Top 50 MLB trade-deadline candidates


Lengthy one of many recreation’s high catchers, Contreras has elevated his offensive output to new heights thus far in 2022. Sporting career-bests in stroll fee (11.3%), strikeout fee (20.7%) and hard-hit fee (50.8%), Contreras is slashing a sturdy .274/.392/.498 with 13 dwelling runs, 17 doubles and a triple. By measure of wRC+, he’s been 50% higher than a league-average hitter and one of many 15 greatest certified hitters in all of MLB. Contreras hasn’t been thought of an elite defensive catcher in his profession, and his defensive rankings thus far in 2022 are down from their usually closer-to-average requirements. He’s at -5 Defensive Runs Saved with a 23% caught-stealing fee (just under the 25% common) and sub-par framing marks.

Contreras himself has voiced a need to stay in Chicago, however the Cubs have explored extension parameters up to now with no deal coming to fruition. Now this near the open market, Contreras feels all however sure to alter groups between now and Aug. 2, which can formally flip the web page on the 2016 championship core. Trades of frontline catchers throughout a season are uncommon — studying a brand new pitching employees on the fly, midseason, is not any small activity — so the Contreras commerce doesn’t have a lot current precedent.

Contractual particulars: $9.6M wage, free agent at season’s finish

2. Andrew Benintendi, OF, Royals

The Royals, buried at 20 video games beneath .500 in a comparatively weak division, have been working to maneuver previous their rebuild for 2 years. Benintendi’s very presence on the roster is proof of that, as he was certainly one of a number of win-now strikes made by the Kansas Metropolis entrance workplace lately. The massive-picture purpose hasn’t labored out, however Benintendi’s acquisition has been typically profitable. The previous first-rounder and high prospect plateaued with the Pink Sox in 2019 and cratered in 2020, however he had a strong 2021 season and is within the midst of a wonderful marketing campaign on the plate. In 336 plate appearances, Benintendi is hitting .316/.387/.404 — about 29% higher than league common, by measure of wRC+. His .363 common on balls in play screams for some regression, however a career-low 13.7% strikeout fee and resurgent 10.4% stroll fee are each positives in his favor.

Whereas Benintendi is best-suited for left subject work, he can deal with heart subject if wanted. His left-handed bat can be a welcome addition to a number of contenders (e.g. Blue Jays, Yankees), and the Royals are slam-dunk sellers who’ve already shipped out one veteran (Carlos Santana). Count on Benintendi to be certainly one of a number of others they transfer.

Contractual particulars: $8.5M wage, free agent at season’s finish

3. Josh Bell, 1B/DH, Nationals

A longtime high prospect whose projected energy didn’t actually manifest in his first few huge league seasons, Bell loved what a breakout with the Pirates in 2019 when he belted 37 lengthy balls and finally tapped into that home-run pop. Trying extra carefully at that season, nevertheless, Bell limped to the end with a poor second half, and a horrible 2020 displaying led to questions on whether or not his first-half surge with Pittsburgh in 2019 was a mirage in the course of the juiced-ball season.

That appeared prefer it is perhaps the case when Bell stumbled out of the gates in 2021 following an offseason commerce to the Nats, however he completely mashed from Could onward and hasn’t stopped thus far in 2022. Bell is hitting .311/.393/.502 this season. Courting again to Could 1 of the earlier yr, the switch-hitter has a .292/.376/.501 slash in 856 plate appearances. He’s ripped 37 homers, 39 doubles and three triples in that point. Bell has walked at an 11.4% clip in that point, fanned at only a 15.2% tempo and has hit effectively from either side of the plate. Regardless that the playoffs have been out of the query for the Nats earlier than the season even started, the choice to not commerce Bell within the offseason could possibly be prudent, as he might need additional raised his inventory within the first three months of play.

Contractual particulars: $10M wage, free agent at season’s finish

4. Luis Castillo, RHP, Reds

With a number of of the opposite apparent rotation commerce candidates — together with Castillo’s personal teammate — abruptly coping with well being points, Castillo more and more appears to be like just like the crown jewel of not simply the beginning pitching market however maybe your entire commerce market. He was slowed in spring coaching by a shoulder situation and missed the primary month of the season whereas successfully going by means of a spring training-esque buildup, however Castillo has returned trying like his usually wonderful self. Via 11 begins, he’s sitting on a 3.09 ERA (3.23 FIP, 3.67 SIERA) with a 24.7% strikeout fee, an 8.2% stroll fee and a 48.3% ground-ball fee. His fastball velocity and strikeout fee have been down a bit early within the yr as he completed increase on the MLB degree, however since Could 31, Castillo is averaging 97.2 mph on his heater with a 26.2% strikeout fee.

