Nine Biggest Questions Surrounding the MLB Trade Deadline


Nine Biggest Questions Surrounding the MLB Trade Deadline With less than a week to go , the state of the league is unsettled. Separating the buyers from the sellers is no easy task, nor is figuring out what the teams in the middle should or will do. To sort it all out then, heres a look at the biggest questions as the deadline approaches. Per , seven squads have postseason chances of 0.0 percent : the Orioles, Blue Jays, White Sox, Tigers, Royals, Mariners and Marlins. All will be looking to move players in search of a better tomorrow. To that group you can add seven more: the Angels 4.5 percent , Mets 3.9 , Reds 3.2 , Padres 3.2 , Rockies 1.3 , Pirates 0.9 and Rangers 0.2 , who are all four games or more out of a playoff spot. On the other side of things, the contenders who have playoff odds of 75 percent or higher are the Dodgers 100 percent , Astros 99.9 , Yankees 99.7 , Braves 96.6 , Twins 94.8 , Nationals 86.8 and Cubs 80.0 . , particularly the teams on shakier ground like Minnesota, Washington and Chicago. The Red Sox, Rays, Indians, Athletics, Phillies, Brewers, Cardinals, Giants and Diamondbacks , likely to see where the next six days take them, or perhaps both buying and selling depending on the market. It all depends on a lot of factors across the league, starting with… , the Giants are no longer obvious sellers, but and Will Smith when theyre set to hit free agency this winter would be a risky plan. Its fun to imagine Farhan Zaidi in his office cursing a blue streak every time his team pulls off another come from behind win, but San Franciscos bubble bursting would make his next week that much simpler. Madison Bumgarner has posted a 2.00 ERA and a .221 opponents average over his past six starts. Another quality start last night at . Powered by : Ultimately, its hard to see Zaidi passing up the opportunity to bolster the farm system and make the team younger, no matter how close to a playoff spot the Giants are. But maybe he pursues a soft sell where Smith goes but Bumgarner stays, with San Francisco recouping draft pick compensation for the latter if he leaves. If the Giants keep Bumgarner, though, that re shapes the starting pitching market, as the best rental will be off the board, forcing contenders to sift through an expensive group of cost controlled arms like Marcus Stroman, Matthew Boyd and Trevor Bauer. With postseason odds of 65.2 percent , a mere three game deficit in the AL Central, and control of the first wild card, on its ace. Yet rumors of Bauer being available persist, and where theres smoke, usually you can find fire. On some level, it makes sense. Bauer is going to leave vapor trails out of Cleveland when he reaches free agency after the 2020 season, and in a market thin on starters, hed be the best one available by a wide margin assuming the . If Bauer can return major league ready prospects who can help now and later at a fraction of his cost hes looking at making anywhere from dollar 15–20 million in arbitration next season , then the Indians will likely think long and hard about pulling that trigger, even if it worsens their playoff and title chances. TB is dealing tonight in The Six. These are nasty, and, frankly, were disgusted. But on the other hand, the Indians have the pieces to win now, and the window to do so with Francisco Lindor is rapidly closing albeit because Clevelands ownership is slamming it shut . A rotation of Bauer, Mike Clevinger and a healthy Corey Kluber can dominate October, and with .314/.324/.629 in the month of July , the lineup is trending toward average. Plus, improving the offense wouldnt cost much: Rental bats like Nicholas Castellanos, Justin Smoak or Hunter Pence should all be available for cheap. I would bet Bauer stays, barring a massive offer. The pickings for rotation help are slim. Stroman and Boyd represent the best bets if you want someone good and young beyond 2019, but both can be shaky. The Rangers will probably shop veterans Mike Minor and Lance Lynn, but theyre under cheap contracts through 2020, and Texas wont give them away. The Diamondbacks could deal Robbie Ray, but controllable lefties with big strikeout stuff arent exactly cheap. For as much as they bathe in bad publicity like a pig rolling around in the mud, the Mets are likely wary of moving Syndergaard because of what the fanbases reaction would be read: pitchforks and torches , and his price would be gasp inducing