1 Realistic Move Each Team Should Make Before MLB Trade Deadline 2022

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesFeatured Columnist IVJuly 13, 2022

1 Realistic Move Each Team Should Make Before MLB Trade Deadline 2022

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    Josh Bell (David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Major League Baseball's 2022 trade deadline is now less than three weeks away, with August 2 is fast approaching.

    There are already nine teams—the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Reds, Rockies, Tigers, Royals, A's, Pirates and Nationals—so hopelessly out of the playoff picture that they are guaranteed to be sellers ahead of the deadline. There are also a few dominoes hovering around .500 who have a tough decision to make within the next 20 days.

    But, eventually, every team will become either a buyer or a seller, and we've put together a list of the one logical move each team should make.

    Some of our suggestions are as precise as trading for a specific player. Others are as vague as "enjoy the fire sale." The 30 teams are presented in alphabetical order by location.

    Statistics are current through the start of play on Tuesday, July 12.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Send David Peralta to a Contender

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    David Peralta (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

    Ideally, the Diamondbacks will find a trade partner willing to take Madison Bumgarner off their hands. He's pitching well enough (3.65 ERA) to provide value to a contender in need of a starter, but not well enough for Arizona to be thrilled about owing him $23 million next season, $14 million in 2024 and $5 million per year in deferred money from 2025-27.

    Getting that contract off the books would be huge.

    But the more realistic move is parting with longtime Diamondback David Peralta.

    Peralta turns 35 in August and is in the final season of the three-year, $22 million deal he signed in January 2020. While he's no longer the Silver Slugger who hit 30 home runs in 2018 nor the defensive star who won a Gold Glove in 2019, he would still be a welcome addition for a team like the Braves, Guardians or Yankees.

Atlanta Braves: Acquire Andrew Benintendi and/or David Peralta

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    Eddie Rosario (David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    After more than two months on the injured list following eye surgery, Eddie Rosario returned to action on July 4 and hit his first home run of the season two days later. He was batting .068 in 15 games played before the surgery, but if he can rediscover his 2021 second-half form, that would solve Atlanta's outfield problem.

    However, that's a mighty big "if," so the Braves figure to be on the hunt for someone to play alongside Ronald Acuna Jr. and Michael Harris II.

    And for any team interested in an outfield upgrade at this year's deadline, there are two names that are going to pop up in rumors over and over again: Arizona's David Peralta and Kansas City's Andrew Benintendi. There will surely be other outfielders on the move, too, but those impending free agents on teams going nowhere fast are the two big ones.

    Perhaps the reigning champs will even try to get both of them? After all, bringing in all of Rosario, Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler before last year's deadline worked out pretty swell.

Baltimore Orioles: Don't Trade Trey Mancini; Do Add an Inexpensive Arm

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    Trey Mancini (William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    The Orioles are 13-5 since June 21, unexpectedly surging into position for a possible postseason push. They're still in last place in the AL East, and you'd be hard-pressed to find any rational person who thinks they're likely to pull it off.

    But why not tentatively go for it?

    As far as trade assets go, the O's don't have many. They could move Trey Mancini, although that would infuriate the fans. Maybe a team desperate to improve its bullpen would overpay for closer Jorge Lopez. But they wouldn't be able to do much to improve the franchise if they did become a seller at the deadline.

    The most logical move seems to be letting it ride and bringing in a veteran starter for whom they wouldn't need to mortgage their future. Someone like Arizona's Zach Davies, Colorado's Jhoulys Chacin or Detroit's Michael Pineda could fit the bill.

Boston Red Sox: Get Josh Bell from Washington

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    Bobby Dalbec (Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

    With Chris Sale finally making his season debut on Tuesday, James Paxton rehabbing for his season debut at some point and the collection of Rich Hill, Michael Wacha, Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Whitlock hopefully not on the IL for much longer, Boston's currently troubling pitching situation should correct itself to some extent. It wouldn't surprise anyone if the Red Sox traded for another arm, but they might not need to.

