The 2023 MLB trade deadline is just around the corner, with contending teams deciding what they need to add before 6 p.m. ET on Aug. 1.
Could Shohei Ohtani be on the move from the Los Angeles Angels? Could Marcus Stroman, Cody Bellinger and Lucas Giolito be dealt to contenders? And which of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants will go all-in to boost their 2023 World Series hopes?
Whether your favorite club is looking to add or deal away — or stands somewhere in between — here’s the freshest intel we’re hearing, reaction to completed deals and what to know for every team as trade season unfolds.
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MLB trade deadline buzz
July 26 updates
Too many starters available? This deadline favors teams with players to deal, in general. But one executive noted the volume of teams searching for starting pitchers who are under team control beyond 2023 — and he wonders whether all of the teams looking to move rental starting pitchers (impending free agents) will find trade partners. Among the available starting pitchers who could be free agents this fall: Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Rich Hill, Marcus Stroman, Eduardo Rodriguez, Carlos Carrasco, Jose Quintana, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Montgomery, Michael Lorenzen and Brad Keller. — Buster Olney
Don’t expect a McCutchen trade: Andrew McCutchen is a free agent at season’s end and might normally be considered a possible trade target. But in this case, there seems to be an understanding between the player and team that he’ll remain with the Pirates through the 2023 season, in a continuation of what has been a strong reunion.
July 25 updates
Dodgers bring back Hernandez in deal with Red Sox. The Los Angeles Dodgers, in search of depth throughout their infield, reached a deal to reacquire Enrique Hernandez from the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, sources told ESPN. Grades
The Dodgers have more work to do: The Dodgers’ acquisition of super-utilityman Enrique Hernandez “doesn’t preclude us from exploring other right-handed bats,” general manager Brandon Gomes said Tuesday.
A right-handed hitter is still a main target for the Dodgers, along with help for both their rotation and their bullpen. The versatility throughout their roster — Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Mookie Betts can all play the infield and the outfield — allows them to not be beholden to specific positions while pursuing offensive help.
Adding Hernandez could free the Dodgers up to use current major leaguers in a trade — but they might have to wait on that. Trade talks, Gomes said, have been slow-moving with so many teams undecided on being adders or subtractors. Most of the action might wait until the final day or two. — Alden Gonzalez
Will Yankees go after Bellinger … or another outfielder? Scouts who have watched the Yankees over the past couple of weeks believe this team is more than a piece or two away — even if one of those pieces is Aaron Judge. But if there is one need the front office would like to address before the trade deadline, it’s in the outfield, a notably thin area even with Judge on the verge of returning from his foot injury.
Cody Bellinger, the left-handed-hitting past MVP whose father wore pinstripes, has long been seen as an ideal fit. But what if the Cubs, with by far the highest run differential in their division, decide to hold onto him? Or, more likely, what if another suitor is ultimately more aggressive?
The Yankees would prefer a left-handed, middle-of-the-order-type hitter to include in an outfield mix highlighted by the right-handed-hitting Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Harrison Bader. But they’d be open to a right-handed-hitting option if he stands as a clear upgrade, a source familiar with the team’s thinking said. The next tier of available outfielders seems to be made up mostly of right-handed-hitters, including Mark Canha, Tommy Pham, Randal Grichuk, Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas and Dylan Carlson (Carlson is a switch-hitter, but he has been far better from the right side this season).
First, though, the Yankees have to decide how they feel about their current team, specifically whether they want to augment it or shed some pieces in hopes of freeing up payroll. They’re among the many who still seem to be undecided. — Gonzalez
Chicago is buzzing ahead of the deadline: There were half a dozen scouts in the stands at Guaranteed Rate Field for the beginning of the Cubs/White Sox crosstown series on Tuesday. Both Chicago teams could subtract at the deadline and there’s no shortage of talent between them. Most interesting: The top scouts from the Yankees, in attendance to watch Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger, were the same personnel who scouted Anthony Rizzo before the Yankees traded for him in 2021.
Tuesday’s Cubs starter, Kyle Hendricks, is not expected to be moved at the deadline, according to sources. He has a team option for next year and will likely be a Cub in 2024.
Lance Lynn, scheduled to pitch for Sox on Wednesday, wants another shot at the playoffs. His splits suggest he pitches against the righty dominant Blue Jays or Yankees rather than for them, one scout opined. Lefties have a 1.055 OPS off him while righties have compiled just a .644 mark. A reunion in Texas is not out of the question. Los Angeles or San Francisco are possible as well. — Jesse Rogers
July 24 updates
The uncertainty surrounding Ohtani: The contingent of English- and Japanese-speaking media members who cover the Los Angeles Angels posed for a photo Sunday. It was the team’s last home game before a 10-day road trip that will spill past the trade deadline, and thus, it was potentially the last time that group — most of whom are dedicated to covering Shohei Ohtani wherever he goes — will be together.
