Buying and Selling: A Look at the MLB Trade Deadline

One of the most exciting times of the Major League Baseball season is fast approaching: the trade deadline. This season’s deadline will be even crazier than in years past as a result of the elimination of the August waiver trade deadline. With just one trade deadline, expect more deals than usual in the next few weeks. In anticipation for this year’s trade deadline, our baseball writers have taken a closer look at which teams will be buyers and who will be sellers in the next few weeks.

AL EAST

Yankees:

With a commanding nine game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays and the best record in the American League, the Yankees seem to be an obvious buyer. Despite their strong performance thus far, they could use some help in the form of an ace-level pitcher. Luis Severino has been out all year with an injury and it would be tough to rely on him over the last few months of the season. The Yankees could be a landing spot for a guy like Madison Bumgarner or Marcus Stroman. Matthew Boyd of the Tigers is another player that could be an option for the Yankees at the trade deadline. – Chris Drosehn 

Rays:

Despite their recent fall in the standings, the Rays should still be buyers. However, their payroll inflexibility might make things a bit difficult. The Rays could use a bat and an arm to eat some innings. Matthew Boyd seems to be the type of guy they would go after since he still has a team-friendly contract beyond this season. They could also go after Freddy Galvis from the Blue Jays, a shortstop that would give them a bit more offensive production and some veteran leadership as they make a playoff push. Toronto’s Eric Sogard would also make sense for the Rays. – Chris Drosehn

Red Sox:

The Red Sox have already been buyers this year when they traded for Andrew Cashner to address their starting pitching depth, but could ultimately be done making moves. However, it’s no secret that this team needs a steadier bullpen. Will Smith or Tony Watson out of San Francisco both seem like a fit, especially after reports that Boston has had scouts at the Giants recent series against the Mets. It’s doubtful they would add more to the their rotation, but stranger things have happened. – Chris Drosehn

Blue Jays: 

The Blue Jays are currently rebuilding and will likely look to sell their rental pieces and high impact relief arms at the trade deadline. Expect them to look to move relievers such as Ken Giles, Daniel Hudson and David Phelps along with some useful bats in Justin Smoak, Freddy Galvis, and Randal Grichuk. Marcus Stroman could find a new team this trade deadline as he would seemingly bring back the largest return of prospects to assist with the team’s rebuild around guys like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio. – Chris Drosehn

Orioles: 

The rebuilding Orioles are already starting to sell having sent Andrew Cashner to the Red Sox earlier this month. The team could send Jonathan Villar elsewhere after a relatively solid season thus far, but they have little else to deal from their offense. Chris Davis seems to be an offseason conversation, but no team will be willing to take that contract at this point. Mychal Givens, Miguel Castro and John Means could all be hot commodities as well. Trey Mancini seems to be the guy the O’s will build around and will not be dealt. – Chris Drosehn

AL Central

Twins: 

The Twins have been on a roll all season long. Their recent success against the Indians has pushed their lead to three games in the division, making them a definite buyer at the trade deadline. Minnesota will likely look to bolster their pitching heading into the late stages of the season. They already have a solid starting rotation but acquiring a guy like Madison Bumgarner would be an excellent addition, especially with his 127 strikeouts and 3.65 ERA to this point in the season. Other potential trade targets include Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, Shane Greene, and Matthew Boyd. – Parker Wanner

Indians:

If asked a month ago whether the Indians should be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, a lot of “sell, sell, sell” could be heard in response. However, now that they currently hold a wild card spot and have narrowed the deficit to the Twins to just three games in the AL Central, Cleveland’s aspirations regarding the postseason have certainly changed. Their situation is unique though because they don’t have many top tier prospects to give away.  A Trevor Bauer trade could seem like a “sell” move initially, but not if they are able to get another consistent major league level bat in return to add to their lineup. Trading Bauer would not have a major effect on their playoff chances as the rest of their rotation, which includes All-Star Game MVP Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, and Corey Kluber, has been solid all season long. The Cleveland front office may very well stand pat with their roster at the trade deadline, but only time will tell. – Rocco Nuosci

White Sox:

If this had been written when the White Sox were hot and looking like a team that wanted to make a wild card run, it might have been about them being buyers. However, now that they look like the team we saw last year, they will likely be sellers. With the White Sox the big asset that most teams would be interested in would be Jose Abreu. With that being said, Abreu painted himself into quite the corner when he indicated that he wanted to re-sign with the White Sox in order to see the rebuild through. Also, he is one of the leaders in the clubhouse and with Tim Anderson still on the injured list, the “Pale Hose” need all the leadership they can get. As a result, most teams know Abreu is a short-term rental at best. The two guys who could get looks would be All-Star catcher James McCann and Alex Colome, who has put together a solid season. Don’t expect the White Sox to just give these guys away though. Also don’t rule out a minor trade to gain another veteran arm. Otherwise look for the White Sox to likely stand pat outside of a move or two. – Jason Polensky

