30 teams, 30 bold Deadline predictions

August 25th, 2020

In this unique season and with so many clubs in contention, there's no telling what kind of fireworks the 2020 Trade Deadline will bring.

We asked MLB.com's 30 beat reporters to look into the crystal ball and make a bold prediction for how it could play out with each team. While these predictions aren't likely, they're still within the realm of possibilities, depending on what happens between now and the Aug. 31 Deadline.

American League East

Blue Jays
Prediction: They'll trade Teoscar Hernández or Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Toronto finds itself right on the edge, tipping between buying and selling at the Deadline. The likelier outcome is a straight baseball deal, and one of the club’s stated goals is to focus more on run prevention. There isn’t much room to budge on the infield, where most of the Blue Jays’ young core lives, but the corner-outfield tandem of Hernández and Gurriel Jr. will be attractive to other clubs. If Toronto aggressively seeks either a defensive upgrade or an impact starter, one of them could be on the move. -- Keegan Matheson

Prediction: They'll trade ... nobody
As a rebuilding club, the Orioles were never going to be buyers at the Deadline, even if their hot start hadn’t petered out the way it did. But they might not necessarily be sellers either, and there is a decent chance they stand pat at the Deadline for the second straight year. Why? In short: risk and uncertainty. Do the Orioles dangle any of the young players they’ve seen take steps forward this year, and if they do, does the market believe those steps are real given the small sample? It’s probably a stretch in both directions. And their veterans are imperfect chips. Alex Cobb is enjoying a rebound season at age 32, but he’s expensive, owed roughly $19 million through 2021. José Iglesias looked like a useful sell-high option, but he’s played through injury all year and still isn’t 100 percent healthy. The best market will probably be for Mychal Givens, who’s looked great this year in a return to a setup role. -- Joe Trezza

Prediction: They'll trade a top prospect for pitching
This might not appear bold at first glance, but this would be rather surprising considering how the Rays usually operate. With some of the injuries to its pitching staff, Tampa Bay could be on the market for starting pitching depth or bullpen help. But as they usually do, the Rays will be looking for players who have more than one season of team control left, and those players usually come with a very expensive price tag. Wander Franco, MLB's No. 1 overall prospect, isn’t going anywhere, but the Rays have other highly touted middle infield prospects in the 60-man player pool who could help them acquire the necessary pieces to make a deep postseason run in 2020. -- Juan Toribio

Red Sox
Prediction: J.D. Martinez is traded
Martinez has opt-outs in his contract after this season and next, and he’s off to a slow start offensively. But if he gets hot between now and Aug. 31, he becomes very enticing for a contender. Nobody had more homers (124) than Martinez from 2017-19, a span in which he hit .313/.388/.619. What are the Red Sox looking for in exchange for an elite slugger? Power pitching -- either a prospect or a young starter with Major League experience. To see what type of impact Martinez can make as a late-season acquisition, look no further than what he did for the D-backs down the stretch in 2017. -- Ian Browne

Prediction: Clint Frazier is traded
Frazier’s time with the Yankees has been tumultuous, but he resolved this spring to let his performance do the talking. The results have been terrific, as manager Aaron Boone describes the 25-year-old as playing like he has “something to prove.” Frazier’s calling card is his bat, and he has displayed an advanced approach at the plate while performing serviceably in the outfield, playing an impactful role following injuries to Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. And that’s why Frazier could be on the move prior to the Trade Deadline. Questions about Frazier’s maturity prompted suitors to shy away in the past, but he seems to have made great strides. It’s clear that Frazier belongs in the Majors, but the Yankees’ crowded outfield provides few opportunities to break in. With the Yanks losing James Paxton to injury, Frazier could anchor a deal for a starting pitcher. -- Bryan Hoch

AL Central

Prediction: Mike Clevinger is traded
Clevinger heard his name pop up in a few trade rumors last offseason, but the right-hander was more than expected to remain with the Tribe. Now, a trade may not seem so far-fetched. The Indians continue to showcase their seemingly endless pipeline of starting pitching with Triston McKenzie being the latest arm to dazzle on the big stage. The Tribe needs an impact bat, and its greatest area of depth to deal from would be its starters. Clevinger has been at the Indians’ alternate training site for the last 10 days after breaking team protocols, but he has remained on his pitching schedule in Lake County. A team like the Yankees could try to make a pitch for Cleveland’s hurler in exchange for a return that includes an outfield bat like Clint Frazier. -- Mandy Bell

