April 18, 2024

MLB trade deadline: 6 players who could be moved, starring Shohei Ohtani

The Major League Baseball trade deadline is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to start figuring out who might be moving and who might actually be staying when the deadline rolls around on August 1st. There are always a lot of interesting names on the trade market every season and this season is no different. One name in particular stands out from the rest and is probably the biggest hit of the trade deadline rumor mill in a long time.

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

It’s very clear who the big fish are when it comes to the trade deadline this season. It’s been one of the hottest topics in basketball all season and the heat is only going to get hotter as the deadline approaches. Shohei Ohtani is the most valuable player in all of baseball and the most unique player in baseball because he leads baseball in wRC+ (184) as a hitter and has a strikeout percentage over 30 percent as a pitcher.

It’s to the point where it really could be too valuable to trade, despite the fact that there’s a very good chance he’ll be leaving town via free agency this winter. The Angels are currently eight games back in the division and four games back in the Wild Card, so while they’re not dead in the water yet, they’re firmly on the bubble. This would still be a tough decision for the Angels if they were completely indifferent but now it’s even tougher since they still have a shot.

They have a difficult path to the postseason due to the strength of their upcoming schedule and the fact that they have a few teams that they will have to leapfrog to even reach the third and final spot. The Angels could look to what the future holds for the rest of this season and the upcoming offseason and realize that it might be time to get what they can for Shohei Ohtani. While trading Ohtani would require a full draw, it’s still hard to imagine the Angels getting enough value back in any deal they could swing.

That’s why it’s likely the Angels will hold on to Shohei Ohtani as the deadline comes and goes. That being said, there is always the possibility that a contending team could decide to push all their chips to have Ohtani on their team for the rest of the season and possibly beyond if they can sign him in free agency. The Angels need to do their due diligence when listening to offers, as this could be one of the biggest deadline deals if it were to actually happen.

Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox

While there are no guarantees that Shohei Ohtani is dealt, there is every chance that Lucas Giolito will be wearing a different uniform when August rolls around. The IS White Sox are in the midst of a losing season and should probably start rebuilding sooner rather than later. One of the best ways to get that rebuild going is to send Giolito out. The right-hander will be a free agent next season and is on track to bounce back nicely from a poor season by his standards in 2022.

The White Sox could also consider trading away Dylan Cease but this seems like a less likely scenario than trading Lucas Giolito. Scor still has a decent amount of team control left before he hits free agency and the White Sox might not be as motivated to cut bait on a pitcher who finished second to the AL Cy Young Award winner back in 2022 — whether he has a disappointing season or not. The Pale Hose don’t exactly have a strong history of contract extensions to back them up so a trade break could happen at some point down the road. It probably won’t happen this season, as Giolito seems like the perfect trade candidate at this time.

Josh Hader/Blake Snell, San Diego Padres

San Diego had a very disappointing season in 2023 as they failed to keep the momentum going from their surprise appearance in the 2022 NLCS. As a result of San Diego being in turmoil in their sellers, these two players are being lumped together since if the Padres decide to trade one of these guys, the other will likely be sent away as well.

Just like the aforementioned players, Josh Hader and Blake Snell will both be entering free agency and heading for huge paydays this winter. While the Padres have shown a willingness to spend big, this could also be an opportunity for AJ Preeller and their front office to bolster their farm a bit by getting something for one or both of their pending free agent pitchers. Snell has been in peak form since late May and Hader is having another season where he looks like one of the best high-leverage relievers in all of baseball. This could be a very disappointing season for the Padres but they could at least salvage it by taking advantage of the value of these two as the trade deadline approaches.

Jeimer Candelario, Washington Nationals

We have seen this type of trading deadline time and time again over the years. A talented player looking for a bounce-back season agrees to a one-year deal with a team in pure rebuilding mode. The player goes on to bounce back in one of the few bright spots on a team that does poorly. Once the deadline is over, the player gets a chance to play for a contender via trade and the team gets to continue their rebuild by trading the player for several prospects.

I would imagine that this is exactly what is going to happen with Jeimer Candelario and the Washington Nationals. Candelario has returned to the exciting form he was in for most of his time with the Detroit Tigers and has been one of Washington’s consistently productive scorers this season along with Lane Thomas. He’s also fortunate to be playing third base, which isn’t the deepest position on the market this year. As a result, Candelario will be in high demand at and around the deadline and it would be a shock if he was still holding the Curly “W” by this time next month.

Marcus Stroman, Chicago Cubs

Although Stroman is not currently a free agent, it appears that the veteran right-hander will be able to exercise his player option and test his worth on the free agency market this offseason. With that in mind, the Cubs sure he’ll take some calls on Stroman and see if they can get him something before he decides to opt out and test the free agency waters.

What makes this difficult is whether the Cubs really think they are truly out of the race to make the postseason. They are five games out of the Wild Card and their Pythagorean WL record suggests they have been unlucky so far. If Chicago’s front office believes they can go on a run by taking advantage of plenty of relatively easy future schedules to sneak into the postseason, the Cubs could be buyers at the deadline. If they’re sellers, Stroman has to go — again, he’s probably going to decline and he could certainly help a team with his ability to induce ground balls and keep the baseball inside the ballpark.

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