Tyson Ross and Mike Fiers already have changed teams this month, and more and bigger names could go elsewhere, too.
There’s no guarantee or even a likelihood, of course, that anyone as vital as the great Justin Verlander will be traded this August; the deal that sent Kate Upton's husband to Houston last year eventually decided a championship. But there are plenty of stars who could go in trade this month, where waivers are required before trades (to be dealt in August, a player must either clear waivers, meaning no team was willing to claim him and his salary, or be claimed by a team that’s willing to take him and his salary or meet the trade request for him).
The Fiers deal wasn’t a surprise in some ways, as the Tigers and A’s were deep in talks before the deadline, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reported at the time. The only surprise was that the Mariners, who were just behind the A’s on Saturday when the waivers expired, didn’t claim him to block him from the A’s (especially since the information was already out there that Oakland was interested). The Ross deal was a surprise in that the Padres let him go for no return (beyond the savings of his remaining, reasonable salary) – though it’s certainly conceivable teams weren’t overwhelmed by his slightly below average ERA-plus of 89 at PETCO Park.
In any case, those two deals may just be the start. Here are the other major players who are candidates to go in August. (Remember, it’s often guys with salaries considered higher than their current worth, so they can pass through waivers unclaimed and be eligible to be dealt).
1) Josh Donaldson, Jays 3B: The former MVP is still out of action but the hope has been that he will be back in time to find a deal for him, and he was scheduled to start running full-tilt this week. The Cardinals, who talked about acquiring him last winter, and the Indians, are two of the teams that make sense as possible landing spots (more to come on this soon). With his $23 million salary, he’s very likely to clear waivers, if he hasn’t already. He’s been out with shoulder and calf issues this year, but at full health, he could help many teams, if not most of them.
2) Adrian Beltre, Rangers 3B: The big question here is not whether he’d clear waivers (he will), but whether he’d approve a trade. He still would bring great skill for someone his age and tremendous leadership to any acquiring team, but as a 10-5 player, it’s up to him whether he’d go or not, and it’s well known he’d like to re-sign next year with the Rangers, the team he’ll represent in the Hall of Fame. While it was thought he’d be unlikely to accept a trade to the Braves, the chances are believed better that he’d approve either the Cubs or his old Red Sox team, whose respective third basemen Kris Bryant and Rafael Devers have battled injuries (Bryant is still out and Devers just returned Wednesday).
3) Andrew McCutchen, Giants OF: The Giants fielded some interest last month but are more likely to consider trades if they fall completely out of the race. McCutchen is a free agent after the year but has a good chance to clear waivers due in part to the paucity of teams in need of an outfielder. The Indians would make some sense, as they still look a bit thin at the position, even after the acquisition of Leonys Martin at the non-waiver deadline.
4) Matt Harvey, Reds SP: The Reds might need him to get back on track after a couple so-so starts to incite trade interest. The interest in Harvey was surprisingly weak before the deadline. The Brewers and Giants showed some interest, though the Brewers make the most sense as a team sure to stay in the race. At present the Giants look like an unlikely buyer.
5) Adam Jones, Orioles OF: He declined the chance to go to the Phillies before the deadline, as was reported here first. Jones did so due to reasons of family, fans, friends and charity, according to a friend. It’s also possible another consideration is that he may not have started some games with the Phillies since they already have Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams in the outfield. Perhaps, with races more defined later in the month, he’d consider different situations. He’s all but certain to clear waivers, leaving the possibility open.
6) Marco Estrada, Blue Jays SP: He wasn’t pitching well enough before the deadline to attract much attention, but a one-hit gem over seven innings vs. Seattle raises the possibility he could be back in play. The $13-million salary means he should clear waivers, and he has a decent history as a big-game pitcher so he could attract attention for teams in need of a starter.
7. Curtis Granderson, Blue Jays OF: There was said to be some interest last month, with the Cubs, Phillies and Yankees mentioned. He’d bring power and a nice clubhouse presence to any contender. Likely to clear.
8. Ervin Santana, Twins SP: The Twins talked to the Yankees and others about Santana, but after a lengthy absence, he had just returned to active duty. Once he gets a few more starts under his belt, he could become a target of teams needing rotation depth. The Brewers would make sense.
9. Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers OF: He’s having a big year, but his big salary, combined with the fact few teams were seeking a corner outfielder or DH, meant there were no takers before the non-waiver deadline. The Rangers are willing to pay down his $20-million salary, which continues for two more years, but it may take an injury to create a need.
10. Danny Duffy, Royals SP: There was almost no buzz about him before the deadline, so this may be a long shot. But he is pitching much better, so perhaps there’s an outside chance.
11) Jeff Samardzija, Giants SP: He’ll surely clear waivers, but a trade would require a few things to happen: 1) the Giants would have to fall fully out of the race, 2) Samardzija would need to get back from his DL stint with a healthy shoulder, and 3) he’d have to pitch closer to his career norm.
12) Billy Hamilton, Reds OF: The cross-state Indians might make sense if Hamilton either clears or gets all the way to them in waivers – though his current offensive production might make it a tough sell. Seems like he’s been on the block forever.
13) Jose Abreu, White Sox 1B: There was a rumor or two before the non-waiver deadline, but his $13-million salary and the contenders' lack of need for first basemen means he probably stays. It’s doubtful the White Sox are anxious to trade such a positive influence on their ultra young team, either.
14) Derek Holland, Giants SP: He’s put up a decent season out by the Bay, and could be of interest should the Giants fall completely out of it. Salary isn’t what it used to be so he could be claimed.
15) Mark Trumbo, Orioles OF: He’s quietly having a decent year in Baltimore and is sure to clear waivers.
16) Jose Bautista, Mets OF: He could easily get claimed, but the Mets don’t consider him a giveaway. Not exactly hot at the moment – 0-for-23 with 12 whiffs in one recent cold spell – so this might be a good time to try to pass him through waivers.
17) James Shields, White Sox SP: It would take a team needing an innings eater, but it can’t be ruled out. Will clear waivers.
18) Danny Valencia, Orioles INF: He’s known for his ability to hit right-handed pitching and could be of interest for that reason.
19. Devin Mesoraco, Mets C: Like with his trade counterpart Harvey, the Mets never found a trade. It may take an injury.
20) Sergio Romo, Rays RP: Anything or anyone not nailed down is a threat to be traded by the Rays. He may not clear waivers, however.