July 19, 2022, 6:56 pm
Baseball is America’s pastime and with July upon us, that means that the MLB trade deadline is just around the corner on August 2nd. It’s the time of year where the Dodgers and Yankees trade their mid-to-upper tier prospects to the Pirates for guys who can help make a run at the World Series. While this year appears no different with the Yankees are on pace to have one of the best records in MLB history, this should be a busy trade deadline for contending and non-contending teams alike. This Trade Deadline Primer is meant to serve the purpose of predicting where the most anticipated players on the trade block end up, as well as how those trades can impact your fantasy baseball teams. I also predict the 25 players most likely to be traded at the deadline. While this is nearly impossible to predict, here goes nothing!
This is the tier of teams who think they’re a move or two away from legitimately competing to win a World Series. As championships are hard to come by and banners fly forever, these teams would be wise to make moves to improve their biggest weaknesses. Let’s discuss those weaknesses.
NEW YORK YANKEES
What does a team that is on pace to have one of the most winning seasons in MLB history possibly need? Not too much, honestly. However, the Yankees do need a little bit more offensive firepower, whether that be in the outfield or the shortstop position. Starting shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa has zero home runs this season, while platoon center fielder Aaron Hicks only has six extra-base hits on the year. Maybe Joey Gallo could get going which would alleviate the Hicks issue, but we’re halfway through the year and Gallo is still significantly below the Mendoza line. The Bronx Bombers have been long rumored to be targeting the likes of the Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds. Adding him or even the Cubs’ Ian Happ would move Judge to the corner outfield consistently, but would ultimately leave Gallo as a bench bat unless they’re able to move him. The Yankees could also go after Gold Glover Andrew Benintendi from the Royals or the Orioles’ Anthony Santander, which would leave Judge in center field. There isn’t an offensive shortstop that comes to mind that’ll be available on the trade market, unless the Yankees go after a Jonathan Schoop type and move Gleyber Torres over to shortstop. The Yankees have plenty of farm system depth to push their chips in and this would be the year to go for it if the right deal presented itself. Either way, it’s an embarrassment of riches for the Yankees.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
With the emergence of Santiago Espinal, the Jays are likely to hear offers on Cavan Biggio. The issue with that is that Biggio is the only left-handed bat in this lineup aside from the occasional Raimel Tapia cameo. If the Jays move off of Biggio, look for them to add a lefty utility bat. Also, after seeing Thomas Hatch make a spot-start for the Jays where he proceeded to give up ten runs, it’s safe to say the Jays could add an impact starter at the deadline for the second year in a row. Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah have lived up to expectations, but Jose Berrios has been underwhelming, Hyun-jin Ryu went under the knife and is out for the year, Yusei Kikuchi has been subpar and Ross Stripling has exceeded expectations but he’s likely to be deployed as a long-reliever come playoff time.
The Jays need to add a lefty to their starting pitching rotation which is why I’m targeting Martin Perez from the Rangers or Jose Quintana from the Pirates. They should also consider Madison Bumgarner if the Diamondbacks pay the majority of what he’s still owed through 2024. It also wouldn’t shock me if the Blue Jays pried Noah Syndergaard from the Angels if the Angels fall further out of the playoff race. The Blue Jays got really splashy last year, trading away two top-prospects to acquire Jose Berrios from the Twins. Do they do the same to acquire Luis Castillo from the Reds? I also like Wade Miley of the Cubs landing in Toronto. For the lefty bench-bat, the Jays should be targeting Jed Lowrie from the A’s, Joey Wendle from the Marlins and Harold Castro from the Tigers.
BOSTON RED SOX
It looks like the Red Sox solved their closer problem after Converted closer Tanner Houck took the job and ran with it. The team also announced that starter Garrett Whitlock will return to the bullpen once healthy. This alleviates some of the Red Sox bullpen woes, but an extra arm in the pen never hurt anybody. The injury bug has really gotten to their rotation too, as Chris Sale is on the shelf once again while Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill and James Paxton are all on the IL. The Red Sox have enough organizational depth at starter that they probably don’t need to make a splashy trade at the position, but a guy like the Cubs’ Drew Smyly could be an innings-eater in a starting role or a long reliever in a bullpen role that should serve them well. Some bullpen names I’m looking at if they go that route are Michael Fulmer, Andrew Chafin, Alex Colome or any of the Cubs relievers. I would also love to see the Red Sox pry away Joe Mantiply from the Diamondbacks, who has four years left of team control.
The other position of need for the Red Sox is first base. Franchy Cordero is learning on the job, but they wouldn’t hesitate if they could solidify that position with an upgrade. They have the prospect pedigree to get a bigger name like Josh Bell of the Nationals or C.J. Cron of the Rockies. However, I would love for them to make a push at Frank Schwindel (five more years of team control), Christian Walker (two more years of team control) or Josh Naylor (three more years of team control). Naylor would definitely be the hardest to get out of these three. Also, keep an eye on the Red Sox making a move for Carlos Santana from the Mariners now that Ty France is back from injury.
The Astros need a few things actually. For starters, their pitching staff is very right-handed heavy, as Framber Valdez is the only impactful lefty starter. Their first focus should be getting a lefty out of the bullpen. Furthermore, are they going to address the deficiencies in center field and catcher? The Astros have the third best team ERA in baseball but are .04 away from being the league leader. Therefore, some credit needs to go to catcher Martin Maldonado for his excellent defense and pitch-framing. Sure, the Astros could go after the Cubs’ Willson Contreras for offensive purposes, but the Astros should be wary of making that move. First base might be a sneaky need for the Astros as well, but that will depend on how Yuli Gurriel hits over the next few weeks. For now, they should focus on a lefty out of the bullpen and a center fielder. The prize at center field is Bryan Reynolds, but the Astros do not have the prospect depth to acquire him. Ditto for the Orioles’ Cedric Mullins. The target that makes the most sense for the Astros’ center field dilemma is probably the Nationals’ Lane Thomas (three more years of team control). Other guys that makes sense are Michael Taylor from the Royals and Mike Yastrzemski if the Giants fall out of the playoff hunt.
For the lefty relievers on the market, my favorite is Amir Garrett, as he’s been unhittable against lefties this season and is under control through 2023. Andrew Chafin of the Tigers also makes a lot of sense for the Astros. Other lefties on the board include Caleb Smith, Jake McGee and Matt Moore, with Gregory Soto a bigger fish if the Astros were willing to give up an elite prospect. Soto is likely better than current closer Ryan Pressly at this point and the two of them would have the lefty-righty dynamic that could create quite the formidable committee to close games. The A’s also have an abundance of lefties in their bullpen to be on the look out for. Either way, expect the Astros to make a move with the Mariners suddenly hot as they try to catch up in the standings.
