As baseball fanatics know, the MLB Trade Deadline talks are beginning to surface, and the concept of deals to be made are starting to arise in the minds of MLB General Managers around the league. With that, here are five game-changing individuals that I believe could be wearing different uniforms a few weeks from now.
Lorenzo Cain (OF, Kansas City Royals)
Cain, who is set to make $11 million by the end of the season, highlights multiple players on the Royals roster that happen to be on the trade block. The 31-year old is set to become a free agent by the end of the season, and could potentially be dealt to a franchise that is seeking a World Series appearance this year.
The first team that comes to mind as a suitor for Cain happens to be the Washington Nationals, who are currently sitting without Adam Eaton for the rest of the campaign. Although he is only sitting at 3 homers this year, Cain is one of the best defensive outfielders that the MLB has to provide. Hitting .273, and with a .739 OPS, Cain has the ability to be an offensive asset when need be.
The Royals chances at success through the postseason are slim in my eyes, so now would be the perfect time for the franchise to ship out not just one piece, but multiple before the deadline.
Sonny Gray (SP, Oakland Athletics)
The A’s have a history of shipping players away with arbitration deals, and I believe that Gray will be no different. With a 2-2 record, and a posted 4.57 ERA to go along with it, Gray has surely had his highs and lows this year. Teams that have peeked interest in a healthy stud such as Gray have been the Houston Astros, as well as the Chicago Cubs.
The A’s are sitting towards the bottom of the MLB in regards to their record (24-32), and by shipping Gray away for a handful of prospects, the franchise could potentially reboot their rebuilding process.
With a stellar performance against the Miami Marlins (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 11 K), as well as an underwhelming bout against the Cleveland Indians (4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 K), I’m sure that more than one franchise will be willing to gamble on Gray to be fixated within their starting rotation.
Pat Neshek (RP, Philadelphia Phillies)
Through 21.1 innings pitched, Neshek has yet to allow a run in seven straight outings (May 14th). While Neshek is having a career year with the Phillies, it’s important to note that he is sitting at 36-years old, and doesn’t have much left to provide to the franchise past 2017.
After being acquired in a trade with the Houston Astros in November of 2016, don’t be surprised if the franchise decides to move on from Neshek, as they will seek to receive developing talent.
There are a handful of playoff contenders in the MLB that could use the service of Neshek to their benefit, and teams should really look into the veteran as a viable option in terms of holds during the seventh and eighth inning.
Zack Cozart (SS, Cincinnati Reds)
Having reached base safely in his last ten games, Cozart has proven to be one of the most dangerous offensive shortstops in the MLB this year. With a .334 BA, 9 HR, and 33 RBI, if the Reds make Cozart available, I’m sure that the asking price will be higher than expected.
The Reds are nowhere near a World Series ring, so why not ship off Cozart, and receive multiple pieces in return? The franchise is in midst of a rebuild process, although they sit a mere four games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the NL Central.
Although the Orioles have J.J. Hardy, he is 34-years old, and hasn’t been helpful to the lineup by any means. If the O’s do not secure a starting pitcher before the deadline ends, look for them to be involved in the bidding for Cozart.
David Robertson (RP, Chicago White Sox)
All through the winter, the Chicago White Sox were pushing to deal Robertson to the Washington Nationals, as they were aiming to receive left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo, and minor league infielder Drew Ward in return. Robertson has only improved his trade stock, as he has recorded a save in 9/25 of the White Sox’s victories.
While Koda Glover isn’t the worst of options in terms of closing pitchers, the Nationals could use a piece such as Robertson in order to be considered among the favorites in the National League. Outside of the Nats, look for the Mets to be involved in trade talks for Robertson, as Addison Reed has evidently proven to be inconsistent for the franchise.