Royals: 

The Royals will undoubtedly be sellers at the trade deadline, the only question is how much will they sell? Dayton Moore, general manager of the Royals, has stated multiple times that it would take a sizeable return for versatile star Whit Merrifield to be moved. Outside of Merrifield,  the talent on this roster drops off quite a bit. Still, Kansas City has already moved Terrance Gore to the Yankees for cash considerations after the emergence of Bubba Starling. Veteran relievers Ian Kennedy and Jake Diekman could also prove valuable to various playoff contenders. It also would not be surprising to see Billy Hamilton make an appearance in the playoffs this year as a member of another team. – Rocco Nuosci

Tigers: 

Similar to the Royals, Detroit is a team who is in full rebuild mode. After the MLB Draft back in June, Bleacher Report ranked their farm system as the 11th best in baseball. As a result, the Tigers will likely look to sell to improve that ranking. At the center of the Tigers rumors is Nicholas Castellanos. His offensive numbers are solid with an average of .284 and on-base percentage of .342. The problem lies with his defense, as he is a huge liability in the outfield with a -8.8 defensive WAR so far this year. Regardless, one would think a playoff contending team, especially one with some top prospects to spare, might bring in Castellanos to bolster their offense. Matthew Boyd’s value has gone down significantly since June, posting a 1-7 record with a 6.08 ERA. However, Boyd along with Shane Greene are both guys that could be dealt at the deadline as well. – Rocco Nuosci

AL WEST

Astros: 

The Astros head into the trade deadline in first place in the AL West. They have the third best record in baseball and are pushing to make their second World Series appearance in three years.  In order to do so the Astros could target both hitting and pitching at the trade deadline. Wilson Ramos of the Mets is one potential target. The Astros could use help behind the plate with Robinson Chirinos only hitting .220. Ramos won’t add help defensively, but he is a good contact hitter and can add some pop to the lineup. Marcus Stroman is someone who could bolster their pitching. A few years ago, the Astros made a blockbuster trade to get Justin Verlander from the Tigers, which helped them get a World Series title. It will cost the Astros a lot to get Stroman, but if they are able to add him into the rotation with Verlander and Gerrit Cole, the Astros could be well on their way to another World Series appearance. – Chris Kofsky

A’s:

The A’s showed they were going to be buyers with the acquisition of Homer Bailey prior to the deadline.  Of course it didn’t cost them much to make the trade and should be a sign of how Oakland moves about in this year’s trade market.  Oakland is right in the thick of the playoff hunt and their record could easily have 5 or more wins having lost 7 of 9 games in extra innings.  They find themselves in a rather peculiar situation where they could be both buyers and sellers if the price is right. Bullpen needy team’s will inquire about their bullpen and whether not they are willing to part with Blake Treinen (16 SV, 38 K’s) after losing the closer role to Liam Hendricks (8 SV, 70 K’s)?  Might they trade Hendricks instead? Joakim Soria is another name worth mentioning. They could use another rotation arm or a consistent bat to add to their lineup. We just never know what Billy Beane might have up his sleeve. – J-Raz

Angels:

The Los Angeles Angels find themselves in the gray area and are a really fringe contender. With that being said, the Angels could potentially buy, but only cost controlled assets. Looking forward, they need to build around Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani and look to compete as soon as possible. The Angels could be in play to land Matt Boyd, Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez in hopes of bolstering the rotation. If the Mets decide to move Noah Syndergaard, expect them to be in the mix for him too. Most likely, the Angels will end up standing pat around the deadline. – Chris Drosehn

Rangers:

The Rangers have exceeded expectations in 2019, but find themselves in a difficult position as they head towards the trade deadline. They currently sit over five games out of a playoff spot. Their offense has been really promising this year as their 5.3 runs per game ranks fourth best in the AL. However, outside of Joey Gallo, they seem to be lacking core pieces with Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara, and Ronald Guzman all underperforming. Three of their best hitters, Shin-Soo Choo, Hunter Pence, and Elvis Andrus, are all over 30, making it clear that the Rangers need to try to find younger productive pieces to build a strong core for the offense. Their pitching staff has struggled this season outside of Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. As a result, the Rangers face a very tough hill to climb if they want to make the postseason. Since this team is lacking a young core, moving Minor, Lynn and Pence could help them in the future. – Mathias Altman-Kurosaki

Mariners: 

