Trade Deadline candidates on the rise

June 29th, 2021

The calendar turns to July on Thursday, putting teams in the final stretch before the July 30 Trade Deadline. As contenders and pretenders begin to separate in the standings, buyers and sellers will declare themselves before too long.

Between now and the Trade Deadline, will take a bi-weekly look at players whose stock is rising on the trade market, along with some potential fits for each one.

As we gauge the market, here are 10 potential trade candidates on the rise, with all stats entering Monday's games.

C.J. Cron, 1B, Rockies
Cron’s power has been on display during the past two weeks, as the first baseman has slugged five home runs with 11 RBIs over 12 games. Cron is on a one-year, $1 million deal, making the 31-year-old one of the best bang-for-your-buck alternatives on this year’s trade market.

Potential fits: Brewers, Indians, Red Sox

Nelson Cruz, DH, Twins
The ageless wonder continues to rake, hitting 17 home runs with 42 RBIs and a .935 OPS in 67 games this season. Cruz is slashing .349/.404/.651 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 11 games during the past two weeks, showing no sign of a summer slowdown. Cruz, who turns 41 on Thursday, is on a one-year, $13 million contract, making him a prime rental candidate for an American League contender.

Potential fits: Athletics, Rays, White Sox

Adam Duvall, OF, Marlins
Duvall’s batting average (.216) and on-base percentage (.265) are underwhelming, but he has 16 home runs and 53 RBIs in 68 games this season. Over the past two weeks, Duvall has been a much better all-around hitter, slashing .297/.381/.649 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 11 games. The Marlins have another outfield trade candidate in Starling Marte as well, but Duvall’s power bat and contract (he’s earning $2 million this season, plus a $7 million mutual option with a $3 million buyout) make him an attractive candidate for power-starved teams.

Potential fits: Indians, Mets, White Sox

Joey Gallo, RF, Rangers
Gallo is just 10-for-40 (.250) over the past two weeks, but he’s made the most of those hits, belting five home runs with 12 RBIs in 12 games. The 27-year-old has also drawn 11 walks during that stretch (tied for the second-most in the Majors), giving him an impressive .412 on-base percentage and 1.062 OPS. Gallo is earning $6.2 million this season and is arbitration-eligible for one more season, giving him strong trade value for the rebuilding Rangers.

Potential fits: Athletics, Cardinals, Mets

Kyle Gibson, RHP, Rangers
Gibson is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his past two outings, lowering his ERA to an AL-best 2.00 in 15 starts. The 33-year-old is averaging six innings per start this season, his 90 innings placing him in the AL’s Top 10. Gibson is in the second year of a three-year, $28 million deal, making him the highest-paid player on the rebuilding Rangers. With a $9 million salary this season and a $7 million salary in 2022, Gibson is a tremendous value for a club looking to add to the rotation.

Potential fits: Angels, Indians, Reds

Germán Márquez, RHP, Rockies
Márquez appeared on this list two weeks ago, but his past two starts have only enhanced his trade value -- and potentially lessened the possibility that the Rockies will move him. Márquez went 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA, allowing just one run on three hits over 14 innings. He’s 6-6 with a 3.99 ERA in 16 starts this season, but he’s under control through 2024, giving Colorado a solid arm to build around for the future. Still, given the scarcity of quality starting pitching expected to move before July 30, a team in need of a starter could try to overwhelm the Rockies with an offer for the 26-year-old. 

Potential fits: Cardinals, Cubs, Yankees

Andrew McCutchen, LF, Phillies
The former NL Most Valuable Player has had a strong season (.795 OPS, 13 home runs, 40 RBIs in 70 games), but he’s really come on recently, hitting .303/.429/.576 (1.004 OPS) with three homers and more walks (7) than strikeouts (6) during the past two weeks. Despite their sub-.500 record, the Phillies remain in the NL East race, but they could become sellers if things don’t turn around. McCutchen is earning $20 million this season and has a $15 million club option for 2022 with a $3 million buyout, so Philadelphia might need to pick up some salary to get anything of value in return.

Potential fits: Brewers, Mets, Yankees

Bryan Reynolds, CF, Pirates
Reynolds is far from certain to be traded, as the center fielder is under club control through 2025, but with the Pirates in rebuilding mode, he is one of their most attractive trade chips. The 26-year-old is hitting .429/.440/.673 (1.113 OPS) with three home runs and 13 RBIs over the past two weeks, making him one of the best potential trade candidates at his position.

Potential fits: Indians, Reds, Yankees

Drew Smyly, LHP, Braves
Smyly would be one of the better rental starters on the trade market if the Braves decide to become sellers, as he’s owed roughly $6 million over the remainder of the season. The 32-year-old is 3-0 with a 1.62 ERA in his past three starts, turning around a season that saw him go 2-3 with a 5.82 ERA in his first 10 starts. Should Smyly continue his recent performance, Atlanta could cash in with a prospect or two if it falls further out of the NL East race.

Potential fits: Red Sox, Yankees, Angels

Trevor Story, SS, Rockies
Story has been atop the “most likely to be traded” list since the season began, but his sluggish start to 2021 caused some to wonder how it would impact his trade value. Story has boosted his OPS from .705 to .770 in the past two weeks, hitting .326/.396/.652 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in 12 games. Story is earning $18.5 million this season as he heads for free agency; he is going to be traded, and if he continues his hot streak, the Rockies should benefit with a stronger return.

Potential fits: Angels, Athletics, Yankees