MLB’s Best Available Trade Targets
1. Anthony Rendon
Rendon will be the prize of this summer’s tradeline. He will almost certainly be available, as he’s on an expiring contract with no rumor of an extension on a terrible Nationals team. The Nationals had a similar situation last year, choosing to not trade Bryce Harper only to watch him walk in free agency. They can’t make the same mistake twice. Rendon is everything you want in a player. He’s an incredible hitter, walks plenty without strikeout out, is a solid baserunner, and plays great defense. If he’s available, all of the contenders have to check in on him. Not many teams need a third baseman, but a team like the Yankees, who have been decimated by injuries, could really use him.
Potential Trade Partners: Yankees, Indians, Twins, Phillies
Prediction: Rendon to Yankees for Chance Adams, Estavan Florial and Lucas Gil
2. Madison Bumgarner
Bumgarner could even be higher than Rendon because there are so more many teams that need pitching, especially one with Bumgarner’s resume, than a third baseman. But there is no question that Bumgarner is not the pitcher he once was. His velocity is down and his ERA is up, and the days of him contending for Cy Youngs are over. However, with the exception of a couple of freak injuries, Bumgarner is as dependable as they come, and at 29 he still has some good years left. He’s also on an expiring deal, so the price to acquire him will be low. He also has been effective this year, striking out over a batter an inning while posting his lowest FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) since 2016. His track record as arguably the best postseason pitcher ever doesn’t hurt. The Giants are in full seller mode, so you know Bumgarner will be available.
Possible Trade Partners: Braves, Brewers, Phillies, Twins, Astros
Prediction: Bumgarner to Brewers for Corey Ray, Corbin Burnes, and Troy Stokes Jr.
3. Marcus Stroman
In terms of just this year, Stroman is the best pitcher on the market. He’s working on a 2.81 ERA with a career-high strikeout rate. However, the memories of his terrible, injury-plagued 2018 (5.54 ERA) will diminish his value a bit. He’s already paved out a solid career, but there will always be questions about his height and how that will affect his durability as he grows older. As a three month rental, however, he is one of the best options out there.
Possible Trade Partners: Twins, Astros, Brewers, Braves, Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox
Trade Prediction: Stroman to Twins for Stephen Gonsalves and Yunior Severino
4. Zack Greinke
Any contender would love to acquire a pitcher of Greinke’s caliber, and he is likely to be available due to the Diamondbacks subpar record. He is still at the top of the game as well, placing fourth in the league in ERA. The thing that might scare teams away is his contract situation. He’s owed nearly 35 million dollars each of the next three seasons, and the Diamondbacks would almost certainly have to pay a large portion of that salary in order to move him. Will the Diamondbacks be willing to eat 10s of millions of dollars to move their best pitcher, and will a team be willing to pay a 35-year-old starter a truckload of money for the next three seasons? Greinke has been on the trade block for years and has yet to be moved, but he’s having his best season yet in Arizona, so if there was a time to trade him it would be now.
Possible Trade Partners: Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals, Phillies
Trade Prediction: Phillies aquire Greinke for David Parkinson and Simon Muzotti
5. Sean Doolittle
The one constant in what has been a historically disastrous Nationals bullpen, Doolittle will be the best reliever available on the market. His ERA and walk rate has doubled, but that may be a result of overreliance due to the ineffectiveness of his fellow relievers. He still has a dominant strikeout rate, and he is just one year removed from being an All-Star closer with a sub-2 ERA. He has an extremely team-friendly deal that, if his option is picked up, will pay him through 2020, but his stock may never be this high again. Relievers are usually the most frequently moved at the deadline, and Doolittle has more experience and dominance than any of them.
Potential Trade Partners: Red Sox, Rays, Phillies, Braves, Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers
Trade Prediction: Doolittle to the Dodgers for Dennis Santana and Diego Cartaya
6. Kirby Yates
Yates was just a run-of-the-mill reliever through age 30, but he has clearly figured something out in San Diego. He was one of the best relievers in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.14 ERA, but he has gotten even better in 2019. He has a league-leading 21 saves without blowing a single one, dominating hitters to the tune of 15.8 K/9. He has been the best reliever in the league, and he still has multiple years left on his contract. The last part is why he is not higher on the list and why the Padres are reluctant to trade him. The Padres are still in the race, just one game back of the second wild card, and there is no chance they trade their star closer if they have a shot at the postseason come July. But if the Padres do fall out of it, they could get a lot back for him.
Possible Trade Partners: Red Sox, Twins, Braves, Phillies, Dodgers
Trade Prediction: Red Sox acquire Yates for C.J Chatham, Mike Sharawyn and Josh Taylor
7. Marcell Ozuna
This all depends on if the Cardinals decide to sell. As of right now they are 1 game under .500 and mired in fourth place, and they would get a lot of interest if they put Ozuna on the market. He is no longer the .312/37/114 superstar of 2017, but he still can be valuable as a right-handed power bat as evident by his 15 home runs. He’s also on an expiring contract, which would make the Cardinals very inclined to trade him if they fully fall out it. Not many teams need a starting left fielder at this point of the season, but he would be very desirable as a short-side platoon
Potential Trade Partners: Indians, Rays, Mets
Trade Prediction: Indians acquire Ozuna for Aaron Brancho and Daniel Johnson
8. Mitch Haniger
If I made this list at the beginning of the season, Haniger might have been in the top five. He was coming off a five-win season in which he hit .289 with 26 home runs. He survived the Mariners fire sale in the offseason but looked likely to be traded if the Mariners fell out of the race. Oddly enough, it was the Mariners who started the season hot while Haniger did not, making it seem less likely that the Mariners would be inclined to trade him. The Mariners have fallen off of late, which could put Haniger, a very appealing trade candidate, back on the market. Unlike the top three players on this list, Haniger has multiple years of control left, but if the Mariners continue to slide, Haniger could warrant a big return.
Possible Trade Partners: Rays, Indians, Cardinals, Athletics
Trade Prediction: Rays acquire Haniger for Shane McClanahan and Josh Lowe
9. Derek Dietrich
Dietrich might generate the most interest this trading season because literally, every team needs a player like him. He checks all the boxes: defensive versatility, power, good clubhouse guy, and on an expiring contract. Though his success is partially due to bandbox that is Great American Ballpark, he is clearly a product of the fly ball revolution and will likely do damage wherever he goes. He’s also delightfully weird, doing wacky things like drawing a handlebar mustache with eye paint on throwback day, and that no-doubt adds to his appeal,
Possible Trade Partners: Literally everyone
Trade Prediction: Astros acquire Detrich for Myles Straw
10. Jose Abreu
Jose Abreu has been on the trade block since the White Sox starting the rebuild, but just as the South Siders are beginning to return to relevancy, it might be time to let Abreu go. He’s 32 and an upcoming free-agent, and though not the player he looked to be as a rookie, he has still turned in a very nice career. Finally getting some protection in the lineup, he is the current AL leader in RBIs. Though not the .300/30/100 hitter he was as a rookie, he still has a lot of value as a power-hitting first baseman.
Possible Trade Partners: Yankees, Indians, Astros, Rockies,
Trade Prediction: Rockies aquire Abreu for Breiling Eusebio and Terrin Vavra
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