Has it already been 2.5 months since the 2017 MLB season began? That went by fast.
So far, not a lot of complaints. We've been treated to many surprise stories -- starting with the Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Minnesota Twins and some guy on the New York Yankees named Aaron Judge. Have you heard of him, by chance?
What's most exciting, however, is how wide open the playoff field is. The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros are the only teams with comfortable leads in their divisions. Not a single team in the American League is completely out of the wild card race, and only a handful of National League clubs have no chance at the postseason.
Taking all that into account, the trade deadline is going to be an intriguing one. At least half the teams don't know yet if they'll be buyers or sellers. But one thing remains the same for all 30 teams: They all have at least one player that should be traded.
Here is who your team should trade at the 2017 trade deadline in July!
*Stats courtesy of ESPN.com and are through June 16th. Contract details via Spotrac.com*
30 Atlanta Braves: R.A. Dickey
The Braves took a chance on R.A. Dickey in the offseason, signing the knuckleballer and former Cy Young winner to a one-year deal worth $8 million. Dickey hasn't pieced it together at all, going 4-5 with a 5.35 ERA and just 46 strikeouts against a whopping 34 walks. But playoff-hopeful teams are always in the market for more pitching, so Dickey will attract suitors.
Teams like the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers need more depth in the rotation. Dickey is a 42-year-old rental player, and shouldn't cost more than an average minor leaguer.
Dickey won't be part of Atlanta's long-term plans by any means. As they continue to rebuild through the farm system, trading away Dickey for one or two mid-level prospects makes plenty of sense.
29 Arizona Diamondbacks: Shelby Miller
The D-Backs have rebounded nicely after a disastrous 2016 season. That includes $206.5 million dollar pitcher Zack Greinke, who's 8-3 with a 3.00 ERA so far. Arizona is in the hunt for the wide-open National League West, so they'll undoubtedly be buyers at the trade deadline.
Arizona ranks second in team ERA and fifth in runs scored, so they don't have too many roster weaknesses to address at the deadline. But they should look to rid themselves of Shelby Miller, who's been a massive flop in his tenure with the Diamondbacks.
Miller is a household name, so it's possible a team will overpay a bit for him. If a deal is right, Arizona should look to trade Miller for a utility bat to help out their lineup.
28 Baltimore Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez
The Orioles have been free-falling since starting out the season 22-10. Their rotation and incredibly frustrating offence have held them back for the past month -- and they're gradually falling out of the playoff race.
If Baltimore isn't able to rebound leading up to the trade deadline, then trading away pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez may be a necessary move. He's having another letdown of a season, posting a 6.71 ERA in 56.1 innings pitched.
But as is the case with Dickey, teams in playoff contention are always willing to add just about anybody to the rotation. Jimenez is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and the Orioles are better off getting just about anybody for him. It won't be much, but it's time to pull the plug on the Jimenez era.
27 Boston Red Sox: Pablo Sandoval
The Red Sox have overcome a slow start and look playoff bound for the second consecutive year. Their rotation is set with Cy Young front runner Chris Sale, plus Eduardo Rodriguez, David Price, Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz. Their lineup is one of the best in baseball, and the bullpen has been lights out. Boston doesn't have any real weaknesses that can be addressed -- but president Dave Dombrowski also gutted the farm system and doesn't have the prospects to make a big move.
If Boston wants to be active at the trade deadline, they should look to get rid of $95 million man Pablo Sandoval. The team uses him primarily as a bench player, and there's no reason to keep him on the payroll any longer.
The Red Sox should look to swap him for another bad contract. Perhaps they can add overpaid batter or reliever for Sandoval's services. It's worth a shot for Dombrowski.
26 Chicago Cubs: Jake Arrieta
Nobody could have expected the defending World Series champions to flirt with .500 up to this point of the season -- but that's exactly what they are doing. Despite fielding practically the same roster as last year's, the Cubbies are struggling at 28-27. If they continue to slide at the trade deadline, then they'll have to trade away 2015 NL Cy Young winner in Jake Arrieta.
