20 early MLB trade candidates

We’re two months away from the trade deadline, but some teams already find themselves well out of the postseason race and can be considered sellers. Here are 20 players that could potentially be moved:

 

1. Luis Castillo, Reds

Position: SP
Age: 29
Contract: $7.35M (Arb 3 in 2023)
Trade probability: * * * * 

Castillo is a bona fide top starter who could take a rotation to the next level for a team with World Series aspirations. The 2019 All-Star is also relatively cheap and isn’t eligible to hit free agency until after the 2023 campaign. Cincinnati’s front office kept the right-hander despite slashing significant payroll during the offseason. However, moving him now makes sense with the club already out of contention and on the verge of a full rebuild.

 

2. Frankie Montas, Athletics

Position: SP
Age: 29
Contract: $5.025 (Arb 3 in 2023)
Trade probability: * * * * 

Montas is right there with Castillo for the best hurler available. Only two American League pitchers (Gerrit Cole and Dylan Cease) accrued a better fWAR than the right-hander since the start of last season. Montas also owns a 3.33 ERA over 251 2/3 innings during that time while allowing less than a homer per nine innings.

3. Andrew Benintendi, Royals

Position: OF
Age: 27
Contract: 1-year, $8.5M
Trade probability: * * * * *

Benintendi isn’t a superstar, but he can be a nice complementary piece for a contender. His left-handed swing, ability to hit the ball to all fields, and solid defense checks off a lot of boxes for prospective clubs. Benintendi also hardly ever strikes out, boasting a career-low 14.5 K%.

 

4. Willson Contreras, Cubs

Position: C
Age: 30
Contract: $9M or $10.25M
Trade probability: * * * *

Contreras is one of the few catchers having a strong offensive season, leading all qualified backstops in homers and OPS (by over 200 points). He’s hit at least 20 long balls in two of the last three seasons and recorded seven homers in 57 games during the COVID-19 year. The 30-year-old has already posted 16 extra-base hits this campaign and is having a solid defensive season, throwing out 32% of base stealers. He’s yet to have his arbitration hearing to determine his 2022 salary.

 

5. Josh Bell, Nationals

Position: 1B
Age: 29
Contract: $10M
Trade probability: * * * * *

Bell is a lock to be dealt with the Nationals sitting in the NL East basement and his free agency looming. He’s a switch-hitter with plenty of power, going deep at least 26 times in three of the last five full campaigns, including a career-high 37 homers during his 2019 All-Star season.

 

6. Ian Happ, Cubs

Position: OF
Age: 27
Contract: $6.85M (Arb 3 in 2023)
Trade probability: * * *

Happ was considered a key piece of a farm system that was supposed to push Chicago from curse-breaker to bona fide dynasty. He ranked behind only Gleyber Torres and Contreras on the 2016 Cubs prospect list. The following year, Happ was behind just Eloy Jimenez. Partly due to injuries, the switch-hitting slugger hasn’t fully lived up to expectations. However, Happ has been quietly excellent. He’s posted a 115 wRC+ since the beginning of 2019, which puts him between Chris Taylor and Joc Pederson. Happ’s a good defender in the corner outfield and could be a key role player on a contender.

Author: Lucy Green