Predicting the Trade Deadline Moves

The trade deadline is a week from Monday, and between now and then, we’re probably going to see a lot of moves. Not a lot of big moves, necessarily, but with a lot of buyers in the market for bullpen upgrades, we’re probably looking at a large number of depth acquisitions. Just for the fun of it, let’s wildly speculate on where the biggest name guys might go before August 1st. Keep in mind that no one really knows what is going to happen, so this is more of an exercise in frivolity than a serious attempt at forecasting the deadline moves. Let’s see how many wild guesses I can get right.

Big Buyers
Cleveland Indians

The Indians have put themselves in a strong position to make the playoffs, and with the fickleness of starting pitching — see Mets, New York — they will try to take advantage of this opportunity. Generally reluctant to trade their best young prospects, I think they’ll back off that stance this year, and move either Clint Frazier or Bradley Zimmer, plus some lower level pieces, to make the big league team as strong as possible.

Predicted Additions
Jonathan Lucroy, Will Smith, Daniel Hudson, Coco Crisp

Texas Rangers

The Rangers pitching staff has fallen apart lately, and with the team slumping heavily in July, I’d expect Jon Daniels to be among the most aggressive buyers before the deadline. There are plenty of places for Texas to upgrade, and I’m guessing they’ll go for quantity over one big splashy move, which will allow them to keep both Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar around for the future.

Predicted Additions
Matt Moore, Andrew Cashner, Carlos Beltran, Jeremy Jeffress

Los Angeles Dodgers

Crushed by injuries, the Dodgers probably don’t have a choice but to be aggressive buyers this year, as the team is good enough to contend but needs some help for the stretch run. Luckily for them, the A’s have one of everything they could use, so I’ve got Farhan Zaidi hooking up with his old bosses in the bay area for one big trade that brings the Dodgers some reinforcements across the board.

Predicted Additions
Rich Hill, Josh Reddick, Sean Doolittle

San Francisco Giants

The Giants have made it clear they want to land a serious bullpen upgrade, and they should be in the market for an outfielder too, as they try to hold off the Dodgers in the NL West. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were among the most aggressive suitors for the Yankees relievers, either, but I don’t have them winning those bidding wars.

Predicted Additions
Jay Bruce, David Robertson

Washington Nationals

It’s time for the Nationals annual attempt to upgrade their bullpen, and for the second year in a row, I think they’re going to unseat their current closer in order to land a better arm. Jonathan Papelbon might not like getting moved out of the ninth inning, but I don’t think they want to trust him with save situations in October, and so I expect they’ll be aggressive suitors for all the biggest name relievers out there.

Predicted Additions
Aroldis Chapman, Steve Pearce

Buyers Settling For Backup Plans
Chicago Cubs

Everyone knows they want Andrew Miller, but I don’t expect them to back off their refusal to move Kyle Schwarber, so I’m guessing Miller stays in New York. That will leave the Cubs hunting for other bullpen options, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they focused on another young guy with club control, plus potentially looked for another outfielder for depth.

Predicted Additions
Alex Colome, Desmond Jennings

Miami Marlins

The obvious need is in the rotation, but without much in the way of prospects to trade, it’s not clear to see how they’re going to land a big fish, so I’m giving them a run-of-the-mill back-end innings eater instead, along with some bullpen depth.

Predicted Additions
Jeremy Hellickson, Xavier Cedeno

New York Mets

The Mets are like every other contender, shopping for bullpen help, but I have a hard time seeing them in on the big names; I think Sandy Alderson will value hunt for underrated guys who can help in the middle innings instead.

Predicted Additions
Joe Smith, Zach Duke, Jon Niese

Boston Red Sox

Dave Dombrowski already made his biggest acquisition by adding Drew Pomeranz, so now I think he’ll focus on depth, adding an innings sponge to round out the rotation and another bullpen arm to supplement the relief corps.

Predicted Additions
Ervin Santana, David Hernandez

Toronto Blue Jays

With Aaron Sanchez’s innings limit hanging over the team like a cloud, I think they’ll need to decide shortly whether they’re going to stick with their original plan to move him to the bullpen. It’s tough for me to see how they do that now, so I think they’ll upgrade the bullpen through trade instead.

