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Predicting Deadline strategies in NL West

How deals in recent past could foretell moves this month @AJCassavell

Three weeks from now, the makeup of the five National League West rosters could be decidedly different.

• Catch up on the latest Trade Talk

Three weeks from now, the makeup of the five National League West rosters could be decidedly different.

• Catch up on the latest Trade Talk

With the non-waiver Trade Deadline fast approaching, went back to the future to look at recent deals made by all five NL West clubs -- and how those moves might impact decision making between now and July 31.

The deal: On Feb. 20, the D-backs traded Brandon Drury, Anthony Banda and two players to be named later in a three-team deal with the Rays and Yankees to acquire outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Minor League pitcher Taylor Widener.

How it matters for this year's team: Souza strained his right pectoral muscle in Spring Training and has spent most of the year on the disabled list. Now back, he is still looking to regain the form he showed with the Rays. Meanwhile, those prospects turned into Sam McWilliams and Colin Poche, who have been strong in Tampa Bay's system this season.

Video: SD@ARI: Souza hammers a 2-run homer to deep center

What it tells us about the next 19 days: The D-backs are definitely buyers. But the Souza deal is the latest example of a trade that served to drain the farm system. With an already-thin crop of prospects, Arizona is hesitant to part with more inventory. (Plus, the loss of Banda dug into its starting-pitching depth.)


The deal(s): Los Angeles acquired Yu Darvish (in 2017), Rich Hill (in '16) and Alex Wood (in '15) leading up to the past three Trade Deadlines.

What it has meant for this year's team: Darvish proved an expensive rental. Hill and Wood are still in the rotation, and they could play an important role in the Dodgers' quest for a sixth straight NL West title. Both have struggled at times this season, but they'll figure prominently if Los Angeles makes another push toward October.

Video: COL@LAD: Hill K's 10 over 6 2/3 innings of 1-run ball

What it tells us about the next 19 days: Clearly, the Dodgers aren't afraid to work out a deal for a big name -- which is why they've been linked to Manny Machado and Zach Britton of the Orioles. They will likely make multiple deals in the coming weeks, finding creative ways to move payroll and stay under the tax threshold.

The deal: Earlier this month, the Giants dealt Cory Gearrin, Austin Jackson and Jason Bahr to the Rangers for a player to be named later.

What it has meant for this year's team: San Francisco lost two pieces from its roster, but both had struggled and neither was going to play much of role in the second half anyway. More than anything, the Giants gave themselves some operating room under the Competitive Balance Tax threshold.

Video: TEX@DET: Rangers acquire Jackson, Gearrin and Bahr

What it tells us about the next 19 days: Without Jackson and Gearrin, the Giants have room to maneuver before they hit the tax threshold. They'll conceivably be more active before the Deadline than many initially thought. Then again, San Francisco always takes an active approach toward the Deadline. They could use an outfield bat -- to upgrade from Jackson. The Giants could use a veteran reliever -- to upgrade from Gearrin. And now they have the financial flexibility to do so.

The deal: At last year's Deadline, the Padres sent starter Trevor Cahill and relievers Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer to the Royals for Matt Strahm, Esteury Ruiz and Travis Wood.

What it has meant for this year's team: Strahm is cementing himself as an integral part of San Diego's future pitching staff -- though it's uncertain whether that's as a starter or a reliever. He owns a 2.67 ERA in 17 appearances -- including five starts. Ruiz, meanwhile, is the Padres' No. 11 prospect and has held his own as a 19-year-old infielder at Class A Fort Wayne.

Video: SD@SF: Strahm gets McCutchen looking to end the 1st

What it tells us about the next 19 days: Closer Brad Hand was available at last year's Deadline, too, but San Diego set a high price, and he wasn't moved. If the same thing happens in 2018, it's entirely possible we see a repeat of the Deadline deal last summer. Like Cahill, the Padres have a solid righty starting option in Tyson Ross. Like Buchter and Maurer, they have relief weapons available in Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen. If the Friars create a package of multiple pitchers, it could fetch them a nice return -- like it did a season ago.

The deal: A year ago, the Rockies swung two trades in the span of a week, netting catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Rangers and reliever Pat Neshek from the Phillies. The key pieces in both trades were young, controllable prospects.

What it has meant for this year's team: Lucroy is with Oakland, Neshek is back with Philadelphia, and Colorado is two prospects lighter. (But the duo did help lift the Rockies to their first postseason berth in eight years.)

What it tells us about the next 19 days: Colorado hasn't yet decided whether it's a buyer or a seller this summer. But general manager Jeff Bridich has established a philosophy for both possibilities. If the Rockies continue to push toward contention, a similar trade or two might be in the works. If they fall too far back in the NL West, they'll look to replenish the prospects they lost at last year's Deadline.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies