MLB Trade Deadline 2020: End Date and Fresh RumorsAugust 21, 2020
Even in a shortened and unique year, the MLB trade deadline is still an intriguing moment of the regular season.
Without question, 2020 has introduced a new set of challenges. Since there are 16 playoff spots instead of 10, more teams are "in the hunt" than usual. Franchises that could have traded a big name for prospects may be hesitant to swing a deal.
Additionally, there's a definite risk in trading anyone. At any moment, MLB could suspend the season. All 30 teams are hoping to avoid that happening, but it's a plausible event in a bad scenario.
Between those two factors, the Aug. 31 deadline might not be very active. But that's not stopping the hot stove from cooking.
How Big is Boston's Rebuild?
Only two years removed from winning the World Series, the Boston Red Sox find themselves in a problematic spot.
In short: They're not good.
As the organization enters a rebuilding period under new executive Chaim Bloom, some tough conversations are coming.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Red Sox have to decide whether Xander Bogaerts will be a cornerstone piece of their future because he has full no-trade protection as of Sep. 6. The upcoming deadline, then, is Boston's last chance to freely trade the star shortstop.
Further complicating the discussion is that the 27-year-old holds an opt-out clause following the 2022 season.
"A team that acquires Bogaerts would have him for at least three pennant races," Rosenthal wrote. "The Red Sox are almost obligated to see what he might bring back."
Sure, Bogaerts may enter free agency in 2022 and return to Boston with a raise anyway. Still, the risk is evident.
Rosenthal added that the Red Sox consider Bogaerts an "extremely important" player, so a trade isn't necessarily likely. But as Chaim and Co. build a long-term vision, the first major decision is determining the Aruban's place in the team's future.
Need Pitching? Ask the Giants
Looking at the National League standings, only the Pittsburgh Pirates are basically eliminated. However, the San Francisco Giants aren't terribly far from that inglorious label.
During the next week, the Giants must settle on whether they're a playoff contender or better off dealing a few players. And if they enter the market as sellers, Jon Heyman of MLB Network notes the team has several pitchers of value.
The featured target of the group, Johnny Cueto, has a 4.35 ERA in 31 innings this season. While that's not stellar by any means, the veteran has thrown a couple of terrific games recently.
The 34-year-old's appeal is his All-Star upside. Prior to Tommy John surgery in 2018, he was one of MLB's most dominant pitchers. Since he's signed through 2022, per Spotrac, he is an appealing option if another team believes in his recovery.
Granted, the $22 million Cueto is due next season is an obstacle. The Giants might need to include some money in a trade.
Financial considerations are less of a problem with Drew Smyly, Kevin Gausman and Tony Watson. All three are headed to free agency this offseason, according to Spotrac. If the Giants can bring back a prospect of value for Smyly, Gausman or Watson, the offer should receive heavy consideration.
San Francisco is a short winning streak from changing the narrative. But another skid may compel the front office to officially embrace the selling role at the 2020 trade deadline.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.