Predicted Additions
Tyler Clippard, Steve Cishek

Baltimore Orioles

Like the Marlins, they’ll be looking for starting pitching without much to trade, so they’ll have to try and buy low on someone and hope he ends up producing better in the second half than he did the first half.

Predicted Additions
Jorge de la Rosa, Ricky Nolasco

Would Buy, But Unimpressed With Options
Houston Astros

The Astros don’t have that many weak spots, or at least, not that many places where the guys available right would be clear substantial upgrades over what the team has internally. With Yuliesky Gurriel and Alex Bregman on the way, I wouldn’t be surprised if they mostly stood pat, or made some kind of depth move at most.

St. Louis Cardinals/Pittsburgh Pirates

I’m putting these two NL Central teams together because I don’t really know what either one is up to. Both seem like they’ll probably look to add, but they’re far enough out of the division race that going all in doesn’t make sense, and even a Wild Card pursuit looks a little challenging, so maybe they’ll just add low-key relievers and call it a day.

Detroit Tigers/Kansas City Royals

The AL version of the Cardinals and Pirates, neither one should be aggressive buyers, but they don’t look like they’ve struggled enough to convince ownership to sell either, so these two teams look mostly like holders to me; stick with what they have and hope it works.

Might Sell More Later
Chicago White Sox

With news coming out yesterday that the White Sox might be open to selling, you can imagine they’re getting a lot of calls today, but if they’re really not going to move Chris Sale or Jose Quintana, this seems like they’re putting off the rebuild again. I have them moving David Robertson, but most of the rest of the guys they’d think about moving could go in August or over the winter.

New York Yankees

Yeah, I have them trading Chapman and Beltran, but beyond that, I think they mostly stand pat; the team is hanging around the race enough to not push for a full tear down, so Andrew Miller stays, and the team looks to load up for another run in 2017 instead of burning it to the ground.

Milwaukee Brewers

Lucroy, Smith, and Jeffress are all on the move here, so it’s not like I don’t have them doing anything, but I think Ryan Braun stays in Milwaukee through the deadline; he’s an easy August trade guy, so there’s no real time pressure for them to get something done now. Let everyone sort out their needs by July 31st, then figure out who still wants Braun next month.

Cincinnati Reds

Zack Cozart would be a decent chip if anyone needed a shortstop, but no one really does. The team doesn’t really have the pieces that contenders are looking for, besides Jay Bruce, so this is probably a quiet deadline in Cincinnati, even though the rebuild is still going on.

Tampa Bay Rays

There’s an argument for trading Evan Longoria, and maybe they’ll find a fit for Jake Odorizzi, but neither of those guys have to moved right now, and I don’t really see great landing spots for either. Both may have better markets this winter, even though there’s an SP shortage at the moment.

Colorado Rockies

Another summer with Carlos Gonzalez still in Colorado, at least if I’m guessing. I don’t know what the Rockies are doing. I’ve stopped trying to figure it out.

So those are my guesses. No big surprise blockbusters, but a bunch of teams making depth moves, and every contender out there adding relief help, basically. We’ll see how the next 10 days go, and hopefully, someone will pull off a big deal I didn’t see coming.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

newest oldest most voted
matt
Member
matt

Norris will go somewhere, Upton too.

I’m surprised the little talk there has been on Solarte/Buchter/Hand, Solarte in particular

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC

Wait, what Norris and what Upton?

hebrew
Member
Member
hebrew

i assume its the ones from San Diego: Derek and Melvin

Dolemite
Member
Dolemite

Chuck and Kate

LHPSU
Member
LHPSU

What happens when Mike Trout meets Chuck Norris?

tz
Member

A wormhole forms in the space-time continuum right between them, sucking them both in.

Adrian Beltre emerges from the wormhole’s other side.

johnforthegiants
Member
johnforthegiants

I think the giants should be interested in hand. They need someone to get lefties and he looks great for that. He throws like bumgarner.

weaselpuppy
Member
weaselpuppy

Norris and Upton for Norris and Upton…who hangs up first?