Arrieta is struggling with a 4.68 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 2017. He's also set to become a free agent, and the Cubs probably won't be willing nor be able to pay his high asking price. They'd be better off to at least get something for him.
Seeing that the San Diego Padres got a golden prospect (Anderson Espinoza), from Boston for a fourth starter in Drew Pomeranz, just imagine what the Cubs could get for Arrieta. Their depleted farm system could use more prospects, so Theo Epstein should trade away his pending UFA for young talent if Chicago is out of the playoff race in July.
25 Chicago White Sox: Todd Frazier
The rebuilding White Sox will get plenty of opportunities to build up on their strong farm system at the trade deadline. They have trade bait in Jose Quintana, Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier -- who should be their number one dealing priority in July.
Frazier is one of the best third basemen in baseball, and is set to become a free agent this winter. It's hard to see Chicago re-upping him in the offseason, so they'll have to trade Frazier and get something for him.
Plenty of playoff-bound teams could use a third baseman. The Boston Red Sox are trying to fill in the gap with Pablo Sandoval/Josh Rutledge. The NL Central-hopeful St. Louis Cardinals have no help at third right now.
Chicago should be able to get one or two high-level prospects for Frazier in July. There's no reason to keep him around until free agency at this point.
24 Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
Vintage Votto has returned, and he's absolutely terrorizing pitchers in 2017.
The good Canadian boy is batting .303 with 19 home runs, 51 RBI and 1.025 OPS -- plus an impressive 3.1 WAR. But despite Joey Votto's MVP-like season, the Reds sit at 29-36 and have no hope at the postseason this year. With Votto set to turn 34 in September, the time to trade him is now while his value is high.
Cincinnati is committed to a long-term rebuild, and they could easily get two or three great prospects for him. As he gets older, Votto will see his numbers dip more gradually. While he's in the midst of another All-Star season, the Reds need to trade him. This is the chance to maximize the return for the star first baseman.
There are very few elite hard-hitting first basemen in the majors these days. At least 15 teams would love to acquire Votto. If the Reds are willing to eat up some of his salary, that should just about ensure that they get multiple great assets in return.
23 Cleveland Indians: Josh Tomlin
The defending American League champions haven't lived up to expectations in 2017 -- struggling to play above .500 ball while the surprising Minnesota Twins widen their lead in the AL Central.
If Cleveland falls out of the playoff race as the trade deadline nears, they should look at unloading pitcher Josh Tomlin -- who's having a very frustrating year in 2017. The 32-year-old is 4-8 with an alarming 5.83 ERA and has allowed 11 home runs in just 71 innings pitched.
He has one more year left on his contract, and you can bet that Cleveland won't have any interest keeping him long-term. But many playoff contenders will want another arm in the rotation, and may be willing to overpay for Tomlin's services. Cleveland should trade him now instead of waiting til next year -- when he'll be nothing more than a rental and therefore scare off teams from paying too much.
22 Colorado Rockies: Carlos Gonzalez
The Rockies have been one of baseball's best stories of 2017. They're currently in the running for the NL West crown, as an improved rotation and that always-dangerous lineup has #MadeBaseballInColoradoGreatAgain!
But one typical Rockies slugger that isn't having a good year is Carlos Gonzalez. He's batting just .215 with a mere five home runs and 19 RBI this season. His .632 OPS is well below his career average of .855. The good news for the Rockies is that the likes of Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado and Mark Reynolds are producing more than enough offence for the Rockies -- so CarGo's struggles aren't dooming this team.
Gonzalez is a free agent this winter, and the Rockies have no reason to extend him long-term. They should look to swap him for another pitcher in the rotation. The St. Louis Cardinals' starters have combined for a 3.66 ERA. But they're 26th in runs for. Perhaps the Redbirds and the Rockies could go business?
The Rockies should be all-in this July. Trading Gonzalez for a pitcher to boost their rotation might be the trade that puts them over the top in 2017.
