In a stretch that has seen the dominance of the pitcher, power hitters in the game of baseball have been diminishing steadily.
Whether it has to do with the cracking down on steroids or the better conditioning of pitchers, home run totals have steadily decreased over the past few seasons.
However, power hitters will still be a coveted entity at this year’s trade deadline.
Each contending team would love to add a big bopper if the price is right. Many sluggers are set to be free agents after this season, so they may be on the move.
Here are 10 power hitters that might be available at the deadline.
Note: Though he’s set to be a free agent, Albert Pujols likely won’t be dealt, as the St. Louis Cardinals will try desperately to negotiate a contract with their premier slugger.
Jack Cust has looked like a shell of his former self this season.
He’s hitting just .198 with no home runs.
Despite his lack of power this year, Cust has shown decent power over the last few seasons.
He’s an option for a team looking to add a left-handed power bat off the bench.
The Seattle Mariners may grow impatient with Cust, and a deal might be worked out sooner than later.
Magglio Ordonez is another player whose better days are behind him.
He’s hitting just .179 with one home run, and is starting to see his playing time slip.
A team willing to take a chance on Ordonez would hope he can regain his power stroke.
He’d likely come cheap at this point in his career, and would be a right-handed hitting power option off the bench for a contender.
When healthy, Derrek Lee has some serious pop.
He’s put together nine seasons of 20-plus home runs.
Lee has hit four home runs so far for the Baltimore Orioles, but has struggled with his average and driving in runs.
Lee may be an option for a team looking for infield depth and a right-handed power threat off the bench.
Since he doesn’t seem to factor into the Orioles long-term plans, Lee is certainly a candidate to be moved.
The Chicago Cubs brought in Carlos Pena as a one-year stopgap at first base. The idea is that the Cubs will then make a play for Albert Pujols this offseason.
Pena meanwhile was expected to put up big power numbers in Wrigley Field, but he hasn’t panned out so far.
He has three home runs, but is only hitting .198. Though he’s never been a guy who hits for a high average, his power numbers over the last few years have made him a serviceable player.
Pena is another left-handed power bat that could benefit a team down the stretch.
He may not be an option as a bench player because of his high strikeout totals, but he would be a good option for a team looking to fill a hole if an injury occurs.
Hideki Matsui is no youngster, but he still has a decent power stroke.
Matsui launched 140 home runs during his seven-year tenure with the New York Yankees.
He’s hit three home runs so far this year in not exactly the most hitter-friendly of ballparks in Oakland.
Matsui is 37 years old, so the Athletics wouldn’t mind netting some value in exchange for a player who likely will call somewhere else home next season.
He’s likely be best served as the left-handed option of a DH platoon.
When hitting right, Aramis Ramirez has one of the best power strokes of any third baseman in the game.
However, when he’s off his game, he looks lost at the plate.
The latter has been the case so far this year for Ramirez, as he’s only hit one home run in 32 games.
A change of scenery may benefit the 33-year-old slugger.
Though he plays solid defense, his power hitting potential may attract other teams the most.
Carlos Beltran has returned from injury with a bang, and is looking to improve upon his successful start.
He has jacked five home runs this year, and has just started playing every day after having his playing time monitored in the early going.
Beltran is a switch-hitter who has shown decent range in right field this season. He’s a prime candidate as a two-month rental player for a contender looking to add some pop to its lineup.
Beltran’s days as a New York Met appear to be numbered, especially if the Mets continue to struggle.
Lance Berkman has come out of the gate hotter than the horses from last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
He already has 10 home runs this season, which ties him with Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers for tops in the NL.
The Cardinals currently sit atop the NL Central, so they will likely attempt to ride out Berkman’s hot bat for as long as possible.
If St. Louis slips, however, other teams may come calling for Berkman, especially if he keeps up his torrid hitting.
Until the Cardinals show signs of slowing down, Berkman will be a fixture in the middle of the lineup.
When Vladimir Guerrero steps to the plate, fans and opposing players take cover.
If a pitch is thrown anywhere near the plate, Vlad will swing. Most of the time, he’ll hit a ball hard somewhere.
Many of these hard hit balls wind up over the fence for home runs.
Guerrero has four home runs on the season, and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down despite his age.
If the Orioles struggle this summer, they’ll look to receive some prospects in exchange for Vlad.
Guerrero can be a big time power option for a team looking to add a bona fide run producer to the lineup.
Prince Fielder is off to a good start this year, with seven home runs already.
Of the two slugging first basemen set to hit free agency, Fielder is a more likely candidate to be traded than Albert Pujols.
The Brewers may have trouble offering Fielder a contract upwards of $100 million, so they may be wise to deal him for another team’s top prospect before he signs elsewhere.
Fielder would be a huge pick-up—in more ways than one—for a contender down the stretch. If the team that trades for him can work out a long-term extension, that team may be more willing to deal highly-touted prospects.
Though Fielder has become a fan-favorite in Milwaukee, he likely won’t be a Brewer much longer.