2018 MLB Trade Deadline Preview
The trade deadline is upon us, and already major moves are on the verge of being made.
The Dodgers, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, will acquire Manny Machado from the Orioles, although the deal is not yet official. Machado’s acquisition would not only reshape the pecking order in the National League, but send reverberations throughout the entire trade market as a prospect price is set and jilted suitors look for other options.
With 16 different teams within five games of a playoff spot, there are plenty of buyers out there for the dozens of players on the trade market. As we move out of the All-Star break, the annual frenzy is set to begin.
Here is a look at where every team stands in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, including what they lack, what they have to offer and who would fit their needs in a trade.
In conjunction with our 2018 Trade Deadline Preview, we've also released the following:
- An updated Top 100 Prospects list with 2018 Draft picks
- 2018 Midseason Top 10 prospects for all 30 teams
Where they stand: 68-30, first place AL East
What they need: A second baseman, a catcher and starting pitching help – 2B Dustin Pedoria’s season is in limbo after he went back on the disabled list, and the replacement duo of Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt has delivered the worst second base production in MLB as measured by Baseball-Reference WAR. Catcher Christian Vazquez is out until possibly September after having surgery on his broken pinky finger, and injuries to LHPs Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz have thinned the starting rotation.
What they have to offer: Not much – LHP Jay Groome’s injury and 3B Michael Chavis’ PED suspension robbed the Red Sox of their two impact prospects as trade chips, meaning they may have to settle for a second-level fix unless they are willing to move one of their young major leaguers like 3B Rafael Devers, which is unlikely.
Potential fits: Rangers LHP Cole Hamels; Twins 2B Brian Dozier, RHP Kyle Gibson; Mets 2B Asdrubal Cabrera, C Devin Mesoraco; Royals 2B Whit Merrifield; Tigers RHP Mike Fiers; Padres RHP Tyson Ross, 2B Cory Spangenberg; Rays C Wilson Ramos.
Where they stand: 62-33, second place AL East
4.5 GB, hold first AL wild card
What they need: A first baseman and starting pitching – 1B Greg Bird can’t stay healthy and hasn’t been great when he has played, while backup Neil Walker has struggled filling in. First base is the one glaring weak spot in the Yankees order and a sizable one. The rotation could use another arm with Sonny Gray and Domingo German struggling and Masahiro Tanaka delivering middling results. Because they’re the Yankees, they were in the Manny Machado sweepstakes even though shortstop and third base aren’t pressing needs.
What they have to offer: Young major league position players and low-level pitchers – The Yankees farm system isn’t as strong as it once was due to graduations. In order to get an ace like Jacob deGrom or a star like Machado, they would likely have to part with young big leaguers such as 2B Gleyber Torres, 3B Miguel Andjujar or OF Clint Frazier. LHP Justus Sheffield is their best pitching prospect and top minor league trade ticket, and below him is a deep well of teenage arms led by RHPs Matt Sauer, Luis Medina and Deivi Garcia.
Potential fits: Mets RHPs Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler; Rangers LHP Cole Hamels; Marlins 1B Justin Bour; Blue Jays 1B Justin Smoak; White Sox 1B Jose Abreu.
Where they stand: 53-43, first place NL West
What they need: Bullpen help – With Manny Machado expected to come aboard, the Dodgers can turn to addressing their needs in middle relief. They rank 13th in ERA and have been racked by injuries, although with seven pitchers scheduled to come off the disabled list by August, those reinforcements could come from within.
What they have to offer: Pitchers, catchers and outfielders – The Dodgers have a deep farm system that allows them to put together any trade package they want. OFs Alex Verdugo and Yusniel Diaz and Cs Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith are all top prospects the Dodgers can afford to trade and build packages around, while RHPs Dustin May, Mitchell White, Yadier Alvarez, Dean Kremer and Tony Gonsolin lead a deep pool of starters. Diaz and May are reportedly two of the prospects going to Baltimore for Machado, although it has not been finalized.
Potential fits: Orioles SS Manny Machado, RHPs Brad Brach, Mychal Givens; Padres LHP Brad Hand, RHPs Kirby Yates, Craig Stammen; Blue Jays RHPs Tyler Clippard, Seung-Hwan Oh; White Sox RHP Joakim Soria.
Where they stand: 64-35, first place AL West
What they need: Not much – Left field was the one problem area for the Astros, but top prospect Kyle Tucker was promoted to fill that need. Ken Giles fell apart as the closer, but the Astros have ways to make up for it internally with Chris Devenski, Brad Peacock, Hector Rondon and Collin McHugh. Tony Sipp has done an admirable job as a lefthanded reliever, but it never hurts to add another one. With the lowest ERA in MLB and the second-most runs scored, the Astros really don’t have many glaring needs.
