Top 20 MLB pitching trade candidates

With Major League Baseball's trade deadline approaching, theScore's MLB editors break down the 20 best pitchers who could be moved ahead of July 31.

theScore's trade-deadline coverage also includes:

Top 20 MLB position player trade candidates

1. Zack Greinke, SP, Diamondbacks

Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
2.95 128 114 0.94 3.2

Greinke has settled down after a really rocky start to the campaign and is putting together his best season since 2009, when he captured his only Cy Young. Omitting his first three starts, the veteran right-hander owned a 2.04 ERA and 2.74 FIP over 16 games before Sunday's stumble against the St. Louis Cardinals (five earned runs in six innings). His contract is a bit of an obstacle, as the 35-year-old is owed $70 million from 2020-21, but if the Arizona Diamondbacks are prepared to deal him, a team needing an ace could do worse than paying up for Greinke.

Probability of trade: 6/10
Potential suitors: Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Brewers, Braves, Astros, Cardinals

2. Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets

Mike Stobe / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
4.55 112.2 110 1.24 2.2

Syndergaard is among MLB's best pitchers when on top of his game. Injuries have plagued the flamethrower, though, as he's thrown over 150 innings in a season only twice. The 26-year-old is on pace to eclipse the plateau but hasn't looked as sharp this year. His 23.4 percent strikeout rate is a career low and his 6.4 percent walk rate is a career high. If the New York Mets do opt to move him, they'll want premium pieces back since Syndergaard is arbitration-eligible through 2021.

Probability of trade: 2/10
Potential suitors: Padres, Brewers, Yankees, Astros, Braves

3. Trevor Bauer, SP, Indians

Duane Burleson / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
3.61 132 149 1.17 2.4

Long considered a bit of a bust due to his elite potential seemingly never coming to fruition, Bauer broke out in a huge way in 2018, finishing sixth in Cy Young voting after accruing a 2.21 ERA and 2.44 FIP. The 28-year-old has regressed a bit this year, struggling to suppress home runs. Any team trying to acquire Bauer will also have to take into account his desire to sign one-year deals for the remainder of his career once he becomes a free agent following the 2020 season.

Probability of trade: 5/10
Potential suitors: Yankees, Phillies, Rays, Astros, Brewers, Athletics, Cardinals, Cubs

4. Marcus Stroman, SP, Blue Jays

Kathryn Riley / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
3.25 110.2 88 1.27 2.3

Stroman is one of the Toronto Blue Jays' biggest trade chips heading into the deadline. He leads the American League in ground-ball percentage and sits ninth in ERA. The diminutive 28-year-old, who isn't eligible for free agency until 2021, hails from Medford, N.Y., and has been linked to his home state Yankees.

Probability of trade: 9/10
Potential suitors: Yankees, Padres, Astros, Braves, Cardinals

5. Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants

Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
3.86 116.2 121 1.21 1.9

It's been an impressive 11-year stretch in the Bay Area for Bumgarner, but his time with the San Francisco Giants is up. The 29-year-old is a free agent at season's end and San Francisco is moving toward a rebuild. MadBum's been one of baseball's most consistent left-handers for nearly a decade and owns a sparkling playoff resume, which includes 2014 NLCS and World Series MVP honors.

Probability of trade: 10/10
Potential suitors: Yankees, Twins, Brewers

6. Matthew Boyd, SP, Tigers

Logan Riely / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
3.95 114 152 1.14 3.0

Boyd is turning a lot of heads among opposing front offices during his breakout campaign. The 28-year-old ranks inside the top 10 in the AL in WAR, strikeouts, and WHIP while pitching for a very bad team in Detroit. What makes the left-hander even more attractive is that he's under team control through the 2022 season. It would take a lot for a club to pry Boyd away from the Tigers as the team is reportedly looking for impact prospects and/or at least one potential All-Star in return.

