There are many questions to answer ahead of the MLB trade deadline. Like who are the top players available? And which teams are going to be aggressive? We try to sort it all out.

With about a month to go before the MLB trade deadline, the majority of organizations are still trying to sort out whether they’ll be buyers, sellers, or spectators.

Who are the top players likely to be available? And which teams are going to fall into which categories? One thing is going to be for certain: It’ll be a sellers’ market.

We have sorted teams in five categories depending on their potential intentions/strategy but first, let’s check on who might be moving ahead of the deadline. We’ve ranked them by raw value (RV+) examines how a hitter performs (discipline, contact, damage done upon contact) throughout each pitch of an at-bat rather than just the end result.

Raw value- (RV-) does the same from a pitcher’s perspective. The league average is 100, with the higher score, the better for hitters and the lower, the better for pitchers.

Position Players

  • 153 (RV+) – 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
  • 142 – OF Taylor Ward
  • 132 – IF Ryan McMahon
  • 129 –3B Yandy Díaz
  • 119 – DH/OF Brent Rooker
  • 116 – 1B Pete Alonso
  • 114 – OF Luis Robert Jr.
  • 111 – 2B Brandon Lowe
  • 104 – OF Jazz Chisholm Jr.
  • 101 – OF Randy Arozarena
  • 97 – SS Bo Bichette
  • 95 – OF George Springer
  • 76 – IF Luis Rengifo


  • 16 (RV-) – RP Mason Miller
  • 50 – SP Garrett Crochet
  • 71 – SP Jack Flaherty
  • 83 – RP Tanner Scott
  • 86 – RP Carlos Estevez
  • 88 – RP Michael Kopech
  • 101 – RP Shawn Armstrong
  • 107 – SP Tyler Anderson
  • 108 – RP Lucas Sims
  • 117 – RP Jalen Beeks
  • 120 – SP Jesus Luzardo

The Buyers

The New York Yankees should be among the most active clubs because they have a shot at the World Series but also have some glaring holes. They have an elite offense with Aaron Judge (29 home runs) and Juan Soto (19) doing the heavy lifting and lead the majors in offensive RV+.

New York, however, does have some problematic areas in the infield (with Anthony Rizzo on the injured list and Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu both underperforming) as well as the bullpen (25th in MLB in RV-). They probably won’t pursue Guerrero Jr. should the three-time All-Star become available, but versatile infielders like Rengifo, McMahon and Brendan Donovan (this one is highly unlikely with the Cardinals in the race) could be options.

worst bullpen

It’s also easy to see them targeting underrated types like Cal Quantrill, Tanner Scott or Lucas Sims to provide quality innings out of the pen. Big, expensive acquisitions are unlikely with Soto’s upcoming free agency looming large.

The Baltimore Orioles rank 10th in rotation RV-, but injuries to John Means, Kyle Bradish and Tyler Wells have severely diminished depth and starting pitching help is a must before the deadline. The Orioles are actually one of the teams that has the luxury of trading for Luzardo and patiently waiting for him to get healthy in August.

Other potential pitching targets include Crochet (who leads MLB in RV-), Flaherty and Anderson. Oh, and if the A’s end up trading Miller (MLB-best 195 whiff+ among those who have faced at least 100 batters), the O’s are one of the few squads with enough prospect ammunition to get something done.

The Boston Red Sox have been surprisingly competitive and sit six games above .500 heading into Wednesday’s action. We know they probably won’t sell, but they might not be as aggressive as some would expect them to be.

Wilyer Abreu has returned and Triston Casas is not far behind to support the formidable slugging duo of Tyler O’Neill and Rafael Devers. David Hamilton might be playing a bit over his head, but getting an upgrade doesn’t seem necessary. The team also appears comfortable showing faith in Ceddanne Rafaela to be a center fielder/shortstop tweener and Jarren Duran has blossomed into a reliable starter in the outfield.

Boston’s bullpen has been elite, ranking fourth in RV-. What the Red Sox could target is an impact starter, and they have been linked with Anderson since they are said to prefer a lefty. Crochet would also be a perfect fit. What they should target is a DH-type, preferably a right-handed batter, who can compete with Masataka Yoshida (below-average 74 RV+).

The Cleveland Guardians are enjoying their best start in recent memory and own a 9.0-game lead in the AL Central. Their offense has many top performers, most notably Jose Ramirez, Josh Naylor and contact-king Steven Kwan; and they have the best bullpen (73.6 RV-) in baseball.

They need to do something about that rotation, though. The unit has the third-worst RV- (120.1) in MLB, and lost too much with Shane Bieber’s injury. Gavin Williams should be back soon, but they need an ace or at least a reliable top-end starter.

worst rotations

The Minnesota Twins won 10 of 15 entering play on Wednesday with Royce Lewis now healthy and mashing and Carlos Correa rediscovering his best form. They do need some reinforcements, though: a good hitter, a backend starter and bullpen help.

Maybe they think prospect Brooks Lee is that hitter and Minnesota will promote him soon, but in-house pitching solutions get a bit tricky and might warrant a trade. The club doesn’t need Crochet, but Flaherty or an Austin Gomber-type might do.

The Seattle Mariners rotation is 13th in baseball and their bullpen is third, but their offense is middle-of-the-pack at 15th. They’re probably one major piece or two away from becoming World Series contenders, but what they need the most is patience. Julio Rodriguez, Cal Raleigh, Jorge Polanco, Mitch Garver and others are vastly underperforming their expected stats. If Seattle is patient enough to wait, it might reap the benefits of their top hitters coming around.

