As the clock ticks down to Major League Baseball’s annual July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, debate, conjecture and speculation abound. For fans, this can be one of the most intriguing times of year; the excitement of ones team making a deal to boost postseason hopes, or enrich a rebuild, leading to near-obsessive monitoring of sports news outlets, Internet forums, and social media networks.
A plethora of players find their names thrown into the mix each July, and this year is no different. With the additional wildcard berth creating tight postseason races in each division, many teams still harbor hopes of playing baseball in October, leading General Managers to jockey for position and scramble for pieces in the waning hours of business.
In many respects, the final dash towards the MLB trade deadline is akin to that of the father, working late on Christmas Eve, who still plans on buying a few more gifts to make the following day extra special. The shelves may be a little bare, with the best items (Jeff Samardzija) long-since plucked and rival dads aiming to nix any deal which may diminish their own efforts, but, if you search hard enough, those last items for a fairy tale ending may just slot into place.
So, let’s take a look at the best toys left in the store.
Here are the top five trade candidates ahead of Thursday’s 4pm ET deadline, complete with predictions as to where they’ll wind up.