Final MLB Trade Predictions for Every Team on 2020 Deadline Day

Martin FennCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2020

Final MLB Trade Predictions for Every Team on 2020 Deadline Day

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    Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

    Deadline day has arrived.

    Monday marks the final opportunity for all 30 MLB clubs to make key additions to the current roster or sell off assets to build up the farm system and prepare for the future.

    It was expected this would be a rather quiet deadline for a number of reasons, most notably because the expanded playoffs are keeping the majority of teams in the hunt.

    However, there tends to be a greater sense of urgency on deadline day, which means fans could see a flurry of moves in the morning and early afternoon.

    Here are some final trade predictions for each of the clubs around the league.

American League East

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Tampa Bay Rays: Catching upgrade

    The Rays could go many different ways at the deadline, particularly considering the number of injuries in the pitching staff. 

    But a catching upgrade makes the most sense. Mike Zunino has a .619 OPS, while backup Michael Perez has a mere .473 OPS. The Rays need more pop behind the dish, and they might get it from Boston Red Sox backstop Christian Vazquez.

    Eno Sarris and Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic reported the Rays were in talks with Boston regarding Vazquez, who hit 23 homers last year and has a respectable .697 OPS this year. Such a move would seem to make sense as Tampa Bay hopes to round out the offense.


    New York Yankees: Acquire a rental starter

    The Yankees need reinforcements in the rotation given James Paxton's injury issues and J.A. Happ's ineffectiveness.

    New York might do well to acquire a controllable starter considering both Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka will be free agents at the end of the season. However, the guess here is the Yankees go with a rental starter like Kevin Gausman.

    The 29-year-old has a 3.31 fielding independent pitching mark (FIP) and is striking out 12.1 opposing hitters per nine innings. He could give the Yankees some added firepower in the rotation and is capable of eating innings and taking pressure off the bullpen.


    Toronto Blue Jays: Add controllable pitching

    Toronto already sought to upgrade the pitching staff by acquiring Taijuan Walker from the Seattle Mariners, but it could use more arms in the rotation.

    Trent Thornton is done for the season, and both Matt Shoemaker and Nate Pearson are on the injured list. Moreover, Thornton, Pearson and Hyun-Jun Ryu are the only starters under team control through 2022. 

    This would suggest the Blue Jays will look for controllable pitchers. The Pittsburgh Pirates have a pair in Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl, and perhaps the Blue Jays will do more business with the Mariners in an effort to acquire left-hander Marco Gonzales.


    Baltimore Orioles: Deal Jose Iglesias

    The Orioles might still hope to make a playoff run, but they fell to 14-19 after Sunday's loss to the Blue Jays and have already dealt some top assets.

    Baltimore sent left-hander Tommy Milone to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday morning before dealing right-handed fireballer Mychal Givens to the Colorado Rockies.

    Iglesias might be next. The 30-year-old shortstop came into Sunday's game hitting .406 with 10 doubles and a .980 OPS. Iglesias could supply any number of teams with a bat off the bench while also being one of the most sure-handed infielders in baseball.


    Boston Red Sox: Clean house

    New Red Sox executive Chaim Bloom appears to have no problem wheeling and dealing the team's top assets, and he is likely to ship away all expiring contracts.

    Outfielders like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Kevin Pillar might also be on the move. Pillar, in particular, could garner interest considering he boasted a .787 OPS prior to notching a pair of hits against the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

    As previously mentioned, Sarris and Ghiroli reported Vazquez could be headed to Tampa Bay, and the same article noted the Houston Astros have interest in right-handed reliever Matt Barnes. It is also possible Ryan Brasier could be shipped out of town.

    Regardless, Bloom figures to put all his assets out there as the Red Sox add prospects and commit to a rebuild.  

American League Central

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Minnesota Twins: Hold tight

    The Twins have popped up here and there in the starting pitching market. SKOR North reporter Darren Wolfson said a Twins official was told Trevor Bauer was unavailable. Meanwhile,'s Jon Morosi reported Minnesota was showing interest in Los Angeles Angels right-hander Dylan Bundy. 

    However, it seems just as likely the Twins will either make fringe upgrades or stay otherwise inactive. Minnesota president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said last week the team would mostly rely on key returning players, including right-hander Michael Pineda.


    Cleveland Indians: Move Mike Clevinger

    It had previously seemed unlikely the Indians would move Clevinger. Robert Murray reported the price was "absurdly high" to acquire him, and teams did not feel the Indians had any sense of urgency to move him.

    But things have changed quite a bit recently, and it was reported Sunday afternoon Clevinger had a good chance to move before the end of the deadline.

    Jon Heyman noted a number of teams have interest, and the Indians are likely to acquire a massive haul for the right-hander who is under team control through 2022. 