Of course, adding a big bat like Robert, Alonso or Rooker; or a top-end reliever would increase the Mariners’ ceiling considerably. A position to upgrade could be first base, where Ty France (.718 OPS in 2024, .703 in 2023) has been underwhelming for a while.

This seems to be the year of the Philadelphia Phillies. Truth be told, they don’t have many holes: per raw value, they have a top-10 rotation (it’s the best in the league), bullpen (seventh) and offense (eighth). However, there is definitely work to be done.

With Kyle Schwarber having settled in as the DH and Bryce Harper firmly entrenched at first base, the outfield could really use some help. Bringing in Robert would make Philadelphia very, very dangerous. While Brandon Marsh is a quality left fielder and Nick Castellanos has come around, David Dahl isn’t the most consistent hitter and Whit Merrifield is well past his prime. Additionally, a back-end starter to complement a brilliant rotation and some bullpen help are expected moves at this point, particularly the latter.

The Atlanta Braves certainly aren’t the same offensively this season. They’re still seventh in the majors per RV+ but are trending in the wrong direction after losing Ronald Acuna Jr. Max Fried (eighth in RV-), Reynaldo Lopez and Chris Sale (second) have carried Atlanta to fourth in starters RV- without Spencer Strider.

The available outfield options, however, leave something to be desired: Jarred Kelenic, Forrest Wall, Adam Duvall and Ramón Laureano. Of course, Robert would be fantastic for this team, but if he isn’t the guy (he likely won’t, given how the team operates around the deadline), there are other outfielders available: Ward, Rooker, possibly Randy Arozarena, and more.

The Milwaukee Brewers won’t go out and acquire Robert, Miller and Luzardo. That’s not how they do things. With that being said, they should be aggressive in reinforcing their decimated rotation, one that currently has the likes of Bryse Wilson, Colin Rea and Tobias Myers. All of them, however, have a better ERA than ace Freddy Peralta (4.03).

The lack of depth and length (Milwaukee starters usually don’t go very deep into games) might force the Brewers to bring in not one, but two starting pitchers. (They started 36-year-old Dallas Keuchel on Wednesday.) Otherwise, they’re in very good shape.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are elite. With that said, they could use improvements all over the diamond: middle infield, where Miguel Rojas and Gavin Lux are starters; the outfield or even third base, where Cavan Biggio and Kike Hernandez are sharing time. Jazz Chisholm Jr.’s versatility and athleticism would fit in nicely in this lineup.

The Dodgers rank seventh in starters RV- and 13th in bullpen RV-. Recent reports suggest that LA is interested in trading for Scott from the Marlins and Crochet from the White Sox, and both acquisitions would make sense.

Leaning Toward Buying

Truth be told, chances are that the Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres will end up making win-now moves of some sort. Most of them are close enough to its division leader or are in the wild-card race, so they have every motivation to go for the postseason.

Though their pitching staff has been decimated by injury, the Astros appear to be making their push with seven straight wins. The defending World Series champion Rangers are getting healthier.

All the NL Central teams in this group (yes, even the Pirates), have the foundation to compete and could decide to add. Should they decide to do so, the Reds, Pirates, Cubs and Cardinals should probably boost offenses that rank in the bottom 10.

worst offenses

You really don’t need to talk to AJ Preller and the Padres about aggressiveness. And it’s hard to image the D-backs selling after they made a late run all the way to the 2023 National League pennant. They’re 39-40 heading into Wednesday. They were 57-59 on Aug. 11 of last season.

The Sellers

The Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies are among the worst teams in MLB. And all will entertain offers for their biggest stars.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Robert, Miller, Ward (or Mike Trout?), Chisholm, McMahon, Quantrill and others will be wearing a different uniform on July 31, but the likelihood is high in most cases.

All these teams are better off embracing a full rebuild: some of them are currently in that phase, like the White Sox. Others, such as the Angels, continue to resist the idea.

Leaning Toward Selling

Right now, trying to predict what the Tampa Bay Rays will do at the deadline is impossible, because they don’t even know it themselves. They’re 40-41 with multiple weeks still to go until July 30.

If they become buyers, they could definitely use rotation upgrades. The outfield is also an area of need, and it wouldn’t hurt to add a quality shortstop, too, since Taylor Walls clearly isn’t the answer there. If, on the other hand, Tampa decides to sell (and a minus-56 run differential suggests it should), the Rays could look to cash in on Zach Eflin or Arozarena.

The Toronto Blue Jays present another fascinating deadline case. They always want to contend for a playoff spot, but they usually come up empty for a variety of reasons. With a 36-43 record entering Wednesday, they are 15.0 games out of first place in the AL East and 6.5 games out of the last wild-card berth in the American League.

If they don’t show something in the upcoming weeks, it might be best for everyone involved if they take advantage of a sellers’ market. Players such as Guerrero, Bichette, George Springer and Chris Bassitt (who would enrich the pitching pool considerably) could be up for grabs.

The Detroit Tigers aren’t good enough to contend without major additions, so they could entertain a “soft sale” and get rid of veterans or players close to free agency to get some prospects in return.

Leaning Toward Standing Pat

The Kansas City Royals, Washington Nationals, New York Mets and San Francisco Giants are probably still a year away. The surprising Royals, Nats and Mets are probably OK with that. The Giants, however, are most likely not, which could lead them to becoming buyer.

The Mets are hot, but don’t expect many, if any, win-now moves. If they start losing ahead of the deadline, it’s easy to see them trading away the free-agent-to-be Alonso.

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