As MLB’s August 1 nonwaiver trade deadline looms, general managers are furiously placing and field phone calls as they seek to position their teams for a run in October, or build for the future. This piece will not examine the likeliest destinations for some of the top players on the market (go here for some of that), but rather will take a look at the top talents who are most likely to change uniforms. Basically, this is the grocery list. Let’s go shopping.
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Starting pitcher: Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
A Cy Young Award candidate at one point in 2015, the 27-year-old righty has disappointed in 2016 with a 4.60 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. He’s still missing a ton of bats (147 strikeouts in 123.1 innings), but he’s gotten into trouble because he’s walked a lot of batters (51) and he’s allowed 20 home runs. As far as front-of-the-rotation talents go, Archer is earning a relatively modest salary through 2019 (with two club options following that). If the Rays don’t get offered a package they like for Archer, there’s a good chance his rotation mates Jake Odorizzi or Matt Moore will get shipped out.
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Starting pitcher: Rich Hill, Oakland Athletics
Indeed, the Oakland A’s curveball-tossing lefty is enjoying a nice renaissance season. But his presence on this list indicates a shallow crop of likely trade deadline movers. He’s thrown just 76 innings this year (14 starts) due to minor injuries, but they’ve been effective and strikeout-rich (90). A blister on his throwing hand comes at a sub-optimal time for the A’s, who will sell the 36-year-old free agent-to-be to the highest bidder.
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Starting pitcher: Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
The 25-year-old All-Star has enjoyed quite a rebound from a down year in 2015. The righty has held opposing batters to just a .203 batting average against and boasts a 4.31 K/BB ratio, which ranks pretty favorably (top 20) among starters not named Clayton Kershaw. Braves general manager John Coppolella has explicitly said that the team will not trade Teheran, whose 6-year, $32 million contract runs through 2019. But he may just be posturing. We’ll find out soon.
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Starting pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, Philadelphia Phillies
Thanks to improved command and a cutter he’s developing, Hellickson has posted a respectable 3.84 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and a 3.93 K/BB, but he’s been susceptible to the long ball (19 homers). The 29-year-old is enjoying his best season since 2012, the Phillies aren’t going anywhere, and he’s a on a one-year, $7 million deal, meaning his days in Philadelphia are probably numbered.
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Relief pitcher: Andrew Miller, New York Yankees
Unless this is the first trade-deadline story you’re reading, you’ve heard a lot about the 6-foot-7, 31-year-old Miller, who would be one of the marquee chips to fall if the Yankees indeed become sellers. The Yankees have won four of their last five and remain within striking distance of a playoff berth, but they will be fielding plenty of calls about Miller, who’s developed into a strikeout-machine (15.24 K/9) shutdown reliever also capable of closing. And he’s signed through 2018 at a reasonable $9 million a year, unlike ...
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Relief pitcher: Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees
The other dude in the Yankees bullpen who throws about 10 miles-per-hour harder on his fastball (in the 103-105 range!), but who’s set to become a free agent at season’s end. The Cuban Missile has proved every bit effective in New York as he was in Cincinnati. He’ll be a short-term rental (if the Yankees do sell) but still won’t come cheap. As Bob Barker would say: Come on down...
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Relief pitcher: Jeremy Jeffress, Milwaukee Brewers
The 28-year-old took an opportunity to become the closer at the season’s start and ran with it. The hard-throwing righty has converted 23 of 24 save opportunities with a 2.23 ERA and has made himself pretty valuable to any contender looking needing to bolster its bullpen -- which is pretty much every contender always. Jeffress’ teammate Will Smith is likewise under club control through 2019, has been very effective since returning from a knee injury in June, and may also be on the move.
Outfield: Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds
The powerful right fielder is a bit of a defensive liability, but he can certainly dent the ball, with 19 more homers so far this season and a .530 slugging percentage. It’s been a nice bounce-back season at the plate after a couple down years, and Bruce is likely headed out of Cincinnati. He wants to play for a contender and he might get his wish. "I want to play in October," Bruce said. "I’m 29. I’m not getting any younger. What I want most is the chance to play in a World Series."
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Outfied: Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs
Don’t put anything past Theo Epstein. The Cubs have a team capable of winning the World Series now and if it takes dealing the mighty 23-year-old, he’ll do it, if the return is worth it. Schwarber continues to recover from ligament tears in his knee but should be ready to roll for Opening Day in 2017. There’s legitimate questions about the outfielder/catcher’s defensive ability, and the power he showed in 2015 is a pretty small sample, but he is under team control through 2021. This one will be interesting.
Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
If the Rockies are willing to trade the 30-year-old outfielder, he’ll be a rental-plus as he’s under contract through 2017 with $20 million due to him that year. It looked like CarGo had run out of gas after injuries forced him to miss chunks of action from 2011-2014. But when he’s played, he’s crushed the ball, and he’s been playing the past two seasons with 60 home runs since the start of 2015. Of course, anywhere he goes won’t be Coors Field, where he’s spent his entire career and batted 70 percentage points higher (.327 versus .257) and slugged 176 points higher (.614 versus .438). But he’s a solid hitter in any park and we’ll see if the Rockies are willing to deal him or fellow Rockies outfield stud Charlie Blackmon.
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Outfield: Carlos Beltran, New York Yankees
Insert the refrain here about the Yankees’ deadline strategy. The 39-year-old, a free agent at the end of the season, has defied Father Time with 20 home runs so far this year and a highly impressive .300/.339/.548. He’s a defensive liability at this point in his career, so he’s probably better off with an American League team where he can DH.
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Third base: Danny Valencia, Oakland A's
The veteran has been swinging a pretty nice bat this year and shown some of his power with 12 homers to date. Plus, he has the versatility to play the outfield and is under team control through 2017 (arbitration eligible).
Getty ImagesBrian Blanco
Shortstop: Eduardo Nunez, Minnesota Twins
Quite a season for the All-Star (yes All-Star, Yankees fans) who can also play third base and second base. The 29-year-old earning $1.475 million this year and eligible for arbitration the next. The Twins fired general manager Terry Ryan recently and may not be seeking a total rebuild, but Nunez’s stock can’t get much higher as he’s batting .305 with 12 homers and 23 stolen bases.
Second base: Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
Not trying to dismantle the Twins but if everyone is on the table, Dozier would be a contender’s top pick among available second basemen. His batting average (.243) leaves about 25 points to be desired as usual, but the 29-year-old has uncommon power (16 homers) at second and some speed to boot. He’s under contract for two more season with a fairly reasonable $6 million due in 2017 and $9 million in 2018.
First base: Chris Carter, Milwaukee Brewers
Carter (right) hits homers and strikes out, rinse and repeat. The first baseman market is pretty thin this year, which is a good thing for Milwaukee. He’s probably headed elsewhere along with...
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers
Lucroy wanted out of Milwaukee in the winter and expressed his desite to join a contender, though he’s changed his tune since. His production has remained at an All-Star level as he boasts a .304/.361/.490 slash line. May the best offer win.