    An upgrade at first base, though?

    That could make a major difference.

    Neither Bobby Dalbec nor Franchy Cordero has provided much of anything at first base for the Red Sox this season. It's a disappointing platoon in which either option needs to be buried in the bottom third of the order. But Josh Bell is a switch-hitting, everyday first baseman whose .304 batting average would fit beautifully in the 5-hole in Boston's lineup.

Chicago Cubs: Dump Willson Contreras and David Robertson

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    Willson Contreras (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

    Ever since that 10-game losing streak in the first half of June, it has really just been a question of when the Cubs will get what they can for impending free agents Willson Contreras and David Robertson.

    The former is the big one. Contreras has been arguably the most valuable catcher in the majors this season, at least as far as his hitting is concerned (.266 average). Not all of these teams will be buyers at the deadline, but the Mets, Astros, Cardinals, Giants, Guardians, Angels, Marlins and White Sox could all greatly benefit from improved hitting at the position.

    But don't sleep on the bidding war for Robertson's services. The Cubs closer has a 2.10 ERA and is closing in on 150 career saves. He's probably going to be the best reliever hitting the trade block this summer, which means everyone is going to be interested.

    It's not the fire sale they had last year, but the Cubs should be able to get a decent haul for what figure to be two of the biggest names traded.

Chicago White Sox: Bolster the Bullpen

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    David Robertson (Scott Kane/Getty Images)

    Though the White Sox have woefully underachieved to the tune of a sub-.500 record, it's highly unlikely they'll be sellers at the deadline. They are still well within striking distance in both the AL Central and the wild-card spot, and they simply don't have many impending free agents even if they wanted to sell. (Although Jose Abreu sure is a big one.)

    What they would love to get is a second baseman, but good luck finding one. Cincinnati's Donovan Solano is about as good as it gets, and he isn't even a clear upgrade over their current Leury Garcia/Josh Harrison situation.

    In lieu of that improvement at second base, perhaps the White Sox will at least be able to add a middle reliever or two.

    The trio of Kendall Graveman, Reynaldo Lopez and Liam Hendriks has been solid, but everything else about this bullpen has been quite the adventure. The South Siders got Craig Kimbrel from the Cubs last year. Perhaps they can go back to that nearby well for David Robertson this year.

Cincinnati Reds: Enjoy the Mild Fire Sale

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    Brandon Drury (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

    Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas aren't going anywhere, but the Reds are loaded with guys who are about to become two-month rentals.

    The biggest name is Brandon Drury, who can play anywhere, is dirt cheap ($900,000 in 2022) and already has a career-best 18 home runs this season. He could play third for the Angels, second for the White Sox or outfield for the Guardians, or he could just be a utility man for any team. His market will be fun to watch.

    Among batters, the Reds also have Tyler Naquin and Donovan Solano hitting free agency, as well as Tommy Pham on a mutual option for 2023, and those almost never go into effect. Naquin and Pham both figure to be dealt.

    And then there's Hunter Strickland, who has four saves and a 3.47 ERA dating back to May 1. He won't fetch what David Robertson or Daniel Bard will, but Cincinnati might be able to sell Strickland as a possible closer.

Cleveland Guardians: Find an Outfielder Who Can Homer

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    Oscar Mercado (Isaiah Vazquez/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)

    Did you know the Guardians outfield has hit just eight home runs this entire season? Oscar Mercado has four, Oscar Gonzalez has two, Steven Kwan hit one in April, and rookie Nolan Jones hit one on Saturday. That's it. And Mercado's most recent blast came all the way back on May 13.

    Needless to say, they could use an infusion of power.

    Cleveland could certainly get Charlie Blackmon (13 HR) from Colorado if it wanted him, but his $18.3 million player option for 2023 makes that unlikely to happen. The more likely targets are Arizona's David Peralta (11 HR) and/or Cincinnati's Tommy Pham (11 HR).