NEW YORK METS
This is my favorite landing spot for Willson Contreras. We saw the Cubs and Mets make a deadline trade last year, as the Cubs sent Javier Baez to the Mets for top-prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong. Will history repeat itself? Well, the Mets not only need a catcher, but they also need a DH. Contreras has experience with doing both this year. James McCann and Thomas Nido are well regarded for their defense, but have combined for just two homers this year and are hitting under .200 combined. Contreras would be a massive upgrade on offense to pair with the Mets’ elite starting rotation once Jacob deGrom is healthy. Additionally, despite the need for a DH, it’s probably time for the Mets to give up on the Dominic Smith experiment and trade him to a team that can give him everyday playing time.
The Mets also need a lefty starter, as deGrom, Max Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, Chris Bassitt and Tylor Megill are all righties. While that’s a formidable rotation, extra lefty depth wouldn’t hurt. A swing-guy like Drew Smyly or Matt Moore would help in either regard, as the bullpen has been a little shaky too. For DH, Contreras is still ideal, but the Mets need a power hitter. It would be great for their offense if they could snag a Franmil Reyes, Miguel Sano or Luke Voit. Even a Jesus Aguilar or Daniel Vogelbach would do wonders for this offense.
Similar to the Yankees, the defending World Series champs are the other team I see that really could just stand pat at the deadline because there aren’t really any pressing needs. Actually, the splashy moves they made at the deadline last year may have won them the World Series. Admittedly, this year the Braves are even more complete at the deadline than this time last year. The Braves have some starting pitcher depth in their farm system, but Mike Soroka is coming off a two-year injury while Spencer Strider will be limited down the stretch since he only threw 96 innings last season. With that said, getting another starter that can eat innings would help, preferably a lefty. Madison Bumgarner and Wade Miley fit the bill. Again, Bumgarner would have to be paid down significantly by the Diamondbacks if they want to move off of him. The other move I could see the Braves making would be for a second baseman to hold down the fort until Ozzie Albies returns. My favorite fit would be Jonathan Schoop. The issue is that Schoop has $7.5 million in guaranteed money next year if he chooses to opt-in, so the Tigers would have to pay a significant portion of that in a trade, as the Braves wouldn’t pay a utility guy that much.
Over the past few years, the Phillies have had a historically bad bullpen. In the 60-game season in 2020, they had the worst bullpen ERA in league history and they followed that up by setting a franchise-record in blown saves in 2021. This offseason, they paid Corey Knebel, Brad Hand and Jeurys Familia a combined $22 million to alleviate these issues and despite Knebel losing the closer gig already, the bullpen is much improved. However, more work still needs to be done to make the Phillies a serious contender. Additionally, after signing Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber this summer, the Phillies doubled down on having a historically bad defense this year. That issue got even worse when Bryce Harper and Jean Segura got hurt. As a result, the Phillies could upgrade the defense by adding a defensive-first center fielder, maybe the same at shortstop and obviously bullpen help. If I was Dave Dombrowski, my first call would be to the Royals to see if they could package Michael A Taylor, Nicky Lopez and Amir Garrett in a deal. That would alleviate all three needs for the Phillies in one deal. Even though they don’t have a strong farm system, neither do the Royals, so maybe they could get something done. My second call would be to the Twins to see if they’d be willing to do a Gio Urshela for Alec Bohm swap. If the Phillies can improve their defense and bullpen, it makes Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler even better for fantasy purposes.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
This Dodgers team is actually more vulnerable than previous iterations. Even so, in 2021 the Dodgers acquired Trea Turner and Max Scherzer at the deadline, in 2018 they got Manny Machado and it was Yu Darvish in 2017. Will they make a big move in 2022? As of now, that huge name isn’t on the block, but the Dodgers have the depth to get it done if a big fish became available. Again, this Dodgers team is very susceptible to injuries with Walker Buehler and Chris Taylor both out through August, Andrew Heaney and Clayton Kershaw missing a good chunk of time on the injured list and Dustin May recovering from Tommy John surgery, not to mention Trevor Bauer. This bullpen also isn’t as elite as it usually is with Blake Treinen and Daniel Hudson on the 60-day IL while Craig Kimbrel has recently been just a shell of himself. As a result, the Dodgers could make a flurry of moves at the deadline.
First, they can focus on getting another starting pitcher for depth purposes. However, this isn’t a massively urgent need, as Heaney, Buehler and May will likely all be back by the playoffs. However, Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin both have concerning injury histories themselves. Second, they should probably add a bullpen arm or two given the injury status of some of their top guys in addition to the struggles of Kimbrel. Finally, the Dodgers need a corner outfielder. Once Chris Taylor fractured his foot, I thought it made Andrew Benintendi a lock to end up there. If not Benintendi, I wonder if they can offer a monster package to Oakland for Frankie Montas and Ramon Laureano and kill two birds with one stone. Or maybe the Diamondbacks can package David Peralta with one of their starters or Mark Melancon. Finally, the last package I like involves the Rangers trading Martin Perez with Kole Calhoun, but they’re still slightly in the hunt for a wild card spot in the AL. The Cubs’ David Robertson is the best reliever on the market and he could close games in tandem with Kimbrel. Tommy Pham would also fit in left field for them. I don’t know if the Tigers’ Gregory Soto or the Pirates’ David Bednar would be available for anything less than an elite prospect or two, but would it shock anybody if the Dodgers secured either of them?
SAN DIEGO PADRES
The Padres do not need a whole lot either. At least not in the pitching department. However, the Padres need outfield help desperately and they’ll continue to look at Eric Hosmer upgrades. They also need power in their lineup. As of now, they are 25th in the league in homers and 26th in slugging percentage. An infusion of power could help them play deep into October. If the Padres can get a power hitting first baseman like Josh Bell of the Nationals or Christian Walker of the Diamondbacks, then they should target a guy like Tommy Pham in left field. David Peralta or Anthony Santander would both also make sense. If the Giants fall out of it, Joc Pederson would be a great fit too. Ditto for Jesus Aguilar if the Marlins pack it in. Lastly, if the Padres trust Luke Voit to play first base, then Daniel Vogelbach makes sense too.
Don’t look now, but the Padres are the dark horse to go after Juan Soto, provided that they’d be willing to pay him. They have the farm system to make it work, but more on that later.
These are the teams that are somewhere in the middle. They can compete for a wild card or maybe even the division title, but they need to temper expectations and not sell the farm for a Divisional round exit. These teams could make a move around the edges to improve their roster to compete but could also make a move to strengthen their farm system if the opportunity presented itself.
