What every team SHOULD do at the Deadline

Detroit Tigers

Teams are ramping up to make moves as Tuesday’s Trade Deadline approaches. Blockbuster deals, sure to remake the playoff race, will be made. Nearly every clubhouse will have new faces or say goodbye to others. But what should each team do before the Deadline? With the help of each MLB.com beat writer, here’s a look:

Blue Jays: Push in for 2022 and beyond
The Blue Jays are in the sweet spot as an organization, but that doesn’t last forever. Their young core has developed into stars, paired with big-name (and big-money) additions like George Springer, José Berríos and Kevin Gausman. This is the spot that rebuilding clubs aim for, but often fall short of. Now comes the difficult part, as the Blue Jays try to go from good to great, getting over that final hump and competing deep into the postseason. It’s important to appreciate the rarity of this window as the Trade Deadline approaches. The Blue Jays have a unique opportunity to strike while Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Alek Manoah and Alejandro Kirk are still young and affordable. It’s time to be aggressive and swing big, especially if there’s a deal like last summer’s Berríos acquisition to be had, where team control can be added beyond just this summer. — Keegan Matheson

Orioles: Trade away the farm … for the future
The primary goal of the Orioles’ rebuild has been to form a sustainable pipeline of talent. The secondary benefit is having trade candidates for when the time is ready to add directly to the big league club. Now appears to be the time, as they flirt with both a .500 record and a Wild Card spot. Where to add? After Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall, the Orioles’ farm is vacant of high-ceiling pitching talent. It would behoove the organization to add a younger, controllable starting pitcher a la Pablo López of the Marlins or maybe even Luis Castillo of the Reds, someone who can remain an Oriole for the next several seasons. Nearly every trade executed under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias has consisted of selling big league talent. Soon that MO will be flipped to adding. Why not start now? — Joe Trezza

Rays: Add offense and bullpen help, but mostly get healthy
It’s a time-honored cliche for executives to say this time of year that players returning from the injured list will be like Trade Deadline acquisitions, but in the Rays’ case, it could be true. Mike Zunino and Kevin Kiermaier aren’t coming back this season, but they’re expected to get star shortstop Wander Franco, hot-hitting Harold Ramírez and veteran outfielder Manuel Margot back late in the season. They should have a bunch of pitching on the way back, too, including key arms like Nick Anderson, JT Chargois, J.P. Feyereisen and possibly — but not likely — Tyler Glasnow. Those players would go a long way toward improving Tampa Bay’s roster, but there is clearly still room for the Rays to add an impact bat (Josh Bell?) and some additional pitching depth (a reunion with David Robertson, perhaps?) to keep them near the top of the competitive AL Wild Card race. — Adam Berry

Red Sox: Explore trades for everyone but Bogaerts, Devers
The Red Sox have a lot of free agents coming off the books this offseason. From J.D. Martinez to Nathan Eovaldi to Christian Vázquez to Kiké Hernández to Rich Hill to Michael Wacha, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has proven veterans to dangle to the many buyers that are out there. This isn’t to say Bloom should go into full sell mode if he thinks his team can make a run once the roster gets healthier. But he could find some enticing prospects or young, controllable players available in exchange for some of his chips. What Bloom certainly won’t do is trade Rafael Devers, a potential franchise player who is a free agent at the end of the 2023 season. It’s also doubtful he risks the alienation of the clubhouse and the fan base by dealing Xander Bogaerts, a cornerstone leader who has an opt-out from the final three years of his contract at the end of this season. The best direction for the Red Sox to go in is to build around Devers and Bogaerts in the coming years. — Ian Browne

Yankees: Trade for Luis Castillo
Castillo made a convincing statement for both the Yankees and their competition on July 14, when the fireballing Reds right-hander held the Bombers to a run on two hits over seven innings, striking out eight. If nothing else, Castillo proved that he would not wilt under Yankee Stadium’s bright lights — to the contrary, many believe he’d thrive in that setting. Of course Juan Soto would make the Yankees better, but pitching has to be the priority. With Luis Severino injured and Nestor Cortes on an innings watch, the Yankees could pair Castillo with Gerrit Cole as a one-two punch to help win a postseason series — especially one against the Astros, where Castillo could be a difference-maker for a club that has lost five of seven to Houston. — Bryan Hoch

