MLB trade rumors are already heating up as the deadline approaches. Here’s what each team should do as 4:00 pm EST on July 31 nears.
Boston Red Sox, 68-30 (.694), 1st place | Buyers
- Need to upgrade at second base.
- Team could also use one bullpen arm.
- Already acquired first baseman Steve Pearce and starter Nathan Eovaldi.
Bottom line: The Red Sox have a bountiful farm system and are in a great situation to stock up with MLB-ready players as they prepare for the playoffs.
New York Yankees, 62-33 (.653), 2nd place | Buyers
- Need some serious help at first base.
- Are reportedly interested in acquiring a backup catcher.
- Already acquired reliever Zach Britton and J.A. Happ
Bottom line: The Yanks have the prospects and tools needed to complete a deal and will definitely be buying with their sights set on the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Rays, 49-47, 3rd place | Buyers of controllable players, sellers of rentals
- Want to acquire players who can they can control for a few years, and trade away players whose contracts expire after this season.
- Already acquired minor-leaguer Jalen Beeks by trading Eovaldi to Boston.
Bottom line: Everyone else should be fair game as the Rays likely prepare for a playoff run in 2019 or 2020.
Toronto Blue Jays, 43-52, 4th place | Sellers
- Club should receive calls on nearly everyone over the age of 25
- Yangervis Solarte, Josh Donaldson, Curtis Granderson, John Axford, Tyler Clippard, and Marco Estrada could all be traded.
- Already traded reliever Seunghwan Oh to the Rockies and starter J.A. Happ to the Yankees, both deals for two talented minor-leaguers.
Bottom line: They already have Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Bo Bichette, and Nate Pearson; why not add more top prospects to their farm system?
Baltimore Orioles, 28-69, 5th place | Sellers
- Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman, and Dylan Bundy all among players who could get traded.
- Outfielder Adam Jones could waive his no-trade clause to go to a contender, but would like to return to Baltimore in 2019.
- Already acquired eight talented prospects in exchange for Manny Machado and Zach Britton from the Dodgers and Yankees, respectively.
Bottom line: The Orioles will continue selling, and desperately need to focus on building a brighter future.
Cleveland Indians, 52-43, 1st place | Buyers
- Should acquire catcher or first baseman.
- Could consider trading lower-ranked prospect for controllable relief pitcher.
- Already acquired relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from Padres for prospect Francisco Mejia.
Bottom line: The Indians will likely win their division, and have a legit shot to make it to the World Series if they can make the right moves this deadline.
Minnesota Twins, 44-50, 2nd place | Stand pat
- Publicly announced they’re selling.
- Will only trade players whose contracts expire this offseason.
- Could trade Brian Dozier and/or a bullpen arm.
Bottom line: The Twins won’t do much as they look ahead to a playoff run in a different season.
Detroit Tigers, 41-57, 3rd place | Sellers
- Surplus of starters and relievers who could be on the move.
- Could be playoff bound in a couple of seasons.
- Will be a go-to team for other teams to trade with this trade deadline.
Bottom line: The Tigers will sell and build up a strong farm.
Chicago White Sox, 33-62, 4th place | Sellers
- Already excellent farm system includes Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, and others.
- Can add to that pool by landing prospects while trading major leaguers (such as Jose Abreu or James Shields).
- Already traded reliever Joakim Soria to the Brewers for minor-leaguers.
Bottom line: Lots of teams will check in with Chicago in hopes of completing a trade this deadline.
Kansas City Royals, 27-68, 5th place | Sellers
- Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, and Jason Hammel among Royals who could be traded
- Royals could also trade for big-leaguers who have many years remaining on their contract.
Bottom line: The Royals, who will be selling, need to plan for the future by not just acquiring prospects, but wisely planning what their lineup will look like in a few years.
Houston Astros, 64-35, 1st place | Buyers
- Could use a bullpen arm.
- Already acquired catcher Martin Maldonado from Los Angeles.
Bottom line: The Astros certainly won’t be selling this trade deadline, but they probably won’t be serious buyers either, simply because they’re so good already.
Seattle Mariners, 58-39, 2nd place | Buyers
- They could use one more starting pitcher.
- Could acquire one more bullpen arm.
Bottom line: There’s still some work to do if the Mariners want to win the AL West, so they’ll have to do some buying this July.
Oakland Athletics, 55-42, 3rd place | Buyers
- Shouldn’t bank on the playoffs this season due to the level of their competition.
- General manager Billy Beane will continue to only make trades for cheaper players.
- Already acquired reliever Jeurys Familia from Mets.
Bottom line: The club will be hoping for players who can help start a hot streak that pushes them into the top of the AL West standings.
Los Angeles Angels, 49-48, 4th place | Sellers
- Anyone is tradable. Especially higher-paid players.
- Ian Kinsler could be dealt to second baseman-needy team, such as Boston.
- Already traded catcher Martin Maldonado to Houston.
Bottom line: The Angels should sell, and free up a boatload of money while they’re at it.
Texas Rangers, 41-56, 5th place | Sellers
- Have many players they could trade.