The Twins must be regretting that Chris Paddack-Trevor Rogers swap right about now. Not only did Paddack undergo Tommy John surgery and is out for the next 16-plus months, but the Twins sorely miss having any sort of competent closer in Trevor Rogers. Emilio Pagan has been absolutely awful the past few weeks and closer is likely the biggest need on this team. This Twins also probably need starting pitching with Chris Paddack and Kenta Maeda both recovering from Tommy John surgery. Quite frankly, the Twins need multiple bullpen arms and a high-end front-line starter, which are difficult to come by. They could also be wise in snagging a fourth outfielder as insurance with Byron Buxton’s health history. It also wouldn’t shock me if this team moved on from Miguel Sano, but with a club option next year, they can keep him around until he’s healthy and hope his power produces in a big way for them in the playoffs.
In the bullpen, my favorite option for the Twins is David Robertson, who I already declared the best reliever on the trade market (assuming Gregory Soto and David Bednar aren’t made available). Other options I like are A.J. Puk, Joe Mantiply, Chris Stratton and Jorge Lopez. Any of those guys can be in tandem with Jhoan Duran for the closer’s job. Some middle relief guys include Chris Martin, Michael Fulmer and Cole Sulser. Again, the Twins will probably need to snag multiple bullpen arms. For starting pitcher, they traded Jose Berrios to the Blue Jays for two highly coveted prospects in Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson. Would they do a lateral move a year later and trade two prospects of similar caliber to land an impact starting pitcher like Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle or Frankie Montas? Any of the three would surely cost them at least a prospect of Austin Martin’s caliber at the minimum. If the Twins are thinking smaller, then there’s guys like Kyle Hendricks and Merrill Kelly that can make an impact. This is also my favorite landing spot for Noah Syndergaard if the Angels choose to move him.
Finally, for a fourth outfielder I’m looking at guys like Robbie Grossman of the Tigers, Odubel Herrera (assuming the Phillies get an upgrade at center field) and the versatile Cavan Biggio. Maybe the Twins should be in the ‘buyers’ category as they’ll most likely do more buying than selling with the division-lead, but it wouldn’t shock me to see them falter down the stretch with the lack of pitching heading into the deadline.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
The Rays are perpetually in this category. Last year, we saw them sell off Rich Hill at the deadline, but we also saw them part with pitching prospect, Joe Ryan, in order to land an impact bat in Nelson Cruz. With the Yankees on pace to make history as the Rays are over 12 games out of the division-lead, we can expect something similar this year. The Rays are a very analytically driven team, so it’s impossible to predict what rabbit they’ll pull out of their hat. With that said, let’s discuss some of the bats they can trade for. Ideally, they’d get a bat at first base, DH or a corner outfield spot. Christian Walker or David Peralta from Arizona maybe? Would the division rival Orioles trade Trey Mancini or Anthony Santander to the Rays? A Nelson Cruz reunion could make sense, but if the Rays want to swing bigger, Josh Bell should also be available. Kole Calhoun is in the middle of those guys in terms of asking price. Finally, I like Daniel Vogelbach as a target for them as a cheaper alternative. The Rays do have the farm system depth to take a bigger swing, if they choose.
The Guardians need a lot actually and that’s why I have them in this tier rather than the buyer tier. There are so many holes to fill and they could choose to concede on the year and retool their farm system. The Guardians need a front-line starter, as it appears Shane Bieber is more of a No. 2 pitcher than a team’s ace. But the main concern are the bats. They need to fill all three outfield spots, could go after a first baseman and move Josh Naylor back to the outfield, plus Cleveland desperately needs a catcher. The first name that came to my mind was the Angels’ Taylor Ward, who is having a career year and has three more years of team control. If the Angels decide that this year is the outlier in Ward’s career, they’d be wise to sell high. The Guardians would probably give up a decent haul to get Ward along with Noah Syndergaard. A few other notable targets would be Ramon Laureano, Dominic Smith and Joc Pederson. I wonder if the Yankees would part with Joey Gallo in a deal with Cleveland, but both have pretty good farm systems so I don’t know if that makes much sense. A two-way center fielder like Bryan Reynolds or Cedric Mullins would take a massive haul, but both of those guys have multiple years left of team control.
For starting pitching, I’m looking at the Reds with Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle if they want an elite front-line starter (with the emphasis on Castillo). He has team control through next year and with the Reds not expected to be competitive then either, I would imagine a deal would start with the Guardians trading Zach Plesac in addition to a couple of prospects such as Brayan Rocchio, George Valera and Cody Morris. Also, if the Giants continue to free fall, then would they make Carlos Rodon available? He has a team option for next season, so they may want to trade him rather than lose him for nothing. Whispers are getting louder that the Marlins’ Pablo Lopez can be moved for an impact bat, but unfortunately the Guardians have similar issues as the Marlins in that regard. As for catcher, maybe Sean Murphy from the A’s or Eric Haase from the Tigers make sense.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
The White Sox have the same issue they had last year at the deadline, second base. However, this year’s White Sox team is a lot more vulnerable than last year’s. They sorely need another corner outfielder, but the return of Eloy Jimenez alleviated some of that need in which they thought they resolved when they acquired A.J. Pollock this offseason from the Dodgers. They also need some lefties in their lineup, but Yoan Moncada and Yasmani Grandal returning to form could alleviate that concern. Their bullpen is getting paid the big bucks, but they could use another lefty there too with Aaron Bummer and Garrett Crochet out.
My favorite reliever target for the White Sox is the Angels’ Aaron Loup. However, I’m unsure the Angels sell at the deadline as long as Mike Trout is on the team and Shohei Ohtani’s free agency is looming. Therefore, some other targets are Caleb Smith, Matt Moore, Amir Garrett and Andrew Chafin. The A’s are the dark horse here too, as they have plenty of lefties in their pen. In regard to a left-handed bat, my favorite target for them is Cavan Biggio, who clearly needs a change of scenario away from Toronto. He can play both second base and corner outfielder for them, their two biggest positions of need. The same can be said for Adam Frazier, but the Mariners are competing for a playoff spot against the White Sox, but at the same time, so is Toronto, so maybe both of these targets are unlikely. While the Orioles have been hot of late, Rougned Odor is a good fit here too. So is Tyler Naquin of the Reds. Jonathan Schoop isn’t a lefty, but he would solve the second base issue. Joc Pederson would be a monster addition to the White Sox lineup. And finally, with Yasmani Grandal on the shelf, maybe the White Sox go after Tucker Barnhart.
The Rangers just spent over half a billion dollars to bring Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray into the fold, so there’s no way they’re going to sell off, right? Well, that’s why they’re in this group which is somewhere in the middle between buyers and sellers. If the opportunity presents itself to add another starting pitcher, they will. But they could also trade the guy who has been their best starting pitcher in Martin Perez. The next few weeks will be crucial for which way the Rangers go.