What they have to offer: Outfielders – Beyond top prospects Tucker and Yordan Alvarez, the Astros also have LF Derek Fisher and 1B/OF J.D. Davis with big league experience and OFs Myles Straw, Gilberto Celestino, Ronnie Dawson and J.J. Matijevic in the minors. Righthanders are another area of strength, led by RHPs Jairo Solis, Jorge Alcala, Hector Perez and Cristian Javier.
Potential fits: White Sox LHPs Xavier Cedeno, Luis Avilan; Twins LHP Zach Duke; Rangers RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Jake Diekman.
Where they stand: 52-43, first place AL Central
What they need: Relievers and outfielders – The Indians bullpen ranks 29th in the majors in ERA (5.28) and is a nightly nightmare. Acquiring one arm won’t do the trick – they need multiple. The Indians have also received very little production from their center fielders this year, and Lonnie Chisenhall’s calf injury creates a hole in right field too.
What they have to offer: Two top prospects, infielders and depth starters – C/OF Francisco Mejia and RHP Triston McKenzie are two elite prospects who can top any trade package. Beyond them the strength of the Indians system is in the infield, with 3B Nolan Jones, SSs Willi Castro, Yu Cheng and Tyler Freeman leading the crop. RHPs Aaron Civale, Eli Morgan and Luis Oviedo and LHP Sam Hentges all intrigue as potential big league arms, if not frontline starters. OF George Valera is a low-level prospect in the Arizona League opposing teams are particularly keen on, but he is currently out with a hamate injury.
Potential fits: Padres LHP Brad Hand, RHPs Kirby Yates, Craig Stammen; Orioles OF Adam Jones, LHP Zach Britton, RHPs Brad Brach, Mychal Givens; Reds RHPs Raisel Iglesias, Jared Hughes, OF Scott Schebler; Marlins UTIL Derek Dietrich, RHPs Kyle Barraclough, Brad Zeigler, Drew Steckenreider.
Where they stand: 55-38, first place NL Central
What they need: Starting pitching – Yu Darvish and Eddie Butler are hurt and Tyler Chatwood has a 5.04 ERA. The Cubs are woefully thin on starting pitching after the top three of Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana, and will need arms to hold off the Brewers in a tight NL Central.
What they have to offer: Young big leaguers – The Cubs have a group of interesting infielders and righthanders in their system, but none are Top 100-caliber prospects needed to get an impact starter. C Miguel Amaya is particularly intriguing and could lead a multi-player package, but if the Cubs truly want to add an impact starter, they’ll probably have to deal from their group of young big leaguers, such as SS Addison Russell, OF Albert Almora or INF/OF Ian Happ. Otherwise, they can use their prospects for second-tier starters.
Potential fits: Rangers LHP Cole Hamels; Mets RHP Zack Wheeler; Reds RHP Matt Harvey; Tigers RHP Mike Fiers.
Where they stand: 53-42, first place AL East
What they need: Left side of the infield help and relievers –The Phillies need massive upgrades at third base and shortstop, the two positions Machado plays, but early reports are they fell short in the sweepstakes. The bullpen is also a source of concern with a unit that ranks 17th in the majors with a 4.08 ERA, although the rise of Seranthony Dominguez has helped.
What they have to offer: Young infielders and pitching prospects – SS J.P. Crawford and 2B/SS Scott Kingery haven’t impressed in their first big league stints but still have potential. RHP Sixto Sanchez is an elite pitching prospect, and he’s followed by RHP Adonis Medina, LHPs Jojo Romero and Ranger Suarez and RHPs Francisco Morales and Franklyn Kilome in a very deep group of promising pitchers.
Potential fits: Orioles SS Manny Machado, LHP Zach Britton; Royals 3B Mike Moustakas; Blue Jays 3B Yangervis Solarte, RHPs Tyler Clippard, Seung-Hwan Oh.
Where they stand: 52-42, second place NL East
0.5 GB, hold second NL wild card
What they need: Relief help – 3B Johan Camargo has performed well since taking over the starting third base job, filling that hole for the Braves. SS Dansby Swanson has again struggled to hit but is providing a solid glove at shortstop. Where they need help most is filling out the bullpen, where Sam Freeman (5.06 ERA) and Peter Moylan (4.85) have been liabilities and closer Arodys Vizcaino is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
What they have to offer: Everything – Want pitchers? Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright head up an elite group of arms. Outfielders? Christian Pache and Drew Waters are excellent prospects in the lower levels. Everything else? Austin Riley is one of the top third base prospects in the game, William Contreras is a promising catcher, and more and more players are popping up throughout the system every year. The Braves, as much as any team, can put together any package they want.
