MLB execs predict Crochet, Chisholm and 16 other players most likely to be traded at deadline (2024)

With the MLB trade deadline just over five weeks away, 25 of the 30 teams are still within striking distance of postseason position, and so many scenarios could play out between now and July 30.

Keeping that in mind, I thought it was a good time to poll decision-makers in major-league front offices to get their opinions on the market, including the biggest-name players who will get traded at this year’s deadline.

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I surveyed more than 35 executives — including presidents of baseball operations, general managers and assistant GMs — and asked them to name the best starting pitcher, reliever and position player they think will be traded.

The execs were granted anonymity so they could answer candidly. Their responses were illuminating — and in some cases surprising.

Here are the starters, relievers and hitters who were mentioned the most, the players the execs felt are most likely to be dealt at the trade deadline, along with my thoughts on them.

Starting pitchers

1. Garrett Crochet, LHP, White Sox

Crochet was the execs’ runaway pick as the best starting pitcher available but also the most likely to get traded. In addition, he’s expected to bring back the biggest return of anyone traded at this year’s deadline. The 25-year-old has dominating stuff, including a four-seamer that opponents are hitting just .178 against. Crochet is 6-6 with a 3.05 ERA and a league-leading 130 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings (17 starts). He’s been worth 3.8 bWAR, which is fourth-best among pitchers. He’s under team control through the 2026 season.

2. Jack Flaherty, RHP, Tigers

Flaherty has had a strong comeback season, going 5-4 with a 2.92 ERA and 108 strikeouts in83 1/3 innings (14 starts). He’s been worth 2.4 bWAR. The 28-year-old is eligible to be a free agent after this season.

GO DEEPERThree Tigers takeaways: How does the qualifying offer impact the Jack Flaherty trade discussion?

3. Luis Severino, RHP, Mets

Severino has been one of the most undervalued free-agent signings of the offseason, when the Mets inked him to a one-year, $13 million deal. He’s delivered, going 5-2 with a 3.29 ERA over 15 starts. Execs believe that even though the Mets are in the wild-card race, they will consider trading Severino because, the thinking goes, they’re focused more on building for the long term than trying to win now. The balance of attempting to do both will be interesting to watch.

4. Zach Eflin, RHP, Rays

I was surprised Eflin’s name came up as often as it did but if the Rays don’t play much better in July, then it makes sense for them to consider trading him. Eflin, 30, is signed through 2025 and Tampa Bay has a history of trading players with a year or year and a half left of control. Eflin is 3-5 this season with a 4.20 ERA over 14 starts. He is making $11 million this year and will make $18 million next year, which doesn’t exactly fit the Rays’ typical budgetary restraints.

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5. Yusei Kikuchi, LHP, Blue Jays

Kikuchi is an impending free agent and he’s had a strong season, posting a 3.52 FIP and 4.00 ERA over 16 starts. He’s averaged 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings and a career-low 2.2 walks per nine. His command and control have improved dramatically over the past two years. If Toronto keeps losing, the 33-year-old lefty will find himself in a new uniform come August.

6. Jesús Luzardo, LHP, Marlins

Luzardo is on the injured list with a lumbar stress reaction in his lower back and he is not expected to return until after the July 30 trade deadline. The Marlins have indicated they are not going to trade him before then. However, several executives thought that if the medicals are eventually cleared with little risk, the Marlins could still move him if they receive the right offer. Luzardo, 26, is under team control through the 2026 season.

7. Tarik Skubal, LHP, Tigers

There were two executives who mentioned Skubal, which totally shocked me. He has been a Cy Young Award candidate all year, going 9-3 with a 2.32 ERA over 16 starts with 112 strikeouts in 97 innings. He’s tied for the major-league lead among pitchers with 3.9 bWAR. And he comes with two additional years of control. However, both of these execs suggested that if a team like the Orioles or Dodgers decided they wanted to trade significant prospects — both in quality and quantity — there could be an offer so good, the rebuilding Tigers won’t be able to say “no.” Now that would be a stunner.

Relievers

1. Tanner Scott, LHP, Marlins

Based on our poll results, almost every team in baseball believes Tanner Scott will be wearing a different uniform come August. Scott has been dominant this year, posting a 1.59 ERA over 33 appearances. His 43 career saves and strong performance since the start of 2023 (more than 100 appearances) make him the most sought-after reliever in the sport. Scott, 29, is an impending free agent.

2. Yimi García, RHP, Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are 6 1/2 games out of playoff position and may soon be convinced to become “sellers” if they continue to spiral. If that happens, the 33-year-old righty could be among the first to go. García has a 2.57 ERA over 27 appearances with five saves and 37 strikeouts in 28 innings. However, he was placed on the IL on June 17 with right elbow ulnar neuritis. He will be a free agent after this season.

#BlueJays injury updates:
– Romano playing light catch
– Garcia throwing from 120 feet
– Bichette running the bases, hitting, fielding today. On pace, to return tomorrow
– Varsho also hitting, catching fly balls today. Should be OK to come off the bench

— Kaitlyn McGrath (@kaitlyncmcgrath) June 24, 2024

3. Kenley Jansen, RHP, Red Sox

If the season ended today, the Red Sox would make the playoffs as the American League’s third wild-card team, which makes it hard for me to believe they would trade their closer at the deadline. However, rival execs reminded me there could be several “buyer-to-buyer” type trades this year and that Jansen could be expendable in the right swap. Jansen has logged a 2.30 ERA in 27 appearances this year with 15 saves in 16 opportunities. He’s an impending free agent.