21 Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera (And all their veterans)
Multiple reports during the winter were that the Detroit Tigers were open to trading every single player on their roster, and they'll make everyone available should they continue to falter in the standings leading up to the trade deadline.
Well, it's simply time for a firesale. Detroit had their chances to win the World Series and failed. Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander are both 34 and starting to show significant signs of regression. DH Victor Martinez isn't going to hit like a superstar forever, and the Tigers have one of baseball's worst farm systems. The long-term pain is coming for this team.
If Detroit were smart, they'd trade all these veterans now -- including Miguel Cabrera. The longer they wait on trading away fading stars, the lower the return. Detroit has to tear it all down, and trading away the former AL MVP would be a good starting point -- as tough as it would be from a loyal point of view.
20 Houston Astros: Jake Marisnick
The Astros are the best team in baseball right now, and it's easy to believe they'll be big-time buyers at the trade deadline. But it's tough to know what moves they'll make at the deadline when their rotation, bullpen and lineup are all elite right across the board.
If there's one player the team should trade, it would be outfielder Jake Marisnick -- the team's second centre fielder (behind slugger George Springer). Marisnick is batting .261 with seven home runs this season, providing a solid bat on the Astros bench. But they won't need him all that badly throughout the season.
Teams like the Toronto Blue Jays need outfield help, among others. The Astros should trade Marisnick and for a veteran starter or reliever. They have more than enough offence from the likes of Springer, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve -- so Marisnick is expendable at this point.
19 Kansas City Royals: Lorenzo Cain
The struggling Royals will be big-time sellers at this year's trade deadline. As they continue to fall into the AL Central basement, Kansas City will have to start fielding offers for their handful of veteran standouts that are about to hit the open market in November.
Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar and Jason Vargas are among their many trade chips -- but none of them stand out as much as Lorenzo Cain. The 2015 World Series hero is batting .275 with 12 stolen bases and a 2.0 WAR. He's among the game's fastest players and can make a huge difference in the playoffs. His defence in the outfield is top-notch, too.
The Royals know they're about to undergo another long-term rebuild. Trading away Cain should secure them at least two quality prospects to help restock the farm system. There's no reason to keep him around when they know he's going to sign elsewhere in the offseason.
18 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Cameron Maybin
The Angels are currently in the running for one of the two wild card spots, so it remains to be seen if they'll be buyers or sellers at the deadline. Should they decide to sell, then left fielder Cameron Maybin will be their best trade chip in 2017.
Maybin is just a year removed from batting .315 with Detroit last season. He's been a solid fit with the Angels, batting .262 with a .758 OPS and 20 stolen bases. Maybin brings great speed around the bases and could be an ideal fit on a team like Toronto or the New York Yankees who rely too much on power hitters.
He's also about to hit free agency, and it's tough to see the Angels retaining Maybin. Rather than risk losing him for nothing, they should trade him away and receive a young roster player of some sort in return.
17 Los Angeles Dodgers: Logan Forsythe
The Dodgers are shaping up to be the team to beat in the National League, so we know there isn't a lot of selling to do at the trade deadline. Their pitching staff is good to go with Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Brandon McCarthy. Their hitting continues to be solid, so they won't be giving away any of their top players at the deadline.
That being said, backup third basemen Logan Forsythe may be a solid trade candidate at the deadline. As I said earlier on the Todd Frazier slide, many playoff bubble teams could use some help at third base.
Forsythe is batting just .190 in 105 plate appearances this season, but his fielding has been terrific. Forsythe's fielding percentage at third base this season is .979 -- with just one error in 19 games there. Teams who are looking to upgrade their infield defence may have an answer: Just call the Dodgers and ask for Forsythe.
16 Miami Marlins: Ichiro
The Marlins continue to disappoint. Just when 2016 looked like a progressive year, Miami sits at 29-35 -- with no signs of turning it around from now until October. Looks like yet another fire sale in Florida.
