With the dog days of summer heating up, the Major League Baseball playoff picture is starting to take shape. July 31st marks baseball’s trade deadline as it’s when teams are either conceding for a spot in the playoffs or looking to sell. Though too early for definite moves, the trade rumors are starting to fly. Let’s look at the early trade rumors and see if they are really believable or bull.
New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners are interested in the Toronto Blue Jays’ starting pitcher J.A. Happ
Both teams are very similar in regards to what they have. Good line-ups that could produce runs, solid bullpens that could both keep games close and preserve leads but they also need some help in the rotation.
The Yankees more so need pitching after losing Jordan Montgomery for the season to Tommy John surgery and Masahiro Tanaka to hamstring strains. It also doesn’t help that Sonny Gray isn’t having the season some fans thought he would. Once teams get passed CC Sabathia and Luis Severino, they face weaker pitching from the Bronx Bombers.
Meanwhile in Seattle, they’re looking to improve a rotation that isn’t good, but not bad. The records show they’re winning but when you look how high the earned run average (ERA) is, you could see that they need an anchor.
Given that both teams are in a division where a dog fight could break out, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of these two get Happ, whose been one of the better pitchers on the market with the other settling on a consolation prize.
Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to add and not subtract
On the surface, this is a “no duh” statement, however it’s more complicated than that. The National Central divison is a war zone right now. All but one team are in the mix to walk away with the division, which is the Cincinnati Reds.
Pittsburgh sits six games back in fourth place. Given that it’s only June and anything can happen, it’s the right statement to make…for now.
Pittsburgh doesn’t have power that could get them to the top, at least not yet. It’s not hard to see them being sellers at the deadline but they are a team on the up-and-up and could land a young talent that could get them over the hump in the next couple years.
Just the statement itself, it could be interpreted as “we’re getting players that will contribute over the next few years,” but to the common baseball fan, it reads, “we’re not selling” and it’s hard to buy that.
New York Mets are willing to listen to everybody about their roster
What a fall from grace. In 2015, the Mets made it to the World Series with arguably the best pitching staff in baseball, only for it to crumble three years later.
The Mets have some good talent from third baseman Todd Frazier to outfielder Jay Bruce including pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. The problem is, they need to trade a veteran and get some younger help.
This season is a lost cause for “the other New York team” but it does mean you can get younger in the process. We’ve seen a youth movement from the Mets over the past couple seasons and it’s the right way to go but they need to dump some of these veterans and continue to get younger. If they can’t build their team through young talent, then general manager Sandy Alderson should be fired.
Boston Red Sox could be giving Manny Machado a good look
The Red Sox are in a battle with the Yankees for the top spot in the American League East and it will come down to the wire with one team getting the division and the other going to play in the wild card game.
The Orioles have asked for current third baseman Rafael Devers who Boston is unwilling to part with. There’s also been some talk that one of the outfielders Boston has could be in mix, which again, is out of the question.
The other big question is would he come back. Machado has been linked to the Yankees, Mets and other teams over the past couple years. Would giving young talent away for someone whose essentially a rental be worth it?
Boston has bigger issues including a lack of offensive production in center field and catcher. Machado would look great in Red Sox white and red but there’s more pressing matters in bean town.
Atlanta Braves are sticking to the plan
What a turnaround from the Braves. After not finishing above third place since 2013, they are now leading the National League East. That said though, “sticking to the plan” isn’t always the best strategy.
The Braves have a great young team and talent to stick around near the top but they’re going to need a piece to push them to the top. They could be a championship contender in the next couple years.
All it will take is one really good run, as we’ve seen in past years with the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals. If they can get a closer who is known for shutting the door or a power bat like Mike Moustakas of the Royals who can add a threat to that lineup, they can modify the plan to better suit their position.