Potential fits: Padres LHP Brad Hand, RHPs Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates; Rangers RHPs Jesse Chavez, Keone Kela; Orioles LHP Zach Britton, RHPs Brad Brach, Mychal Givens; Twins RHP Fernando Rodney, LHP Zach Duke.
Where they stand: 55-42, second place NL Central
2.5 GB, hold first NL wild card
What they need: A catcher and a shortstop – C Manny Pina wasn’t performing well and then got hurt, leaving the Brewers with a sizable hole at catcher. SS Orlando Arcia hit so poorly he was demoted to the minors, and his struggles spurred the franchise’s pursuit of Machado.
What they have to offer: Outfielders and righthanders – Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana and Brett Phillips are all young big league outfielders who have shown considerable promise in different ways, and in the minors Corey Ray and Tristan Lutz are coming up behind them. RHPs Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes already have big league experience on the pitching side, and Cody Ponce, Josh Pennington, Trey Supak, Marcos Diplan and Zack Brown make up a deep group of pitching prospects.
Potential fits: Orioles SS Manny Machado; Marlins C J.T. Realmuto; Reds C Devin Mesoraco; Rays C Wilson Ramos.
Where they stand: 58-39, second place AL West
5 GB, hold second AL wild card
What they need: Starting pitching – The Mariners have pitched respectably, ranking 15th in MLB in starter’s ERA, but the continued regression of Felix Hernandez (5.13 ERA) and the concerning health record of James Paxton makes adding another starter appealing. The addition of Denard Span and the return of Robinson Cano (pushing Dee Gordon back to center field) have helped fill the Mariners outfield needs.
What they have to offer: Position players – OF Kyle Lewis, 1B Evan White, SS Bryson Brigman and OF Braden Bishop are all accomplished prospects in full-season ball who projects as big leaguers and have value in a trade package. RHPs Matt Festa, Art Warren, Wyatt Mills and Seth Elledge are quality relief arms that can be used as secondary pieces as well.
Potential fits: Reds RHP Matt Harvey; Tigers RHP Mike Fiers; Padres RHP Tyson Ross.
Where they stand: 53-44, second place NL West
0.5 GB, 0.5 GB of wild card
What they need: Middle infielders and a catcher – Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed have been black holes offensively and are a big reason why the D-backs rank 27th in the majors in batting average and 24th in OPS. The catching trio of John Ryan Murphy, Jeff Mathis and Alex Avila has been miserable offensively as well, and right field has been a problem spot too, although Steven Souza Jr. is back from his injuries and should fill that hole once he returns to form.
What they have to offer: Risky prospects with upside – The Diamondbacks have interesting prospects at multiple spots, but all come with concerns. RHP Jon Duplantier is a top pitching prospect but has a scary injury history. SS Jazz Chisholm excites but has struggled to hit. OF Kristian Robinson is 17 years old in Rookie ball. C Daulton Varsho and RHP Emilio Vargas have put up big numbers, but evaluators doubt they can sustain it at higher levels. The D-backs also have a group of second-tier infield prospects to deal from, namely 3B Drew Ellis, 1B Pavin Smith and 2B Domingo Leyba.
Potential fits: Marlins C J.T. Realmuto, 2B Starlin Castro, UTIL Derek Dietrich; Mets C Devin Mesoraco, 2B Asdrubal Cabrera; Pirates SS Jordy Mercer, 2B Josh Harrison; Rays C Wilson Ramos.
Where they stand: 55-42, third place AL West
8 GB, 3 GB of wild card
What they need: Starting pitching – The Athletics are short on healthy starters, although they do stand to get Paul Blackburn, Daniel Gossett and Andrew Triggs back from the disabled list in August. Overall the A’s rank 19th in the majors in starter’s ERA (4.36), and another arm is needed to make that extra push into a wild card spot. They could also use an offensive upgrade at catcher with Jonathan Lucroy batting .241 with a .609 OPS.
What they have to offer: Middle infielders – 2B/SS Franklin Barreto, SS Jorge Mateo, SS Richie Martin, SS Kevin Merrell and SS Nick Allen make up a deep group of middle infielders, although all face questions about their offensive potential. If the Athletics fall out of it and choose to sell, 2B Jed Lowrie is their best trade chip.
Potential fits: Mets LHP Steven Matz, RHP Zack Wheeler; Tigers RHP Mike Fiers, LHP Francisco Liriano; Twins RHPs Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi.
