9 bold Trade Deadline predictions

July 30th, 2021

You might think it can’t get any bigger than Max Scherzer and Trea Turner both going from the Nationals to the Dodgers, as was on the verge of happening Thursday night.

And honestly, you might be right. Because that is pretty big.

But friends, believe it or not, there is still plenty more to come in the final hours leading up to Friday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. We have a massive amount of player inventory expected to be moved, and no shortage of hungry contenders looking to take the next step.

So let the guessing game begin. Here are nine predictions:

1. The Dodgers aren’t done. They’re getting Craig Kimbrel.
Because if you’ve got the chance to have both 2017 Relievers of the Year (Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen), you’ve got to take it (even if it’s not '17). Seriously, though, don’t put it past the Dodgers to rock our world yet again. They mean business.

2. Kris Bryant is going to the Giants.
Concern over Evan Longoria’s ability to get back to the outstanding production he had provided prior to the left shoulder injury is strong enough incentive to bring in Bryant for what will be a fascinating playoff push out west. And Bryant’s ability to augment the outfield is also an obvious help. The Giants have the farm system depth to make it happen. And oh by the way, they also have the financial flexibility to make Bryant’s stay last much more than two months.

3. Javier Báez is going to the Mets.
For all their faults, the Mets could stand pat at this Deadline and still be the clear favorites to win the National League East. But they’re going to do something splashy to improve their World Series odds, and this is it. Báez and Francisco Lindor were rival Draft prospects, then rival World Series opponents, and now they’ll be teammates, with Báez temporarily filling in for an injured Lindor then moving elsewhere in the infield when he comes back. (Báez is even on record this week saying that Lindor is the one guy he wouldn’t mind moving to second base for.) And yes, that means the Cubs are going to move all three of their big pending free agents -- Báez, Anthony Rizzo and Bryant -- because there’s this little-known rule that you can still sign a guy the winter after you trade him if you offer him the most money.

4. José Berríos is going to the Padres.
Because general manager A.J. Preller always gets his man. Unless he doesn’t get his man (read: Scherzer). In which case, he gets some other man. And Berríos is a good one who is under contractual control for 2022, too. With Preller involved and always thinking big, it’s not crazy to envision a scenario where the Padres and Twins pull off something massive, perhaps involving the injured-but-electric Byron Buxton. But even if it’s “only” Berríos, that adds to the allure of that mammoth NL West race.

5. Ian Kennedy is going to the Phillies.
Philadelphia will improve its bullpen ... and we really mean it this time!

6. Trevor Story is going to the Reds.
Story has underperformed this season, but he’d still represent a massive upgrade for the Reds at shortstop. And with the Reds still alive in the NL playoff picture and each Joey Votto swing inspiring more belief, Cincinnati should absolutely do what it takes to bring Story from one homer-prone ballpark to another. (Honestly, though, I would not be shocked if Story doesn’t go anywhere.)

7. Jon Gray is going to the Brewers.
That scary Milwaukee rotation becomes even more formidable, as the Brew Crew gets its hands on a guy who has always seemed he is one change of scenery away from making The Leap. Gray is good insurance as the Brewers carefully manage the workloads of Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta.

8. Kyle Gibson is staying put.
At one time, he looked like he might be the best starter available at the Deadline, before the Scherzer and Berríos situations heated up. The industry has had a hard time knowing what to make of Gibson’s career-best 2021, and his 6.26 ERA in July hasn’t helped.

9. Richard Rodríguez is going to the Blue Jays.
Combined with the addition of Brad Hand, Toronto begins to turn what has been an iffy area all season into a real strength down the stretch. And Rodríguez is a long-term fit, under contractual control through 2023.