Courting again to Opening Day 2019, Castillo has a 3.55 ERA in 512 1/3 innings and is averaging simply shy of six innings per begin. He throws onerous, misses bats, points walks at a median fee and possesses effectively above-average ground-ball tendencies. This can be a playoff-caliber starter who’d be an instantaneous improve to any rotation in Main League Baseball. The Reds have balked at buying and selling him up to now, however the demand this time round could possibly be so nice that they will’t resist. Castillo’s commerce worth is at its apex, and that coalesces with an arbitration wage that’ll soar previous $10M for a Reds workforce that has been working to chop payroll since 2020.

Contractual particulars: $7.35M wage, arb-eligible by means of 2023 season

5. Frankie Montas, RHP, Athletics

Up till this week, a spirited debate could possibly be had about whether or not Castillo or Montas was the true prize of the beginning pitching market. Some should choose Montas on expertise alone, however he’s lacking his subsequent begin attributable to shoulder irritation that required a cortisone injection. The A’s haven’t positioned him on the injured listing but, and it’s nonetheless potential that he might bounce again from the cortisone shot, pitch effectively for his subsequent 5 or so begins and render this shoulder situation a mere blip on the radar. Time will inform, however the present ailment has not less than clouded Montas’ outlook a bit.

Given how the remainder of their offseason went, it was a shock that the A’s didn’t commerce Montas on the heels of an excellent 2021 season wherein he pitched to a 3.37 ERA with a 26.6% strikeout fee, 7.3% stroll fee and 42.8% grounder fee in 187 innings. He’s been nearly as good — arguably higher — thus far in 2022. Montas has an 80-game PED suspension as a black mark on his monitor file, however that was again in 2019 and he’s been excellent since with out ever failing a take a look at. Since 2019, he has 497 2/3 innings of three.51 ERA ball with comparable velocity and strikeout/stroll charges to these of Castillo. If Montas is wholesome, count on him to be moved. The fee-cutting A’s aren’t going to increase him and gained’t get as a lot for one season of him in an offseason commerce as they might for one-and-a-half seasons previous to the deadline.

Contractual particulars: $5M wage, arb-eligible by means of 2023 season

6. Tyler Mahle, RHP, Reds

Like Castillo and Montas, Mahle is managed cheaply for an additional season and a half. Not like them, he obtained out to a dismal begin to the 2022 season, yielding 20 earned runs by means of his first 25 2/3 innings. Since Could 8, Mahle has mirrored his quietly sturdy 2020-21 type, nevertheless, notching a 3.51 ERA, 27.6% strikeout fee and eight% stroll fee in his previous 11 begins. He nonetheless has a methods to go to carry his season ERA again to anticipated ranges — he’s presently at 4.48 — however Mahle owns a 3.94 ERA with spectacular strikeout charges and solely barely below-average command by means of 320 innings since Opening Day 2020.

It’s not an intensive monitor file, however right now’s entrance places of work will care much more about what they undertaking Mahle to do by means of the top of the 2023 season than about what he did earlier in his profession. And whereas this can be a fairly rudimentary break up, it’s nonetheless noteworthy that Mahle has a 4.90 ERA and 1.71 HR/9 at dwelling over the previous three seasons, in comparison with a 2.93 ERA and 0.52 HR/9 on the highway away from his bandbox of a house park.

Sadly for Mahle and the Reds, he landed on the injured listing this week attributable to what’s being characterised as a minor shoulder pressure. He’s the one injured participant included on this listing, and that’s as a result of Mahle has already stated he’ll return proper after the All-Star break. That can give him a number of begins to show his shoulder’s well being, and if he can accomplish that, Mahle might discover himself packing up his locker similar to his teammate, Castillo.