- Shin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre should receive the most interest.
- Already traded starters Jesse Chavez and Cole Hamels to the Cubs in separate trades.
Bottom line: The Rangers are selling once again and will continue to build up a stronger farm system.
Atlanta Braves, 53-42, 1st place | Buyers
- Should definitely acquire a starting pitcher.
- May want to add an outfielder, a bullpen arm, and a closer.
Bottom line: They’ve got some work to do, but the future looks bright in Atlanta.
Philadelphia Phillies, 52-42, 2nd place | Buyers
- Need to pick up one more bullpen arm
- Should acquire some middle infielders.
Bottom line: They’ll be buying, but also be a bit conservative since they probably won’t make it to the World Series this season, and should keep their top prospects.
Washington Nationals, 48-48, 3rd place | Sellers
- Should trade away some of their strong bullpen.
- Should trade away players with contracts expiring in a few months, but keep players under contract for a while.
Bottom line: The Nats have a good squad, but they can’t keep up with Atlanta or Philly. They should focus on a potentially playoff-bound 2019 season.
Miami Marlins, 41-57, 4th place | Sellers
- Could trade relief pitchers, such as Brad Ziegler, Kyle Barraclough, and Drew Steckenrider.
- Martin Prado and others could also be traded.
Bottom line: The Marlins have many minor pieces who could make a big difference on a playoff-bound team.
New York Mets, 39-55, 5th place | Sellers
- Starters Zach Wheeler and Jacob deGrom could be traded.
- Infielder Asdrubal Cabrera is also expected to be on the move.
- Already traded reliever Jeurys Familia to Oakland for two prospects and money.
Bottom line: The Mets have multiple players who they could (and should) trade for prospects who can help them long-term.
Chicago Cubs, 55-38, 1st place | Buyers
- No major deals.
- Could use a reliever.
- Could trade one of their multiple bench utility players.
- Already acquired starters Jesse Chavez and Cole Hamels from Texas in separate trades.
Bottom line: The Cubs will buy (and maybe sell a little, too) on their way to October baseball.
Milwaukee Brewers, 55-43, 2nd place | Buyers
- Could acquire depth outfielder.
- Maybe acquire a starter.
- Already acquired reliever Joakim Soria and cash from Chicago for minor-leaguers.
Bottom line: The Brewers will be buyers, but they’re already pretty good—just how much buying should they do?
St. Louis Cardinals, 48-46, 3rd place | Sellers
- Could be playoff-bound in near future, so should only trade players with expiring contracts.
- Could unload bullpen arms, which are valuable this time of year.
- Should acquire players who have many years remaining on their contract.
Bottom line: What’s St. Louis going to do? Probably a small amount of selling and a small amount of buying.
Pittsburgh Pirates, 48-49, 4th place | Sellers
- Should trade players with expiring contracts.
- Should acquire players with 2+ years remaining on current contract.
Bottom line: The Pirates, like a few other teams, will not acquire just prospects, but also major leaguers that will help them in a few years.
Cincinnati Reds, 43-53, 5th place | Sellers
- Will only trade Matt Harvey, per reports.
- No longer expected to trade Raisel Iglesias.
Bottom line: The Reds will be selling and, like the rest of baseball, building for a playoff run in a couple of seasons.
Los Angeles Dodgers, 53-43, 1st place | Buyers
- Could acquire a second baseman, such as the Angels’ Kinsler.
- Already acquired shortstop Manny Machado from Baltimore for five minor-leaguers.
Bottom line: They are in the situation to buy, but upgrading just a bit by trading too much may not be wise.
Arizona Diamondbacks, 53-44, 2nd place | Buyers
- Could acquire middle infielder.
- Could also use a catcher, but may not trade for one.
- Already acquired starter Matt Andriese from Tampa.
Bottom line: The D-backs have a solid squad. They should make the playoffs, and they can buy if they really need to.
Colorado Rockies, 51-45, 3rd place | Buyers
- Could improve at first base.
- Could acquire a fourth or fifth starter.
- Already acquired Suenghwan Oh from Toronto.
Bottom line: They’re buying, and have a legit shot at playing October baseball.
San Francisco Giants, 50-48, 4th place | Buyers
- Should acquire a fifth starter who can also work out of the bullpen.
- May acquire one more reliever.
Bottom line: The Giants may be fourth in the competitive NL West, but they’ll still be buying.
San Diego Padres, 40-59 (.404), 5th place | Sellers
- Will trade anybody who is on the final year of their contract.
- Phil Hughes, Freddy Galvis, Clayton Richard, Craig Stammen, Tyson Ross, A.J. Ellis, and Kirby Yates are among Padres players who could get traded.
- Already traded Brad Hand and Adam CImber to Cleveland for Francisco Mejia.
Bottom line: Any team who needs a pitcher has hit the jackpot if they dig into the Padres’ roster of players this July.
It’s impossible to predict the exact outcome of any trade deadline. There will be shocking trades, poor decisions, and maybe even drama. But I’ve tried to predict, to the best of my ability, what could happen as that magical hour on July 31 approaches.
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