With the MLB Trade Deadline rapidly approaching, it’s that time of the year for contenders to get better and pretenders to start building for the future.
Here are three likely buyers and sellers come July 31st.
New York Yankees
At 52-28, the New York Yankees are first in the AL East and boast one of the best records in the entire league. After being hit with the injury bug early into the season, the Yankees core lineup has returned and is ready for a second-half World Series push. With very few weakness on the entire lineup, one glaring need is starting pitching. Outside of Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees currently do not have a reliable and consistent starting pitcher in their rotation. With the playoffs approaching, the Yankees will likely have to go through Houston Astros if they want any chance at a World Series, and it will be tough for the Yankees to gain an edge when they don’t have a starter to rely on. The Astros have two lights out starters in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole that they can be confident will lead them to victory with each start.
As a result, the Yankees will make a lot of noise during the trade deadline to try and land an established starter. Among the many potential trade options for the Yankees, Max Scherzer, Madison Bumgarner and Marcus Stroman are some of the biggest potential names to land in the Bronx. With a variety of top prospects in their farm system, including outfielder Clint Frazier, a swap of prospects for a starter is necessary if the Yankees want to win in October.
Boston Red Sox
After winning the World Series in 2018, the Boston Red Sox have suffered one of the worst WS hangovers in recent memory. But after starting their season 6-12 in their first 18 games, the Red Sox began to gain some momentum, and manage to recover enough to currently sit in third place of the AL East with a 44-40 record. Trailing the Yankees by 11.5 games, the division title is likely out of reach. However, at just two games back from the Rangers for one of the A.L. wild card spots, the Red Sox will look to make a second-half push to secure a place in the playoffs.
Although the Red Sox offensive firepower remains very strong, their bullpen is the biggest team weakness at the moment. Currently, the Red Sox are 18th in the league in bullpen ERA and have an AL-leading 17 blown saves. After failing to re-sign dependable closer Craig Kimbrel, it’s quite clear that his loss has taken a big toll on the Red Sox bullpen. With Nathan Eovaldi soon coming off the DL, the Red Sox have expressed interest in shifting him from the rotation to the closer role. This could be an option, but instead of experimenting with an established starter at the closer position, expect the Red Sox to be active at the deadline in acquiring a few extra arms in their bullpen and maybe a real closer. Until then, the Red Sox bullpen will continue to struggle and it’s hard to imagine the team making a playoff push without reinforcements.
After acquiring Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto this offseason, the Philadelphia Philliesmade it clear that they were all-in on the 2019 MLB season. After getting off to a strong start, the Phillies have begun to falter in the past month, including a season-high seven game losing streak that was snapped on June 24th. At the moment, the Phillies are second in the NL East with a 44-40 record and trail the first place Atlanta Braves by 5.5 games, and are currently tied with the Rockies for the final Wild Card spot in the National League.
Similar to the Red Sox, the Phillies are a team in search of bullpen help. With injuries to David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek and Adam Morgan, the Phillies are in dire need of arms in the bullpen. They currently rank 22nd in the league in bullpen ERA and have struggled to field an average starting unit. Outside of the bullpen needs, the Phillies lost outfielders Andrew McCutchen to a torn ACL and Odubel Herrera to administrative leave. Although they recently acquired Jay Bruce, the Phillies could look to also add another utility player in the outfield. After making big splashes prior to the season, expect the Phillies to continue that momentum into the trade deadline.