One potential trade chip for each MLB team

July 20th, 2021

We’re less than two weeks from the Trade Deadline, meaning that myriad names will be rumored to be on the move between now and July 30.

Which players might actually be dealt, though? takes a look at the best trade chip for each club, whether they’re planning to buy or sell. That’s not to say these players will be traded this month, but each of them could help their respective teams accomplish their Trade Deadline goals.

American League East

Blue Jays: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF
Under club control through: 2024
Gurriel is a core piece of Toronto’s clubhouse, but if the Blue Jays aim high on a pitcher or third baseman -- especially one with club control beyond 2021 -- Gurriel would be a sensible target for other teams given his talent, age and team-friendly contract (he’ll earn $4.5 million in 2022 and $5.4 million in ’23, then be arbitration-eligible in 2024). The Blue Jays have George Springer, Teoscar Hernández and Randal Grichuk in their outfield, with Corey Dickerson working his way back from a foot injury.

Orioles: Paul Fry, LHP
Under club control through: 2024
Baltimore has several potential trade candidates, but given the need for relief pitching around the Majors, Fry will be an attractive target for clubs. He’s earning the minimum this season and will be arbitration-eligible for the next three years, making him affordable for any team. Fry is having a solid season, giving up just one extra-base hit in 34 1/3 innings, but control has been an issue, with 17 walks.

Rays: Kevin Padlo, 1B/3B
Under club control through: at least 2027
The No. 20 prospect in the Rays’ exceedingly deep farm system, Padlo made his big league debut earlier this year. He’s struggled in the Majors and with Triple-A Durham this season, but he might be an interesting target for a future-focused team looking for a big league-ready infielder who’s clearly blocked in Tampa Bay’s system by the glut of players on the Rays’ roster and a long line of prospects behind them. One reason it would make sense for the Rays to move Padlo: He has a spot on their 40-man roster, which they are bound to need for either a Trade Deadline acquisition (like a starting pitcher) or the four injured pitchers currently on the 60-day IL who could return later this season.

Red Sox: Franchy Cordero, OF
Under club control through: 2023
A 26-year-old former highly touted prospect, Cordero struggled with Boston this year and doesn’t appear to have much of a place with the Red Sox going forward. Cordero has raked at Triple-A this season (.995 OPS), so perhaps his plus power gives him enough value in the minds of other teams to make him a piece in a potential deal. Cordero is earning $800,000 this season and is arbitration-eligible for two more years.

Yankees: Oswald Peraza, SS
Under club control through: at least 2027
Should the Yankees decide to buy this month, Peraza -- the team’s No. 4 prospect and No. 96 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 -- could be an interesting chip for New York. The 21-year-old is a toolsy infielder with excellent speed, and if the Yankees plan to pursue one of the big free-agent shortstops this winter as many expect, Peraza could become expendable. He’s already reached Double-A, and although the Yankees loved what they saw from him this spring, he could still be two years away from the big leagues.

American League Central

Indians: Cesar Hernandez, 2B
Under club control through: 2022
Eddie Rosario’s health has clouded his trade future, but Hernandez could be moved to help bring back help elsewhere on the roster. Owen Miller -- one of the players Cleveland landed from San Diego in the Mike Clevinger deal -- has already been in the Majors this season and could step in at second base if Hernandez is moved. Andres Giménez could also be in the mix if Hernandez -- who will earn less than $2 million for the rest of this season and has a $6 million option for 2022 with no buyout -- is traded.

Royals: Michael A. Taylor, CF
Under club control through: 2021
Carlos Santana could also be the answer here, as a few contenders are in need of help at first base, but the 35-year-old has another year at $10.5 million on his contract, making him a little less desirable. Taylor is an excellent defensive outfielder who can start or be a versatile player off the bench. He’s also owed just $750,000 for the rest of the season, but he will be a free agent at the end of the season. Starters Mike Minor and Danny Duffy could also draw some attention from buyers, giving the Royals some options to sell.

Tigers: Jonathan Schoop, 1B/2B
Under club control through: 2021
Schoop is playing on a one-year, $4.5 million deal that has about $1.5 million remaining this season. He has played well in 2021, entering Monday with an .800 OPS and 17 home runs, making him a solid offensive addition for a contender in need of infield help. Schoop recently hired Scott Boras as his agent, so he’ll assuredly be seeking a multi-year deal this offseason, and given Detroit’s up-and-coming infield group that includes Spencer Torkelson, Willi Castro, Jeimer Candelario, Isaac Paredes and Kody Clemens, Schoop is unlikely to fit into the club’s long-term plans.

Twins: Nelson Cruz, DH
Under club control through: 2021
Although José Berríos, Byron Buxton and Taylor Rogers are all potential trade candidates, they’re all under control through 2022 and could be in line for extensions or offseason moves. Cruz is owed about $4.5 million for the rest of this season and remains a power threat at age 41. His market will be limited to American League teams in need of DH help, but for contenders looking for a power boost, there aren’t many better options on the market.