    Both Peralta and Pham primarily play left, which has been Kwan's home for most of the season. But the rookie has also made 19 starts in right field and could permanently relocate there if that's what it takes to add a power bat to this lineup.

Colorado Rockies: At Least Get Something for Daniel Bard

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    Daniel Bard (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    The Rockies messed up at last year's trade deadline, getting nothing for Trevor Story even though they had no hope of making the playoffs and everyone knew he was going to leave in free agency.

    Let's find out if they learned their lesson.

    Daniel Bard has saved 18 games with a 2.20 ERA. Alex Colome has saved four games with a 2.73 ERA. Chad Kuhl has been Colorado's best starting pitcher, including a recent complete-game shutout against the Dodgers. And Jose Iglesias is batting just a shade under .300.

    All four will be free agents after this season, and ideally the Rockies will be able to trade all four away. But they darn well better at least get something for Bard before the deadline, because there are always teams willing to part with a half-decent prospect or two in exchange for someone with the proven ability to pitch in the ninth inning.

Detroit Tigers: Empty out the Bullpen

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    Andrew Chafin (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

    Detroit has quietly had one of the most reliable bullpens this season. There haven't been many leads to protect because the team's batting has been...not great. But as a whole, Tigers relievers have a 3.05 ERA and have blown fewer saves (five) than any other team.

    Better strike while that iron is hot.

    Both Wily Peralta (2.16 ERA) and Michael Fulmer (1.93 ERA) are impending free agents who have pitched well this season. Those two are the low-hanging fruit all but certain to move—if Peralta (hamstring) is healthy enough to be moved.

    Joe Jimenez (2.97 ERA, 0.93 WHIP) is arbitration-eligible for one more season before hitting free agency in 2024. His 6.3 K/BB ratio would surely attract some suitors if the Tigers were to dangle his name in trades.

    But the most intriguing Tiger is Andrew Chafin (2.39 ERA, 0.95 WHIP). He has a $7 million player option for 2023, but with the way this lefty is pitching, it's a foregone conclusion he'll be declining that. He will be a highly coveted commodity in a market otherwise almost entirely devoid of respectable left-handed relievers.

Houston Astros: Get Andrew Chafin from Detroit

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    Phil Maton (Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    There are 13 pitchers who have logged at least 20 innings of work for the Astros this season. Twelve of them are right-handed, with starter Framber Valdez the lone exception.

    In other words, with Blake Taylor currently on the 60-day IL with elbow inflammation, there are no lefties in this bullpen. And in the spirit of thinking long-term here, there's a decent chance Houston will partake in a best-of-seven series with games in Yankee Stadium against the left-handed bats of Anthony Rizzo, Joey Gallo and Matt Carpenter.

    Sure would be nice to have a lefty to summon out of the pen in those situations.

    As previously mentioned, left-handed pitchers on the move at this year's trade deadline figure to be few and far between. In fact, Detroit's Andrew Chafin may well be the only one good enough to be of any interest to the Astros. (Texas' Matt Moore would also be an option, if the Rangers embrace selling and are willing to help out a division rival, neither of which are a given.)

Kansas City Royals: Fetch Top Dollar for Andrew Benintendi

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    Andrew Benintendi (Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)

    Where Andrew Benintendi ends up playing three weeks from now is anyone's guess, although "not Kansas City" sure is a safe assumption.

    Benintendi won a Gold Glove for his work in left field last season and is batting .313 this year for a team that is winning just 37 percent of its games played. He will hit free agency this winter and is of no real use to the Royals right now, aside from his immense value as a trade chip.

    The Braves, Guardians, Padres and Yankees figure to be the four most aggressive suitors here, and it will play to Kansas City's advantage that the demand for a quality outfielder far outweighs the supply of them available on this year's trade block. The Royals should hold out at least until the final 48 hours before the deadline to see which of those teams gets most desperate to acquire the best outfielder on the market.