Prediction: They'll stand pat and work toward signing Trevor Rosenthal to a long-term deal
Any deal with Rosenthal won’t be easy -- the more he dominates (six saves, 1.59 ERA), the more his agent, Scott Boras, will shop him to the big markets. But Rosenthal, who is from Lee’s Summit, Mo., is comfortable with the Royals and is grateful that general manager Dayton Moore and his staff took a chance on him last fall. If any deal comes down to a tiebreaker, the guess is that Rosenthal would just as soon stay in Kansas City, which may not be that far from contending again. The logic of a multiyear deal is obvious: Rosenthal is only 30 years old, is still hitting 100 mph and could team with fireballer Josh Staumont, Scott Barlow and Tyler Zuber to give Kansas City a lockdown bullpen, which was the trademark of the club when it made back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014 and '15 and won a title. -- Jeffrey Flanagan

Prediction: They'll make a prospect-for-prospect trade to improve the offense
With a trade of Matthew Boyd looking unlikely this summer given his early-season struggles, this could be the time general manager Al Avila tries to leverage the Tigers’ pitching depth into a hitting prospect who could contribute in the Majors soon, like the Zac Gallen-for-Jazz Chisholm trade the D-backs and Marlins pulled off last year. Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal are already in Detroit’s rotation, but the Tigers have three more former first-round picks at their alternate training site in Matt Manning (MLB's No. 25 prospect), Alex Faedo (Detroit's No. 10 prospect) and Beau Burrows (15th), along with Franklin Perez (14th), himself a former Top 100 prospect. -- Jason Beck

Prediction: They'll trade for Mychal Givens
It’s tough to see the Twins realistically making any splashy moves at the Deadline, considering the young talent in their 60-man player pool consists mainly of elite prospects or MLB-ready arms that will almost certainly play a role late this season or in 2021. Minnesota also doesn't have many holes. The one place for some wiggle room is in the bullpen, where the Twins could add to an already strong group and bolster it for 2021 with the acquisition of Givens. The right-hander has thrived for the Orioles this season and is under team control through next season. Givens has the blazing fastball that is lacking in Minnesota's bullpen, Trevor May notwithstanding, and his slider is generating a 40% whiff rate this season. -- Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox
Prediction: They won't make a move
General manager Rick Hahn and the White Sox front office have put together a playoff-caliber team for the 2020 season, which represents a solid step up from the rebuild covering the past three years. But the team will not jeopardize the sustained success it envisions having over the next half-decade simply to jump forward in the current campaign. In a recent Zoom session, Hahn stressed that the White Sox are trying to do all they can to win in 2020. However, they aren’t going to give up any significant prospects to obtain rental players. The White Sox also have some key players coming back from injury in right-handed starter Reynaldo López, second baseman Nick Madrigal, left-handed starter Carlos Rodón and left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer. Their biggest additions will likely come from within. -- Scott Merkin

AL West

Prediction: They'll package Brian Goodwin and a prospect to acquire pitching
The story remains the same with the Angels, who desperately need starting pitching to go with an offense led by Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani. The Halos could use their outfield depth to address that need, packaging Goodwin with a prospect such as Jordyn Adams (the Angels' No. 4 prospect) for a starting pitcher they can control beyond this year. Goodwin has been solid (108 OPS+) over two years with the Angels, but he's expendable with top prospect Jo Adell (MLB's No. 6 prospect) in the Majors and No. 2 prospect Brandon Marsh (MLB's No. 84 prospect) in the pipeline as well. -- Rhett Bollinger

