Welcome to trade deadline week, where deals completed over the next several days could have significant long-term ramifications across Major League Baseball.
While contenders are looking to beef up with an eye toward the postseason, other teams are planning to ship off pieces in the hopes of acquiring prospects who will help down the road. Then, there are those pesky clubs in the middle that might attempt to strike a balance between buying and selling.
It’s a fun, sometimes stressful, point on the MLB calendar, and the 2021 version of the trade deadline is shaping up to be fascinating, as several high-profile players have been mentioned in rumors. We’ve already seen several notable veterans change teams, including Nelson Cruz and Adam Frazier.
The biggest moves often are those we don’t see coming, but why let that stop us from guessing where players rumored to be available will land before Friday at 4 p.m. ET?
So, here are seven MLB trade deadline predictions, focusing on some of the biggest names kicked around in rumblings thus far.
1. Max Scherzer to the Houston Astros
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported Monday, citing a source, that Scherzer “strongly prefers the West Coast.” And the three-time Cy Young Award winner theoretically can influence where he lands, if the Washington Nationals trade him, thanks to his no-trade clause. A bidding war between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres makes sense. But we’ve seen the Astros make in-season splashes for veteran starters before — Justin Verlander in 2017 and Zack Greinke in 2019 — and acquiring Scherzer would make Houston the hands-down favorite to represent the American League in the World Series.
2. Kris Bryant to the New York Mets
Bryant, as a middle-of-the-order force who can play the outfield and both corner infield spots, is a good fit for basically any team. He’d be a game-changer in Queens, however, as the Mets could use an offensive jolt — especially with Francisco Lindor sidelined — while clinging to a slim lead in the National League East.
3. Craig Kimbrel to the San Francisco Giants
The Giants’ bullpen has been solid this season, with Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers anchoring the back end. Still, the unit would look much stronger — and perhaps be a real separator in the stacked NL West — if San Francisco deployed those two in high-leverage spots as a bridge to Kimbrel. The Giants have proven this year’s team is worth investing in, and contacting the Chicago Cubs about their All-Star closer would be a good place for San Francisco president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi to start.
4. Anthony Rizzo to the Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox need a left-handed-hitting first baseman, and the Cubs — if you haven’t caught on yet — figure to be in sell mode this week. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Monday, citing sources, that Chicago and Boston at least have had preliminary conversations about a deal involving Rizzo. And really, it makes total sense. The cost of acquisition shouldn’t be too high — Rizzo is a rental with a market that, according to Passan, is “not so robust” — and he’d seemingly fit perfectly in Boston’s clubhouse upon returning to the organization that drafted him in 2007. Plus, ESPN’s Buster Olney also predicted the Red Sox will acquire Rizzo, so we’re not exactly on an island in connecting these dots.
5. Trevor Story to the Oakland Athletics
The market for Story might not match his talent level. Because not only is the Colorado Rockies star a rental position player, a commodity that’s seemingly becoming less valuable this time of year. But a lot of contending teams also are set at shortstop. Which brings us to the A’s, who definitely could use an upgrade at the position with Elvis Andrus struggling both offensively and defensively.
6. Joey Gallo to the San Diego Padres
The last-place Texas Rangers don’t need to trade Gallo, who is under contract through the 2022 season, but it’s certainly on the table if the club doesn’t feel great about its chances of ultimately working out an extension. Sources told Passan the Padres continue to pursue a deal for Gallo, a two-time All-Star who immediately would add a little extra oomph to San Diego’s lineup, and we probably shouldn’t put anything past general manager A.J. Preller given his track record.
7. Starling Marte to the San Francisco Giants
The Giants landing Kimbrel and Marte? Sure, it’s a bold idea. But San Francisco shockingly leads the NL West, and the right roster augmentations just might be enough for the Giants to hold off the Dodgers and Padres, both of whom are supremely talented but also more vulnerable than originally anticipated. Sources recently told the Miami Herald the Giants were a key team to watch in the Marte sweepstakes, as it seems likely the Marlins will move the two-time Gold Glove winner before the deadline given that he’s set to become a free agent this winter.