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Potential Candidates in MLB Trade Deadline

Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports

NEW YORK — Attention, Attention: The clock is ticking. We are less than two weeks away from mayhem — MLB’s August 1st Trade Deadline. And with all the hype, and attention leading up to trade season, a stampede of trade-buzz and rumors comes lurking day-by-day…

Here is a pair of potential trade candidates, who could be on the move — Cody Bellinger of the Chicago Cubs and Jordan Hicks of the St. Louis Cardinals, according to multiple sources. 

Cody Bellinger – Outfielder – Chicago Cubs

Cody Bellinger, one of MLB’s Trade Deadline top targets – Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports

The Chicago Cubs (44-50), have once again, hit a crossroads in their season — recording six wins and eight losses in the month of July — currently 7.5 games out of first place in the NL Central as well as eight games back for the final National League Wild Card spot with four teams in front of them. 

Cody Bellinger, a pristine left-handed bat and above average outfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the year, will most definitely provide a contender with the ‘goods,’ come the August 1st Trade Deadline. 

“A lot of that’s out of my control,” Bellinger recently said regarding trade-talks. “What I can control is just showing up and playing. That’s what I try to do.” A veteran-type of answer from a winning-player, who understands at the end of the day: front offices do what they believe is best for the organization — it’s a business. 

Cody Bellinger and Christopher Morel in Cubs-Yankees at Yankee Stadium – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

The 28-year-old Bellinger has posted a .308/.365/.523 slash line this season in Chicago with 12 HR and 35 RBI. And to go further, in his last 15 games, the two-time All-Star, 2017 NL Rookie of the Year, and 2019 NL MVP, is batting .456 with a .492 on-base percentage, five HR and 13 RBI. 

Postseason Experience Is Key: From 2017-2022 with the LA Dodgers, Bellinger played in a total of 69 postseason games, and posted the following numbers — a .211 batting average with nine HR, 33 RBI, 25 walks, and 14 stolen bases. All together, he was a major key to the Dodgers success in 2020 as LA captured their first World Series title since 1988. 

Trade Partners? NY Yankees, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants

Jordan Hicks – Reliever/Closer – St. Louis Cardinals

Jordan Hicks, Cardinals ‘hidden gem in the bullpen’ – Getty Images

A season in St. Louis, nobody could have expected or predicted — starting off the year with a record of 10 wins and 20 losses, then proceeding by going 32-33 in their next 65 games. As it stands today, July 19th, the Cardinals (42-53), are fourth in the NL Central (10 GB), and for the final NL Wild Card spot? 10.5 games back with six teams in front of them. 

Throughout the course of their ‘blunderful’ first half, Jordan Hicks, who many have deemed, “St. Louis’ hidden-gem in the bullpen,” became a bright spot, and a trending name within opposing front offices. The 26-year-old flamethrower has recorded a 3.76 ERA with 58 strikeouts and eight saves across 40.2 innings this year (31.5 strikeout percentage, which would mark his career-high in a season). 

Flamethrower Indeed: Hicks’ 2023 arsenal includes five different pitches — a sinker, sweeper, four-seam fastball, slider and a changeup — his four-seam fastball averages out to 101.0 mph while his sinker lands at 100.5 mph — according to Baseball Savant. 

Hicks’ Arsenal in 2023 with Total Usage (%) and Average Speed

Sinker: 433 pitches – 59.2% – 100.5 mph

Sweeper: 163 pitches – 22.3% – 87.5 mph

Four-Seam Fastball: 77 pitches – 10.5% – 101.0 mph

Slider: 40 pitches – 5.5% – 86.9 mph

Changeup: 18 pitches – 2.5% – 91.4 mph

“100 mph closers are rarely available,” a longtime baseball scout told me this week. “A contender will make a move for Hicks. Similar to the trade we saw with Texas acquiring (Aroldis) Chapman from Kansas City.” 

Likewise, John Mozeliak, the Cardinals president of baseball operations, revealed in a recent interview that the plan going forward in St. Louis is to build for the 2024 season and indeed, sell on certain names, if the price is right. 

“Right now, I can tell you we’re going to trade people. I just don’t know if it’s going to be household names or more guys who are just not likely to be here next year. We want to get some value in return.” 

Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks and catcher Wilson Contreras – Image Credit: AP

“We want to get some return that’s going to help us for 2024, and that’s going to be really our focus as we enter the trading period.” 

One last note, Hicks is scheduled to become an unrestricted free-agent this off-season.

Trade Partners? LA Dodgers, Texas Rangers, NY Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins

Buckle up, it’s trade season!

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email:

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