MLB Deadline Trades For Playoff Push

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It’s almost deadline day in the MLB, and contenders are loading up for a playoff push while the teams at the bottom are looking to reload for future years. Teams in the middle are weighing their options as the teams at the top come calling. Each year the league changes at the beginning of August. Last season, the Padres went all-in on a top-heavy roster by adding Juan Soto and Josh Hader, then watched it backfire as they missed the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Phillies bolstered their starting rotation by adding Noah Syndergaard and added to their bullpen with David Robertson. They made a surprise run to the NL Pennant and the World Series.

In 2021, the Braves rolled through the second half of the season and brought home a World Series crown on the back of a revamped outfield that was overhauled prior to the deadline. Eddie Rosario, a midseason addition in 2021, won World Series MVP honors. With Tuesday’s 2023 trade deadline rapidly approaching, who’s buying, who’s selling, and who has some tough decisions to make?

Buyer: Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers - Wikipedia

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to stack talent again at this year’s deadline as they prepare for another postseason push. But they didn’t wait till the deadline day to get started. After battling a banged-up starting rotation through much of 2023, Dave Roberts’ club added two-time All-Star starting pitcher Lance Lynn from the Chicago White Sox, with former Dodger Joe Kelly to eat innings out of the bullpen. Los Angeles hopes a change of scenery does wonders for the 36-year-old starter, who currently is having the worst year of his career. Lynn’s 6.47 ERA in 2023 is two runs higher than his previous career worst. With Dustin May and Walker Buehler out for the near future and Clayton Kershaw on the mend, Lynn provides much-needed depth on the mound. Don’t expect the Dodgers to stop here.

Seller: St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals - Wikipedia

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The Cards have been one of the MLB’s biggest disappointments in 2023, currently sitting at 46-59 and 10.5 games out of the NL Wild Card. In recent days, superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado has been linked to the Dodgers, although conflicting reports have come out regarding his availability. Reportedly the Dodgers and the Cardinals have had preliminary talks about a deal around the third baseman, who reportedly would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to wear the blue and white. However, Arenado insisted on Friday that he hasn’t heard about the possibility of a deal. With the Cardinals out of the playoff picture, could they try to recoup assets for their star?

In the middle: San Diego Padres

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The Padres have been disappointing thus far this year but aren’t far enough out of the race to be distinct sellers. One of the most talented (and expensive) rosters in the league has only resulted in a 50-54 record, and yet, they are on the fence as the calendar flips to August. Over the last few days, the Friars are listening in on offers for star outfielder Juan Soto, just a year after they sent a massive haul to Washington for him. This comes on the heels of reports that they would be willing to shop starting pitcher Blake Snell. But general manager A.J. Preller has a history of being aggressive at deadlines. Would he really want to give up on such a loaded roster this early?

Buyer: Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers (baseball) - Wikipedia

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The last few off seasons have made it no secret that the Rangers are trying to win and win now. Big-money acquisitions of infielders Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and starting pitcher Jacob DeGrom have vaulted Texas into contender status. They still sit atop the AL West, but the gap between them and the second-place Astros has tightened since DeGrom went down with Tommy John surgery. DeGrom’s injury left the Rangers a little one-dimensional, but they have the lineup to compete. Look for them to add starting pitching help before Tuesday.

Seller: New York Mets

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Amazingly, the Mets are out of the playoff picture in 2023, a season cursed before it started when star closer Edwin Diaz suffered a torn patellar tendon in the World Baseball Classic in March. The MLB’s payroll leaders come in the weekend before the deadline at 49-54 and have shopping star pitcher Justin Verlander. The Mets haven’t committed to being full-on sellers but indicated that they could be leaning that way when they traded David Robertson to the division-rival Miami Marlins on Thursday. Verlander and Max Scherzer could be next, along with 2023 free agent outfielder Mark Canha, but there’s still a chance that New York (6.5 games back of the NL Wild Card) could try to sneak into the postseason.

In the middle: Chicago Cubs

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The Cubs looked like sellers for much of the season, but their current 7-game win streak has changed the calculus. Now, Chicago sits just 4.5 games back in the NL Central and 3.5 behind the NL Wild Card. Contenders had been eyeing center fielder Cody Bellinger and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman all season, but it’s no guarantee of a trade. The Cubs could still let them go for the right price, but the recent hot streak could lead them to add another big bat into the middle of the lineup.

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