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Now that the All-Star Game is behind us, we turn our attention to the trade deadline. Sifting through all of the rumors can become a full-time job at this time of year. We all want blockbuster deals to go down with unexpected twists and turns. There is plenty on the line for Fantasy Baseball purposes. Not only for the players traded away, but for those left behind with a new opportunity to play everyday. After the deadline, we’ll take a close look at the aftermath, but in the meantime why not enjoy a little speculation? This week we will discuss the Top 5 Hitting Trade Candidates and next week it will be the pitchers’ turn. It is purely coincidental that they are all from the NL, but the fact that all the candidates come from just three teams is not.
- Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies, SS) – How do you not start this list with Tulowitzki, long rumored to be on the move from Colorado? He’s managed to stay off the disabled list thus far in 2015, which is definitely a huge win for his owners. While his numbers are not MVP-like as they have been in the past, he is still the best Fantasy SS in the game. While a move away from Coors Field is not ideal for obvious reasons, the change of scenery and presumably better lineup might make up for it. For his career, all of his counting stats are higher at home, as is his batting average of .323 as opposed to .276 on the road. If he can deliver power in the middle of a playoff lineup, Fantasy owners will look beyond the career splits. There are a number of teams that would love to acquire his services and it would be a megadeal if he does land on a new team.
- Carlos Gomez (Brewers, OF) – The biggest impact from a mid-season trade could be if Gomez changes teams. The toolsy OF has picked things up in July after a slow start to the season. He is an excellent fielder and one of the most exciting all-around players in the majors. Gomez would inject instant offense into a playoff hopeful and also into your Fantasy team. I identified him last week as a player that could have a much better second half than he did in the first. A new team would go a long way toward helping that come to fruition. He is the type of talent any team (real or Fantasy) would love to roster. Trading him now would net the Brewers a larger return because he is signed at a bargain $9 million for next season.
- Todd Frazier (Reds, OF) – Would the Reds really trade the reigning Home Run Derby Champion? Frazier is having a terrific season at the plate, and is developing into one of the best offensive players in the game. He has followed his breakout season in 2014 with 25 HRs, 57 RBIs and 54 Runs at the All-Star break. However, if the Reds are looking to rebuild and reload, they could be talked into moving some of their core players like Frazier, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto. He is affordably under team control until 2017, and would be one of the most sought after players on the market if he were made available. Even with a drop-off in the second half, he is a game-changer in both real and Fantasy Baseball. Unless you can sell him for a large package deal, it’s best to stick with Frazier because his talent is legitimate.
- Jean Segura (Brewers, SS) – While he has not been able to recapture the magic of his 2013 breakout season, Segura is an intriguing talent. Perhaps a new uniform is all he needs to tap into his immense potential. At his best, he is a mid-teens power hitter with the ability to hit for average, score 100-plus runs and swipe 30 bags. Segura is arbitration eligible after this season and could net the Brewers a solid return from a shortstop-needy team. His kind of talent could be a cornerstone for a rebuild if he has not fallen out of favor in Milwaukee. Assuming Tulowitzki and Ian Desmond stay put, Segura instantly becomes one of the hottest names on the market. For Fantasy purposes, he would benefit greatly from hitting atop a contending lineup. You can grab him cheaply right now because of lackluster statistics over the past year and half.
- Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies, OF) – A Gonzalez deal might be more likely to go down than a Tulowitzki trade at this point. Much like his Rockies teammate, CarGo hits much better at home and could be hurt by a move out of town. After all, he has hit almost 70 points higher in Coors Field over his career. Also, not unlike Tulo, he is injury-prone and due some serious cash in the next few years. Still, when healthy he can still be one of the most productive hitters in the game. He should have enough left in the tank to be a short-term asset to any team that trades for him. Regardless of where he is playing in the second half, he could have a bounce back for your Fantasy team.