Not many of their key players are set for free agency in 2018, with the exception of future Hall of Famer -- Ichiro. The ageless wonder is batting just .217 this season (he's 44 in October, so we'll cut him some slack), but would be a great addition to a young team looking for leadership and a nice clubhouse presence.
Ichiro would be best off serving as a utility player/pinch-runner for a playoff contender. Young teams like Houston or Colorado could use Ichiro's experience in the postseason, for example.
Ichiro's been good to the Marlins organization for a few years now. They should reward the perennial All-Star by trading him to a championship contender.
15 Milwaukee Brewers: Jacob Barnes
The Brewers are barely above .500 -- but it's shockingly enough to have them holding down the top spot in the NL Central right now. But this team really needs to shore up a bullpen that's combined for a 4.43 ERA -- sixth-worst in the league. They're not going to hold onto the division lead much longer without some upgrades in the 'pen.
Reliever Jacob Barnes is struggling this year -- posting a 4.13 ERA in 32.2 innings pitched this season. However, he has racked up 33 strikeouts and does have 12 holds this season -- so he just might be better suited elsewhere.
But Barnes is giving up too many runs, and the Brewers can't risk keeping him around any longer. Milwaukee should swap him for another struggling reliever (Jason Grilli or Joaquin Benoit, perhaps). He just isn't doing his job in helping Milwaukee aim for its first playoff berth in six years.
14 Minnesota Twins: Phil Hughes
The Twins have shocked the baseball world up to this point and have taken advantage of a brutally weak AL Central. As the Tigers and Royals free-fall and Cleveland's rotation unravels, the division has become Minny's to lose. They have some great young stars in Max Kepler and Byron Buxton, but they need some rotation help outside of ace Ervin Santana.
Phil Hughes has not been doing his job in the rotation this season. He has an awful 5.74 ERA and has allowed 10 homers in just 47 innings pitched. Minnesota teams to like Hughes because of his past playoff experience with the New York Yankees, but he's not doing much in the Twin Cities.
In this case, Minnesota needs to pull the plug on the Hughes project and look for a more suitable replacement. Perhaps another team out there will be happy to swap a fellow struggling starter while taking Hughes back.
13 New York Mets: Jay Bruce
The Mets entered 2017 with too many outfielders, and they were expected to trade away slugger Jay Bruce in the offseason. They chose to hold onto him, but the pending free agent is sure to find a new home as the Mets continue to fall out of the playoff race.
The budget-conscious Mets will probably look to re-sign outfielder Curtis Granderson, which makes Bruce more expendable. He's batting .266 this season with 17 home runs and has registered an .873 OPS.
With Noah Syndergaard out long-term, the Mets have completely fallen out of the playoff race. New York surely won't pay him what he's worth on the open market, so they'll look to trade him while securing young assets the other way.
Perhaps Bruce will finally get traded to the Blue Jays -- a year after a deal for him fell through to head to the Great White North.
12 New York Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka
The Yankees committed to a rebuild at last year's rebuild. But in an unexpected twist, they're leading the American League. Aaron Judge has been baseball's best hitter, while Gary Sanchez and Starlin Castro have hit extremely well behind him.
Their rotation has pitched better than expected, as Michael Pineda and Luis Severino enjoy breakout years. C.C. Sabathia has had a resurgent year, and the bullpen is elite with Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman.
However, Masahiro Tanaka has been a huge letdown in 2017. He's 5-6 with a woeful 6.07 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. Tanaka has three years left on his contract that average out to be $22.142 million a season.
With big contracts on the way for the Yankees young players, they'll have to shed payroll. If they can eat up half of Tanaka's remaining cash and dump him to a team desperate for a starter, then GM Brian Cashman better get a raise. That would be a huge win for the Pinstripes as they push for another playoff berth.
11 Oakland Athletics: Sonny Gray
The worst team in the American League has a great trade chip in Sonny Gray. The 27-year-old was widely expected to be moved at last year's deadline, but a move never materialized. As Oakland continues to rebuild their farm system (and the team as a whole), Billy Beane will need to start unloading some of his standout veterans. None of them are more enticing than Gray.
