In the National League, it’s pretty clear who will compete. Players like: Noah Syndergaard, Lucas Giolito, Javier Baez and Giancarlo Stanton aren’t going anywhere because they belong to teams with clear playoff intentions. The Mets, Marlins, Nationals, Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals, Giants and Dodgers are all in it and will likely be buyers at the MLB trade deadline while the remaining seven teams are all clearly out of it.
In the American League, it’s not so simple. We know the Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays, Indians and Rangers are in it and we know a few more teams are definitely not out of it but then it gets blurry. Here’s a breakdown:
Sellers: Twins, Angels, Athletics, Rays
A Closer Look: These teams are clearly not turning it around. The Twins are the worst team in the league, the Angels just lost its third starter for the year and has no trade assets, the A’s are tied for last place and rarely buy to begin with and the Rays have the second worst record in the league in arguably the deepest division (for now). These teams are out of it and there’s no debate.
Likely to Buy: Astros, Tigers, Royals, Mariners
A Closer Look: The Astros have been red hot for a while now and seem to have an endless of prospect help. They’re going to target pitching in an effort to overtake Texas and guarantee at least a wildcard spot. Detroit is five games over .500 and one game out of a wildcard spot. After being in a similar spot and selling last year, they will likely do the opposite this season playing better and with an aging core.
The Royals have back to back pennants to defend and are in a win now window, barring a disastrous two weeks, they will look to add pitching and hope a healthy Wade Davis can help them make a second half run.
The Mariners seem to be on the brink every year but are in a winnable league, three games out of a playoff spot and finally have an offensive worthy of going for it.
A healthy King Felix will go a long way as would an unhealthy Yu Darvish, but this should be the year Seattle tries to get over the hump, especially with two doormats in the division and two other competitive divisions for most of their rivals.
Likely to Sell: Yankees and White Sox
A Closer Look: The Yankees have been maddening to watch all season because of how mediocre and not good or bad they are. The team looks like a contender one game, a team in need of a rebuild the next. The starters look like ace potential in their primes one inning, busts the next. Still, New York should sell because of how the team is constructed. With no reliable starter behind Masahiro Tanaka to speak of, no middle of the batting order hitters under the age of 40 and a stable of dominant relievers who make excellent deadline trade pieces, the Yankees would be wise to take advantage and deal its spare parts.
Yes, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman are arguably the two best relievers in the game, but one will be 33-years-old next year for likely another mediocre Yankees’ team and the other can be resigned this winter. New York should look into moving: Brett Gardner, Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran as well.
The White Sox are two games under .500 and played their best baseball two months ago. With three team ahead of them in their own division, not to mention three more with more depth and better records in other AL divisions, the White Sox would be wise to add to a poor farm system by trading off some spare parts the next couple of weeks.
Chris Sale‘s prime is not going to last forever and leap frogging six teams just to get into a one game playoff is a worse bet than rebuilding and trying again next year.