Top 10 Biggest Bats That Could Be Dealt at the Trade Deadline

These are the top 10 hitters with a realistic chance to be traded before the deadline this summer.

Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis Robert Jr. puts on his glove before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 8, 2023, at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis Robert Jr. puts on his glove before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 8, 2023, at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

With just under seven weeks until the July 30 trade deadline, it’s officially trade season.

This projects to be a better market for sellers than buyers, but there are definitely still some bats available who could make an impact for their new employers down the stretch. 

The goal of this article is to point out players who are realistic, if not likely, trade candidates. 

Things can change, but Houston Astros general manager Dana Brown has been adamant enough that it’s fair to believe his team will add, rather than look to move someone in a contract year like Alex Bregman. 

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Meanwhile, both the NL Central and senior circuit Wild Card races are wide open enough that as things stand now, the St. Louis Cardinals probably aren’t going to seriously entertain offers for Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, even if the latter will turn 37 in September and can become a free agent after the season. 

Even if you don’t believe some of the juicier names being bandied about as trade candidates are going to be dealt — you can add Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette of the Toronto Blue Jays and Isaac Paredes of the Tampa Bay Rays to that list — there will still be plenty of players who are moved. To that end, here are the top 10 non-pitchers who look like realistic trade candidates right now.

No. 10: Mark Canha – OF/1B, Detroit Tigers

The Tigers are a team on the bubble in terms of deciding whether to buy, sell or stand pat in advance of the trade deadline. It just feels like they don’t have enough offensive thump to justify pushing the chips to the center of the table this summer.

If the Tigers sell, RHP Jack Flaherty will likely be the name that president of baseball operations Scott Harris gets the most calls on.

But, Canha is a veteran who has played both corner outfield positions and first base for the Tigers in 2024. He’s played in the postseason in each of the last two years with the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers, and there will definitely be contenders interested in adding the 35-year-old if he’s made available.

Canha edged out Miami Marlins first baseman Josh Bell and Chicago White Sox shortstop Paul DeJong to claim the final spot on this list.

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No. 9: Tommy Pham – LF, Chicago White Sox

Pham helped the Arizona Diamondbacks reach the World Series last year and has been productive since signing with the White Sox in mid-April. In theory, someone looking for a corner outfielder should be interested in the 36-year-old.

However, Pham had to wait until the season had already started to sign with a team, and the White Sox are his eighth team in 11 years. Some of that is out of his control, but Pham has an edge that borders on making you feel uncomfortable. He reminded the world of that side of him during a recent exchange with Milwaukee Brewers catcher William Contreras, which seemed, well, unhinged.

As a baseball player, Pham could certainly help a team. But for the same reason he was unsigned on Opening Day, it wouldn’t be shocking if no contenders end up biting on Pham before the July 30 trade deadline.

No. 8: Taylor Ward – LF/RF, Los Angeles Angels

A first-round pick in the 2015 draft, it took Ward a bit longer than the Angels hoped to become a regular contributor. But since the start of the 2022 season, he has a .795 OPS, so the 30-year-old will likely be a popular trade target this summer.

Ward is under team control for two more seasons beyond 2024, which should increase his value. A team could trade for Ward expecting him to be a cog in their lineup for multiple seasons, or with the thought that he could be flipped in the offseason after contributing to a pennant chase this year.

Also noteworthy is that Ward is hitting .365 with a .981 OPS against left-handed pitching this year. So, he could be a fit for a team like the Philadelphia Phillies (Brandon Marsh) or Atlanta Braves (Jarred Kelenic) looking to platoon him with a left-handed hitting outfielder who struggles against left-handed pitching.

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No. 7: J.D. Martinez – DH, New York Mets

A back injury kept Martinez from making his Mets debut until late April, but the six-time All-Star has been productive enough since then that he should have interest from teams in need of a right-handed bat this summer.

Martinez is just a season removed from clubbing 33 home runs and driving in 103 runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers, so even at age 36, there’s reason to think he could provide a major impact when inserted into a pennant race.

Additionally, only $4.5 million of the $12 million he’s due as part of his Mets contract will be paid out in 2024, with $1.5 million payments set to be made to Martinez every July 1 from 2034-2038. That means lower-budget teams could trade for Martinez without having to make much of a financial commitment.

At this stage of his career, Martinez is pretty much exclusively a DH, but the Cleveland Guardians, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners are all contenders that could stand to upgrade that spot in their lineup, so his market will be robust.

