 percent swinging-strike rate despite averaging just 86.2 mph on his fastball. He’s playing on a $2.5MM base salary, with about $548K yet to be paid out.
4. Jose Iglesias, SS, Tigers (cleared waivers): Still owed $1.38MM of this season’s $6.275MM salary, Iglesias may be a bit pricey for a defensive specialist, but his glovework at shortstop has once again drawn excellent ratings. His bat hasn’t returned to its 2013-15 levels, but his offense is up from 2016-17 as well. In 436 PAs this year, Iglesias is slashing .265/.309/.389 with five homers, 29 doubles and three triples. He’s swiped 14 bags and can provide value on the basepaths as well.
5. Derek Holland, LHP, Giants: If the Giants are indeed willing to move McCutchen, then it can be argued that they should be similarly open to parting with Holland, who has been one of the best comeback stories of the 2018 season. The 31-year-old has tossed 134 1/3 innings of 3.75 ERA ball with quality peripherals: 9.2 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.07 HR/9, a 38.4 percent ground-ball rate and a 10.5 percent swinging-strike rate. He’s done that while playing on an extremely affordable $1.75MM base salary, which has about $384K left to be paid out.
6. Kelvin Herrera, RHP, Nationals: Herrera hasn’t pitched that well with the Nationals since being acquired in June, but he dominated with the Royals earlier this season and has a lengthy track record of strong relief work. The Nats have little reason to hang onto him until the end of the year after Tuesday’s moves, and while they won’t get back as much as they gave up, they could still salvage some prospect value or, at the very least save on the $1.7MM Herrera is owed through the end of the year. Herrera was on the disabled list for just under two weeks due to a seemingly minor shoulder issue, but he was activated Tuesday and pitched a perfect ninth inning against the Phillies.
7. Jerry Blevins, LHP, Mets: Blevins hasn’t allowed a run since the All-Star break and is sporting a 9-to-2 K/BB ratio across 8 2/3 innings in that time. He’s curiously been terrible against lefties this season while dominating righties — a strange reversal for a pitcher who has in the past thrived as a specialist. The Mets would presumably need to eat some of the remainder of his $7MM salary — he’s still owed about $1.5MM of that sum — but contenders are always on the hunt for lefty relievers this time of season. Even with this year’s struggles, Blevins’ track record should hold some appeal.
8. Gio Gonzalez, LHP, Nationals: The Nats have already shipped out a pair of useful veterans in Murphy and Adams, and while they hung onto Bryce Harper, Gonzalez isn’t likely to receive a qualifying offer and thus won’t bring back any compensation in free agency as Harper will if he leaves. (Nor, presumably, is re-signing him viewed as a similarly important priority.) Soon to turn 33, Gonzalez has had a decent season with a solid 8.0 K/9 mark and 47.1 percent ground-ball rate. He’s issuing too many walks but his 4.26 FIP paints a slightly better picture than his 4.51 ERA. Gonzalez is still owed $2.63MM of this year’s $12MM salary.
9. Derek Dietrich, 1B/2B/3B/OF, Marlins: Miami controls Dietrich beyond the 2018 season, so there’s no urgency to move him, but he’s a versatile player and an above-average bat against right-handed pitching who could deepen a contender’s bench. The Fish have played Dietrich at every infield position besides shortstop and in the outfield corners, and he’s hitting .282/.350/.441 against righties while earning a modest $2.9MM salary in 2018.
10. Logan Forsythe, 2B, Twins (cleared waivers): It’s doubtful that Forsythe’s surge since coming over from the Dodgers has made him a highly coveted commodity, but the 31-year-old’s .361/.418/.426 slash in 67 plate appearances still represents a much-needed sign of life. It’s generally been a terrible season for Forsythe, who hit only .207/.270/.290 in a part-time role with the Dodgers. There aren’t too many clubs looking for help at second base, though he’s played his fair share of third base and first base as well. He’s already cleared waivers, making him free to be dealt anywhere.
11. Marco Estrada, RHP, Blue Jays: The 35-year-old Estrada has been clobbered in three of his past four outings, but he’s still sporting a 4.00 ERA with 6.8 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. As he typically does, Estrada is leading the league in an underrated pitching category, having induced 31 infield pop-ups this season — most in the game despite the fact that he doesn’t even currently qualify for the ERA title. He’s still owed about $3.2MM of his $13MM salary, so he’s a bit on the expensive side for a back-of-the-rotation arm, but he’d be a plausible starting piece for a team in need of arms down the stretch. The Mariners and A’s come to mind as potential fits.
