It's going to be a strange, potentially subdued MLB trade deadline. Such is life in a 60-game shortened season with an expanded postseason.
Then again, you just never know what could happen before the trade deadline. All expectations could be smashed.
Let's take a look at some of the players and teams worth keeping tabs on in the coming weeks.
Interested parties are inquiring about Texas Rangers starter Lance Lynn.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, "the team already is drawing interest in Lynn, but currently is 8-9 and in second place in the AL West, good enough for a postseason berth in the expanded 16-team format."
Lynn, 33, is having an excellent 2020 season, going 3-0 (five starts) with a 1.11 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and 36 strikeouts in 32.1 innings. He's fresh off a complete game against the Colorado Rockies on Friday, giving up just two hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out six.
He's exactly the sort of veteran arm contending teams love to add before the trade deadline. The issue this year, of course, is that teams may be less inclined to move off those types of players given the expanded postseason. If the Rangers hover around the .500 mark before the trade deadline, why not take a shot at qualifying for the playoffs?
So Lynn might end up staying put. But the Rangers will keep getting calls nonetheless.
The New York Yankees have so much available talent they could put a player hitting .533 this season with two homers and eight RBI on the trade block.
That player? Clint Frazier, according to George A. King II of the New York Post:
"The biggest asset Frazier can provide is, like all young Yankees, he is not only playing for the Yankees but auditioning for the other 29 teams. Despite his up and down Yankee career, teams remain interested in the fifth pick of the 2013 draft by [Cleveland] because of a bat that produced a .267 average, 12 homers, 38 RBI and an OPS of .806 in 69 big-league games a year ago."
It makes sense. At full health, the Yankees have Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman available in the outfield, while Giancarlo Stanton fills out the DH role. With Stanton dealing with a hamstring injury, however, Frazier has gotten some run in the lineup and played well. At some point, however, the Yankees won't have a role for him.
But the 25-year-old is the sort of player the Yankees could offer in a package for veteran help ahead of the trade deadline. That makes him someone to keep an eye on in rumor season.
Seattle Mariners Fielding Calls
This could be a strange trade deadline, as teams remain in standings limbo and unsure whether to be buyers seeking a playoff berth, sellers in a shortened season or neither.
It's unclear what direction the Seattle Mariners will go, but general manager Jerry Dipoto is already taking calls and said that some teams may be active with 2021 in mind:
The Mariners are 7-16, so it's hard to imagine they will be buyers. But they aren't exactly loaded with prime targets to sell, either. Even Kyle Seager, who would be an obvious trade chip, is under contract for $18 million in 2021 but a $15 million club option that becomes a player option in 2022 if he's traded.
Expecting a team to take on that contract while parting with prospects is unrealistic. Seager is almost assuredly staying put.