With the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline right around the corner, teams across the league will either look to acquire or part with their star players in the coming week. As trade discussions continue to heat up among clubs, here’s a look at the likely buyers, sellers and players to watch on the trading block:
Trade deadline buyers
New York Yankees
Despite acquiring All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals Wednesday night, the Bronx Bombers could still be looking to add more talent. The club has recently expressed interest in obtaining formidable arms for their rotation and injury-ridden bullpen – which sustained a heavy blow after Michael King’s injury – such as pitchers Frankie Montas and David Robertson.
New York Mets
The Yankees’ crosstown rivals will also be in the mix to add more talent in the coming days after acquiring DH Daniel Vogelbach from the Pirates, as well as outfielder Tyler Naquin and LHP Phillip Diehl from the Reds. Catcher Wilson Contreras and DH Trey Mancini have come up as possible lineup upgrades for the Amazins’, who will likely additionally shop for a bullpen arm.
As Atlanta continues to chase after the Mets in the NL East, they’ll likely look to bolster their already strong lineup with modest acquisitions, similar to the additions of Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler at last year’s deadline. Possible reinforcements could include more pitching depth and a better replacement at second base, which is currently held by Robinson Cano in relief of the injured Ozzie Albies.
The Astros are heavy favorites to win the AL West, but may feel the need to beef up their roster in order to secure home-field advantage over the Yankees in the playoffs. Positions of need could include a left-handed reliever, backup catcher and first baseman. Josh Bell has continually come up as a possible answer to replace Houston’s struggling first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who owns a .218/.270/.260 slash line this season.
St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis sent shockwaves through the MLB last week when they were named a potential front-runner to add Juan Soto by rival teams. The club has a plethora of young talent they can use to acquire other impactful players – such as a bullpen piece or rotational arm to replace the recently-injured Steven Matz – if the blockbuster deal doesn’t materialize.
The Mariners made one of the biggest early splashes ahead of the MLB trade deadline by trading for Reds’ ace Luis Castillo on Friday night. Though Seattle will likely refrain from making any more sizable moves after dealing three of their top five prospects (as ranked by MLB Pipeline) to Cincinnati in exchange for Castillo, look for them to add another bat to their offense, which ranks 23rd in runs scored.
The Nats boast one of the most coveted available trade targets in superstar Juan Soto, but it remains to be seen if any team will be willing to fulfill the club’s astronomical asking price. Washington may also look to deal their sure-hitting first baseman Josh Bell, as well as offload LHP Patrick Corbin’s abysmal contract in a deal with Soto.
Chicago is clearly in rebuilding mode as they sit 18 games under .500 and 14.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the NL Central. The club will likely be willing to part with several of their formidable stars, such as catcher Wilson Contreras, reliever David Robertson, lefty Drew Smyly and third baseman Patrick Wisdom.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox entered July sitting 10 games above .500, but have fallen back in the standings thanks to a miserable July. With their playoff hopes quickly fading, the reeling club could look to deal one of their powerful bats in DH J.D. Martinez or catcher Christian Vasquez. As for Boston’s cornerstone pieces, infielders Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts will likely stay put, with the latter asserting on Thursday that he won’t be traded.
Miami sits just a handful of games from the last NL Wild Card spot, yet have still expressed their willingness to trade everyone but ace Sandy Alcantara, according to the Post’s Jon Heyman. Pablo López headlines the pack of available players as a dependable and cheap starting arm, but the club could also look to ship off reliable bats Garrett Cooper, Brian Anderson and Jon Berti.
The Tigers came into the 2022 season with high hopes after signing shortstop Javier Báez in the offseason for $140 million, but currently hold the third-worst record in the American League at 40-60. Michael Fulmer has performed well in his new bullpen role and could draw interest, as well as fellow pitchers Michael Pineda, Andrew Chafin and Gregory Soto.
Players to watch
Juan Soto, Nationals
The 23-year-old phenom has been the talk of the league in recent weeks after he rejected a whopping 15-year, $440 million offer from Washington. The Padres have emerged as the front-runner to land the generational talent, though the Cardinals, Rangers and Dodgers still remain in the hunt.
Josh Bell, Nationals
While most eyes in Washington will be on Soto, the Nationals will also look to deal Bell for the right price. The 29-year-old currently boasts a .302/.387/.877 slash line and will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Wilson Contreras, Cubs
Contreras’ time in Chicago seems to be coming to an end, as the longtime Cub issued an emotional goodbye to the Wrigley home crowd earlier this week. The Mets and Giants have both risen as favorites to land the slugger amid lackluster play from their catchers.
J.D. Martinez, Red Sox
If the Red Sox do look to become sellers at the trade deadline, they could start by trading away veteran J.D. Martinez, who has a .293 batting average and nine home runs this season. The 34-year-old will become a free agent following the 2022 season and could be a reliable bat for several teams in need of help at the DH position.
Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Los Angeles has begun to entertain possible offers for Ohtani, who joins Soto atop the list of best available stars. As of now, however, it seems a Ohtani-Angels divorce remains unlikely.
Frankie Montas, Athletics
With Luis Castillo’s recent departure to Seattle, Frankie Montas now ranks as arguably the best starter available on the market. The A’s ace has drawn heavy interest from the Yankees, with the Cardinals additionally keeping an eye on him.
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