Major League Baseball teams have just a few days left to wrap up their summer shopping as this year’s trade deadline ends Tuesday, August 2 at 6:00 p.m. ET. After that, teams will not be able to make any more deals until the off-season.
The deadline is normally July 31, but Commissioner Rob Manfred was given the option to set it to any day between July 28 and August 3 under the new collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association. In short, that’s why the deadline is August 2nd, a few days later than normal.
Regardless of when the deadline is, you might be wondering what the key storylines are heralding in the closing days of the trading season. CBS Sports covers you below with information and answers to eight frequently asked questions.
1. Who are the top buyers and sellers?
Our Dayn Perry recently categorized each of the 30 teams as buyers, sellers or something in between. While there’s always a risk in taking Perry seriously, we decided to take that risk. Here’s a look at who he categorizes as a buyer or seller (note that the teams are listed in alphabetical order based on their city name):
- buyer: Braves, White Sox, Guardians, Astros, Dodgers, Brewers, Twins, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals, Padres, Giants, Mariners, Rays, Rangers, Blue Jays
- salesperson: Diamondbacks, Cubs, Reds, Tigers, Royals, Angels, Marlins, Athletics, Pirates, Nationals
Any team not listed above was seen as something in between, meaning they could buy or sell or remain sponsored, depending on how negotiations play out.
2. What notable steps have happened so far?
In the biggest trade of the deadline so far, the Mariners acquired right-hander Luis Castillo from the Reds in exchange for four prospects including infielders Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo. (You can read our detailed analysis on this here.)
Most of the other big dominoes are yet to fall, meaning the next tier of big non-Castillo trades includes outfielders going to the American League East: Andrew Benintendi, who links with the Yankees, and David Peralta, who joins the Rays. Hey, we said there are many other marquee names that could be moved sooner or later.
3. Will Soto be relocated?
The biggest of those marquee names would be Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, who became available earlier this month after turning down a $440 million 15-year renewal offer.
Soto is a 23-year-old on a Hall-of-Fame trail who has two more seasons under team control after this season, making him one of the most desirable trade targets in league history. CBS Sports identified the Cardinals as the team best suited to sign him because of their combination of prospects and young big league players, as well as their financial prospects and their front office’s history of making similar trades.
The Nationals appear to have an incentive to move Soto before the deadline as the franchise is expected to be bought by new owners this offseason. It seems unlikely that the incoming owners will want their first big step to be to swap the face of the franchise.
If and when a Soto trade takes place, it’s worth noting that executives from other teams fully assume veteran left-hander Patrick Corbin is involved as a financial ballast.
4. What about Ohtani?
The Angels have reportedly heard offers for 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 another season but the situation is more complicated. Industry officials who have spoken to CBS Sports have noted that owner Arte Moreno seems less inclined to greenlight a deal and that the Angels are likely to stick with Ohtani and attempt another win in 2023.
It would be reasonable to say that if Ohtani is to be traded, it will likely come this offseason – or maybe next deadline.
5. Who are the other top players out there?
Here are the top five available players based on our ranking that have not yet been traded or mentioned in this article:
- #3 Frankie Montas, RHP, Athletics
- No. 4 Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pirates
- #5 Sean Murphy, C, Athletics
- No. 6 Willson Contreras, C, Cubs
- No. 7 Ian Happ, OF, boys
We’ll note that Reynolds is unlikely to leave and that athletics, likewise, may decide to hold Murphy through winter. The other three – Montas, Contreras and Happ – appear to have a better than 50/50 chance of being transferred by Tuesday night.
6. Will the Yankees move Gallo?
One name you’ll find much lower down our rankings is Joey Gallo, the Yankees outfield who has been struggling since he was taken in a trade last deadline. A forthcoming free agent, Gallo is increasingly a homeless man on New York’s list.
Of course, that combination has fueled speculation that Gallo could be on the way out, with the Padres and Rangers, among others, standing out as potential targets.
Gallo is one of Deadline’s most intriguing players worth watching, if only for the possibility that he could bounce back to his old form with a move from New York.
7. Could Astros act from the deep?
It’s not often that a clear division favorite trades players from the big league squad, but the rumor mill has had the Astros weighing deals that would send 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, the Astros have reportedly received calls from Jose Siri, who has fallen out of his midfield 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 summon the 2021 Deadline magic?
Finally, we note 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 unannounced deals.
Will the Braves be able to perform similar miracles in the coming days?
The Braves will likely be in the market for another racquet, likely right-handed. Likewise, you can count on them to check in on the pitching market, both starters and relievers, as is usual with competitors.
We’ll find out soon enough whether the Braves can position themselves better for a repeat.