We are now in July, which means the Trade Deadline, Aug. 2 this year, is just around the corner. It’s when every team looks over its roster and decides what it needs, what it can part with and, perhaps more important, what players it absolutely cannot lose.
So what player on each team is considered the most untouchable? The one guy you can (pretty much) guarantee won’t be traded in the next month? We do this exercise every year, and it does change a bit from year to year.
Here’s every team’s untouchable player for this Trade Deadline season.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B
The Jays have until 2025 to figure out an extension for their global superstar. One can’t help but wonder if right now, when he’s having a “down” year (for him, anyway), is the right time.
Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C
The slow start is over. He has begun smashing the ball … and the Orioles look as good as they have in a half decade. He’ll be at the center of everything that’s about to happen in Baltimore.
Rays: Wander Franco, SS
You never know with the Rays -- they’ve traded away supposed untouchable players before -- but you don’t sign a player like this to an extension as long as the Rays have (11 years!) if you don’t plan on building around him.
Red Sox: Rafael Devers, 3B
The Red Sox are tricky, because it wasn’t that long ago that we all thought they might be trading Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers if they fell out of the race. It is fair to say: They are not out of the race. Devers’ MVP-level season is a huge reason for that; this has been the best year of an already outstanding career. They’ve still got a year and a half to figure out an extension. He’s not going anywhere.
Yankees: Aaron Judge, OF
This is a little bit of a cheat, because the Yankees are having a historic year and Judge is having a historic year and he’s a free agent at the end of the year so it wouldn’t make any sense to trade him no matter what happens. It’s just funny to think what would happen if the Yankees traded him anyway.
Guardians: José Ramírez, 3B
That five-year, $124 million contract extension he signed in April almost looks team-friendly, the way he’s hitting right now. And this could end up being a playoff team.
Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., 3B/SS
The Royals are a mess right now, and the uphill climb is going to be particularly steep. But whatever they do, they’ll do with Witt front and center.
Tigers: Riley Greene, OF
Now that they’ve called him up, you can get a glimpse of what their future might look like. Even if the present isn’t nearly as pleasant as everyone had been hoping. You might have said Spencer Torkelson here a couple of months ago, but his slow start has been a bit confounding to those who followed his rise in the Minors.
Twins: Byron Buxton, CF
They’ve extended him through 2028, which means they’re building everything around him. We’ve seen what happens, and what the Twins are capable of, when he’s healthy.
White Sox: Luis Robert, CF
His contract locks him up in Chicago during his physical prime (through 2027), and he still as high of a ceiling of any player in the game.
Angels: Mike Trout, OF
It’s still Trout, partially because of his massive contract. But so you know … Shohei Ohtani is a free agent after the 2023 season, and it wouldn’t be completely shocking if we hear some trade speculation this winter.
Astros: Yordan Alvarez, DH
He may end up putting together one of the greatest designated hitter careers of all time.
Mariners: Julio Rodríguez, OF
What do you think you’d have to give up to get Julio Rodríguez right now? Start with your entire stadium, and then figure out what you’d need to add to the package.
Rangers: Corey Seager, SS
He’s here to provide not just excitement for the fanbase, but a player that will be an anchor for the franchise for the next decade. This is not an A-Rod situation.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr., RF
He’s not even 100 percent of the way healthy yet and he’s still one of the best outfielders in baseball. Now he has to get his own World Series title.
Mets: Jacob deGrom, RHP
Sure, he can opt out of his contract this winter. But the Mets haven’t waited for him all this time to just ship him out now.
Nationals: Juan Soto, RF
Yes, yes, I’ve read all your “five possible destinations for Soto” pieces. It’s still not happening.
Phillies: Bryce Harper, RF/DH
We’re about to see just how irreplaceable Bryce Harper really is.
Brewers: Corbin Burnes, RHP
He still has two more years of arbitration left, which will continue to make him one of the best values in baseball.
Cardinals: Tommy Edman, INF
He’s one of the best players in baseball, he can play anywhere on the diamond, all the Cardinals players say he’s their favorite player, he hasn’t even hit arbitration yet. There is literally nothing not to like.
Pirates: Oneil Cruz, SS
After his showing in his MLB season debut, he was the talk of baseball for about three full days. That’s called making an impression.
Reds: Hunter Greene, RHP
He hasn’t put it all together yet, at least not for any extended stretch, but it sure looks like it won’t be that much longer until he does.
D-backs: Ketel Marte, 2B
He’s now signed through 2027 after an offseason contract extension, and remember, he’s still only 28.
Dodgers: Mookie Betts, RF
He signed one of the most expensive contracts in baseball history and still remains a total bargain. He’ll be here a while.
Giants: Mike Yastrzemski, RF
The Giants are a tough team for this category, but Little Yaz seems as good a bet as any to stick around: Remember, he, somehow, still has three years of arbitration ahead of him.
Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr., SS
He’ll hopefully be back soon and make us forget he was ever gone.
Rockies: Kris Bryant, 3B/OF
I mean, they probably couldn’t trade him right now if they wanted to given his big contract and injury woes, but this is still the guy they imagine being a huge part of their next playoff team.