Ever since the offseason, the rumor mill has been buzzing with names of players who could find themselves on the move by the Aug. 2 Trade Deadline.
Now that we’re in the middle of June, however, which players are seeing their stock rise based on their recent performance?
Here’s a look at seven potential trade chips on the rise and some potential fits with roughly seven weeks until the Trade Deadline:
Luis Castillo, RHP, Reds
After opening the season on the injured list, Castillo has rounded into form following a pair of mediocre starts. In his past five outings, the 29-year-old has pitched to a 2.45 ERA, striking out 30 in 29 1/3 innings. Castillo has gone at least six innings in four of those starts and has allowed two or fewer runs in all but one. The Reds have been receiving interest in Castillo for the past year or two, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see him finally moved with one last arbitration-eligible season ahead of him.
Potential fits: Braves, Red Sox, Twins
Alex Colomé, RHP, Rockies
On May 7, Colomé walked three and allowed a run in one inning, bloating his ERA to 6.23 in nine appearances. Since then, the 33-year-old righty has not allowed an earned run in 15 outings (14 2/3 innings) entering Sunday, lowering that ERA to 2.31. Over his 13 most recent outings, Colomé has allowed just five hits and one walk, limiting opponents to a .255 OPS. His days as an elite closer might be behind him, but he would bolster the back end of a contender’s bullpen.
Potential fits: Angels, Blue Jays, Phillies
Willson Contreras, C, Cubs
Contreras has been a prime trade candidate since last year, when the Cubs shipped off longtime teammates Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez prior to the Trade Deadline. After a pedestrian start to 2022 (.720 OPS, two home runs, seven RBIs in 20 games through May 7), the 30-year-old has raked during a 29-game stretch, posting a 1.050 OPS with eight homers and 16 RBI. Contreras is earning $9.625 million this season and is due to be a free agent this winter, making him one of the top rental players this summer.
Potential fits: Astros, Mets, Yankees
Nelson Cruz, DH, Nationals
Cruz will turn 42 on July 1, but the ageless wonder continues to be a solid contributor despite a slow start this season. Cruz had a .444 OPS with two home runs in his first 25 games with the Nationals, but in 31 games since, he has a 1.021 OPS, five homers and 23 RBIs. With all 30 teams now utilizing the designated hitter, Cruz likely will be a target for contenders in need of lineup help.
Potential fits: Brewers, Mariners, Padres
Carl Edwards Jr., RHP, Nationals
After allowing three earned runs in his first appearance of the season on May 10, Edwards went 13 outings without giving up a run. During that streak, which ended with a one-run inning on Sunday, the 30-year-old allowed just two hits over 15 1/3 innings, holding opponents to a .044 average. Edwards is in his final year of arbitration and will be eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
Potential fits: Giants, Padres, White Sox
Trey Mancini, 1B, Orioles
Mancini struggled during the first month of the season, posting a .590 OPS with one home run and eight RBIs in 20 games. Since May 3, Mancini has five homers, 17 RBIs and an impressive .913 OPS in 37 games, one of the few highlights of an offense that ranks 12th in the AL with a .667 OPS. Mancini can play first base and either corner outfield spot, so his versatility will make him attractive to contenders, while his contract — he’s earning $7.5 million this year and has a $10 million mutual option for 2023 with $250,000 buyout — isn’t cost-prohibitive.
Potential fits: Astros, Red Sox, Twins
Martín Pérez, LHP, Rangers
Pérez’s 11th season in the Majors looks to be his best, though the 31-year-old might have to prove he can keep up his strong first half for a contender to make a move for him. Despite a rough outing on Saturday, Pérez has a 2.18 ERA in his first 12 starts. And while his status as an impending free agent will lessen the return in comparison to pitchers such as Castillo and Frankie Montas, Pérez — on a one-year, $4 million deal — could be a popular trade target as the summer heats up.
Potential fits: Angels, Giants, Guardians