White Sox: Jake Burger, 3B
Under club control through: at least 2027
Chicago is getting contributions from young players such as Burger and Gavin Sheets, but given the club’s position in the AL Central and championship aspirations, either could be expendable if the opportunity presents itself to improve the club for the stretch run. Second base remains an area of need given Nick Madrigal’s season-ending injury, so if Burger can be used to fill that hole, it might make sense to shift him there instead of opting for a trade, as Yoán Moncada is signed at the hot corner through 2024.

American League West

Angels: Raisel Iglesias, RHP
Under club control through: 2021
The Angels could still prove to be buyers, but given their place in the AL West and the glut of teams competing for the AL Wild Card spots, Los Angeles has quite an uphill climb to get to the postseason. If they decide to sell, Iglesias would become a hot commodity, as he’s overcome a slow start, converting 15 of 16 save opportunities -- including six saves of four-or-more outs -- with a 2.23 ERA in 27 games since May 8. Should the Angels decide to take a run at the postseason, Brandon Marsh -- the club’s No. 1 prospect who debuted on Sunday-- could become a trade chip, as the Angels have a lot of outfield depth from which to deal.

Astros: Pedro León, OF/SS
Under club control through: at least 2027
The Astros’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, León signed with the Astros out of Cuba last year and was promoted to Triple-A this week. An outfielder being converted to shortstop, León could be the replacement for Carlos Correa if he signs elsewhere as a free agent, but the Astros are in position to enter the postseason as favorites in the American League, so if the right deal presents itself, Houston might be prodded into dealing the 23-year-old in an effort to make a deep playoff run.

Athletics: Nick Allen, SS
Under club control through: at least 2027
Oakland just drafted another shortstop (the other Max Muncy) and now have a surplus at the position in their system. Three of the Athletics’ top six prospects are shortstops (No. 3 Allen, No. 5 Logan Davidson, No. 6 Robert Puason), giving them plenty of depth from which to deal. Allen, who will represent the United States in this summer’s Olympics, is the closest to the Majors and is considered one of the best -- if not the best -- defensive shortstop in the Minors. Should Oakland opt to deal for a shortstop -- think Trevor Story or Javier Báez -- sending back a shortstop who can play in the Majors next year could help their cause.

Mariners: Mitch Haniger, RF
Under club control through: 2022
The Mariners have thrust themselves into the postseason picture, but given their negative run differential, GM Jerry Dipoto could look toward 2022 as the season for his club to make real noise. Haniger will be a free agent at the end of 2022, and with the number of contenders seeking outfield help, the 30-year-old could be sought after by a number of teams. Haniger is owed about $1 million this season and is arbitration-eligible for one more year.

Rangers: Kyle Gibson, RHP
Under club control through: 2022
Gibson is having a career season, and although the Rangers need pitching, their contention window is unlikely to begin until the right-hander’s contract has expired. Gibson -- who is owed about $3 million for the rest of this season and an affordable $7 million in 2022 -- had a 2.29 ERA through 17 starts entering Monday (which ballooned to 2.86 after he allowed eight runs off 10 hits across five frames against Detroit). That still makes him one of the best starters available on this year’s trade market. That should benefit Texas, which is likely to land a solid return for the 33-year-old. Joey Gallo will also draw plenty of attention, but the Rangers might opt to wait until the offseason to see if they can extend him before trading him.

National League East

Braves: Kyle Wright, RHP
Under club control through: 2025
The fifth pick in the 2017 Draft, Wright’s trade value has fallen thanks to his underwhelming performance in the Majors, but there are always teams that believe they can fix the once high-ceiling prospect. The same goes for outfielder Drew Waters, who is still young enough for a team to take a chance on him eventually living up to his potential. Of course, there’s a chance the Braves become a seller by the end of the month, which would mean players such as Charlie Morton, Drew Smyly and Joc Pederson could hit the trade block.

Marlins: Starling Marte, CF
Under club control through: 2021
The most prominent center fielder on the trade market, Marte appears destined to be moved now that the Marlins have been unable to sign him to an extension. Marte -- who is owed a little more than $4 million this season -- has hit very well when healthy in 2021, but he’s been limited to 56 games thanks to an early-season rib injury.

Mets: Ronny Mauricio, SS
Under club control through: at least 2027
The moment Francisco Lindor signed his multi-year contract, Mauricio -- the Mets’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline -- became expendable. The Mets have several needs heading into the Trade Deadline, so dangling one of their top prospects -- especially a 20-year-old shortstop with a high ceiling -- should help them address the holes in the rotation and lineup.

Phillies: Rafael Marchan, C
Under club control through: at least 2027
The Phillies’ No. 4 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Marchan has a reputation as a brilliant defensive catcher whose bat could come around at some point. The 22-year-old opened eyes during Spring Training, but after J.T. Realmuto signed a multi-year deal, Marchan’s path is blocked for the foreseeable future. Philadelphia will look to upgrade its pitching staff before the Trade Deadline, but top prospects righty Mick Abel and shortstop Bryson Stott are unlikely to be available.