Where they stand: 51-45, third place NL West
2 GB, 2 GB of wild card
What they need: Bullpen help – The Rockies 13-3 surge into All-Star break thrust them back into contention, and now they’re on the cusp of a playoff spot. 1B Ian Desmond, OF Carlos Gonzalez and C Chris Iannetta remain poor hitters away from Coors Field, but the Rockies have internal options to replace them with INF Ryan McMahon, OFs David Dahl and Raimel Tapia and C Tom Murphy. Where the Rockies need to go outside the organization is for bullpen help. Closer Wade Davis has bounced back from a slow start, but Mike Dunn (9.00 ERA and injured) Bryan Shaw (7.23), Chris Rusin (6.18) and Jake McGee (6.15) remain disasters. The Rockies entered the break with the worst bullpen ERA (5.20) in the NL.
What they have to offer: Infielders – McMahon, SS Brendan Rodgers and SS/2B Garrett Hampson are all excellent prospects, but they’d be a heavy price to pay for a middle reliever. In a tier below them, 3B Colton Welker, 1B Brian Mundell and SS Eddy Diaz all have their share of promise. RHPs Justin Lawrence, Reid Humphreys and Tommy Doyle are all minor league relievers who garner interest as well and can be used to fetch a big league reliever as well.
Potential fits: White Sox RHP Joakim Soria; Marlins RHP Kyle Barraclough; Reds RHP Jared Hughes; Rangers RHPs Keone Kela, Jesse Chavez.
Where they stand: 48-46, third place NL Central
7.5 GB, 4 GB of wild card
What they need: A direction – Rather than any individual player, the Cardinals as a whole must decide which direction they want to go – buyer or seller. The firing of manager Mike Matheny was a step, and with eight of 11 games coming against the Cubs out of the break, they’ll get a quick answer as to which path they should take.
What they have to offer: If they buy, catchers and outfielders – Carson Kelly, Andrew Knizner, Dennis Ortega, Julio Rodriguez and Ivan Herrera are all intriguing catching prospects, while Tyler O’Neill, Oscar Mercado, Randy Arozarena, Adolis Garcia and Dylan Carlson make up a deep group of outfield prospects. If they sell, they have versatile corner infielders (3B/1B Matt Carpenter, 3B/2B Jedd Gyorko and 1B/OF Jose Martinez) to deal from as well as a trio of outfielders (Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, Marcell Ozuna) who have recent success under their belts but who have struggled this season.
Potential fits: If they buy - Reds RHPs Rasiel Iglesias, Jared Hughes; Rangers RHPs Keone Kela, Jesse Chavez; Padres RHPs Kirby Yates, Craig Stammen; Orioles RHPs Brad Brach, Mychal Givens. If they sell – Phillies RHPs Franklyn Kilome, LHP JoJo Romero; Angels RHPs Chris Rodriguez, Jose Soriano; Giants RHP Shaun Anderson.
Where they stand: 50-48, fourth place NL West
4 GB, 4 GB of wild card
What they need: Outfielders - 3B Evan Longoria and 2B Joe Panik both struggled before going on the disabled list, but Pablo Sandoval and Alen Hanson have filled in nicely in their absence. Both could be upgraded from, particularly Sandoval, but the Giants most pressing need remains in the outfield. Hunter Pence has struggled badly in left field in particular, although Austin Slater and Steven Duggar are options as in-house replacements.
What they have to offer: Outfielders and hard-throwers – OFs Heliot Ramos, Chris Shaw and Alex Canario all offer upside but have struggled this season. The Giants also have a number of pitching prospects who can bring heat, including RHP Shaun Anderson, RHP Melvin Adon and RHP Logan Webb. If the Giants fall out of it and choose to sell, they have Sandoval, OFs Andrew McCutchen and Gorkys Hernandez and veteran relievers Tony Watson, Will Smith and Sam Dyson to offer contenders.
Potential fits: Cardinals 3B Matt Carpenter, 3B/2B Jedd Gyorko; Mets 2B Asdrubal Cabrera; Blue Jays 3B/2B Yangervis Solarte.
Where they stand: 49-47, third place AL East
18 GB, 8.5 GB of wild card
What they need: Power hitters – The Rays rank 22nd in runs scored and 26th in home runs, rankings that need to be rectified if they are to catch the teams ahead of them in the wild card standings. Though they lack healthy starters, the Rays creative use of their bullpen has them seventh in the majors in ERA. If they decide their wild card deficit is too great to overcome and don’t want to add payroll, the Rays can also sell and add to an already loaded farm system that doesn’t have many weak points.
