Ranking the Top 25 MLB Players Who Could Be Dealt at 2022 Trade Deadline
Trade season is approaching as the weather heats up and the 2022 MLB season moves toward its midway point.
After one of the wildest trade deadlines of all time last summer, this year's market could be slower by comparison, but that doesn't mean multiple All-Star-caliber players won't be on the move.
Ahead we've taken a preliminary look at the top 25 players likely to be available at this year's trade deadline.
The idea was to focus on players who are more likely than not to be traded, so contract status and team outlook both served a major role.
More players will be added to this list as the line between contender and non-contender becomes more clear, but here are 25 names to know ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
25. 1B Carlos Santana, Kansas City Royals
He may be hitting below the Mendoza Line, but Santana still has solid on-base skills, positing more walks (27) than strikeouts (25). The 36-year-old is in the final season of a two-year, $17.5 million deal, and trading him would clear a path for Nick Pratto or Vinnie Pasquantino, so the Royals should be motivated sellers.
24. OF Ben Gamel, Pittsburgh Pirates
On the shelf because of a strained hamstring, Gamel quietly posted a 110 OPS+ and 11 extra-base hits in 160 plate appearances before landing on the injured list. The 30-year-old can play all three outfield spots and could be a solid left-handed bat off the bench and fourth outfielder for a contender as a rental.
23. RHP Zach Davies, Arizona Diamondbacks
Davies settled for a one-year, $1.75 million deal (mutual option for 2023) from the D-backs after struggling to a 5.78 ERA in 32 starts with the Chicago Cubs last season. The soft-tossing right-hander has a 4.18 ERA and 1.25 WHIP through 56 innings this year, and he can chew through some quality innings for a team in need of rotation depth.
22. RHP Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers
The 2016 AL Rookie of the Year saw his development derailed by injuries, but he has reinvented himself as a reliever and is on an expiring deal. He had a 2.97 ERA and 14 saves in 52 appearances last season, and he's been solid in a setup role this year, posting a 2.57 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and seven holds in 21 games.
21. RHP Anthony Bass, Miami Marlins
Following a breakout season in Seattle at age 31 in 2019, Bass has settled in as a useful late-inning option. The right-hander sports a 2.14 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 8.6 K/9 and eight holds in 21 appearances, and he has a reasonable $3 million club option for 2023 that could make him more than just a rental.
20. IF Matt Duffy, Los Angeles Angels
Duffy was the runner-up in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2015 while playing for the San Francisco Giants, but he has since settled in as a solid utility infielder. The 31-year-old is hitting .303 and sports a .354 on-base percentage in 96 plate appearances with the Angels. He's also on a one-year, $1.5 million deal and would be a welcome addition to any contender's bench.
19. OF Tyler Naquin, Cincinnati Reds
After his development stalled in Cleveland, Naquin found new life in Cincinnati last season, posting a 105 OPS+, 24 doubles, 19 home runs and 70 RBI in 127 games. He was producing at a similar clip this year before landing on the injured list with a quad strain, but as a free-agent-to-be, he'll likely be on the move this summer if healthy.
18. RHP Mychal Givens, Chicago Cubs
A proven late-inning option who carries a 3.40 ERA in 382 career appearances, Givens has been his usual productive self this year in posting a 3.22 ERA and 12.1 K/9 in 22 appearances. He signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Cubs during the offseason (mutual option for 2023), so he's an obvious candidate to be flipped at the deadline.
17. 1B Jesus Aguilar, Miami Marlins
After a 22-homer, 93-RBI season in 2021, Aguilar has regressed a bit, but he's still a proven run producer playing on a reasonable $7.5 million salary. Trading him would allow the Marlins to slot in Garrett Cooper as the everyday first baseman, which could open up the DH spot to unclog a crowded outfield.
16. LHP Joe Mantiply, Arizona Diamondbacks
Quality lefty relievers are always in demand at the deadline, and Mantiply has been lights out this year for the D-backs. The 31-year-old has a 0.41 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and an 18-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 22 innings. The late-bloomer is also controllable through the 2026 season.
15. IF/OF Brandon Drury, Cincinnati Reds
One of a handful of guys the Reds signed to a minor league deal during the offseason, Drury has emerged as one of the team's most productive players, hitting .266/.326/.514 for a 122 OPS+ and posting 10 doubles, 11 home runs and 30 RBI in 47 games. The 29-year-old is a cheap rental bat who can play all four infield spots.
14. RHP Daniel Bard, Colorado Rockies
Bard's career renaissance in 2020 after not appearing in an MLB game since 2013 was a great story, and he has since developed into a solid ninth-inning option. The 36-year-old is playing out his final year of arbitration and has a 2.31 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 11.2 K/9 with 12 saves in 14 opportunities.
13. SS Jose Iglesias, Colorado Rockies
Iglesias continues to be a solid second-tier option at shortstop, as he has a reliable glove and elite contact skills. The 32-year-old is hitting .305/.352/.377 with 12 doubles, and he only has seven walks and 15 strikeouts in 179 plate appearances. His one-year, $5 million contract should make him an easy flip for a team in need of middle infield help.