Prediction: Forrest Whitley is traded
The fact that the Astros have had nine pitchers make their Major League debuts this year and none of them are Whitley should tell you the club doesn’t think he’s ready. Whitley, a former first-round Draft pick and MLB's current No. 21 prospect, did make the 60-man player pool, but he was shut down last month with a minor arm issue, which is the latest in a string of bad news for the righty. Whitley missed 50 games following a suspension and suffered a pair of oblique injuries in 2018, and his '19 didn’t go much smoother. He began the year at Triple-A Round Rock and had a 12.21 ERA in eight games (five starts) before being placed on the injured list with shoulder fatigue, and finished 3-7 with a 7.99 ERA, 44 walks and 86 strikeouts across four levels. The Astros need to place him on the 40-man roster this winter or risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft, and they might be willing to move him for a reliever. -- Brian McTaggart

Prediction: The A's will stand pat
Billy Beane and David Forst not making a deal at the Trade Deadline? That’s ludicrous, right? Not this year. Though the A’s have been a very active club the past two seasons -- making deals for Mike Fiers and Jeurys Familia at the 2018 Deadline, and acquiring Tanner Roark, Homer Bailey and Jake Diekman in ‘19 -- they entered this season without many holes on their roster thanks to top prospects like Jesús Luzardo and Sean Murphy settling into regular roles in the big leagues. Oakland is set at every position besides a platoon situation at second base and has a surplus of productive outfielders. They also have an elite bullpen led by shutdown closer Liam Hendriks, and three hurlers they’d feel good about starting in a postseason series (Luzardo, Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt). -- Martin Gallegos

Prediction: Taijuan Walker is traded
General manager Jerry Dipoto loves to wheel and deal and surely will be eager to add more young talent to his rebuilding efforts, if possible. Lots of teams are looking to bolster their rotations and Walker is a perfect rental candidate. The 28-year-old is on a one-year contract as he looks to rebuild his market after a two-year recovery from Tommy John surgery and, since a rough debut, has pitched very well and looked fully healthy. The big right-hander held the Dodgers to three runs over seven innings in his most recent start and previously shut out the A’s on one hit over seven innings, so he’s performed well against good competition. Walker's return to the team that originally drafted him has been a nice story for the Mariners, but given his impending free agency, it would make sense to move him if they can bring back a player who might help in the future. -- Greg Johns

Prediction: Shin-Soo Choo is traded
Choo previously would have been a trade option only for American League teams, but the fact that the DH spot is being used in both leagues this season could expand the list of interested clubs. Choo has 10-and-5 rights, giving him a chance to veto any trade, but he's in the twilight of his career, and this could be his last best chance to play in a World Series. The Rangers won’t want to unload the 38-year-old if they still believe they are in contention. But with Choo set for free agency after this year, it would make sense to move him for a future asset. -- T.R. Sullivan

National League East

Prediction: Atlanta acquires Kevin Gausman ... again
Acquired from the Orioles at the 2018 Deadline, Gausman helped Atlanta win the National League East title, but he struggled last season and was claimed off waivers by the Reds in August. Now with the Giants, Gausman has regained the velocity he lost last year, and his always-effective splitter has helped him record a 31.6% strikeout rate. The veteran right-hander is far from a sure thing. But with a thin market, this is the kind of chance the Braves have to take to rebuild a rotation that has been decimated by injuries. -- Mark Bowman

Prediction: Jonathan Villar is traded
Villar has played a valuable role for the Marlins, starting nearly every day and logging time in center field and at both middle-infield spots. He’s also the club's primary leadoff hitter and a base-stealing threat. But Villar can become a free agent after the season, and the Marlins have options to fill in at second base, including Jon Berti, Eddy Alvarez, Logan Forsythe and Sean Rodríguez (who is expected to come off the injured list soon). A team like the Yankees, with a rash of infielders injured, could be a fit. -- Joe Frisaro

Prediction: They'll trade a shortstop
It’s always expensive to acquire starting pitching at the Deadline, and it should be even more so this year, with a shortened season creating a glut of teams in contention. But the Mets have the type of up-the-middle talent that other clubs crave, including three talented young shortstops in Amed Rosario, Andrés Giménez and Ronny Mauricio. Long term, the Mets don’t have room for all of them. And while the most likely scenario remains that the club hangs on to all its premium players, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is known for bold strokes. Trading a shortstop to shore up the Mets’ rotation is exactly the kind of move he could make. -- Anthony DiComo

