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Complete guide to the trade market for hitters

July 20, 2018

Two things you should know about Manny Machado: He is a great baseball player. He has finally been traded.Perhaps those updates crossed your desk previously. Here, then, our aim is to share information on the other talented position players who may change uniforms between now and 4 p.m. ET on

Two things you should know about Manny Machado: He is a great baseball player. He has finally been traded.
Perhaps those updates crossed your desk previously. Here, then, our aim is to share information on the other talented position players who may change uniforms between now and 4 p.m. ET on July 31.
What follows is a look at the midsummer market across the Majors, with two weeks left before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Top names: J.T. Realmuto, Wilson Ramos, A.J. Ellis, Robinson Chirinos
Perhaps we will finally see a resolution to the Realmuto trade saga, but the Marlins' price on him remains high given that he's under club control through 2020. Meanwhile, the chances of a trade involving the other top available catcher, Ramos, are diminishing due to his recent left hamstring injury that could keep him out past the Deadline.
Ellis, a respected veteran who appeared in 17 postseason games with the Dodgers, is having a strong offensive season for the Padres in a backup role. He could fit nicely with the Brewers -- he lives in the Milwaukee area during the offseason -- or Mariners, who may benefit from an added veteran presence after stumbling at the end of the first half.
Teams shopping: Astros, Nationals, Mariners, Brewers
The Nationals are poised to upgrade their catching in the coming weeks. They have the worst OPS at the position of any team in the Majors, and their opportunities to upgrade at other positions appear limited.
The Astros had shown interest in Ramos, as they wait for clarity on what to expect from veteran Brian McCann when he returns from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Now, the uncertainty surrounding Ramos' health could make a trade difficult before the Deadline.
Top names: C.J. Cron, Mike Moustakas, Justin Bour, Joe Mauer, Jose Martinez
Moustakas is a third baseman, of course, but the Royals have given him playing time at the opposite corner in an effort to create additional trade value. (The Yankees are one team that has shown interest in him there.)
Mauer has full no-trade protection, and it's unclear if he'd want to pursue a World Series title elsewhere -- even for a few months -- or spend his entire career playing for his hometown team.
Cron is having a breakthrough season in his first year with the Rays, already setting a career high with 19 home runs while splitting time between first base and designated hitter. As with virtually the entire roster, Tampa Bay will consider offers for him.
Martinez has been among the Cardinals' most pleasant surprises, but some in the industry believe he profiles best as an American League designated hitter. Cards interim manager Mike Schildt had him on the bench for his first couple of games at the helm, opting for Matt Carpenter at first and Jedd Gyorko at third. Martinez is under control through 2022, and his career .870 OPS could be enticing to a lot of teams if he becomes available.
Teams shopping: Yankees, Astros
The Yankees' need for a first baseman has dissipated somewhat, as Greg Bird's production picked up in the final week before the All-Star break.
The Astros' need isn't pressing, but they could look to add a left-handed bat, either at first base or in the outfield.

Top names: Scooter Gennett, James Dozier, Asdrubal Cabrera, Starlin Castro
Gennett, a first-time All-Star and free agent after next year, is a candidate to be extended or traded by the Reds. With Dozier, the possibility of a long-term deal never seemed to gain much traction, meaning a trade has become increasingly likely. The difference between the two is that Dozier will be a free agent this offseason, while Gennett has one more year of arbitration remaining.
And while the Mets will agonize over whether to trade Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, there's no such dilemma with Cabrera. He's having arguably his best offensive season at age 32, and he's not under contract for 2019.
Teams shopping: Dodgers, Red Sox, Brewers, Giants
The Dodgers and Twins engaged in protracted trade talks regarding Dozier two offseasons ago. A trade fit still exists between the teams, as a result of John Forsythe's poor first half in Los Angeles, though the Dodgers' need is not as great with Machado in the fold as they can now slide Chris Taylor over to second. The Red Sox (Dustin Pedroia) and Giants (Joe Panik) will look at second basemen, depending on the health status of their injured starters.