Contractual particulars: $5.2M wage, arb-eligible by means of 2023 season

7. Jose Quintana, LHP, Pirates

An unsurprisingly standard title in early commerce chatter, the 33-year-old Quintana appears to be like an terrible lot just like the 26-year-old model of himself in what’s proving to be a renaissance season. The previous White Sox/Cubs hurler has pitched 81 innings of three.33 ERA ball with above-average command, strong ground-ball tendencies and an solely barely below-average strikeout fee. Quintana is averaging simply over 5 innings per begin, however there are many pitching-hungry contenders who’d like to financial institution on 5 to 6 strong innings each fifth day, quite than questioning which depth arm they’ll carry up from Triple-A or how they’ll navigate yet one more bullpen recreation.

The Pirates signed Quintana with simply this in thoughts, and his $2M wage is reasonably priced for any workforce that wishes him. The lefty’s 2020-21 seasons have been forgettable, to place factor issues properly, however that is nearly as good as Quintana has appeared since 2016.

Contractual particulars: $2M wage, free agent at season’s finish

8. David Robertson, RHP, Cubs

Nearly each contender in baseball will likely be trying to improve its bullpen, and it’s onerous to think about there’s a single such membership that wouldn’t need to carry Robertson into the fold. The damage bug lastly caught up with the beforehand ultra-durable Robertson in 2019 after he signed a two-year take care of the Phillies. Robertson made 60 or extra appearances and pitched not less than 60 innings in every of the 9 prior seasons, however forearm and elbow troubles ultimately led to Tommy John surgical procedure. Final yr’s return — first within the Olympics with Crew USA after which with the Rays — was strong however unexciting.

The Cubs took a one-year flier on Robertson and need to be thrilled to have executed so. The typical 93.5 mph velocity on Robertson’s cutter is the very best it’s been since 2011, and he’s saved a dozen video games whereas pitching to a 1.89 ERA by means of 33 1/3 innings. Robertson’s 11.1% stroll fee is just too excessive, however he’s fanned a 3rd of his opponents this season and is sporting a 50.7% ground-ball fee — second-best of his prolonged profession. He’s been lights-out this season, and Robertson has extra expertise in postseason play and high-pressure conditions than just about any reliever in the marketplace.

Contractual particulars: $3.5M wage (plus one other $750K of incentives remaining to be unlocked), free agent at season’s finish

9. Michael Fulmer, RHP, Tigers

Very arguably the 1b to Robertson’s 1a amongst this summer time’s class of bullpen leases, Fulmer is in his first full season as a reliever and has dominated in his new function. The 2016 AL Rookie of the Yr’s profession has been repeatedly set again by accidents, together with Tommy John surgical procedure and an ulnar nerve transposition process, however he’s been wholesome and sensible in 2022. Via 31 innings, Fulmer carries a 2.03 ERA with a 25% stroll fee towards an admittedly bloated 12.1% stroll fee. He’s slowly improved his stroll fee over the course of the season after a shaky begin, although, simply as he’s seen his velocity proceed to extend (93.6 mph common by means of Could 25; 94.6 mph since).

Fulmer, considerably remarkably, has given up only one “barreled” ball this season (as outlined by Statcast), and he’s within the 87th percentile or higher in every of Statcast’s hard-hit fee, anticipated batting common, anticipated slugging share, anticipated ERA and anticipated wOBA. He’s been working as a setup man to Gregory Soto this season however can be a closing choice on a number of contenders.

Contractual particulars: $4.95M wage, free agent at season’s finish

10. Andrew Chafin, LHP, Tigers

When the Tigers signed Chafin to a two-year contract this winter — the second season of which is a participant choice — it was with the intent of constructing a powerful bullpen for a hopefully aggressive membership. With a whole rotation on the injured listing and surprising struggles on the plate from a number of key members of the lineup, nevertheless, Detroit has solely narrowly managed to keep away from the AL Central cellar. Chafin’s efficiency absolutely isn’t in charge.

Although he missed three weeks with a groin pressure again in April, Chafin has been excellent out of AJ Hinch’s bullpen. In 24 2/3 innings, he has a 2.55 ERA with a career-best 30.6% strikeout fee towards a better-than-average 7.1% stroll fee. His 53.4% ground-ball fee is his greatest since 2017. He’s been each bit nearly as good towards righties as he has towards lefties. The participant choice successfully makes Chafin a rental, as a result of except he will get injured, he’s going to say no that assured yr and return to the market in quest of one other multiyear deal — which he ought to completely discover. For now, he’s the very best lefty reliever on the commerce market (once more).

Contractual particulars: $5.5M wage, $6.5M participant choice for 2023

11. Trey Mancini, 1B/OF, Orioles

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