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Memorial Day is behind us, which is typically the time of year that teams at least begin to shift their focus to the summer trade market. With this year’s draft pushed back to July, it’s possible some clubs will look to be active a bit earlier than usual. Even if things don’t really pick up until next month, as is typically the case, we at least have some semblance of an idea as to how things will play out.

As in past years, this list aims to rank players on a combination of likelihood of being moved and overall value as a trade chip. It’s all subjective, of course, but “value” in this instance is a reference to a player’s on-field production, salary, remaining club control, etc.

Club control and salary dovetail nicely with a player’s likelihood of being moved. Rebuilding clubs and clear sellers are obviously more likely to move impending free agents — particularly those who aren’t candidates to receive a qualifying offer. Players with one extra year of control are also frequently moved at the deadline, but once you start getting into players with two, three and four years of affordable control remaining, the likelihood diminishes. The composition of a club’s farm system comes into play, too. Does a veteran with a year and a half of club control remaining have a top prospect breathing down his neck? Is the team’s farm so bleak that it needs to consider moving players with several years of control remaining? There are many factors to consider.

As the deadline draws nearer, the names on the list will change. Teams will fall out of contention, and some who look far from the top of their division will make a surge. Injuries or poor performance will sap some players’ value, while a return to health or a turnaround on the field could boost the performance of others. Again, it’s subjective and highly debatable, which is part of what makes the whole thing a fun exercise.

On to the list!

1. Jon Gray, RHP, Rockies: The Rockies turned over their front office earlier this year after yet another lackluster start, and Gray stands out as the likeliest trade candidate on the roster. The former No. 3 overall pick and top prospect is in the midst of a solid rebound campaign, but he’ll be a free agent at season’s end. The Rockies probably wouldn’t issue a qualifying offer without a huge finish to the year, and starting pitching is always in demand at the deadline.

2. Trevor Story, SS, Rockies: While Gray may be something of a borderline QO candidate, Story seems like a lock to receive a qualifying offer if he isn’t traded. That’s the key difference between him and Gray in terms of trade likelihood; the Rox need to feel that whatever they receive in return is more valuable than that 2022 draft pick. It should be noted that outside of a brief hot streak from mid-April to early May, Story hasn’t really hit much in 2021. He’s also on the IL with what the team has termed minor elbow inflammation, and the hope is his stint will last only 10 days. Story is also striking out at a career-low 22.4 percent clip without sacrificing anything in the walk department, and his track record is so strong that if he shows his health in the next few weeks, interest should be robust.

3. Mitch Haniger, OF, Mariners: It was great to see Haniger take the field at all after his 2019-20 seasons were derailed by a bizarre series of escalating injuries, but the fact that he’s returned as one of the American League’s most productive hitters only makes his story better. They’re enjoying the comeback in Seattle for now, but Haniger only has a year of control remaining beyond the 2021 season. With a deep crop of young outfielders on which to rely — 2020 Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, plus top prospects Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez and Taylor Trammell — the Mariners seem likely to explore the market for Haniger this summer. He’s earning $3.01MM in 2021.

4. Matthew Boyd, LHP, Tigers: The Tigers held onto Boyd when he was one of the most oft-mentioned trade candidates in the game in 2019, but their club control on him is beginning to dwindle. Boyd is eligible for free agency after the 2022 season, and he’s enjoying a nice year thanks largely to a new-look changeup that has helped him neutralize opposing right-handers. So long as Boyd stays healthy and reasonably effective, this summer will be his trade value’s apex. It’s hard to see him sticking around into August.

5. Tyler Anderson, LHP, Pirates: Anderson’s signing couldn’t have worked out much better for the Bucs so far. He’s pitching his best baseball since his rookie year in 2016 and sporting career-best marks in swinging-strike rate and opponents’ chase rate. Durability is a major question mark for Anderson, who has only twice started 25 games in a season. But he’s been healthy since Opening Day 2020, and his $2.5MM base salary is a bargain for clubs in need of some reinforcements at the back of the rotation.

