Teams around the Majors have dispatched scouts to myriad ballparks to watch players as the Trade Deadline season begins to take shape.
We’ve heard a lot of the same names mentioned when it comes to potential trade candidates, but which players are increasing their value as the calendar moves closer to July?
Between now and the Trade Deadline on July 30, MLB.com will take a bi-weekly look at players whose stock is rising on the trade market along with some potential fits for each one.
José Berríos, RHP, Twins
The Twins had great expectations for 2021 after winning two straight American League Central titles, but the season has not gone as planned for Minnesota. Berríos will be arbitration-eligible for one more year after this season, so while he won’t be a half-season rental, he will also likely be due a nice raise for 2022. The righty is 7-2 with a 3.49 ERA this season, but he’s gone 4-0 with a 3.13 ERA in five starts over the past month, striking out 32 batters while walking just six in 31 2/3 innings. If the Twins become sellers, Berríos could bring back a nice haul if they were to make him available.
Potential fits: Braves, Cardinals, Yankees
Charlie Blackmon, RF, Rockies
Trevor Story will get most of the headlines leading into this year’s Trade Deadline, but Blackmon has come on at the plate in recent weeks, giving the Rockies a potential trade chip. Blackmon is hitting .333 with a .883 OPS over his past 30 games, though his power numbers (four home runs in 61 games) remain far off his peak years, when he averaged 32 homers a year from 2016-19. Blackmon is earning $21 million this season, and he has player options for 2022 ($21 million) and '23 ($10 million), so Colorado might have to pay down his contract in order to move him.
Potential fits: Cardinals, Mets, White Sox
Nick Castellanos, RF, Reds
The Reds aren’t likely to become sellers as long as they hang in the postseason picture, and their recent 8-2 run has them squarely in the mix in both the NL Central and Wild Card races. Castellanos has been a big reason for that, posting a 1.101 OPS with a .408 average and 13 doubles since May 16, joining Jesse Winker as the core of Cincinnati’s lineup. Castellanos has two years and a guaranteed $34 million remaining on his deal beyond 2021, but he has the ability to opt out of his deal at the end of the season, leaving some uncertainty about his future with the Reds. It’s a stretch to think he’ll be traded, but he’s certainly showing teams how helpful he could be if he was to be moved. Cincinnati also has Aristides Aquino waiting in the wings without a starting spot to call his own.
Potential fits: White Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers
Adam Frazier, 2B, Pirates
Although Frazier has played almost exclusively at second base this season, his versatility (he has played both corner outfield spots during his career) makes him an attractive option for contenders. The 29-year-old has a .364/.417/.495 slash line (.912 OPS) with 10 doubles since May 16, while he also leads the NL in hits (85) and doubles (23). Frazier is earning $4.3 million in 2021, and he is arbitration-eligible for one more year.
Potential fits: Giants, Indians, Cardinals
Trey Mancini, 1B/OF, Orioles
One of the best stories of 2021, Mancini has made the most of his comeback after missing all of 2020 while battling colon cancer. The 29-year-old has a .979 OPS with five home runs since May 16, driving in 47 runs over his first 62 games this season. Mancini is earning $4.75 million this season, and he's arbitration-eligible for one more year, making him more than a second-half rental for an acquiring team.
Potential fits: Braves, Brewers, Yankees
Germán Márquez, RHP, Rockies
The Rockies have already received calls on both Márquez and Jon Gray, and while it’s far from certain that they’ll deal either of the starting pitchers, Márquez is certainly seeing his value appreciate in recent weeks. The right-hander has gone 2-2 with a 3.19 ERA over his past five starts, posting superb outings against both the Mets and Athletics. Márquez is in the third year of a five-year, $43 million contract that runs through 2023, though the Rockies hold a $16 million club option for '24, as well.
Potential fits: Cubs, Cardinals, Yankees
Bryan Reynolds, CF/LF, Pirates
Unlike Frazier, Reynolds is under club control for four more years, making it less likely that the Pirates will move him before this year’s Deadline. Still, if Pittsburgh chooses to take advantage of his strong first half, that controllability could make him a very appealing trade chip. Reynolds has seven homers and a .907 OPS since May 16, leaving him just six home runs shy of matching his career high (16 homers in 134 games in 2019). He has yet to enter the arbitration process, and he's eligible for each of the next four years, meaning he’ll start becoming costlier in 2022 and beyond.
Potential fits: Indians, Rays, Yankees
Jonathan Schoop, 1B/2B, Tigers
Schoop is on his second consecutive one-year deal with Detroit, and although the Tigers didn’t move him prior to the 2020 Trade Deadline, he remains a potential trade candidate for this summer. He has come on lately, posting a 1.045 OPS with a .330 average and eight home runs since May 16, displaying the type of bat many contenders could use for the stretch run. He’s earning $4.5 million this season, making him an affordable short-term option.
Potential fits: Brewers, Indians, Padres
Kyle Schwarber, LF, Nationals
The Nationals’ season has been disappointing; they opened play this week at 27-35, leaving them 7 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East and 9 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot. It remains to be seen whether Washington will make a bold move by trading Max Scherzer, but Schwarber is on a one-year, $7 million deal with an $11.5 million option ($3 million buyout) for 2022, giving the Nationals a solid bat to shop around if they choose to do so. Schwarber has an .816 OPS and seven homers since mid-May, though he continues to strike out a lot; his 30 K's during that time are tied for fourth most in the NL.
Potential fits: Athletics, Braves, Rays