The days leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline always feature a handful of twists and turns. Even for those involved in the day-to-day operations of clubs, the Deadline can be hard to predict.
That said, we can narrow the scope of what might happen with a small bit of information. What are teams looking for? Which players might fit best?
Recently, MLB.com asked a handful of front-office and scouting types about the needs surrounding every club in the National League West.
The D-backs' offense struggled early this season, but the consensus seems to be that it's likelier they will look to acquire pitching help. The rotation has taken a step back from last year's group, and the bullpen -- while solid -- could stand to add some depth.
NL front-office member: "Diamondbacks need pitching, both rotation and in the bullpen. Even though their offense has been kind of shaky, they're getting [A.J.] Pollock back, and I don't think they're looking at any major offensive upgrades. I don't think that's what they're looking for unless it's someone with years of control. But what they're really looking for is pitching."
The Dodgers landed Manny Machado officially on Wednesday night. Now, it's a safe bet their focus will shift to adding bullpen help. Kenley Jansen has been Kenley Jansen for the past 2 1/2 months. But the rest of the 'pen has been substandard compared with the group that helped bring them an NL pennant last season.
AL front-office member: "Dodgers will acquire Machado … Then they will also be looking for help in the 'pen."
The Giants aren't a complete team by any stretch. But they might have a hard time adding a big-name piece at the Trade Deadline. They could use some pitching help, but they're already close to the luxury tax threshold and are firmly committed to staying below that mark.
AL front-office member: "They have a mandate from ownership to not get to the Competitive Balance Tax in 2018. That is why they made a recent deal with Texas to get further down, giving up a good prospect to do it. Giants need some veterans to step it up offensively in the second half, most notably [Hunter] Pence, [Andrew] McCutchen, [Joe] Panik, and should have [Evan] Longoria back in August. They'd like to add another bullpen arm, and with some rotation inconsistency, are scouting for starters, a challenge given their CBT mandate."
The Padres are the NL West's only sellers. And they've got quite a few pieces that could be on the move, most notably lefty closer Brad Hand -- who was dealt along with Adam Cimber to the Indians on Thursday for elite catching prospect Francisco Mejia -- and righty starter Tyson Ross. They're looking to bolster an already loaded farm system, and they're off to a great start.
NL scout: "They're fine, pitching-wise. Most of those guys are a couple years away. But if they're going to get prospects, I'd guess they want a hitter. I think long-term, it's the offense that needs help. Their pitching will be very good."
Two weeks ago, the Rockies weren't yet certain if they'd be buyers or sellers at the Trade Deadline. Then they went 10-2 in that stretch, and it certainly sounds as though they're leaning toward the former. Colorado could use some help in a handful of areas, but it isn't desperate to upgrade on any specific spot.
NL front-office member: "The Rockies have been more focused on pitching. I think they've talked a little bit about adding a bat that can move around, play multiple positions, just help out offensively. It hasn't been real specific -- like, 'We have to replace a first baseman or a left fielder. … They're also just looking for general pitching help."