MLB Trade Deadline: Ranking the 12 best players to trade, and the best team for them

Earlier this week, I ranked Best starting pitchers Who can be on the move before MLB Trade Deadline, which built on my big board roster Most likely to be dealt with 125 players From now until August 2nd. Now it’s time to rank the best players available and decide which teams best suit them.

The best bouts include teams that have expressed interest in a particular player, according to sources, or that seem logical as a potential business partner.

This year, five players are emerging as potential team makers in bunting: Cubs catcher Wilson ContrerasAnd the pirates middle fielder Brian ReynoldsAnd the Royals left field Andrew Benintendein addition to the two bats affecting the middle of the arrangement, the OriolesTree Mancini and the CitizensJosh Bell. Of course, other contributors to quality will also gain attention in the trade market.

This is my ranking of the top 12 players in position to trade before the deadline, and what I’ve heard about them in my conversations with executives in the major leagues and people from around the game.


1. Brian Reynolds, CF, Pirates

age: 27
cutting line: .259/ .333/ .453 HR: 11 RBI: 22
war: 1.4 OPS +: 121

Reynolds got off to a slow start this season, hitting .194 in April and 0.224 in May, but he’s been hot since the calendar turned to June, hitting .370/.407/.603 this month with four home runs and 10 RBI points. At 27, he’s just beginning his peak years and isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2025 season, adding to his commercial value. The Rebuild Pirates would rather keep Reynolds, but he is the most sought-after player in the market and they listen to the shows. If someone wanted to beat them, they would have to consider trading the All-Star for 2021.

Best fit team: YankeesAnd the raysAnd the PadresAnd the red socksAnd the guardiansAnd the white socksAnd the AstrosAnd the MarlinsAnd the bruerAnd the giants

2. Wilson Contreras, C, CAPS


Wilson Contreras is spending his best offensive season. (Charles Leclair/USA Today)

age: 30
cutting line: .269/ .383/ .505 HR: 12 RBI: 27
war: 2.7 OPS +: 147

The Cubs have not been able to extend Contreras and are eligible for free agency beyond this season, so their best play is to trade him before the deadline and then try to re-sign him in the off-season. Several competing teams will have an interest in Contreras, who can play catcher, DH, first base or sometimes left field. He ranked seventh in the National League in base percentage (.383) and seventh in OPS (.883) in what was by far his best offensive season. The Cubs should get a slew of odds for a two-time All-Star, even though it will be a rental.

Best fit team: metsPadres Giants Angelsguardians

3. Josh Bell, 1B/DH, Nationals

age: 29
cutting line: .295/ .380/ .472 HR: 11 RBI: 44
war: 2.2 OPS +: 146

Bale is a substitution hitter and that really increases his commercial value for teams with heavy lineups. Last season, he cut .261/.347/.476 with 27 home points and 88 RBI and is on track to match or improve on those numbers this year. With a strong presence in the club, Bill comes to the park with positive energy. His first base defense has improved and he could play there full time, DH, or do both. Bale will be a free agent after this season, but some competitors will get a big boost by adding his impact racket.

Best fit team: blue jaysRice, White Sox, Brewers, Giants

4. Trey Mancini, OF/DH, Orioles

age: 30
cutting line: .286 / .365/ .427 HR: 7 RBI: 27
war: 1.7 OPS +: 128

Mancini is the most popular player for the Orioles and no matter what they get from the trade, it won’t be enough for their fan base. He will turn down his side in the 2023 mutual option after this season, according to sources, and become a free agent. Since the Orioles didn’t extend it, they had no choice but to trade it on the deadline. Mancini’s best position is base one, but he can also play in corner spots and DH. Mancini averaged 0.272 in his career and averaged 28 home points and 81 RBI points per 162 games. he is A cancer survivor And one of the most respected Oriole players in recent times. It would be fun to see where he landed.

Best fit team: Padres, Brewers, sailorsRise

5. Andrew Benintende, LF, Royals

age: 27
cutting line: .295/ .360/ .390 HR: 3 RBI: 25
war: 1.4 OPS +: 114

Benintende won the MLS Gold for Left Players last year and should contend for the award again this year. He ranks 65 percent in Outs above average for all defensive players. His hitting average fell below 0.300 this week, but he’s at the base of 36 percent. He figured out his best role: creating traffic at the top of the squad and preventing runs with his skin. Benintendi is eligible for free agency after the season, and if the Royals cannot re-sign him, they must replace him before the deadline.

Best fit team: Padres, Marlins, Yankees, Rice, Brewers, brave

6. Anthony Santander, Orioles

age: 27
cutting line: .246 / .342 / .440 HR: 13 RBI: 36
war: 1.4 OPS +: 124

Santander is under team control during the 2024 season, but I keep hearing from sources that the Orioles will replace him with the appropriate potential package. He’s made 20 in 2019, 11 in the abridged 2020 season, 18 in 2021 and 13 in 232 at bat so far this year. His biggest improvement this season is his ability to walk. He’s 29 years old, and he’s already a high professional level and should help value his trade.

