Top MLB Trade Deadline OptionsNow that the All-Star break has come and gone, it’s time for teams to clamp down and decide their immediate future. With the annual trade deadline coming August 1, there’s a line each organization has to draw that determines whether they are buyers or sellers. For some that decision has long been made (for example, the Red Sox have been heavy buyers, the Padres heavy sellers), but for others (notably the Yankees) there will be long discussions in the coming days.
For those buyers out there, who may be a bat or an arm away from World Series dreams becoming a reality, who is available for the taking? Here are the best of those rumored to be on the block:
Andrew Miller/Aroldis Chapman: The Yankees have three of the best relievers in the game back-to-back-to-back in Miller, Chapman and Dellin Betances. But with New York on the fringe of contention, two of them could be free. Chapman is in his first year in the Bronx, and since returning from his suspension he’s been the same fireballer he was in Cincinnati, striking out 40 batters in 28.1 innings. He’s a free agent at the end of the season.
The lefty Miller has been even better, with 70 K’s to just seven walks in 41.1 innings, with a 1.81 earned run average and a miniscule 0.726 WHIP. And he’s under contract through 2018.
In short? A contender could become mighty powerful on the backend in the coming weeks.
Carlos Beltran: Speaking of Yankees, Beltran is having a resurgence of sorts at 39. His .303/.339/.548 slash line is his best since 2011, his 19 homers already tied last year’s mark, and he’s still in search of his first World Series. He can still play a little bit of outfield, but a designated hitter’s role in the American League would make more sense.
Carlos Gonzalez: Like so many before him, CarGo is toiling away during his prime years in Colorado, where the Rockies aren’t in contention. Though he’s 30 and is likely past his peak, what a team would be getting is one of the best hitters in the game. A lifetime .293 hitter is coming off his first 40-homer season in 2015, and has followed that up with 19 more along with 20 doubles this year. He can’t steal 20 bases anymore, but he’d be an upgrade to the middle of any lineup in baseball.
Jake Odorizzi: Alex Cobb was the Rays’ pitcher everyone thought to be available, but he’s still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. That means if anyone gets traded for immediate help from the Tampa rotation, it’s the 26-year-old Odorizzi. He had his best season in 2015, going 9-9 with a 3.35 ERA, but this season his ERA is up a full run (4.39) and he’s already allowed as many home runs (18) has he did all of last season. However, he would be a solid number four or five starters, especially for a team like the Red Sox, Orioles or Rangers, all of whom have had pitching woes this year.
Julio Teheran: As long as you are willing to part ways with a big-time prospect, you can get Teheran. Proving once again that win-loss record is an awful way to judge someone, the 25-year-old is 3-8 on an awful Braves team this year, but he has a very good 2.79 ERA and a 0.947 WHIP. To boot, he has an incredibly team-friendly contract (making just over $5 million a year) through 2019, with a 2020 team option. He gives up a lot of home runs, but he bolsters any rotation. The Braves have said he’s not being traded, but for the right price, anyone can be given up.
Rich Hill: Another pitcher who is getting a high asking price, Hill is a story worthy of a sports movie. Playing for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League last year, Hill has been nothing short of spectacular in Oakland. He’s 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA, and has struck out 90 batters in just 76 innings of work. The risk, of course, is that he reverts back to the pitcher who had a 7.80 ERA with the Orioles in 2009, or 6.28 with the Indians in 2013. And he’s 36 years old and a free agent-to-be, so it’s a very short-term rental.
Sonny Gray: Hill’s fellow colleague in the Oakland rotation, Gray looked like one of the best young pitchers in the game as he posted a 2.73 ERA with 169 K’s last year. This year, though, he’s been a different pitcher. He’s allowed 13 home runs in 96 innings of work (very high for him). His walks are up, his strikeout rate is about the same, but his ERA has ballooned to 5.12. He’s signed through the end of the year, but then he’s arbitration eligible, and will certainly be getting a major raise over the $528k he’s making this year.