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Top 20 Trade Candidates: August Edition [8/27/2016 GMT]

It’s been a fairly quiet August in terms of trade activity, and only one member of the last iteration of this list, Jeff Francoeur, has been traded. However, some activations from the disabled list and hot performances and off-field incidents have altered the composition of our list.

  1. Kurt Suzuki, C, Twins: Suzuki somewhat surprisingly cleared waivers. He represents an offensive upgrade behind the plate over some teams’ starting catchers and certainly over the average backup catcher. His defense isn’t well-regarded, but the bat figures to be a nice perk for teams on the lookout for some improvement behind the dish. At $6MM this season ($1.2MM remaining), he’s affordable as well. Veteran backstops are popular August trade candidates — witness the recent deals for Carlos Ruiz and Dioner Navarro — so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Suzuki move as well.
  2. Boone Logan, LHP, Rockies: Lefties are hitting a pitiful .148/.211/.250 this year against Logan, who is in the final season of a three-year, $16.5MM pact. The 32-year-old hasn’t lived up to the deal overall, but he has saved his best season for last, logging a 3.11 ERA with 10.8 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in 2016. Nary a day has passed late in the month of August in any recent season in which there haven’t been clubs clamoring for left-handed relief help. With the Rockies sitting 7.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, it may be time to get something back from that largely ill-fated free agent signing.
  3. Peter Bourjos, OF, Phillies: Plenty of clubs could be on the lookout for a fourth outfielder before month’s end, and Bourjos’ speed and defensive reputation should make him an appealing candidate. His ridiculous stretch at the plate in June/July wasn’t sustainable, but he’s hitting .235/.316/.382 since coming off the DL earlier this month and .251/.293/.384 on the season overall. With a $2MM base salary, he won’t break any club’s budget.
  4. Nick Markakis, OF, Braves: Markakis cleared waivers over the weekend despite the torrid stretch he’s on at the plate. Since the All-Star break, the 32-year-old looks like he did in his peak years last decade, as he’s slashing .315/.383/.473 with four homers and 11 doubles. The $22MM he’s owed after this season allowed him to clear, but a club looking for corner outfield help could look into Markakis if Atlanta is willing to eat some cash (and they have been in trades prior).
  5. Brian McCann, C, Yankees: Gary Sanchez is announcing his arrival with authority, leaving it looking like McCann’s days with the Yankees could be numbered. An offseason trade might be more likely, but McCann has already cleared waivers and if the Yankees are willing to eat some of the $34MM remaining on his contract after this season, he could make an appealing upgrade for teams in need of a starting catcher.
  6. Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers: The Dodgers reportedly aren’t desperate to move Puig, but the fact that some reports indicate he won’t even be a part of the team’s September roster strengthen the argument that the organization has soured on him. Puig is an enormous talent whose performance has declined and who comes with clear off-field questions, but his on-field upside should lead some clubs to wonder if they could straighten him out.
  7. Derek Norris, C, Padres: An offseason trade of Norris, or even a non-tender, is more likely given his dismal season at the plate. The Padres have clear motivation to shed his contract, not only for financial purposes but also to get more at-bats for Christian Bethancourt and Austin Hedges. That’s been true for awhile, though, and Norris remains in San Diego.
  8. Melky Cabrera, OF, White Sox: As a solid switch-hitting bat with one reasonably priced year remaining on his deal beyond 2016 ($13MM), Cabrera should hold interest to teams looking for a boost in the lineup. He’s not a long-term piece for the Sox, though they’d probably need to replace him via trade or free agency this winter, so perhaps that alone is reason enough for them to hold on.
  9. Logan Morrison, 1B, Rays: Activated from the DL earlier this month, Morrison recovered from one of the worst starts to a season that I can remember and has quietly posted solid numbers at the plate since snapping that slump. The early season woes have his overall line looking unimpressive, but since the admittedly arbitrary cutoff date of May 16, LoMo is hitting .265/.338/.453. For a rental on a $4.2MM salary, that’s solid production that could bolster a contender’s bench.
  10. Jorge De La Rosa, LHP, Rockies: De La Rosa lost his rotation spot in late May and has somewhat quietly excelled since regaining it the following month. Over his past 78 1/3 innings, De La Rosa has a 3.56 ERA. His 43 strikeouts against 35 walks in that time aren’t encouraging, but he’s generating quality bottom-line results at Coors Field whilst playing out the final season of a two-year, $25MM contract extension.
