The Trade Deadline is approaching (there is only one this year!), and that often means nervous times for ballplayers. Rumors fly, social media runs rampant and there are whispers everywhere. You don’t think you’re getting traded … but this is a business, and in a business, you never know.
But with some guys … you know.
So today we take a look at the most untradeable player on every team. Now, to be clear: We’re not talking about most untradeable contracts; Albert Pujols and Robinson Cano aren’t getting traded, but that’s because of the financial commitment to them, not their value to their team. This is not about trade value. This is the key player, the one untouchable on every team.
We’re also ignoring prospects here. Baltimore isn’t trading Adley Rutschman, but he can’t be the choice here because he’s not currently on the 40-man roster. So take this as the least likely players to be traded on each roster. These players can breathe easier for the next few weeks. Probably.
American League East
Blue Jays -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B: What would it take for the Jays to trade Vlad Jr.? Would the Angels have to offer Mike Trout and promise to pay his whole salary?
Orioles -- John Means, LHP: There really isn’t an obvious answer here: The Orioles would listen to anyone on anybody on their roster, as they should. But Means has been a great story and the Orioles’ best player. Besides, somebody has to throw some innings, right?
Rays -- Austin Meadows, OF: It’s the Rays, so you never know when they might trade somebody, but the bet here is the potential budding superstar they just got from the Pirates might stick around for a while. For what it’s worth: When I did a list similar to this last year, the Pirates’ choice was Meadows, right before Pittsburgh traded him.
Red Sox -- Rafael Devers, 3B: With all apologies to Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez and everybody here, I’ll go with the 22-year-old who is currently outslugging them and everyone else on the Red Sox.
Yankees -- Aaron Judge, RF: Remember, he’s still under team control for three more years after this one. They’ll pay for his salary in jersey sales alone.
Indians -- Francisco Lindor, SS: We’ll see how Lindor’s contract situation plays out (he’s under club control through 2021), but right now, he’s the primary reason this team is still firmly entrenched in the Wild Card race. Oh, and everyone loves him.
Royals -- Adalberto Mondesi, SS: He’s probably the Royals’ second-best player, and he’s only 23. Get him a little plate discipline and he’s a potential superstar.
Tigers -- Matthew Boyd, LHP: Yes, you’ve heard his name in trade rumors, so he might seem like an odd fit, but he’s having a breakout year and under team control through 2022. Teams usually don’t trade guys like that.
Twins -- Jorge Polanco, SS: There are tons of choices here -- teams on pace for more than 100 wins generally have plenty -- but I’ll go with the guy on pace for an 8-WAR season who is on a team-friendly, long-term deal.
White Sox -- Eloy Jimenez, OF: Just because if they traded him, they wouldn’t be able to taunt Cubs fans with him for years to come.
Angels -- Mike Trout, CF: You know, if he hadn’t signed that contract in the offseason … trading Trout might be all we were talking about right now.
Astros -- Alex Bregman, 3B: On a team of stars, he really and truly might be the best one, and he’s now locked up at a relatively reasonable rate.
Athletics -- Matt Chapman, 3B: There will be time for contract talks later, but right now, Chapman is the foundation on which you build for years to come.
Mariners -- Dan Vogelbach, DH: It’s the Mariners, so obviously anyone and everyone could be traded, but how do you trade the most lovable guy on a team desperately in need of people to love?
Rangers -- Joey Gallo, OF: He seems to finally be emerging as the superstar the Rangers thought they had all along.
National League East
Braves -- Ronald Acuna Jr., OF: Acuna already feels like the sort of talent you tell your grandchildren about.
Marlins -- Sandy Alcantara, RHP: The Marlins are building far into the future, so your 23-year-old All-Star is probably not the player you ship out when you’re doing that.
Mets -- Pete Alonso, 1B: It's been a tough year for the Mets, but the Home Run Derby champ gives their fans legitimate hope for the future.
Nationals -- Max Scherzer, RHP: It feels like Scherzer has single-handedly willed the Nationals back into the postseason chase, and he still feels like their most indispensable player.
Phillies -- Bryce Harper, OF: He hasn’t been the immediate superstar -- or even an All-Star -- as the Phillies might have wanted, but he’s still the beating heart of this team.
Brewers -- Christian Yelich, OF: He was great as a Marlin. But he has been so much better as a Brewer that it’s downright remarkable.
Cardinals -- Paul DeJong, SS: That there is no obvious candidate for the Cardinals is a sign of how things are going in St. Louis these days.
Cubs -- Javier Baez, SS: The Cubs may be swooning a bit this year, but they’re still in first place, and Baez is a central reason as to why.
Pirates -- Josh Bell, 1B: Many Pirates prospects haven't become the superstars they hoped they’d turned into. But Bell has at last done it.
Reds -- Luis Castillo, RHP: He has turned into a legitimate ace at the age of 26 -- just in time.
D-backs -- Ketel Marte, 2B/OF: Be confused by the power surge all you want, but you’re now looking at a 25-year-old middle infielder who’s slugging .564.
Dodgers -- Cody Bellinger, OF: What if he figures out a way to get better than this?
Giants -- Buster Posey, C: The Giants are nearly in everything-must-go mode … but it’s still tough to imagine them ever trading Posey.
Padres -- Fernando Tatis Jr., SS: Every team in baseball -- in baseball history -- would do backflips to have a Fernando Tatis Jr. The Padres are the ones who get to have him.
Rockies -- Nolan Arenado, 3B: He’ll probably be a Rockie for life … as he always should have been.