This is the final 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 and find the second list here. Essentially, we’re ordering players based upon our assessment of both their trade value and likelihood of being dealt.
It’s subjective; it’s debatable; and that’s what makes it fun. Without further ado:
1. Zack Wheeler, SP, Mets (LR: 3): There’s a report saying the Mets might try to extend him, but … when are those talks going to take place? Wheeler bounced back from an injury scare with a sturdy outing in which he had all his velocity. He’s a potential impact rental piece. It’s time to move him.
2-4. Nicholas Castellanos (Tigers), Corey Dickerson (Pirates) & Yasiel Puig (Reds), OF (LR: 6, 20, NR): The corner outfield market has crystallized quite a bit in recent weeks. Each of these players is earning a fairly steep salary but has also been quite productive of late. If you need to add some thump to your outfield mix, these are your top rental options.
5-7. Noah Syndergaard (Mets), Mike Minor (Rangers) & Robbie Ray (Diamondbacks), SP (LR: 30, 31, 32): These are the likeliest remaining non-rental starters to be moved this summer. Reports have wavered on all three in the run-up to to the deadline; perhaps their teams have as well. These are talented and productive starters with appealing contract situations, playing for teams that can still entertain hopes of 2020 contention. Better bring a good offer.
8-10. Shane Greene (Tigers), Edwin Diaz (Mets) & Felipe Vazquez (Pirates), RP (LR: 8, NR, NR): Greene isn’t in the same tier from a talent standpoint, but he’s also quite a bit more likely than the other two hurlers to be dealt. It makes sense for the Detroit organization to cash him in at a high point, especially since his arb salary will go through the roof next year. Diaz and Vazquez possess the type of talent that moves the needle even for contending teams that seemingly have everything on their rosters. Given their contract situations, they won’t be moved lightly, but it’s possible to imagine blockbusters in both cases.
11. Tanner Roark, SP, Reds (LR: NR): He’s not an exciting pitcher, but he’s as good or better than other sturdy, inning-filling types that have been moved in recent weeks. High odds of a deal unless the Reds shrug and decide to let it ride.
12-13. Matthew Boyd (Tigers) & Caleb Smith (Marlins), SP (LR: 9, 59): These hurlers come with more and cheaper control than the group listed above. They’ve both shown eye-opening improvements this year, but don’t have lengthy track records of MLB success.
14-15. Mychal Givens (Orioles), Raisel Iglesias (Reds), RP (LR: 17, NR): Gone are the days when big save tallies and/or low ERAs drive the deadline. Both of these pitchers have obvious talent and have shown it for lengthy stretches. Contenders have no doubt taken a close look in a bid to understand just why it is the results haven’t been there in 2019. The O’s have every reason to jump on a deal if they can get some appealing young talent. The Reds are reportedly willing to listen on Iglesias, which hasn’t always really been the case.
19-25. Craig Stammen (Padres), Daniel Hudson (Blue Jays), Greg Holland (Diamondbacks), Francisco Liriano (Pirates), Chris Martin (Rangers), David Hernandez & Jared Hughes (Reds), RP (LR: 41, 44, 42, NR, NR, NR, NR): And here we have the slate of pure rental relief arms. Hernandez is perhaps the most fascinating of the bunch, with excellent K/BB numbers but a brutal 6.92 ERA and recent IL stint.
26. Alex Colome, RP, White Sox (LR: 45): We just aren’t very high on Colome as a trade chip. The late-inning experience is great, as is the 2.27 ERA over 39 2/3 innings. But Colome’s ho-hum peripherals are cause for quite a lot of skepticism and Statcast batted-ball measurements paint him as a massive regression candidate (.223 wOBA vs. .324 xwOBA). With a hefty salary — $7.325MM this year and a save-induced arb raise next year — it just doesn’t seem that Colome is going to command significant offers.
