You've seen endless rumors, but who are the best players likely to be on the move by July 31?
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Will they stay or will they go? That’s the question on the mind of every general manager as the trade deadline draws ever closer with regards to the players who pop up in rumors day after day. There’s never any shortage of gossip in the week leading up to July 31, but for all the stars who cycle through the mill, most end up staying put or were never available at all.
This summer is no exception. Trevor Bauer, Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Edwin Diaz … all have floated through Twitter as potential pieces to be moved at the deadline. With the exception of Bumgarner, though, all those players will command hefty prospect returns, and in the case of the Giants’ burly lefty, their recent surge into the wild-card race may complicate his long-predicted departure.
The likelihood of those names ending up on new teams, then, seems low; it’s up in the air as to whether or not you’ll see them switch sides come deadline time. But there are other players whose chances of finding a new home are far higher, and who can make just as big an impact as those stars listed above. Here's our top 10 players that will more likely than not be traded in the next seven days.
1. Marcus Stroman, SP, Blue Jays
Stroman would be a lock to move if Bumgarner stays in San Francisco, as the rental market is weak and the rest of the cost-controlled starters will cost significantly more. His ace upside doesn’t hurt.
2. Matthew Boyd, SP, Tigers
I don’t think the Tigers should trade Boyd—at some point in a rebuild, you need to accumulate good, young, cheap players, and that’s what he is—but the market for starters is so weak that they could luck into a huge overpay. He might be the prize of the deadline for the right team.
3. Will Smith, RP, Giants
Bumgarner may stay, but Smith seems sure to leave. He’d be the best reliever available and is a free agent after the season. San Francisco can survive his loss and remain alive in the playoff chase with its sturdy relief corps.
4. Ken Giles, RP, Blue Jays
Giles still has a year of team control left, but Toronto will almost certainly capitalize on his value amid a rebound season and with plenty of contenders needing late-inning relief help.
5. Shane Greene, RP, Tigers
Like Giles, Greene has another year left before free agency, but like Toronto, Detroit has no reason to keep him around, especially since he’s significantly outperforming his peripherals. That won’t stop a bullpen-needy team from paying for him, though.
6. Mike Minor, SP, Rangers
Texas’s July swoon has made Minor available, even if the veteran lefty doesn’t want to go. He’s pitching like it, too, allowing 15 runs in his last 22 1/3 innings, but he’s good rotation depth nonetheless.
7. Zack Wheeler, SP, Mets
In perfect Mets fashion, Wheeler went on the injured list two weeks before the deadline with shoulder fatigue, crashing his value. He’s a potential game-changer if healthy, though that’s a big if.
8. Nicholas Castellanos, OF, Tigers
A free agent after the season and one who’s fed up with Detroit (or at least Comerica Park), Castellanos profiles as J.D. Martinez Light: not as good with the bat and just as bad with the glove, but cheaper than the real thing.
9. Ian Kennedy, RP, Royals
Kennedy is no one’s idea of a relief ace, but his move to the bullpen has worked wonders, with 50 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings. If Kansas City pays down some of his contract, some contender should bite.
10. Hunter Pence, OF/DH, Rangers
Pence’s rejuvenation was the feel-good story of the spring, and with the Rangers falling out of the playoff picture, he’ll have a chance to write a new chapter as a useful bench bat or DH for a contender.
Other Names to Watch
Alex Colome, RP, White Sox; Jarrod Dyson, OF, Diamondbacks; Todd Frazier, 3B, Mets; Freddy Galvis, SS, Blue Jays; Justin Smoak, 1B, Blue Jays; Jason Vargas, SP, Mets; Tony Watson, RP, Giants.
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Vault Photo of the Week: Welcome to Mannywood
It doesn't appear anyone of Manny Ramirez's stature will get traded ahead of next Wednesday's deadline, but it's fun to look back on this monster deal from 11 years ago. The Red Sox parted ways with Manny in a three-team swap with the Pirates and Dodgers that had too many moving pieces. All you need to know is Manny ended up in L.A. and stud Pittsburgh outfielder Jason Bay went to Boston.
Manny played 53 regular season games with the Dodgers in 2008 after the trade—yet finished fourth in the NL MVP vote after nearly hitting .400 (.396) with 17 homers and a 1.232 OPS. He was ridiculous upon arriving to Mannyw ... Hollywood.
SI's Robert Beck captured the photo above during the Dodgers' 2008 NLDS victory against the Cubs.
Best of the Rest
Editor's note: Below are some of our favorite stories of the week not published by SI. This week's list is curated by Khadrice Rollins.
• A gullible Harvard professor is claiming to be the victim of an elaborate ploy by two women, who at one point moved into his house and claimed he was the father of one of the women’s newborn baby. (By Kera Bolonik, The Cut)
• Fake news on Facebook should still be a concern for people going into the 2020 election, especially since Donald Trump is already posting ads that lie about the policy opinions of some Democrats. (By Popular Information)
• Two white fraternity members are facing investigation for possibly shooting the Emmitt Till memorial after posting a picture of themselves with guns in front of a bullet-hole filled sign. (By Jerry Mitchell, ProPublica)
• Mic took off like a rocket when it got started, but ultimately ran into too many problems that plague the digital media age. (By Maxwell Strachan, HuffPost)
• For everybody concerned about how their privacy might have been compromised by FaceApp, look at what it means in the grand scheme of how apps are persistent on trying to get as much of your personal data as possible. (By John Herrman, New York Times)
• After months of protests by artists who were supposed to participate in the Whitney Biennial exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Arts, a vice chairman of the museum’s board resigned over how his company’s law enforcement supplies have been used at the U.S.-Mexico border. (By Robin Pogrebin and Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times)
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