(Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports)
There is no more exciting trade deadline in all of sports than July 31st at 4 pm. Baseball is the only sport where a trade midseason can instantly impact a team the next day. In comparison to football where the player might need time to adjust, learn the system/playbook, and practice with the team, baseball players can be inserted the next day without practice and just play. A team can change the fate of their season by making one or two moves at this deadline both for good and for bad. The 2003 then Florida Marlins made a huge move to acquire closer Ugueth Urbina by trading top prospect Adrian Gonzalez.
Despite departing with a future all star, Urbina was huge for the Marlins winning the 2003 World Series. The 2014 A’s showed us last season that you can also affect chances by making the wrong moves, the Lester/Cespedes deal with Boston was awful for both teams considering neither retained their players and Oakland lost their strangle hold of the AL West by trading their best offensive piece to try and bolster pitching which was their biggest strength. With the new 10 team playoff, it is harder to tell if a team will buy or sell which makes most deals now a days happen closer to the July 31st deadline. Here are the 5 teams I expect to be the most active.
The Reds have the most likely piece this year to be moved in SP Johnny Cueto, who in turn will likely get many solid offers with the market for SP this year being so high. This is also a Reds team who is looking to rebuild seeing that they are highly unlikely to make any noise in the playoff picture and a core who has been together for a solid 6 years. I expect a high value placed on SP Mike Leake, veteran OF Marlon Byrd, and relievers JJ Hoover, Burke Badenhop and Logan Ondrusek will also be interesting to watch.
My darkhorse player would be OF Jay Bruce, a power hitting left-hander with a cannon in the outfield will be sought after by many teams in baseball and he seems like a more reasonable piece to move than the lucritive contracts of Joey Votto or Brandon Phillips. I expect a ton of change in Cincinnati with an influx of young talent coming their way.
New York Yankees
The Pinstripes have been quiet the last couple of years not having the elite teams that we grew up watching in the 90’s. The AL East is completely up for grabs and it is quite unlikely that more than one team from that divison will make the postseason. The Yankees will likely be very aggresive in trade talks this deadline. Troy Tulowitzki is the dream scenario I have doubts about the Yankees having enough to acquire him, Ben Zobrist is the realistic name I can see the Yankees target.
A super utility man who will likely take the starting 2nd base job from Stephen Drew can play all over the diamond, and with the type of tactical changes Joe Girardi likes to endulge in he is a glove fit. Mike Leake also would be a nice fit to the teams rotation, however I see him as more of an NL type pitcher.
San Diego Padres
A team who made a ton of moves in the offseason is falling flat on their face with the Dodgers and Giants running away with the NL West. Justin Upton I can see being moved to a top contender to be moved and still a very high value player I expect to be persued by the Mets, Red Sox, Royals, and Astros. Andrew Cashner is one of those players teams will also show interest in, however I think at a much lower value than some of these big name pitchers on the market.
The Padres are usually incredibly active at the deadline and I expect no less this year.
New York Mets
The Mets need a bat……..BAD luckily for them a surplus of young pitching is waiting at their disposal. Jon Niese will likely be the man to be moved in order to try and bring some much needed offense. Harvey, Syndergaard, Matz, deGrom, and Colon are dynamite arms in a divison where the Mets still have a good chance. I expect the Mets to push hard for OF Carlos Gomez and they definetly have the pitching talent to make this move.
Do not sleep on this team, if they are able to acquire offensive talent while somehow keeping the young core of pitchers, they could be dangerous, however relying on such young pitchers is risky as well. Proceed with Caution.
The wonderful story that has been the Astros has been exciting to watch. History tells us however that the AL West always comes down to the last day of the season and it seems like one team in that divison gets scalding hot at the right time. It looks like for the second year in a row the Angels will be that team which puts pressure on the Astros to make a move.
There is a ton of young talent with the team and in the system so they fit in the Cueto sweepstakes, I expect the Stros to add a high quality arm while getting rid of some youthful talent in the minor leagues.
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