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Friday, July 10, 2020

10 hottest MLB trade candidates

Zach Britton

We’re a week away from the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, and talk is heating up around the league. Some trade chips appear more likely to move than others, but teams are constantly looking for upgrades, some more than others.

Here are ten players who could be in high demand this week, and potentially on the move.

10) Tyson Ross, Padres

In a market full of teams who need starting pitching, Ross may not be the best option available, but he can eat innings and do so competently. After two injury-hit seasons, he’s managed to stay healthy and has eaten up 113 innings. His 4.29 ERA isn’t the best, but he’s more than capable of helping the back end of a contender’s rotation.

9) Brad Brach, Orioles

Teammate Zach Britton will be the prize attraction, but Brach has a good arm that contenders will think they can get results out of. From 2014 through 2017, Brach threw 288.2 innings for the Orioles with a 2.74 ERA and 305 strikeouts. His ERA is up to 4.97 this season, but he’s still striking out a batter an inning. Teams will be happy to bet on the track record in the hopes of getting a power arm for October bullpen depth.

8) Wilson Ramos, Rays

Ramos would have been a much more attractive trade candidate before his hamstring tightened up, which will likely keep him out until August. That may well end any chance of him being traded, but Ramos is valuable either way. He’s an All-Star catcher hitting .297, and a team like the Washington Nationals could be tempted in spite of the injury.

7) J.A. Happ, Blue Jays

For teams that aren’t willing to pay top price for a starter, Happ could be a good addition. He has a 4.18 ERA and, with 130 strikeouts in 114 innings, is posting the best whiff rate of his career. Happ won’t be regarded as a frontline starter, but the free agent-to-be could provide a very good second or third option. A team like the New York Yankees could use him.

6) Mike Moustakas, Royals

After his free agency fiasco, Moustakas has returned to Kansas City and done nothing to hurt his value. His average has dropped, but he’s still hit 19 home runs, and is slugging .457. Like many of his contemporaries on the market, he’s not likely to be a season-changing acquisition, but he’s a solid enough third baseman who can add some pop to a lineup. At least one NL team has some interest.

5) Cole Hamels, Rangers

Hamels is no longer pitching like the ace he once was, but there isn’t a pitcher on the market with more know-how and postseason experience. He’s still striking out hitters at a rate of one per inning, and perhaps a move out of Texas will do something about how homer-prone he’s been this year. Hamels also has power to block deals to 20 teams and won’t come cheap financially, but a team looking for an experienced postseason starter need look no further. A few NL East teams could be interested.

4) Chris Archer, Rays

Will this be the year the Rays finally move Archer? He’s been rumored to be on the move for years now, but they’ve never pulled the trigger. It wouldn’t really make sense to do it now as Archer is having his worst full season in the majors with a 4.30 ERA, but as usual, his peripherals are excellent and his strikeout numbers are fine. Add in the fact that he remains under team control through 2021 and you have a very valuable trade chip. It’s just a question of whether the Rays are willing to move him and any team is willing to pay the price.

3) J.T. Realmuto, Marlins

The Marlins don’t seem inclined to move Realmuto, but they’d have plenty of interested parties if they gave in. Realmuto is a .300-hitting catcher with pop who’s put a lot of work into his defense. He’d cost a huge haul if Miami had a willingness to move him, but if one particular team gets desperate enough to make a huge offer, all bets are off.

2) Zach Britton, Orioles

Britton looks set to be the subject of a huge bidding war, with a number of teams interested in his services. He’s coming on at the right time, too, having given up just three hits and no runs in July after a shaky start to his season after coming off the disabled list. Britton was one of the best relievers in baseball not long ago, and he’s set to become a free agent at season’s end. The Orioles will trade him, and they’ll probably get a nice haul for him.

1) Jacob deGrom, Mets

It remains exceedingly likely that the Mets won’t trade deGrom, but he’s certainly putting pressure on the team to make some sort of decision about his future. If they do opt to move him, he instantly becomes the best player left on the market now that Manny Machado has moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers. A team like the Yankees would definitely be interested, but it seems we remain a long way from deGrom actually being made available.

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