Top names: Eduardo Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Adrian Beltre, Matt Duffy, Josh Donaldson
Escobar has been one of baseball's most underrated infielders in 2018. Beltre, like Mauer, has full no-trade rights and can determine if he wants to leave and pursue a World Series title.
Donaldson, limited by injuries to 36 games and a .757 OPS this season, remains on the disabled list due to left calf problems. The longer his health questions linger, the more likely it is that he will remain on Toronto's roster into August -- and perhaps longer than that. Given Donaldson's uneven season, the Blue Jays might be best served by giving him a qualifying offer this offseason and taking the Draft-pick compensation should he sign elsewhere. Duffy, like his Tampa Bay teammate Cron, is an overlooked trade candidate who has posted career-best offensive numbers this season.
Teams shopping: Phillies, Red Sox, D-backs
Philadelphia looked like a fit for Machado, but the Phils could still target a guy like Moustakas. The D-backs (Jake Lamb) and Red Sox (Rafael Devers) could add a veteran right-handed hitter to complement a lefty-swinging regular who had a disappointing first half.

Top names: Jose Iglesias, Jordy Mercer
It's a thin list with Machado no longer available. Iglesias has been more durable, and slightly more productive, in 2018 than in recent years. Mercer, meanwhile, has continued producing nearly the same offensive numbers every year. Both Iglesias and Mercer are free agents after the season.
Teams shopping: Phillies, Brewers
The Phillies have gotten terrible production from shortstop, which is why they were in on Machado. They could still make a move for a short-term upgrade and hope for more from J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery in 2019 and beyond. Meanwhile, it will be a mild surprise if the Brewers do not upgrade their middle infield in the coming days. Their shortstops and second basemen have combined for wRC+ of 64, which ranks 30th among all middle-infield production.
Utility players
Top names: Whit Merrifield, Jedd Gyorko, Josh Harrison, Yangervis Solarte, Yolmer Sanchez, Derek Dietrich, Miguel Rojas, Wilmer Flores
Merrifield is the player virtually every contender wants, because he's controllable through 2022 and can play nearly every position on the diamond. Harrison's production is down this season, but his energetic style would fit nicely on a contender like the Dodgers. He's an ideal change-of-scenery candidate.
Donaldson's health woes mean that Solarte has become Toronto's most marketable position player on the trade market. But he is a popular teammate and under control (through team options) until after the 2020 season, so the Jays have little urgency to trade him.
Teams shopping: Red Sox, Dodgers, Phillies
The Red Sox factor prominently into this market, given the injuries to Devers and Pedroia and poor production from Eduardo Nunez. Boston has shown interest in Merrifield, the only player in the Majors this year to start five or more games at first base, second base, center field and right field.
Top names: Adam Jones, Tommy Pham
Jones has not played a corner outfield spot in the regular season since 2007, but the number of interested teams will expand if he's willing to move from the position where he has won four Gold Glove Awards. As a 10-and-5 player, he has full no-trade protection.
Pham declined to sign a long-term contract with the Cardinals prior to this season, and his numbers have regressed. Combine those factors with the overall turmoil with the organization, and a trade is plausible.
Teams shopping: Indians, Athletics
Cleveland's .565 OPS in center field was the Majors' second worst during the first half. The A's, meanwhile, had six players start in center field during the first half. Dustin Fowler and Mark Canha have split time there recently.
Top names: Nicholas Castellanos, Shin-Soo Choo, Curtis Granderson, Adam Duvall, William Fowler, Corey Dickerson, Jose Bautista
The Tigers are willing to move Castellanos as their rebuild continues, but his market hasn't fully developed yet. Granderson, the one-time Tiger, has been exactly what the Jays expected on and off the field and is a good candidate to be moved to a contender for the second straight year.
The emergence of Jesse Winker with Cincinnati has made Duvall expendable. Elsewhere in the National League Central, Fowler is a buy-low candidate after his production and playing time have diminished in St. Louis, but he has three years and more than $40 million left on his deal.

Teams shopping: Giants, Nationals, Phillies, D-backs
Left field continues to vex the Giants, who have struggled for years to find a productive, everyday solution at the position. San Francisco's .648 OPS in left field was the NL's worst mark in the first half.
The Astros also could look to upgrade in left, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has reported. One reason: Left fielder Kyle Tucker, Houston's top position-player prospect, has posted a .419 OPS thus far in the Majors.
And while there are other metrics by which to evaluate players, here's something to consider: The right fielders for both the Phillies and D-backs have combined to hit below .200.

Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for