27. Ken Giles (RP), Blue Jays (LR: 4): This is a disappointing situation for the Jays, who were all lined up to cash in on Giles after his exceptional showing throughout the first half of the season. Unfortunately, he’s now dealing with worrying elbow inflammation. Even if he ultimately comes through just fine, there’s sufficient uncertainty to make a deal much less likely than it had seemed. If they can’t secure a big return, the Jays will probably hold onto Giles in hopes that he’ll bounce back in the second half and turn into a winter trade piece (or remain the team’s closer for 2020).
28. Clint Frazier, OF, Yankees (LR: 12): There’s still no path to the Bronx, so it’s likely Frazier ends up on the move. Odds are he’ll go in a deal that brings back a pitcher, but beyond that it’s anyone’s guess on a landing spot.
29. Mike Leake, SP, Mariners (LR: 16): The veteran hurler is sporting a fine 2.59 ERA through 24 1/3 innings this month, making him a nice back-of-the-rotation target. We know the M’s are willing to deal and hold onto salary as necessary to facilitate a move. Leake would rank higher but for the fact that his no-trade rights (along with indications he won’t hesitate to use them) create a complication.
30. Roenis Elias, RP, Mariners (LR: 18): Despite a few stumbles, Elias has mostly delivered solid work in a surprising turn as the Seattle closer.
31. Jarrod Dyson, OF, Diamondbacks (LR: 37): The speedy lefty is a classic deadline rental piece. He’d make sense as a bench outfielder for a number of contenders.
32-33. Zack Greinke (Diamondbacks) & Trevor Bauer (Indians), SP (LR: 32, 34): There are still scenarios where these two excellent hurlers could be moved, but we haven’t heard a significant volume of rumors indicating there’s a major run-up to a deal. Greinke’s limited no-trade rights are a significant factor, while the contending Cleveland organization obviously has ample cause to keep Bauer unless very particular goals are met in a trade.
34-37. Joe Jimenez (Tigers), Joe Biagini (Blue Jays), Jose Leclerc (Rangers) & Amir Garrett (Reds), RP (LR: 58, NR, NR, NR): This is a grouping of controllable relievers with interesting arms, even if the results haven’t always been there. All have been mentioned at some point in the rumor mill, but it’ll take a compelling offer to force their respective teams’ hands.
38. Hunter Pence, OF, Rangers (LR: NR): The surprise All-Star would fill a niche as a right-handed bat and major clubhouse presence for a contender.
39-40. Hunter Renfroe & Franmil Reyes, OF, Padres (LR: 21, 22): It remains difficult to ascertain the intentions of the San Diego organization, but it seems they’re continuing to explore deals involving these controllable corner outfielders. Both have displayed huge power and middling on-base numbers this year.
41-42. Kole Calhoun (Angels) & David Peralta (Diamondbacks), OF (LR: 28, 29): As was the case when we last checked in, these two players remain plausible but hardly certain trade candidates. Teams looking for quality corner outfield bats may be willing to take on the salary and give up some prospect value if they see one of these veteran left-handed-hitters as the best roster fit.
43. Kirby Yates, RP, Padres (LR: 19): Perhaps we’re discounting the possibility of a trade too much here, but there just hasn’t been any particularly compelling chatter about the outstanding San Diego closer. As just suggested above, there are still quite a few fascinating possibilities for the Friars. Anything involving Yates would make for banner news on a thus-far-moribund trade market.
44. Andrew Chafin, RP, Diamondbacks (LR: NR): While he’s carrying a 4.21 ERA in 36 1/3 innings, that’s not of much concern. More importantly, Chafin is sitting at 11.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 on the year and has been tough on lefty hitters (.231/.294/.333). With one more season of control remaining, the Snakes have some value here.
45. Daniel Murphy, 1B, Rockies (LR: NR): Murphy is heating up at the plate at the right time if the Colorado club wishes to clear some salary. The Rox have underperformed expectations and seem in position to sell. Trouble is, the organization has little in the way of obvious trade chips unless it puts core pieces up for sale or eats a ton of money on bad contracts.