Since the Mariners are in a rebuilding stage, their general manager, Jerry Dipoto, could get some calls regarding the availability of Mitch Haniger, Tim Beckham, Kyle Seager, and Daniel Vogelbach. Haniger is currently on the injured list but could attract some interest. Beckham has had a streaky year at the plate but has been hitting recently. Kyle Seager is having a down year but would be a solid veteran bat to add to a contender’s roster. Vogelbach is having a great season and could draw interest but is unlikely to move. In addition to these hitters, the Mariners could potentially move pitchers such as Mike Leake and Marco Gonzales to help add more prospects to their minor league system as they build for the future. – ArronSwarm

NL EAST

Braves: 

Atlanta sits atop the NL East with a 6.5 game lead over the Nationals, and have the second best record in the NL behind the Dodgers. With one of the best farm systems in baseball, the Braves should be able to fill their needs in the rotation and bullpen by making a few trades at the deadline. With their top starting pitching production coming from 21 year old Mike Soroka and 25 year old Max Fried, they could use a veteran starter to add experience and depth to the rotation. Also, although their bullpen has improved from earlier in the season, it could also use some more depth. Look for the Braves to potentially target one of three starting and relief pitcher package deals: Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith from San Francisco, Marcus Stroman and Ken Giles from Toronto, or Matthew Boyd and Shane Greene from Detroit. Adding a set of experienced arms like these to their rotation and bullpen would certainly help Atlanta seal the deal on its playoff bound season, and make them a major contender come October. – The Lead Runner

Nationals: 

The Nationals find themselves with the ability to buy coming into a year where most thought they’d fall off a bit. The division is within striking distance and they are currently one of the wild card teams. This team could use some help at the trade deadline in the big three areas: offense, rotation and the bullpen. Middle infield seems to be an area of upgrade with Brian Dozier struggling all year. The back end of the rotation is really thin and could be made worse if Max Scherzer is down for any significant amount of time. Their bullpen has struggled seemingly all year and really could use some upgrades. Guys like Freddy Galvis and Dee Gordon could shore up the infield. Any combination of relievers such as Shane Greene, Will Smith, and Greg Holland would be helpful along with a potential reunion with Tanner Roark or an acquisition of  Mike Minor if the Rangers decide to sell. – Chris Drosehn

Phillies: 

The Phillies have had their ups and downs this season and currently find themselves sitting just a half a game back from the second wild card spot. As the deadline approaches the Phillies will definitely be buying as they have already added Drew Smyly and Mike Morin to the roster. The Phillies main focus will likely be adding to their pitching. In regards to their starting rotation, the Phillies will likely focus on controllable arms such as Marcus Stroman, Robbie Ray, and Mike Minor. They could find themselves in the mix for Madison Bumgarner but a deal seems unlikely. To assist their injury-plagued bullpen, expect the Phillies to inquire about players such as Will Smith, Shane Greene, Greg Holland, and Jake Diekman.  In addition to pitching, the Phils could also find themselves adding a veteran bat. Nicholas Castellanos, Adam Jones, and former Phillie, Hunter Pence, all seem like potential options. With many needs to fill, expect general manager Matt Klentak to be busy in the next few weeks. – Phillies News Today

Mets:

The Mets have underachieved this season and currently sit in fourth in the NL East, which makes them pretty obvious sellers. If they are looking to sell, then Seth Lugo, who has a 3.09 ERA and 63 strikeouts on the season, seems like a potential option. Other teams who are looking for a starter are keeping a close eye on Noah Syndergaard. While he isn’t having a great season, he will draw a lot of interest due to his track record as a solid starter and his two years remaining on his contract beyond this season. Zack Wheeler and Jason Vargas also could potentially be moved at the right price. – Parker Wanner

Marlins: 

The Miami Marlins will be and should be in full selling mode come the deadline. Expect most contracts to be moved that expire this year, even if they only get little in return. Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, Martin Prado and Starlin Castro are all likely to find new teams this deadline. On the pitching side, Sergio Romo could go to a team in need of middle relief help, as might Jarlin Garcia. The Marlins could also find themselves dealing Caleb Smith who has had a good year and could net something for them as they continue the plunge into full rebuild. – Chris Drosehn

NL CENTRAL

Cubs: 

Sitting atop the NL Central, one should fully expect the Cubs to be active before the trade deadline. They already added Martin Maldonado and will likely shift their focus towards pitching upgrades. The Cubs will likely look to add another left-handed reliever such as Tony Watson or Will Smith. Outside of pitching, Whit Merrifield is another possible target for the Cubs. However, the asking price is likely too high for them to land him. – Matthew Aung

Brewers:

