Deadline Rankings forecast: Mostly Sonny

A's starter moves up to top spot as action begins on market

July 14th, 2017

The Astros, Dodgers and Nationals all hold comfortable leads in their respective divisions, separated from their second-place teams by at least 7 1/2 games.  
There's no sense of urgency for those three division leaders to make any rash decisions as the trade market begins to take shape, but with Houston and Los Angeles each looking for a starting pitcher and Washington in need of a bullpen makeover, all three teams have needs to address between now and the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
So why wait? 
"Winning division titles is great," one American League general manager said. "It's nothing to sneeze at, but they have teams that are very capable of winning the whole thing. The Dodgers, Nationals and Astros are the teams that would be missing an opportunity if they don't go for it and get what they need." 
The Cubs are the perfect example of a team that seized that opportunity a year ago, sending four players to the Yankees -- including top prospect -- for , who Chicago believed was the missing championship piece. Three months later, the Cubs were hoisting a World Series trophy.  

Will the Astros, Dodgers or Nationals follow suit? 
"Don't get too cute," the GM said. "You're not guaranteed to be back there." 
Here's our latest look at who could be joining the trade party in the ninth installment of's Trade Deadline Power Rankings.
1. , RHP, Athletics
Contract: $3.575 million (2017); arbitration-eligible in 2018-19
Last ranking: 5
Thursday's trade that sent from the White Sox to the Cubs for four Minor Leaguers -- including the Cubs' top two prospects -- essentially set the price for Gray, who is under control for two more seasons after 2017. Gray finished the first half strong, posting a 1.71 ERA over his final three starts.  
2. , RHP, Mets
Contract: $7.75 million (2017)
Last ranking: 7 
The Mets fell to fourth place in the National League East at the break, sitting 12 games behind the Nationals and 10 1/2 games out of an NL Wild Card spot. GM Sandy Alderson has plenty of impending free agents to move, though Reed will surely be in demand above all others. In 15 games since May 29. Reed is 9-for-9 in saves with a 1.06 ERA.

3. Brad Hand, LHP, Padres
Contract: $1.375 million (2017); arbitration-eligible in 2018-19
Last ranking: 1
The All-Star reliever was one of the most discussed names in Miami as the industry wonders how much the Padres can get for the left-hander. With so many teams looking for bullpen help, Hand -- who hasn't allowed a run in a month -- should have a number of interested suitors given his salary and two years of control. Texas is looking for bullpen help; might college roommates Jon Daniels and A.J. Preller make a deal?   
4. , RHP, White Sox
Contract: $12 million (2017); $13 million (2018)
Last ranking: 3 
Sensing a trend here? As mentioned above, relievers will be in demand. For teams seeking a closer -- we're looking at you, Nationals -- there's no better available one than Robertson, who is also signed for 2018.  
5. , 1B, Athletics
Contract: $4 million (2017)
Last week's ranking: 4 
The A's All-Star could sign an extension to stay with Oakland, but with free agency looming after the season, the likely scenario is that Alonso will be dealt. The Yankees continue to be an obvious candidate given Greg Bird's health issues, though New York dealt for power-hitting Minor Leaguer Garrett Cooper on Thursday, sending lefty to the Brewers.  

6. , 3B, White Sox
Contract: $12 million (2017)
Last week's ranking: 9 
Like the Nationals and their bullpen, the third-base situation for the Red Sox is a bit of a mess, especially now that Boston has designated for assignment. Frazier is the best available option, and now that the White Sox have traded Quintana, GM Rick Hahn will be focused on finding new homes for Frazier and Robertson.  
7. Zack Cozart, SS, Reds
Contract: $5.325 million (2017)
Last week's ranking: Not ranked
Like Alonso, Cozart is another first-time All-Star heading for free agency at the end of the season. The Reds could look to sign Cozart to an extension, though the likely move is that he will be sent elsewhere. The biggest question: which contender is in need of a shortstop? The D-backs could be a good fit.  
8. J.D. Martinez, RF, Tigers
Contract: $11.75 million (2017)
Last week's ranking: 2 
Most of the talk around the Tigers has centered on , but he's signed for two more years. Martinez will be a free agent after the season. The outfielder sports a .991 OPS entering the second half, hitting 14 home runs in 53 games. He's a game-changer for a team seeking an offensive boost.

9. , RHP, Pirates
Contract: $3.75 million (2017); arbitration-eligible in 2018-19
Last week's ranking: Not ranked 
The Quintana trade might make Pirates GM Neal Huntington think about moving Cole, who hasn't approached his 2015 All-Star numbers during the past two years. The 26-year-old Cole would still be pursued by plenty of teams looking for a controllable starter, most of whom would be willing to part with a nice haul of prospects to acquire him.  
10. , 2B/SS/3B, Athletics
Contract: $6.5 million (2017); $6 million option for 2018 ($1 million buyout)
Last week's ranking: 8
Lowrie is a versatile option for any contender, capable of playing anywhere in the infield. He also doesn't cost much, so while the Athletics could very well hang on to him, it would make sense for them to trade him if they can bring back a prospect or two.  
Dropped from last week's rankings:,