Perez has been legitimately awesome this year and then they have some guys in the pen that are playing over their heads in Matt Moore and Garrett Richards. Teams could be after those guys and may tempt the Rangers to sell off one final time. Kole Calhoun might also be a legitimate target to teams who need to add a lefty power bat at the corner infield spot. If they decide to buy, I see them going after a Michael Pineda or Zack Greinke type. However, those guys only have one year left on their deals and the Rangers may choose to go after somebody more long-term to really help them next year. A Merrill Kelly type makes a lot of sense for them. And what about Tyler Mahle? Could the Rangers trade one of their plethora of infield prospects in a package to acquire Mahle? I doubt they’d trade Josh Jung, but maybe one or more of Dustin Harris, Justin Foscue, Ezequiel Duran, Josh Smith or Luisangel Acuna are the headline of a package to pair Mahle with Jon Gray atop the Rangers rotation.
If the Carlos Santana trade showed us anything, it demonstrated that the Mariners are more likely to buy than sell at the deadline. Last year, they traded closer Kendall Graveman to a division rival, while acquiring Rays part-time closer, Diego Castillo. I anticipate the Mariners doing something similar where they try to improve their loaded farm system, further setting themselves up for the future in addition to helping them go for a wild card spot with this year’s expanded playoffs. The Mariners made some big acquisitions this offseason, adding Adam Frazier, Jesse Winker and Robbie Ray. Unfortunately, the injury bug has plagued their seasons thus far. Winker and Frazier have underperformed and while Ray is finally starting to turn the corner, he has not looked like a Cy Young winner. Mitch Haniger and Kyle Lewis have missed substantial time and let’s not even talk about top prospect, Jarred Kelenic.
Meanwhile, Julio Rodriguez has been a complete revelation. The dude is a superstar. The Mariners’ best path forward is likely to be patient and wait for their hitting to get healthy rather than trade for a bat. But despite a fourteen-game winning streak heading into the All-Star break, would it shock anybody if the Mariners made a move or two to sell off just a bit? Absolutely not. Maybe they trade starter Chris Flexen to clear room in the rotation for Taylor Dollard or to give Matt Brash another shot. Flexen has a team option next year that nearly any team who traded for him would pick up. Meanwhile, with Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider holding down the pen with Andres Munoz or Ken Giles potentially being the closer of the future, it wouldn’t shock me either if the Mariners traded Diego Castillo (two more years of team control).
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
As previously noted, I don’t see this team having a fire sale as long as Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are on the roster. But the Angels are even worse under Phil Nevin than they were under Joe Maddon. The bottom of the lineup is pretty putrid. They can literally improve second base, third base and/or shortstop. Their rotation is in pretty good shape, but they might need to add a bullpen arm or two. With that many holes, is it even worth selling out to try to catch up in the wild card standings? Probably not.
If the Angels choose to sell, I think the first one gone is Noah Syndergaard, as he only signed a one-year deal with the Halos this offseason. I wonder how available Taylor Ward is, as his explosion came out of nowhere and you can’t help but wonder if it’s sustainable. If they decide to go the Ward rout, I wonder if the Angels would be willing to package former top prospect Jo Adell to go after a Bryan Reynolds or Cedric Mullins and move Mike Trout over to right field. Adell has been subpar in each of his stints in the majors and a prospect of his pedigree is likely what it would take to land Reynolds or Mullins, who have multiple years of team control remaining. My favorite target for the Angels is the Reds’ Brandon Drury, who’s having a legitimate All-Star caliber season. I also love the potential of the Mets’ J.D. Davis, who does not currently have an everyday job for them. Also, if Philadelphia would eat the majority of the money, the Angels could go after Didi Gregorius, as it appears Bryson Stott is the long-term shortstop in Philly.
The Marlins have an abundance of pitching and desperately need a middle-of-the-order impact bat. The Marlins have Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Trevor Rogers, Jesus Luzardo and Edward Cabrera at the majors right now, Elieser Hernandez now coming out of the bullpen while Max Meyer and Eury Perez are nearing the majors. That doesn’t even factor in Sixto Sanchez. What I’m getting at is that the Marlins have the most organizational depth at starting pitcher in the entire league. The issue is with their hitting and their regulars are all older than 30. It would be one thing if they had a bunch of young hitters that were still developing, but they don’t. While having a career year, it is most likely that Pablo Lopez (team control through 2024) is the odd man out. Kim Ng can trade him for a fortune right now, while Edward Cabrera may be on the move as well. Some names I’d be looking at are Tyler O’Neill or Franmil Reyes.
The Marlins apparently got really close to signing Nick Castellanos this offseason and I wonder if a Castellanos-plus package for Pablo Lopez could get done, with Lopez adding to a deadly duo of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola atop the Phillies lineup. However, I don’t think the Marlins would let that happen as a division rival. What about Edward Cabrera being the main piece in a package for Cedric Mullins? Signing Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia was a start, but not nearly enough for what the Marlins need. If the Marlins can’t get that impact bat, I expect them to trade Jesus Aguilar and lean towards selling. With all their pitchers under control for so long, they don’t need to rush to make a deal.
I don’t think the division-leading Brewers will sell at all at the deadline but given their history, I don’t think they’ll buy significantly enough to be in the buyers category either. The Brewers biggest need is a center fielder while there might be need for a corner outfielder. And finally, maybe a starter given the injury statuses of Freddy Peralta and Adrian Houser post All-Star break. There aren’t a ton of guys that really fit what the Brewers are doing, but the few guys that do appear ideal on paper. The first one is Dominic Smith of the Mets. While the Brewers’ corner outfield spots and DH are occupied by a combination of Christian Yelich, Andrew McCutchen and Hunter Renfroe while first base is occupied by Rowdy Tellez, there’s definitely a little bit of a squeeze similar to what Smith faces in New York. But McCutchen only has one year left which clears the way for Smith, and he’d be great insurance for the Brewers in case they face any substantial injury. The next guy for them is Keegan Akin of the Orioles. He could be a long-relief swingman, or make some spot starts as a 3-4 inning opener until Peralta is back. However, Akin has four years left of team control and has been a revelation for Baltimore this year so it would need to be a pretty substantial package to move off of him, and the Brewers aren’t exactly asset wealthy with prospects. The other pitcher I like for them is Michael Pineda as an inning-eater either as a fifth, sixth starter or a long-reliever.
