Most of the top players on the trade market have already been dealt over the last month.
However, there remain some players who could help teams fighting for playoff spots as well teams who already have postseason berths virtually locked up.
Teams must acquire players by midnight Thursday for them to be eligible for postseason play. Here is a look at five players who could provide a boost. All five can become free agents at the end of the season, thus not requiring a long-term commitment:
Miguel Gonzalez, White Sox
The 33-year-old right-hander has been the epitome of average over his six-year career with a 51-51 record and 3.88 ERA. His ERA+ is an even 100 this season as he has gone 7-10 with a 4.23 ERA in 21 starts.
However, Gonzalez has turned in quality starts in seven of his eight outings since the All-Star break, going 3-2 with a 2.94 ERA. He also has postseason experience, making one start in both the 2012 and 2014 ALDS for the Baltimore Orioles. Despite having an 0-1 record in those games, Gonzalez allowed just three runs — two earned — in 12 2/3 innings.
Brandon Phillips, Braves
The veteran second baseman has added to his versatility by making a seamless transition to third base since the Braves called up top prospect Ozzie Albies from Class AAA Gwinnett on Aug. 1.
The 36-year-old Phillips still has some offensive value as he is hitting .291/.330/.426 with 11 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 118 games. He is also a .325 lifetime hitter in the postseason, going 13-for-40 with two homers.
Padres pitching trio
The San Diego Padres have three pitchers who could be useful to a contender: left-handed starter Clayton Richard, right-handed starter Jhoulys Chacin and right-handed reliever Craig Stammen.
Richard’s 6-13 record, 4.96 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 27 starts are underwhelming, to be sure. However, he is a lefty who generates plenty of groundballs, which could make him attractive as a spot starter/long reliever to a team with a good infield defense.
The 33-year-old has also pitched well lately, going 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in five starts during August.
Many baseball people were surprised the Padres did not trade Chacin at the July 31 non-waiver deadline, and general manager A.J. Preller says he would like to re-sign the 29-year old. Chacin has been San Diego’s best starter, going 11-9 with a 4.10 ERA in 26 starts.
Chacin’s home/road splits have given some teams cause for concern, though. He is 7-2 with a 1.86 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 13 starts at Petco Park but 4-7 with a 6.96 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 13 starts away from home.
Stammen has had a solid comeback season after being out of the major leagues for most of 2015 and all of 2016 while recovering from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. In 48 games and 68 1/3 innings, he has a 3.42 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
Adding to the 33-year-old Stammen’s value is that he has worked multiple innings in half of his appearance — 24 — and at least three innings five times.
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