10 MLB Position Players Who Need to be Dealt Before 2021 Trade Deadline
As it stands, there are at least 10 teams that are lined up to be sellers this summer, potentially more. That should put plenty of impact players on the trade block. But it’s not just players hitting the free-agent market who could be on the move. Teams that are nowhere close to contending could look to trade players who are under team control beyond this season because they’ll be more valuable on the market.
With that in mind, here are 10 position players who should become trade bait over the next three weeks.
Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates
There’s no reason for the Pirates not to trade Adam Frazier, who’s having a career year. He’s batting .330 at the All-Star break, ranking third in the majors.
In a season in which so few batters are hitting for a high average, he’s a desirable commodity on the trade market. On top of that, Frazier has some position versatility and is under team control for one more season. That means his value will be further enhanced because he’s not just a rental player.
Since the Pirates aren’t going to be competitive for the next few seasons, they need to trade him now while his value on the trade market is at an all-time high.
Jonathan Schoop, Detroit Tigers
Detroit signed Jonathan Schoop in February for one year at $4.5 million and he’s responded in a big way. He’s already hit 16 home runs and is gearing up to cash in on the free-agent market this winter. In other words, the Tigers aren’t going to be able to re-sign him on a cheap contract, so they need to trade him this summer while he’s worth something.
While he’s mostly a second baseman, Schoop has some experience at the other infield positions and brings a lot of power to any lineup. The Tigers should have no problem finding suitors for him and flipping Schoop for prospects who will help in their rebuilding efforts.
C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies
C.J. Cron is another example of a player who signed for cheap and is having a big year, enabling the Rockies to make a nice profit on him.
Colorado only signed him to a minor-league deal in mid-February. He's taken that opportunity and run with it, mashing 12 home runs and posting an OPS of .834. In fairness, he’s done a lot of his damage at Coors Field. But Cron still provides an extra power presence for a team that needs a first baseman or a DH.
Keeping Cron isn’t going to help the Rockies, but trading him will help them begin to rebuild after a disastrous 2021 season.
Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins
It’ll be a shame to see Nelson Cruz leave Minnesota. He’s had such a good run with the Twins over the last two and half years, proving that he’s still one of the best power hitters in the game at age 41.
Cruz has already hit 18 home runs this season, although it hasn’t been enough to help the Twins remain in contention. Unfortunately, his market will be limited to American League teams that can find playing time for him at DH. But there are at least seven AL teams with legitimate playoff hopes right now, so the Twins should be able to find a way to trade Cruz to one of those teams and getting something decent in return.
Andrelton Simmons, Minnesota Twins
While the Twins are shopping Cruz, they can do the same with Andrelton Simmons, who will be a free agent this winter. Unfortunately, that won’t be so easy with Simmons having a disappointing campaign offensively, posting an OPS of .610 at the All-Star break. But he should still bring something to the table with his defense and experience.
Even if he’s only a part-time player on a contender, there will be teams calling the Twins about Simmons, especially if he can start to hit a little more in the second half.
Starling Marte, Miami Marlins
The Marlins made a great move by trading for Starling Marte last season, but now they need to deal him because they don’t appear to be going anywhere this year.
Marte missed a little over a month with a broken rib but has been otherwise productive this season. He’ll be a free agent next winter, so his value on the trade market is limited to that of a rental player. But he’s one of the few players on the trade block who is a bonafide center fielder, and a good one with two Gold Gloves under his belt.
He’ll have a market and should give the Marlins something substantial in return, which is Miami needs to move him before the trade deadline.
Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals
The Royals have flirted with the possibility of trading Whit Merrifield in the past, but the time has come to pull the trigger on a trade. The catch is that he’s under team control for two more seasons. But Kansas City’s pitching has been so dreadful this season that the Royals have to think hard about whether they’re set up to compete in either of the next two seasons. It’s not as if they’ll be able to make bold moves in free agency to fill their needs quickly.
With two years left on his contract, Merrifield will have a ton of value because he’ll be a long-term solution for teams. After a sluggish start to the season, he cranked it up a notch in June and was named as an All-Star replacement, which means there should be teams out there willing to pay a pretty penny to acquire Merrifield.
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers
With Joey Gallo having one more year of arbitration, now is the ideal time for the Rangers to trade him because he won’t be as valuable next summer or even this winter when he’ll only be a rental. More importantly, Gallo got off to a slow start but has been scorching hot over the last six weeks. He’s up to 24 home runs and could break his current career-high of 41 dingers.
Gallo can also play multiple positions, so he’ll be able to fit with a lot of different teams. If the Rangers are being honest with themselves, they aren’t set up to compete next season any more than this season, so unless they think Gallo will sign a long-term deal to remain in Texas, they need to trade him right now because his value will never be higher.
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
After the way the Cubs played games with Kris Bryant’s eligibility when he was a rookie to steal another year of team control, it’s a safe bet that he won’t be re-signing with the club when he hits free agency this winter. Also, with the Cubs playing like garbage over the last three weeks, they look like sellers.
While there are several players that Chicago could deal, Bryant should be at the top of the list. He’s having a fantastic season and is arguably the best rental player available because he can play third base, first base, and the corner outfield.
Unless the Cubs suddenly get hot again coming out of the All-Star break, they will be sellers and need to trade Bryant by the end of the month.
Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies
Ever since the Rockies got off to their disastrous start this season, it’s been a safe assumption that Trevor Story would be traded at some point.
Colorado can’t afford to keep him as a free agent this winter, and the club should have learned from the Nolan Arenado situation that it doesn’t make sense to pay that much for one player anyway. Of course, Story hasn’t helped his trade value by having a subpar year and hitting .180 away from Coors Field. But there will be teams that want him and there’s no reason for the Rockies to hang onto him for the rest of what has become a lost season.
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