MLB execs predict Crochet, Chisholm and 16 other players most likely to be traded at deadline (3)

Kenley Jansen is the active career saves leader with 435, just in front of Craig Kimbrel (433). (Charles LeClaire / USA Today)

4. Tyler Rogers, RHP, Giants

Rogers has a 2.92 ERA in a majors-leading 40 appearances this year with 27 strikeouts and only two walks. The 33-year-old righty with the submarine delivery is affordable ($3.2 million salary this year) and controllable through 2025 as well. He has not allowed a run in 10 of 11 appearances this month. Rogers has a career ERA of 2.96 and has led the league in games pitched in two of the past four years.

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5. Mason Miller, RHP, A’s

Most executives believe that Miller will not be traded because of the A’s exorbitant asking price as well as the fact that if he wins the Rookie of the Year Award, he could also be worth an additional first-round pick in 2025. However, several execs mentioned him with the idea that everyone is available for the right prospect price in return and it’s possible that a team will overwhelm the A’s with a trade offer. I still think it’s a long shot.

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Position players

1. Jazz Chisholm Jr., INF/OF, Marlins

I thought Luis Robert Jr. of the White Sox would be leading this part of the poll, but he wasn’t even close. Based on the responses, the industry believes Chisholm is the position player most likely to be traded between now and July 30. Chisholm, 26, is starting his prime years and has a special combination of speed and power that many evaluators think will result in him someday joining the 30-home run/30-stolen base club. This year, he’s reached base at a .330 clip with 10 homers and 14 steals. He has a 113 OPS+. Some teams are interested in him as a center fielder and others view him as a middle infielder, where he played before a position switch last year. Either way, it sounds like he’ll be traded if Miami gets the right offer over the next five weeks. He would fit nicely with the Phillies or Giants.

2. Randy Arozarena, OF, Rays

Arozarena has struggled in the first half of the season, batting just .191 with 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases. However, he’s fared much better in June, posting a .292/.434/.462 slash line this month. He’s hit 20 or more homers and stolen 20 or more bases in each of the past three seasons and looks like he’ll do that again this year. The Rays control Arozarena, 29, through the 2026 season and he’s making $8.1 million this year, but he will be more expensive in his final two years of salary arbitration. He’s represented by the Boras Corporation and it’s unlikely the Rays will be able to sign him long term, which means trading him now actually makes some sense.

MLB execs predict Crochet, Chisholm and 16 other players most likely to be traded at deadline (5)

After a slow start, Randy Arozarena has turned things around in June. (Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today)

3. Taylor Ward, OF, Angels

Ward has been arguably the Angels’ most productive offensive player, reaching base at a .328 clip with a team-leading 14 home runs and 41 RBIs. He’s under club control through 2026 and would fit nicely with teams like the Braves, Dodgers, Giants and Twins.

4. Tommy Pham, OF, White Sox

At the deadline, Pham always seems to be a trade candidate, and he has been dealt in each of the past two years. Pham, 36, is slashing .271/.347/.388 with eight doubles and four home runs in 190 plate appearances and has four steals in five attempts. He has a .904 OPS versus lefties. He comes to the park every day with a unique edge.

5. Luis Robert Jr., CF, White Sox

I thought Robert would top this list, but most executives believe the White Sox’s asking price for the center fielder makes it less likely they will ultimately trade him. Robert, who turns 27 in August, is entering his prime years. Last year, he put up 38 home runs and 20 stolen bases. This year, he spent two months on the injured list with a right hip flexor strain and is hitting below .200, yet in 26 games played, he has seven dingers. Robert is making $12.5 million this year and will make $15 million next year with $20 million club options in 2026 and ’27. Most teams think it’s more likely he’ll be traded in the offseason than at this deadline. However, don’t sleep on the Phillies making a serious run at him.

GO DEEPERMLB trade deadline watch: The industry’s read on Luis Robert Jr., the crowded NL and more

6. Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets

When I talked to front offices before Grimace arrived at Citi Field, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Mets would trade Alonso for prospects and then try to re-sign him in free agency after the season. However, after they jumped back into the wild-card race, execs now feel it’s more unlikely than likely that they’ll trade Alonso, unless they are overwhelmed with a trade offer from a team such as the Astros or Mariners. It’s also thought that some in the Mets front office believe they’ll have a better chance to re-sign Alonso in the offseason if they don’t trade him. But he made this list because many teams still think the Mets could follow their blueprint from last year’s trade deadline deals of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

GO DEEPERMLB trade targets for each contender, plus deadline priorities for all 30 teamsGO DEEPEROne difference-making trade for each of NL's 10 teams in wild-card race, from Braves to Giants

(Top image: Dan Goldfarb / The Athletic. Photos: Tanner Scott: Dustin Satloff / Getty Images; Jazz Chisholm Jr.: Megan Briggs / Getty images; Garrett Crochet / Brace Hemmelgarn / Minnesota Twins / Getty Images)

MLB execs predict Crochet, Chisholm and 16 other players most likely to be traded at deadline (9)MLB execs predict Crochet, Chisholm and 16 other players most likely to be traded at deadline (10)

Jim Bowden , a national writer for The Athletic MLB, was formerly the Sr. VP and general manager for the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals for a combined 16 years, including being named the 1999 MLB Executive of the Year by Baseball America. He is the lead MLB Analyst and Insider for CBS Sports-HQ and a regular talk-show host on SiriusXM for the MLB Network and Fantasy channels. Follow him on twitter: @JimBowdenGM Follow Jim on Twitter @JimBowdenGM

MLB execs predict Crochet, Chisholm and 16 other players most likely to be traded at deadline (2024)
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