6. Adam Frazier, 2B/OF, Pirates: Frazier has put last year’s awful season in the rear-view mirror and is in the midst of the best start of his six-year career. The 29-year-old has ample experience at second base and in the outfield, and he could fill in as a starter or versatile bench option for any contending club. His $4.3MM salary is, incredibly, the second-largest on the Pirates behind Gregory Polanco, but that’s an eminently affordable price for Frazier even if he reverts back to his typical, roughly league-average level of offensive output.

7. Richard Rodriguez, RHP, Pirates: One of the most anonymous high-end relievers in the game, the 31-year-old Rodriguez boasts a 2.84 ERA, a 27.4 percent strikeout rate and a 6.7 percent walk rate dating back to 2018 with the Pirates. He’s not flashy, sitting 93.2 mph with his heater, but Rodriguez gets the job done and is controllable all the way through 2023. Any team seeking a high-leverage reliever could acquire two and a half years of his services this summer, and given his $1.7MM salary in 2021, his subsequent arbitration raises won’t break the bank.

8. Kyle Gibson, RHP, Rangers: Gibson’s 2020 season was a nightmare, and the 2021 campaign looked to be more of the same after he couldn’t escape the first inning of his first start. Since that awful 2021 debut? All Gibson has done is pitch 54 innings of 1.50 ERA ball with a 53.7 percent grounder rate and the lowest walk rate of his career. His strikeout rate is below-average, he’s not going to sustain the .214 BABIP he’s logged over those eight starts, and his 81.7 percent strand rate is due for a correction as well. But even with some regression baked in, Gibson looks like the latest veteran to outperform a modestly-priced three-year deal in Texas. He’s on the IL with a groin injury at the moment but is reportedly looking at a fairly minimal stint.

9. Ian Kennedy, RHP, Rangers: Kennedy has had more success than arguably any pitcher who inked a minor league deal this winter, rejuvenating his career with a dominant showing as the Rangers’ closer. He’s among baseball’s leaders in saves and is doing so with a revitalized heater, a strikeout rate north of 31 percent and the lowest walk rate of his career. That minor league pact came with a $2.15MM base salary, which makes Kennedy affordable for any team in need of bullpen help. He’s a free agent at season’s end, but he looks like one of the better bullpen rentals out there.

10. Kendall Graveman, RHP, Mariners: Another reliever rental in the AL West, Graveman has gone from a solid fourth starter to someone who looks like a potentially overpowering bullpen piece. His sinker velocity has soared since he moved to short stints after an IL stint in 2020, and he’s emerged as the Mariners’ closer on the back of a 26 2/3-inning run during which he’s posted a 1.35 ERA with a 22-to-6 K/BB ratio and a 50 percent ground-ball rate. He’s currently on the Covid-related IL, but Graveman hasn’t surrendered a run in 16 2/3 frames this season. He’s on a one-year, $1.25MM deal with incentives that can max it out at $3.75MM. This is the type of reliever every buyer will want.

11. Yimi Garcia, RHP, Marlins: The Dodgers’ decision to non-tender Garcia in 2019 has proven regrettable. Since joining the Fish on a $1.1MM deal that winter, Garcia has turned in 36 2/3 innings of 1.23 ERA ball, striking out 29.2 percent of opponents and walking just 6.8 percent of them along the way. He’s on a small $1.9MM salary in 2021 and will be a free agent at season’s end, making him an appealing rental option for teams in need of relief help (which ought to be nearly every contender).

12. David Peralta, OF, Diamondbacks: Peralta, 34 this summer, hasn’t recaptured his 30-homer pace from the 2018 season but has been an above-average bat and solid corner defender throughout his career. When the deadline rolls around, he’ll be halfway through a three-year, $22MM extension on a D-backs club that has been among the worst in the game. He generally struggles against lefties, but Peralta mashes right-handed pitching and would be a boost to any club looking for some left-handed pop — particularly if said club has a solid right-handed pairing for him. He’s earning $7.5MM in 2021 and has the same salary in 2022.

