With a week left before MLB’s trade deadline, it’s time to play general manager.
Illustrated SportsMLB staff (with the exception of Stephanie Apstein, who is currently in Tokyo covering the Olympics), responded to the following question for this panel discussion: Imagine that you are a DJ for one of the 30 teams. What move do you have to make before the trade deadline?
Without further ado, here is the 2021 trade deadline edition of Let’s Make a Deal.
Cubs Jed Hoyer: Trade Kris Bryant
If I’m Jed Hoyer of the Cubs, I can’t afford to have Kris Bryant on my roster on the other side of the deadline. The Cubs have a 2% chance of making the postseason, according to FanGraphs, which is why Hoyer already went into sell mode when he sent Joc Pederson to the Braves. Bryant is a rare commodity on the market – he’s a mid-level hitter who can play corner positions in the infield and outfield. That puts a lot of teams on the line when it comes to the roster. I can work on a bidding war between the NL East teams: the Mets, the Phillies and the Braves. I can convince the Red Sox that they need to do something with first base, and why not keep an eye on the Brewers, A’s and Giants while I’m at it.
Braves’ Alex Anthopoulos: Acquire Joey Gallo and Kyle Gibson
The Braves’ playoff chances right now are certainly not good. (9.9%, according to FanGraphs.) But with the generally weak state of the NL East, if I’m general manager Alex Anthopoulos, I don’t think I’m ruling this season out just yet. That doesn’t mean looking for a short-term rental, it’s just not practical, but players who can make an impact this season. Y next (or more)? Bring them. Enter a call to the Rangers. They could help with multiple needs at once – Joey Gallo is the type of outfield bat that would be perfect for Atlanta, and he could team up with someone like Kyle Gibson who would add some rotational depth. (The latter could end up being particularly important for this stretch run depending on the health of Braves starter Ian Anderson – he’s currently on the 10-day IL with shoulder swelling, which isn’t believed to be the case. also serious, but it doesn’t have an expected comeback date yet, and there’s not too much release depth.)
Those are two highly talked about names that would require a serious prospect package in return. But Atlanta’s agricultural system is deep enough to do just that without being decimated. It would probably mean saying goodbye to one or two minor league great talents like Cristian Pache or William Contreras, among several others, but for a two-run playoff shot with a hitter like Gallo? Worth it.
Laws of will
Royals Dayton Moore: Trade Whit Merrifield
The Royals should be applauded for trying to take the next step in rebuilding with some aggressive moves during the offseason. But, if I’m Dayton Moore and I see Kansas City for the last time in the disappointing AL Central, I probably realize that my team needs to reboot a bit.
Both the offense (4.1 runs per game, 14th in the AL) and the pitching staff (5.08 ERA, 14th in the AL) could use more talent. The best way to further supply the coffers is to run an operation that I have long been reluctant to pull the trigger on; It hurts, but it’s time to fire one of my favorite players, Whit Merrifield. The 2021 All-Star is coveted across the league for his versatility, speed (25 MLB-leading stolen bases), hitting tool and affordable contract ($ 3.75 million in 2022, $ 10.5 million in 2023). But its value may soon plummet. During his 32-year season, Merrifield has posted his lowest OPS (.727) since his rookie year, and the Royals’ top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. is expected to arrive next season. He will take over one of the places in the middle of the frame, joining Adalberto Mondesi, and pushing Merrifield into the outfield, where his bat won’t be as valuable. I am supposedly more open than ever to negotiate with Merrifield, and for good reason, now is the time to strike. The White Sox, Red Sox, Yankees, Mets and Braves might make sense as landing spots.
Phillies’ Dave Dombrowski: Acquires Trevor Story, Germán Márquez and Daniel Bard
The Phillies haven’t made the playoffs since 2011, and their divisional career is wide open. They didn’t hire Dave Dombrowski to not do everything by the trade deadline, so now is the time to strike. If I’m Dombrowski, I want three of Colorado’s top four players to be available – Trevor Story, German Marquez and Daniel Bard – and I’m willing to pay for them.
What do I have to offer? Well, the Rockies’ farm system is in shambles, particularly at shortstop and receiver, and those are areas of depth for the Phillies. The Rockies will lose Story in free agency if they don’t trade him now, and they’ll be left with a huge hole short. The Phillies could certainly use Story this season (as can most rival teams), but they have Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura under contract next season if they can’t extend or re-sign Story, so they can afford of parting ways with their No. 2 prospect, shortstop Bryson Stott (they also have shortstops Luis Garcia and Casey Martin as their fifth and sixth prospects, respectively). Then, to catch Marquez, who is just 26 years old and signed through 2024 with a club option for ’25, the Phillies could offer their No. 4 prospect, catcher Rafael Marchan, who is stuck behind JT Realmuto for four more seasons. after this. Considering Bard is already 36, Philadelphia could include him in the single-player package to be named later.
So how does this help the Phillies? Well, his most obvious need is the reliever, which Bard would help address, but adding Story and Marquez would also indirectly help the bullpen. No team is worse defensively at shortstop than the Phillies in terms of defensive runs saved (-38). More than just his bat, Story is one of the best fielding shortstop in the game, and his glove would certainly convert more ground-outs for Philadelphia pitchers. Among National League teams, the Phillies have the worst difference between your actual and expected batting average allowed on balls hit to shortstop. Adding Marquez, another All-Star starter, to a rotation with Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola would take some of the pressure off the bullpen.
As far as the lineup by adding Story, the Phillies could slide Gregorius to second base and Segura to third in place of Alec Bohm, who is currently in COVID-19 IL and has an offensive offseason (77 OPS +) anyway.
Red Sox Chaim Bloom: acquire Carlos Santana
The Red Sox have been in the driver’s seat of the AL East for most of the season, but they’ll have a lot of work for them if they want to stop the reloading Rays and the rest of the competition. First base has been a black hole for Boston, with Bobby Dalbec and company getting disappointing results. If I’m Chaim Bloom, I’m looking at some of the starting caliber first basemen who play for teams that live in the basement. The one who may make the most sense is Carlos Santana. The veteran switch hitter is hitting .242 / .361 / .408 with 15 home runs on the year, with more walks (61) than strikeouts (60). The 35-year-old is under contract until 2022, so he would cover the team at the position in case Dalbec is not yet ready for a day-to-day role next season. The Red Sox have the fourth-lowest walk rate (7.7%) in the majors, so Santana’s patient approach would be a much-needed change of pace and help keep the line moving for the team’s powerful center of order. .
Astros’ James Click: Acquire an Outfielder
The Astros have a legitimate case as the World Series favorite as we approach August, and a bigger move could put Houston on top. Myles Straw has been struggling lately after a steamy streak, and another quality field bat could make a big difference in October. And there is no shortage of options available to Houston. If I’m James Click, I’m intrigued by Joey Gallo and Bryan Reynolds, two controllable left-handed outfielders. Marlins center fielder Starling Marte would add a healthy dose of speed and power. The Astros don’t necessarily need to make a move to lift the Commissioner’s Trophy in October. But another quality outfielder can separate them from Boston and Chicago when playoff time comes.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.