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9 trade targets who could make big impacts

MLB.com @RichardJustice

Mets ace Jacob deGrom represents the kind of talent that teams don't trade very often, which is why he probably won't be dealt. He's 30 years old and two seasons from free agency. His 1.68 ERA ranks first in the Majors, and in 19 starts, he has allowed more than three runs only once.

deGrom is a player that walks in the door and becomes a franchise cornerstone and someone capable of transforming a good team into a championship club. To pry him from the Mets would mean surrendering a boatload of prospects, and then probably a few more.

Mets ace Jacob deGrom represents the kind of talent that teams don't trade very often, which is why he probably won't be dealt. He's 30 years old and two seasons from free agency. His 1.68 ERA ranks first in the Majors, and in 19 starts, he has allowed more than three runs only once.

deGrom is a player that walks in the door and becomes a franchise cornerstone and someone capable of transforming a good team into a championship club. To pry him from the Mets would mean surrendering a boatload of prospects, and then probably a few more.

Listen: Morning Lineup Podcast discusses the trade market heating up

On the other hand, what's a trip to the World Series worth for, say, the Mariners? What would the Yankees, Nationals and Braves look like with deGrom in their rotation?

The Astros were asking themselves that first question at this time last season, and they took a pass on Justin Verlander at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Then, they had a tough August (11-17), and the dynamics changed.

They went from seeing Verlander as a luxury to a near necessity. When he was acquired moments before the August 31 deadline for a player being postseason eligible, he changed a season, if not an entire franchise.

The Astros won 21 of 29 after Verlander's arrival. He started 11 times, including the postseason, and the Astros won 10 of them. Could deGrom have that kind of impact for some team?

There may be other players like that out there. With the Trade Deadline eight days away, let's look at nine players who could impact teams and seasons.

1. Jacob deGrom, Mets starter
He's averaging more than seven innings per start since mid-May. Over his last 79 innings, he has 16 walks and 93 strikeouts. By almost any measuring stick, he's an ace.

Contract: $7.4 million in 2018, plus two more arbitration seasons before free agency in 2021.

Potential landing spots: The Braves have the farm-system depth to do this deal. The Giants and Nationals may not. The Yankees have an excellent system, but they would have to overpay to convince the Mets to do business with them.

2. Chris Archer, Rays starter
Given the thin market for starters, this may be the best time for the Rays to move him. Will he be energized by a change of scenery, as this hasn't been his best season? On the plus side, he's signed for three more seasons at $27 million.

Contract: $6.4 million in 2018 and $7.7 million, $9 million and $11 million in '19, '20 and '21. He has buyouts totaling $2 million in 2020 and '21.

Potential landing spots: Unless the Rays change the price, it's going to take a deep prospects dig. Only a few teams -- Braves, Yankees, Dodgers -- seem capable of making the deal. The D-backs and Mariners would be nearly ideal fits.

Video: Justice on Astros' interest in Abreu, Archer rumors

3. Zach Britton, Orioles closer
He touched 97 mph in his final appearance before the All-Star break, and he seems to be fully recovered from right Achilles tendon surgery. If he stays healthy, he would make any contender better.

Contract: $12 million in 2018, free agency after the season.

Potential landing spots: The Braves appear to be the best fit. The Astros are trying to acquire him for the second straight summer. But almost every contender will have conversations with the O's about him.

4. Raisel Iglesias, Reds closer
The Reds have played so well the last three months that Iglesias may not even be available. If he is, the bidding will be intense, because he's 28 (two years younger than Britton) and signed for two more seasons at a relatively low price.

Contract: $5.2 million in 2018, $5.7 million in '19 and '20. Free agent after 2021 season.

Potential landing spots: His value may be higher than Britton's, and that's also a case for the Reds holding onto him if they see themselves contending in 2019.

5. Jose Abreu, White Sox first baseman
His numbers are down across the board, including his power numbers. He remains the most intriguing offensive player potentially available for a couple of reasons. One is that he's 31 years old and began the season with an .883 career OPS after four years in which he averaged 36 doubles and 31 home runs a season. Also, at a time when there aren't many power hitters available, he has the potential to reshape the middle of a lineup.

Contract: $13 million in 2018, plus two arbitration seasons.

Potential landing spots: The Mariners would be a nice fit, but that would mean moving Dee Gordon back to center field for the remainder of the season when Robinson Cano returns on August 14.

6. Adam Jones, Orioles center fielder
Hey, Adam, Cleveland is beautiful in the fall. Wait, we're getting ahead of ourselves. His on-base percentage has been around .300 for most of the season, even with a chance for 40 doubles, 15 home runs and (wait for it) 20 walks. To acquire him is to project he'd benefit from a better batting order and a winning team.

Contract: $17.3 million in 2018, free agency after the season.

Potential landing spots: The Indians are looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder. Check and check.

7. Cole Hamels, Rangers starter
Hamels can veto trades to 20 teams and probably will want his $20 million option for 2019 picked up before agreeing to a deal. While his overall numbers aren't great, his 2.93 ERA and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings on the road make him an underrated pickup. He has said a return to the Phillies would be his dream scenario, but the Phils are seeking bullpen and middle infield help.

Contract: $23.5 million in 2018, $20 million option for '19, then free agency.

Potential landing spots: The Mariners would be an ideal fit. The Braves and Yankees appear to have some interest.

8. Eduardo Escobar, Twins shortstop/third baseman
He leads the American League in doubles and is going to hit 20-plus home runs. He has played second, third and short. With Manny Machado off the market, Escobar could be the best available defensive shortstop, although defense isn't the strength of his game.

Contract: $4.85 million in 2018, then free agency after this season.

Potential landing spots: The Brewers and Phillies make some sense, as both are looking more for offense than defense.

9. Whit Merrifield, Royals second baseman/outfielder
The Royals are listening to offers, but they do not seem motivated to deal him, given his versatility and that he's still a year away from arbitration. He makes sense for almost any contender because he can play almost anywhere and is having a solid offensive season.

Contract: $569,500 in 2018. Arbitration eligible in '20, free agency in '23.

Potential landing spots: The Indians would be a nice fit. The Brewers and Phillies could be as well.

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.