13. Michael Fulmer, RHP, Tigers: Like Boyd, Fulmer has a year of control beyond the 2021 campaign and was an oft-mentioned trade candidate earlier in his career. It’s a little easier to see why Fulmer wasn’t moved, as trading a former AL Rookie of the Year when he had four or even five years of club control remaining would’ve required a massive haul. By the time he was in a more conventional window to be moved, injuries had wrecked multiple seasons for the righty. Those look to be in the past now, however, as Fulmer has seamlessly moved from the rotation to the ’pen, stepping up as Detroit’s closer in 2021. His fastball velocity is as good as ever now that he’s working in short stints, and Fulmer boasts career-best marks in swinging-strike rate and opponents’ chase rate. He’s owed a raise on his $3.1MM salary in arbitration this winter, but that looks plenty reasonable for this version of the right-hander.

14. C.J. Cron, 1B, Rockies: Cron’s minor league pact with the Rox could scarcely have gone better thus far. He’s proven that his surgically repaired knee is healthy, which was about the only question mark surrounding him given that Cron has hit pretty much since the day he made his MLB debut. He’s not an elite defensive first baseman and doesn’t really offer any versatility, but he’s a solid everyday option at first or DH. Cron is a bit above average against righties and absolutely punishes lefties. His deal came with just a $1MM base salary at the MLB level, so he’s not going to break the bank. Teams have generally devalued first base/DH-only sluggers in recent years, but Cron will draw interest and fetch the Rockies a prospect or two.

15. Michael Pineda, RHP, Twins: Minnesota is probably baseball’s most disappointing team, and at 22-31, things are looking bleak. Pineda stands as the most logical rental candidate they could market, though the Twins’ offseason consisted entirely of one-year free-agent signings, so they surely have others. Pineda should have the broadest market, however, as most contenders will be looking for solid rotation pieces, and he certainly fits the bill. Pineda is playing out the second season of a two-year, $20MM deal and will be a free agent this winter. Barring a major winning streak in Minnesota, he figures to be available.

16-17. Dylan Bundy (RHP) & Andrew Heaney (LHP), Angels: Bundy has been rocked in his past three starts, which has sent his ERA spiking to 6.50. His velocity is up this season over its 2020 levels, however, and he’s sporting similar marks in K-BB%, SIERA and other secondary indicators that he carried during his excellent 2020 season. If Bundy continues to struggle with the long ball, which has been an issue for him in the past, then his stock will obviously dip. If he looks like he did in 2020 or through his first six starts of this season, however, he’ll be one of the market’s more in-demand rentals. It’s a somewhat similar tale for Heaney, who has had a roller-coaster season beginning with a miserable season debut. He’s sporting a 5.24 ERA but with demonstrably better K-BB numbers and fielding-independent marks. With the Angels six games under .500, Mike Trout absent for another six to seven weeks and a new front office regime installed, the Angels could sell off some short-term pieces.

18. Jose Urena, RHP, Tigers: A hard-throwing 29-year-old, Urena doesn’t miss many bats but is inducing grounders at a 54.3 percent clip and has been a generally solid fifth starter for a rebuilding Tigers club that is all but certain to flip him if a decent offer presents itself. Urena has a 4.14 ERA in 54 1/3 frames, albeit with a poor 15 percent strikeout rate and a pedestrian 9.4 percent walk rate. He’s unlikely to factor into a club’s playoff rotation unless injuries necessitate it, but for a postseason hopeful looking for some stability at the back of the rotation for the season’s final few months, Urena is a decent, low-cost option. He signed a one-year, $3.3MM deal with Detrot this winter.

19. Raisel Iglesias, RHP, Angels: The 31-year-old has run into some uncharacteristic homer troubles since being traded to the Halos, but he’s also sporting the best K-BB% of his career thanks to a career-best 35.1 percent strikeout rate and a career-low 3.9 percent walk rate. His ERA is just shy of 5.00, but most teams will expect that number to trend downward in the months to come. Iglesias is second among 184 qualified relievers with a 21.1 percent swinging-strike rate, and his 37.9 percent chase rate is tied for 19th.