Guardians: Trade at least one middle infielder
The Guardians have a log jam in the middle of their infield. With Amed Rosario, Andrés Giménez, Ernie Clement and Owen Miller (who’s now playing mostly first base) all on the big league roster and Gabriel Arías, Tyler Freeman and Brayan Rocchio not far away from being Major League ready, Cleveland will soon have difficulty (if it hasn’t already) finding everyone homes. Rosario is the easiest answer to trade away before the Deadline, and that move could be packaged with a prospect to try to bring back a bigger return with young, controllable Major League ready (or close to it) talent. The team is always looking for bats and a catcher who can provide some offensive production would be ideal. — Mandy Bell

Royals: Trade as many veterans to build for the future
The Royals got started on Wednesday by sending Andrew Benintendi, who will be a free agent at the end of 2022, to the Yankees for three Minor Leaguers. But it’s unlikely that’s the only move the Royals make in the next week, nor should it be, with teams calling to check in on utilityman Whit Merrifield, center fielder Michael A. Taylor, reliever Josh Staumont and more. While the Royals might not be as inclined to trade pitchers like Brad Keller or Scott Barlow because of their value toward the future, they should be willing to at least discuss Merrifield and Taylor. The Royals would get prospects for those hitters, ideally some that fit in the window of contention in the next couple of years for Kansas City, and it would open space on the Major League roster for hitters who are ready at the Triple-A level. — Anne Rogers

Tigers: Trade relievers, but hold onto Skubal
Michael Fulmer is a soon-to-be free agent with two seasons as a quality starter. Andrew Chafin is a valued lefty who can opt out of his contract at season’s end. Joe Jiménez has the kind of Statcast metrics that many front offices value, especially in the bullpen, and one more year of team control. The Tigers are deep in young relievers and should have more on the way. This shouldn’t be complicated. Trading closer Gregory Soto could be tougher, since he has three years of control left, but the Tigers have set a high price tag on him as a result. On the flip side, thanks in part to injuries, Detroit doesn’t have a front-line starter beyond Tarik Skubal, which makes his trade speculation exceedingly difficult. Even if a Skubal trade could net the Tigers enough quality young hitters to field a contender, they’d be missing the kind of ace who can beat good teams in October. — Jason Beck

Twins: Trade for an impact, controllable starting pitcher and at least two relievers
At a bare minimum, the Twins need relief help. They’ve leaned very heavily on youngsters Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax in close games, and considering the plethora of reasonably priced relief help available at any Trade Deadline, that’s the clearest way to make this team better. But if the Twins are serious about taking advantage of Carlos Correa’s presence this season (and they should be, in a winnable division), they need a third starter to pair with Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray in a possible playoff rotation. It’s tough for a team like the Twins to dish prospect capital for a rental starter, but they’ve made moves for controllable starters before, and given the youth in their offense, anyone who could still help next season – and possibly beyond – would neatly fit into their window. — Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox: Add left-handed reliever Matt Moore
The White Sox already have a top-notch bullpen in place with closer Liam Hendriks, Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly and Reynaldo López behind a steady starting rotation. Aaron Bummer would be that prime southpaw setup hurler, and he recently talked about targeting a September return from his current injured list trip, but Moore, 33, has a 1.74 ERA over 34 appearances for Texas and brings some playoff experience as well. Moore also has held left-handed hitters to a .584 OPS and right-handed hitters to a .535 OPS and .171 batting average. The truth is the White Sox have a fairly complete roster when healthy and don’t have a lot of open spots. — Scott Merkin

Angels: Sell with intent on competing in 2023
The Angels looked like playoff contenders through mid-May but things have completely unraveled since then, so they should be sellers at the Trade Deadline. The Angels should look to trade players on short-term deals, with Noah Syndergaard as their best trade chip. Syndergaard is going to be a free agent after the season and would bring back some young talent to help them compete in the future. It’s hard to imagine the Angels looking to trade a star such as Shohei Ohtani or Mike Trout, so they need to find ways to add more talent around them heading into next year. Ohtani is notably a free agent after next season. — Rhett Bollinger

