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7 most likely to be traded and where they'll go

Bumgarner leading charge of hot commodities as Deadline approaches
@RichardJustice
July 13, 2019

Trade Deadline strategies can change over the course of a few innings. No, seriously. Plenty of baseball people make the mistake of seeing their team as what they think it should be instead of what it actually is. They tell themselves they’re one big win or maybe one five-game winning

Trade Deadline strategies can change over the course of a few innings. No, seriously. Plenty of baseball people make the mistake of seeing their team as what they think it should be instead of what it actually is.

They tell themselves they’re one big win or maybe one five-game winning streak from catapulting into the playoffs. So these next two weeks are critical as teams formulate their strategy for the July 31 Trade Deadline. (Remember, it’s the only Trade Deadline this year!)

There’s a long list of teams in the middle. They’re certainly not out of contention. They may not be exactly in contention, either. This is the time of the year when a general manager will reject the very trade he proposed three hours earlier.

That said, there are players who seem virtually certain of being on new teams come Aug. 1. With that in mind, here are the seven players most likely to be traded.

Madison Bumgarner, LHP, Giants (age 29)

Pay no attention to all those reports about how Bumgarner is no longer viewed the way he once was, and that he’s not going to be a hot commodity. He may be the single most sought-after player at this point. He might just turn the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers and maybe even the Twins into World Series favorites. We don’t really expect the Giants to trade him to the Dodgers, but it’s fun to dream. Anyway, thanks for the memories, San Francisco.

2019 salary: $12 million

Eligible for free agency? After this season

Front-runner: Yankees

Keep an eye on: Astros, Red Sox, Twins, Cardinals

Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians (age 28)

The Indians have sprinted back into contention, so it’s logical to think they won’t deal their ace. They almost certainly will, and this does not mean they’re giving up on 2019. The Tribe has enough pitching depth to make the playoffs anyway, especially if, say, outfielder Clint Frazier -- or someone like him -- is the return. At 28, Bauer is the prototype of what teams look for in starting pitchers: velocity, spin rate and innings.

2019 salary: $13 million.

Eligible for free agency? After 2020 season

Front-runner: Yankees

Keep an eye on: Dodgers, Red Sox, Brewers

Zack Wheeler, RHP, Mets (age 29)

This is going to be a tough call for a team that had a busy offseason and seemed good enough to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. But a little bit of everything has gone wrong, and considering that Wheeler is headed for free agency and that quality pitching is in short supply, the Mets will do the sensible thing. (We’re rooting for him to be traded from Queens to the Bronx, but we’re not holding our breath.)

2019 salary: $5.98 million

Eligible for free agency? After this season

Front-runner: Red Sox

Keep an eye on: Twins, Astros, Dodgers, Cardinals

Clint Frazier, OF, Yankees (age 24)

He has nothing else to prove in the Minor Leagues. Unfortunately, he finds himself stuck in baseball’s deepest organization. But the Yankees do need rotation help, and Frazier almost certainly is appealing enough for any team looking to unload a starting pitcher. Frazier was drafted by Cleveland and sent to New York in the Andrew Miller trade. A return to Cleveland would make a lot of sense.

2019 salary: $563,000.

Eligible for free agency? After 2023 season

Front-runner: Indians

Keep an eye on: Phillies, Cardinals

Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays (age 28)

He has great stuff, and he is a full season away from free agency. All that’s keeping him from the top spot on this list is that the Blue Jays will be seeking pitching in return, and teams are reluctant to trade young arms.

2019 salary: $7.4 million

Eligible for free agency? After 2020 season

Front-runner: Cardinals

Keep an eye on: Phillies, Twins

Ken Giles, RHP, Blue Jays (age 28)

He had a tough postseason with the Astros in 2017 when he lost his job as closer in the midst of their World Series run, and that could scare a few teams away. But he is also having a dominant season with the Blue Jays, and with almost every contender seeking bullpen help, he’s going to be in demand.

2019 salary: $6.3 million

Eligible for free agency? After 2020 season

Front-runner: Phillies

Keep an eye on: Twins, Braves, Red Sox

Melky Cabrera, OF, Pirates (age 34)

And the road goes on forever. The Melk Man is with his eighth team in 15 seasons. This also happens to be one of his best. He’s still very productive against right-handed pitching, and for a team looking for a utility player and occasional starter, this could be a great pickup.

2019 salary: $1.15 million

Eligible for free agency? After this season

Front-runner: Phillies

Keep an eye on: Cubs, Cardinals, Twins

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.