20. Joey Gallo, OF, Rangers: Gallo is drawing walks at a career-high clip, and his strikeout rate is “down” to a career-low 34 percent. His power numbers have trended downward since Opening Day 2020, however, and if Gallo isn’t hitting like a 30- or 40-home run threat by this summer, the offers probably won’t be enough for Texas to consider a move. Playing on a $6.2MM salary for the current season, Gallo is controllable through the 2022 campaign.

21. Nelson Cruz, DH, Twins: Cruz is in his third season with Minnesota and has become an invaluable leader and integral part of the clubhouse. Trading him would be a difficult move, and his market will likely be limited to AL suitors. The Twins are likely hoping a big June showing for their team can get them back into the postseason hunt, but it’s increasingly tough to ignore a 22-31 record and a 10.5-game deficit in the division. If they’re still nowhere near contending as July 30 approaches, Cruz could be the most impactful bat moved at this year’s deadline.

22-23. Eduardo Escobar & Asdrubal Cabrera, INF, Diamondbacks: The D-backs hold one of the game’s worst records. Escobar and Cabrera are reasonably productive veterans who are impending free agents. It’s a pretty textbook formula for a trade. Escobar slumped to a .269 OBP since 2020, but he’s also been dogged by a .241 average on balls in play during that time — well down from his career .290 mark. He’s never drawn many walks, so the BABIP dip has been particularly harmful to his batting line. That said, his power is back in 2021 after a brief disappearance in 2020. The 32-year-old is solid at second or third, can handle left field or shortstop in a pinch, and is playing on a reasonable $7.5MM salary. The switch-hitting Cabrera, meanwhile, just keeps on producing, even at 35 years of age. He’s no longer a shortstop, but Cabrera can handle either infield corner and second base. He’s been an average or better hitter every season since 2015, and this year has been perhaps the best start of his generally underrated career. Playing on just a $1.75MM salary this season, he’d be a boost to any contending club’s infield mix, although he’s currently on the injured list with a right hamstring strain.

24. Michael A. Taylor, OF, Royals: The longtime Nats outfielder inked a one-year deal with the Royals after getting non-tendered and is out to a .256/.308/.397 start in 169 plate appearances. Taylor isn’t a great hitter, but he’s a plus defender with some home run power who can swipe a handful of bases in a given year. Considering the number of clubs dealing with outfield injuries — in center field in particular — Taylor represents a fine stopgap who can later shift to a bench role. He’s playing on a cheap $1.75MM base salary, which makes him affordable for just about any team.

25. Merrill Kelly, RHP, Diamondbacks: I profiled Kelly as one of the game’s more appealing under-the-radar trade chips last summer. He promptly went on the injured list thereafter, and within weeks was headed for thoracic outlet surgery. Sorry, Merrill. He’s back healthy in 2021, and while the results haven’t been as good this year, Kelly is sporting solid K-BB numbers and has really been plagued by a poor strand rate. Looking past his smallish-sample ERA, his skill set appears pretty similar to that of the 2019-20 version of Kelly who was a solid No. 4 starter. It’s not necessarily an exciting package, but Kelly has just a $4.25MM salary in 2021 and a $5.25MM option for 2022, so he’s a nice add for a pitching-hungry team with budgetary constraints.

26. Robbie Grossman, OF, Tigers: Grossman’s two-year, $10MM deal with Detroit this winter has already paid off in spades. His perennially high walk rate is at a career-best 15.9 percent, and he’s posted a .256/.382/.423 slash with five homers and a 7-for-8 showing in stolen base attempts. Grossman isn’t a great defender, but he’s playable in either corner and is a proven source of OBP whose power has ticked up in the past couple seasons. A contender with OBP struggles and/or outfield deficiencies could probably jump the market, since Grossman ought to be available well in advance of the July 30 deadline.

