The non-waiver Trade Deadline is just about a month away, meaning media and fans will be buzzing about possible wheeling and dealing for the next month. Among the names that will be bandied about, the following 10 men are some of the likeliest to receive considerable attention given where contending
The non-waiver Trade Deadline is just about a month away, meaning media and fans will be buzzing about possible wheeling and dealing for the next month. Among the names that will be bandied about, the following 10 men are some of the likeliest to receive considerable attention given where contending clubs' needs stand today.
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1. Manny Machado, Orioles
The O's looked into dealing Machado during the offseason, but conversations fell flat as offers were short of Baltimore's asks. Now playing a fine shortstop and offering his customary production in the heart of the Orioles' batting order, the three-time All-Star should have no problem commanding a big Trade Deadline return package despite his expected pending free agency. Among those interested are the Phillies, a very strong organization that rival evaluators have raved about. The Phils know Machado well, as several of their executives have ties to the O's organization, and would need him to remain in the race. Of course, they will need to determine if it is worthwhile to pay the steep asking price.
Prediction: The Phillies get Machado for a pricy package of shortstop J.P. Crawford, right-hander Adonis Medina (MLB.com's No. 76 prospect) and left-hander Kyle Young (Philadelphia's No. 16 prospect).
2. Mike Moustakas, Royals
The veteran third baseman is having another solid season on the offensive side, ranking 10th among qualified big league third basemen with a .477 slugging percentage. Additionally, he maintains one of the lowest strikeout rates (14.4 percent) at the position while seeing his walk rate (7.3 percent) rise relative to his 2017 clip (5.7 percent). Moose was not dealt last year after Kansas City opted to keep its core together for another postseason run, but that should not be the case this summer with the Royals sitting more than 30 games under .500.
Prediction: Moustakas goes to the Braves for a pair of prospects, left-hander Kolby Allard (MLB.com's No. 50 prospect) and right-hander Touki Toussaint (Atlanta's No. 11 prospect).
3. Cole Hamels, Rangers
Having altered his pitch mix a bit from last season, the veteran still appears to have plenty left in his tank. Hamels has relied less on his four-seam fastball this year, throwing his cutter more often (27.6 percent of the time in 2018; 18.9 percent in '17) with success. He has also continued to fare well with his curveball (.114 BAA) and changeup (.209 BAA). While no traded arm will likely perform as well as Justin Verlander did following his move to Houston last August, Hamels' playoff pedigree gives him an edge over the other hurlers likely to be dealt this summer. The veteran has been a proven winner under the brightest lights, compiling a 3.48 in 16 career postseason starts.
Prediction: Hamels joins the Yankees for a package of infielder Brandon Drury plus right-hander Chance Adams (New York's No. 4 prospect) or Justus Sheffield (MLB.com's No. 41 prospect).
4. J.A. Happ, Blue Jays
The southpaw continues to be consistent from the left side, sporting impressive stats again this year despite pitching for a struggling Toronto team. Given his attack mentality and experience in both leagues, the 35-year-old will likely receive attention from a sizable number of clubs. He looks like a perfect fit to return to the Senior Circuit to join a Brewers squad that needs more rotation depth to complement its dominant bullpen.
Prediction: Happ to Milwaukee for a package of right-hander Corbin Burnes (MLB.com's No. 58 prospect) and outfielder Brett Phillips (Brewers' No. 5 prospect).
5. James Dozier, Twins
Dozier has struggled with the bat early this season, mirroring the woes endured by his Twins teammates. Such underperformance has been a surprise for the second baseman, who posted a 122 OPS+ with 104 homers across the 2015-17 campaigns. Clubs will nonetheless be interested in the slugger, given that Dozier hasn't lost much off his average exit velocity and has the skills to boost his .239 BABIP.
Prediction: A second-half move to the Dodgers for a package of right-hander Dennis Santana (MLB.com's No. 99 prospect) and shortstop/second baseman Gavin Lux (Los Angeles' No. 12 prospect).
6. Jeurys Familia, Mets
Now that the Mets are open for business, there will be plenty of suitors for their closer. While his results have been inconsistent, he still maintains the stuff and mound presence of a proven closer who also has postseason experience and something to prove going into free agency. The Astros have deployed several pitchers to finish games so far in 2018, and manager AJ Hinch astutely handled his bullpen during their World Series run last year, but the front office might still look to add some certainty and take a run at the 28-year-old Familia.
Prediction: Familia to Houston for a package of right-handers J.B. Bukauskas (Astros' No. 4 prospect) and Dean Deetz (Astros' No. 17 prospect).
7. Zach Britton, Orioles
Britton is still trying to get himself into pitching form after missing the first two-plus months while recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles, and scouts have said Britton's fastball velocity and movement are below what they want from a major trade piece. Expecting the 30-year-old to improve considerably may be wishful thinking, but he is a buy-low candidate with high upside. At his best, Britton is a dominant closer that any team would love to add to the back of their bullpen. The Braves have surprised everyone and should make a bold move.
Prediction: Britton joins Atlanta for left-hander Max Fried (MLB.com's No. 73 prospect).
8. Scooter Gennett, Reds
Cincinnati once again has a top middle infielder enjoying a career year; last year it was Zack Cozart, and this year it's Gennett. Evaluators who think the National League batting leader's production is mostly a byproduct of Great American Ball Park are mistaken; Gennett has actually been better on the road (.869 home, .926 road) this season. And after struggling against lefties earlier in his career, Gennett has crushed southpaws for a .958 OPS in 2018. While he is due for a bit of a correction in the second half as his .383 BABIP regresses, he would add balance and depth to any lineup.
Prediction: Gennett to the Red Sox for a package of shortstop C.J. Chatham (Boston's No. 10 prospect) and a lesser pitching prospect.
9. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
Donaldson has suffered a number of calf-related injuries this year, and his most recent setback may hurt his chances of being traded altogether -- which is why he ranks so low on the list. If he stays healthy, however, he could bring back a significant return for the Jays -- something similar to what the Orioles might receive for Machado. Look for him to return from the DL toward the middle of July with the possibility of becoming a top trade target in August if he returns to form. The Cubs could use roster depth and extra punch in their lineup, and manager Joe Maddon is one of the best at rotating his personnel for maximum production.
Prediction: Donaldson to the Cubs for a package of right-handers Adbert Alzolay (team's top prospect) and Alex Lange.
10. Raisel Iglesias, Reds
It's hard to imagine that both Iglesias and the Padres' Brad Hand will be traded in the same summer, especially because they are both affordable and under team control through 2021. The asking price may prevent either of them from being moved, but expect a lot of interest in the relief pitching market again this July.
Prediction: Cleveland gets Iglesias for catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia (MLB.com's No. 16 prospect) and outfielder Quentin Holmes (Indians' No. 12 prospect) and Hand stays in San Diego.