Non-rental trade targets at the Deadline

July 19th, 2021

It can be fun when a pending free agent is acquired by a contender at the Trade Deadline, plays out of his mind for a couple months and is forever a hero among that fanbase despite his brief tenure.

Quite often, though, rental trade acquisitions fall into the realm of, “Hey, remember when [Player X] was on [Team Y]? Me neither!”

So let’s focus here on some non-rental acquisition targets in advance of the July 30 Trade Deadline. These are guys with at least one year of contractual control beyond 2021, which adds to the value equation for both buyer and seller.

1) , RHP, Cubs
Control beyond 2021: $16 million club option for 2022 ($1 million buyout)

The Kimbrel of old has returned this season, and that makes him potentially one of the most coveted players in this trade market, given the supply-and-demand issues at this particular position. Kimbrel had entered 2021 facing questions about his staying power in the ninth inning, but, going back to last September, he’s been lights-out.

2) , RHP, Twins
Control beyond 2021: One arbitration year

Just how bold the Twins might be in breaking up their underperforming 2021 squad remains to be seen. They could limit themselves to moving pending free agents like Nelson Cruz, Michael Pineda and Andrelton Simmons. But Berríos, a 27-year-old two-time All-Star, would bring back a much stronger return and would be one of the few true impact starters available at this Deadline.

3) , OF, Pirates
Control beyond 2021: Four arbitration years

Though the Pirates have a long way to go to contention status, trading Reynolds this early in his career would be a bold move, which is why it would take an overwhelming return. But we have to list Reynolds here because the Pirates have demonstrated at least a willingness to discuss their controllable assets, Reynolds included. His .906 OPS as of the All-Star break would look good in a lot of lineups, and he’s excellent in center field -- a position of need in a lot of places.

4) , RHP, Rangers
Control beyond 2021: One year, $7.67 million

The 33-year-old Gibson is having by far the best season of his career, and that could make him a candidate for regression moving forward. But in a market thin on starting help -- and at a time when an effective sinkerballer is made more intriguing by the crackdown on sticky substances that has limited the effectiveness of pitchers who relied on the high fastball -- he is an attractive trade candidate.

5) , RHP, Pirates
Control beyond 2021: Two arbitration years

There is a high probability that the Pirates take advantage of their closer’s trade value now, and the two additional years of control add to that value. Rodríguez’s fastball averages just 93 mph, but the late movement on the pitch and the way he plays his wipeout slider off it makes him difficult to barrel up. He’s also one of the best in the business at limiting walks.

6) , 2B, Pirates
Control beyond 2021: One arbitration year

It’s always hard to know how much to buy into a late-20s breakout, and that’s precisely what the 29-year-old Frazier has provided in his All-Star season. But he’s been getting on base at almost a 40% clip, with one of the best strikeout rates in the league. And the Pirates, who quite likely won’t be contending next year, would be wise to explore the value of that in the marketplace.

7) , OF, Twins
Control beyond 2021: One arbitration year

The Twins are reportedly trying to work out an extension with Buxton at the moment. But if they don’t, all bets are off. Buxton, who has a left hand fracture that will keep him out until at least August, is on the injured list for the 11th time in his career. That current injury and injury history complicate matters both for an extension and a trade. But this is one of the game’s most dynamic players when healthy, so it will be fascinating to see if his Twins future is resolved in the next couple of weeks.

8) , OF, Rangers
Control beyond 2021: One arbitration year

Gallo has a reputation for being a booming power bat with a low batting average. But he’s also a good defender capable of manning any of the three outfield spots, and that -- along with the added year of control -- is valuable in the midseason market. Oh, and the fact that he closed the first half with 13 homers in 18 games doesn’t hurt.

9) , OF, Mariners
Control beyond 2021: One arbitration year

The Mariners have played above many people’s expectations this season, but a sober assessment would lead you to believe they’re still a year away from true contention. And while they could keep Haniger for another year, his bat, which has produced a 128 OPS+ (or 28% above league average) over the last four seasons, would be coveted and perhaps provide important depth pieces for them moving forward.

10) , LHP, Twins
Control beyond 2021: One arbitration year

Though he didn’t pitch in the game, Rogers finally got the All-Star roster spot he deserved after quietly serving as one of the most reliable lefty relievers in the game over the better part of the last five seasons. The Twins could be tempted to capitalize on his value in a market starved for relief help.

11) , 1B, Orioles
Control beyond 2021: One arbitration year

Kinda feels like you can’t possibly trade Mancini after that emotionally charged Home Run Derby performance. He obviously means a lot to this franchise and this fanbase. But if you remove all emotion from the equation, you have an above-average offensive bat with a year-plus of control for a team that is still rebuilding, and that’s ordinarily a strong recipe for a deal.

12) , 1B, Marlins
Control beyond 2021: One arbitration year

The 31-year-old Aguilar is a legit middle-of-the-order bat making an affordable $4.3 million this season on a last-place team. He went into the All-Star break with an NL-leading 62 RBIs.

13) , OF, Orioles
Control beyond 2021: Three arbitration years

A Rule 5 pickup prior to 2017, Santander emerged as a viable big league bat in 2019-20, putting up a combined .261/.302/.505 slash line. He’s also strangely popular in the U.K. His offensive performance has taken a downturn in 2021 as he’s struggled to stay healthy, but he’s still only 26 and would have value given the length of control.

14) , 3B, Twins
Control beyond 2021: Two years, $43.5 million

On the one hand, he’s Josh freaking Donaldson. On the other hand, he’s a 35-year-old with a long injury history and a big contract. So don’t expect much here. But we did have to mention him just because he’s Josh Donaldson, and you never know.

15) , OF, Marlins
Control beyond 2021: 7 million mutual option for 2022 ($3 million buyout)

In this case, the contract for 2022 could be a limiting factor, because there are limits to the 32-year-old Duvall’s value with his sub-.300 on-base percentage. But he’s got legit power and a strong arm, and he had caught fire with a 1.121 OPS in his last 19 games before the break.

16) , OF, D-backs
Control beyond 2021: One year, $7.5 million

The D-backs were reluctant to trade their star center fielder Ketel Marte even before he was out with a hamstring injury. Peralta’s the more likely outfielder to move. He’s turning 34 next month and is not the impact player he was when he won an NL Silver Slugger honor in 2018, but he still puts up solid numbers against right-handers (.734 OPS in the first half) and is above-average in K-rate and sprint speed.

17) , LHP, Tigers
Control beyond 2021: One arbitration year

Boyd was having a bounce-back year (3.44 ERA in 13 starts), but he’s been out for a month with arm discomfort and is still not throwing off a mound. As a lefty with a pulse, we can’t totally rule out a deal, but the injury has cast doubt on it.

18) , RHP, Tigers
Control beyond 2021: One arbitration year

Another wounded Tiger. The 2016 AL Rookie of the Year -- then a starter -- has become a closer and had a mixed bag of results (4.05 ERA, 1.30 WHIP in 40 innings). He’s dealing with a right cervical spine strain and won’t be back until later this month, at the earliest.