Patrick Corbin (SP, 28)
Deadline Salary: $2,500,000
The Diamondbacks sit atop the AL West, but if the wheels begin to fall off, look for Corbin’s name to start hitting the rumor mill. The 28-year-old is one of the top prospective free agent pitchers, and Arizona will look to draw back something for him this July.
Favorite: Yankees | Sleeper: Twins
Tyler Flowers (C, 32)
Deadline Salary: $1,333,333
The Braves have been the surprise-team of 2018 thus far posting a NL leading 28 wins to date. While the rotation and middle-relief slots could use an upgrade, it’s tough to imagine Atlanta shopping any of their youth (though 3B Johan Camargo could be one to watch if his bat doesn’t heat up this summer). Flowers is a capable starting catcher who can hit for average with decent power. But veteran Kurt Suzuki has developed a power swing over the past 18 months, and should be favored down the stretch.
Favorite: Twins | Sleeper Brewers
Manny Machado (SS/3B, 25)
Deadline Salary: $5,333,333
The Orioles might think they have a shot to keep Machado for the long haul, but a 14-32 start to 2018 likely puts a pin in that idea from Manny’s perspective. He’s had a fantastic first two months, posting a league-leading 61 hits, 13 doubles, 14 home runs and 42 RBIs through May 20th. He’ll be dangled as a “trade-and-sign” candidate, meaning the major markets will likely all be in come July, notably the Cubs, Yankees, Phillies, while the Brewers and Diamondbacks may be in as “rental” teams.
Favorites: Cubs, Phillies | Sleeper: Mets
Boston Red Sox
Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF, 28)
Deadline Salary: $2,033,333
The time to trade Bradley may have been last winter, as the 28-year-old is now mired in a slump, posting a career low .165 average to date, including just 21 hits all season. He’s the weakest link on a versatile, dominant Red Sox lineup right now, and could probably use a change of scenery himself. He’s arbitration eligible through 2020, so there’s no real financial urgency to move on yet, but the timing still may be right for both parties.
Favorite: Twins | Sleeper: Dodgers
Jason Heyward (OF, 28)
Deadline Salary: $7,166,666
Few more impossible things have happened, but it’s worth a shot. Heyward’s 8 year $184M contract is arguably the worst in Chicago Cubs history, as his plate production has fallen off dramatically since leaving the Cardinals. He had a “decent” 2017, and still plays a very strong outfield, and there have been signs in early 2018 that a more consistent bat is here to stay. But Heyward is owed $106M through 2023, and any sort of trade would need the Cubs to pocket a very large portion of this.
Favorite: Cubs for Life | Sleeper: White Sox
Chicago White Sox
Jose Abreu (1B, 31)
Deadline Salary: $4,333,333
The White Sox have a MLB-worst 13 wins through May 20th, and appear to be a few years off from their youth-resurgence boost. With that in mind, their now 31-year old power hitting first baseman may be aging himself out of the short-term plan. Abreu is arbitration-eligible for one more season in 2019, so there’s not an urgency to move on just yet, but if the price is right, look for Chicago to strongly consider.
Favorite: Red Sox | Sleeper: Nationals
Billy Hamilton (OF, 27)
Deadline Salary: $1,533,333
The speedster is still arbitration-eligible in 2019, but his production is has been declining over the past 3 seasons, and the Reds as a whole are a sinking ship. Hamilton’s speed on the bases and defensive skillset are valuable to a postseason team in need, so the idea of him moving this summer isn’t crazy.
Favorite: Dodgers | Sleeper: Mets
Francisco Mejia (C, 22)
Deadline Salary: $181,666
Mejia is arguably the Indians’ top prospect to date, but with Yan Gomes & Roberto Perez signed for 3+ years on team-friendly salaries, and an entire bullpen on expiring contracts, something will need to give over the next few months.
Favorite: Nationals | Sleeper: Mets
Ian Desmond (1B/OF, 32)
Deadline Salary: $7,333,333
The once shortstop, once outfielder now first baseman has been underwhelming at the plate despite a $20M+ salary in 2018. Factor in top prospect Ryan McMahon waiting in the wings, and Colorado will at least attempt to move Desmond in the coming months. The issue, he holds salaries of $15M, $15M, & $8 thru 2021.
