Not every player dealt at the MLB trade deadline has to be a superstar, and these 10 underrated trade chips could have a big impact on the playoff race.
As the MLB trade deadline approaches at the end of July, the rumor mill is already running at full speed. Starting pitching appears likely to be the hot commodity on the block this year, with Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman, Zack Wheeler and even Noah Syndergaard and Trevor Bauer potentially on the move. The reliever market will also be hot and heavy as contenders look to add depth for the stretch run.
It’s an interesting year for the league in terms of playoff races. Over half the league is still above the .500 mark or within a game, and there are eight teams in the hunt for the NL’s Wild Cards. The remaining teams have no hope of contending in the near term. That is going to make for a very active deadline period as the contenders look to stock up and the rebuilders look to add more prospects to their farm systems.
The big names like Bumgarner and Stroman will generate the most headlines and attention as rumors pick up, but it is often the smaller trades for middle relievers and bench bats that have an outsized impact on the playoff race. We’ve already highlighted the top 25 trade chips for the deadline, but the 10 players currently flying under the trade radar could prove just as valuable by the end of the season.
10. Omar Narvaez
The Seattle Mariners were the hottest team in baseball at the start of April, but have cratered to a 26-53 record since their 13-2 start. Jerry Dipoto’s grand vision has come undone, and it is time for Seattle to tear everything down. The Mariners have already begun that process, dealing Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce before the end of June. More trades need to follow.
The Mariners don’t have much of value left to deal outside of catcher Omar Narvaez and outfielder Domingo Santana. The rotation and bullpen are a mess and former All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager’s numbers have fallen off a cliff.
Between Narvaez and Santana, the backstop likely carries more trade value. The 27-year-old is in his first full season as a starter and is hitting .294/.366/.486 with 14 home runs and 36 RBI. He has had some issues handling base stealers, but has been passable defensively. Catcher is a tough sell on the trade market, but Narvaez represents an offensive upgrade at the position for most of the league’s contenders and he remains under team control through 2023. This is the Mariners’ best chance to add a high-end prospect to their woefully-thin farm system.