Early Trade Deadline Predictions
- Updated: July 6, 2015
As teams continue to grind through the Major League season, it will become apparent which clubs have a shot at the playoffs, and which clubs are out of it entirely. This evaluation process really picks up near baseball’s trade deadline, which is July 31st.
The introduction of the second wild-card team in 2012 has allowed for more teams to be aggressive in acquiring players at the trade deadline. Teams that are on the fringe of being in the playoffs are now making trades to improve instead of clearing dead-weight contracts and many are trying to acquire draft picks and prospects.
With the trade deadline moving ever closer, teams will eventually fall into one of three categories: buyers, sellers, and those that stand pat. Here is where a few teams in the National League could fall as we get closer to July 31st.
The first potential buyer on this list could be the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates have been competitive and consistent in recent years and this year is no different. While the Pirates hold a favorable spot in the standings and a decent record, one area they could improve upon is their starting pitching. Although Gerrit Cole and A.J. Burnett have been dealing, they will need another front-line starter to compete in the post season. In addition, another power bat either to insert in the starting lineup or to come off the bench could also be an option to increase their chances.
Another team that could fall on the list of buyers in the NL is the SD Padres. While the Padres have already made a splash on the trade market this year, they could still be players at the deadline. In a string of off-season and early season moves, the Padres added big bats to their lineup, and shored up the back end of the bullpen. With the Padres in position to compete in the NL West for the rest of the year, starting pitching could be one area their front-office looks to improve. After enduring years and years of sub-par baseball, the Padres have shown that they are committed to creating improvements, and making things happen for their fans.
One team that looks like they will be sellers at the deadline is the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have been enduring a season to forget, as their record has been one of the worst in the majors all year long. The Brewers have struggled on the mound, especially when it comes to the starters. However, they have some very recognizable names that could be a help to teams trying to accrue enough pitching to compete in the playoffs. Pitchers like Garza, Fiers, and Loshe have all been elite pitchers at one point in their career, and could return to that form if put in the right situation.
The Colorado Rockies could also be sellers at the trade deadline. While they possess some talented players, many of their younger players acquired through trades have not worked out as they had planned. There has been speculation swirling around their shortstop Troy Tulowitzki all season long, as the Rockies will have trouble giving him the massive contract he’ll no doubt require after this season. Tulowitzki could be the most prized possession on this season’s trade market. He is an elite shortstop, who can hit for average and power. Any team looking to add a big-time bat could use him to bolster their lineup.
While some teams feel the need to improve at the deadline, others opt to stand down and head into the post-season with players they currently possess. These are teams that don’t have many weaknesses, and find it useless to give up draft picks and the future of the organization, when they can win with what they have.
The St. Louis Cardinals could be one of these teams. While the Cardinals have sustained injuries to key players Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday and Matt Adams they still find themselves near the top of the standings in baseball. In addition, young players have stepped up all over the diamond including Carlos Martinez on the mound and Randal Grichuk at the plate.
Also, the Washington Nationals could join the Cardinals as a team reluctant to make moves at the deadline. While some of their big name pitchers have struggled at times, they still possess a deep rotation and a lineup that features the best young hitter in the game, Bryce Harper. With improved performances from the starting staff, The Nats could be all set for the playoffs.