Trade season is upon us, baseball fans.
The summer is here. We’re in the second half of July and once the Hall of Fame induction ceremony passes this weekend, baseball will be consumed by trade-deadline fever. Which teams are buying? Which teams are selling? Which contender is desperate to make a move? We’ll find out in the coming weeks.
We do know there are some fascinating names on the block — some more certain to be traded than others.
We know pitching will be a hot commodity, particularly starting pitching, as contenders like the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies and even the New York Yankees (who are still without ace Luis Severino) could use some help in their rotation.
The bats are a little lighter this year, but there are still some players who could help a contender.
Here are 10 fascinating names to watch for the next two weeks. No guarantees they all get dealt, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens with them.
SP, San Francisco Giants
The Giants pitcher is the biggest name on the block this year, but there’s a new wrinkle recently. The Giants aren’t doing half-bad. What was once a no-brainer has turned into a question mark. Do the Giants trade their postseason-tested ace before he hits free agency or do they try to make a run at a wild card with him?
SP, Toronto Blue Jays
The biggest selling point for Stroman is that he’s not a rental. He’s not a free agent until 2021, so he could help a team that needs pitching beyond the stretch run. He has great stuff, but has seen up and down results in Toronto the past few years. He was an All-Star on a not-so-great Blue Jays team this year and has the big personality that would thrive in a big market.
SP, New York Mets
Thor could be the biggest prize on the free-agent market if the Mets decide to sell. And that’s a big if. The Mets are floundering and new GM Brodie Van Wagenen is bold, a combination that could lead to a big shakeup in Queens. Syndergaard has some of the most electric stuff in baseball when he’s at his best, which hasn’t been this year. Injuries have also limited him in the past. The upside is huge, though, and you can bet teams would be listening if the Mets decide to move him.
SP, Cleveland Indians
Bauer is a lot like Syndergaard — huge upside, tremendous stuff and the same uncertainty about whether he’ll get dealt. The Indians are in the thick of a playoff hunt, so it doesn’t make a ton of sense on the surface to trade one of their best pitchers. But Bauer’s name has surfaced in talks for much of the year, so it’s at least worth considering. The Indians’ pitching staff is deep — deep enough to withstand ace Corey Kluber being out for most of the season, but the return for Bauer would still have to be sizable. It wouldn’t likely be the Indians trading him to retool their farm system, it would be about making their major-league team better right now.
1B, Chicago White Sox
Whatever hopes the White Sox had of being a darkhorse postseason contender earlier in the season have been dashed by now. There’s promise in the White Sox roster, but it’s not happening in 2019. Abreu’s a free-agent-to-be slugger with 21 homers and 66 RBIs, plus a .273 batting average right now — that’s tried-and-true trade-deadline fodder right there. Abreu can help someone if the White Sox decide to trade him. There have also been talks about keeping him and giving him an extension.
SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
The D-backs have been better than expected, but not so good that they’re definite buyers. So the Robbie Ray rumors are out there. Ray, a 27-year-old lefty, hasn’t put it all together to be a dominant starter but he’s shown glimpses. He’s a strikeout machine — averaging around 12 strikeouts per nine innings the past three seasons — but his ERA is usually closer to four than three. Still, a few of the playoff contenders are trotting out rotations with three No. 3 starters at the top of their rotation, and he could certainly help.
SP, Detroit Tigers
It’s been a pretty disappointing year in Detroit, but the progress of Matthew Boyd has been a positive. Boyd is 28 but won’t be a free agent until 2023, meaning he can be a valuable trade chip for the Tigers. Part of his 2019 breakout is owning the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the league. It’s enough to make you think he could thrive on a better team.
OF, San Diego Padres
The Padres wouldn’t trade a 24-year-old slugger on a bargain contract under team control until 2025, would they? You wouldn’t suspect it, yet Reyes’ name keeps coming up in trade talks. It’s enough to make you wonder. He’s hit 26 homers with 44 RBIs this season and is part of a Padres outfield that does have some depth. Plenty of people have wondered if they’d trade Reyes or Hunter Renfroe (who has 27 homers), since they’re pretty similar players. It’s worth keeping an eye on.
2B, Cincinnati Reds
Scooter Gennett emerged as an All-Star last season for the Reds, but injuries have kept him off the field for much of 2019. With free agency approaching for Gennett and Derek Dietrich thriving in his absence, the Reds could easily part ways with Gennett to further their rebuild. Remember, he hit .310 last season with 23 homers and 92 RBIs. The season before, it was 27 homers and 97 RBIs. That bat can help someone.
RP, San Francisco Giants
Relief pitchers aren’t often the sexiest names on the baseball team, but come the trade deadline, they’re often on the move. You can never have enough good relievers. Especially in October. Smith, a 30-year-old lefty, is neither the Fresh Prince nor the Dodgers catching prospect. But he’s perhaps one of the most sought-after bullpen arms on the block this year. He was an All-Star this season with 24 saves and only 12 runs allowed in 40 appearances.
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