Astros: Trade for Josh Bell, Andrew Chafin and a catcher
The Astros desperately need a bat, considering they’re getting poor production at first base, center field and left field, where Michael Brantley is injured. Bell would fit nicely into the lineup with the ability to play first base and even left field. Houston also needs a left-handed reliever and should target Chafin, who’s been solid for the Tigers. Finally, with Jason Castro hurt, another catcher is needed to pair with veteran Martín Maldonado. Go for it, Astros. — Brian McTaggart

Athletics: Keep stockpiling the top prospects
Between trading away a handful of stars during Spring Training and adding a pair of touted prospects in the 2022 MLB Draft, the A’s have significantly improved their farm system over the past six months. Though they’ve come out of the All-Star break playing better with a chance at their first winning month of the season, Oakland remains firmly in last place in the American League West and should look to maximize its return on attractive trade pieces such as rotation ace Frankie Montas, dominant left-handed reliever Sam Moll and super-utility man Chad Pinder for players who would be ready to make an impact at the end of this rebuild in a couple of years. — Martín Gallegos

Mariners: Go get an impact starting pitcher
Seattle’s rotation has been the club’s stabilizer all season, during the lows of a 10-win May to the highs of a 14-game win streak leading into the All-Star break. Yet far more remarkable than their consistency has been their health, and with virtually no depth behind their current contingent — Robbie Ray, Logan Gilbert, Marco Gonzales, Chris Flexen and George Kirby — it would behoove them to add some insurance. Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has even suggested as much. Kirby, and to a lesser extent, Gilbert, will also have workloads closely monitored because they’re so young. The club was aggressively going after Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo leading into Spring Training, and that interest hasn’t faded. — Daniel Kramer

Rangers: Trade for a young, controllable starter
Anybody who has watched a Rangers game this season knows that the rotation has turned into Martín Pérez, Jon Gray and an assortment of young starters scrapping for the last three spots in the rotation. Dane Dunning has been serviceable, but Taylor Hearn, Glenn Otto and Spencer Howard have all spent time at Triple-A Round Rock, and Hearn has been all but officially demoted back to the bullpen. The front office has consistently insisted that the true window for contention opens in 2023 and beyond, so pitching will need to be at the forefront of any moves made in the next week. Think Frankie Montas, Luis Castillo (isn’t everybody thinking of him), Pablo López or even DFW-native Noah Syndergaard if the Angels make him available. — Kennedi Landry

Braves: Add an arm
Spencer Strider is a top Rookie of the Year candidate, but he could fade while approaching the end of what is just his second professional season. Ian Anderson has struggled to extend the success he had the past two years. So, while the Braves could use an outfielder, the greater need seems to be adding a starting pitcher to provide insurance for Anderson and Strider. The defending World Series champs don’t have a lot of prospect capital. But they should still use at least two of their starting pitching prospects to attempt to land Tyler Mahle or another proven innings eater capable of solidifying the rotation down the stretch. — Mark Bowman

Marlins: Make trades that bring back difference-making bats
Fading in the NL Wild Card race, Miami has coveted pieces that could net impactful returns and still allow the club to compete in 2023. The Marlins felt they upgraded the lineup over the offseason, but a combination of injuries and underperformance has instead led to inconsistency. In order to receive quality, you must give quality. Miami needs to take advantage of its surplus of controllable arms in order to improve the offense. Pitchers like Pablo López and Anthony Bass could do so. — Christina De Nicola

Mets: Get Juan Soto (or somebody like him)
It’s a long-shot that the Mets will actually land Soto, Shohei Ohtani or any of the other uber-stars who could conceivably switch teams before the Deadline. So what? The Mets should still try their hardest, understanding the value of building their franchise around multiple superstars. The team has a goal of making its farm system sustainable, but with proper leadership, that will happen in time regardless. Landing Soto, by contrast, is a once-in-a-generation type opportunity. — Anthony DiComo

