Here is the All-Trade Candidate Team

July 18th, 2023

Only two weeks remain until the Trade Deadline, yet an incredible 22 teams entered the week no more than eight games out of a postseason spot. That means a limited number of surefire sellers have emerged, though that total figures to grow the closer we get to Aug. 1.

As is usually the case, pitching figures to dominate the trade market headlines, but there are interesting trade options all around the diamond. looks at the best player currently believed to be available at each position, along with the “Buzz Factor” surrounding them as the Trade Deadline draws near. All stats were entering play on Monday.

C: Elias Díaz, Rockies

This year’s All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, Díaz is in the second year of a three-year, $14.5 million contract that is paying him $5.5 million this season and $6 million in 2023. Catching is often a difficult thing to trade for midseason, but Díaz’s solid defense would be a boost for many contenders down the stretch.

Buzz Factor: Medium

Díaz’s All-Star performance made him more of a known commodity and put his name on the trade rumor map. Colorado’s No. 4 prospect is Drew Romo, who could be ready to take over behind the plate next season.

1B: C.J. Cron, Rockies

An All-Star in 2022, Cron spent more than a month on the injured list with back issues, but since returning on June 27, the 33-year-old has an .861 OPS in 14 games, belting a pair of home runs against the Yankees over the weekend. He’s owed about $3 million for the remainder of the season and is slated to become a free agent at the end of the year.

Buzz Factor: Low

Cron isn’t viewed by most as a big, impact bat, but teams such as the Astros, Brewers and Padres -- who rank as the bottom three in the Majors in OPS at first base -- might view him as an upgrade.

2B: Brendan Donovan, Cardinals

Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said last week that changes were going to be made prior to the Trade Deadline, adding that he hopes to “keep our core together and then supplement it properly.” That likely means keeping Paul Goldschimdt and Nolan Arenado, but if St. Louis needs pitching, it’s going to have to give up something of value. Donovan has proven to be a productive utility player, capable of playing every infield position and the corner outfield spots.

Buzz Factor: Low

The Cardinals would likely prefer to hold on to the 26-year-old, but given the club’s unfamiliar position as sellers, it’s difficult to rule anything out in the coming weeks. Donovan won’t be eligible for arbitration until the end of the 2025 season.

SS: Paul DeJong, Cardinals

Unlike Donovan, DeJong is a likely candidate to get traded, as he’s owed a little more than $3 million this season and has club options for 2024-25. DeJong turns 30 on Aug. 2 and is enjoying a nice bounceback season after a difficult 2022, making him an ideal option for clubs looking to boost production at shortstop.

Buzz Factor: High

As previously mentioned, the Cardinals will be in deal-making mode, with DeJong high on the list of players likely to be moved.

3B: Jeimer Candelario, Nationals

Washington is one of the few sure-fire sellers this summer, with impending free agent Candelario among the most likely players in the league to be dealt by Aug. 1. Candelario is having the best all-around year of his career, giving the Nationals a solid trade chip to move.

Buzz Factor: High

Candelario ranks in the 94th percentile in Outs Above Average, giving potential suitors strong defense to consider, as well. The Yankees, Marlins and Phillies all rank near the bottom of the league in third base OPS, so there are definitely teams that should be interested in the 29-year-old.

RF: Randal Grichuk, Rockies

The third member of the Rockies on this list, Grichuk appears to be the most likely to be traded thanks to an underwhelming outfield trade market. The 31-year-old missed the first month of the season on the IL, but has posted an .837 OPS in 55 games since his return.

Buzz Factor: Medium

Grichuk is heating up in July, hitting three home runs with a 1.249 OPS in his first seven games this month. One of those homers came against the Yankees, who might view him as an answer to their left-field conundrum, as Grichuk offers the ability to play all three outfield spots.

CF: Cody Bellinger, Cubs

The 2019 National League MVP has bounced back from his disastrous 2021-22 seasons, looking better than he has in four years. Bellinger’s power numbers aren’t overly impressive, but his .882 OPS and strong outfield defense make him an appealing candidate for any contender looking for outfield help.

Buzz Factor: High

The Cubs are one of those bubble teams that hasn’t declared itself as a buyer or seller, but given that Bellinger is likely headed for free agency at the end of the year (he has a $25 million mutual option) and the number of teams interested in his services, it would be surprising if he wasn’t dealt.

LF: Tommy Pham, Mets

The 35-year-old veteran played himself into an everyday role as the Mets’ left fielder this season, posting a solid .823 OPS through 71 games. But New York still finds itself well below .500, trailing the Wild Card race by 8 1/2 games, so dealing expiring contracts might be a move for the club even if the Mets don’t go into full-on sell mode.

Buzz Factor: Medium

It feels just as likely that the Mets decide to become buyers and try to make a run, but Pham -- who is owed roughly $2 million through the end of the season -- should draw interest from multiple contenders if he’s on the block.

DH: Shohei Ohtani, Angels

You didn’t think we would have a list like this and NOT include Ohtani, did you? Just as this upcoming free agency season will start with the two-way superstar, this year’s trade season will be dominated by Ohtani headlines. The Angels are reportedly willing to listen to offers, which should bring a number of contenders to the table in an attempt to land the former American League MVP.

Buzz Factor: High

It’s impossible to say what the price would be for Ohtani, even as a rental player. Acquiring him means getting an ace and a cleanup hitter at the same time. If the Angels are serious about trading him, they should be able to name their price.

SP: Blake Snell, Padres

Snell has been the best pitcher in baseball for nearly two months, going 5-1 with a 0.62 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 58 innings (10 starts) since May 25. Yet the Padres still find themselves on the outskirts of the postseason picture, sitting eight games out of a Wild Card spot and 10 games back in the NL West. Snell is owed roughly $6 million for the rest of the season, the final year of his five-year, $50 million contract. He’s headed for a big payday in free agency.

Buzz Factor: Medium

The trade market could include some high-end starters including Snell, Lucas Giolito and Marcus Stroman -- all impending free agents -- but the acquisition cost for these kind of arms will be steep.

RP: Scott Barlow, Royals

If the Padres do decide to sell, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking Josh Hader should occupy this spot. But since they are on the buyer/seller fence and we already discussed one of Hader’s teammates above, we’ll go with a Royals reliever here.

Kansas City already jumped the relief market with its trade of Aroldis Chapman to Texas last month, but the Royals still have another strong back-of-the-bullpen arm they can move in the coming weeks. Barlow had a tough start to the season, but he’s pitched well since late April and ranks near the top of the league in chase rate, strikeout percentage, average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage.

Buzz Factor: High

Barlow is one year away from free agency, so an acquiring team would be bringing him on board for the rest of 2023 and all of '24. Relief arms are always in demand this time of year, so the Royals should do well in a Barlow deal.