MLB All-Stars Most Likely to Be Traded Pre-Deadline
The MLB All-Star rosters are set. The non-waiver trade deadline is fast approaching. This begs the obvious question: Which 2018 All-Stars are most likely to swap uniforms on or before July 31?
To answer this query, we used the latest credible rumors, each player's contract status and whether he plays for an obvious seller, plus a dollop of informed gut instinct.
We'll look at five guys who were selected to the National League or American League squads and who should seriously begin pondering the possibility of a ZIP code change. But first, a few close calls.
Could Be Dealt, but Survey Says 'No'
Jacob deGrom, RHP, New York Mets
The New York Mets are buried in last place in the National League East, and the persistent chatter has been that they'll at least listen to offers for virtually anyone on their big league roster.
That includes right-hander Jacob deGrom, who's in the midst of a Cy Young Award-caliber season and under team control through 2020. The Mets would surely command a massive prospect haul for their ace. It could happen, but at this point, at least one top suitor—the New York Yankees—doesn't consider a trade for deGrom or his teammate Noah Syndergaard "especially realistic," per Fancred's Jon Heyman.
J.T. Realmuto, C, Miami Marlins
The Miami Marlins traded their entire 2017 starting outfield and second baseman Dee Gordon this offseason. Will catcher J.T. Realmuto be the next to exit South Beach? Don't be too sure.
"The Marlins want to keep Realmuto, who is under team control through 2020, and have internally discussed the possibility of making a long-term offer," Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported. "A team would need to make an astronomical offer for Miami to even consider a trade."
Blake Snell, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays have managed to float above .500, but their chances of making noise in the top-heavy American League East are slim with the Yankees and Boston Red Sox throwing their weight around.
The small-market Rays should consider trade offers for MLB talent so they can restock their farm, though one All-Star and potential deadline target—catcher Wilson Ramos—dinged his value when he injured his hamstring Saturday.
Another name you'll hear bandied about is left-hander Blake Snell's. Maybe, but don't get sucked in. It's hard to believe the Rays would move a 25-year-old rising star with a 2.27 ERA and 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings who's controllable through 2022 unless another club essentially emptied its minor league stockpile.
Brad Hand, LHP, San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres don't have to trade Brad Hand. The southpaw reliever is inked to a relatively affordable deal through 2021 with a team option.
After striking out 13.2 batters per nine and notching 24 saves so far, however, he'll draw ample interest from a long list of buyers. Late-innings arms are always a hot commodity at the deadline.
The Padres' asking price has some rival executives doubting a trade will happen, per Heyman, but it's not hard to imagine a contender such as the Yankees or Red Sox making a strong play. Hand is on the Chicago Cubs' "wish list," per Bruce Levine of 670 The Score.
The defending champion Houston Astros, with their deep farm system and right-handed-heavy bullpen, also make sense.
Jed Lowrie, 2B/3B, Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics are technically in the AL playoff picture with a 55-42 record. But with the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros and Cleveland Indians near locks to make the dance and the Seattle Mariners (58-39) ahead of the A's in the American League West, it'll be a steep climb.
Oakland could opt to buy or at least stand pat. If it slips even a little further from contention, however, it'll likely fall back on a well-established pattern of jettisoning veterans for cost-controlled young talent.
That includes Jed Lowrie, who can capably play second and third base and owns an .849 OPS. A reunion with the Red Sox, for whom Lowrie played the first four years of his career, could be in the cards. His versatility and extensive postseason experience ought to entice any number of clubs.
Maybe the A's will extend Lowrie, as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal suggested. History suggests they'll at least seriously listen to offers for the 34-year-old impending free agent.
Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are 29 games under .500 at 33-62. The future is bright on the South Side, while the present screams "sell."
The ChiSox could keep first baseman Jose Abreu, who's under team control through 2019, and trade him in the offseason or next summer.
That extra year of controllability adds value, however, and would net Chicago a richer haul.
Abreu's OPS has dropped from .906 in 2017 to .752 this season, but he's clubbed 13 homers with 52 RBI and has quietly been among the more prolific power hitters in the game since his 2014 MLB debut, when he led MLB with a .581 slugging percentage.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe floated the notion of an Abreu-to-Houston swap and hinted the Astros have interest. It would undeniably gild an already potent lineup and up the odds of a 'Stros repeat.
Shin-Soo Choo, DH/OF, Texas Rangers
Shin-Soo Choo has been one of the best renaissance stories of 2018. The 36-year-old hadn't posted an OPS higher than .780 since 2015 and appeared to be on the downslope.
So far this season, Choo sports a .911 OPS, his best mark since 2008. On Sunday, he extended his on-base streak to 51 games, making it the longest such stretch in baseball since 2007, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
The Texas Rangers, meanwhile, are sunk in the AL West and are obvious sellers. Might there be a taker for Choo?
The Rangers are willing to swallow some of the money remaining on Choo's contract, according to Heyman. The pact is paying him $20 million in 2018, $21 million in 2019 and $21 million in 2020. No one is absorbing all that for a guy who just turned 36.
How much of that money Texas will take on and how much they'd expect back in prospects will determine whether Choo finishes his impressive 2018 campaign in Arlington. But any number of contenders could use an experienced hitter in the midst of an unequivocally excellent comeback.
Manny Machado, SS, Baltimore Orioles
(Insert sarcasm emoji.)
The Baltimore Orioles have found new ways to define terrible in 2018. Manny Machado is an impending free agent. He's one of the most talented players of his generation and can capably man either shortstop or third base.
Many teams have been linked to Machado, but now the list appears to be shrinking rapidly. On Monday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers had a deal in place and it could be a done deal by Wednesday. Scott Lauber of Philly.com chimed in that the Philadelphia Phillies are still "aggressively" pursuing Machado as well.
Now we wait to see where he lands and what kind of package a team will give up for a couple months of his services.
All statistics and standings accurate entering Monday and courtesy of Baseball Reference.