Gray has bounced back more with a 4.44 ERA and 1.35 WHIP -- much better than the 5.69 ERA and 1.50 WHIP he posted in 2016. Gray has also fanned 53 batters in 52.2 innings pitched -- further showing his great value as a starter.
A reliable starter like Gray can often net some great prospects. The Athletics should have no problem finding two more top-10 prospects if they can swing a Sonny Gray trade next month.
10 Philadelphia Phillies: Jeremy Hellickson
The worst team in the majors hasn't had a lot to celebrate this season. But pitcher Jeremy Hellickson is putting together one of his best seasons yet. That 4.91 ERA doesn't look good on paper, but it's just been a couple of bad outings in the past couple of weeks that hurt his stats.
Hellickson is 5-5 this season and is pitching fairly well on an otherwise miserable Phillies team that doesn't give him much of a chance on any given night. This is a guy who sports a career 3.97 ERA, so you figure he'll bring a nice return in at the trade deadline.
Hellickson is also set to become a free agent, and the rebuilding Phillies aren't likely to retain him. They're better off just trading him to ensure they get something in return. And man, do some GMs love to overpay for fourth/fifth starters.
9 Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
It doesn't seem that long ago where the Pirates qualified for the playoffs every year from 2013-15. But after a dismal 2016 campaign and what's been a disastrous start to 2017, it's safe to say that this team needs to hit the reset button.
Former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen is by far their best trade chip. Though his hitting has declined in the past couple of seasons, he is just 30 years of age and carries a bargain of a contract ($14 million this year and $14.5 million in 2018).
McCutchen is still one of the game's best outfielders and is starting to turn it around after a bad start. He's hitting .255 with 11 home runs with a .456 slugging percentage. McCutchen should easily bring the Pirates two or three great prospects in return. Pittsburgh needs to trade him while his value is high, because it can only go down from here.
8 San Diego Padres: Jered Weaver
It's been another disappointing for San Diego, and they don't have a lot to offer at this year's trade deadline. If there's one guy they should definitely unload, it's past-his-prime pitcher, Jered Weaver.
The former Angels star is 0-5 this year with a 7.44 ERA -- allowing 16 home runs in 42.1 innings pitched. Weaver will be 35 years of age in October is on his last legs as a professional in the majors. Weaver probably won't have a lot of interested parties at the trade deadline, but the Padres could package him with another veteran (Erick Aybar, perhaps?).
As San Diego continues this long-term rebuild, they should clear as many veterans and salary as possible this July. But shipping Weaver over to another club should be their number one priority right now.
7 San Francisco Giants: Nick Hundley
It's an odd year, and that means no playoffs for the San Francisco Giants. Don't ask why -- nobody knows why they're elite every even year then seemingly fall apart altogether in odd years.
The Giants are used to being big-time buyers at the deadline and in free agency, but they'll have to sell at this year's deadline. Backup catcher Nick Hundley has been solid as Buster Posey's backup -- batting .236 with a .396 slugging percentage. Not bad numbers for a second catcher.
Many teams will be looking to shore up depth behind home plate, and Hundley could be the answer for them. He's also set to be a free agent, so the Giants might just want to get something for him any way.
Other than that, the Giants are definitely not trading away any of their best players. They'll wait until 2018 to win again -- an even year by the way.
6 Seattle Mariners: Danny Valencia
Another hyped-up year for the Seattle Mariners, another year where they fall to live up to expecations. The M's are struggling to play .500 ball this season, and the front office will have to be sellers at the deadline.
Obviously, stars like Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz and Felix Hernandez won't be in play --but first baseman Danny Valencia should be. He's about to become a free agent, and the Mariners probably won't out-bid other teams to retain him.
Valencia is having a good year -- batting .268 with a .742 OPS. He has a .992 fielding percentage at first base and could easily upgrade any team's defence in the infield. Valencia will be pursued by multiple teams, and that means GMs will overpay to land him.