What they have to offer: Lots and lots of position players – Arguably no other farm system in baseball can match the depth and quality of the Rays position player prospects. SS Wander Franco, 1B/LHP Brendan McKay, 2B Vidal Brujan, 1B Nathaniel Lowe and 2B Brandon Lowe headline an excellent group of minor league infielders, OF Jesus Sanchez is an elite outfield prospect and C Ronaldo Hernandez is a fast-rising prospect behind the plate. If they choose to sell, C Wilson Ramos would be one of the best catchers available, while SS Adeiny Hechavarria and OF Carlos Gomez work as complimentary players.
Potential fits: Orioles OF/DH Mark Trumbo; Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo; Nationals RHP Wil Crowe, SS Yasel Antuna.
Where they stand: 49-48, fourth place AL West
14 GB, 9 GB of wild card
What they need: A third baseman and pitching help – David Fletcher has filled in admirably at third base after Zack Cozart’s season-ending shoulder injury, but the Angels need more than he can offer to fortify their lineup. They are hurting badly in both the rotation and bullpen with seven pitchers out for the season and two others – Shohei Ohtani and Matt Shoemaker – unable to pitch for an indeterminate amount of time. The Angels need all the pitching they can get, and fast.
What they can offer: As far as buying, the Angels are unlikely to move top outfield prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh or top pitching prospects Griffin Canning and Jose Suarez, but they do have upper-level infielders with pedigree like 2B Jahmai Jones, 1B Matt Thaiss and 3B Taylor Ward and intriguing but unrefined talents like OF Trent Deveaux, 2B Leonardo Rivas and RHP Joe Gatto. If they do decide to sell, C Martin Maldonado, 2B Ian Kinsler, 3B Luis Valbuena and LHP Jose Alvarez are the prime candidates to go.
Potential fits: Royals 3B Mike Moustakas; Blue Jays 3B Yangervis Solarte, RHPs Seung-Hwan Oh, Tyler Clippard; Tigers RHP Mike Fiers, LHP Blaine Hardy; Twins RHP Kyle Gibson, LHP Zach Duke.
Where they stand: 48-48, third place NL East
5.5 GB, 5 GB of wild card
What they need: Catching – Nationals catchers have been a disaster both offensively and defensively this season, sinking both the lineup and hurting the pitching staff. Aging C Matt Wieters recently returned from injury, but he’s well past his prime and no longer offers the impact the Nationals need. Acquiring a worthy catcher will help solve the Nationals recent pitching struggles, and the return of Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton from injury should fix their deficiencies at second base and the outfield internally.
What they have to offer: Position players – Shorstops Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia are two top prospects who can headline a trade, while fellow SSs Yasel Antuna and Jose Sanchez are options as a secondary pieces. OF Victor Robles is top 10 prospect in the game and could be used to fetch an elite catcher like J.T. Realmuto, although his repeated injuries hurt his trade value. OFs Andrew Stevenson and Rafael Bautista have big league time, and OFs Daniel Johnson and Telmito Agustin have performed as prospects.
Potential fits: Marlins C J.T. Realmuto; Rays C Wilson Ramos; Mets C Devin Mesoraco; Angels C Martin Maldonado.
The Toolsiest MLB Players Of The Past 30 Years
The toolsiest hitters, pitchers and defenders of the past three-plus decades of MLB play, as determined by big league managers, coaches and scouts.
Where they stand: 28-69, last place AL East
What they need: Everything - Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop are the only players who project to be on the next competitive Orioles team, and even they aren’t sure things. With three-fifths of a rotation to fill, seven of nine lineup spots that need long-term upgrades and a light farm system, the Orioles have to acquire as many of the best players they can at every position.
What they have to offer: Impact bats and relievers – SS Manny Machado is the prize of the trade deadline by a large margin. If the reports are true, the Orioles have begun their rebuild in earnest by acquiring multiple top prospects from the Dodgers. Beyond Machado, OF Adam Jones and DH Mark Trumbo still offer impact thump at the plate and represent offensive upgrades for multiple contenders. LHP Zach Britton has returned from a torn Achilles just in time to showcase himself prior to the deadline, while RHPs Brad Brach and Mychal Givens have histories of success pitching in late relief.
Potential fits: OF Yusniel Diaz, RHP Dustin May; Phillies SS J.P Crawford, RHPs Adonis Medina, Enyel De Los Santos; Brewers RHPs Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, OFs Domingo Santana, Brett Phillips; Yankees 3B Miguel Andjuar, LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Albert Abreu.
