Photo courtesy of 590 The Fan
By: Ross Sutton
With a good chunk of the season being in the rear view mirror and rebuilding teams like the Royals saying they are ready to make some trades, it seems like a good time to talk more about players I think will be traded before the deadline at the end of July.
Manny Machado- I wrote about why I think the Phillies are the most sensible landing spot for Machado about two weeks ago, so I’m not going to say much here about Machado, but I thought it wouldn’t be much of a trade deadline blog without mentioning Machado.
Cole Hamels- Outside of Machado, Hamels is the most likely player to be traded out of the group that I am writing about in this blog. With the Rangers playing as badly as expected and not much hope for improvement this year, the Rangers would be foolish not to trade Hamels. Hamels is under contract for the rest of this year and then he has a club option for 2019 that includes a $6M buyout. This option vests if Hamels pitches 200 innings this year and does not finish this year on the DL due to an elbow or shoulder injury, so he could also be under contract next year for the team that trades for him. Also making a potential trade more complicated, Hamels has a limited no-trade clause in his contract, but I would think he would waive his no-trade clause if it means being traded to a contending team. All that being said, I think the best spot for Hamels to be traded to is Philadelphia, where he became an all-star earlier in his career. The Phillies have played great this year and with the Nationals still not playing as well as they have in years past, the Phillies might have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs this year, maybe as the winner of the NL East. Hamels would be a great fit for the Phillies as it would be highly beneficial for the younger pitchers in their starting staff (Nola, Pivetta, etc.) to have another veteran presence around. If Hamels became the teams’ third starter behind Arrieta and Nola, the Phillies would have an extremely solid group of starting pitchers that could lead them to the playoffs. Due to the amount of money left on Hamels’ contract, the Phillies might not have to give up much for the lefty, making him even more appealing.
Josh Donaldson- I’m not entirely sure if the Blue Jays will trade the former league MVP, but I think it would be the right move if they did. The Blue Jays are currently in fourth place in the super strong AL East, and do not look to be capable of keeping up with the Red Sox or Yankees or other teams that will be contending for a Wild Card spot in the American League. If the Blue Jays were smart and took notice of how well it worked out for the Yankees when they traded big name players in the summer of 2016 despite possibly being able to contend for a playoff spot, then they would trade Donaldson before he signs elsewhere in free agency this upcoming offseason. I think the Braves could be where Donaldson eventually signs as a free agent, but since the Braves were not even supposed to be playoff contenders this year, they might decide to hold on to valuable prospects rather than trade them for a few months of Donaldson. Therefore, I think the team that is the most likely to trade for Donaldson is the Cardinals. The NL Central is filled with competition, and teams such as the Brewers, Cubs, Pirates, and Cardinals might look to add big name players at the deadline in order to win the division or clinch a wild card spot. The Cardinals have not gotten much production out of the third base position this year and would greatly benefit from acquiring a player of Donaldson’s caliber in order to bolster their starting lineup.
Danny Duffy- Despite the fact that Danny Duffy has struggled this season, I have faith that he will turn it around and be a valued player at the trade deadline. As I just mentioned, the NL Central is stacked so teams could very well be in an arms race at the deadline. That is why I think the Brewers are the most likely spot for Duffy to be traded to at the deadline. Duffy is signed through 2021 after signing an extension with the Royals in January of 2017, so the Brewers would have control of a solid starting pitcher for the next few years if they were to trade for Duffy. The Brewers have a good but not great group of starting pitchers on the roster, so it would be smart for the Brew Crew to attempt to bolster the rotation. The Brewers have a few different prospects they could trade, or they could decide to trade from a place of depth and trade an outfielder, most likely Domingo Santana.
Michael Fulmer- To this point in the season, Tigers’ pitcher Michael Fulmer has not pitched great, but he has been solid as he currently owns a 4.08 ERA. There were a lot of rumors this offseason about the Tigers trading Fulmer in order to revamp their farm system, but they decided not to pull the trigger. I think the Tigers will change their minds at the deadline though, as there are teams that would greatly benefit from trading for Fulmer. That being said, I think the Yankees are the team that would benefit the most from acquiring Fulmer, as it seems that they could really use another solid arm in their starting rotation. The Yankees also have a ton of young talent in their organization that could allow them to pry Fulmer away from the Tigers. Fulmer is still on his rookie contract, so he is not being paid much and is under team control until 2022. This means he will not come cheap to any team that trades for him, but the Yankees have the prospects and depth to trade for Fulmer in order to increase their chances of winning the World Series this year.
Contract information courtesy of sportrac.com
Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com
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