    Expect the Indians to get back either a major-league ready outfielder or a top outfield prospect. The Tribe ranked 29th in weighted runs created plus (wRC+) ahead of Sunday's game, per FanGraphs, and they desperately need production and talent at the outfield spots.


    Chicago White Sox: Get aggressive for Dylan Bundy

    Morosi also reported the White Sox were showing interest in Bundy, and they would seem to have a number of assets the Angels might desire. Prospects like right-hander Jonathan Stiever and outfielder Micker Adolfo might pique L.A.'s interest, or perhaps the Halos would bet on Zack Collins' upside.

    Plus, the White Sox have more of an incentive to sell high as an up-and-coming team keen to make an immediate impact. Not to mention, Bundy is under control through next season, which means he fits the team's young identity pretty well.

    Chicago's 1-2 punch of Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel has looked strong. Dylan Cease has a low ERA, but his peripherals point to regression. Reynaldo Lopez has also struggled since coming off the injured list.

    Bundy could fit in the middle of the rotation and give Chicago more assurances as it hopes to contend this year.


    Kansas City Royals: Keep selling relievers

    The Royals received one of San Diego's top 20 prospects, Edward Olivares, from the San Diego Padres in the Trevor Rosenthal trade, and they still have relievers they can deal.

    Veteran right-handers Ian Kennedy and Greg Holland are both on expiring contracts, and Kansas City is no longer likely to hold steady given its recent slide.

    Again, the Royals should not have a problem finding suitors considering the number of teams desiring bullpen arms. It is likely they deal both Holland and Kennedy before the deadline.


    Detroit Tigers: Capitalize on Daniel Norris' value

    The Tigers have actually managed to stay competitive despite a woeful starting rotation. But they still figure to sell, and Norris might be their most attractive piece.

    Norris has a 2.40 ERA, and he has yet to allow a home run while walking just three in 15.0 innings of work.

    The left-hander just turned 27 this past spring and has one more year of arbitration before hitting the open market in 2022. He can be a spot starter or a long reliever, and that ability to wear multiple hats might give him even more value as the Tigers look to keep adding to the farm.

    Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the Rays are among the teams interested in Norris.

American League West

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Oakland Athletics: Add starting depth

    The A's addressed the need for a left-handed bat when they acquired Tommy La Stella from the Los Angeles Angels last week. Next on the list would appear to be starting pitching. 

    Jesus Luzardo has had a decent rookie showing, and Chris Bassitt had a 2.97 ERA through his first six starts. But Sean Manaea is getting hit hard, and Frankie Montas is having a tough time commanding the zone while the long ball has been an issue for Mike Fiers.

    Mark Feinsand of reported rival executives believe the A's will trade for a starting pitcher to bolster the rotation, and that is the likeliest scenario if Oakland hopes to realize its championship dreams this year.


    Houston Astros: Bank on Robbie Ray's upside

    The Astros have a tendency to place faith in their pitching development.

    Houston revitalized the careers of veteran right-handers Justin Verlander and Charlie Morton, and it also attempted to do the same with Aaron Sanchez last season.

    The guess here is the Astros buy low on another "project" arm in Robbie Ray. Houston simply does not have the farm assets after draining the system in recent years, but it also needs pitching. 

    Ray's command has been a mess this season. He leads the majors in walks, wild pitches and earned runs allowed. However, he is the kind of strikeout pitcher (11.1 career K/9) who would appeal to the Astros, and he is just three years removed from posting a 2.89 ERA. 

    Not to mention, Ray will be a free agent this offseason. If the experiment works, Houston could attempt to re-sign him. If not, the Astros would let him walk.


    Seattle Mariners: Trade Taylor Williams

    It is hard to say how the Mariners will proceed at the deadline. General manager Jerry DiPoto loves to shake things up, but the M's also have a number of assets they could retain and deal down the road.

    However, it would be surprising to see DiPoto retain all his controllable assets, and closer Taylor Williams might be attractive to some teams given his 12.8 K/9 and a whiff rate in the 92nd percentile, per Baseball Savant.

    Williams is under team control through 2023 but will also be 30 next year. Seattle might choose to deal him now rather than risk his value declining in years to come.


    Texas Rangers: Deal Lance Lynn

    Ideally, the Rangers would have been buyers at the deadline with the notion they might even extend Lynn. Instead, Texas' glaring holes in the lineup continue to loom large, and the pitching staff is not close to good enough to save the offense. 

    Meanwhile, Lynn is one of the top arms on the market, and he is under contract for just $8 million in 2021, per Spotrac.

    Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic previously reported a number of teams have shown interest in Lynn, meaning the Rangers will likely have their pick of offers to choose from before the deadline. Additionally, Jon Morosi of reported Sunday that Lynn is "increasingly likely" to be dealt.

    The Rangers are not competitive and desperately need farm assets, which means Lynn should indeed be headed to a contender before the deadline passes.