anyway. But there isnt much choice beyond that. , whos planning to make one final pre deadline start after a stint on the injured list with shoulder fatigue. Beyond him, youre gambling on the unsavory likes of Jason Vargas, Jordan Lyles, or Drew Pomeranz. Im afraid so. Smith is far and away the best free agent to be on the market, followed by fellow veteran Giants lefty Tony Watson; after them, its a steep drop to Sergio Romo, Greg Holland, Daniel Hudson or a situational option like Jake Diekman. The latter types wont cost much, at least, but this isnt a situation where an elite closer will be available for relatively little. If Smith is off the board, teams will have to dig deep to afford Ken Giles, Shane Greene or Kirby Yates, or stomach the long term contracts of shaky closers like Ian Kennedy or Wade Davis. Do you need a hitter this deadline? Then youre in luck, because there are plenty of useful bats that will likely cost next to nothing. Castellanos, Smoak, Pence, Freddy Galvis, Scooter Gennett, Todd Frazier, Asdrubal Cabrera, Corey Dickerson, Adam Jones, and maybe even Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu could all be up for grabs over the next week, and none will likely cost more than a B level prospect or two. Granted, a lot of those names arent exactly in their prime or producing much, but if you have a hole in the lineup, you could do a lot worse than picking one of them and hoping for a two month hot streak. Puig has apparently shaved off his mustache between innings today ?? Still, theres no Manny Machado level player in that bunch, save perhaps Abreu, and its unlikely any good cost controlled hitters will change teams between now and Aug. 1. Maybe the Padres reduce their outfield surplus by dealing away one of Hunter Renfroe or Franmil Reyes, or the Rangers pull the plug on Nomar Mazara or Rougned Odor, or someone blows away the Royals with a massive offer for Whit Merrifield. But more likely than not, the hitters wholl be dealt will be short term pickups at minimal cost. This deadline has the feel of one thats going to have a lot of rumors but not much action. All the biggest and best names come with immense price tags, and with teams caring about years and dollars and prospects more than ever, its hard to see how valuations are going to line up enough for a plethora of trades to take place. Thats not to say nothing will happen; just that, with few quality rentals available, contenders might find themselves priced out of what they want. This week in Nine Innings, I wrote about the Diamondbacks and other wild card contenders likely not going for it, and how baseball is supposed to be fun and not a constant exercise in cost effective financials. Further potentially complicating the market . In theory, that should result in more July 31 moves, as contenders no longer have an extra month to fill holes, nor do sellers have more time to get rid of onerous contracts. But with the playoff picture still unsettled for a lot of clubs, one deadline might lead to fewer buyers, as borderline contenders may err toward safety and decide not to spend in pursuit of an unlikely World Series run. The Giants hold the keys to the deadline in Bumgarner and Smith, but the Blue Jays might make hay regardless. Stroman and Giles both free agents after 2020 seem likely to move, and Smoak, Galvis, Hudson and Eric Sogard will be traded if even a half decent offer comes across Ross Atkinss phone. Beyond Toronto, Detroit also could be a popular trade talk partner thanks to Boyd, Greene, Castellanos and Joe Jimenez. On the other side of things, the Phillies playoff odds are a mere 28.3 percent as their roster has crumbled around them, but they may not have a choice but to try to buy their way back into the hunt. Philadelphia is built to win in the short term but has no real assets to move even if it continues to slide down the standings. The problem for Matt Klentak is that his teams problems are wide ranging. That may mean a flurry of moves for the Phillies, or it may mean a quiet week as they instead try to fix things internally. The same is true of the Red Sox, who need reinforcements across the board but dont have the prospects to afford the elite options. Dave Dombrowski is going to have to get creative to improve his team, but never rule him out of getting wild at the deadline. Related slideshow: 25 worst MLB trade deadline deals Provided by Yardbarker

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