  11. Jeanmar Gomez, RHP, Phillies: The Phils aren’t done dealing yet, as evidenced by yesterday’s trade of Carlos Ruiz to the Dodgers. Gomez has surrendered five runs in his past five innings but is sporting a 3.07 ERA on the season as a whole. He’d be a solid middle-relief add for any club and is controllable through next season as a bonus — though his salary will be enhanced quite a bit by his run as the Phillies’ closer.
  12. Blake Wood, RHP, Reds: To be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure why Wood’s name hasn’t landed on more of these lists. He’s a cheap bullpen arm on a clear rebuilding team that has some remaining club control. Perhaps the fact that the Reds can keep him via arbitration through 2018 means that they’d prefer to hang onto him, but there’s also an argument to be made that they should cash in on Wood’s 3.69 ERA and 9.3 K/9 — the best production of the journeyman’s career.
  13. Jeremy Hellickson, Phillies, RHP: Hellickson will be claimed by the first NL contender in need of starting pitching most likely, and with only one team to negotiate with, the Phils might not be able to coax more value than they’d get if Hellickson rejected a qualifying offer and netted them a draft pick. Limited leverage notwithstanding, a Hellickson swap makes sense on paper, and an NL contender could get desperate.
  14. David Robertson, RHP, White Sox: Robertson has struggled this year but has a 1.86 ERA in the month of August. With $25MM on his contract following this season, he’s a virtual lock to clear waivers if he hasn’t already. Teams may not view him as the elite reliever he looked to be when he signed a four-year deal with the South Siders, but if GM Rick Hahn absorbs a bit of cash there should be a market.
  15. Trevor Plouffe, 3B, Twins: It’s been a dreadful season for Plouffe, who has seen his year cut short by injuries and his production at the plate deteriorate. Those two things may be related, but even if they are, it doesn’t make his .252/.289/.385 line look much more appealing. There’s legitimate pop in Plouffe’s bat, and his defense rated anywhere from average to slightly above when he was healthy in 2014-15. A club looking for a corner infield boost could pick him up and hope he returns to his David Freese-esque ways at the plate and in the field.
  16. Danny Valencia, 3B/1B/OF, Athletics: Provoked or not, punching a teammate in the face in a clubhouse altercation isn’t a great way to smooth over existing concerns about your clubhouse demeanor. Valencia has raked over the past two calendar years but isn’t a great defender and has longstanding off-field concerns that far pre-date his fistful of Country Breakfast. The A’s are selling off veterans and Valencia’s bat, in a vacuum, is extremely appealing, but it’s not hard to see some clubs simply taking a hard pass in light of recent events.
  17. Ian Krol, LHP, Braves: A cheap, controllable left-handed reliever pitching well out of the Braves bullpen. We’ve seen this movie before, and it ended with a trade of Hunter Cervenka to the Marlins. Krol has more of a track record in the Majors, so perhaps the Braves are more confident that he can be a long-term cog in their relief engine. If Krol hasn’t already been claimed and pulled back, other organizations will likely put in a claim when he is. But the Braves could still work out a deal with whatever club has the waiver priority.
  18. Ryan Madson, RHP, Athletics: Madson’s contract will clear waivers, at which point this will be a matter of if the A’s can find someone willing to take on the majority of his salary. Madson’s overall results are solid, but he’s gone the wrong direction in terms of strikeout rate, walk rate and ground-ball rate. His 36th birthday is on Sunday, so teams are going to be wary about those types of trends in an aging reliever — especially one who sat out from 2012-14 due to injury.
  19. Ervin Santana, RHP, Twins: The Twins’ season has been an unmitigated disaster, but Santana is somewhat quietly on his way to his best season since 2013 and arguably his best since 2008. The 32-year-old has a 3.33 ERA in 140 2/3 innings and has been unstoppable of late, pitching to a 1.79 ERA since June 19. Santana is the best pitcher on the August trade market but the Twins have made it clear they’re not motivated to move him without garnering a significant return. At this point, that’s unlikely.
  20. Jon Jay, OF, Padres: Jay is injured, but MLB rules stipulate that an injured player can be passed through waivers if he’s served the minimum inactivity period and if he is healthy enough to play at his accustomed level. If Jay is able to begin a rehab assignment and show that he’s within arm’s reach of activation, he could hit the wire late this month and be moved just before the calendar flips to September. As a pure rental player that was performing well prior to his injury, he should be appealing to teams needing an outfielder — especially one capable of playing center field.

Also Considered

Yunel Escobar, Fernando Salas (Angels); Jake McGee (Rockies); Matt Garza, Chris Carter, Ryan Braun, Blaine Boyer (Brewers); John Jaso (Pirates); Brandon Kintzler (Twins); Zack Cozart (Reds); Brett Gardner, Chase Headley (Yankees); Yonder Alonso, Coco Crisp, John Axford (Athletics)

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