Last year’s trade deadline was a thrill-a-minute thanks to the Cubs and Nationals deciding late to sell, and having significant pieces to deal. It’s unlikely we can match a deadline where Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, both halves of Bryzzo (Kris Bryant/Anthony Rizzo) and so many other name players were dealt.
The Nats look like sellers again, and there’s already been some fairly far-flung speculation megastar Juan Soto could be dealt. But while Scherzer had a half-year to go and Turner a year and a half, Soto not only will have 2 1/2 years left before free agency, he may be the most valuable asset in MLB (it’s him or Shohei Ohtani). With the team for sale, trading its one huge calling card may be a risk not worth taking.
One Nats person responded to the Soto speculation thusly: “That’s not funny.”
Soto’s agent Scott Boras was nearly as succinct: “Forget Soto trade … not happening.”
Assuming that holds, it should still be a decent trade market, thanks in part to MLB having so many clear Have-Nots along with some obvious Haves. (At last count, a full one-third of teams are on pace to either win or lose 100 games.) Here’s an early list of 20 trade candidates:
1. Frankie Montas, A’s SP: What’s he still doing there, pitching before crowds of 2,500? The Mets recently scouted him, but there’ll be competition. The Twins, White Sox, Cardinals and Yankees were among others linked.
2. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox SS: Word here is he’s going to opt out, and further word is he has a good chance to leave. The Red Sox say they want to keep him long term, but if they really believe Trevor Story’s arm is good enough to go back to shortstop (one scout said he’s throwing “funky”), maybe Boston transitions to a semi-rebuild.