The remaining guys I’d target are all center fielders. Those names include Michael Taylor of the Royals, Akil Baddoo of the Tigers, Mike Yastrezmski of the Giants and Lane Thomas or Victor Robles of the Nationals. Baddoo, similar to Akin, might be hard to get because he is only 23-years-old and has four more years of team control. However, with top prospect Riley Greene the everyday center fielder now, it makes Baddoo a bit more expendable. Yastrezmski has three years left of team control and I’m not sure the Giants trade him to a fellow competitor in the National League. For this reason, Taylor, Thomas or Robles make the most sense for the Brew Crew.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are deep and low-key very good. They have elite defenders at every position, the bats are above average, the bullpen is good and the starting rotation is five-deep when healthy. But health has not been on their side this season. Steven Matz hasn’t pitched since May 22nd and Jack Flaherty just went on the 60-day IL for the second time this year. This year aside, there’s a strong chance Adam Wainwright could hang it up after this season. It could be wise for the Cardinals to add a rotation arm now to replace Flaherty in the rotation and then Wainwright next year if he calls it a career. I’m not sure if they’ll trade in division, but the Reds’ Tyler Mahle would be the perfect candidate for the Cardinals to throw the farm at.
If they choose to go the rout of guys with team control beyond this year, there’s starting pitchers like Kyle Hendricks, Madison Bumgarner and Merrill Kelly. Maybe the Cardinals can find Patrick Corbin as a rehabilitation project if the Nationals eat most of the money on his deal? Would a prospect of Alec Burleson’s ilk entice the Marlins to trade Edward Cabrera? Other names to add to the Cardinals rotation could be Jose Quintana, German Marquez and Zack Greinke. Getting out of Coors Field and pitching in a not-so-offense-heavy division would do wonders for Marquez’s fantasy baseball value, by the way.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
While the Giants are one year removed from winning an MLB-best 107 wins, their encore hasn’t been as spectacular. That’s why the Giants are in this middle tier. I could see them selling off pieces to add to their pretty deep farm system or they could buy to sneak into a wild card spot. Their biggest needs are at catcher, DH, corner outfield and maybe second base. They are also short a starting pitcher with Anthony DeSclafani sitting out the remainder of the season with an ankle injury. The first name that comes to mind is Willson Contreras based on those needs as he can catch or play DH. However, I don’t know if the Giants will trade a substantial asset for less than half a season of Willson Contreras. Ditto for Tucker Barnhart.
Players like Ian Happ, Cavan Biggio or Adam Frazier could play both second base and outfield, but Happ and Biggio would likely be preferable options of the trio as they have team control beyond this year. If the Giants wanted a rental in the outfielder, I’d be looking at David Peralta or Robbie Grossman. They could probably get Nelson Cruz for cheap from the Nationals to utilize him at DH, too. Carlos Rodon aside, the Giants have their entire rotation under contract next year, so the one place they wouldn’t mind taking a rental would be a starting pitcher. Ideal targets would be Noah Syndergaard and Zack Greinke. If they did want a guy with more team control, there’s Cole Irvin, Merrill Kelly and Kyle Hendricks. If the Giants choose to sell, then the most likely candidate to be traded would be Joc Pederson.
These are the teams who are best served to trade some major league talent for some prospects or young assets, as they’re not likely to make much noise down the stretch. It would be wise, as most of these teams are rebuilding, to add to their nucleus core of prospects and continue their rebuilds.
Maybe it was cruel of me to put the Orioles in the Sellers tier, as they are suddenly competing for a wild card spot in a loaded AL East. However, it might just not be sustainable despite this recent hot streak. It wouldn’t shock me if the Orioles just held pat and chose to continue to try to make a splash in the American League playoff race. Most teams expected players like Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander and Jordan Lyles to be available at the deadline. Closer Jorge Lopez was previously a lock to be traded. Now, suddenly, the Orioles don’t look the part of a seller, as they are getting hot at the right time. While it always would’ve taken a haul to trade for center fielder, Cedric Mullins, his price may have gone up even more with the Orioles exceeding all expectations lately.
However, Jordan Lyles and Jorge Lopez are still likely to be traded. With stud pitching prospects Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall nearing their major league debuts, Lyles is expendable. Furthermore, Lopez has a career 5.57 ERA even if you include this year’s miniscule 1.70 ERA in those numbers, so it would make sense for Baltimore to sell high off a career year. Additionally, Lopez has team control through 2024, so if a team sells themselves on the career year, then the O’s could get a decent prospect or two in return due to team control. Baltimore actually has some closers in the wings to take over the role if Lopez is traded with Felix Bautista and Dillon Tate, so those are some guys you could stash leading up to the deadline.
Detroit will definitely be a seller and they definitely have some pieces to move. On offense, they can move Tucker Barnhart and Robbie Grossman, and it wouldn’t shock me if they moved Jonathan Schoop. They would have to get a pretty substantial haul for Akil Baddoo, but with Riley Greene in center field for Detroit now, it makes Baddoo expendable and many teams are in need of a center fielder. Detroit also doesn’t have that many healthy arms to trade, but Michael Pineda, Michael Fulmer and Andrew Chafin are all candidates likely to be moved. I anticipate all three of those guys being moved. Closer Gregory Soto (team control through 2025) would take an All-Star caliber player or elite prospect to be moved but I’m sure Detroit will at least listen to offers, especially if an impact bat is offered. The bullpen has not been the Tigers’ issue this year, but if they trade away impact arms like Fulmer and Chafin, this should negatively impact their starting pitchers, specifically Tarik Skubal, as wins will be harder to come by with a poor offense and a porous bullpen.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
I anticipate the Royals being the biggest sellers at the deadline just because of the amount of pieces they have to sell off. The big prize here is Andrew Benintendi, a free agent at the conclusion of the season. He’s almost assuredly going to a contender. Other guys we can anticipate the Royals making available are Nicky Lopez and Michael A. Taylor, both defensive whizzes that can improve any contender’s defense. Meanwhile, Zack Greinke is also on an expiring deal, so he can be moved to help a contender. There’s also some intriguing arms in their bullpen like Amir Garrett, Josh Staumont and Joe Barlow, all of whom have years of team control beyond this year.
Is this the year Whit Merrifield finally gets dealt? Rumors of the Royals trading Merrifield have circulated for years and while his contract is team friendly, will the Royals really sell at the low point of his value when they can wait for him to rehabilitate it through next year’s deadline? Despite being in a rebuild for a couple years now, the Royals do not have much to show for it outside of Bobby Witt Jr. and Vinnie Pasquantino. Their farm system looks pretty rough, so acquiring some prospects to improve it is definitely where the Royals should shift their focus. This sell-off should negatively impact Pasquantino and Witt, as they’ll score less runs and RBIs because less men will be on base, and there’ll be less run support and bullpen help from the starting pitchers that remain (Brad Keller).
