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Top trade pieces getting hot before MLB trade deadline

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With eight weeks remaining until the Trade Deadline, clubs around the Majors are dispatching scouts to watch players at every level.

A number of potential trade candidates are rewarding those scouts with stellar performances, increasing their stock as buyers begin to shape their plans for the upcoming Aug. 1 Deadline.

Here’s a look at eight possible trade chips who are doing everything they can to impress contenders around the league:

Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Nationals
Candelario’s first year in Washington might be his only one, as the third baseman’s recent performance could draw interest on the trade market. The 29-year-old has three homers and 14 RBIs to go along with an impressive .329/.444/.610 slash line over his last 23 games entering Wednesday, not to mention that he ranks in the 97th percentile in the league in outs above average. With a one-year, $5 million contract, Candelario could be a low-cost option for a club seeking help at the hot corner.

Michael Conforto, OF, Giants
Conforto has been red hot in recent weeks, belting seven home runs with 19 RBIs and a 1.110 OPS over his past 20 games entering Wednesday. The 30-year-old is in the first year of a two-year, $36 million deal, but he can opt out of the contract at the end of the year assuming he reaches 350 plate appearances. If the Giants decide to sell – which remains a big if at this point – Conforto could be one of the better bats on the market.

Alexis Díaz, RHP, Reds
The Reds have a number of potential trade chips, including infielder Kevin Newman and right-hander Buck Farmer, but Díaz is the one coveted by many teams around the league. The younger brother of Mets reliever Edwin Díaz, Alexis has pitched to a 0.82 ERA over his past 10 outings entering Wednesday, striking out 20 batters in 11 innings while earning seven saves. He’s under club control through 2027, but the Reds could likely bring back a haul of talent if they were to part with the 26-year-old.

Kendall Graveman, RHP, White Sox
Keynan Middleton, RHP, White Sox
This pair of Chicago relievers has been highly effective over the past few weeks, combining for 20 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run. Graveman is in the second year of a three-year, $24 million deal, so the White Sox could look to shed his salary if they wind up becoming big sellers. Middleton signed a Minor League deal before the season and is earning $1 million, making the impending free agent a cost-friendly alternative on the relief market.

Randal Grichuk, OF, Rockies
It’s been another tough season in Colorado, where the last-place Rockies figure to be among the sellers this summer. Starter Chase Anderson and reliever Brent Suter could both draw interest, but with the limited number of outfield bats expected to move, Grichuk – who just posted an .844 OPS over a two-week stretch – could become a valuable asset if his bat stays hot.

Michael Kopech RHP, White Sox
The White Sox remain a likely seller, and while names such as Lucas Giolito, Yasmani Grandal and Lance Lynn have been mentioned as potential chips, it’s Kopech who might offer a chance at the biggest return. The 27-year-old has a 2.32 ERA in his past five starts, striking out 43 batters while allowing only 12 hits over 31 innings. Kopech is earning $2.05 million this season and is arbitration-eligible for two more years, putting the Sox in a strong position if they choose to capitalize on his recent performance.

Julian Merryweather, RHP, Cubs
Following a rough April, Merryweather has been very effective recently, posting a 1.32 ERA with 20 strikeouts over 13 2/3 innings. The 31-year-old is under club control for three more years, but just as the Cubs dealt Scott Effross a year ago, Chicago could take advantage of the relief market if Merryweather continues to pitch well.

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