Probability of trade: 5/10
Potential suitors: Padres, Astros, Braves, Dodgers, Rays, Yankees

7. Robbie Ray, SP, Diamondbacks

Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
3.81 111 145 1.30 1.8

If the Diamondbacks opt to completely capitulate, shopping Ray in addition to Greinke could be an option. The left-hander has failed to build on a breakout 2017 season, taking a step backward in his strikeout rate and walk rate while still allowing 1.29 home runs per nine innings pitched. The 27-year-old has one year of arbitration left and the whiff potential is tantalizing, but he may not bring back the prospect haul to make it worthwhile for Arizona.

Probability of trade: 3/10
Potential suitors: Astros, Rays, Yankees, Twins, Red Sox, Braves, Athletics, Phillies

8. Felipe Vazquez, RP, Pirates

Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K SV WAR
2.06 39.1 61 20 1.4

If available, there's no question that Vazquez would be the top reliever on the market. Over the past three seasons, the left-hander is the only closer with at least 10 saves and a sub-2.20 ERA, and he's converted 78 saves during that span. The Pittsburgh Pirates, currently hovering around .500, would reportedly want two of the Los Angeles Dodgers' top four prospects, so he won't come cheap. It's understandable since he's on an extremely team-friendly deal and is due a maximum of $33.5 million through 2023.

Probability of trade: 2/10
Potential suitors: Dodgers, Red Sox, Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Twins, Athletics, Rays

9. Zack Wheeler, SP, Mets

Hunter Martin / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
4.69 119 130 1.28 2.6

While Syndergaard could be difficult to lure from the Mets, Wheeler should be much more readily available. The pending free agent is coming off of a breakout season after being the top prospect in the Carlos Beltran trade back in 2011. By ERA, he has regressed a bit but the peripherals are strong, with better strikeout and walk numbers than last year.

Probability of trade: 10/10
Potential suitors: Yankees, Astros, Brewers, Padres

10. Kirby Yates, RP, Padres

Jim McIsaac / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K SV WAR
1.10 41 64 30 2.3

Although the Padres enter the second half just two games back of a playoff spot, Yates' name continues to pop up in trade rumors. It makes sense since the All-Star right-hander's been the best reliever in baseball this year. He also has one more year of control left. Whether San Diego decides to sell high on Yates remains unclear, but if the club does choose that route, the suitors will be lining up.

Probability of trade: 4/10
Potential suitors: Dodgers, Red Sox, Nationals, Yankees, Phillies, Braves, Twins

11. Ken Giles, RP, Blue Jays

Hannah Foslien / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K SV WAR
1.45 31 53 13 1.4

Giles had some rocky outings after being traded to the Blue Jays last season. This year, however, he has been among the league's elite. The right-hander is one of three relievers with a sub-1.50 ERA and at least 10 saves, joining Yates and Shane Greene. Unlike some other relievers on the market, Giles would be more than just a rental, coming with one more season of team control.

Probability of trade: 10/10
Potential suitors: Dodgers, Red Sox, Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Twins, Athletics, Rays

12. Mike Minor, SP, Rangers

Duane Burleson / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
2.73 122 121 1.16 2.9

When the Rangers signed Minor in December 2017, the left-hander had been converted into a reliever. Texas decided to turn him back into a starter, and he's really settled into the role this campaign. The Rangers find themselves in contention and Minor is on a team-friendly deal, owed less than $10 million over the last year of his contract next season, so the odds that he's traded could be low. A bad week might quickly turn the Rangers into sellers, though.

Probability of trade: 3/10
Potential suitors: Padres, Yankees, Rays, Athletics, Braves, Phillies, Twins, Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals, Astros

13. Will Smith, RP, Giants

Daniel Shirey / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K SV WAR
2.17 38 54 23 1.4

The Giants may not be winning a lot of games, but when they get to the ninth inning with a lead, Smith has been automatic. The 30-year-old left-hander has 23 saves in 24 opportunities and is inside the top 10 in K/9 rate (13) among NL relievers. Smith, who is eligible for free agency at season's end, has already been linked to the Minnesota Twins in a possible scenario including MadBum.

