Justin Verlander has been mentioned in trade talks, and it’s possible that market moons and stars will align and the future Hall of Famer switches teams. But any Verlander deal would be incredibly complicated for the Tigers to pull off in the short time frame that remains before the July 31 trade deadline, because of his salary, his stature in Detroit history and his ability to veto any proposed deal.
But there are players whose trades are considered imminent by baseball officials. Here are the top players who will be dealt over the next 14 days.
Now that Jose Quintana has been swapped to the Chicago Cubs, Oakland’s right-hander is the best available starter — a pitcher with experience, a history of success and years of control. The perception of other teams is that Oakland is intent on moving Gray while he is healthy and throwing well. Gray has a 1.33 ERA in his past four starts. Teams that could be involved in the bidding: Milwaukee Brewers, Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
The position-player market is saturated, generally, and in the hours leading up to the trade deadline, some general managers expect a purge of salary. But Martinez has more value than others, because he is a strong middle-of-the-order hitter who is having a good year, batting over .300 with power. “You’d have to live with his defense to take him on,” said one evaluator, “but his offense more than offsets that.” And this will interest a lot of teams: Martinez has destroyed left-handed pitchers, carrying a .500 average with damage into Sunday’s game — 18 hits in 36 at-bats, including four doubles, one triple, six homers, six walks and six strikeouts. He would present an incredible weapon for the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose struggles against lefties last year are well-documented. Other teams that are possible: Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
Justin Wilson, Detroit Tigers
Wilson isn’t a classic left-hander, in that he doesn’t dominate left-handed hitters with a great breaking ball. But he is outstanding against right-handed hitters, and he can serve in multiple roles. His value is so high right now that officials think Detroit will capitalize on his standing in the market and move him. Just about every contender could use him in one form or another.
A lot of relievers will move between now and the waiver trade deadline on Aug. 31, but Neshek is expected to be among the first right-handers. The 36-year-old All-Star has allowed just five runs in 36⅓ innings, and he has been equally effective against left-handers and right-handers.
Yonder Alonso, Oakland Athletics
He has had record power numbers this year. He made the All-Star team. And the Athletics have been pushing him in the market for weeks with the apparent intention of moving him before he reaches free agency in the fall. There are not a lot of teams looking for first basemen/designated hitter types, but the Yankees have a hole, if the price is right.