Every Major League Baseball season faces a trade deadline that could shift the pool of contenders and this year seems to be no different. With so many teams impressing early, it makes for an interesting trade deadline to see who will push the envelope. Here are a few names that could change uniforms before the deadline on August 2.
Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
It’s been an emotional past year for Cubs fans, starting last summer when they had to endure the departure of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo in the span of two days. This year had a promising start with rookie Seiya Suzuki making early impressions, however, the Cubs have been on a downward spiral.
The Cubs sit in fourth place in the National League Central, losing nine of their last 13 games. With Contreras’ impending free agency, it’s likely that the Cubs will move on. So far, Contreras is having his most productive offensive year since he was an All-Star in 2019, hitting .271 with eight home runs and 19 walks in 144 at-bats.
Josh Bell, Washington Nationals
The Nationals currently have the second worst record in the MLB and even if Howie Kendrick from the 2019 postseason pops out of a time machine, things don’t look to be getting any better. Due to their poor play, there have been rumors that the Nationals will shop Juan Soto this season, but it’s more likely that the Nationals deal with that issue at a later date and trade Bell instead.
Bell’s batting .298 with 28 RBI and has arguably been the Nationals’ best hitter with Soto hitting .232 while leading the MLB in walks with 42. If the Nationals plan to kick the few tires they have left, there’s a good chance it starts with the trading of Bell.
Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles
Mancini has spent all six of his years with the Orioles and he’s become a fan favorite, but this is the right time for the two to go their respective ways. He’s having one of his most productive years in the majors, batting .303 with 53 hits and 18 RBI.
With the Orioles at the bottom of the American League East standings, it’s hard to see a scenario where the Orioles make the postseason and it makes it more likely that they trade Mancini who has a mutual option after the season.
Andrew Benintendi, Kansas City Royals
Benintendi’s performance and the Royals’ success has had no correlation this season. The Royals currently have the worst record in the majors, while Benintendi is having a career year. He has the eighth best batting average in the league at .328 and has been an above average defender in left field.
The Royals are building for the future and Benintendi’s in the last year of his deal, so the best course of action is to trade him to a contender in need of a left fielder.
Frankie Montas, Oakland Athletics
During the offseason, most people predicted that the Oakland Athletics would move on from pitchers Sean Manaea and Montas. However, the Athletics decided to only move on from Manaea by trading him to the San Diego Padres. With a 1.3% chance to make the postseason, it makes too much sense for the Athletics to move on from Montas who’s in the last year of his deal.
Montas has been the Athletics’ second best starting pitcher behind Paul Blackburn, posting a 3.20 ERA along with 71 strikeouts which ranks sixth in the majors. In the games that Montas has pitched more than five innings, he has only allowed three or more runs on three occasions. Any contender wishing to bolster their rotation, should have Montas near the top of their list.
Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds
Mahle hasn’t had an ideal start to the season, putting up a 5.28 ERA in 53.2 innings pitched, but he’s had more than a few promising starts. Out of the 11 games that Mahle has started, he has allowed three runs or less in seven of those games. However, there have been hiccups along the way.
In his four other appearances, Mahle gave up four or more earned runs which includes the games he surrendered seven runs to the Dodgers and eight to the Cubs. The Reds have the third worst record in the league and it’s reasonable to think that a playoff team would want Mahle to shore up the back-end of their rotation.
Paul Sewald, Seattle Mariners
In what seemed to be a promising start for the Mariners turned into a nosedive to the bottom of the American League standings. Even with the expanded playoff format, the Mariners face an uphill battle to get back into the playoff picture.
If the Mariners can’t turn things around, moving Sewald to a contender in need of a bullpen arm is the way to go with how valuable relievers are in the postseason. In 16.2 innings pitched this season, Sewald has allowed five runs on nine hits while striking out 16.
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