27. Freddy Galvis, SS, Orioles: Hitting for the most power of his career with his second-best walk rate and a strikeout rate a good bit south of league average, Galvis has exceeded expectations in Baltimore. Both Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average feel he’s playing the worst defense of his career, but a contender might look to Galvis as more of a utility option to bounce between shortstop, third base and second base anyhow. His cheap $1.5MM salary isn’t going to stand in the way of anyone acquiring him. Galvis obviously won’t get a qualifying offer, and the Orioles aren’t going to contend this year, so the impending free agent seems all but guaranteed to be traded as long as he’s healthy.

28-29. Starling Marte & Corey Dickerson, OF, Marlins: The Marlins are hanging around in an unexpectedly mediocre NL East, but the salaries of both Marte and Dickerson, paired with some young outfield talent on the rise, could prompt the club to move either veteran. Dickerson, in particular, feels likely to be on the market given that the Fish have more depth at the outfield corners than in center. But Miami might not want to risk a qualifying offer for Marte, and the Marlins certainly don’t want to lose him for nothing when he reaches free agency at season’s end.

30. Kole Calhoun, OF, Diamondbacks: Calhoun is still on the shelf after undergoing hamstring surgery earlier this year, but he should be back a month or more before the deadline, giving him some time to prove his health to other teams. He was out to a nice start in ’21, hitting .292/.333/.479 in 51 plate appearances. Calhoun has an established track record as an above-average bat and quality defender in right field, though certainly a hamstring operation could impact both facets of his game. He’s earning $8MM this year, and his contract has a $9MM club option for the 2022 season. Given that option’s $2MM buyout, it’s effectively a net $7MM decision for the D-backs or an acquiring team.

31. Jacob Stallings, C, Pirates: Stallings isn’t as commonly cited as a trade candidate as some of his more well-known teammates, but he’ll be among the better catchers available on rebuilding clubs. He’s a roughly average bat wh0 gets there more through OBP than power, but a league-average bat at catcher is valuable when the average catcher is hitting .216/.298/.367 so far in 2021. Stallings is a .256/.331/.384 career hitter who’s out to a .240/.343/.421 start in 2021. He’s earning just $1.3MM in 2021, is controllable via arbitration through 2024, and is a premium defensive option. He’s also already 31 years old, so despite being controllable, the Pirates should have no problem moving him if a catcher-needy contender comes calling.

32. German Marquez, RHP, Rockies: While Gray and Story look like near-locks to be moved, Marquez is in a different situation. The 26-year-old is signed affordably through 2024, earning $7.5MM in 2021, $11MM in 2022 and $15MM in 2023 before the Rockies (or another club) can decide between a $16MM club option or a $2.5MM buyout. He was absolutely blown up by the Giants last month, serving up eight runs and getting knocked out in the first inning, but he’s been excellent outside that one fluke appearance. Marquez has a 4.47 ERA overall but a 3.28 mark if you’re willing to overlook that career-worst day. Marquez whiffs hitters at an average or better rate, typically has a better-than-average walk rate (albeit not so far in 2021) and induces grounders north of 50 percent. He’s posted a combined 4.18 ERA since 2018 while calling Coors Field home. Most clubs would view him as a mid-rotation starter with the upside for more, and his affordable contract adds to the value.

33. Spencer Turnbull, RHP, Tigers: Similar to Marquez, Turnbull is a controllable starter on a rebuilding team who doesn’t “have” to be moved this deadline. His recent no-hitter garnered him some national attention — deservedly so — but Turnbull has been a solid starter since the 2019 season. Over his past 245 1/3 innings, he has a 4.22 ERA and 3.68 FIP. He’s enjoying the best walk and ground-ball rates of his career so far and allowing less hard contact than he ever has. Turnbull won’t even be arbitration-eligible until this winter and is controlled through 2024, so the Tigers could certainly hold onto him. Then again, they got burned by doing just that with Boyd and Fulmer, so perhaps they’ll be more proactive this time around.