Nationals: Don’t rush on Soto
The Nationals are at the center of the Trade Deadline world as they listen to offers for Juan Soto, who turned down a 15-year, $440 million extension. But with Soto under contract through the 2024 season, the Nats do not have to strike an extension this season — nor does the 23-year-old have to agree to one. The question mark in this situation is bigger than years and dollars with a possible change in ownership on the horizon. Could the Nationals yield multiple prospects in return for the slugger? Yes. But is there a chance Soto still could agree to a deal to remain in Washington? Yes. The Nationals could use this Trade Deadline as an opportunity to get a sense of the market, but there is no need to rush into a trade with two-plus years left on Soto’s contract. In the meantime, there are multiple players with expiring contracts (like Josh Bell) who could garner prospects in return, as they did last season. — Jessica Camerato

Phillies: Find Eflin’s replacement
The Phillies have had one of the best rotations in baseball with Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola leading the way. But Zach Eflin has not pitched since June 25 because of an injured right knee, and there is no timetable for his return. The Phillies keep saying they expect Eflin to pitch again at some point, but there is enough uncertainty surrounding his return that they need to acquire another veteran starting pitcher. “I don’t think from my perspective I can just say we’re going to wait for that to happen,” Dave Dombrowski said about Eflin’s return. “I don’t think we can just sit here and wait to see what takes place.” — Todd Zolecki

Brewers: Get Bryan Reynolds, Ramón Laureano or Michael A. Taylor
Milwaukee’s hitters met before the start of the second half to talk about being better after the break, and give them credit, that’s just what they have done while winning five of six against the Rockies and Twins. But looking at the season as a whole, this seems like a contender in need of a bat or two, and center field is the cleanest space to find playing time since Lorenzo Cain was cut loose and neither Tyrone Taylor nor Jonathan Davis has hit enough to claim a primary role. The Pirates’ Reynolds (121 wRC+ entering Wednesday), A’s Laureano (108 wRC+) and Royals’ Taylor (118 wRC+) would all represent upgrades, with Reynolds the clear best option because of his production, the fact he’s a switch-hitter and that he is under contract through next season. For all of those reasons, plus the fact that he plays within the division, it would be a tough get. But the Brewers’ window to win a World Series on the strength of their elite pitching won’t be open forever. — Adam McCalvy

Cardinals: Ignore lure of Juan Soto and focus on restocking the starting staff
While Cardinals fans would be incredibly excited about landing Soto, St. Louis actually has much bigger needs. Even if the Cardinals did acquire a generational talent such as Soto, they still might not be true championship contenders because of the many holes in their pitching staff. St. Louis thought its staff was about to be somewhat whole again with the returns of Steven Matz and Dakota Hudson. However, Matz proceeded to tear the MCL in his left knee in his first start back after missing more than two months with shoulder discomfort. The Cardinals are hopeful Jack Flaherty can return, but that is far from a certainty considering the shoulder trouble he’s experienced. So, again, the Cardinals actually need starting pitching behind Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas more than they do another slugger. Luis Castillo would be a nice addition, but the odds are slim that an NL Central foe would be willing to help the Cardinals. Adding Pablo López or Frankie Montas would be ideal, but they might have to settle for Noah Syndergaard or another castoff. Jon Lester and J.A. Happ did wonders for them last season. Finding that sort of steadiness would greatly help the Cardinals. — John Denton

Cubs: Keep one of Contreras or Happ
All-Stars Willson Contreras and Ian Happ are both drawing interest on the trade market, and understandably so. Like the core group that was dealt away last year, Contreras is on the cusp of free agency. Happ still has another year of control, but the Cubs could sell high as he’s in the midst of a career year. If the Cubs really want to shorten the length of this rebuild, keeping one of them in the fold makes a lot of sense. With the arrival of the DH, Contreras has been able to thrive offensively, and he has embraced a leadership role. Happ, while he wasn’t a part of the 2016 World Series team, has been a part of past playoff teams, grew as a big leaguer with the last core and is still just 27 years old. By the time the Cubs are true contenders again, either player could provide a valuable, veteran link between the last playoff teams and the ones that are a few years away. — Jordan Bastian