Such is the state of things.
Nine days remain until the Aug. 1 trade deadline, and there is still a lot of uncertainty as to whether Ohtani, the Angels’ transformative two-way star, will be dealt before then. Front-office sources throughout the industry said things were quiet on the trade front over the weekend, and many of them have a hard time believing Angels owner Arte Moreno will trade Ohtani in the first place — especially since the team has found a way to remain in contention without Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon.
But the Angels have not publicly declared that Ohtani will stay, so teams throughout the sport are preparing for the possibility that he can be had. They have to be ready to act; acquiring a player of that magnitude takes a lot of legwork. — Gonzalez
Who is a sleeper team to trade for Shohei Ohtani?
Buster Olney maintains that Shohei Ohtani is unavailable for trades, but identifies the Rays as a team that could put together an appealing package if the Angels change their position.
How valuable is Bellinger on the market? The Chicago Cubs can only hope Ohtani isn’t moved, as Cody Bellinger is having a resurgent year and an even better month of July. The price should be high, though, with or without Ohtani on the market. There can’t be many teams more in need of Bellinger than the New York Yankees, but the Toronto Blue Jays need left-handed hitting help as well. The noise about the Astros’ interest is just that: noise.
If any candidate was eligible for a trade and re-sign with his old team, it’s Bellinger. The moment the Cubs move him, they need to replace him. Reliever Mark Leiter Jr. is also garnering interest as the Cubs have done a decent job of developing and flipping relievers in recent years. Marcus Stroman also has interest from the obvious contenders. — Rogers
Will the Padres be adding or dealing? It might be hard to believe, given his nature, that San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller won’t be aggressive one way or another, either selling off veteran players or acquiring them. As of now, though, the expectation is that starter Blake Snell and closer Josh Hader will remain with the team, according to a person familiar with the team’s thinking.
If available, Snell would probably be the best starting pitcher available, and Hader would probably be the best relief pitcher available. Both are free agents at season’s end, and if the Padres don’t believe they can truly contend in 2023, they could use both to get younger, cheaper players that balance out both the roster and the payroll, better positioning the club for 2024.
At the moment, though, the Padres don’t seem ready to punt on 2023. But a lot can change this week during their six-game homestand against the Pirates and Rangers. A lack of significant traction could prompt Preller to pivot in the other direction. And if he does, perhaps superstar outfielder Juan Soto, a free agent after 2024, will be available, too. If there’s one thing Preller has proved in his Padres tenure, it’s that he doesn’t take half-measures. — Gonzalez
The Cards’ stance at the deadline: The St. Louis Cardinals will start sifting through offers this week. Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery are as good as gone. Unless Snell is moved, Montgomery is going to be the best lefty starter on the market. Most contenders have some interest, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros. St. Louis wants controllable pitching in return and could attach an outfielder in a package. From the position players side, Paul DeJong could make sense, since he has team options over the next two seasons. What happens with Jordan Hicks is still a question mark. — Rogers
Could Dodgers add All-Star third baseman? The Los Angeles Dodgers might be in first place in the National League West, but they’re also one of the most needy teams heading into the trade deadline. They need starting and relief pitching, and they’d also like to add a right-handed bat to their lineup, with position not being much of a factor.
One name to watch here is Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals third baseman who is owed a very reasonable $94 million over the next three years. The Dodgers have long been enamored of Arenado, 32, and they see third base as a need they’ll have to address in the offseason given their present construction.
The Cardinals aren’t expected to trade Arenado at the moment, but the Dodgers have the type of young talent — particularly pitching — to sway teams in a situation like this. Arenado has a full no-trade clause, but he grew up in Southern California and the expectation is that he would waive it for a team like the Dodgers. — Gonzalez
Candelario on the move? The Washington Nationals will subtract at the deadline, with third baseman Jeimer Candelario their best trade chip right now. With Josh Donaldson out, the switch-hitting Candelario could be a perfect fit for the Yankees. — Rogers
White Sox dealing pitchers: Lucas Giolito will be moved as he has no chance of re-signing in Chicago. He’d be a good addition for the pitching-needy Cincinnati Reds. There has been no indication Dylan Cease will get traded — not with two years remaining of team control and few good Chicago White Sox starters under contract after this season. If Joe Kelly is healthy, he and Kendall Graveman are options for any of the contenders. Tim Anderson’s future in Chicago is also murky. — Rogers
MLB trade deadline analysis
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The X factors that will shape the deadline