34-36. John Means (LHP), Anthony Santander (OF) & Trey Mancini (1B/OF), Orioles: Baltimore has some tougher decisions to face regarding the three players that figure to hold the most appeal to other teams. Means has been one of the game’s best pitchers in 2021 and is controlled through 2024, which indicates he could at least be part of the next competitive Orioles club. But he’s also already 28, and the Orioles know they won’t be competing just yet in 2022. Holding Means would be gambling that he’ll remain this effective into his age-30 and age-31 seasons — completely plausible but also inherently risky, as is the case with any pitcher. Mancini would be a natural trade candidate were he not the Orioles’ feel-good story of the season — the heart-and-soul of the clubhouse who triumphed over a frightening diagnosis of Stage 3 colon cancer. The optics of trading him wouldn’t be great, and the move would be felt immensely in the clubhouse. Santander drew plenty of offseason interest after a nice 2020 showing, and he’s another player who is controllable through 2024. He has power but clear OBP issues. Of the three, he’d probably be the easiest to part with should another club show interest.

37. Sonny Gray, RHP, Reds: I’m not convinced the Reds will be all-out sellers at this point — more on that below — but that was true in the offseason and they still at least listened to offers on Gray as they looked to cut payroll. Gray would require a pretty notable return given that he’s signed affordably through 2023 (the final year being a club option) and is once again delivering quality results. He’s missed some time but now has a 3.40 ERA with a well above-average strikeout rate and a slightly improved (but still below-average) walk rate. If it becomes clearer that the Reds will shop Gray and his contract, he’ll vault up this list in a hurry as one of the best arms who could conceivably be moved in July. That’s also true of the next entrant on the list.

38. Nick Castellanos, OF, Reds: Castellanos hit .305/.347/.611 in March and somehow got much better in May, hitting .409/.476/.667. At this point, the 29-year-old is hitting so well that it seems likely he’ll exercise the opt-out clause in his contract. If the Reds are out of the race, they’ll have to look at Castellanos as a rental they’ll likely lose. Considering the Reds’ efforts to shed payroll this winter, dropping the remainder of Castellanos’ $14MM salary while also adding some prospects in return might be a palatable gambit.

39. Danny Duffy, LHP, Royals: Kansas City’s recent tailspin has caused them to plummet in the AL Central standings. They’re in a tough spot with Duffy, as he’s a free agent at season’s end who was enjoying a dominant start to the season before hitting the injured list. Duffy is a homegrown product who’s already signed an extension once and has somewhat famously declared, “Bury me a Royal” in response to past trade rumors surrounding him. The Royals are trying to move toward a more competitive cycle and surely want him to be a part of that. Kansas City, perhaps more than any other club, is loyal to its core players and resistant toward trading veterans for prospects. At the same time, interest in Duffy will be strong if he’s healthy. They could conceivably trade him in July then try to re-sign him in November, but this sort of move isn’t really GM Dayton Moore’s style. Duffy will be in demand, but I could just as easily see the Royals signing him to an extension.

40. Madison Bumgarner, LHP, Diamondbacks: It won’t be easy to unload Bumgarner’s contract after his poor showing in 2020, but he’s shown some signs of rebounding in a bizarre 2021 season. Bumgarner has been rocked for five or six earned runs in five of his 11 starts — his first three outings and his two most recent ones. The interim six starts? Bumgarner looked like the 2014 version of himself, hurling 34 innings of 1.32 ERA ball with a 39-to-6 K/BB ratio. His average fastball velocity is up three miles per hour after last year’s dip to 88.3 mph, which has to be encouraging for the D-backs and others. Still, Bumgarner is owed the balance of this year’s $19MM salary (about $12.5MM) plus salaries of $23MM, $23MM and $14MM from 2022-24. The D-backs would need to eat some cash or take back a contract to make things work, and the financial component of any such trade only further muddies the actual return in terms of young talent.