Nationals: Max Scherzer, RHP
Under club control through: 2021
The Nationals aren’t a club to give up early, but given their place in the standings in both the NL East and Wild Card races, this might finally be the year that Washington sells. If that happens, Scherzer would immediately vault to top of the starting pitching market. The three-time Cy Young Award winner turns 37 next week, but he remains one of the best starters in the game. Scherzer is slated to become a free agent at the end of the season, making a return to Washington a possibility even if he’s traded.

National League Central

Brewers: Brice Turang, SS/2B
Under club control through: at least 2027
The Brewers have traded for two shortstops with multiple years of control (Luis Urías and Willy Adames) this season, making Turang -- their No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline -- a potential trade chip. Milwaukee is in prime position to make the playoffs, so using Turang to bolster the roster would seem to be a sensible approach this month.

Cardinals: Andrew Miller, LHP
Under club control through: 2021
Miller is slated to become a free agent at the end of the season, though he possesses a no-trade clause, giving him the power to determine his future. Miller -- who is owed roughly $4 million this season -- had a rough start to 2021, posting an 8.59 ERA in nine April appearances, but he’s allowed just one run in 13 outings since returning from a toe injury that landed him on the injured list in early June. Giovanny Gallegos could bring back a bigger return, but he’s under control for three more years, making him a more likely candidate to remain in St. Louis.

Cubs: Craig Kimbrel, RHP
Under club control through: 2022
The Cubs began their summer sale with the trade of Joc Pederson to the Braves, but president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer is far from finished. A number of Chicago’s stars are on expiring contracts, so anyone from Kris Bryant to Javier Báez to Anthony Rizzo could be on the move before the end of the month. The one that has many teams salivating, however, is Kimbrel, who has regained his All-Star form and has a $16 million club option for 2022. Expect him to bring back a sizeable return, one that could rival the haul the Cubs gave up five years ago to acquire Aroldis Chapman in late July.

Pirates: Adam Frazier, 2B
Under club control through: 2022
Frazier's value has never been higher, while his versatility -- he can play both second base and corner outfield -- will make him attractive to several clubs. Frazier leads the NL in hits and was the league’s starting second baseman in the All-Star Game, making his $1.5 million salary for the remainder of the season -- not to mention his arbitration eligibility for 2022 -- a real plus. Reliever Richard Rodriguez will also draw plenty of suitors, though he’s under club control through 2023, creating less urgency to move him this month.

Reds: Michael Siani, OF
Under club control through: at least 2027
The Reds’ No. 5 prospect, Siani is known for his defensive prowess in center field and his plus speed, giving the Reds a solid chip to trade as they try to challenge the Brewers in the NL Central. With another outfielder in their top five (Austin Hendrick, No. 3), the Reds have depth to use at the position if they decide to make a move for the stretch run, opening the possibility that the 22-year-old Siani could be dealt.

National League West

D-backs: Eduardo Escobar, 2B/3B
Under club control through: 2021
Escobar was reportedly on his way to the White Sox earlier this month, but no deal was ever completed. The versatile infielder has displayed his power this season (21 home runs, 62 RBIs to start the week) and is known as a terrific clubhouse presence. A switch-hitter, the 32-year-old Escobar is in the final year of his contract, earning about $2.5 million through the end of the season. Given his expiring contract, he isn’t likely to cost a lot of prospect capital for a contender to land him.

Dodgers: Keibert Ruiz, C
Under club control through: at least 2027
Ruiz is the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, but with Will Smith and Austin Barnes on the active roster, the 22-year-old’s path is currently blocked. The Dodgers' No. 6 prospect, 19-year-old Diego Cartaya, also plays behind the plate, giving them organizational depth at the position as they pursue rotation help for the stretch run. It will take a big arm to land Ruiz, but the Dodgers are looking to repeat as World Series champs, so dealing a top prospect might be worth it.

Giants: Joey Bart, C
Under club control through: at least 2027
Bart has long been viewed as the heir apparent to Buster Posey, but the Giants could be open to trading their No. 2 prospect now that Posey is in the midst of a resurgent season. Posey’s production makes it more likely that he’ll be back next year, and the Giants also have fellow backstops Patrick Bailey (MLB Pipeline’s No. 6 Giants prospect) and Ricardo Genovés (No. 28) in the system, leaving them with catching depth even if they choose to move Bart, the second overall pick of the 2018 Draft.

Padres: Luis Campusano, C
Under club control through: at least 2027
The Padres are in win-now mode, though GM A.J. Preller is unlikely to move lefty MacKenzie Gore or shortstop C.J. Abrams, the club’s top two prospects according to MLB Pipeline. The 22-year-old Campusano is playing well at Triple-A, and with Austin Nola and Victor Caratini filling the catching needs at the big league level, the Padres could move Campusano to address another current need.

Rockies: Trevor Story, SS
Under club control through: 2021
Did you expect any other name to fill this spot? Story will be one of the top available free agents this winter, though a return to the Rockies seems extremely unlikely. Colorado has no interest in simply giving Story away, so while there’s a chance he finds himself with the Rockies after July 30, odds are that he’ll be in a new uniform for the final two months of the season. Story is owed about $6 million through the end of the season, and if the Rockies are unwilling to pay down part of that salary, it would impact the level of prospects coming back to Colorado.