MLB.com Columnist

Mark Feinsand

11 key players who could still be traded

Vets such as Verlander, Bruce, Estrada, Napoli are possibilities

11 key players who could still be traded

The non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, but that doesn't mean the trade season is behind us.

Welcome to August, home of the waiver trade!

I know what you're thinking. Why did we all make such a fuss about Monday's "Deadline" if players can still be dealt? Well, unlike the first four months of the season, not just any player can be traded from this point forward.

Here's how it works:

To trade a player after July 31, teams must first put players they might want to deal on revocable trade waivers, which then allows every team in the Majors to place a claim on those players. If another team places a waiver claim on a player, the player's original club has three options:

1. Pull the player back
2. Let the claiming club take the player, along with his entire contract
3. Work out a trade with the claiming club within 48 hours

If no teams place a claim on a player, he "clears" waivers and can be traded to any team in the Majors, though players must be on a team by Aug. 31 to be eligible for postseason play.

Teams generally put most of their players on revocable waivers at some point in August, giving them an idea of their options and of other teams' interest in their players for the upcoming offseason. For more on the waiver trade rules, click here.

Recent examples of August waiver trades include Addison Reed to the Mets in 2015, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers in '12, the Giants dealing for eventual National League Championship Series MVP Cody Ross in '10, and the Blue Jays acquiring Jose Bautista in '08.

Players who clear waivers and are thus eligible for an August trade are typically those with large contracts, making them less appealing to rival teams. Placing a claim on a player to try blocking them from another club is a common practice, but that can sometimes backfire as it did in 2000, when the Yankees were stuck with Jose Canseco after trying to keep him away from the rival Red Sox.

"I think if you look around the industry, the types of players with some money left on their contract and weren't dealt prior to the Deadline, those are generally the types of players who are easier to deal in August," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "There are still a number of those guys out there."

Stearns believes there could be more August trades than usual this year, a notion Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak agrees with.

"I do feel like you'll see some trade activity in August," Mozeliak noted. "Yes, there was a flourish of activity there at the final hour of this Deadline, but I still think there were names of players that weren't moved that were very much talked about."

So which players might be candidates for a trade during the coming month? Let's look at some possibilities.

Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers
Contract: Approximately $65 million through 2019

Verlander's name was barely mentioned on Deadline day until he posted a photo of himself on Twitter with some "breaking" news:

It was some much-needed levity as the final minutes ticked away toward the 4 p.m. ET Deadline, but will Verlander be able to say the same by Aug. 31? He has pitched better of late, making him an intriguing possibility for a team looking to add an established arm for the next two years -- or to replace an injured ace such as Lance McCullers, Clayton Kershaw or Stephen Strasburg. Verlander has a full no-trade clause, so he'll have the final say.

Curtis Granderson, OF, Mets
Contract: Approximately $5 million through 2017

There were rumblings in recent days that the Brewers were interested in Granderson, who has turned his season around over the past six weeks. The 36-year-old is headed for free agency, but he would provide a powerful lefty bat for any contender needing corner-outfield help, albeit at a cost of roughly $5 million for two months. If Milwaukee gets closer to the Cubs, its interest could be reignited.

Granderson's game-tying homer

Jay Bruce, OF, Mets
Contract: Approximately $4.3 million through 2017

One of the great mysteries of this year's non-waiver Deadline was the complete lack of interest in Bruce, who entered the week with 27 homers and an .850 OPS for the Mets. Perhaps teams took note of the way he struggled after being traded to the Mets last summer, posting a .685 OPS in 50 games. But Bruce is headed for free agency, which should motivate him, and nobody can argue the power in his swing. You could argue he won't make it through waivers, but the fact that no team dealt for him in July makes it a possibility. The Indians need some pop and could be a good landing spot.

Bruce's two-homer night

Asdrubal Cabrera, IF, Mets
Contract: Approximately $2.9 million through 2017

Cabrera's season has been underwhelming, but his ability to play all over the infield makes him an intriguing option for a contender's bench. Like his other Mets teammates on this list, Cabrera is heading for free agency, making him little more than a pricy rental for any team willing to absorb his salary, possibly the Indians or Diamondbacks. Neil Walker (owed about $5.5 million), Cabrera's teammate, recently returned from the DL and could fit this description, too.

Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays
Contract: Approximately $6.5 million through 2017

Bautista's contract includes a $17 million mutual option for 2018 and a $20 million option for '19, though a $500,000 buyout would send the 36-year-old back to free agency. His 16 homers show he has some pop left in his bat, but his OPS is just north of .700, a sign that his most productive days are behind him. Oddly enough, the righty-hitting outfielder has hit right-handers well (.765 OPS) but struggled mightily against lefties (.562 OPS). The Brewers and Mariners could be good fits, but Bautista has 10-and-5 rights, so he can veto any deal.

Bautista's laser two-run homer

Marco Estrada, SP, Blue Jays
Contract: Approximately $4.6 million through 2017

Estrada has had a tough season, but like many veterans at his position, a change of scenery might give him a second wind. After starting his season with two solid months, the right-hander was dreadful in June and July, so he'll have to post a few good outings -- such as Monday's seven innings of one-run ball against the White Sox -- to give contenders a reason to want him. With 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings, Estrada could work out of the bullpen for a contender -- the Rockies, perhaps? -- the same way Francisco Liriano is expected to for the Astros.

Ervin Santana, SP, Twins
Contract: Approximately $18 million through 2018

Santana was one of four Twins veterans being shopped in the days leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but Minnesota wasn't able to move him. His 3.37 ERA in 21 starts this season is nearly identical to the 3.38 he posted a year ago, though his 4.94 FIP suggests he may be benefiting from some good fortune. Still, Santana's history makes him a solid No. 3 or 4 starter for most rotations, so next year's financial commitment wouldn't scare teams away. He could be a good insurance policy for teams with injury-prone starters such as the Astros or Nationals.

Santana's six strong innings

Jeff Samardzija, SP, Giants
Contract: Approximately $60 million through 2020

Samardzija can veto a trade to 20 teams, leaving only nine in the mix if he was to clear waivers. The Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers and Nationals are not on his no-trade list, and any of those clubs could afford to take on the final three seasons of his contract. That said, the Giants may have been able to move Samardzija to those teams before July 31, so barring a major injury, it's unlikely those teams would make a move for him in August.

Justin Upton, OF, Tigers
Contract: Approximately $95 million through 2021

Upton can opt out of his contract after this season, though that appears to be a long shot. He has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block a trade to 20 teams, though with the Tigers seemingly at the start of a rebuilding plan, the 29-year-old might approve a deal to a team with a brighter immediate future. Upton is having his best overall season since 2014, when he hit 29 homers with 102 RBIs and an .833 OPS. He wouldn't be a temporary answer, so a team seeking a long-term solution answer in left field -- possibly the Mariners? -- could take a look.

Upton's monster game

Mike Napoli, 1B, Rangers
Contract: Approximately $4.5 million through 2017

Napoli's deal includes an $11 million option for 2018 with a $2.5 million buyout, which is included in the figure above. The 35-year-old can still swing the bat, belting 22 home runs in 88 games this season. His .739 OPS is nearly 90 points below his career average, but he still mashes left-handed pitching, posting a robust .873 OPS against southpaws, making him a good fit for Milwaukee or Seattle. The biggest reason to want Napoli? Everywhere he goes, he wins; since 2011, he has been to the World Series with three franchises. Party on!

Napoli's solo shot to left

Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins
Contract: Approximately $309 million through 2027

There was some brief chatter in recent weeks about the Marlins' desire to move Stanton's massive contract, but that seems like a long shot at best, impossible at worst. He is earning a reasonable $14.5 million this season, but that annual salary balloons to $25 million next year and gets as high as $32 million during the next 10 guaranteed years. Any team would love Stanton's powerful bat in their lineup, but not at this price. He should clear waivers without any problem, but Miami will be hard-pressed to find a team to assume his contract.

Mark Feinsand, executive reporter for MLB.com, has covered the Yankees and MLB since 2001 for the New York Daily News and MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.