46. Domingo Santana, OF, Mariners (LR: NR): It seemed that some momentum was building towards a deal, but an elbow injury has reduced the likelihood.
47. Alex Wood, SP, Reds (LR: NR): While he’s only one start into his tenure in Cincinnati, that lone showing may have been enough to facilitate a trade. The Reds could hold on and hope for the best, with Wood perhaps even representing a qualifying offer candidate, but they’d have to strongly consider a trade if they can secure decent terms.
48-50. Whit Merrifield, INF/OF, Royals; Starling Marte, OF, Pirates; Trey Mancini, OF, Orioles (LR: 23, NR, 35): We haven’t seen anything close to dedicated trade chatter involving these high-quality players who possess appealing contract situations. But if a surprise position-player blockbuster goes down, these seem the likeliest candidates.
51-52. Jake McGee & Scott Oberg, RP, Rockies (LR: NR): Both of these relievers would have appeal to contenders, but can the Rox afford to part with their best-performing bullpen pieces if they hope to contend next year?
53-55. Freddy Galvis (Blue Jays), Asdrubal Cabrera & Logan Forsythe (Rangers), INF (LR: 26, NR, NR): A recent lower back injury could cause trade talks to hit the skids, but it’s still possible a team will decide that Galvis is the right piece to add. Meanwhile, the Rangers rental veterans are rather obvious bench piece candidates.
56-59. Danny Santana (Rangers), Tim Beckham (Mariners), Jonathan Villar & Hanser Alberto (Orioles), INF (LR: NR, 55, 56): If you’d rather chase a bit of upside and gain control with your reserve infield addition, these players are worth considering.
60. Adam Jones, OF, Diamondbacks (LR: NR): The eminent veteran hasn’t been at his best, but still seems like a nice bench piece for the right team.
64. Ian Kennedy, RP, Royals (LR: 49): There hasn’t been much chatter on the veteran, but he remains a candidate to step into a contending bullpen if the Royals are willing to hang onto a big chunk of the remaining salary. There’s some indication they’d rather not.
65-66. Wilson Ramos, C & Justin Wilson, RP, Mets (LR: 53-54): We haven’t seen much indication that either of these veterans will be moved, but both are plausible chips if the Mets decide to try to shave some 2020 payroll obligations.
67. Lance Lynn, SP, Rangers (LR: NR): There’s no indication that Lynn is a major target, but … why not? True, he’s controllable for two more seasons, while Minor only has one remaining. But some contenders may well see Lynn as the better pitcher and be willing to offer more to get him. The Rangers can’t rule anything out.
68-71. Madison Bumgarner (SP) & Will Smith, Sam Dyson & Tony Watson (RP), Giants (LR: 1, 2, 7, 10): We’re generally presuming that the Giants won’t bow out of a Wild Card race that they have now joined. Still, they’ll need to explore the possibilities regarding these short-term assets.
72. Drew Pomeranz, SP/RP, Giants (LR: NR): This is a more likely Giants’ trade piece, if only because the team could decide to clear a roster spot. Pomeranz would make sense for a club that can imagine him functioning in a LOOGY role while also providing some long-man/rotation depth.
73. Melky Cabrera, OF/DH, Pirates (LR: NR): The veteran switch-hitter has cooled off but remains a bench-bat candidate.
74. Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies (LR: NR): A somewhat surprising name to the market, Blackmon seems an unlikely trade chip. He’s still a very good hitter, but is lagging in other areas. The contract isn’t terrible but doesn’t seem like much of an asset given his age. It’s just difficult to see something coming together, but the potential remains.
75. Jacob deGrom (LR: 60): We can’t quite quit the idea that deGrom could be moved if an exceptional opportunity comes up. It’s highly unlikely, but you can’t completely rule out a blockbuster until the bell has rung and the deadline has passed.
Other Trade Candidates
Astros: Tony Kemp (DFA limbo)
Indians: Brad Hand
Nationals: Michael A. Taylor