No. 6: Brent Rooker – DH/OF, Oakland Athletics

Rooker doesn’t have the same track record as Martinez, but he has followed up a 30-home run season in 2023 with an .852 OPS so far in 2024.

He’s also seven years younger than Martinez, and he will become arbitration eligible for the first time in 2025, meaning he can’t become a free agent until after the 2027 season.

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What also works in Rooker’s favor is that while he’s primarily been a DH for the A’s this season, he has seen time in both left and right field. The 29-year-old isn’t entrenched as a DH, even if that’s probably his best role.

No. 5: Yandy Díaz – 1B, Tampa Bay Rays

Díaz has struggled for the Rays this season, but he is the reigning AL batting champion and posted an .881 OPS between 2022 and 2023. Especially if Goldschmidt and Guerrero stay put, Díaz could be an interesting pivot for teams that miss out on the No. 1 name on this list.

The 32-year-old is due $10 million in 2025, with an affordable $12 million club option for 2026. That’s a bargain if he’s hitting anything like what he did over the past two seasons. Still, the low-budget Rays might be inclined to move him, rather than pay what would represent a decent chunk of their payroll.

It is worth noting that Díaz has a $1 million trade assignment bonus that Tampa Bay would have to pay if he was dealt.

No. 4: Tyler O’Neill – LF, Boston Red Sox

Between 2020 and 2021, O’Neill was one of the better players in baseball for the Cardinals, winning a pair of Gold Gloves in left field and crushing 34 home runs in the second of those campaigns. 

O’Neill struggled to stay healthy over the next two years, with the Cardinals trading him to the Red Sox this past winter. The soon-to-be 29-year-old has missed time this season with a concussion and right knee inflammation but has been effective when on the field, with 12 home runs and an .868 OPS. 

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Perhaps the Red Sox will hold onto O’Neill, hoping he’ll accept a qualifying offer and/or sign a multi-year deal with them in the winter. But he’s an impending free agent with an injury history, so even though the Red Sox are unlikely to be altogether out of the playoff race in July, chief baseball officer Craig Breslow will likely deal him to a team in need of a corner outfield upgrade.

No. 3: Randy Arozarena – LF, Tampa Bay Rays

Like with Díaz, Arozarena is struggling for the Rays this year, hitting well below the Mendoza line. With two more arbitration seasons remaining before the outfielder reaches free agency, Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander isn’t going to sell low on the former AL Rookie of the Year.

With that said, Arozarena has shined in the postseason, World Baseball Classic and All-Star Game. He’s a showman, one who would, it seems, be energized by the chance to join a pennant race in a market with a more passionate fanbase.

The Dodgers have long been considered as a possible landing spot for Arozarena. They make sense as a potential suitor, as do the Mariners, Phillies and Braves, among others.

No. 2: Luis Robert Jr. – CF, Chicago White Sox

Is it concerning that Robert just returned from a two-month absence, and 2023 is the only time in his career that he’s played more than 100 games in a season? Yes, but he’s a controllable player who makes an impact both offensively and defensively at a position with so few difference-makers, so he’ll still be coveted at the deadline. 

The 26-year-old is a fit for a slew of contenders, including the Dodgers, Phillies and Braves. Any team acquiring Robert would for sure have him through 2025, with affordable club options for the 2026 and 2027 seasons that will likely be exercised. 

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Even with injury concerns, Robert will surely net general manager Chris Getz — already sitting on a consensus top-five farm system — multiple impact prospects in return.

No. 1: Pete Alonso – 1B, New York Mets

President of baseball operations David Stearns acknowledged before the season that Alonso, a Scott Boras client, would likely reach the open market following the 2024 campaign. 

It’s evident that the Mets aren’t a team capable of making a deep playoff run, so if Alonso isn’t going to sign an extension, it would make sense to trade him this summer. Even if the return isn’t great, it will likely be better than the limited draft compensation the Mets would receive if he declines a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere in the winter. 

Alonso is one of the league’s elite run producers, so a team in need of thump could change the whole trajectory of their season if they added him.

That could apply to oft-aggressive teams like the Astros and San Diego Padres, but smaller-budget teams like the Kansas City Royals, Twins and Guardians could make pushes for Alonso as well, knowing he would only be a rental but could help them make some noise in the 2024 postseason.

The Mets may even prefer to trade Alonso to a team they know won’t be able to retain him beyond this year, leaving the door open for a return to Flushing in free agency.

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Stats and rankings updated prior to first pitch on June 14.