    Los Angeles Angels: Move Dylan Bundy

    The Angels bought low on Bundy this offseason, and now they can flip him for prospects.

    Bundy has flourished in L.A., and he has also seemingly fixed the homer issue that plagued him throughout his time in Baltimore. A number of teams are already inquiring about him, so the Angels—like the Rangers with Lynn—should have their pick of offers.

    It is also likely the Halos attempt to deal Andrelton Simmons and outfielder Brian Goodwin. But Bundy is the most notable piece likely to be on the move.  

National League East

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Atlanta Braves: Partner with Indians for Clevinger

    The Braves and Indians still seem like ideal trade partners. Atlanta needs starting pitching, and the Indians have that in spades. Meanwhile, Cleveland needs young and talented outfielders, and the Braves have a pair of top prospects in Cristian Pache and Drew Waters.

    Indeed, it seems the Braves have emerged as one of the top suitors for Clevinger, per Mark Feinsand of A deal between the two clubs makes too much sense.

    The Braves have talented arms, though Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint simply have not developed. Mike Soroka (Achilles) is done for the year, and Cole Hamels (shoulder) has yet to pitch.

    Meanwhile, Milone was shelled in his first start for Atlanta against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, giving up seven runs in just 2.1 innings of work. The Braves need a controllable front-end starter, which makes Clevinger the ideal target.

    Morosi reported Sunday the Indians have asked for outfield prospect Drew Waters, likely as part of a package. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos has retained prospects for some time, but the current state of the rotation should force his hand with the Braves looking to win a World Series.


    Miami Marlins: Nab a Royals bullpen arm

    The Marlins should probably be sellers, but they are currently in playoff position and will likely make a push for their first postseason berth since 2003.

    Morosi previously reported the Marlins were "monitoring" Royals relievers, and a deal for either Holland or Kennedy makes sense if Miami wants to buy.

    Kennedy might be particularly interesting. He has given up seven homers in just 14.0 innings of work but also has 15 strikeouts. He might be the power arm the Marlins need in the later innings in front of ground-ball-inducing closer Brandon Kintzler.


    Philadelphia Phillies: Inactivity

    The Phillies might be after additional bullpen help after acquiring Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree from the Red Sox, as well as right-hander David Hale from the Yankees.

    But Philly is also running low on top minor leaguers, especially with Alec Bohm showing plenty of promise at the hot corner.

    Moreover, the Phillies are stringing together some wins. They had won five straight to get back to the .500 mark after defeating the Braves on Saturday, with left-hander Zach Eflin putting together his best start of the year.

    General manager Matt Klentak might add on the fringes, but the Phils should be set for the stretch run.


    New York Mets: Rental starter

    The Mets, like their crosstown rival, are likely to seek a starting pitcher on an expiring contract.

    New York does not have a ton of assets to offer, but it desperately needs more depth in the rotation. The Mets rank fourth in starting pitching fWAR, per FanGraphs, but Jacob deGrom alone has accounted for half that value. The rotation ranks 25th in ERA even with deGrom in the fold.

    Gausman figures to be an option here. Left-handers Martin Perez, Brett Anderson and Mike Minor might all be in the cards, as well.


    Washington Nationals: Trade Howie Kendrick 

    The defending World Series champions are in a tough spot. Washington might usually profile as buyers, but it is certainly possible—given its record—it instead chooses to retool.

    The Nats have a number of veteran bats on expiring contracts, and Kendrick could appeal to many teams given his positional versatility and ability to slot into the designated hitter role.

    Not to mention, Kendrick has had a huge stretch as of late, and his value is probably as high as it has been this season.

National League Central

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Chicago Cubs: Buy low with Andrew Chafin

    Sarris and Ghiroli reported the Cubs have been "active" with the Tigers in trade talks, mentioning outfielder Cameron Maybin's name.

    But the bullpen needs still appear more pressing, and the Cubs are lacking reliable left-handed arms. Indeed, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said they will be looking for relievers who can retire left-handed hitters.

    Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Andrew Chafin, who will be a free agent at the end of the year, profiles as a low-cost buy for the Cubs, and lefties have a .616 OPS off him for his career.

    Perhaps Chicago will attempt to pry Norris away from the Tigers, given their reported talks, but he would be more costly. San Francisco Giants left-hander Tony Watson is another option.


    St. Louis Cardinals: Bank on internal roster moves

    The Cardinals could use another impact bat in the outfield and possibly another low-cost reliever. But all indications are they will not make much noise at the deadline.

    President of baseball operations John Mozeliak told Mark Saxon of The Athletic the deadline is coming at a rough time for the Redbirds, who are still trying to find a rhythm following their COVID-19 outbreak.