This Oakland roster is very deprived of MLB talent. With that said, there isn’t that much for them to move. Ramon Laureano and Frankie Montas could each get the A’s a haul of prospects. Outside of those two, I’m sure they’d move Elvis Andrus for just about anything, even though the A’s would have to eat a good portion of his money next year. Maybe a team trades for Jed Lowrie to use him as a utility guy. The dark horse here to be traded is Sean Murphy, as the Oakland farm system is filled with catching prospects. Additional guys the A’s could trade are starting pitchers Paul Blackburn, Cole Irvin and James Kaprielian (all three have four more years of team control). The same can be said for A.J. Puk. The A’s do have multiple lefties in the pen, something that contenders will covet at the deadline. The guy most likely to be traded out of the bunch is closer Lou Trivino (two more years of team control).
The Nationals have two of the better bats that will be available at the deadline on their roster in Nelson Cruz and Josh Bell. While Cruz is starting his decline at 41-years-old, he’s still an effective DH for a team who needs some power. The prize is Josh Bell, a switch-hitting power bat that can DH or play first base for a contender and would be a great rental for any contender. Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco are also on expiring deals and can be had for teams in need of an utility infield bat, or even a starting second baseman in regard to Hernandez. It also wouldn’t be shocking to see the team move off of Lane Thomas or Victor Robles, with multiple contenders in need of center fielders. Both Thomas and Robles have team control for multiple years beyond this year, so I wouldn’t be shocked if they kept one or both of them. Similar to Cavan Biggio in Toronto, however, Robles may benefit from a fresh start elsewhere.
In regard to pitching, the Nationals have a slew of bullpen arms that are available. Tanner Rainey would’ve been a bullpen arm that any team would’ve looked at, but he was just recently shut down for the season with a torn UCL and may be facing Tommy John surgery. That leaves Steve Cishek and Carl Edwards as the most likely bullpen arms to be moved. Finally, Patrick Corbin has 2 years and $60 million remaining on his contract after this year. Would the Nationals move him if they agreed to eat the majority of that money? It’s tricky since the Nationals would owe Corbin and Stephen Strasburg $60 million next year and $70 million in 2024. Even if a contending team interested in Corbin would pay a couple million towards the pitcher, it could benefit the Nationals.
Let me address the elephant in the room: See blurb on Juan Soto at the end of this article.
As reiterated throughout this article, the prize at this year’s deadline is the Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds isn’t a free agent until 2026 and is one of the best center fielders in the game. It would not surprise me if a team like the Yankees really paid up with the price of a prospect in the caliber of Jasson Dominguez or Anthony Volpe. The other major prize the Pirates have would be All-Star closer, David Bednar. However, Bednar is not a free agent until 2027, so it would have to take a massive haul of prospects for it to make sense to deal him. The most likely Pirate to move at the deadline is Jose Quintana, as he’s a free agent after this year and can provide starting pitching depth to any contender as a No. 5 innings-eater in their rotation. Second baseman Kevin Newman (two more years of team control) was a Gold Glover last year and could help a contender at either second or shortstop. Daniel Vogelbach is likely to be moved as well to a DH-needy team. Given it’s not a certainty that Reynolds or Bednar are moved, the Pirates should not be affected all that much at the deadline for fantasy baseball purposes.
Like the Kansas City Royals in the American League, I expect the Cubs to be the biggest sellers in the National League. Last year, we saw the Cubs move Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez at the trade deadline, and they landed four of their top five prospects in their farm system as a result of those moves. This year, they have one of the most impact bats on the market with Willson Contreras, who plays a scarce position for hitting and can immediately help a contender. Ian Happ has another year of team control before hitting free agency and should help a team who needs an impact corner outfielder. Would the Cubs move 30-year-old Frank Schwindel who has five more years of team control to a team like the Red Sox? I bet they would if the offer was right.
Where the Cubs are really going to sell is pitching. Starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks is under contract through next year at $14 million and the Cubs may need to eat some of that salary to move him, but he can help a contender in need of pitching depth. Wade Miley is an expiring deal, but he can help a contending team as well. Drew Smyly could also be a low-end rotation starter or a swingman long reliever out of the bullpen. All three should anticipate new homes come August. Outside of the Tigers, the Cubs are likely to move the best collection of bullpen arms at the deadline. David Robertson will be the most attainable reliever or closing option on the market as he has been a revelation this year. Then Chris Martin and Mychal Givens could both be impactful setup men for a contender. The Cubs could definitely use the farm system depth they’d acquire with so many pieces available for trade and have their second year in a row of being big sellers at the deadline.
The Reds could and should trade at least one, if not both, of Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle this deadline. Each of them only have one more year of team control before they hit free agency, and it does not appear the Reds will be ready to compete again next year. I’m sure a team like the Dodgers and Yankees would pay a handsome price to acquire one of them. Castillo may be the hottest commodity in trade talks at the time of writing.
Those two pitchers aside, the hitters the Reds could move include Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham and Mike Moustakas. Moustakas has $18 million guaranteed next year and then a $20 million team option, so the Reds would have to eat a significant chunk of that to move him. Not only that, but Moustkas has been pretty bad since arriving in Cincinnati. He’s played 169 games in Cincinnati and is only hitting .214 with 19 homers, plus he’s only hitting .155 vs. lefties. I don’t know if any team would view him as anything more than a utility bat at this point. Drury, meanwhile, is having a career-year. He’s already hit a career-high in homers this season, hits for pretty good average, plus he’s versatile around the diamond and outfield. My favorite landing spot for him would be the Angels and as bad as the Angels are, they may continue to try to buy as long as Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are there. In regard to Tommy Pham, it’s likely he’ll be traded, as he has a $6 million mutual option for next year. Would a reunion with the Padres make sense for Pham? Any contender who needs a corner outfielder would love Pham’s services.
The Diamondbacks have some pretty decent pieces to sell off. Left fielder David Peralta is the most likely to move out of the bunch since he’s an expiring contract. Maybe he could help a team like the Marlins try to go after a wild card berth. However, the most intriguing player that the Diamondbacks are likely to make available is first baseman, Christian Walker. Walker has two more years of team control and is capable of a legit 30 home-run season. I’m sure the Red Sox or a DH-needy team would love to pay up for his services. In regard to pitching, it starts with the DBacks’ rotation arms. Madison Bumgarner is owed $37 million over the next two years and the Diamondbacks would have to eat a good chunk of that to move off of the veteran. MadBum is having his best season since 2019 and he’s a lefty, so he will be coveted. Meanwhile, fellow starter Merrill Kelly has two more years on his deal at a reasonable number and a club option in 2025. Additionally, Zach Davies is cheap and has a mutual option next for next year.
In the bullpen, there’s Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy. Melancon has been terrible this year and there’s $6 million on his deal next year and a mutual option in 2024, so teams may be hesitant to trade for him. The Diamondbacks might be better off hoping he figures it out before next year’s deadline and then flip him next year. Kennedy will likely move and he was a closer as recently as last year when he was with the Rangers before getting traded to the Phillies. Arizona already has issues closing games as is, so trading Kennedy and/or Melancon shouldn’t negatively impact Zac Gallen too much, while MadBum and Kelly should end up with better run support and better bullpens to help close games than what Arizona currently provides.
