We know the usual names in play. Cole Hamels, Mike Moustakas and J.A. Happ all seem likely to change teams by Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.Even a pair of aces -- Jacob deGrom of the Mets and Chris Archer of the Rays -- have been mentioned so often that there'd be
We know the usual names in play. Cole Hamels, Mike Moustakas and J.A. Happ all seem likely to change teams by Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Even a pair of aces -- Jacob deGrom of the Mets and Chris Archer of the Rays -- have been mentioned so often that there'd be virtually no shock value if they're actually traded.
This is where we come in looking at the possibility of a slap-your-forehead trade. That would be one you never saw coming and can't completely understand, and aren't those the best kind?
With around 17 teams still in contention and with so few true impact players seemingly available, there seems to be at least a chance of a Trade Deadline bombshell.
Let's consider five:
1. Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
No, it's not likely to happen. The Nationals continue to hope they'll snap out of a season-long funk and that Harper will lead them to a fast finish and a deep October run. The Nationals also hope to re-sign him despite impending free agency. But what happens over the next few days if nothing changes and the Nationals continue to hover around .500? If Harper shows no signs of a turnaround? Wouldn't the Cardinals, Giants, Rockies or Indians love to gamble that a change of scenery would ignite him? What about the A's, a team with a history of bold Deadline moves (Jon Lester, anyone?) when it believes it can contend?
The Nats are seven games behind the Phillies in the National League East, with the Braves between them. And they are six games out of the second Wild Card spot with five teams ahead of them. Since Major League Baseball added a second Wild Card in 2012, no team has been six or more games back of the second Wild Card after Aug. 1 and recovered to reach the postseason. In other words, if the Nats haven't made up ground before Tuesday's Deadline, trading Harper becomes a plausible scenario.
2018 salary: $21.625 million
Contract status: Free agent after this season
2. Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers
After all the places we've been and things we've seen, could this really be the time to say goodbye? Yep, appears so. The Dodgers have at least three outfielders ahead of Puig on their depth chart, and with so many teams hoping to add offense, his value may never be higher.
2018 salary: $9.2 million
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible after this season, then free agency following 2019
3. William Myers, OF, Padres
After spending almost two months on the disabled list, Myers is looking more comfortable by the day, with seven homers in his past 13 games. So why would the Padres consider trading a 27-year-old who is signed through the 2023 season? Fact is, they may not. But once they signed another first baseman, Eric Hosmer, last offseason to a deal worth $144 million over eight years, it meant Myers would have to move to the outfield, which is less than an ideal fit. If Myers continues to hit, San Diego GM A.J. Preller surely is going to get a call or two about moving him to, say, Colorado.
2018 salary: $4.5 million
Contract status: Signed for at least four more seasons: $5.5 million in 2019, $22.5 million a year from '20-22 and a $20 million team option for '23
4. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
Let's put this gently: For a long time, the good folks of Cincinnati did not seem to appreciate that they had one of the best players ever to put on a uniform. That has changed the past four seasons as Votto has re-established his greatness and may already have punched his ticket to Cooperstown. So why would the Reds, who've played well since a managerial change, even consider moving an iconic player? Besides that, the money remaining on his contract means only a few teams would take on that amount of salary. But if the Rockies or Yankees saw Votto as the final piece to the puzzle, it's worth considering, isn't it? Or what if the Mets saw him as a building block that would bring the franchise instant credibility? It's worth considering, isn't it?
2018 salary: $25 million
Contract status: Signed for five more seasons at $25 million per season with a $20 million team option for 2024
5. Madison Bumgarner, LHP, Giants
Here's an even longer shot: Bumgarner is one of the faces of one of the most successful franchises in baseball. He's also one of the reasons the Giants did not even consider rebuilding last offseason. As long as Bumgarner and Buster Posey are in the prime of their careers, San Francisco is full speed ahead. If Bumgarner hadn't missed the first two months of the season, the Giants might not be in fourth place. Could they still make the postseason? Sure, they could. But at what point do they decide they need to do something dramatic? Wouldn't the Yankees empty their farm system for two seasons of Bumgarner?
2018 salary: $12 million
Contract status: $12 million team option for 2019
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.