MLB trade deadline: Orioles' Manny Machado, Marlins' J.T. Realmuto among the best of the infield market

Now that it's July, it's time to start thinking about Major League Baseball's trade deadline. Per usual, teams have until July 31 at p.m. ET to make deals without needing to resort to waivers.

As part of our deadline coverage, we'll be previewing the market in a variety of ways -- that includes a positional overview. For now, let's take a look at the potentially available infielders.

Catcher

The headliner 

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J.T. Realmuto PHI • C • 10
BA.306
R40
HR11
RBI38
SB1

J.T. Realmuto has been a fixture in trade rumors since the Marlins began their teardown. For good reason, as most every team would love to gain his production. He's an offensive-minded backstop currently hitting .306/.359/.544 in his age-27 season. His bat alone makes him worth employing. Yet Realmuto has improved behind the dish, and currently scores as a scratch defender. He has two additional seasons of team control remaining, making him a potential core piece for a team. The Marlins have every reason under the sun to ask for a bounty in return.

Plan B

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Wilson Ramos NYM • C • 40
BA.291
R26
HR12
RBI45
SB0

With a normal offseason under his belt, Wilson Ramos has taken to hitting like he did in 2016, when he made his first and (for now) only All-Star team. He's always been an asset behind the plate, and he receives high marks for his staff-handling ability. The Rays could in theory extend Ramos, but otherwise they'll presumably move the impending free agent to the highest bidder.

Worth a call

Salvador Perez C •
BA.214
R25
HR11
RBI33
SB1

Salvador Perez's defensive reputation has always outpaced his metrics. Still, a team who believes in his mitt (and in his odds of rebounding at the plate) should inquire about his availability. After this season, Perez will have three seasons and about $40 million remaining on his contract. With no hopes of competing in sight, the Royals need all the prospects they can gather. No matter what Perez is unlikely to be part of Kansas City's next winning team.

First base

The headliner

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Justin Bour LAA • 1B • 41
BA.234
R31
HR13
RBI37
SB0

Justin Bour looks like a beer leaguer and hits like one, too. For his career he's batted .265/.348/.474, albeit with most of the damage coming against righties. Bour is never going to win a Gold Glove, but he's a legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter who has two more seasons of team control left after this year. Given the frosty market for first base and DH types the last year-plus, it's possible that the Marlins decide to hang onto him rather than give him away.

Plan B 

Lucas Duda 1B •
BA.245
R15
HR6
RBI24
SB0

The rest of the first-base market is uninspiring. Case in point, Lucas Duda gets mentioned here despite having not performed well since last deadline, when he was moved from the Mets to the Rays. Without hitting for more power it's unlikely that his walk rate will rebound. Add in how he's always a question mark from an availability standpoint, and there's not a lot positive to note here. The Royals, should they find a taker, won't be getting much in return.

Worth a call

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Jose Abreu CHW • 1B • 79
BA.265
R41
HR12
RBI50
SB1

The White Sox have so far resisted the urge to trade Jose Abreu during their rebuild. With one season of team control remaining, it's about time for them to make a now-or-never decision. Abreu has been a stud at the plate throughout his career, to the extent that his 119 OPS+ qualifies as disappointing (for reference, the aforementioned Bour's OPS+ this year is 117). He's known as a quality clubhouse presence as well. For Abreu's sake, here's hoping he gets to experience postseason baseball sooner than later -- he deserves that much.

Second base

The headliner

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Brian Dozier WAS • 2B • 9
BA.220
R51
HR12
RBI34
SB5

Brian Dozier has earned MVP votes in each of the last three seasons, but that streak is in jeopardy thanks to an uncharacteristic season at the plate that could see him post his first OPS+ below 100 since 2013 (his mark that season was 98). He'll qualify for free agency at season's end, and with prospect Nick Gordon nearing the majors, it's possible the Twins hasten the transition via trade. Teams interested in Dozier will have to absorb what's left on his $9 million salary -- and do so without guarantee he'll return to his well-above-average offensive self.

Plan B

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Whit Merrifield KC • 2B • 15
BA.288
R34
HR5
RBI27
SB16

Dozier is the headliner in terms of name value. In terms of on-the-field production? The title belongs to Whit Merrifield, who just keeps proving he's a quality player. Merrifield has hit .287/.334/.428 for his career while playing an above-average second base. He's a right-hander with a sizable platoon split, making him less desirable than if he were a left-hander with the same gap, but his otherwise well-rounded game makes him appealing -- as does the four additional seasons of team control he has remaining.

Worth a call

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Jonathan Schoop MIN • 2B • 16
BA.202
R31
HR8
RBI21
SB0

As if the Orioles didn't have enough logs on the trade-deadline fire, it's conceivable they'll take calls on Jonathan Schoop, who is a year away from free agency. Schoop is having a poor season at the plate and could find himself moved instead during the winter or at the next deadline. Still, he's a year removed from hitting 32 home runs and his strong arm sure is fun.

Third base

The headliner

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Mike Moustakas MIL • 3B • 11
BA.258
R38
HR16
RBI53
SB3

Remember how difficult it was for Mike Moustakas to land a contract during the winter? Expect him to be in greater demand at the deadline. His OPS+ is 113, and he's on pace to post an ISO above .200 for a third consecutive year (though, to be fair, he had just 113 plate appearances in '16). Moustakas gets the top spot here because he's owed less than $3 million the rest of the way, and because his contract includes a mutual option for next season that would see him paid $15 milion -- another bargain amount should it be exercised.

Plan B

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Adrian Beltre TEX • 3B • 29
BA.309
R20
HR4
RBI26
SB0

Adrian Beltre is in his age-39 season, but he just keeps producing. His OPS+ this season is 117, and he remains an above-average defender at the hot corner. The questions with Beltre are if he can stay healthy and if the Rangers will move him.

Worth a call 

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Josh Donaldson ATL • 3B • 20
BA.234
R22
HR5
RBI16
SB2

Entering the season, Josh Donaldson seemed primed for top billing here. But injuries have left him a question mark, to the point where it's possible the Jays have no choice other than to hold onto him. A team who isn't risk averse could try to get Donaldson on a value deal. A trade would spare Toronto from having to decide whether or not to extend a qualifying offer.

Shortstop

The headliner

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Manny Machado SD • SS • 13
BA.308
R42
HR21
RBI59
SB7

Manny Machado is, almost without rival, the biggest name expected to be moved this deadline. He's an MVP candidate, a soon-to-be 26-year-old on pace to threaten 40 homers and new career-bests in most every meaningful category. Sure, Machado is a free agent at season's end. Yes, his defense at shortstop, his preferred position, isn't otherworldly like his work at the hot corner. But every team in baseball would benefit from adding him to their roster.

Plan B

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Eduardo Escobar ARI • 3B • 5
BA.277
R39
HR13
RBI50
SB1

Technically, Eduardo Escobar hasn't played a lot of shortstop since April, settling in as the Twins third baseman. But he's played there more than anywhere else in his career, and his bat merits mention somewhere on this list. Escobar has already almost set a new career-high in doubles, and underlying metrics suggest he is making better contact than in the past. He's a free agent at season's end, and his versatility makes him a fit for any number of teams.

Worth a call

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Trevor Story COL • SS • 27
BA.279
R44
HR16
RBI60
SB10

The Rockies are still in the wild card race and Trevor Story has been one of their better hitters -- why would they move him? They probably won't, but a nifty scenario would see them trade Story for help elsewhere and then promote prospect Brendan Rodgers, who is hitting .280/.336/.514 in Double-A. It's not going to happen in all likelihood, but it would be a neat trick.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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