Favorite: Blue Jays | Sleeper: Athletics
Francisco Liriano (SP, 34)
Deadline Salary: $1,333,333
The 34-year-old is having a bounce-back season on a Tigers team well under .500 heading toward June. He’s experienced, cheap, and likely a very enticing fit for teams eyeing the postseason and in need of starting pitching or a long-reliever.
Favorites: Yankees, Cubs | Sleeper: Pirates
Marwin Gonazlez (INF/OF, 29)
Deadline Salary: $1,708,333
Gonzalez has shown he can play anywhere, and is coming off a career season (34 doubles, 23 homers, 90 RBIs). The bat’s been quiet thus far in 2018, and top prospect Kyle Tucker is waiting in the wings for a promotion. With an expiring contract, Houston may look to shop this summer.
Favorite: Braves | Sleeper: Cardinals
Kansas City Royals
Mike Moustakas (3B, 29)
Deadline Salary: $1,833,333
A radio-silent free agent season found Moose back in Kansas City on a very team-friendly salary. With just 14 wins, the Royals are back-sliding into the summer, and should look to gain value from their long-time veteran. He holds a $15M mutual option for 2019 that could factor into the trade negotiation.
Favorite: Braves | Sleeper: Orioles
Los Angeles Angels
Blake Wood (RP, 32)
Deadline Salary: $483,333
The Angels have been playing musical chairs at the backend of their bullpen, battling injuries throughout the 2018 campaign. With Wood ready to rejoin the fold, a strong 2 months could push him into tradeable territory, when every team with a chance will be looking to add middle-relief help.
Favorite: Brewers | Sleeper: Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Dodgers
Chase Utley (2B, 39)
Deadline Salary: $333,333
Utley returned to the Dodgers on a 2 year, $2M contract this winter, but LA is sliding down the division quickly. If the wheels fall off on the 2018 season, the right thing to do would be to find Utley a contender this summer, quite possibly in the form of a homecoming.
Favorite: Phillies | Sleeper: Braves
Starlin Castro (2B, 28)
Deadline Salary: $3,333,333
Castro was the one big piece to stay this winter as the Marlins’ new leadership group gutted the veteran salaries on the roster prior to the season. Unsurprisingly, Miami finds themselves in the basement of the NL East, and will likely remain there through the year. Castro’s production, age and reasonable salaries through 2020 ($11M, $16M option) should warrant a nice return to the Marlins should they look to move him.
Favorite: Blue Jays | Sleeper: Diamondbacks
Eric Thames (1B, 31)
Deadline Salary: $1,666,667
Thames (thumb) likely won’t be back in the lineup until the end of June, so the timing may not be in his favor to be traded this summer - but a winter move could be a strong possibility. Jesus Aguilar is a younger, cheaper option at first base, and has shown strong production at the plate in Thames’ absence. Factor in an oft-injured Ryan Braun to also play some first base, and Thames’ best value may been the trade block.
Favorite: Yankees | Sleeper: Nationals
Brian Dozier (2B, 31)
Deadline Salary: $3,000,000
The Twins have been contenders of late, and are only a few games out of the AL Central lead as we speak. Now 32, Dozier likely isn’t in the long-term plans for a younger, cheaper Twins roster. His 4 year $20M contract expires after 2018, putting him squarely on the trade block. Over the past fours seasons, Dozier’s averaging 156 hits, 34 doubles, 32 homers, 85 RBIs and an .814 OPS, fantastic numbers from the 2nd-base position.
Favorites: Cardinals, Red Sox | Sleeper: Dodgers
New York Mets
Steven Matz (SP, 26)
Deadline Salary: $192,333
The young southpaw has been given every opportunity to break-out in a Mets uniform, but can’t seem to string together enough healthy starts in a row to make it happen. If New York can find a decent return on the inconsistent Matz, a divorce may be best at this stage.
Favorite: Diamondbacks | Sleeper: Rays
New York Yankees
Brett Gardner (OF, 34)
Deadline Salary: $3,666,666
The Yankees might have waited a few months too long to move Gardner, who posted a career year in 2017. New York is loaded with power and youth across the board, so the 34-year-old outfielder and his expiring contract don’t exactly fit the mold. But Gardner’s intangibles plus a lack of viable trade return, could mean the Yankees hold on to their veteran for the stretch run. Look for a few younger players (Clint Frazier, Tyler Austin) to be on the block.
