With the MLB Trade Deadline falling on August 1st this season, baseball fans will have more time to take in one of the best times of the year- the trade deadline. Year after year, baseball general manager’s lines will be busy with trade offers. There will be sellers– teams who are not contending for a playoff spot and will focus on exchanging major league talent for prospects in hope for the future, buyers– just the opposite of the sellers- hoping to make a playoff run. Beyond just the sellers, there are teams who might engage in a fire sale– mediocre teams considering trading most of their veteran players (especially star players with expensive contracts) for cheaper and younger players. (Definition- Wikipedia- Fire Sale).
I split this article into three sections, evaluating the buyers and sellers, the fire sellers, and my trade predictions.
Possible sellers– Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay, Oakland
Possible buyers– Miami, Washington, New York Mets, LA Dodgers, Texas, Kansas City
Potential fire sale- New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox
The sellers control the market, so listed below are possible trades and the corresponding buyer interest.
The Buyers and the Sellers
Pittsburgh already began selling starting Saturday, shipping CP Mark Melancon to fellow National League playoff contender Washington on Saturday. The Pirates are 3.0 GB of a Wild Card spot as of July 30.
Atlanta already moved SP Lucas Harrell and RP Dario Alvarez to Texas on Monday, but they might not be done yet. Division rival New York could be interested in an infielder to replace SS Jose Reyes, who appears bound for the disabled list. Erick Aybar appears to be a good fit.
Milwaukee according to sources has heavily shopped All-Star C Jonathan Lucroy. Cleveland appears interested, as Lucroy would replace currently injured C Yan Gomes for an immediate offensive boost to the first place Indians. However, Gomes is locked into a long-term deal, and Cleveland might not want to create a catching-competition between the two once Gomes returns. The New York Mets have reportedly offered C Travis D’Arnaud, which seems like a perfect deal for both sides to me. Milwaukee adds a young backstop with playoff experience and a high ceiling while the Mets bolster their chances at a deep playoff run with the consistency of Lucroy.
Tampa Bay has been rumored to move starting pitching for weeks. They’ve been associated with Texas and Miami, two buyers in search of starting pitching. However, recent moves from the teams appear to show that Tampa Bay’s asking price on starting pitchers Matt Moore, a young lefty who started his career with lots of promise, Jake Odorizzi, a talented righty who has pitched to a solid 3.88 ERA, and Drew Smyly, another right hander, is too high. If any starter is moved, it’s likely Odorizzi, as his recent performance has his trade value higher than ever. Tampa really needs a big bat for the future like Joey Gallo of Texas, but I would be surprised if the Rangers move him for anyone other than Chris Archer (not previously mentioned but still a likely trade candidate) or Odorizzi. Evan Longoria is another trade candidate, and prior to San Francisco acquiring INF Eduardo Nunez from Minnesota Friday evening, I would describe the Giants as a perfect fit. Now, the Los Angeles Dodgers could be a likely trade partner. A blockbuster deal could see L.A. snag Longoria and one of Tampa’s starting pitchers, but remains unlikely.
Oakland selling on Saturday trading OF Billy Burns to Kansas City, a team desperately trying to fight for a Wild Card spot. Other A’s assets that could be moved are SP Sonny Gray, a one-time elite RHP whose trade value is at an all-time low after a poor 2016- and LHP Rich Hill- and offseason acquisition who leads the team in wins and strikeouts. Texas and Miami could be interested in Hill.
Fire Sale Candidates
The Chicago White Sox seem to be a likely candidate for a fire sale. The Sox were the team to beat in the American League back in May, but have slipped back to below .500. For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008, the team might move talent like SP Chris Sale for high-level prospects. Other assets include LHP Jose Quintana, who has pitched to an impressive 2.89 ERA, or veteran OF Melky Cabrera. No sources have identified any trade partners for the three; it is purely speculation after evaluating previous market trends and seller behavior.
In theory, the New York Yankees should be all over a fire sale. The team sits in fourth place in the AL East as of July 30 and has is the fourth-oldest club in the MLB with an average age of 27.7 years old. They took a step towards this by dealing closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs Monday. However, moving Chapman (a likely ‘rental player’ consdering the fact that he’s a free agent this offseason) is not enough. The Yankees have assets that could be very valuable to contenders, such as powerful hitters Mark Teixera, Brian McCann, and more notably Carlos Beltran- an All-Star this season. Each could fetch New York a valuable return, and the Yankees could be contending soon if they bring in higher level prospects. Though their is little emperical evidence to back this up, given past trends and the trade behavior of current GM Brian Cashman, New York will likely stand pat, thanks to a World-Series-or-bust pedigree set forth by the franchise’s proud history.
Speculation can go on all day, but these are three trades I could legimately see happening by Monday’s deadline.
Texas acquires SP Jake Odorizzi from Tampa Bay in exchange for RHP Luke Jackson and OF Lewis Brinson.
Texas gets their starting pitcher, while also keeping future star Joey Gallo. They don’t get Odorizzi for cheap however, as Tampa acquires two strong prospects in RP Luke Jackson and Rangers #2 prospect Lewis Brinson. IF Texas throws in Brinson, I believe this deal could get done.
New York Mets acquire C Jonathan Lucroy from Milwaukee in exchange for C Travis D’Arnaud.
Like I stated earlier, this trade just makes a lot of sense both ways.
Seattle acquires OF Ichiro Suzuki from Miami in exchange for RP Vidal Nuno.
Some years, there are trades like the one above in where reunions happen. Ichiro Suzuki, 42, likely in his final season, who will likely don a Mariners cap in the MLB Hall-of-Fame one day, is 2 hits away from 3000 at the time of publication. Why not let him achieve it where he belongs, even if it’s the 2016 mediocre Mariners? As far as Miami’s return, a solid reliever never hurts a playoff case.
The thing that captivates MLB fans about the trade deadline is no matter how close a ‘source’ or journalist is, the only ones who know how it will play out is the General Managers, in their office, at the time of the trade. I cannot wait to see how the deadline plays out this year, and I will update this article as the events unfold. Thank you for reading.
* All details regarding possible trades were first reported by MLB insiders on Twitter, ESPN, or MLBtraderumors.com.