The stars put on a show in Los Angeles this week, but with the Midsummer Classic behind us, all eyes are focused squarely on Aug. 2 -- the date of this year’s Trade Deadline.
Season-long performances will dictate the value of potential acquisitions, as will players’ career track records. But for some players that might be surging at the right time, teams will be more than happy to deal for the hot hand. With that in mind, let’s look at 10 players who have done some of their best work during the past month.
Daniel Bard, RHP, Rockies
Bard’s third season in Colorado has been his best, as he’s posted a 2.02 ERA in 35 appearances this season. The 37-year-old has excelled of late, allowing just two earned runs over his final 21 outings before the break, pitching to a 0.81 ERA during that stretch. Bard is earning $4.4 million in 2022 and will be a free agent this winter.
Potential fits: Blue Jays, Padres, Red Sox
Anthony Bass, RHP, Marlins
The 34-year-old has been outstanding all season, posting a 1.36 ERA in 40 appearances for Miami. Bass held opponents scoreless during his final 16 outings before the break, holding hitters to a .441 OPS in 15 2/3 scoreless innings. Bass is earning $3 million this season and has a $3 million club option ($1 million buyout) for 2023, but the Marlins could capitalize on his stellar season and flip him for a younger player or two.
Potential fits: Blue Jays, Giants, White Sox
Josh Bell, 1B, Nationals
Bell has just two home runs over the past month, but he has 15 extra-base hits and an impressive .360/.430/.596 slash line during that time. With the worst record in the Majors at the break, Washington appears headed for a fire sale, and Bell – an impending free agent – should be among those on the move. Bell could provide help at DH for a contender without a need at first base.
Potential fits: Astros, Mets, Red Sox
Andrew Benintendi, LF, Royals
Benintendi finished his first half with a flourish, hitting .389 with an .895 OPS since June 22. A free agent at the end of the season, the 28-year-old should be among those traded out of Kansas City. Benintendi’s vaccination status could cause some hesitation for both the Blue Jays and any contenders with trips to Toronto remaining on the schedule.
Potential fits: Mariners, Padres, Phillies
Luis Castillo, RHP, Reds
Castillo is the No. 1 starter available on this year’s trade market right now, and his recent performance has only cemented that status. The right-hander went 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his final four starts prior to the All-Star break, as he struck out 33 batters in 27 innings.
Potential fits: Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees
Brandon Drury, INF, Reds
One of the more versatile players on this year’s market, Drury can play all over the infield and has some experience in the outfield, too. The 29-year-old is hitting .304 with a .915 OPS, four homers and 17 RBIs in 23 games over the past 30 days.
Potential fits: Dodgers, Giants, Mets
Shohei Ohtani, DH/RHP, Angels
No player would instantly draw more attention on the trade market than Ohtani, who is following up his 2021 AL MVP season with another spectacular year. In the past month, Ohtani has four homers, 11 RBIs and an .883 OPS in 21 games – oh, and he’s also gone 4-0 with a 0.34 ERA in four starts. Ohtani won’t be a free agent until the end of 2023, and given the current state of the Angels, this might be the highest Ohtani’s value will ever be.
Potential fits: Mets, Padres, Yankees
David Robertson, RHP, Cubs
Robertson’s renaissance has carried into July; the veteran closer had a 1.69 ERA in his final nine appearances prior to the break, making him one of the prime rental candidates on the market. His experience as both a closer and setup man will make him appealing to most contending clubs.
Potential fits: Mets, Red Sox, Twins
Amed Rosario, SS, Guardians
Rosario has one more year of arbitration-eligibility before reaching free agency, and with Andrés Giménez able to slide over to shortstop (not to mention INF Gabriel Arias waiting in the wings at Triple-A), Cleveland could look to move Rosario to open the logjam. Rosario has a .909 OPS over the past 30 days.
Potential fits: Orioles, Phillies, Rays
Juan Soto, RF, Nationals
No qualified hitter in the Majors has a higher OPS (1.266) during the past month than Soto, who was suddenly thrust onto the trade block last week after he turned down a 14-year, $440 million extension offer. Soto is arbitration-eligible for two more years before he hits free agency at the end of 2024.
Potential fits: Mariners, Padres, Yankees