Probability of trade: 10/10
Potential suitors: Twins, Dodgers, Rays, Red Sox, Brewers, Braves, Cardinals, Rangers

14. Shane Greene, RP, Tigers

Duane Burleson / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K SV WAR
1.06 34 35 22 0.7

Put plainly, Greene was bad last season. The right-hander has more than made up for it this year, becoming one of the league's elite closers during an otherwise bleak campaign in Detroit. Greene has one more year of arbitration left and would be a great option for teams looking for help at the back end of the bullpen.

Probability of trade: 9/10
Potential suitors: Twins, Dodgers, Red Sox, Braves, Nationals, Phillies

15. Jeff Samardzija, SP, Giants

Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
4.01 98.2 80 1.21 0.8

While he may not have even middle-of-the-rotation appeal anymore, Samardzija would be a good option for teams looking for back-end starting depth. The 34-year-old innings-eater is the second-best starter in the Giants' rotation this season. He's owed nearly $20 million next year, which might scare away smaller-market teams but means it would also take less to acquire him.

Probability of trade: 9/10
Potential suitors: Astros, Brewers, Cubs, Cardinals, Phillies, Nationals

16. Jason Vargas, SP, Mets

Al Bello / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
4.23 76.2 64 1.30 0.9

The journeyman 36-year-old would represent depth for any rotation, and he probably wouldn't be included on any postseason rosters. However, the Mets are likely motivated to rid themselves of the pitcher who recently challenged a reporter to a fight. The left-hander has an $8-million team option next year with a $2-million buyout, so he'd be less expensive than Samardzija.

Probability of trade: 10/10
Potential suitors: Twins, Brewers, Astros, Indians, Athletics

17. Mike Leake, SP, Mariners

Lindsey Wasson / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
4.60 115.1 85 1.30 0.8

The 10-year veteran isn't going to blow anybody away. However, Leake could be a nice addition to the back end of a contender's rotation. The 31-year-old can eat up innings - seventh-most in the AL this season - and doesn't walk anybody. His 1.4 BB/9 rate is tops in the Junior Circuit and fourth-best in all of baseball for qualified starters.

Probability of trade: 10/10
Potential suitors: Twins, Brewers, Braves, Diamondbacks

18. Sam Dyson, RP, Giants

Jason O. Watson / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K WHIP WAR
2.86 44 40 0.98 0.7

Smith isn't the only Giants reliever who could be packing his things shortly. Dyson has been a reliable arm since arriving in San Francisco and is enjoying an especially strong stretch. His 1.23 BB/9 is the best rate of his career, so the team that picks him up will know it will be getting a pitcher who can consistently find the strike zone.

Probability of trade: 8/10
Potential suitors: Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, Brewers, Angels, Dodgers

19. Sergio Romo, RP, Marlins

Eric Espada / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K SV WAR
4.01 33.2 27 16 0.2

Romo would be a welcome addition to any bullpen. The veteran reliever has 125 career saves to his name and can be used in various roles, including as an opener. The former All-Star owns a career 2.93 ERA and has plenty of experience pitching in the postseason, having won three titles with the Giants.

Probability of trade: 10/10
Potential suitors: Rays, Dodgers, Twins, Red Sox, Brewers, Cardinals, Nationals

20. Jake Diekman, RP, Royals

G Fiume / Getty Images Sport / Getty
ERA IP K HLD WAR
5.06 37.1 54 14 0.5

The big left-hander has good splits this season, as righties are hitting .213 while lefties are averaging a minuscule .182. Diekman also has an impressive 13 K/9 rate but is walking way too many batters (5.3 BB/9). The 32-year-old has accrued a 3.68 FIP despite a five-plus ERA.

Probability of trade: 10/10
Potential suitors: Dodgers, Brewers, Braves, Red Sox, Rays, Cubs, Nationals

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Top 20 MLB pitching trade candidates
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