The 2019 MLB season has been an interesting one. The defending champion Boston Red Sox have been slow to regain their form of a year ago, while teams like the Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres are all in position to threaten for playoff spots and then some.
Seattle and San Diego shouldn’t exactly be your first choices to win the World Series at the top MLB betting sites out there, but the point is parody is alive and well in the majors.
For all of the elite teams meeting expectations and rising teams surprising us, though, there remain some teams that can’t help but struggle. That gives way to an eye on the future and when you factor in contract situations, MLB clubs need to start pondering which star players may be better off in another city.
Last year the MLB rumor mill was buzzing with massive names like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper dominating the conversation. The intensity isn’t quite as great this season, but there are still several big names that could be on the trading block.
Here are five MLB stars that are at serious risk of being traded before this year’s MLB trade deadline:
Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants
There are other starting pitchers that could ultimately be moved, but there have been rumors about MadBum being dealt for some time now.
The Giants ace has been inconsistent over the past two years, while also dealing with injuries. San Francisco (currently at the bottom of the NL West) may finally be ready to move him.
Several contenders like the New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers and countless others should be interested in his ability to deliver quality starts and at times, even dominate.
Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox
While most teams vying for the postseason wouldn’t mind landing an ace at a reasonable price, there just aren’t many Bumgarner’s out there waiting to be traded.
Some teams may have to settle for getting better at the plate and with some big names like Abreu set to enter free agency soon, they could make that happen at a lower cost than usual.
Abreu has been wasting away with a bad White Sox team and now could be the time for these two sides to finally go their separate ways.
Contenders like the Astros or Rays could consider Abreu a big upgrade at 1B.
Justin Smoak, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays
Another power bat at 1B that could draw serious interest on the trade block could be Toronto’s Smoak. The 32-year old hasn’t always been the most efficient hitter, but he does pack some serious punch and offers versatility as a switch hitter.
Smoak is a solid candidate to be moved and could help out contenders that have been struggling with the long ball. Cleveland, Philadelphia and the Mets ironically all fit the bill when it comes to that need.
Nicholas Castellanos, OF, Detroit Tigers
Castellanos is another guy that could be on the move, largely because he’s in a contract year and could leave the Tigers for nothing this offseason.
Detroit is currently just hanging by a thread and I’m sure losing one of their best young bats (if not their best overall player) isn’t ideal. It may have to happen, though, as Castellanos hits well and offers nice power; two things actual contenders won’t be sad to add to their roster.
So far Detroit seems to be expecting too much in return for their star outfielder, but the 27-year old isn’t some spare part. If the right contender is willing to pay, he could greatly enhance their hitting and give them a viable fielder as well.
Teams like the Braves, Red Sox and Cubs could all be in the market for an OF upgrade, among others.
Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals
Lastly, I have to think Washington starts selling off some of their best talent in an effort to kickstart a quick rebuilding process.
The Nats have some of the best pitching in baseball, but their offense lost Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy and can’t seem to stay healthy.
The injury bug already bit Rendon this year, but the 28-year old has been carrying a heavy stick this year. He’s back and healthy, and with the Nats struggling to keep pace with everyone else in the NL East (and Rendon’s deal coming off the books after this season), Washington may look to jump ship.
Of all the bats that could be traded this year, Rendon might be the most enticing for prospective trade partners.
The Angels could finally try to spice things up and swing some deals. They certainly could use an upgrade at 3B. Regardless, someone will pay a big haul to get one of the better hitters in baseball onto their roster.
Even if all of these guys don’t get dealt, there’s no denying they’re in the discussion to be moved. Bumgarner and Rendon are probably the most likely to be traded at this point, even though it surely pains each franchise to pull the trigger.
No matter what, change is coming for some MLB teams this summer. For better or worse, it makes baseball more captivating and can help some teams get better in a hurry.