Talk about a team that needs to make something happen at the deadline, the Brewers will likely need to make a few trades to jumpstart this team. With a bullpen that has few solid arms, the Brewers will likely need to focus on pitching at the trade deadline. In regards to the bullpen, Will Smith of the San Francisco Giants would be a nice fit for the crew if they can entice them with enough prospects to make it happen. For starting pitching, the Brewers could go back to the Giants and Madison Bumgarner. This type of deal has all feels of another C.C. Sabathia deal from 2008 for the Brewers, except it’s questionable as to if they have the prospects to pull off the deal. Robbie Ray of the Arizona Diamondbacks is another name that has been bandied about recently. Outside of these three guys, Marcus Stroman and Trevor Bauer could both also be potential trade targets for the Brewers as they look to make another run in October. – Jason Polensky

Cardinals:

The Cardinals are in a very precarious position. They are hovering right around the .500 mark, but they are still in the NL Central race. They have been bitten hard by the injury-bug and will need to be buyers at the deadline if they want to compete down the stretch. They’ll likely look to improve their bullpen help as well as acquire a bat or two. Despite these obvious needs, things have been quiet surrounding the Cardinals approach to the trade deadline. As a result, they may choose to just stay put and head into the back end of the season with their current roster. – Matthew Aung

Pirates:

The Pirates are having a solid season to this point but seem unlikely to be playing meaningful games in October. As a result they will likely look to sell high on some of their assets. Closer Felipe Vazquez will most likely be the top guy on the move from Pittsburgh as many contenders will want his services down the stretch. The Pirates could also look to trade guys such as Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson who are both proven veteran bats at the major league level. Their experience would make them valuable for teams looking to contend for a World Series title. – Matthew Aung

Reds:

The Reds and Pirates are in very similar places. Despite glimpses of success this season, the Reds will also likely miss out on the postseason this year. In regards to selling, the Reds have a young star pitcher in Luis Castillo, who they will likely choose to build around instead of trading him for some prospects. To build around Castillo, the Reds will likely look to trade guys such as Tanner Roark, Sonny Gray, and possibly even Yasiel Puig. Ultimately, it looks like the rebuild will continue for the Reds into next season. – Matthew Aung

NL WEST

Dodgers: 

Chasing their first World Series title since 1988, the Dodgers again are the class of the NL West. They will be buyers at the deadline looking for middle relief pitching to solidify a shaky bullpen. With a thin minor league system they don’t have the assets to pursue a top tier reliever such as a Kirby Yates or Greg Holland. Keep an eye on Royals reliever Ian Kennedy, a veteran pitcher with postseason experience that could be had at a bargain. Kennedy has 17 saves with a 3.35 ERA and would definitely be an upgrade to the Dodgers bullpen. – Nick Link

Diamondbacks:

Trading Paul GoldSchmidt in the offseason appeared to signal a rebuild. However, the comeback player of the year performance by Zack Greinke and emergence of Luke Weaver, Ketel Marte and Christian Walker has cooler heads prevailing in the desert. Still, with so many lineup questions the Diamondbacks don’t appear to be contenders this season and should look to potentially be sellers. They must think long term and use Greinke’s all star season to restock one of baseball’s worst farm systems. They could also potentially move Adam Jones and Greg Holland who would both be valuable rentals to a contender. – Nick Link

Giants:

The Giants boast one of the oldest rosters in Major League Baseball. In this war of attrition this Giants team doesn’t appear poised contend this season and will be sellers at the trade deadline. There will be no shortage of suitors for Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith, whom they can use to restock their farm system, which currently ranks 26th in all of baseball. Also look for them to try and move players like Evan Longoria, Jeff Samaradzija and possibly Kevin Pillar. – Nick Link

Rockies:

A season after winning 91 games and advancing to the NLDS, the Rockies appear to be at a crossroads. If the Rockies are going to be contenders in the postseason they need to look to add frontline pitchers with postseason experience. Trevor Bauer or possibly Noah Syndergaard seemingly fit that description. The Rockies have a great young core with Arenado, Story, Blackmon and the emergence of David Dahl. Their pitching is the worry in Denver and would be what they would look to upgrade at the deadline if they make any moves at all. There’s a good chance they could decide to just stand pat at the trade deadline this year. – Nick Link

Padres:

The Padres have a very young and talented MLB roster with top end talent on the way in the minor leagues. The future is bright for the Padres, but they are not ready to tangle with the big boys just yet. Fernando Tatis, Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer represent a solid offensive threat while Chris Paddack and Joey Lucchesi showcase the future of the Padres rotation at the top. The Friars are still two seasons away from serious contention and should look to move a couple pieces this season to continue to stock the MLB’s top farm system. They will likely look to move Kirby Yates as well as Hunter Renfroe and potentially Franmil Reyes. – Nick Link

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