Los Angeles Angels: Take a Third Baseman off Miami's Hands

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    Anthony Rendon (Michael Owens/Getty Images)

    It's probably too little, too late, but if the Angels expect to have any hope of competing for a playoff spot, they need to at least find an answer at the hot corner with Anthony Rendon out for the remainder of the year.

    Since losing Rendon in mid-June, they've tried each of Matt Duffy, Jack Mayfield, Tyler Wade, David MacKinnon and Jonathan Villar at third base, none of whom have been the answer.

    Meanwhile in Miami, the Marlins have a surplus of above-replacement-level options at third base with Jon Berti, Brian Anderson and Joey Wendle all more than capable of manning the hot corner.

    Of the three, Wendle makes the most sense for them to move, as he has a $6.3 million team option for next season and lacks the outfield flexibility that Anderson and Berti possess. But if Miami is willing to part with any member of that trio, the Angels should go for it.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Get David Robertson from the Cubs

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    Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    While the Los Angeles Dodgers don't need to add anything ahead of the deadline, picking up one of the best bullpen arms available wouldn't hurt.

    Closer Craig Kimbrel has a 6.20 ERA since May 15. The Dodgers recently lost backup closer Daniel Hudson for the rest of the year to a torn ACL. And backup backup closer Blake Treinen hasn't pitched since mid-April because of a shoulder injury.

    Somehow, it hasn't mattered. The Dodgers still have the best record in the National League, and their overall bullpen numbers rank among the best in the majors. But Hudson's injury all but guarantees that Los Angeles will be looking to add at least one bullpen arm.

    David Robertson figures to be their primary target. Even if they don't plan to use him as a closer, he has plenty of invaluable postseason experience in his career and could fit in nicely as the setup guy for Kimbrel.

Miami Marlins: Add a Veteran Starter

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    Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Miami Marlins are stuck in no man's land, four games back in the wild-card standings with not much to offer if they did become sellers.

    Aside from Joey Wendle on a 2023 team option, Jorge Soler on a 2023 player option and Jesus Aguilar on a 2023 mutual option, they don't have any impending free agents. So, unless they're going to start selling off guys who they still have under team control for at least 1.5 more seasons, they might as well keep fighting the good fight.

    Basically, they're in the same spot as the Baltimore Orioles, right down to the part about having a young pitching staff that could benefit from the addition of a veteran innings eater.

    Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez have been great, but a guy like Kansas City's Zack Greinke, Pittsburgh's Jose Quintana or Detroit's Michael Pineda would immediately become the third-best starter in this rotation and might help them catch back up to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Milwaukee Brewers: Go Get One of the Best Starting Pitchers Available

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    Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

    What the Milwaukee Brewers really need is a center fielder, but finding one is another story. If Andrew Benintendi—who logged over 500 innings as a part-time center fielder from 2016-19—is willing and able to do it, that could be a match made in heaven. Other than that, however, it's slim pickings.

    What they could do instead is make a sizable splash to improve a floundering starting rotation.

    Corbin Burnes has been great all season, and Brandon Woodruff is looking good since coming off the IL two weeks ago. But Eric Lauer, Adrian Houser, Aaron Ashby and Co. have struggled to get anyone out for the past month.

    Chad Kuhl and Jose Quintana will certainly be available, but Milwaukee should aim higher than that. If Texas decides to sell, go get Martin Perez. Call the A's about Frankie Montas or the Reds about Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle, none of whom are impending free agents, but who might be gettable.

Minnesota Twins: Trade for a Closer

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    Abbie Parr/Getty Images

    Though they've been able to tread water atop the AL Central, closer has been a season-long adventure for the Minnesota Twins.

    Emilio Pagan is leading the team with nine saves, but he has a 9.24 ERA since the beginning of June and has blown two saves since he last converted one on June 13. Rookie Jhoan Duran has been their most reliable reliever, but he only has one save since Memorial Day and has no postseason experience. No one else on the team has more than two saves.

    Maybe Duran is the answer, but with both David Robertson and Daniel Bard sure to be available, why not at least bring in some "been there, done that" insurance for the 24-year-old with five career saves? In particular, Robertson also has plenty of career experience in a setup role, so the Twins could plan on using him in the eighth and Duran in the ninth, swapping those roles later, if necessary.

