July is finally upon us this weekend as teams around the Majors hit the halfway point in their schedules -- and enter the home stretch of trade season.The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is only a month away, and although the cream of the National League has largely risen to
July is finally upon us this weekend as teams around the Majors hit the halfway point in their schedules -- and enter the home stretch of trade season.
The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is only a month away, and although the cream of the National League has largely risen to the top, the American League playoff picture continues to be crowded by a dozen teams.
According to one club executive, such uncertainly means that players under contractual control beyond 2017 will likely be in demand as organizations look ahead not only to October but 2018 and beyond.
"If you're talking about rental types, an elite player might still be able to fetch a pretty good premium from teams that think they're close to making a serious run -- something like [Aroldis] Chapman and the Cubs last year," one club executive said. "Short of that, the guys that are a tier down or below, those teams are probably thinking they're going to do really well, but I don't know how that market will develop."
Here's our latest look at who could be headed elsewhere in the seventh installment of MLB.com's Trade Deadline Power Rankings.
1. Player Page for David Robertson, RHP, White Sox
Contract: $12 million (2017); $13 million (2018)
Last ranking: 1
Robertson retains the top spot in the rankings as relievers figure to dominate the market. Robertson is not only the most accomplished closer available, but the White Sox are "one of the most obvious sellers" this summer, according to a rival executive. The Nationals continue to make the most sense, though myriad teams will be looking for bullpen help.
2. Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics
Contract: $3.575 million (2017); arbitration-eligible in 2018-19
Last ranking: 3
The Athletics are one of the few AL teams ready to sell, and while much of the dealing won't take place until the week before the Deadline, Oakland's Billy Beane has made early moves before. A rival exec suggested this week that Gray's health history makes him a candidate for an early trade, while his two years of team control beyond 2017 makes him an attractive option. "If Billy sees a deal he likes, he's going to do it," the executive said.
3. Pat Neshek, RHP, Phillies
Contract: $6.5 million (2017)
Last ranking: 2
The right-hander will likely head to Miami in two weeks as the Phillies' All-Star representative, having allowed only two earned runs in 33 appearances this season for a sparkling 0.59 ERA. Neshek, who was an All-Star for the Cardinals in 2014, should be one of the most sought-after non-closers on the relief market in the coming weeks.
4. AJ Ramos, RHP, Marlins
Contract: $6.5 million (2017); arbitration-eligible in 2018
Last ranking: 5
Aside from Robertson, Ramos represents the most established closer likely to be dealt before July 31. Miami will likely wait until after the All-Star Game before making any deals -- David Phelps, another bullpen arm, is also likely to go -- but the 30-year-old closer figures to be one of the first Marlins to be dealt.
5. Jed Lowrie, 2B/SS/3B, Athletics
Contract: $6.5 million (2017); $6 million option for 2018 ($1 million buyout) Last week's ranking: Not ranked
Lowrie has been Oakland's starting second baseman, but the 33-year-old can play all over the infield. He is tied for the second-most doubles in the AL and his .845 OPS is more than respectable, making him a good fit for many contenders. His $6 million option for 2018 gives his next team the chance to keep him beyond this season.
6. J.D. Martinez, RF, Tigers
Contract: $11.75 million (2017)
Last week's ranking: Not ranked
Since making his season debut in mid-May (he missed the first six weeks with a foot injury), Martinez has been nothing short of spectacular, hitting 13 homers with an OPS north of 1.000. With the Tigers wallowing far below .500 and Martinez headed for free agency, Detroit will likely send him to a contender in exchange for prospects.
7. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Athletics
Contract: $4 million (2017)
Last week's ranking: Not ranked
Sensing a trend here? Alonso is the third Oakland player on this week's list, though he's having the best year of any of the A's. He ranks lower for one simple reason: not many teams are seeking first-base help, but those that are should be calling the Athletics to find out the price for the 30-year-old free-agent-to-be.
8. Brad Hand, LHP, Padres
Contract: $1.375 million (2017); arbitration-eligible in 2018-19
Last ranking: Not ranked
Hand isn't the best relief option available, but he's solid against both lefties and righties, while his affordable contract (and two more years of control) makes him a prime trade chip. He's pitching well at the right time, having gone about three weeks since giving up his last run.
9. Addison Reed, RHP, Mets
Contract: $7.75 million (2017)
Last ranking: Not ranked
The Mets are in sell mode, and while some of their pending free agents (Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda) will draw interest, Reed's contract is reasonable and he has experience as both a setup man and closer. Since a blown save on May 27, Reed has pitched to a 1.42 ERA over 11 appearances, going 5-for-5 in save opportunities.
10. Eduardo Nunez, SS/3B/OF, Giants
Contract: $4.2 million (2017)
Last week's ranking: 10
Nunez remains the most logical candidate for the last-place Giants to trade, but he's been on the disabled list since June 20. Nunez could start for a team at shortstop or third base or serve as a super-utility player as he's also capable of playing in the outfield. He's essentially a faster, less expensive version of Lowrie.
Dropped from last week's rankings:Johnny Cueto, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Hellickson, Eric Hosmer, Todd Frazier
Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.