    Perhaps someone like Kevin Pillar could be a target for St. Louis, but it is hard to see the Cardinals doing much maneuvering considering they are still awaiting the return of key players.


    Milwaukee Brewers: Reposition by dealing Brett Anderson

    Milwaukee is still in the playoff hunt, and anything can happen in a division as mercurial as the NL Central. 

    However, the Brewers are not well-rounded enough to win the World Series, and they will not strictly "buy" given they have the worst farm system in baseball, per Thus, it makes sense for Milwaukee to deal Anderson, who is on an expiring contract.

    Manager Craig Counsell has never failed to put together a staff by committee at the back end, and the Brewers have guys capable of filling out the rotation, including Freddy Peralta.

    Milwaukee will likely see what it can get for Anderson since starting pitching is in high demand.


    Cincinnati Reds: Bullpen reinforcements

    The Reds will probably retain Trevor Bauer as they continue to push for a playoff spot.

    Thus, Cincy is a likely candidate to pursue additional bullpen upgrades, particularly after designating Pedro Strop for assignment.

    Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Keone Kela might have been an ideal target as a power arm with an 11.0 career K/9, but he's dealing with a forearm strain, and it remains to be seen whether a team will take a flier on him.

    Perhaps the Reds will ask about Red Sox relievers Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes. It is possible Greg Holland and Ian Kennedy are on their radar.

    Regardless, Cincinnati should be after relief help.


    Pittsburgh Pirates: Sell-off

    Not much more needs to be said about the Pirates, who are the worst team in baseball. They will sell as many pieces as they can ahead of Monday's deadline.

    Two names to keep in mind: Colin Moran and Josh Bell.

    Moran had an .857 OPS prior to hitting the IL, and he is also under team control through 2023. But the Pirates have a top prospect at the hot corner in Ke'Bryan Hayes, who could make him expendable.

    Bell is having a brutal year, but he still might be attractive to teams like the Nationals and Rangers, and a change of scenery might do him some good.

National League West

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Los Angeles Dodgers: What is there to do? 

    Sure, the Dodgers could add a starter, but they will likely go to a four-man rotation in October, anyway. The bullpen has been elite and will get stronger if one of the starters steps into a relief role. Perhaps L.A. could consider dealing Joc Pederson, but he epitomizes L.A.'s strength in numbers. 

    This is all to say: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman probably knows as much.

    The Dodgers lead all of baseball in run differential, runs scored and staff ERA. They also rank second in defensive runs saved (DRS). This is already the most well-rounded team in baseball, as well as the overwhelming favorite to win the World Series.


    San Diego Padres: Splash for Lance Lynn

    The Padres landed perhaps the top reliever on the market in Trevor Rosenthal, giving the team a legitimate closing option in the absence of Kirby Yates.

    However, San Diego was just getting started. The Friars acquired left-handed slugger Mitch Moreland from the Boston Red Sox and subsequently landed a pair of catchers in Jason Castro and Austin Nola.

    But do not be surprised if the Padres take it a step further and trade for Lynn. Rosenthal previously reported the Friars were interested in the right-hander, noting Lynn's ties to manager Jayce Tingler and associate manager Skip Schumaker.

    San Diego was also in on Clevinger for much of Sunday, though it seems it might pivot given its other moves. It still needs starting pitching, however, which makes Lynn the ideal target.

    The Padres boast one of the best offenses in baseball, but the rotation leaves more to be desired as Chris Paddack is going through a sophomore slump while Garrett Richards has dealt with command issues.

    They still have the farm system to get a deal done and could even try to sweeten the pot with MLB-ready outfielders. Meanwhile, Lynn would give them a bona fide ace as they hope to make a deep playoff run, and he's also under contract through 2021.

    Perhaps general manager A.J. Preller might even consider extending him to elongate San Diego's window.


    Colorado Rockies: Left-handed bullpen arm 

    The Rockies are another team that could choose to go in multiple directions, but a low-cost, left-handed bullpen arm is a good bet, especially after the Rockies acquired Givens on Sunday.

    The Rockies have two left-handers in the bullpen, but both James Pazos and Phillip Diehl have failed to make an impact.

    Unfortunately for Colorado, there are not a lot of left-handed options on the open market. Much like the Cubs, it is possible Andrew Chafin and Tony Watson are targets for the Rockies, as well.


    San Francisco Giants/Arizona Diamondbacks: Deal Watson/Chafin

    It makes sense to pair the Giants and D-Backs because both are likely to part ways with the aforementioned left-handed relievers.

    San Francisco and Arizona also have interesting outfield assets such as Donovan Solano and Kole Calhoun, respectively. Plus, both teams have starters on expiring contracts in Kevin Gausman and Robbie Ray.

    However, Watson and Chafin might be among the best bets to change teams.


    All stats obtained via Baseball Reference, FanGraphs or Baseball Savant, unless otherwise noted.