Major League Baseball’s teams have only a few more days to finalize their summer shopping, as this year’s trade deadline will pass at 6 pm ET on Tuesday, Aug. 2. After that point, teams will no longer be able to execute deals until the offseason.
The deadline usually passes on July 31, but commissioner Rob Manfred gained the ability to set it on any day between July 28 and Aug. 3 as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association. That, in short, is why the deadline is on Aug. 2, a few days later than normal.
Regardless of when the deadline passes, you might be wondering what the top storylines are heading into the final days of the trade season. CBS Sports has you covered below, with information and answers to eight frequently asked questions.
1. Who are the top buyers and sellers?
Our Dayne Perry recently categorized each of the 30 teams as buyers, sellers, or something in between. While taking Perry seriously is always a risk, it’s one that we’ve opted to take. Here’s a look at who he categorized as buyers or sellers (do note that those teams are listed in alphabetical order based on their city name):
- Buyers: Braves, White Sox, Guardians, Astros, Dodgers, Brewers, Twins, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals, Padres, Giants, Mariners, Rice, Rangers, Blue Jays
- Sellers: Diamondbacks, Cubs, Reds, Tigers, Royals, Angels, Marlins, Athletics, Pirates, Nationals
Any team not listed above was considered to be something in between, meaning they could buy or sell, or they could stand pat, depending on how negotiations develop.
2. What notable moves have happened so far?
The biggest trade of the deadline to date saw the Mariners acquire right-hander Luis Castillo from the Reds in exchange for four prospects, including infielders Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo. (You can read our in-depth analysis of that one here.)
Most of the other big dominoes are yet to tumble, meaning the next tier of big non-Castillo trades includes outfielders heading to the American League East: Andrew Benintendi linking up with the Yankees and David Peralta joining the Rays. Hey, we said there are a lot of other marquee names who could be moved sooner than later.
3. Will Soto be moved?
The biggest of those marquee names would be Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, who became available earlier this month after he rejected a 15-year, $440 million extension offer.
Soto is a 23-year-old on a Hall-of-Fame track who is under team control for two more seasons after this one, making him one of the most sought-after trade targets in league history. CBS Sports identified the Cardinals as the team best suited to land him based on their combination of prospects and young big-league players, as well as their financial outlook and their front office’s history of making similar trades.
The Nationals would seem incentivized to move Soto before the deadline, as the franchise is expected to be purchased by new owners this offseason. It seems unlikely that the incoming owners would want their first big move to be trading off the face of the franchise.
If and when a Soto trade happens, it’s worth noting that executives with other teams fully expect veteran left-hander Patrick Corbin to be involved as financial ballast.
4. What about Ohtani?
The Angels have reportedly listened to offers on another young superstar in two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, but a trade seems far less likely than in Soto’s case.
Ohtani is under team control for an additional season, yet the situation is more complicated. Industry types who have spoken to CBS Sports have noted that owner Arte Moreno seems less inclined to green-light a deal, and that the Angels will presumably hold onto Ohtani and try once again to win in 2023.
It would be reasonable to state that if Ohtani is to be traded, then it’ll likely come this offseason — or, perhaps, next deadline.
5. Who are the other top players out there?
Here are the top five available players based on our rankings who haven’t already been traded or mentioned in this piece:
- No. 3 Frankie Montas, RHP, Athletics
- No. 4 Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pirates
- No. 5 Sean Murphy, C, Athletics
- No. 6 Willson Contreras, C, Cubs
- No. 7 Ian Happ, OF, Cubs
We’ll note that Reynolds seems unlikely to go and that the Athletics could likewise decide to hold onto Murphy until the winter. The other three — Montas, Contreras and Happ — seem to have a better than 50/50 shot at being moved by Tuesday night.
6. Will the Yankees move Gallo?
A name you’ll find much lower on our rankings is Joey Gallo, the Yankees outfielder who has struggled since being acquired in a trade last deadline. Gallo is an impending free agent and increasingly a man without a home on New York’s roster.
Naturally, that combination has fueled speculation that Gallo could be on his way out, with the Padres and Rangers, among others, standing out as potential destinations.
Gallo is one of the deadline’s most intriguing players worth watching, if only because of the possibility that he could regain his old form with a move away from New York.
7. Might Astros deal from depth?
It’s not often that you see a clear division favorite trade away players from the big-league roster, but the rumor mill has the Astros weighing deals that would send out a starting pitcher and possibly an outfielder.
The Astros currently have a six-pitcher rotation that includes the likes of Jake Odorizzi and José Urquidy. On the outfield side of things, the Astros have reportedly received calls on Jose Siri, who has fallen out of their center-field timeshare.
The Astros have expressed interest in catchers and Nationals first baseman Josh Bell, but it’s unclear if the aforementioned players would be involved in those deals.
8. Can Braves conjure 2021 deadline magic?
We’ll conclude by pointing out that the Braves, the defending World Series champions, positioned themselves to win the trophy last July when they acquired Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, Joc Pederson and Adam Duvall in unheralded deals.
Will the Braves be able to work similar miracles over the next few days?
The Braves will presumably be in the market for another bat, likely of the right-handed variety. Likewise, you can count on them checking in on the pitching market, both starters and relievers, as is the custom for contenders.
We’ll find out whether or not the Braves will be able to better position themselves for a repeat soon enough.