Where they stand: 39-55, last place NL East
What they need: Everything – Amed Rosario, Dom Smith and Michael Conforto have disappointed as the Mets next supposed core, with Brandon Nimmo the only young centerpiece consistently performing. The parade of relievers acquired in last year’s selloff hasn’t exactly delivered sterling returns, while the big league bullpen repeatedly implodes. The one thing the Mets do have – starting pitching – is what they’re going to have to trade to get impact players at other positions.
What they have to offer: A pair of aces, two more starters and veteran bats – RHPs Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are true aces unlikely to go anywhere, but it’s always possible an overwhelming package materializes. RHP Zack Wheeler and LHP Steven Matz are more attainable, although they won’t come cheap. 2B Asdrubal Cabrera, C Devin Mesoraco and a revitalized OF Jose Bautista all have offensive contributions to offer and are prime trade candidates. When OFs Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes and 3B Todd Frazier get healthy, they too are likely to be on the block.
Potential fits: Yankees 2B Gleyber Torres, 3B Miguel Andujar, LHP Justus Sheffield; Brewers OFs Brett Phillips, Corey Ray, RHPs Brandon Woodruff, 2B Keston Hiura; Dodgers RHPs Mitchell White, Dean Kremer, 3B/1B Edwin Rios.
Where they stand: 41-56, last place AL West
What they need: Pitching, pitching and more pitching – The Rangers have the seventh-worst ERA in the majors and no one in their system that can help anytime soon. Of their top eight pitching prospects, the most advanced has a 7.01 ERA in Double-A (Jonathan Hernandez). To contend anytime in the foreseeable future, the Rangers need a wholesale infusion of arms.
What they have to offer: Three veterans who’ve still got it – LHP Cole Hamels, 3B Adrian Beltre and OF Shin Soo-Choo are all 34 or over but still produce at a level that can help multiple contenders. Hamels, 34, isn’t the ace he once was but is still an above-average lefthanded starter when you account for cozy Globe Life Park. Beltre, 39, is hitting .286 with a .345 on-base percentage while still playing a stout defensive third base. Choo, 35, just made his first All-Star team and is one of the most productive lefthanded hitters available, although the $42 million he’s owed for 2019-20 adds a twist. Beyond them, RHP Jesse Chavez is a quality reliever performing well in the last year of his deal while RHPs Keone Kela and Jose Leclerc and LHPs Alex Claudio and Jake Diekman offer varying degrees of bullpen help.
Potential fits: Yankees RHPs Albert Abreu, Domingo Acevedo, Matt Sauer; Phillies RHPs Adonis Medina, Enyel De Los Santos, Jojo Romero; Giants RHPs Shaun Anderson, Logan Webb; Indians RHPs Aaron Civale, Luis Oviedo.
Where they stand: 40-59, last place NL West
What they need: Position players close to or in the majors – Managing partner Peter Seidler repeatedly made it clear he expects the Padres to compete for the postseason in 2019. Whether or not that’s realistic, the pressure is on the front office to make significant steps toward that goal. The pitching is on the way, but even with touted prospects Fernando Tatis and Luis Urias in the upper minors, the Padres need multiple additional offensive upgrades to make contention a reality.
What they have to offer: Relievers and platoon infielders – Brad Hand is a dominant lefthanded reliever with the ability to pitch multiple innings and a team-friendly contract through 2021. He’ll command nearly an Andrew Miller-type return, and the Padres may hold onto him unless they get it. RHPs Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen are arguably the two best setup relievers available and will cost real prospects as well. 2B/3B Cory Spangenberg, 2B Carlos Asuaje and 2B/LF Jose Pirela can all play multiple positions and fit as platoon/bench players on the right team. RHP Tyson Ross is available as a starter, although his expiring contract diminishes the impact of a potential trade return.
Potential fits: Braves 3B Austin Riley, Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo, C/3B Will Smith; Indians C/OF Francisco Mejia, 3B Nolan Jones, OF George Valera; Astros OFs Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez.
Where they stand: 27-68, last place AL Central
What they need: Upper level prospects – The Royals fortified their shallow farm system with a strong last two drafts, but their talent base is overwhelmingly in low Class A or below. Both position players and pitchers who have proven they can compete at higher levels are needed to enhance the Royals rebuild and make it more likely to succeed.
What they have to offer: Infielders – 3B Mike Moustakas is the Royals prime trade candidate, but his .306 OBP and expiring contract make it difficult to acquire an impact prospect in return. 1B Lucas Duda drew a relief arm last year and figures to draw something similar this year. 2B Whit Merrifield would bring back the biggest trade return as a standout second baseman who makes just over the minimum salary, although the Royals would be justified keeping him for exactly those same reasons.
