The MLB Trading Deadline
At the upcoming MLB trade deadline, teams must find a balance between immediate wins and prospects – such as signing veteran talent with expiring contracts – to stay competitive in today’s market.
The Yankees made an unexpectedly modest move on deadline day by acquiring White Sox reliever Keynan Middleton.
What is the trade deadline?
The MLB trade deadline is integral to baseball, marking one of its key events of each off-season. Teams must submit their roster for review by MLB by July 31st; due to coronavirus pandemic concerns, it has been moved up until August 2nd this year.
A trade deadline is an exciting event for players and fans alike; its outcome can significantly alter their futures with current teams or cause emotional upheaval as beloved local stars potentially leave for other cities.
As the trading deadline draws nearer, teams often attempt to acquire talent to increase their chances of making a postseason run. This usually means trading away veteran players or high-profile prospects in favor of young candidates with potential as stars. It is an integral moment of the season and can tremendously affect who ends up playing in the World Series.
Trading players typically begins when one team identifies an area of need on its roster – for example, starting pitcher or utility players may be needed. From there, their general manager (GM) searches out other clubs interested in purchasing their player and begins negotiations; this process could last days or weeks before both sides reach an agreement that benefits both.
Once a trade agreement is in place, it must be approved by the MLB commissioner before completion. Most trades will likely receive his blessing before their deadline; however, he reserves the right to decline approval for any reason. Transactions can occur after this deadline has passed – in such instances, however, the player must first clear waivers.
At the trade deadline, teams in contention will typically act as buyers, while those not are often sellers. Of course, there can be exceptions, such as San Diego Padres, who may become buyers this year as they still hope to claim a championship before 2022.
How does it work?
MLB follows major sports in setting an annual trade deadline on August 31st; all trade deals must be finalized, or else they will not go through, and this date can have profound repercussions for teams and players, which may impact the rest of their season.
As the trade deadline draws near, teams may opt to sell while others buy to improve their postseason run. Groups like the Yankees and Red Sox, who possess many talented roster players, could potentially shop during this deadline period in search of winning their respective division championships and, ultimately, the World Series title.
There will also be teams looking to sell at the trade deadline, including Marlins, Pirates, Cubs, and Athletics. These clubs hope to eliminate veteran players that do not fit their long-term strategies while adding some younger talent to help them compete going forward.
The Cardinals are another team likely to sell at the trade deadline. Currently occupying last place in NL Central and not expected to remain highly competitive during their remaining games, it seems unlikely they will stay top sellers at that deadline.
At the trade deadline, teams should carefully consider their intentions as buyers or sellers; this will dictate which kind of trades they pursue throughout the remainder of summer.
If a team wants to trade after the deadline has passed, they must first place him on waivers and allow his claimant team to either acquire him or not; prioritization for priority league players may apply; otherwise, teams take on acquisition at their own risk.
At one time, there were frequent disagreements between the American and National Leagues over trade deadlines due to different rules for trading players between leagues. But recent changes to these regulations have helped ease some tension.
Who are the players on the trade block?
The trade deadline in MLB can often be unpredictable, and this year is no different. Many teams find themselves close to playoff contention and looking for ways to bolster their roster; at the same time, several of those expected to contend may decide that selling off some key players is necessary to stay afloat.
The New York Yankees are in an intriguing spot right now; currently last place in the AL East and over the luxury tax threshold. They may look to add another significant bat or bullpen arm, though any such moves should consider the potential costs associated with these moves.
Washington Nationals could also be buyers. Their young talent base could make them attractive buyers, and they have expressed an interest in adding an impact player. Third baseman Jed Lowrie has been linked with them, though he might not fit their long-term plans as an impending free agent. Furthermore, Jayson Werth may be up for trade.
Juan Soto, another Scott Boras client, may also be of interest to the Nationals. A highly-regarded prospect who’s struggled to live up to his potential with San Diego Padres, who currently hold fourth place in NL West, Soto is seen as an option by Washington Nationals as they aim to improve in 2016.
Max Scherzer and Tyler Chatwood, two critical pitchers for the Nationals, possess no-trade clauses that would prevent their trade. However, three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer may waive it for a chance at championship glory with another team this season.
Keep an eye out for All-Star Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Jack Flaherty, and Chicago White Sox left-hander Mike Clevinger; all four players will become free agents after this season, so could potentially seek more lucrative contracts elsewhere.
Who are the teams looking to make a move?
At the trade deadline, teams typically try to make moves. That could involve swapping out veteran starters to strengthen the bullpen, adding depth at positions with untapped value, or trading for someone that will significantly increase postseason chances.
New York Mets and Los Angeles Angels are expected to be active sellers at the trade deadline, with Los Angeles Angels possibly looking into acquiring San Diego Padres outfielder Cody Bellinger from San Diego Padres as one possible target; however, as there are currently six games separating both teams in AL West, neither team appears likely to acquire him.
The Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers need starting pitching depth, prompting both to pursue Chicago White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn despite his limited no-trade clause and demand for a significant return for his services. Lynn has limited no-trade rights; however, reports indicate he wants more in return than just money from these trade talks.
Philadelphia Phillies are looking to add starting pitching depth through the trade deadline, which could see them pursue Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as one potential option. Ohtani has been impressive this season, posting a 133 wRC+ with a fantastic slash line of 278/.397/.435.
Texas Rangers are said to be keen on adding depth to their bullpen, and one potential option could be Pittsburgh Pirates closer Josh Hader. He has had an outstanding year thus far, with an 0.90 ERA across 25 relief appearances.
Even though they’re no longer competing for a playoff spot in the NL East, Washington Nationals are expected to be sellers at the trade deadline. They could make moves on veteran players such as third baseman Jeison Candelario.
With only four wins over their past 13 games, the Seattle Mariners are in danger of missing out on a wild-card spot. They may look to sell at the trade deadline, with Ken Rosenthal from The Athletic reporting that they would consider trading veteran players such as Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, or Bryan Woo. Furthermore, Ken noted that they might look into adding outfielders such as Tommy Pham or Mark Canha as potential acquisitions.