Deadline Notes: Buyers/Sellers

Mark Feinsand/MLB.com

With the amateur draft and all-star game freshly behind us, the trade frenzy before the August 2nd deadline is approaching fastly. At this point, most teams have a general idea of where they stand. Let’s take a look at how each team’s approach should go for the trade deadline.

Buyers

Every year there are a couple of clear-cut buyers, and this year remains the same. Expect to see the Astros, Mariners, Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays, Twins, Mets, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Padres all as aggressive buyers. Some teams may also buy, but might not be as aggressive unless they pull off one huge move to overcompensate, something like Juan Soto, include the Red Sox, Orioles, Indians, White Sox, Phillies, and Giants. Things may change between now and the deadline, however, this is how things have shaped up so far. Not all these teams may be clear-cut buyers, which we will cover later in the article.

Sellers

Even with the new playoff format, there are some teams that are just out of the race, barring anything crazy. These teams should seriously consider selling to some extent. The most aggressive sellers should be the A’s, Royals, Nationals, Cubs, Reds, Rockies, and Diamondbacks. There are a few others that should ship off a few pieces here and there, but don’t necessarily need to ship out anyone and everyone. These teams include the Angels, Rangers, Pirates, Tigers, and Marlins.

The In-between

Just because a team was listed in either the buyer or seller category does not necessarily mean they will fully commit to that, but just that they should lean towards it more than the other. For example, when we covered the Orioles last week, we discussed an approach that could see the team selling short-term pieces while attempting to acquire longer-term pieces. Let’s take a look at some other teams like the Orioles that may find themselves in similar situations. On top of the teams covered, some other “in-betweeners” include the Indians, Giants, Pirates, and Tigers.

White Sox

The White Sox are in a very tricky situation. There is a lot of hope that the team can compete with its current core group of players, however, this season has been more than disappointing. For a team that was expected to lead the division, they currently sit 3 games back and at an even .500 record. This is not necessarily horrible, but it surely is not reaching the team’s expectations. With the current worst-ranked farm system in the league, the White Sox don’t have much to trade away either. This makes the current situation even trickier, as the team could face hard times if they do not elect to rebuild before the next group of players enters the league. This means they likely will try their best to compete with what they have now.

There have been talks of the team dangling a struggling Lucas Giolito, similarly to Minnesota’s move with Jose Berrios. There are a few other options the team could implore as well, as they are within reach of the division, although the wild card race is a bit more crowded. It seems the White Sox need to make a decision either now or during the off-season. The White Sox need to either completely empty the farm and go all in or enter a full-on rebuild. What the team ultimately decides will be seen.

Phillies

The Phillies currently sit at 49-43, 8.5 games back of the division, but tied for the final wild-card spot. A run at the division seems unlikely, however, the Phillies should still be buyers in hopes they could secure a spot in the wild-card race. The team went all out in the off-season, so the deadline may not see as big of a splash, however, the Phillies should still consider making a few moves to stay competitive. There have long been talks of the horrendous defense, so it would not be a shock to see the team pick up a strong defender, likely in the outfield.

A run at the Cubs’ Ian Happ makes a lot of sense for the Phillies. Happ currently has the second-highest DRS(defensive runs saved) total in the league at left field at 5, and can also handle the bat very well. Happ should be a priority for the Phils. Other than that, don’t look for the Phillies to make too many huge moves. They may do something small here and there, however, the Phillies seem to be in an interesting position due to the new playoff format, buyers sitting 8.5 games out of the division.

Angels

It seems evident that the Angels need a full rebuild, one in which Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani could be shipped off for massive returns. It seems, however, that owner Arte Moreno would never agree to this, and the team will only continue to struggle for years to come. Trades of those magnitudes seem more likely to come during the off-season anyway, so we do not expect anything crazy from the Angels. Like the years past, the Angels will likely take a much more low-profile approach at the deadline.

Expect Noah Syndergaard to be moved. Other than that, don’t expect much, which is disappointing. Michael Lorenzen and Archie Bradley likely would have found themselves on the move as well if it wasn’t for injuries. They may move a few relievers, or perhaps we could see something like a Matt Duffy trade, however, it appears that yet again, the Angels will continue to fail to put the team in a position to compete any time soon.

Rangers

The Rangers find themselves in an interesting situation entering the deadline. The team currently sits at 42-49, which places them 18 games back of the division and 7 games back in a crowded wild-card race. It seems this is not the year for the Texas Rangers. After a flashy big spending off-season, the Rangers likely believe they have the potential to compete in the near future, and likely do not want to enter a full rebuild. This likely means trading away any short-term players, perhaps Kole Calhoun will be made available, and acquire long-term players if the price is right. There have been talks about the team potentially trading away starter Martin Perez, however, it seems that is no longer on the table.

The Rangers will likely make a few small moves, and that’s about it. The team will probably ship away a few rentals, and maybe a low-profile player, but don’t expect anything crazy here. If anything, Texas may find a bargain on a long-term player, however, it seems likely for the team to be more active during the off-season. There’s nothing too exciting going on here, yet.

Marlins

The Marlins have an exciting future, but as of now, they sit at 43-49, which is 14.5 games back in the division and 6 games back in the wild-card race. Unlikely to make anything happen this year, the team sits in a similar position as the Rangers do. The Marlins have some of the best pitching in the game, specifically their rotation, and this will likely be something to watch for years to come, however, the team could pick up a few bats for the future.

Again, expect the Marlins to attempt to move short-term players and monitor players with some leverage. Perhaps we could see Jorge Soler or Joey Wendle made available. Potentially the team’s most attractive trade chip is reliever Anthony Bass. Bass has quietly posted a 1.36 ERA in 39.2 innings pitched so far this season. As a free agent after next season, Bass comes with some team control and could be a major boost to a team needing bullpen help. The Marlins may be shipping off some pieces before this deadline, but expect them to be competitors within the next few seasons.

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