Colorado reportedly are not going to be huge sellers at the deadline, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t move a piece or two if the price was right. Jose Iglesias is a defensive-minded shortstop that could be useful to a team. Trading Iglesias would open up the door for Ezequiel Tover to be called up. All-Star first baseman C.J. Cron would be a massive addition to any team, though I doubt they trade him. The Rockies also recently extended German Marquez and Kyle Freeland, so they would ideally keep them long term. Therefore, I’m looking at the bullpen. Daniel Bard and Alex Colome both are expiring contracts and have closing experience. Those are the two names I’m looking at to be traded. Even if both are traded, it shouldn’t affect your fantasy baseball team too much because odds are, you don’t rely on any Rockies pitchers to make an impact for your fantasy baseball team.
MOST LIKELY PLAYERS TO BE TRADED
Here are the 25 most likely players to be traded, ranked in order of how likely they are to be moved.
Impact Cubs Relievers
This is probably cheating, but the combo of Mychal Givens, Chris Martin and David Robertson will all likely be on new teams come August 3rd. As I said earlier, Robertson is the best attainable reliever on the market unless somebody drastically overpays for Gregory Soto or David Bednar. Trading all three of these guys away will negatively impact Marcus Stroman and Co. (depending who else remains) if your fantasy baseball league counts wins as a category or points.
Andrew Benintendi, Royals
Benintendi has been the most discussed player amongst league executives regarding players to be moved. Not only is Benintendi on the lowly Royals, but his contract is expiring and the Royals quite literally cannot afford to let him walk for nothing. He’s a gold glove caliber talent and a left-handed bat. There are plenty of teams who could use him in a corner outfield spot. If he ends up on the Yankees or the Dodgers, which are both strong possibilities, he’ll have immense run-support to drive him in and plenty of RBI opportunities as he’ll likely hit near the top of the lineup.
Tommy Pham, Reds
If the Reds think they can magically compete in 2023 despite being one year into their rebuild, then maybe they keep Pham. However, that seems unlikely. Similar to Benintendi (above), Pham is a corner outfielder who can make an impact towards the top of the lineup. He’s having his best season since 2019 and maybe a reunion with San Diego or Tampa Bay would make some sense. Being traded can only help Pham’s fantasy value as long as he remains an everyday player in his new role.
David Peralta, Diamondbacks
Aside from an outlier 2018 season where he hit 30 homers, Peralta hits more for average than he does power. However, he is hitting for the worst average of his career so far. He is a lefty bat and he hits righties pretty well, so there’ll be a contender that covets him. Arizona would be wise to trade him and not lose him for nothing in free agency.
Josh Bell, Nationals
Bell is a switch hitter with power and he’s added some average to his game, hitting .300 on the season thus far. It makes too much sense for Washington to move him since he’s on an expiring deal. The likely suitors will be the Red Sox, Rays, Mets and Padres, but nearly any team can utilize him. Bell, along with Willson Contreras, are the two premier bats that are likely to be traded at the deadline. Bell should get more run support regardless of his landing spot despite not hitting behind Juan Soto any longer.
Willson Contreras, Cubs
Similar to Bell, Contreras will be a hot commodity on the trade market as one of the few impact hitters that’ll be attainable. Not only that, he plays at a scarce position where many contenders can use an upgrade. However, Contreras may end up as a Met, as they make the most sense as a trade partner. We saw the Cubs and Mets make the Javier Baez trade at the deadline last year, and it would not be shocking to see history repeat itself. Contreras can catch or play DH, and those are the Mets two biggest needs. Another team Contreras can go to is the Astros, but they value Martin Maldonado’s defense and that might force them out of the Contreras market.
Steve Cishek, Nationals
While getting up there in age, the side-armed thrower has a ton of experience being a veteran bullpen presence, and his ERA for his career is under 3.00. He also carries a 10.8 K/P into the All-Star break and is very good against lefties. With the Nationals being sellers, he’s their best bullpen option to trade.
Jorge Lopez, Orioles
Lopez never had an ERA under 5.03 going into this year, but making him the closer has been a complete revelation. And Baltimore is suddenly winning. However, there’s a trend at the deadline every year of bad teams cashing in on player’s career-years and the Orioles would be wise to do the same. Lopez does have two more years of team control, and he’s been virtually unhittable this year (lefties are hitting .186 against him & righties are hitting .152). If the Orioles think this recent hot streak is them turning the corner and if they think they are ready to compete next year, then maybe they view Lopez is a long-term piece of the puzzle. How the Orioles come out of the All-Star break will likely determine a lot of that.
Dominic Smith, Mets
While the Mets aren’t going to be sellers, Smith definitely needs a fresh start somewhere where he can get consistent playing time. My ideal landing spot for him is the Brewers. He’s been ready to break out for years and while multiple fantasy baseball experts expected last year to be the year, maybe the industry was too early on him. The Mets could get a decent return for him, and use that return to acquire the big fish that their lineup covets (Nelson Cruz, Josh Bell or Willson Contreras).
Bryan Reynolds, Pirates
Reynolds would be the best hitter on the market and he plays a key position in center field, plus he is a switch hitter and has team control through 2025. While time is on the Pirates side to trade Reynolds, they would strongly have to consider if they can get an elite prospect or two in return. The Yankees would almost certainty have to part with Jasson Domingiuez, or another prospect of that caliber, in order to land Reynolds. Reynolds is a career .284 hitter and can really swing a contending team’s chances at a championship.
Andrelton Simmons, Cubs
While Simmons is still a near-elite defender at the shortstop position at age 32, his bat is almost nonexistent. Since 2020’s shortened season, he has a combined three home runs and is hitting .231 in a 196-game sample size. A team such as the Phillies, who desperately need to improve their defense and can deal with the lack of impact with his bat, would be an ideal landing spot for Simmons.
Martin Perez, Rangers
There’s been whispers that Perez and the Rangers are discussing an extension. Texas has shown a commitment to winning after spending over half a billion dollars on Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray in free agency this past winter. Meanwhile, Perez has been great this year with a 2.68 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. However, this is only the second season in his career with his ERA under 4.38, and that was back in 2013. Needless to say, this year is definitely the outlier, and as I discussed with Jorge Lopez, teams are usually wise to sell a player who is having a career-year, Extending him could end up as a big mistake based on history. Perez is a lefty, and as a result, should be one of the most sought-after starting pitchers on the market.
