The MLB trade deadline is a week out, with plenty in the air. Buyers and sellers are still being sorted out, but with a pivotal week of games ahead, we’re looking at five teams who must make a case to their respective front offices that they can make the postseason.
- Los Angeles Angels
The Angels hold the keys to the trade deadline with Shohei Ohtani in their grasp. Sitting four games out from the final wild-card spot in the AL much is riding on their upcoming road trip in Detroit, Toronto, and Atlanta. The Angels are holding their Ohtani plans close to their chest, but after winning five of their last six games, they desperately need to sweep the Tigers to get closer to the final playoff spot. Hypothetically, if they are within two games of that last spot by this weekend, the Angels brass could convince themselves of their playoff chances and hold onto Ohtani. If not, we know what happens. This week might be the most crucial stretch of games in Angels franchise history, with the future of the best baseball player at stake.
- San Diego Padres
Given their preseason World Series expectations, the Padres’ 2023 season has been a disappointment. They have not been good enough in any capacity and have one more week to get themselves within striking distance of the postseason. Sitting six games out, it feels unrealistic, but given the aggressive nature of the Padres ownership and front office, they won’t throw in the towel too easily. Blake Snell, Josh Hader, and Juan Soto would become three of the biggest available names on the trade market should the Padres choose to sell, giving the Padres a war chest of prospects.
- Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore has been the success story of the MLB season thus far, and making it to the World Series is in the realm of possibility. Leading the AL East by two games, the O’s have the fourth-best odds to win the AL at +600. Loaded with a young roster full of top prospects, everyone has been delivering. Adley Rutschman is already in the discussion for best catcher in baseball, with Gunnar Henderson having turned it around drastically since the start of the season. Their starting rotation has been reliable, but they could use another arm for depth to get them over the hump with one of baseball’s best bullpens backing them up. If they have another dominant week, the Orioles brass might have no choice but to go completely all in.
- Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies are in the same boat as the Padres but are getting better results. They have a top-heavy lineup that’s underwhelmed, but luckily their young guys have stepped up. Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, and Brandon Marsh have turned a corner, allowing Trea Turner, JT Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Nick Castellanos to escape their struggles. If some of those guys, namely Turner, turn it on, that would be equivalent to a trade deadline acquisition. Even though they have the third-best odds to win the NL at +1200, it’s a distant margin from the Braves and Dodgers. A right-handed corner outfield looks to be the most significant need, so a good run over the next week could have the Phils’ front office pushing all their chips in, praying Juan Soto becomes available.
- New York Yankees
The Yankees have had a letdown season but still are within striking distance of a playoff spot. Aaron Judge’s return from injury is enticing, as well as a rehabilitating bullpen, but if the Yankees fall off a cliff over the next week, Brian Cashman could look to pivot, shedding salary and repositioning the team to make a run next season. With back-to-back series awaiting the Mets and a series against the division-leading Orioles, their season is on the line over the next week. A flop, the Yankees could turn into tactical sellers.
All odds courtesy of the FanDuel Sportsbook