New York Mets: Trade for Willson Contreras

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    Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Whether it has been Tomas Nido, James McCann or Patrick Mazeika getting the start behind the dish, "New York Mets Catcher" has been buried at ninth in the batting order in just about every game this season. And for good reason. That trio has a cumulative on-base percentage of .249 with just three home runs to date.

    In Francisco Alvarez, the Mets do have MLB.com's highest-rated catcher prospect, but he just got promoted to Triple-A and isn't expected to be ready for the big leagues until at least next season.

    Translation: A three-month rental of this season's best offensive catcher would be one heck of a boost for the Mets.

    If they can get him, Willson Contreras would fit perfectly at fifth in the order after Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso. The Mets have been juggling Mark Canha, Jeff McNeil, Eduardo Escobar and J.D. Davis in that spot all season long, and it sure would be great to finally get some lineup protection behind Alonso.

New York Yankees: Bring in Andrew Benintendi or David Peralta to Replace Joey Gallo

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Aaron Hicks has come around quite nicely in recent weeks, but the Joey Gallo Experience remains a nightmare for the Bronx Bombers.

    Dating back to May 16, the corner outfielder is batting .138 with five home runs and 55 strikeouts. And in his career, Gallo has traditionally been much better before the All-Star Break than he has been after it, so things might get even worse.

    Obviously, the New York Yankees are getting along just fine in spite of his foibles, presently 15 games ahead in the AL East standings. But that's no good reason to accept having a black hole in the lineup when there are multiple quality left fielders on this year's trading block.

    Getting Andrew Benintendi's .313 batting average into Gallo's spot in the lineup would be a night-and-day difference. He's nowhere near the home run threat that Gallo is, but Benintendi has nearly three times as many hits as Gallo and the Yankees have plenty of other candidates for round trippers.

    Alternatively, getting David Peralta would let the Yankees more or less keep Gallo's slugging potential—Peralta has 11 home runs in 2022 to Gallo's 10—while still improving darn near 100 points in batting average.

Oakland Athletics: Package Elvis Andrus with Frankie Montas

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    Alika Jenner/Getty Images

    Even though he doesn't hit free agency until 2024, there has been a lot of scuttlebutt that Oakland is more than willing to trade away Frankie Montas. And if he is available, he's probably going to be the best pitcher moved at this year's deadline.

    For an All-Star-caliber pitcher still under team control for another 1.5 seasons, the A's should be able to get at least one top-100 prospect in return, if not an entire platter of potential future big leaguers.

    Alternatively (or additionally), they might be able to convince someone to take Elvis Andrus off their hands.

    If he reaches 550 plate appearances this season (he's on pace for around 540, so it's likely to be a photo finish), Andrus will have a $15 million player option for next year, which the minuscule-market A's would very much prefer not to pay.

Philadelphia Phillies: Add a Starting Pitcher

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    Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Before the season began, I expected the Philadelphia Phillies to have one of the best starting rotations in the majors. Even though Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola have held up their ends of the bargain, that hasn't panned out in the slightest. And making matters worse, both Ranger Suarez (back) and Zach Eflin (knee) are currently on the IL, leaving the Phillies scrambling for spot starters.

    Much has been made about the state of this bullpen, but slapping a Band-Aid on the starting rotation is a bigger need right now. Plus, if they add a starter and both Suarez and Eflin return to full health, they would have the option of putting Suarez back into the bullpen where he was so dominant in 2021.

    As far as a trading partner is concerned, going back to Texas might be the answer. That's where they found Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy last season. Could get some combination of Martin Perez, Garrett Richards and Matt Moore from the Rangers this year.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Trade Away Jose Quintana

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    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    Trading away Jose Quintana has been a foregone conclusion for the Pittsburgh Pirates for quite some time.