12. RHP Jorge Lopez, Baltimore Orioles
A former top prospect, Lopez has found a home in the Baltimore bullpen after failing to develop as a starter in Milwaukee, Kansas City and last year with the O's when he posted a 6.07 ERA in 121.2 innings. The 29-year-old has a 1.00 ERA and 0.96 WHIP and has gone 7-of-9 on save chances, and he comes with two more years of team control.
11. RHP David Robertson, Chicago Cubs
Robertson made a comeback with Team USA in the Olympics last year and then signed with the Tampa Bay Rays for the remainder of the season. The Cubs took a chance on him with a one-year, $3.5 million deal, and he has pitched his way into the closer's role, posting a 1.66 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 12.5 K/9 while going 7-for-9 on save chances.
10. RHP Chad Kuhl, Colorado Rockies
Non-tendered by the Pirates, Kuhl landed in Colorado on a one-year, $3 million deal, and he's been excellent in posting a 3.17 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 54 innings. He has six quality starts in 10 appearances, and scrapping his four-seam fastball in favor of a sinker has helped him thrive at Coors Field.
9. OF David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks
A staple in the Arizona outfield for nearly a decade, Peralta is in the final season of a three-year, $22 million deal. The 34-year-old has a 113 OPS+, 10 doubles, eight home runs and 24 RBI, and while he's best used as a platoon player who sits against left-handed pitching, he's a solid two-way outfielder.
8. LHP Jose Quintana, Pittsburgh Pirates
After struggling to a 6.43 ERA in 63 innings split between the rotation and bullpen last year, Quintana had to settle for a one-year, $2 million deal from the Pirates in free agency. The 33-year-old has rebounded in a big way with a 2.85 ERA in 53.2 innings, and he could be this year's version of Tyler Anderson at the deadline.
7. 1B Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles
Mancini is hitting .303/.374/.448 with six home runs and 24 RBI, a year after making his triumphant return from Stage 3 colon cancer. The 30-year-old is elevating the ball more with his fly-ball rate climbing from 31.4 to 40.5 percent, but the new dimensions at Camden Yards are not working in his favor. He could thrive with a change of scenery.
6. RHP David Bednar, Pittsburgh Pirates
Bednar broke out during the second half of last season, and he has been one of the most dominant closers in baseball this year with a 1.33 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and a 37-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27 innings. The 27-year-old is also 10-for-11 on save chances, and with club control through the 2026 season, he won't come cheap.
5. 1B Josh Bell, Washington Nationals
There is value in having Nelson Cruz and Josh Bell in the Washington Nationals lineup to protect Juan Soto, but with Bell headed for free agency this offseason, flipping him at the deadline makes sense.
The 29-year-old is hitting .300/.371/.419 for a 131 OPS+ in 239 plate appearances, and he is earning $10 million this season in his final year of arbitration.
A switch-hitter who is not far removed from a 37-homer, 116-RBI season with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019, he can be a difference-making bat in the middle of a contender's lineup, whether he's slotted at first base or in the designated hitter role.
4. OF Andrew Benintendi, Kansas City Royals
Andrew Benintendi was the No. 1 prospect in baseball at the start of the 2017 season, and he was the runner-up in AL Rookie of the Year voting that year thanks to a 20-homer, 20-steal, 2.8-WAR season.
However, after a solid second campaign, he took a step backward and the Boston Red Sox eventually sold low when they traded him to the Kansas City Royals in a three-team deal that sent Franchy Cordero to Boston.
The 27-year-old will be one of the youngest players in next year's free-agent class, and he's having a career year with a .315/.382/.405 line and 128 OPS+ in 54 games.
An extension with a young Kansas City squad is not out of the question, but his potential return value might be too good to pass up this summer.
3. RHP Frankie Montas, Oakland Athletics
Something of a last man standing after the Oakland Athletics traded Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea and Chris Bassitt during the offseason, right-hander Frankie Montas will also be playing elsewhere soon enough.
The 29-year-old finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting last year, and he's off to an impressive start once again with a 3.06 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 78 strikeouts in 70.2 innings.
The burly 6'2", 255-pound veteran is one of only six pitchers entering play Friday with at least 70 innings pitched, and he comes with the added value of being controllable through the 2023 season via arbitration.
2. RHP Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds
Luis Castillo survived the Cincinnati Reds' offseason fire sale, but will he make it past the trade deadline?
The 29-year-old is one of the most overpowering pitchers in baseball when everything is clicking, and he's off to a strong start this season with a 3.55 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 33 innings.
He is earning $7.35 million this year and has one year of arbitration remaining before he hits free agency, so he could command a return similar to what the Toronto Blue Jays gave up to acquire Jose Berrios last summer.
For a contender in need of a rotation upgrade, he could be the missing piece.
1. C Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
It's going to be fascinating to watch how the market for Willson Contreras unfolds this summer.
Not every contender is in need of catching help, but he's the best bat expected to be available, and since he comes with experience in left field and at third base, teams could get creative in exploring ways to add him to their lineup.
The 30-year-old is in the midst of the best season of his career, as he's posting a .277/.403/.530 line that includes 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 23 RBI. His 161 OPS+ ranks 11th among qualified hitters, and his 2.4 WAR leads all catchers.
A run at the five-year, $115.5 million deal that J.T. Realmuto signed is not out of the question this offseason, but first he's going to be a hugely impactful addition to a contender's lineup down the stretch.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Wednesday's games.