Best fit team: Padres, Guardians, Giants, Brewers

7. Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets

age: 27
cutting line: .198 / .292 / .275 HR: 0 RBI: 14 (91 AB)
war: 0.0 OPS +: 65

Smith was called up by the Mets on Monday afterwards Play 15 games with Triple-A Syracuse. It was blocked in first base before Alonso’s house, and although Smith can play left field or DH, his best position is first base. Smith is expected to be the Mets’ leading trading chip by the deadline, but has reached 0.198 in 106 major league games this season. (He hit .266/.347/.438 with two housekeepers and 10 RBIs in 72 appearances for the board in Triple A.) I think Smith is an over-the-top defender at first base and would develop into a .300 hitter with 15 to 20 home running power. If given a chance there. Most competing teams don’t need a first baseman, but Smith could be a good fit for rebuilding teams, such as the Pirates, Nationals and A’s, or teams that might need a first baseman in 2023, such as the Astros or Giants. He is under team control during the 2024 season and will be eligible to referee next year.

Best fit team: Pirates, Citizens, A, Rise, Astros, Giants

8. Ramon Laureano, A

age: 27
cutting line: .241 / .323 / .355 R: 17 2b: 10 SB: 5
war: 0.4 OPS +: 100

Loriano’s best season was in 2019 when he cut .288/.340/.521 with 24 home runs, 29 doubles, 67 RBI and 13 base steals. It should have been able to compile this kind of production again, but it didn’t. Injuries, epidemic, and most importantly, the suspension of nandrolone, a performance-enhancing drug, played a role. He returned from an 80-game suspension on May 8 and hit .241 with two home blocks and five stolen bases in 158 games. It is only a matter of time before it is traded. Laureano can play all three positions, and he plays the game with passion, although sometimes it hurts him. He is under team control during the 2024 season and will be eligible to referee next year.

Best fit team: Marlins, giants, brewers

9. Wheat Merrifield, 2B / OF, Royals

age: 33
cutting line: .232 / .277/ .318 R: 33 SB: 9 2b: 15th
war: -0.7 OPS +: 69

Murrayfield led the AL in bats twice, stole bases three times, doubled once (last season) and tripled once. But at 33, he’s going through the worst year of his career. Merrifield can play in second base, right field, and left field, a variety that helps with his trading value. He’s earning $7 million this year, and if he spends less than 110 days on the hit list in 2021, he’ll make $6.75 million next year plus another $500,000 when the royals buy his $18 million 2024 mutual option. Better before the deadline for the royal family to retrieve anything important in the trade. If he didn’t, they would have to wonder if they had waited a long year to trade it.

Best fit team: Padres, Brewers, White Sox

10. Mitch Hanegger, RF/DH, Mariners (on IL)

age: 31
cutting line: .200 / .222 / .486 HR: 3 RBI: 7 (35 AB)
war: 0.2 OPS +: 100

Haniger hit 39 home hurdles and led in 100 runs in 157 games last year, but a serious ankle injury this season has united his 35-player COVID-19 campaign. He suffered a right ankle sprain in late April and has been out ever since. The Mariners, who have fallen eight games below 0.500, are really missing Haniger’s power in the middle of their squad. If he’s healthy, returns and the sailors haven’t started their season, they might trade him. Haniger will be a free agent after this season.

Best fit team: Brewers, giants, rays, guardians

11. Nelson Cruz, DH, Nationals

age: 41
cutting line: .248 / .332 / .380 HR: 7 RBI: 38
war: 0.6 OPS +: 106

Age and decline are finally starting to catch up with 41-year-old Cruz, who could play in the final year of his career. He cut the .248/.332/.380 this season by seven home runs in 242 at-bats (one for every 35 ABs) after hitting 32 homers in 513 at-bats (one for every 16 ABs) last year. The Citizens wouldn’t stand in Cruz’s way if he had a chance to beat the opponent and play in his eighth post-season, but they’d get no more than a low-level prospect in return. A return to the Rays probably makes sense because Cruz, at the very least, could be another resource to help struggling junior hitters.

Best fit team: Rays, Brewer

12. Adam Frazier, 2B/OF, Sailors

age: 30
cutting line: .221 / .287/ .298 2b: 12 R: 28
war: -0.4 OPS +: 73

Mariners were buying and selling on the trading deadline last year, and they may repeat this strategy this year. If so, expect Frazier to be dealt with as he will be a free agent after this season. Frazier was hitting .324 and leading the bigs in hits last July when the Buccaneers traded him for the Padres for three odds. He hit .267 with San Diego the rest of the way but still finished season five in the NL in hitting average (.305) and tenth in the OPB (.368), then traded to Seattle before closing. Frazier has struggled in the lead this season, particularly in June when he cut a dismal .116/.182/.130. It’s at 0.21 overall and will have to do much better for the next six weeks to have any trading value.

Best fit team: Braves, Brewers, Giants, White Sox, Angels

(Top photo by Brian Reynolds: Jane J. Buscar/The Associated Press)

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