    The left-handed impending free agent has a 3.59 ERA through 17 starts, but all he has to show for it is a 2-4 record. He's on a one-year, $2 million deal with the Buccos, so absorbing the remaining prorated portion of his salary won't be a problem for any team looking to add a starting pitcher.

    Pittsburgh was in a similar boat last year with Tyler Anderson, flipping him to the Seattle Mariners just before the trade deadline for a pair of minor leaguers (Carter Bins and Joaquin Tejada) who still aren't ranked in the top 30 in their farm system, per MLB.com.

    Maybe they can get more than that for Quintana because he has a better track record than Anderson had, but chances are some contender is going to get a back-of-the-rotation arm for cheap.

San Diego Padres: Take a Flier on Joey Gallo

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Eventually, Fernando Tatis Jr. will make his long-awaited 2022 season debut, and San Diego will have an impressive one-two punch in the heart of the order in him and Manny Machado. But the rest of this lineup has left a lot to be desired ever since Eric Hosmer started cooling off from his blistering hot start.

    To have any hope of keeping pace with the Dodgers in the NL West, the Padres will likely need to add multiple impact bats via trade. They'll be in the market for the likes of Willson Contreras, Josh Bell and David Peralta, among others.

    And while he hasn't worked out for the Yankees, perhaps a change of scenery could be just what the doctor ordered for Joey Gallo. At any rate, the Padres haven't gotten much from their outfield this season, so it's worth a shot, especially with Jurickson Profar and Wil Myers currently on the IL.

    If and when the Yankees are able to trade for Andrew Benintendi or Peralta, their asking price for Gallo wouldn't be much. It may even just be a salary dump.

San Francisco Giants: Bring Back Bumgarner

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    Norm Hall/Getty Images

    If they drop any further out of the playoff picture and decide to sell, the San Francisco Giants could flood the market with intriguing names. Brandon Belt, Joc Pederson and Wilmer Flores will all be free agents after this season. Also, Evan Longoria has a team option for 2023, while Carlos Rodon has a player option that he is likely to turn down in search of a long-term deal. There would surely be interest in all five of those players.

    More likely, though, the Giants will remain on the prowl for a trip to the playoffs and will be eager to improve their starting rotation with Anthony DeSclafani (ankle) done for the year.

    Perhaps a reunion with Madison Bumgarner could be in order?

    The five names listed above represent nearly $70 million in payroll that will/could come off the books at the end of this season, so absorbing the remaining two-plus years of Bumgarner's contract wouldn't be the end of the world. And it sure would be fun if he was the catalyst for a San Francisco postseason push.

Seattle Mariners: Trade for a Middle Reliever

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    Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    What a difference three weeks can make.

    On June 20, the Seattle Mariners were clearly going to be sellers, sitting 10 games below .500 with impending free agents Adam Frazier and Mitch Haniger bound to rank among the most intriguing options available at their respective positions. But after wins in 16 of 19 games, the Mariners are knocking on the door of what would be their first playoff appearance since 2001.

    If they want to pull it off, adding a reliable middle reliever could be huge.

    The Mariners have a solid starting rotation (if rookie George Kirby can hold up for the full season), and the back end of the bullpen is in good shape, led by Paul Sewald, Erik Swanson and Penn Murfee. But the sixth and especially the seventh innings have been problematic, so bringing in a veteran reliever like Colorado's Alex Colome could be a game-changer.

    It wouldn't be his first rodeo in Seattle, either. He had a 2.53 ERA in 47 appearances for the Mariners in 2018.

St. Louis Cardinals: Trade for Jose Quintana

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    Brett Davis/Getty Images

    The main trio of Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright and Dakota Hudson has been solid and healthy, but spots No. 4 and 5 in the St. Louis Cardinals rotation have been a much different story. Eight different pitchers have combined for 37 starts, each with an ERA well north of 4.00.

    They desperately need to bring in someone who can occasionally go at least five innings without allowing more than three runs, or else overtaking the Brewers in the NL Central isn't going to happen.

    To that end, a division rival may hold the answer to their problem.

