With only days remaining before the August 2nd trade deadline, Major League Baseball clubs must avail themselves of their last opportunity to add players to plug holes and improve their chances at making the postseason or to sell and get young prospects from contenders for those on expiring contracts.
The number of sellers may not be as plentiful as in previous years with the new expanded playoff format, but teams on the bubble may not be willing to expend a large chunk of their prospect base on a longshot chance of making the postseason.
Here is what clubs in the AL West may be looking to do before next Tuesday’s deadline:
Houston Astros – Buyer
Needs – Outfield, Catcher
The Astros have an 11-game lead over Seattle in the West and are battling the Yankees for the best record in the AL, but are looking to plug a few holes before August 2. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, they are looking for a more permanent answer in center field, which has been a revolving door since George Springer’s departure and catching help with Martin Maldonado hitting below the Mendoza line.
Houston would prefer to add players under control (Brian Reynolds, Cedric Mullins, Sean Murphy) and have excess pitching available to deal, but may have to dip into the rental market if Pittsburgh, Baltimore, or Oakland asks for too much.
Seattle Mariners – Buyer
Needs – Pitching
The Mariners recognized that starting pitching was their great need in the offseason and went out and signed AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, but Team President Jerry Dipoto is reportedly still looking to upgrade his rotation with his team in the thick of the wildcard race. Seattle is in the mix for both Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today also mentioned the Mariners as being among a number of teams checking into Juan Soto.
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Texas Rangers – Seller
Shopping – Pitching
The Rangers went bonkers last fall in free agency, signing middle infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to mega-million-dollar contracts, but that has not helped to make them more competitive, as they are 20 games behind the Astros in the West and well out of the wildcard race. Martin Perez (8-2, 2.59 ERA, 101 K’s) has been the club’s best starter, is a free agent after the season, and has yet to talk to Texas about an extension, but reports indicate that GM Chris Young is unlikely to trade the lefty before the deadline. Reliever Matt Moore (1.70 ERA, 52 K’s in 47 IP) is someone looking for a lefty out of the pen may target.
Los Angeles Angels – Seller
Shopping – Noah Syndergaard, Shohei Ohtani
The Angels continue to be an unmitigated disaster, no matter how much money they spend on big-name talent. The chatter about trading MVP Ohtani a year out from being a free agent is likely just noise and preparation for a bidding war at the Winter Meetings, but Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that the San Diego Padres made inquiries, possibly as a fallback if they lose out in the Soto sweepstakes.
Syndergaard is not the fireballer he was with the Mets and has put up pedestrian numbers with LA but could be moved with so many clubs desperate for pitching.
Oakland A’s – Seller
Shopping – Frankie Montas, Sean Murphy, Ramon Laureano
The A’s are continuing their roster purge that saw infielders Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, and outfielder Mark Canha dealt over the winter. Montas is on par with Castillo in terms of interest from teams looking for a starter at the top of their rotation. Murphy and Laureano are under control after this season, which makes them more attractive to clubs looking for cost-certainty and more than a short-term solution.
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