With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, the market for hitters is starting to take shape. After being sent to New York earlier this week, Andrew Benintendi was the first chip to be dealt. Let’s look at some sluggers who may be on the move before the August 2nd deadline.
Before getting into the list, the status of two-way star Shohei Ohtani is worth mentioning. Reports from Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman of the new york post state the Angels have begun listening to offers on Ohtani, however, a trade still seems unlikely before the deadline. A trade of this nature would shock the baseball world and bring in a massive haul for the Angels, however, it does not seem as if things are in motion just yet. Ohtani’s status is worth monitoring, however, he’ll be left off the list for now.
5. Josh Bell(1B)-Washington Nationals
The Nationals seem set to follow suit from last year’s deadline, making Josh Bell stand out as an obvious trade candidate. In 363 ABs so far this season, Bell has slashed to the tune of .306/.390/.493. He has also added in 13 home runs, 51 runs, and 54 RBI. With the universal DH now in play, Bell should be a strong option for any team looking for some offensive help. As a free agent at the end of the year, Bell would stand as a pure rental, making him one of the cheaper options on this list.
4. J.D. Martinez(OF/DH)-Boston Red Sox
Martinez and Bell are very similar options. They are both offensively minded sluggers who will reach free agency come the end of the season. Martinez has not fared as well as Bell so far this season, however, as he has compiled a .289/.358/.461 triple slash line. He has also clubbed 9 long balls to go along with his 51 runs and 38 RBI. Bell seems to be the better option between the two, but his track record and namesake may earn the Red Sox a slight advantage in a Martinez trade. These two are very similar options.
3. Ian Happ(OF)-Chicago Cubs
Yet again, the Cubs have some of the more sought-after players at the trade deadline. After last year’s frenzy, there are fewer high-profile trade chips left, however, there are a few that should bring in solid returns for the rebuilding Cubs. One of those is Ian Happ. Happ has been outstanding in the outfield this season, coming in at second in the league for DRS saved in left field. He has also contributed at the plate, batting .284/.366/.444 so far on the season. Happ has also picked up 9 long balls, 45 runs, 46 RBI, and 6 stolen bases along the way. With a year and a half remaining on his contract, Happ has a little more team control. That combined with his efforts on the field should make him extremely attractive to contending teams.
2. Wilson Contreras(C)-Chicago Cubs
Yet another Cub, and maybe the player most likely to be traded still standing. Contreras has established himself as one of the game’s best catchers throughout his career and is no stranger to trade rumors. This season he has put together a .252/.369/.460 batting line, while also chipping in 14 homers, 51 runs, and 37 RBI. This kind of production coming from the catching position will have contending teams salivating. As a free agent at the end of the season, Contreras is a pure rental, however, his position should make him one of the most sought-after bats this deadline.
1. Juan Soto(OF)-Washington Nationals
This should come as no surprise. Juan Soto is available and will bring in the biggest return this deadline barring an Ohtani trade. We’ve all heard the rumors and speculation over the last few weeks, but the bottom line is Soto is available, and one of the few hitters on the market that could drastically impact a team. In somewhat of a down year, Soto has compiled a .243/.399/.478 batting line. He has also clubbed 20 long balls to go along with his 58 runs and 45 RBI. Just a reminder, Soto is only 23 and comes with two and a half years of team control, and without a big contract. It will take a massive haul to pry him from the Nationals, however, he would bring instant stardom to a contending team. You can vote on where you think he may end up here.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Drury, Whit Merrifield, Tommy Pham, Nelson Cruz, Trey Mancini.
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