We are one week away from the MLB trade deadline, and some of the top talents in the league could be on the move as contenders gear up for the home stretch of the regular season with hopes of winning the pennant and, ultimately, the World Series.
Whether it may be All-Stars, key role players, or blossoming talents that can provide depth and excitement, there has been no shortage of players linked to moves to greener pastures in Major League Baseball.
As time continues to wind down, these are a few scenarios that could happen and would shake up the league.
Pitchers Flock to California
The Los Angeles Dodgers have had their fair share of problems in the bullpen lately, especially with Trevor Bauer facing legal issues and Clayton Kershaw ending up on the injured list. The Dodgers are the defending champions and expected to return to the big stage this fall, but they need to rebuff their rotation; with players like Kyle Gibson, Danny Duffy, and Jose Berrios seeming to be there for the taking, LA should be expected to aggressively pursue its favorite target.
The other California-based teams would have a hard time convincing a player to pick them over the Dodgers, but if the teams can negotiate the proper package, the Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres would both be open to adding to their pitching staff, given they are also chasing the pennant.
The A’s and the Padres rank in the top-10 in earned run average as a team, but having to deal with the Houston Astros and the San Francisco Giants and Dodgers in their division means that they will need all of the help they can get.
The Cubs Have a Firesale
The Cubs were one of the hardest teams to pinpoint a month before the deadline, but now they look like they will be sellers; their infield talent of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo could all be on the move, with the New York Yankees being a potential landing spot.
Chicago also has one of the league’s most productive relievers, Craig Kimbrel, at their disposal and could demand a hefty fee for his services. It is highly unlikely that the Cubs would do business with anyone in their division, but he could remain in the National League— the NL East stands out as a suitable location.
The New York Mets have topped the NL East for most of the season, though their cracks are breaking wider and wider, and the rest of the division can see it. The Mets added Rich Hill Friday afternoon to help stabilize their defense, which should prompt the rest of the division to be even more aggressive.
The Yankees, Again
The Yankees are in a peculiar position; though they would have entered the season thinking of themselves as the elite of the American League East, they are eight games out of first place and only a half-game ahead of fourth, trailing the Tampa Bay Rays and division-leading Boston Red Sox.
New York has the brand and ambition to land a big name, with Trevor Story and Joey Gallo being floated around as options to add, albeit in very different positions. The Yankees have fallen victim to inconsistency and are not bereft of talent by any stretch, but they need a catalyst to get them going.
Did the Tigers Just Become Buyers?
If you had the Detroit Tigers as the only undefeated team in baseball post-All-Star break, congratulations, you possess baseball genius. As of Friday evening, the Tigers are winners of seven-straight games and suddenly face a dilemma— their most valuable player is Jonathan Schoop, who is due to become a free agent this offseason, though they are going to need him if they are to mount a late charge to the postseason.
Schoop has hit .287 for 17 homers and 59 RBIs and could help a bunch of playoff-bound teams, and this will be Detroit’s last opportunity to recoup guaranteed value for him, but at 47-51 and 12 games behind the Chicago White Sox, the Tigers just might be able to get back into the playoff hunt.
With pitchers like Wily Peralta and Casey Mize helping to lead the defense, it would take a sizable offer to get the Tigers to part ways with their best offensive talent and forgo their chances at continuing their hot run of form.
The .500 Boys
Who are the .500 boys? Well, they are the teams that would be thought of as completely average; this includes the Cleveland Indians— I mean Guardians— the Cincinnati Reds, and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Starting in reverse order, the St. Louis Cardinals only recently added Nolan Arenado, a six-time All-Star, and will be focused on competing rather than mortgaging and regrouping. The Cardinals are less likely to part with one of their important assets, though their recent interest in Nelson Cruz (who signed with the Rays) could lead to them pursuing a player like Joey Gallo. Still, if they could get somebody like Adam Frazier for a low price, it would be interesting to see if they could fit him into a packed infield.
The Reds need a reliever, plain and simple; their top-three leaders in saves have tossed a combined 5.47 ERA, and they need someone that can come in and shut the door on opponents without a second thought. The player up for sale that best fits this mold (and is affordable) is Richard Rodriguez, who has recorded a save in over 36% of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ wins this season. With a 2.65 ERA and just under a strikeout per inning, Rodriguez would make the Reds players in the National League Central.
The last team in this group is Cleveland, who could benefit from many players, the most interesting of which would be Trey Mancini. The current Baltimore Oriole has positional flexibility, having played first baseman and outfielder, and has been hitting the lights out since he entered the league a few years ago. Adam Frazier could also be a fit here, but do not rule them out of the sweepstakes for a starting pitcher either, if they can put together a decent package.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.