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What to Watch for During the MLB Trade Deadline

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is tomorrow at 4 p.m. and it is set to be one of the weirdest deadlines in history. With the playoff field extended to 16, there are not as many teams who are willing to be sellers this season.

Even with the surplus of buyers, there still are a few teams who should look to ship off a few pieces to contending teams. The Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Angels, Kansas City Royals, and Seattle Mariners should all look to be sellers on Monday.

Who’s on the trading block?

Starting Pitchers

Angels’ starting pitcher Dylan Bundy has been brought up in multiple trade conversations along with Diamondback’s pitcher Robbie Ray. Bundy has made 6 starts in 2020 and has posted a 2.58 ERA to go with a 0.89 WHIP. On the other hand, Ray has made 7 starts, but has posted a 7.84 ERA while walking 31 batters in 31 innings. 

The hottest name on the market is Texas Rangers starting pitcher Lance Lynn. The 33-year-old is 4-0 in his 7 starts with a 1.59 ERA and a WHIP of 0.86. Although Lynn may be the hottest name on the market, it is not clear that the Rangers are willing to part ways with the veteran at the deadline. 

The Cleveland Indians are shopping high-end starting pitcher Mike Clevinger but are asking a massive return for their ace. In 4 games this season, Clevinger has posted a 3.18 ERA and has struck out 21 batters.

Clevinger and teammate Zach Plesac were both sent down to the Indian’s satellite camp earlier this season for breaking team curfew during a road trip to Chicago. This factor could be the reason why Cleveland is shopping the righty, but at the same time this might have hurt his trade value.

Some notable teams who could be looking for starting pitching are the Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, and every team in the National League Central that is not the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Relief Pitchers

This deadline does not feature a wide variety of elite bullpen arms, but teams will take what they can get. One of the biggest names for relievers this season is Trevor Rosenthal. The Kansas City closer has appeared in 14 games posting a 3.29 ERA, striking out 21, and saving 7 games. Rosenthal probably would not be used as a closer on a contending team but would be a vital piece of their bullpen. Rosenthal also has playoff experience from his time pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals. At the time this article was written, it was heavily rumored that Rosenthal was going to be traded to the San Diego Padres.

Boston reliever Matt Barnes has struggled in 2020 posting an even 6.00 ERA over 12 appearances. Despite the high ERA, Barnes has proved to be a reliable bullpen arm in the past and could help a contender down the stretch.

Brandon Kintzler has had a resurgence in Miami this season and is one of the best relievers on the market. In 12 games, Kintzler has pitched his way to a 2.92 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. 

A possible sleeper trade for teams to make would be to acquire Baltimore Orioles reliever Mychal Givens. Givens has pitched 13 innings in 2020 while posting a 1.38 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. The only problem that teams would run into when trying to acquire Givens would be the willingness, or lack of willingness, of Baltimore to part with their star reliever.

Some notable teams who need relief pitching are the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Red, San Diego Padres, and Tampa Bay Rays.

Position Players

There are not many high-end position players position players in play this season, but there are many fill guys who could be that final piece for a championship team.

Catcher Christian Vazquez has seen his name popup in multiple trade conversations this past week. Vazquez had been linked to teams such as the Rays. The Red Sox catcher is hitting .260 with 4 homers and 12 RBIs this season. 

A player who could be considered a “glue guy” is Angels’ outfielder Brian Goodwin. In 29 games, Goodwin is hitting .253 with 4 homers and 17 RBIs. An ideal situation for the outfielder would be a platoon role on a playoff team.

Infielder Austin Nola is hitting .313 with 5 homeruns and 19 RBIs in 28 games this season. Nola’s bat could be a huge boost to teams looking to replace an injured player or for teams looking to upgrade their hitting in the infield. 

A few other Red Sox who could be moving are Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Kevin Pillar. All three have playoff experience and would help contending teams push for October. 

Two big pieces that have been rumored to have large price tags are Angels’ infielders David Fletcher and Andrelton Simmons. Fletcher is hitting .314 with 3 homers and 13 RBIs. Simmons has only appeared in 9 games this season but has established himself as a top 15 shortstop in baseball. Simmons has been heavily linked in rumors to the Toronto Blue Jays. If either player is moved, the team who acquires them will have to pay a heavy price. The Angels should be looking for high-end pitching prospects in return for both Fletcher and Simmons.

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