With the MLB trade deadline looming, and teams looking to improve their rosters for the second half, we count down the 30 players most likely to move.
The All-Star break has come and gone, which means the next big baseball milestone is the July 31 MLB trade deadline.
Arguably the busiest time of the year in the major league calendar, the days leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline are packed with news, rumors and speculation about buyers looking to add star players for a World Series run, and the sellers that may or may not make them available on the market.
Trade deadline deals made to address a certain need. For example, the Red Sox are in the market for a third baseman, the Yankees need help at first base, and the Nationals have a big, gaping hole in the bullpen.
Every year we see at least one big name move, such as a team in desperate need of a starter gives up a huge cache of prospects. We’ve seen it with players like Randy Johnson, C.C. Sabathia, and Johnny Cueto. Yoenis Cespedes was the key piece in the Mets’ run to the World Series in 2015, and shipping Nomar Garciaparra out of Boston in 2004 helped the Red Sox end their championship streak. This year, one of the top names on the market, Jose Quintana, has already been traded.
However, as we count down our list of the 30 players most likely to be traded by the deadline, this is not necessarily a list of the 30 best players available (we’ll have that list soon enough). Instead, we take a deeper dive to explore the each predicted sellers’ assets, including middle relievers, back-end starters, and bench players – in addition to the few All-Stars expected to move by August.
30. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Oakland Athletics
Every once in a while, the Oakland Athletics stumble on a player that breaks out with a career year (or as Moneyball would have you believe, the A’s unearth diamonds in the rough all the time), and try to flip them at peak value in order to get younger and cheaper.
A free agent after the season, Yonder Alonso picked a great time to revamp his swing and become a power hitter. Though he entered the year with 39 career home runs in eight big league seasons, Alonso has erupted for 19 long balls in 76 games. He’s also hitting .279/.375/.567, all of which are better than his career average. Naturally, Alonso earned his first All-Star nod.
Though Alonso has expressed interest in a long-term contract extension with the club, it appears more likely he’s traded for prospects this summer.
The Angels (-1.6), Yankees (-1.1) and Mariners (-0.6) have posted the three worst Wins Above Replacement totals among all major league teams at first base so far this season, according to FanGraphs. Seattle first basemen have an MLB worst 10 home runs this year, while those from New York and Los Angeles are right begind with 11. The Yankees first basemen have posted a big league worst .176 batting average, and the Angels rank dead last in wOBA (.258) and wRC+ (60).
All three are still alive in the postseason race, though given Oakland’s residence in the AL West, it’s more unlikely the A’s would be willing to trade their best player inside the division. That (in addition to the fact New York has the best farm system of the three) gives the Yankees the inside track at Alonso. And, with Yankee Stadium a perfect fit for Alonso’s new swing, New York should go hard for the All-Star.