Three Teams Poised to Sell Big at the MLB Trade Deadline

St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago White Sox
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago White Sox / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

The 2023 MLB trade deadline is less than a week away and teams have positioned themselves to make moves. In what could be one of the best sellers' markets in years, three teams appear ready to move as many players as possible.

Here's a look at the three franchises that look prepared to cash in at the deadline.

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox have been one of baseball's most disappointing teams this season. A team expected to compete for the AL Central title enters Tuesday night's action at 41-60. They're toast and a number of big names have underperformed. Luckily for Chicago, there's a chance to turn that negative into a positive by moving several pieces to replenish a weak farm system.

Righty Lucas Giolito is almost certain to move. The free agent-to-be is a former All-Star and is having a good enough season to be a great rental candidate for a contender. The 29-year-old is 6-6 with a 3.79 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 131 strikeouts against 42 walks in 121 innings. Impending free agent relievers Reynaldo Lopez and Kenyan Middleton are almost certain to be moved as well.

Other free agents to-be include reliever Joe Kelly, starter Lance Lynn, catcher Yasmani Grandal, and shortstop Elvis Andrus. None of those guys are having great seasons but they could be useful depth pieces for a contender.

If the White Sox are truly in "move everything" mode, Tim Anderson -- who has collapsed -- Dylan Cease and Kendall Graveman could all be gone as well. Luis Robert is pretty much the only guy safe at this point.

Expect a lot of action on the South Side over the next week.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals have been another massive flop this season, entering Tuesday at 45-56, 11 games out of first place in the NL Central and nine back of the final Wild Card spot. While we speculated on a possible Nolan Arenado trade, even if the Cards don't go the blockbuster route, they have plenty of pieces to sell. And they're likely to move some of them.

Left-hander Jordan Montgomery is having a good season at 6-8 with a 3.37 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. If the San Diego Padres opt to hold on to Blake Snell, he could be the best lefty starter on the market. Righty Jack Flaherty has been up and down this year (7-6, 4.39 ERA, 1.53 WHIP), but he'll likely be moved as well. Shortstop Paul DeJong hasn't been good (.237/.304/.424), but the Cards would love to dump him and he could catch on somewhere as a bench piece. Right-handed reliever Jordan Hicks has had an up-and-down career but he's been decent in 2023 (3.67 ERA, 1.51 WHIP) and has great stuff.

On top of those obvious candidates to move, the Cardinals have the aforementioned Arenado and reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt, who is having a down year by his standards (.285/.371/.473) and only has one season left on his contract. St. Louis could get a massive haul for Arenado or Goldschmidt, but at this point we're assuming neither moves. Still, the Cardinals have a ton of ammo to make some sigificant deals.

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have surprised this season by being close to contention. A team that has rebuilt over the last few years finally appears on the cusp of being a perennial playoff participant. But it's unlikely that happens this season. After foolishly holding on to Willson Contreras last season and only receiving draft pick compensation when he walked away, it's likely the Cubs smarten up and move their impending free agents this year.

Marcus Stroman could get a haul as the best righty on the market. The 32-year-old is 10-7 with a 3.09 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 105 strikeouts against 46 walks in 122.1 innings. He has been excellent and still has a lot in the tank. Stroman holds a 2024 player option for $21 million but seems likely to opt-out and chase more cash on the open market.

Cody Bellinger has had a nice rebound in Chicago, slashing .319/.369/.549 in 68 games. He carries a mutual option for $12 million for 20214 and is likely to opt-out to seek a longer deal. He could fetch a solid return as a rental.

Guys like Yan Gomes ($6 mil club option), Drew Smyly (owed $8.5 mil), Kyle Hendricks ($16 mil club option), could be available and all are under contract cheaply for 2024. They could all help contenders but it's more likely the Cubs hang onto them to help for a 2024 playoff push.

Trey Mancini has been awful this season (.237/.300/.342) and holds a $7 million player option for 2024, so the Cubs would love to move him. It'll be hard to find a buyer, though.

While those are the three teams certain to sell, keep an eye on the New York Mets. They have pieces to move and the biggest payroll in baseball. They might opt to hang onto the big pieces for 2024 and attempt to right the ship, or they could admit defeat and sell everything for pennies on the dollar. It should be an interesting week in Queens.