Buyers are calling sellers, sellers are calling buyers, big-name players soon could be calling a new city home.
The 2021 MLB trade deadline is on July 30, and with August waiver deals now a thing of the past, teams looking to make moves to load up for the playoffs will have to do so soon.
Here are some potential targets who soon could be wearing new uniforms:
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals, SP
If Scherzer is to be traded, he won’t come cheap. Scherzer, with 10-and-5 rights that grant him a full no-trade clause, will require an extension from whatever team acquires him, according to his agent Scott Boras. Roughly a month before the deadline, Scherzer is 7-4 with a 2.83 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, showing he still has plenty left in his Hall of Fame arm. Turning 37 years old three days before the deadline, Scherzer is in the final season of a seven-year, $210 million contract.
Seeking what could be his final multi-year deal, teams might not be willing to give up assets while also having to lock into a lucrative extension for an aging pitcher since a rental option is not on the table. Regardless, the Nationals having won 10 of 13 games over a stretch in June to get back into playoff contention might mean that Scherzer is off the market.
Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies, SS
A team with one of the worst records in the league. A new front office that already entered sell mode by trading Nolan Arenado. An All-Star-caliber player hitting .243 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs and headed for a big pay day in free agency. It has all the ingredients for an inevitable trade that will ship the power-hitting shortstop out of Colorado.
Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies, SP
No Rockie is safe, particularly not a veteran, soon-to-be-free-agent pitcher who could command interest from contending teams, even if only as a rental. The 29-year-old is 6-6 with a 3.68 ERA for a 42-54 Colorado team. Moving Gray out of the hitter’s haven that is Coors Field adds intrigue for prospective buyers.
German Marquez, Colorado Rockies, SP
The Rockies ace, with an 8-7 record and 3.50 ERA, could draw the most phone calls from opposing GMs, but he’s not quite as likely to be dealt. Reason being? He’s under team control through 2024. Quality pitching at an affordable price is a commodity that will have a high asking price.
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs, 3B
An annual trade deadline candidate. The Cubs made cost-cutting moves over the offseason by parting ways with Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber. With Bryant swinging the bat like it’s his 2016 MVP season (.264 BA, 16 HR, 48 RBI), and with free agency looming, this might be the year the Cubs move him.
Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers, SP
Boyd’s ERA is at a career-low of 3.44 and his trade value had been at an all-time high before being sidelined for a month with muscular tendinitis in his pitching arm. With a sub-4.00 ERA so far this season for the first time in his career, and under team control through just 2022, now is as good a time as any to deal the left-hander.
Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2B/OF
Which playoff-bound team wouldn’t want a player who can play the infield and outfield, and who is also hitting nearly .326? The average likely will revert back to the mean, but at the affordable price of $4.3 million, Frazier will be a worthwhile and versatile postseason addition.
Richard Rodriguez, Pittsburgh Pirates, RP
The last-place Pirates don’t have much use for a quality, veteran reliever who can protect a lead. Contending teams most certainly do. The 31-year-old right-hander has an ERA hovering around a career-low of 2.65 this season and would be a welcome addition for teams playing into October.
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers, OF
Teams know what they’re getting at the moment in Gallo: a walk, home run or strikeout. But at 27 years old and with 24 home runs, there’s still upside, and contending teams might be willing to pay for it. The Scott Boras client, whose name reportedly came up at last year’s deadline, hits the open market in 2023.
Michael Pineda, Minnesota Twins, SP
The Twins were expected to contend for a division title. Instead, they are in last place. If they throw in the towel and become sellers to get something in return for a lost season, Pineda could be a prime candidate to be moved. He’s set to become a free agent, and teams in the playoff race are always willing to stock up on arms.
Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners, OF
The former All-Star has returned to form, sitting among the league leaders in home runs (22) and RBIs (58) after missing most of the 2019 season and all of the 2020 season. The Mariners are still in the thick of the wild card race, but with Haniger a year away from free agency, and with plenty of outfield prospects in the organization, he could become expendable for Seattle and a difference-maker for a contending team.
Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins, DH
Teams in need of a veteran power bat on the cheap will find no better option than Nelson Cruz. The 40-year-old still has plenty of pop in his bat as he gets closer to joining the 500-home run club. Cruz is hitting .295 with 19 homers and 49 RBIs for a Twins team that has been a colossal disappointment. On a one-year, $13 million deal, he can easily be moved to a contending team that can absorb a player limited to DHing.