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5 Predictions For The 2024 MLB Trade Deadline

MLB’s trading deadline is July 30, and before long, trades and rumors will take center stage in the daily news cycle. Indeed, a lot might happen in the next seven weeks. Teams that appear to be buying now may become sellers later on or the other way around. 

However, the timeline is taking shape, and we have five predictions about some of the major events (and non-events) that will occur before the end of next month. 

Kicking Starting A Mets Fire Sale By Trading Pete Alonso

New York Mets Pete Alonso

For the second summer in a row, the New York Mets will hold off on accepting defeat and getting rid of their expiring assets that have any trade value as long as they can. But be prepared for more to leave if and when they decide to trade Pete Alonso. 

Regarding starting pitchers, the Mets have some interesting scenarios to consider. Sean Manaea, with a player option for 2025, could potentially be a valuable asset. Both Jose Quintana and Luis Severino, who will be eligible for free agency this winter, could also attract attention. Despite Quintana’s performance this season, there’s a chance the team could acquire something significant in a trade. All three players are potential trade candidates.

Adrian Houser, Drew Smith, and Adam Ottavino are the relievers who will be available for free agency. Although Houser had terrible numbers as a starter, he has adapted well to extended relief, giving up just two earned runs in 15 innings of work from the bullpen.

Then, in addition to Alonso, J.D. Martinez and Harrison Badger - who will be available for free agency in a few months - will also be available as regulars in this lineup. The Mets would definitely return a call asking for Starling Marte and the $20.75 million he still owes in 2025.

Rebuilding The Angels

One can hardly find fault with the Angels’ actions on last year’s deadline. They were only 3.5 games out of the postseason picture when they acquired Reynaldo López and Lucas Giolito on July 26 and announced they would not trade Shohei Ohtani. They hoped Mike Trout would return from his fractured hamate bone soon enough to help lead a postseason push.

However, the season took an unexpected turn. Despite the promising acquisitions and the hope for Trout's return, the Angels' performance was far from successful. Trout only appeared in one game, and the team's record of 21–40 starkly contrasted with their earlier position. They were on the verge of missing the playoffs, and the situation led to the surprising decision to trade Ohtani for a compensation pick that was little more than the 74th overall choice in this year’s draft. 

They've dropped from underperforming annually to severely awful, with Trout and Anthony Rendon receiving a combined $76 million to spend time on the injured list, leading them to a 15-game losing streak.

Adding A Starting Pitcher To The Padres

San Diego Padres

The Padres have been trying to get the White Sox to give up Garrett Crochet. Even without those rumors, it's obvious that San Diego needs another arm, given that Joe Musgrove is out indefinitely, Randy Vásquez struggles in the majority of his spot starts, and Yu Darvish is injured once again. The question isn't if they want to add a starter, but rather, how large of an addition they want to make.

The Padres don't necessarily need more than a two-month rental because Michael King, Vásquez, Matt Waldron, Musgrove, Dylan Cease, and Darvish are all under team control for at least another season. 

If they can get Crochet for a fair trade package, they'll take him for two and a half seasons, although Jack Flaherty would be a far better replacement. But then, A.J. Preller isn't exactly known for taking half-measures, is he?

Do you recall the day the Padres acquired both Darvish and Blake Snell in a trade in December 2020? The deadline is 2022, when Brandon Drury, Josh Bell, Josh Hader, and Juan Soto were all added. Or how about their deals in the last seven months, where they acquired Cease and Luis Arraez after trading Soto and Trent Grisham for five Yankees?

If they are fully committed to succeeding, they'll likely get a multi-year ace like Crochet or Jesús Luzardo. If either of the AL West teams falters, they might also consider signing Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer as a big acquisition.

Shopping In Oakland Again For Atlanta

Sean Murphy was acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Oakland A's in a three-team trade two offseasons ago. The previous winter, Atlanta, having just won the 2021 World Series, purchased Matt Olson from Oakland.

Given the season-ending injuries that Spencer Strider and Ronald and Acuña Jr. sustained, Atlanta is in need of a starting pitcher and a corner outfielder. On the other hand, Oakland, with limited trade chips available (apart from Mason Miller, who is here to stay), could benefit from the potential trade of Paul Blackburn and Brent Rooker, who could help Oakland address both needs.

Rooker, who represented Oakland in the All-Star Game the previous season, has shown remarkable improvement this time. As of June 10, he had an impressive .897 OPS and 13 home runs. Although he has spent the last two years mainly as a designated hitter, he has also played some RF and LF, showcasing his versatility. His addition to a depth chart that is currently absolutely lacking in depth would be a significant boost for any team. 

Blackburn was their 2022 All-Star, but other than a few spells in the injuries list, he hasn't shown much since. Assuming he remains healthy, however, he cannot be worse than the assortment of alternatives Atlanta has employed in its fifth position in the rotation since Strider's departure in early April. 

Rooker will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2027 season, while Blackburn will have one more year of arbitration eligibility in 2025. To get things going in this case, Atlanta would have to give up a sizable sum of potential cash. But Alex Anthopoulos can take advantage of the A's once more.

3 Possible Spectating Teams

Texas Rangers

At least one team watches the trade deadline every year, unwilling to give up and adopt a selling mentality but unwilling to part with any prospects or spend additional money to improve a team that is a few games out of the postseason picture.

However, the stage is set for many teams to do nothing more than sit this season. After about 65 games, the Rockies, Angels, Marlins, White Sox, and A’s remain the only five teams in the wild-card race.

Everybody else is alive.

In the next seven weeks, that will perhaps shift as a few clubs fail through July and decide to enter what is currently firmly a seller's market. However, there are a ton of bad clubs in the MLB this year; as of Monday, more than one-third of the league was either one, two, or three games below.500.500—not quite one or two pieces away from being a legitimate World Series danger, but in the hunt for a postseason spot.

The Texas Rangers, San Franciso Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, and Boston Red Sox are notable group members. These are this year's four major dominoes; if they do sell, they have much to offer. On the other hand, all four would likely shrug and ignore the trade deadline if it were today.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, Tamps Bay Rays, and Minnesota Twins, three other teams with a .500-plus record, are unlikely to make significant moves. These teams, operating on a modest budget in smaller markets, have limited expiring assets to offer. This insight into their situation provides a complete picture of the trade market.

While it's not shaping up to be the most thrilling deadline, it's not out of the question that at least six teams could make one or two minor transactions or even decide to make no trades. This anticipation of potential inactivity can also be a part of the excitement for baseball fans.

Do you think these predictions are accurate?


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