12. Matt Harvey, RHP, Reds: Harvey was thought to have elevated his stock a bit with the Reds, but he apparently didn’t do so enough for the Reds to be offered any kind of prospect prior to the non-waiver deadline. He’s logged a 4.28 ERA with similar fielding-independent pitching marks since moving from Queens to Cincinnati, and his velocity, swinging-strike rate and chase rate have all taken a step forward since the trade. There’s little reason for the Reds to hang onto Harvey, who is still owed $1.26MM of this season’s $5.6MM salary, making a trade seem likelier than not.
13. Rene Rivera, C, Angels: The Halos recently activated Rivera from the disabled list, though they’re already out of the playoff picture. With Rivera playing on a one-year, $2.8MM contract and hitting well in his tiny sample of 70 plate appearances this season, he could appeal to a number of clubs as a potential backup. He has a tremendous defensive reputation and another 10 days or so to demonstrate his health in advance of a deal.
14. Tyler Clippard, RHP, Blue Jays: Clippard is averaging better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings for the fourth time in the past five seasons, but he’s more homer-prone than ever before (1.74 HR/9). His home park probably isn’t doing him any favors, but Clippard’s 20.7 percent ground-ball rate is also the worst of his career and the lowest of any MLB pitcher with at least 40 innings pitched. Clippard’s changeup has long made him effective against lefties, and he’s limited southpaw hitters to a .222/.260/.364 line in 2018.
15. Luis Avilan, LHP, White Sox: The Sox can control Avilan affordably through the 2019 season, but he’s somewhat quietly had a nice season after coming over in a three-team deal that also netted them Joakim Soria. The 29-year-old has a 3.86 ERA with 10.4 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9, and he’s allowed just two homers in 39 2/3 innings this season. He’s earning $2.45MM in 2018 and will earn a raise this winter via arbitration before becoming a free agent after the 2019 season.
16. Mark Reynolds, 1B, Nationals: With Adams and Murphy departing, Reynolds stands out as a reasonable bet to follow his former teammates out of D.C. He’s already made teams regret passing on him entirely in the offseason — Reynolds didn’t sign until taking a minors deal with the Nats in April — having batted .257/.339/.500 with 11 homers in 171 PAs. Contenders looking for some right-handed punch off the bench won’t find many better options than Reynolds.
17. Lucas Duda, 1B, Royals (cleared waivers): Kansas City has played Duda against left-handed pitching far more than it should have, with nearly 30 percent of his PAs coming against southpaws. His overall numbers are ugly as a result, but Duda is hitting .260/.327/.455 against right-handers in 2018 while earning just $3MM. Playoff hopefuls in search of some pop off the bench could do worse than a rental who is owed about $674K through season’s end. In many ways, he’s a cheaper form of Adams, who was claimed by the Cardinals earlier today.
18. Francisco Liriano, LHP, Tigers (cleared waivers): It’s doubtful that any contender would look at Liriano and see a potential rotation option, given his considerable struggles in that department in 2018. However, he’s held fellow lefties to an awful .141/.247/.239 slash through 81 plate appearances. If nothing else, that could make him an interesting lefty specialist option to use with expanded rosters in the month of September. He’s owed $877K of this year’s $4MM base salary.
19. Starlin Castro, 2B, Marlins (cleared waivers): Castro was reported to have cleared waivers earlier tonight, and while he’s still owed more than $14MM through the end of the 2019 season, he’s had a fairly productive first season in Miami. There aren’t many contenders looking for upgrades at second base, and the fact that he’s signed through 2019 might make an offseason deal more likely. Still, the Marlins will gauge interest over the remainder of the month.
20. Shin-Soo Choo, OF/DH, Rangers: It’d be a shock if any team took on a notable portion of Choo’s remaining contract — he’s earning $21MM in both 2019 and 2020 — but he’s undeniably had a resurgent year at the plate. If the Rangers are willing to pay down a substantial portion of the deal, perhaps a contending team would find his bat too appealing to overlook. Choo’s defensive shortcomings don’t do him any favors, though; he’s best-suited for a DH role and only occasional work in the outfield corners.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays; Ryan Madson, RP, Nationals; Jordy Mercer, SS, Pirates; Tony Barnette, RP, Rangers; Jay Bruce, Mets; Ervin Santana, SP, Twins; Logan Morrison, 1B, Twins; Martin Prado, Marlins; Mark Trumbo, Orioles
Relievers: Mark Melancon & Sam Dyson, Giants; Addison Reed, Twins; Anthony Swarzak, Mets; Jake Petricka, Blue Jays; Xavier Cedeno & Hector Santiago, White Sox; Chris Martin, Rangers; Greg Holland, Nationals