The most unusual MLB trade deadline in the sport’s history is approaching, and we’ve got you covered with all of the trade rumors, reaction and analysis you need as your team ponders its next blockbuster move in a shortened 60-game 2020 season with the standings packed leading up to baseball’s first 16-team playoffs.
Will teams off to strong starts such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics and Chicago Cubs make a splash to help their October chances? Will the disappointing Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels or other struggling clubs go into full sell mode? And what about the teams in the hunt for those final postseason spots thanks to the new postseason format?
Whether you root for a buyer or a seller — or someone in between — you can keep up with all of the latest intel on big trade rumors, track completed trades and see what our experts think of it all from now until the 4 p.m. ET deadline strikes on Aug. 31.
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Latest trade deadline rumors and buzz
Completed trade tracker| Key deadline questions
The latest MLB trade rumors and buzz we’re hearing
Today’s trade chatter
Could the San Francisco Giants actually be buyers? Their walk-off victory over the division-rival Los Angeles Dodgers gave them their seventh consecutive victory and put them only a game below .500. If the season ended on Tuesday night — five and a half days before the trade deadline — they’d be in the postseason as the eighth seed. Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who held back on trading major pieces in a similar situation last year, once again faces a difficult decision.
His phone has probably been ringing off the hook with teams interested in starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, who is a pending free agent. But maybe the return on a rental like that might not be good enough to break this group apart rather than seeing what it can do amid such an unconventional year. Maybe the Giants, with a decent rotation and a fun lineup, actually look to add — particularly to a bullpen that carries a 5.37 ERA. A rival executive wouldn’t rule out anything with them at this point. — Alden Gonzalez
More recent trade chatter
Keep an eye on Tampa Bay: Other teams say the Rays are being very aggressive in conversations, six days away from the trade deadline. — Buster Olney
Mariners emerging as a deadline seller: Execs say the trade talk has increased significantly around MLB on Monday, a week before the deadline. But so far, few actual sellers (Seattle mentioned a lot), and unclear which teams willing to take on $ . “Every dollar is a big deal this year,” said one official. “Every dollar.”
One rival evaluator about the Mariners’ Taijuan Walker — who has a 4.00 ERA in five starts, with eight walks and 25 strikeouts in 27 innings — “He’s going to be traded. No doubt.” — Buster Olney
Atlanta likely on lookout for rotation help: The Braves have the 26th-best rotation ERA in baseball but also a 91% chance to make the playoffs, per FanGraphs. The rotation doesn’t look good to the eye, either, with Mike Soroka and Cole Hamels injured, Felix Hernandez opted-out, and four pitchers optioned due to ineffectiveness: Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Kyle Wright, and Bryse Wilson.
The other three current members of the rotation behind ace Max Fried are two journeyman swingman types in Josh Tomlin and Robbie Erlin and a hot-and-cold young arm in Touki Toussaint. The 35-year-old Tomlin was very good out of the bullpen in eight appearances this year, but has been iffy in his two starts including giving up three homers to the Phillies over three innings.
No rotation is deep enough to lose seven projected contributors, but the Braves are deep enough in young talent that my 49th-ranked prospect in baseball entering the year, RHP Ian Anderson, is at the Alternate Site and is rumored to be an option soon. Since Anderson isn’t on the 40-man roster, the Braves seem hesitant to bring him up until it’s clear he’s the best option.
Indians RHP Mike Clevinger is the best arm expected to be available for trade, but with only one set-in-stone name in their rotation, the Braves will need more than one answer to their rotation question. — Kiley McDaniel
Don’t expect a big splash from the Dodgers this time around. The Dodgers usually go big at the trade deadline. Three years ago, they landed Yu Darvish. Two years ago, it was Manny Machado. Last year, they sought high-end relievers such as Will Smith, Brad Hand and Edwin Diaz but, like every other team, failed to procure any of them.
That prompts the following question: Can the Dodgers land another ace for their rotation this year?
Unlikely, it seems.
It’s unlikely because the circumstances — no minor league season, lots of teams in contention, an ongoing pandemic — make it difficult to envision a complex trade. But it’s also unlikely because Andrew Friedman might feel unmotivated to trade high-end prospects to slightly increase his chances of winning such an unconventional championship.
Walker Buehler looks like his dominant self again, Clayton Kershaw has added two to three ticks to his fastball and young arms such as Dustin May, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin have impressed. Someone like, say, Trevor Bauer would make the Dodgers one of the most talented, deepest teams in baseball history and further mitigate the randomness of a short postseason series. But the aforementioned names are also reasons why the Dodgers don’t need someone like Bauer.
Instead, they’ll probably look to add a third catcher. Maybe they’ll get a right-handed-hitting corner infielder to occasionally help against lefties. Maybe they’ll be opportunistic if a depth piece for their pitching staff becomes available. But it’s been a while since the Dodgers have had such little need before the trade deadline. This will probably be a quiet one for them. — Alden Gonzalez
Who could the Angels deal away? Teams were already calling the Angels about some of their players before the weekend began, but their front office advised other clubs to give them a week or so to see how they fare and decide whether they will be active before the trade deadline.
The Angels, of course, went into the season with hopes of contending, but their pitching hasn’t necessarily cooperated. They got off to the worst 25-game start in franchise history and sit 11 games out of first place after dropping two of three to the Oakland Athletics.
Angels general manager Billy Eppler is on an expiring contract and uncertain if this might be his final few weeks with the organization. Still, if he decides to sell, it would be with the hope of adding arms that would augment the pitching staff in 2021 without having to venture into the free-agent market for cheap stopgaps.
The Angels possess a quartet of appealing infielders, Tommy La Stella, Luis Rengifo, Andrelton Simmons and David Fletcher, though they might want a lot in return in a Fletcher deal. They could move Brian Goodwin, a left-handed-hitting outfielder who has proved capable of filling the strong side of a platoon. They also would love to unload the remainder of Justin Upton’s contract, but that’s probably a stretch. — Alden Gonzalez
Reliever market heating up for National League Central contenders: Like elsewhere around the league, the battle for relievers in the trade market should be intense in the NL Central. And as you might expect, left-handers will be a hot commodity. Annually, the Cubs are always looking for someone to get out lefties, and they’ve already openly stated they’re doing the same this year. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers — even with Josh Hader — could be looking for the same, while the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen also has struggled. The St. Louis Cardinals are the only contender in the division who might not add anything on the mound. — Jesse Rogers
Completed trade tracker
Phillies land pair of relievers in deal with Red Sox
The Philadelphia Phillies got an early jump on the trade deadline, moving to fortify their ineffective bullpen by acquiring relievers Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman and cash considerations from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for right-handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold.
Key questions and team needs
From the names you are hearing about to some you haven’t yet, here’s what could really go down between now and Aug. 31. Jeff Passan’s MLB trade deadline preview
Schoenfield: Five questions that will define this trade deadline.
MLB experts predict: Answering the biggest trade deadline questions
Doolittle: Position-by-position look at teams with holes to fill — and who might be available
Olney: Variables contenders must consider at unusual deadline