Favorites: No Trade | Sleeper: Mets
Khris Davis (OF, 30)
Deadline Salary: $3,500,000
The Athletics have reportedly made an attempt to extend Davis to a short-term deal to keep him in-house a bit longer. The 30 year old is arbitration eligible for the final time in 2019, but is likely ready for a proper pay day as he’s poured in 2 1/2 years of solid production. He has the potential to be the biggest bat moved this summer.
Favorite: Giants | Sleeper: Rockies
Pedro Florimon (INF, 31)
Deadline Salary: $200,000
Florimon’s role has been superseded by youngsters Kingery & Hernandez, as the young Phillies continue to breakout. He’ll be arbitration-eligible for the final time in 2019, but with Philly likely to make a free agent splash this winter, could be flipped for value this summer.
Favorite: Blue Jays | Sleeper: Marlins
Josh Harrison (2B, 30)
Deadline Salary: $3,416,666
Harrison expressed frustration with the Pirates offseason moves, and broke his hand 2 weeks into the season, but has rounded quickly into form since returning to the lineup recently. Pittsburgh is hanging tight in a strong AL Central, and Harrison has club options through 2020, but if the wheels fall off this summer, look for his name to be rumored.
Favorite: Padres | Sleeper: Dodgers
San Diego Padres
Tyson Ross (SP, 31)
Deadline Salary: $583,333
The Padres signed Ross to a no-risk minor league contract in January, and he’s been one of the surprises of the year to date (3.52 ERA through 9 starts). With San Diego now 7 games back of the AL West lead, Ross could be a viable trade piece come July.
Favorite: Yankees | Sleeper: Phillies
San Francisco Giants
Will Smith (RP, 28)
Deadline Salary: $833,333
If the Giants are contending, it would certainly be silly to move on from an experienced middle reliever. But if San Fran becomes sellers, look for Smith’s name to hit the rumor mill. The 28-year-old has experience closing out games, and has shown firepower in a setup role.
Favorite: Indians | Sleeper: Nationals
Marc Rzepczynski (RP, 32)
Deadline Salary: $1,833,333
The Mariners are currently just 2 games back in the AL West, but the injury & subsequent drug-suspension of star Robinson Cano has to have the team in a bit of flux heading toward June. If Seattle looks to sell, look for them to shed some payroll in the middle of their roster.
Favorite: Cubs | Sleeper: Nationals
St. Louis Cardinals
Greg Holland (RP, 32)
Deadline Salary: $4,666,666
It’s safe to say the Greg Holland experiment in St. Louis is off to a rocky start (7.30 ERA in 16 appearances). While it’s likely he’ll tighten things up a bit, the Cardinals may need to look for help in resolving this issue, agreeing to pay a portion of his salary to move him elsewhere for the duration of 2018.
Favorite: Twins | Sleeper: Angels
Tampa Bay Rays
Chris Archer (SP, 29)
Deadline Salary: $2,083,333
Tampa is still a .500 team to date, so the idea of selling their ace off for parts isn’t likely feasible at this stage. But if the time comes to be sellers, Archer is the top candidate to be moved. He holds salaries of 7.5M, 8.25M, & 8.25M through 2021, so it’ll take a bit of a haul to wrestle him away from Tampa.
Favorite: Phillies | Sleeper: Yankees
Cole Hamels (SP, 34)
Deadline Salary: $7,500,000
The Rangers appear poised to sell off their veterans and build from the ground up over the next few seasons (a.k.a Astros, Yankees, Phillies, Braves). Unfortunately, aging, injured players like Hamels or Adrian Beltre won’t provide much return in a deadline trade. But shedding payroll and flipping out roster spots will be vital to the short-term future of the Rangers.
Favorites: Giants, Phillies | Sleeper: Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Josh Donaldson (3B, 32)
Deadline Salary: $7,666,666
Donaldson’s certainly done his part to keep the Jays afloat in the AL East since 2015, averaging 153 hits, 31 doubles, 37 homers and 100 RBIs over that span. The 32-year-old will hit free agency for the first time this winter, and with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. eyeing a promotion to Toronto, Donaldson’s days up north may be limited.
Favorites: Braves, Angels | Sleeper: Pirates
Victor Robles (OF, 21)
Deadline Salary: $186,666
The Robles Era hasn’t yet begun in Washington, and for a team ready to win now, there’s a chance it never does. The Nationals will need a few significant pieces to push themselves into and through the postseason in 2018, and it just may take a top prospect or two to get there.
Favorite: Mariners | Sleeper: Tigers