Potential fits: Cardinals OF Oscar Mercado; Dodgers RHPs Dean Kremer, Tony Gonsolin, Andrew Sopko; Diamondbacks RHP Joel Payamps, 3B/1B Kevin Cron.
Where they stand: 33-62, fourth place AL Central
What they need: Young pitching — Lucas Giolito, Carson Fulmer and Dylan Covey have all gotten rocked in the majors, top prospects Dane Dunning and Alec Hansen have struggled with injuries, Michael Kopech is averaging 5.8 walks per nine innings at Triple-A and Dylan Cease widely projects as a reliever. Only Carlos Rodon and Reynaldo Lopez are set in the long-term rotation. In order for the White Sox’s rebuild to work, they’re going to need an infusion of multiple starting pitchers to put around them.
What they have to offer: Relievers and righthanded bats — RHPs Joakim Soria and Nate Jones are two of the better late-inning relievers available, (although Jones is currently hurt) while LHPs Xavier Cedeno, Luis Avilan and Jace Fry offer the quality lefthanded relief help teams perennially seek. The White Sox’s biggest return would come if they moved 1B Jose Abreu, who is arbitration-eligible after this season. OF Avisail Garcia is another effective righthanded hitter they can trade, but he has battled injuries all year and is again on the disabled list.
Potential fits: Rockies RHP Peter Lambert; Cardinals RHP Ryan Helsley; Braves LHP Max Fried, RHP Touki Toussaint; Phillies LHP Ranger Suarez, RHP Franklyn Kilome.
Where they stand: 41-57, fourth place NL East
What they need: Middle infield prospects – The Marlins offseason firesale brought back multiple promising young pitchers and outfielders who have already started to provide a glimmer of hope for the future. But the system remains short on middle infield prospects, with trade acquisitions Isan Diaz, Chris Torres and Jose Devers all facing doubts about their long-term offensive impact and not much behind them.
What they have to offer: A star catcher, veteran infielders and relievers – Even after their winter teardown, the Marlins have plenty still to trade. C J.T. Realmuto is arguably the second-best hitter on the trade block after Machado, plays a premium position and is signed through 2021. As one of the best catchers in the game signed long-term, Realmuto will not, and should not, come cheap. 1B Justin Bour and 2B Starlin Castro are both well-above average at their positions and would represent upgrades for multiple contenders, while 3B/LF/2B Derek Dietrich brings defensive versatility and has quietly been an above-average offensive player four straight years. RHPs Kyle Barraclough, Drew Steckenreider and Brad Zeigler all have varying degrees of appeal for teams needing bullpen help.
Potential fits: Nationals OF Victor Robles, SS Carter Kieboom, SS Luis Garcia; Brewers 2B Keston Hiura, RHP Corbin Burnes, SS Mauricio Dubon; Dbacks SS Jazz Chisholm, RHP Jon Duplantier, C Daulton Varsho; Rockies SS Brendan Rodgers, 3B/2B/1B Ryan McMahon, 2B/SS Garrett Hampson.
Where they stand: 43-53, last place NL Central
What they need: Starting pitching – The Reds have the offensive personnel to contend, but their starters rank 26th in MLB with a 5.14 ERA and their top two pitching prospects—Hunter Greene and Tony Santillan—are still at the Class A levels.
What they have to offer: Bullpen arms, an outfielder and an All-Star second baseman – RHP Raisel Iglesias is one of the top closers on the market, and RHPs Jared Hughes and David Hernandez are solid veterans with sub-2.00 ERAs. On the position player side the Reds can afford to part with one of OFs Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton, Jesse Winker and Scott Schebler, with Schebler being both the best of them and the one the Reds would get the most in a trade for. 2B Scooter Gennett is a batting title contender signed through 2020, making him the most attractive trade piece the Reds have but also a player they most likely will keep. RHP Matt Harvey has bounced back well in Cincinnati and may be the likeliest Reds player to be traded, but the return he would garner is uncertain given his expiring contract and shaky recent history.
Potential fits: Dodgers RHPs Mitchell White, Yadier Alvarez; Indians RHPs Aaron Civale, Eli Morgan, Luis Oviedo, LHP Sam Hentges; Rockies RHPs Jesus Tinoco, Rico Garcia, Robert Tyler; Mariners RHP Darren McCaughan, LHP Nick Wells.
Where they stand: 43-52, fourth place AL East
What they need: Pitchers and outfielders – The Blue Jays need help everywhere, but Vlad and Bo are on the way to fortify the infield, with Lourdes Gurriel, Kevin Smith and Cavan Biggio prepped to play complimentary roles and Danny Jansen the solution at catcher. They need to go outside for the rest though. The Jays rank 23rd in the majors in ERA with a staff made up mostly of pitchers over 30, and their top pitching prospect Nate Pearson is hurt while No. 2 pitching prospect Eric Pardinho is 17 years old. Their system also lack outfielders in a big way, which is particularly problematic considering their major league group has combined for negative-1.0 WAR as measured by Baseball-Reference this season.