Relievers Daniel Bard and Alex Colome both are on expiring deals and both have closing experience. Last year was disastrous for Bard, but he’s much improved this year to tune of a 2.02 ERA and a 10.8 K/9, plus he has already tied his career-high in saves. Meanwhile, Colome has 159 career saves and has plenty of experience in high-leverage situations. Given both are on expiring deals and on the wrong side of 30, it shouldn’t take a significant asset to attain either of them from Colorado. If both of these guys are traded, it’ll hurt any Rockies pitchers, but those guys don’t hold significant trade value anyway.
Jordan Lyles, Orioles
Lyles is essentially on an expiring, as he has an $11 million club option next year that likely will not be picked up depending on where he’s traded. The Orioles may end up standing pat based on their recent success and Lyles providing consistency as a starter, however, they’d have to listen if a reasonable offer presented itself. Lyles is on pace to beat last year’s career-high of 180 innings pitched, and he can be an innings-eater for any team needing a reliable fifth starter.
Mike Minor, Reds
Minor, similar to Lyles, has a de facto expiring contract given he has a team option next year that likely won’t be picked up. However, unlike Baltimore, the Reds have no shot at a playoff berth so Minor is likely on the move to a team who could use either a long reliever or an occasional spot starter.
Michael Taylor, Royals
While Taylor isn’t the base-stealing threat he once was, he’s still a Gold Glove caliber center fielder and is low-key having a sneaky good season. He’s hitting for his best batting average since 2017, striking out less and walking more. He could be a major contributor to a contending team by platooning center field with elite defense as well as not being a liability when hitting. He also has another year on his deal at $4.5 million, so a team would be trading for him for next year too, which makes his asking price even higher for Kansas City.
Apparently the Marlins have made it known that Pablo Lopez can be had for an impact, middle-of-the-order bat or a two-way center fielder. And given how clustered the Marlins are with starting pitchers, Edward Cabrera and Sixto Sanchez can be had too. The Marlins have Cy Young frontrunner, Sandy Alcantara, in addition to Lopez, Trevor Rogers, Jesus Luzardo, Edward Cabrera and Elieser Hernandez, not to mention top prospect Max Meyer recently being called to the big leagues. That doesn’t factor in Sanchez or even Eury Perez, another top prospect. The Marlins have quite literally the most organizational pitching depth in the MLB. But again, their issue is with the bats. They tried alleviating that issue with the signing of Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia this offseason. However, there’s still work to be done. But could you imagine Pablo Lopez’s fantasy value with more run support? It could skyrocket, even if his home stadium may become more hitter-friendly.
I’m looking at you, Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle. As discussed above, each of those guys have one more year left on their deals after this one and unless the Reds think they’re going to compete next year, it would be wise to trade them now since they’ll have more value with an extra year on their deal rather than when they’re pending free agents. Both players would drastically improve their fantasy stock with a trade as they play in hitter-friendly parks right now with little run support to speak of. These guys, along with one of the next guys on this list, are the prizes of this trade deadline (unless Juan Soto is traded).
Frankie Montas and Ramon Laureano, Athletics
Montas, like Castillo and Mahle (above), has one more year of team control so trading him now would be the peak of his value. Laureano, meanwhile, has two more years of team control before hitting free agency. Both of them would bring the A’s back a pretty substantial haul. After trading Sean Manaea, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman all in the last offseason, we can anticipate the A’s trying to cash out on those two as well. Both would be in better situations for fantasy, as Laureano would be hitting in a better lineup and would produce more runs and RBIs as a result, while Montas would get more win potential if your league values wins as a category or as points.
Jose Quintana, Pirates
Quintana is almost certainly going to be moved. He has his best ERA since he was traded to the Cubs in the deal that netted the White Sox Eloy Jimenez, and he is a better choice than the likes of other 4th or 5th starters available such as Jordan Lyles or Mike Minor. Even after factoring in last year’s disastrous season, lefties only hit .193 against him since the beginning of 2021, plus plenty of contenders could use a quality lefty starter. Quintana won’t net the next Eloy Jimenez this time around, but he could net the Pirates a pretty good prospect.
Jose Iglesias, Rockies
Everything I said for Andrelton Simmons applies here for Iglesias. Glove-first guy who can improve a contender’s defense, except the difference between Simmons and Iglesias this year is that Iglesias is hitting .301. Iglesias is also a career .279 hitter, so he’ll help a contender’s defense without sinking their offense every time he’s at the plate. Obviously, leaving Coors Field will hurt his fantasy numbers.
Nicky Lopez, Royals
Lopez is the third shortstop on here that’s glove-first, but that’s an important skill to have. While Lopez has only hit 5 career home runs, he’s a year removed from hitting .300 and stealing 22 bases. Lopez also has three more years of arbitration before hitting free agency, so it’s not certain that he’ll be moved, but with Whit Merrifield at second, Bobby Witt at short, and Mondesi at third base, their infield is pretty set. Sure, Merrifield can move to the outfield, but Lopez can also be expendable due to the versatility they have in the infield.
Andrew Chafin, Tigers
Everyone can use a lefty out of the bullpen. Chafin has a player option for $7 million next year, so a team can trade for him with the possibility of having him next year as well. Over the past two seasons, Chafin has a 1.95 ERA, and he would be a big help to any contender that would acquire him.
Wade Miley, Cubs
Miley was pretty good last year, and despite not pitching much, he’s been good in limited action this year too. He may be an upgrade to the Jose Quintana types among lefty starters, but he has durability concerns. However, he is an expiring contract and can definitely help a contending team’s rotation.
Juan Soto, Nationals
Are you ready for this, baseball fans? I’d be remised not to mention Soto in this article, as he recently declined a 15-year/$440 million extension with the Nationals. As a result, the Nationals likely feel they will never be able to extend him if he isn’t willing to take the largest deal in baseball history. Soto has two more years on his deal, so he does not have to be traded this deadline, with time on the Nationals side. However, his value is at an all-time high due to the two years left of arbitration. Either way, Soto can expect to be traded for the largest package in MLB history, and he will also likely receive the largest deal ever. The names that come to mind are teams that not only have the prospects or young assets to trade for him, but also the money to pay him likely half a billion dollars. Yes, I’m looking at you, Dodgers, Mets and Yankees. Whoever is likely to trade for Soto may also get stuck with the responsibility of paying the remainder of Patrick Corbin’s horrid contract as well.
For the Dodgers, it could be a combination of Gavin Lux, Dustin May, Miguel Vargas, Michael Busch and another prospect. For the Yankees, it’s likely a combination of Gleyber Torres, Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, and Oswald Peraza. However, the sleeper to land Soto, in my opinion, is the Padres. The Padres have C.J. Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, Robert Hassell, James Wood and Esteury Ruiz, not to mention Luis Campusano. The question with the Padres is whether they are going to be able to pay Soto. Either way, the return package is going to be massive.
Let’s get excited for another great trade deadline, baseball fans!