The front office of your favorite team is thinking the same thing you are -- or something similar -- this time of year. The Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away and the big question is, will your team be a buyer, a seller or is it going to
The front office of your favorite team is thinking the same thing you are -- or something similar -- this time of year. The Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away and the big question is, will your team be a buyer, a seller or is it going to ride with what it’s got?
You see the same standings your team’s GM sees, you know how well your team has -- or has not -- been playing during the first two weeks of the month and you have thought about potential trade scenarios in July since Spring Training started.
You are not alone, especially if you follow a team in the American League East. A lot can happen between now and July 31, and here’s something to think about in the meantime.
Is your team buying, selling or something else?
Blue Jays: Seller
The Blue Jays are in the midst of a season of opportunities for their young, up-and-coming players, which means all of Toronto’s veterans are likely up for grabs. Yep, that means right-hander Marcus Stroman might be in a different uniform later this month. The first-time All-Star has been the team’s most consistent starter all year, and he’s been open to trade talks. Toronto will have a high asking price for the homegrown product, in large part because he has the remainder of this season and next before reaching free agency.
Right-hander Aaron Sanchez, first baseman Justin Smoak, shortstop Freddy Galvis and closer Ken Giles also are players the Blue Jays could trade. It’s possible some younger and controllable players could follow as the Blue Jays look to build around their core of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Bo Bichette, Nate Pearson, Cavan Biggio and Danny Jansen.
Orioles: Sell, sell, sell
The Orioles started selling by dealing Andrew Cashner to the Red Sox on Saturday and they will listen to offers for anyone, including Trey Mancini, although he’s less likely to be dealt than Mychal Givens and Jonathan Villar, who are considered the club’s prime trade chips. Dylan Bundy could be an interesting trade chip as well.
What we know is this: The Orioles unloaded at the Deadline last year, starting their rebuild in earnest. This year, the selling will be on a lesser scale, but the goal for the O’s is the same: Stockpiling prospects to win in the future.
Rays: Last-minute buyers
The Rays are definitely buyers, and it’ll be interesting to see the price they are willing to pay for the right deal. They split the first two games against the Yankees this week to maintain the second spot in the division, and the series could be a turning point. The four games in New York against the AL East’s top team might propel the Rays to get aggressive on the market.
The reality is that the Rays can use their deep farm system to acquire players who will help the team chase down the Yankees this year as well as win in the future. The Rays are also in the mix for the AL Wild Card. They will be busy, needing help in both the rotation -- with the uncertain return of Tyler Glasnow -- and the bullpen, which has struggled since the All-Star break.
Red Sox: Smart shopper
The Red Sox are modest buyers. The club is trying to rebuild its farm system and will not likely use any of its top prospects as trading chips. Consider this: Boston bolstered its rotation by picking up a fifth starter in Cashner while also adding Nathan Eovaldi to the bullpen, where he thrived last season. The moves could be a lot more impactful than any move they can make via the trade market over the next two weeks.
There is a chance the club will seek a complementary reliever or two, but don’t expect the Red Sox to go crazy before July 31. Their roster is loaded with All-Stars and holdovers from last year’s World Series team. In the best-case scenario, their top players start producing as expected.
Yankees: Big buyers
The Yankees have identified adding arms as their top priority heading into the Trade Deadline. That’s not a secret. They need a starting pitcher, and that’s not a secret, either. Even if Luis Severino can return from injury, and that’s not a given, the club needs help. What happens if Severino has a setback? There is some thought the Yanks should get two starters regardless.
Look for the Yankees to add bullpen help if they can’t land a starter or two. Outfielders Clint Frazier, No. 1 prospect Estevan Florial and No. 4 prospect right-hander Deivi Garcia figure to be their most appealing trade chips, but the Yankees won't give them up for just anybody, or for a rental. They'll be looking to score big if they are to surrender any of those three.
Jesse Sanchez, who has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.