Prediction: They'll trade for a starting pitcher
Heading into Summer Camp, the Nationals had so many potential starting pitchers to choose from, there was a competition for the fifth spot in the rotation. But the once-copious list of options has dwindled after Joe Ross elected not to play this season and Stephen Strasburg was lost for the year due to carpal tunnel neuritis in his right hand. Aníbal Sánchez and Austin Voth (who won the fifth starter battle) were winless through their first four starts, and Erick Fedde has been moved out of the bullpen to fill in for Strasburg. The Nats have been getting a look at emerging players at their alternate training site. Would they consider tapping into their pool of prospects to acquire a Major League-ready starter? -- Jessica Camerato

Prediction: J.T. Realmuto is traded
OK, so the odds of this happening are infinitesimally small, but what if the Phillies’ bullpen issues do not improve, even with the recent enhancements, and the team falls further behind postseason contenders in the NL? Maybe the Phillies should get what they can for Realmuto, then try to re-sign him in the offseason. Realmuto is headed to free agency, and while there certainly would be risk in trading him and expecting him to re-sign, a big pile of money can make for a pretty persuasive argument to return. -- Todd Zolecki

NL Central

Prediction: Josh Hader is traded
Odds of this actually happening: next to zero. But if we’re talking about being bold here, think of the upside, starting with the fact that Hader is arguably the best and most valuable reliever in the game, with MLB's highest strikeout rate ever, an ability to pitch multiple innings and a still-electric fastball that might never be better. He could fetch the Brewers whatever they want at the Deadline to fix the offense. A first baseman to finally replace the stability that left with Prince Fielder? A long-term answer at third base? The Brewers also know that Hader is only going to get pricier, with three years of arbitration eligibility remaining before he can hit the open market. Were the Brewers to even consider trading Hader, they would have to be extremely confident in the young relievers they have behind him, including breakout righty Devin Williams and recently promoted prospect Drew Rasmussen. Both have electric stuff of their own. -- Adam McCalvy

Prediction: They'll trade for a big bat
This is bold only because the Cardinals have insisted that they have confidence in their current lineup despite its search for consistent production last season and no big changes to it over the offseason. Veterans like Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter have improved this year, but the Cardinals could still use an impact bat that puts their offense over the top. It’s unclear yet how they are going to approach this year’s Deadline, dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak that paused their schedule for almost three weeks. The team's pitching is still being built up, and the roster will be tasked with covering a lot of innings over the next month of the schedule to make up for all of the postponed games. But as St. Louis makes up all those games down the stretch, wouldn’t a new jolt of offense help? -- Anne Rogers

Prediction: Craig Kimbrel is traded
This is a long shot, but part of the thinking when the Cubs signed Kimbrel in 2019 was that his contract ($43 million over three years with a ‘22 option) might be attractive if he was performing at an elite level. Well, Kimbrel’s '19 was marred by injuries and performance issues, and his ‘20 began with a handful of forgettable outings, too. More recently, though, Kimbrel has flashed a 98-99 mph fastball with vintage rise and a curveball that is getting whiffs again. While Kimbrel worked through his issues, arms like Jeremy Jeffress, Rowan Wick and Ryan Tepera earned the trust of manager David Ross, who refuses to slap the “closer” label on anyone. With financial flexibility a potential issue for the Cubs at the Deadline, finding a taker for Kimbrel could help the team in other trade pursuits. Is this scenario likely? No. But, there is some logic to it, if another team is desperate for a stopper, has some monetary wiggle room and is buying Kimbrel’s recent upswing as a sign of things to come. -- Jordan Bastian

Prediction: Pittsburgh will be the Deadline's busiest team
Some executives are predicting that this could be a slower Deadline day than usual, with clubs hesitant to make big moves due to the difficulty of evaluating prospects and the obvious challenges of moving players during a pandemic. But we’ll say the Pirates, who struggled to a 7-17 start, will be more active than anybody in their first Trade Deadline under general manager Ben Cherington. Keone Kela's forearm injury could take away Pittsburgh's biggest trade chip, but they’ll find a landing spot for impending free agent Derek Holland, and a couple controllable players like reliever Richard Rodríguez and infielder Adam Frazier. That would allow Cherington to inject some young talent into Pittsburgh’s system while clearing the way for youngsters like Cole Tucker, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Blake Cederlind and Jared Oliva to take on regular roles in the Majors. -- Adam Berry