Unless the Mariners go on a hot run to get back in the playoff race, trading Valencia makes sense in every aspect right now.
5 St. Louis Cardinals: Lance Lynn
The Cardinals have had just one losing season since 2000 (way back in 2007), so 2017 has been a disaster for a model organization that's so used to winning. Despite owning one of baseball's best rotations and the addition of Dexter Fowler in the outfield, the Cardinals can't even reach .500 ball.
The good news is that the NL Central is extremely weak, and St. Louis isn't out of it just yet. But if they continue to fall out of the playoff race, then standout starter Lance Lynn will have to go.
Lynn is 5-3 this season with a 2.69 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 73.2 innings pitched. The Cardinals should trade him for elite prospects, then could possibly re-sign him this winter (like the Yankees did with Aroldis Chapman).
Lynn's a big-time pitcher that could fetch big parts of the Cardinals' future. They should look to deal him, regardless of whether both parties are keen on an extension in the winter or not.
4 Tampa Bay Rays: Alex Cobb
The Rays are among the many surprise teams that are in the playoff race this season. But because they lack the financial resources to retain their best players, the Rays usually wind up being sellers at the trade deadline.
Alex Cobb is one of their best trade chips, and the soon-to-be free agent will surely price himself out of Tampa. Cobb is 5-5 this season with a 4.17 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. He'd be a great addition for a team needing a bottom-end starter in the rotation.
Tampa has always been about building its team through the farm system, and trading Cobb gives them the chance to add more to it. There will be a number of teams looking for a starter like Cobb, so the Rays will have no problem finding the right deal for their starting pitcher.
3 Texas Rangers: Jonathan Lucroy
So much for a third-straight American League West title. The Houston Astros are simply far better than any other club in the league, so the Texas Rangers can forget about winning the division -- and probably the playoffs.
Texas will have to spend most of their offseason cash re-signing ace Yu Darvish, and star catcher Jonathan Lucroy will probably get a more marquee contract elsewhere. As the Rangers see their playoff hopes dwindle by the day, GM Jon Daniels should be entertaining offers for his catcher.
Lucroy is batting .270 this season with a .705 OPS and is among the game's best defensive catchers. If the Rangers know they can't re-sign him, then they need to trade Lucroy to a team. They can easily get multiple pieces to help them out in 2018 and beyond.
2 Toronto Blue Jays: Marco Estrada
The Blue Jays front office has stated that they won't commit to being buyers or sellers right now; that they're going to wait and see where the team stands heading into the trade deadline.
Toronto started out 1-9, but has since come close to reaching .500 ball. Most of their core players have been on the DL at some point -- so it's almost a miracle that they're alive in the wild card race. But if they decide to sell at the deadline, then ace pitcher Marco Estrada would be a great trade chip.
Estrada is one of baseball's best strikeout pitchers. His slow fastball and deadly changeup make him a game-changer. He's held opponents to .203 batting averages in the last two seasons, and was instrumental in helping Toronto reach the 2015 and 2016 ALCS.
The Jays are trying to rebuild their prospect pool. Seeing what the Yankees got from the Cubs for Aroldis Chapman, Toronto could easily get one or two MLB-ready prospects for Estrada. And then they could look at bringing back the pending free agent this winter.
1 Washington Nationals: Joe Ross
It's weird. The Nationals are running away with the NL East and may wind up with the best record in baseball at the end of the season. But their bullpen has been an absolute nightmare -- racking up a 5.19 ERA (29th in the majors), and 11 losses. That will simply hurt them in October if they don't address it.
Washington needs to do what Toronto did last year: Fix the bullpen by trading away all of your unreliable and inconsistent relievers (Jays moved out Drew Storen and Jesse Chavez and Gavin Floyd).
Reliever Joe Ross especially needs to go. The 24-year-old has posted a 6.39 ERA, 1.53 WHIP which accounts for a -0.3 WAR. The Nationals have an easy solution here: Trade him for another reliever. Sometimes, players just need fresh starts.
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