Just a few weeks after the sports world was treated to the absolute shit show that was NBA Free Agency, the Major League Baseball trade deadline is approaching. Fans eyeballs will be glued to their phone screens, while Ken Rosenthal and Co. search for the next big move to supply that glue. Whether it was Yoenis Cespedes annihilating baseballs in New York so hard he made holes in his Florida ranch or Justin Verlander making opposing hitters look as if they played high school baseball for Saint Mary’s School For The Blind, the trade deadline has proved to be a major cog in the postseason machine. This year’s rendition should be more of the same.
Here are the top 10 players available at this year’s deadline.
1. Noah Syndergaard (NYM)
The man they call Thor has looked more like Loki this year for the Mets. At times, Syndergaard has looked absolutely filthy while at others he has looked like Thanos put him into a spiraling depression. His career-worst 4.36 era depletes his value a bit, but the Mets would be fools not to trade him now to a contender. The problem is the Mets are run by fools, and the chances of them parting with the last piece from the R.A Dickey trade before the deadline are about as good as the Wilpons selling the team.
2. Madison Bumgarner (SF)
MadBum’s contract will run out this offseason. That is all the Giants should look at when debating whether or not to trade their ace. The problem for the front office is that Bruce Bochy has rallied his troops to a 16-3 record over their last 19, putting them only 2.5 games out of the second wild-card spot.
This run shouldn’t deter the Giants from being sellers at the deadline, as their team is just not good enough to beat the likes of the Dodgers and Braves in the National League Playoffs. Bumgarner’s playoff prowess will net them a very nice return.
3. Will Smith (SF)
Another San Fransico Giants pitcher on the final year of his contract, it feels like Will Smith has spent most of his days on a playground rather than a mound this season. Smith has the chance to be this year’s version of Andrew Miller. A late-inning lefty reliever who can go multiple innings, Smith will be the genie in a bottle for a contender come July 31.
We’ll see if He Is Legend come postseason play.
4. Marcus Stroman (TOR)
Marcus Stroman has all the tools to be a big-time starting pitcher. Unfortunately, he has spent all of his career on the Blue Jays. Toronto needs to completely blow up the organization and start from scraps. The first step will be trading Marcus Stroman and all of his drip to a contender.
5. Yasiel Puig (CIN)
Yasiel Puig has had a very entertaining career. From showing off his tongue as much as his arm to starring in quite possibly the greatest brawl picture in baseball history, Puig is not afraid of being himself. The Reds attempt to compete this year crash and burned faster than you can say Yasiel, so Puig will indeed be on the move come the deadline.
6. Zack Wheeler (NYM)
The Mets window of opportunity to win with their young pitching core is just about closed. If they don’t move Syndergaard, Wheeler will certainly be packing his bags. Zack boasts a high 90’s fastball with good secondary pitches, but his inconsistencies have all but convinced New York he won’t be worth the $18 Million Qualifying offer in the off-season.
7. Whit Merrifield (KC)
The Royals will be hesitant to move their new star outfielder, but they should not be. Kansas City is simply not close to being a contender. Merrifield is young and certainly good enough to build a team around, but if the Royals get blown away by an offer they should move him.
8. Mike Minor (TEX)
You catching a theme here? This year’s deadline is going to be completely centered around pitching, as it should be. Teams like the Yankees, Twins, Braves, Nationals, Phillies, and Brewers are all in dire need of some. Minor is having a career year for the Rangers, and contending teams will look to scoop him up for a prospect or two.
9. Clint Frazier (NYY)
While Frazier is not nearly as much of a proven big leaguer as the rest of the guys on this list, he has all the tools to be a great everyday player. Sellers like the Mets, Blue Jays, and Giants would love to pick up Frazier in a trade involving a pitcher. The Yankees are literally in the perfect spot to land a great starter. Ugh.
10. Zack Greinke (ARI)
This all comes down to if the Diamondbacks are willing to sell. After trading their franchise player in the off-season, the team did not really expect to compete. However, they have and are right in the thick of the NL Wild Card Race. If they do indeed decide to trade Greinke, the return will be huge.