The MLB Trade Deadline is just a few days away and rumors are flying out every hour, with insiders trying to guess which players are going to be dealt to contending teams.
Here are my favorite destinations for increasing the fantasy value of the most popular names on the trade block.
Max Scherzer to the Dodgers
Let’s start off by swinging for the fences. With Trevor Bauer facing a long-term absence, Julio Urias heading into uncharted innings territory, and Clayton Kershaw dealing with an injury, the Dodgers require an impact starter. For Scherzer, staying in the National League but joining a contending club would be the ultimate fantasy value gain. If he keeps up his current pace (2.83 ERA, 0.89 WHIP), the 37-year-old could win plenty of games as a member of the Dodgers.
Trevor Story to the Reds
From a baseball perspective, I see the A’s as the best fit for Story. But if I’m projecting purely for fantasy value, I would love to see Story join a Reds lineup that ranks fourth in the National League in runs scored. Cincinnati has received below-average production from the shortstop position, and their home park would ensure that the shortstop continues to reside in a hitter-friendly venue. Story has been stealing bases regularly this year and could find a spark at the dish by joining a contending team.
Starling Marte to the Astros
Do you think Marte managers might get just a little bit hyped by seeing the table-setter dealt to baseball’s highest-scoring team? Marte has done his job well this year (.851 OPS), but his teammates haven’t been able to pick up the pace around him. Hitting high in the Astros' productive lineup could result in the 32-year-old leading the Majors in runs scored after August 1. Myles Straw (.670 OPS) isn’t good enough to keep Houston’s management from making this deal.
Joey Gallo to the Brewers
If Texas decides to part ways with Gallo, Milwaukee represents an ideal landing spot. The slugger could produce career-best power numbers in the hitter-friendly environment of American Family Field, and he would become the centerpiece of a lineup that desperately needs one.
Whit Merrifield to the Giants
Merrifield won’t be helped by San Francisco’s spacious home park, but he should enjoy hitting atop a lineup that leads the National League in OPS. Capable of playing the outfield and second base, Merrifield would fit perfectly in a Giants lineup that slides players around liberally and includes multiple platoons.
Eduardo Escobar to the White Sox
This rumor has been hanging around for a while, and it makes a lot of sense to me. Escobar is enjoying a bounce-back season (22 HR, 65 RBI) and would fit perfectly in a White Sox lineup that is also about to add Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. Also, Chicago’s homer-happy venue should help Escobar to continue accumulating long balls.
Craig Kimbrel to the Phillies
Word on the street is that the Phillies want to make a major trade, and few contenders need ninth-inning help as much as Philadelphia. Kimbrel will be the closer wherever he goes, and having the right-hander land in Philly will maintain his fantasy value without ruining that of another consistent stopper.
Richard Rodriguez to the Blue Jays
There are a few contenders who need a closer, and I might be stretching the parameters of the term “contender” by putting Toronto in that group. But there is no denying that the Blue Jays score runs in bunches and have effective starting pitchers. Toronto is one of the few possible destinations for Rodriguez that could keep him in the ninth-inning gig and therefore off fantasy waiver wires. I believe that Toronto would like to take some pressure off Jordan Romano, who has struggled to this point in July.
Ian Kennedy to the Reds
Kennedy should be among the easiest relievers to acquire, which will suit the needs of the barely contending Reds. Cincinnati has struggled to find consistency in the ninth inning this year, making Kennedy (2.59 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 15 saves) a potential impact player for them.
Alex Cobb to the Red Sox
The owner of a 3.82 ERA and a 2.71 FIP, Cobb has been better this year than many fantasy managers realize. The righty has spent nearly all of his career in the AL East, which should give him some familiarity with lineups that are a chore for any starter, and he also has a groundball-heavy approach that should help him excel in Fenway Park. Boston has the lineup and bullpen to help Cobb earn plenty of victories.
Tyler Anderson to the Brewers
Milwaukee has some outstanding starters atop their rotation but could use depth behind them. Also, with innings concerns for the likes of Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta, the Brewers need to find a way to use a six-man rotation down the stretch without simply handing out free wins to their opponents. Anderson should be fairly easy to acquire and has been moderately effective (4.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) in the NL Central this season.