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Best available hitters at MLB Trade Deadline

We go over some of the top bats teams may target prior to the MLB Trade Deadline on August 2.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

As of this writing, one of the best available hitters is already off the market after the Yankees acquired Andrew Benintendi from the Royals in a four-player deal on Wednesday. Still, there are plenty of quality bats on the trade block leading up to the Aug. 2 trade deadline. And that group is headlined, of course, but a certain left-handed hitter out of D.C.

2022 MLB Trade Deadline: Best Available Hitters

Juan Soto, Washington Nationals

Stats: .243 average, .880 OPS, 17 home runs, 45 RBI

Where will the best young hitter in the game today end up before Tuesday’s trade deadline? Will he actually go anywhere? It will take quite a haul of cost-controlled, MLB-ready players and prospects to strike a deal, but a handful of clubs, including the Dodgers, Rangers, Mariners and Cardinals, are in the sweepstakes. However, as of Thursday morning, it’s another team that’s considered the frontrunner for Soto.

Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs

Stats: .258 average, .843 OPS, 14 home runs, 37 RBI

Contreras knows what’s up — he has basically already said goodbyes to the Wrigley Field faithful. The three-time All-Star is a free agent after this season and will not be sticking around for the Cubs’ rebuild. He is having a great season at the plate, leading all qualified NL catchers in OPS and wRC+ (139). The Astros and Mets, two playoff teams that could really use more production from their backstop, are a couple of his most likely destinations.

Josh Bell, Washington Nationals

Stats: .302 average, .877 OPS, 13 home runs, 53 RBI

Soto isn’t the only quality hitter who is probably on the way out in Washington. Bell, of course, isn’t the same level of player, but he is having a fantastic season. He ranks fourth in the National League in on-base percentage (.386) and among the top-15 in extra-base hits (39). The Brewers, Astros and Mets are three teams that have been linked to the 29-year-old switch-hitter in recent rumors. He’s scheduled to become a free agent after this season.

Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs

Stats: .282 average, .811 OPS, 9 home runs, 46 RBI

Is it too obvious that the Nats and Cubs are sellers? Other players such as the Orioles’ Trey Mancini, the Royals’ Whit Merrifield, and the D-Backs’ David Peralta are also available, but Happ is having the best season of the bunch. He is under contract through 2023, was an All-Star for the first time this year and would provide a boost to any team looking for an outfield bat. He could also chip in at second base in a pinch. The switch-hitter has a career-low 21.5% strikeout rate this year. The Padres have shown interest in Happ.