As the calendar approaches Memorial Day, the trade season is drawing near. We're into the second quarter of the season, and although the bulk of the summer deals won't take place for two more months, there's always the possibility of a contender jumping the market in an attempt to separate itself from the pack.
So which players should we expect to see in new uniforms between now and July 31? Here's an early look at some names to watch:
Manny Machado, SS, Orioles
The Orioles' superstar was the subject of myriad trade rumors this offseason, and given Baltimore's deep hole in the American League East, Machado's name has already been the most popular on the rumor mill this season. A three-time All-Star who won't turn 26 until July, Machado will be one of the top free agents available next offseason. The O's are a long shot to retain him beyond 2018, so rather than settling for Draft-pick compensation, Baltimore will likely shop him to the highest bidder for the stretch run with the hope of landing two or three blue-chip prospects in return.
Potential fits: Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals, D-backs
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays
The Blue Jays' path to October won't be easy, especially after their recent 1-7 slide. The Yankees and Red Sox are pulling away in the division, meaning Toronto's best-case scenario would be to join a crowd of a half-dozen teams vying for the second AL Wild Card spot. If the season takes a turn for the worse, the Blue Jays could move Donaldson -- a pending free agent unlikely to sign back with Toronto -- to a contender and promote top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is knocking at the door to take over at third base. Left-hander J.A. Happ could also be on the block if the Jays become a seller.
Potential fits: Braves, Cardinals, Indians
Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins
Dozier looked to be on the trade block before the 2017 season, but the Twins held on to the former All-Star as they made a surprising run to an AL Wild Card berth last year. Minnesota is hoping for a return trip to October, but given the team's subpar start, the progress being made by Nick Gordon (No. 4 on the team's Top 30 prospect list according to MLB Pipeline) in the Minors and Dozier's expiring contract, the Twins could move the soon-to-be 31-year-old by midsummer if October appears to be a long shot.
Potential fits: Brewers, Indians, Rockies
Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals
If the Royals become early sellers as suggested above, Moustakas could find himself playing for a contender down the stretch. The third baseman struggled to find a job this offseason before settling on a one-year, $5.5 million pact with Kansas City, and although there's a $15 million mutual option, it comes with an affordable $1 million buyout. Moustakas -- who already has 10 home runs and a solid .861 OPS -- might welcome a trade, giving him a chance to put his talent on display for a new team in what would be meaningful games. Either way, he won't be eligible to get a qualifying offer after the season, making it easier for him to sign next offseason.
Potential fits: Braves, Cardinals, Mets