Prediction: They'll trade for Trevor Rosenthal
For much of the season, Cincinnati relievers collectively have been at or near the bottom of the ERA rankings. Raisel Iglesias has had moments both spectacularly good and bad. Michael Lorenzen got off to a horrendous start before seemingly finding a groove. And Pedro Strop has been injured. For the Reds to make a real playoff push, they need to shore up the late innings. Who better to land right now than Rosenthal, a veteran having a renaissance year for the Royals. Rosenthal is due to become a free agent after this season, meaning it shouldn’t take a haul of prospects to acquire him. And as a former Reds nemesis with the Cardinals, he is quite familiar with the NL Central. This is a move that’s tailor-made for Cincinnati. -- Mark Sheldon

NL West

Prediction: They'll trade for Xander Bogaerts
The Red Sox don’t seem inclined to move Bogaerts, but there is a clause in the shortstop's six-year, $120 million contract that gives him full no-trade power not long after this year’s Trade Deadline. So if the Red Sox were ever going to move him, now would be the time. The D-backs clearly need help offensively, and while they have a Gold Glove Award winner at short in Nick Ahmed, they could always shift Bogaerts to third. So why does this constitute a bold move for the D-backs? Because of what they would likely have to give up to get him. GM Mike Hazen, who is very familiar with Bogaerts from his days in Boston's front office, has spent the past three years painstakingly building up the farm system, and it is close to really paying off. To get a player like Bogaerts, Hazen would have to dip into some of those coveted prospects. -- Steve Gilbert

Prediction: Lance Lynn joins Dodgers' rotation
The team with the best roster and best record isn’t the first place to look for a bold Deadline move. And in most parts, a rotation that begins with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler is considered pretty deep. But experience drops off quickly after that, regardless of how good Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin might turn out. Alex Wood has been hurt. Ross Stripling has been slumping. Julio Urías has been inconsistent. David Price chose not to play this year. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill, mainstays from years past, are gone. Andrew Friedman usually aims for big names at the Deadline (Yu Darvish, Manny Machado, Chase Utley, Hill, David Freese). So, why not Lynn, the way he’s been pitching? -- Ken Gurnick

Prediction: Johnny Cueto is traded
Cueto would be more than a one-month rental, as he’s under contract through 2021, which could help generate interest from contending teams in search of rotation help. The 34-year-old veteran is owed $21 million next year with a $22 million team option ($5 million buyout) for '22, so the Giants would likely need to pay down part of his contract to land a decent prospect who could help accelerate their rebuild. Cueto has posted promising results in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, logging a 4.35 ERA and yielding only 23 hits in 31 innings over his first six starts. -- Maria Guardado

Prediction: They'll trade for Tony Watson
Drew Pomeranz is on the IL, Kirby Yates is probably done for the season and the rest of the Padres' relief corps has struggled. They’re in desperate need of some solidity at the back end, and Watson, the Giants left-hander, would bring exactly that. He’s reliable. He’s durable. He can get outs against hitters from both sides. It’s a near certainty that Padres general manager A.J. Preller will look to improve upon his relief options within the next week. Watson is in the final year of his contract, and the price probably wouldn’t be too steep. -- AJ Cassavell

Prediction: They'll trade for Shin-Soo Choo
Last year, the Rockies were playing poorly enough at the Deadline that they decided not to add, and then they had a quiet offseason. With its 11-3 start seeming so long ago, Colorado could do business as usual. But with a playoff spot in reach, it's possible the team will look to take a big swing and acquire an impact bat. Boston's J.D. Martinez fits that description, but Texas' Shin-Soo Choo is more likely, as he is in the final year of his contract. Martinez has two years left on his deal after this season, with the chance to opt out in each of the next two offseasons. If not Choo, how about Martinez's teammate, Jackie Bradley Jr., a strong defender who could help cover the spacious outfield at Coors Field? Bradley, like Choo, can become a free agent at the end of the 2020 campaign. -- Thomas Harding