What they have to offer: Corner bats and relievers – 3B Josh Donaldson’s injury robbed the Blue Jays of their best trade chip, and with RHP Aaron Sanchez hurt, RHP Marcus Stroman struggling and RHP Roberto Osuna suspended, they don’t even have young player they can turn into a significant prospect package. 1B Justin Smoak and 3B Yangervis Solarte are two switch-hitters with power who have appeal, while RHPs Tyler Clippard and Seung-Hwan Oh are the best of their relief pitchers.
Potential fits: Yankees RHPs Trevor Stephan, Rony Garcia, Juan De Paula; Phillies RHPs Ramon Rosso, Spencer Howard, LHPs Cole Irvin, Will Stewart; Diamondbacks RHPs Emilio Vargas, Jhoan Duran, OFs Socrates Brito, Gabriel Maciel.
Where they stand: 44-50, second place AL Central
What they need: Pitching – The Twins boast a strong farm system flush with middle infielders and offensively-gifted outfielders, but they rank 22nd in the majors in ERA (4.51) and don’t have much on the way as far as impact arms. Top pitching prospects Brusdar Graterol and Blayne Enlow are teenagers at the Class A levels, and soft-tossing lefty Stephen Gonsalves projects strictly as a back-end starter. Jose Berrios and Fernando Romero give the Twins two potential arms to build around, but they need more.
What they have to offer: Veterans 30 and over – 2B Brian Dozier, 31, has fallen off in his final season before free agency, depressing his trade value at the worst possible time. Still, he provides power at a position teams are seeking it. RHP Fernando Rodney, 41, is still plugging along with a 3.12 ERA and 21 saves, and LHP Zach Duke, 35, remains an effective lefty reliever. RHP Kyle Gibson, 30, has the lowest ERA among Twins starters and is an option for teams seeking rotation depth.
Potential fits: Red Sox RHPs Mike Shawaryn, Jhonathan Diaz, Denyi Reyes, LHP Darwinzon Hernandez; Diamondbacks RHPs Taylor Clarke, Emilio Vargas.
Where they stand: 41-57, third place AL Central
What they need: Infielders – The Tigers have talented pitchers to build around and more on the way, and Christian Stewart and Daz Cameron are in the upper minors en route to helping fortify their outfield. But the Tigers top infield prospects are at the Class A levels or lower, a problem considering the lack of offensive production they’ve received from second base and shortstop in particular.
What they have to offer: Starting pitching – RHPs Mike Fiers (3.70 ERA) and Jordan Zimmermann (3.71) have quietly put together solid seasons, although the Tigers would have to eat significant salary to move Zimmermann. LHPs Francisco Liriano (4.67) and swingman Blaine Hardy (3.31) are options for teams seeking lefty help. The big kahuna is RHP Michael Fulmer. While he’s regressed some coming off of offseason elbow surgery, he remains a 25-year-old starter with power stuff and an All-Star pedigree, and he will command a sizable return.
Potential fits: Mariners OF Kyle Lewis, SS Bryson Brigman, SS Juan Querecuto; Cubs C Miguel Amaya, SS Aramis Ademan, 3B/2B David Bote; Brewers 2B Keston Hiura, SS Mauricio Dubon, SS Jean Carmona.
Where they stand: 48-49, fourth place NL Central
What they need: Young infielders – The Pirates are only 5.5 games back of the wild card and have good young cores of pitching and outfielders, so they aren’t far away. But they’ve gotten very little production from their infield this season, and fresh faces are needed. They don’t have to go outside the organization to get them however, with 2B Kevin Kramer and SS Kevin Newman in Triple-A and performing and 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes not far behind.
What they have to offer: Veteran infielders – 2B Josh Harrison, 3B David Freese and SS Jordy Mercer can all be free agents after this year (Harrison and Freese have buyouts) and have track records of production. If the Pirates wanted to make a big splash, they could trade one of OFs Corey Dickerson, Gregory Polanco or Starling Marte while opening up a full-time spot for Austin Meadows.
Potential fits: Indians 3B Nolan Jones, SS Tyler Freeman, SS Marcos Gonzalez; Angels INF Leonardo Rivas, RHP Luis Pena, OF Brennon Lund; Phillies RHP Ramon Rosso, LHPs David Parkinson, Damon Jones.