Others to Watch (* = Currently on injured list)

Angels: Jose Iglesias, Steve Cishek, Tony Watson, Alex Cobb, Jose Quintana*, Junior Guerra, Kurt Suzuki

Cubs: Zach Davies, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras

D-backs: Joakim Soria, Tyler Clippard*, Josh Reddick

Mariners: Yusei Kikuchi, Chris Flexen, Drew Steckenrider*, Keynan Middleton, Rafael Montero

Marlins: Adam Duvall, Anthony Bass

Nationals: Max Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison, Jon Lester, Starlin Castro

Orioles: Matt Harvey, Paul Fry, Maikel Franco, Pedro Severino, Shawn Armstrong, Tanner Scott

Pirates: Colin Moran*, Trevor Cahill*, Mitch Keller, Chris Stratton, Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault*

Rangers: Joely Rodriguez, Mike Foltynewicz, Brock Holt, Charlie Culberson, Khris Davis

Reds: Luis CastilloTyler Naquin

Rockies: Daniel Bard, Jhoulys Chacin, Mychal Givens

Royals: Jorge Soler, Brad KellerGreg Holland, Carlos Santana, Mike Minor, Jarrod Dyson, Ervin Santana

Tigers: Wilson Ramos, JaCoby Jones, Niko Goodrum, Jose Cisnero, Jonathan Schoop, Jeimer Candelario

Twins: Andrelton Simmons, J.A. Happ, Alex Colome, Hansel Robles, Matt Shoemaker, Taylor Rogers

General Notes

–As the deadline looms closer, the viability of sell-offs from disappointing, expected contenders improves. It’s tempting to jam the list full of Twins after two disastrous months, but it’s hard to see them selling controllable players when most of their core is intact into 2022 (and well beyond, in many cases). It’s similarly hard to see them climbing back into the race, but still I wouldn’t expect much beyond the impending free agents, and perhaps an increasingly expensive reliever like Taylor Rogers.

–The same holds true for the Nationals. While there was plenty of speculation on Max Scherzer earlier this month, it’s not clear he’ll be made available. Teams would certainly be interested in a pitcher of his caliber if the Nationals were to sell. But the Nats, of all teams, are familiar with how a team’s record through Memorial Day isn’t reflective of where they’ll be at season’s end. The Nats are a woeful seven games under .500, but they’re still only six games out of first in a surprisingly feeble NL East. Washington generally hasn’t been keen on aggressively shopping their core players in recent years, so it’s not a given they’d look to move Scherzer if they remain on the periphery of contention.

–There’s been plenty of speculation on the Cubs, particularly surrounding Kris Bryant, but at eight games over .500, they’re unlikely to trade any of their core players even on the brink of free agency. A prolonged losing streak would likely bring up rumors surrounding all of the above-mentioned veterans, with Bryant the likeliest to change hands based both on his massive start to the season and his monster rebound effort at the plate.

–Few picked the Royals to contend in 2021, but that was their aim, and general manager Dayton Moore has made clear that he wants to shift his focus to winning in the here and now. They didn’t sign Carlos Santana and Mike Minor to multi-year deals simply to flip them. Either veteran could draw interest — Santana, in particular, has raked — but the Royals likely view their window to contend as just starting to open. Prospects like Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Kris Bubic and the ballyhooed Bobby Witt Jr. could all be on the big league roster in early 2022. It’s hard to see them trading many pieces, and even Duffy was a borderline inclusion on this list. It wouldn’t at all be a surprise were Moore to come out and flatly say he won’t trade the left-hander.

–The Reds are closer to the cellar than first place in the NL Central as of this writing. The club walked a fine line this past winter, dumping salary without really adding any win-now pieces in hopes that a strong offense and a quality core of bats would help them contend in 2021. That hasn’t been the case just yet, due in part to the struggles of Luis Castillo. The Reds never said it, but it’s hard to imagine owner Bob Castellini didn’t push the front office to shed payroll based on their offseason. If they’re a ways back this summer, any of their veterans on notable salaries could surface as legitimate trade candidates.

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