It’s probably too soon for there to be any blockbuster trades made in Major League Baseball, sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to start thinking about what players could be on the move this summer.
Since we’re back down to five playoff teams from each league rather than eight like last season, it should be easier for teams to decide if they’re going to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. There’s already been enough separation between genuine contenders and lower-tier teams to project what teams will be sellers and what players are going to be the most in-demand.
With that in mind, let’s take an early look at some of the MLB stars who could be traded this summer.
Matt Harvey, Baltimore Orioles
Matt Harvey has somehow reinvigorated his career this year in Baltimore. After all of the injuries, the 32-year-old looks like he might have something left in the tank.
Of course, that age also means he’s probably not a part of the future in Baltimore, which means the Orioles might as well shop him this summer. He’s not an ace anymore, but any team that needs help in the backend of their rotation could be interested in adding Harvey before the trade deadline.
Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals
Jorge Soler has had tons of ups and downs in Kansas City and is approaching free agency this winter. The Royals probably don’t want to keep him, especially if they are out of contention by the trade deadline.
But since he’s just two years removed from hitting 48 home runs, Soler will still be worth taking a chance on for offensive-starved teams.
C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies
The Rockies signed C.J. Cron to a minor-league deal, so they’d love to flip him this summer and get a decent prospect in return. Before going on the IL earlier this week, Cron was batting .290 with an OPS of .889. He’s been one of Colorado’s best hitters this year but may not have a future with a rebuilding team, putting him on the trade block.
If he comes back healthy and continues to produce, he could be one of the hotter commodities on the trade market this summer.
Mychal Givens, Colorado Rockies
The high-end reliever market could be limited this summer, which could make Mychal Givens a hot commodity. He struggled initially in Colorado last summer but has pitched much better this year. He’s also been lights out away from Coors Field in 2021.
There should be a lot of suitors for him as we get closer to the trade deadline, and with the right offer, the Rockies could move him sooner rather than later.
Corey Dickerson, Miami Marlins
After making the postseason last year, the Marlins don’t look like they’ll be able to keep up in the NL East this year. That could change, but if it doesn’t, Corey Dickerson will almost surely be moved.
He’s a former all-star and Gold Glove winner who’s hitting over .300 this year. The Marlins should be able to earn a pretty penny for him on the trade market while continuing the youth movement in Miami.
Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates
The fire sale the Pirates started last winter will likely continue this summer. Adam Frazier has one more year of team control beyond 2021, which means he’ll be more valuable on the trade market than a rental player. He’s having a career year offensively and has some defensive versatility, which will add to his value.
Since the Pirates won’t be competitive for at least a few more years, they’d be foolish not to trade Frazier this summer when his value is high.
Eduardo Escobar, Arizona Diamondbacks
Eduardo Escobar’s average has dropped off considerably over the past two seasons, but he’s still a power threat. That will be worth something on the trade market.
With the Diamondbacks in a division with three other teams that look like genuine contenders, Arizona may not have much of a choice but to become a seller.
Starling Marte, Miami Marlins
Unless the Marlins can get things turned around in a hurry, trading Starling Marte seems like a given.
Before going on the IL in mid-April, Marte was off to a great start, batting .316 with an OPS of .912. Even if those numbers drop off when he returns, he’s still a veteran who brings speed and defense to the table. That means the perpetually rebuilding Marlins should be able to land a decent prospect when they trade for him.
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers
Joey Gallo’s name has been mentioned in the rumor mill previously, so it’s bound to be heard again.
If the Rangers aren’t in contention this summer, now might be the time to pull the trigger. While he’s not off to a great start in 2021, Gallo’s power is starting to come around. He’s also under team control through the 2022 season, so he’s not a rental player and should be able to give Texas a more substantial return.
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates
It’s surprising that Gregory Polanco still hasn’t been traded, making it likely that he’ll be on the move this summer with the Pirates continuing to clean house.
The problem is that he was dreadful in 2020 and got off to a bad start this year before going on the IL. If the Pirates want to get good value for him in a trade, Polanco needs to turn things around. But if he does that, having options that keep him under team control through 2023 could make him an appealing option for a team that’s trying to compete this year and in the next few years.
Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers
It’s clear that the Tigers aren’t going anywhere this year and probably won’t be competitive next year, either. That makes Matthew Boyd the perfect player to trade, as he’s under team control through the 2022 season.
Perhaps more importantly, his 6.71 ERA in 2020 is a distant memory. Boyd has been excellent during the early part of the season, looking like a frontline starter. He could end up being one of the best starting pitchers available at the trade deadline.
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers
Corey Seager’s defense has been such a problem that the Dodgers are starting to question whether he’ll be the team’s shortstop of the future with free agency looming this winter.
It might be a long shot, but the Dodgers could get creative with a trade that sends Seager to a contender that could use his bat in exchange for a more defensive-oriented shortstop.
When the Dodgers are involved, no possibility is off the table.
Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies
With Colorado all but out of contention already, Trevor Story’s days with the Rockies are likely close to being over.
The club should have learned from the Nolan Arenado situation that they can’t afford to have one player take up a significant chunk of the payroll. It’ll take a massive contract to re-sign Story this winter, which means the Rox will be shopping him this summer.
The only question is what team is going to end up making a massive upgrade at shortstop right before the trade deadline.
Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies
Jon Gray is heading for free agency this winter and there’s no reason for a pitcher like him to stay in Colorado and pitch at Coors Field unless he’s paid well above market value.
With the Rockies miles from contention, they have no choice but to trade Gray, who’s also having an excellent year. Oddly enough, Gray has been great at home and bad on the road this season. However, those numbers should even out and won’t stop a team with pitching needs from offering Colorado a substantial bounty for Gray's services for the rest of the season.
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
There’s almost no way that Kris Bryant will re-sign with the Cubs. Unless the Cubs have serious World Series hopes, which doesn’t look like the case, they will have to consider trading him at the deadline.
Chicago could at least be in the Wild Card chase, which could make it tough move Bryant, who could end up in the MVP discussion. However, with all of the key players the Cubs have who will be free agents in the next year or two, they know they can’t re-sign all of them and they’ll have to find a way to not let them walk away without getting something in return. That makes Bryant the club’s most likely player to be on the trade block this summer.
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