NL Wild Card Teams: Buy or Sell Playoff Chances?


Jul 7, 2023

The NL Wild Card chase is heating up, and we’ll learn many of the teams’ chances as the MLB trade deadline comes and goes. As it currently sits, here is a check-in on if we’re buying or selling each wild card team’s chances to make the postseason.

  • Miami Marlins: Buy

How about the Miami Marlins? Coming into the season with essentially zero expectations, the Marlins have been playing some of the best baseball in the league. Luis Arraez is on the hunt to hit.400, with Bryan De La Cruz and Jorge Soler swinging a nice bat. However, it’s the pitching that’s been getting it done. Rookie Eury Perez has been exceptional, with Jesus Luzardo and Braxton Garrett each providing solid innings. The worst starter has been reigning NL Cy Young winner, Sandy Alcantara, so no one would want to see this team in the playoffs if he finds his groove. Everyone keeps waiting for the Marlins to fall off, but I don’t see it.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers: Sell

The Dodgers are right in the thick of things in the playoff chase, but something doesn’t feel right about them. It just doesn’t feel like they have it this year. Their bats have been fine, led by Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, but more top-heavy compared to the depth they featured one through nine in recent years. It’s the starting pitching that’s holding them back and will continue to. Julio Urias has been inconsistent, Tony Gonsolin has fallen off compared to last season, Noah Syndergaard stinks, Dustin May is now out for the season, and Clayton Kershaw has found himself on the IL. As only a .500 ball club since June 1, the Dodgers will need to overpay for starting pitching by the trade deadline if they want to stay afloat in this wild card chase.

  • Philadelphia Phillies: Buy

Maybe, I’m bullish, but the Phillies are starting to figure it out in a scary way for the rest of the NL. They’ve won 22 of their last 29 games, including a most recent sweep of the MLB-best Tampa Bay Rays in their ballpark. Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez, and Taijuan Walker have given the Phillies one of the most formidable starting rotations in baseball, with a bullpen that’s improved throughout the year. Offensively, Nick Castellanos has been terrific, with Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, and Brandon Marsh providing great depth throughout the lineup. Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber have been a bit underwhelming, but if the Phillies address their hole at first base and allow Schwarber to play more DH, this team will be a postseason force again.

  • San Francisco Giants: Buy

The Giants were pretty mediocre through the first two months of the season, but after calling up Patrick Bailey to address their need behind their plate, they’ve been surging. They’ve posted the fifth-highest winning percentage in baseball since June 1 and seem to be figuring it out from top to bottom. Behind solid starting pitching and reliable hitting, it feels as if this team knows how to get it done. As it stands, I’m more confident in them than the Dodgers, but that could change depending on how the Dodgers address their starting rotation at the trade deadline.

  • Milwaukee Brewers: Sell

This Brewers offense is not good in the slightest, and their pitching is better on paper than it’s been statistically. I’m getting the sense that there has been a lot of luck involved with the Brewers’ 47-41 record, with being the weakest of the three NL divisions being worth a few wins. Could the Brewers squeak into the final wild-card spot? Maybe, but it would be a very short stay. They’d be better off selling their prominent starting pitching, such as Corbin Burners or Freddy Peralta, to a team like the Dodgers that will overpay. 

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Thumbnail photo via John Leyba-USA TODAY Sports

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