    Pittsburgh's Jose Quintana has yet to allow more than four earned runs or seven hits in a start this season, and he has gone at least five innings in 11 of those 17 starts. While he's no longer quite the innings-eating ace he was for the White Sox back in 2013-16, he could be one heck of a No. 4 in the Cards' rotation.

Tampa Bay Rays: Get Brandon Drury from Cincinnati

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    Mark Blinch/Getty Images

    Tampa Bay already needed to trade for some hitters, but with Wander Franco (hand/wrist) expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks and Manuel Margot (knee) possibly out for the rest of the year, the situation has gotten downright dire.

    Case in point, in Sunday's loss to the Reds, the Rays started five guys batting below .200, none of whom have hit five home runs this season.

    As far as specific positions of need go, right field is the biggest issue, but everything except for left field (Randy Arozarena), first base (Ji-Man Choi) and designated hitter (Harold Ramirez) could do with an upgrade.

    So, a utility guy like Cincinnati's Brandon Drury would be a great starting point.

    Drury predominantly plays third base, but he has also played plenty of second base and corner outfield in his career. And with 18 home runs on the season, he would immediately become Tampa Bay's top slugger.

Texas Rangers: Embrace Another Year as a Seller

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    It is entirely unclear at this point whether the 40-44 Texas Rangers will be buyers or sellers.

    The Rangers spent a lot of money this offseason on Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray. However, they have each of those three guys locked up through at least 2025, so it's not a "now or never" predicament for their biggest investments. And on the impending-free-agents front, they are loaded with Martin Perez, Matt Moore and Charlie Culberson all set to become unrestricted free agents, while Kole Calhoun, Jose LeClerc and Garrett Richards each have pricy team options for 2023.

    Selling seems marginally more likely, in which case they should get a nice haul for the trio of Perez, Moore and Calhoun.

    With 11 home runs on the year, Calhoun would be right up there with Andrew Benintendi and David Peralta on the list of desirable outfielders. Moore would easily be one of the most coveted relief arms, as the lefty has a sub-2.00 ERA. And Perez is sure to be one of the best starters on the market with a 2.72 ERA.

Toronto Blue Jays: Get Martin Perez from Texas

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    Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

    Did you know that Toronto is the only team spending more than $10 million on each of at least four different starting pitchers this season?

    Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, the only one who has been anywhere near worth that eight-figure salary is Kevin Gausman, so they're going to need to spend even more on starting pitching ahead of the trade deadline, lest they fall into dead last in the AL East.

    Ideally, the starter that they get will be a left-hander, since both of Toronto's starting lefties (Hyun Jin Ryu and Yusei Kikuchi) are on the IL. Kikuchi (neck) and his 5.12 ERA should be back at some point, but Ryu (Tommy John) and his 5.67 ERA are done for the year.

    As far as left-handed starters go, the options are pretty much Martin Perez or Jose Quintana, and Toronto will need to battle the likes of Philadelphia, St. Louis and others for those southpaws.

Washington Nationals: Trade Everyone (except for Juan Soto)

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    Brett Davis/Getty Images

    Josh Bell, Cesar Hernandez, Steve Cishek, Ehire Adrianza, Maikel Franco and Alcides Escobar are all free agents after this season. (So are Will Harris, Joe Ross, Anibal Sanchez and Sean Doolittle, although they are currently on the IL.) And with a $16 million mutual option for 2023 that the Nationals would never dream of paying, Nelson Cruz is destined for free agency, as well.

    Of the bunch, Bell is the only one likely to be worth anything on the open market, but the dead-last-in-the-NL Nationals should take whatever they can get for those 11 players who are not part of the long-term plan in the nation's capital.

    What they should not do, though, is trade away Juan Soto. There was a lot of talk about that earlier this season, but that would be a horrendous decision. He's still arbitration-eligible in both 2023 and 2024, and there's no chance they would get what he's worth in a trade today. Ride it out and hope to win another title with him in two years.


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