Pirates: Sell the veterans, hold onto Reynolds
The Pirates, as currently constructed, aren’t ready to compete. They’re about two years away from having legitimate aspirations of contending as their youth makes its way through the farm system. That said, the current iteration of the team has several players who could assist a contender: José Quintana, Ben Gamel, Kevin Newman, among others. They’ve already traded Daniel Vogelbach for Colin Holderman, a standout rookie reliever who has several years of control. Instead of the splashy deal à la Joe Musgrove, the Pirates should attempt to keep adding as much young talent as possible. That said, keep Bryan Reynolds. The Pirates are still addressing question marks up and down the roster. The center-field box is already checked off, and it should remain that way. Justice delos Santos

Reds: Trade as many players as possible
It’s already been a painful season for Cincinnati, a club that could be headed for 100 losses for only the second time in franchise history. Although they have played near .500 baseball since a 3-22 start, the Reds need to go all-in towards completing the payroll-cutting fire sale they started in the offseason and continued upon the opening of Spring Training. Besides trying to get the most in a return for rotation ace Luis Castillo, starter Tyler Mahle and breakout slugger Brandon Drury, the front office could go further by unloading outfielders Tommy Pham and Tyler Naquin, shortstop Kyle Farmer, infielder Donovan Solano and even struggling corner infielder Mike Moustakas – if there’s a taker. None of these players will likely be around anyway when the team is ready to contend again, and the organization really needs impact hitters at the Double-A and Triple-A level who could be in the big leagues soon and help keep a window of contention open for a longer period. — Mark Sheldon

D-backs: Make room for the younger players
The rest of the 2022 season should be about giving some of the team’s better prospects some experience as the D-backs sort out who will be part of their next playoff team. With that in mind, they should consider dealing veteran outfielder David Peralta, setup man Ian Kennedy and starter Zach Davies. Peralta is the longest-tenured D-back and a fan favorite, but with outfielders Alek Thomas, Daulton Varsho and Jake McCarthy already in the big leagues, Arizona needs to find at-bats for them. And at some point in the next two months, top prospect, outfielder Corbin Carroll, also figures to make his big league debut. Kennedy and Davies are both veterans on one-year deals with options for next year, so if the D-backs could get something back for them and free up innings for some of the organization’s younger prospects, that would also be a good thing. — Steve Gilbert

Dodgers: Trade for Juan Soto
The Dodgers are arguably the best team in the National League. They don’t have many holes on the roster. Because of that, the only way for them to significantly improve might be to acquire a star player. Juan Soto certainly fits that description. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has been hesitant to trade away the farm in the past, but he’s also shown the willingness to trade for superstar players when they become available. A package for Soto would likely start with Bobby Miller and Diego Cartaya, the top two prospects in the organization. Getting Soto won’t come cheap. But can you imagine a lineup that features Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman and Soto? How do you beat that? — Juan Toribio

Giants: Trade Carlos Rodón
The Giants have endured a disastrous start to the second half, dropping seven in a row to slip under .500 for the first time since the first week of the 2021 season. They’re still technically in the mix for the third National League Wild Card spot, but they’re a deeply flawed team that has done little to inspire confidence that they deserve to be bolstered at the Trade Deadline. Rodón would be the Giants’ biggest trade chip if they decide to sell, and they could be more open to moving him now that he’s earned the right to opt out at the end of the year. — Maria Guardado

Padres: Do it. Trade the farm for Juan Soto
The Padres aren’t the only suitors for Soto. Every team in baseball could use the services of one of the best sluggers of this generation. But the Padres might just have the perfect blend of young talent and organizational urgency to make a move. And, sure, the cost will be steep. The Nationals will rightly ask for MacKenzie Gore or C.J. Abrams — or both — along with two or three very high-upside young prospects. But the Padres’ window is right now. They’ve got the pitching staff. They’ve got the elite pieces to put around Soto, namely Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. But they also currently have one very glaring deficiency – a serious lack of power from their outfield. Soto would obviously change that in a BIG way. And president of baseball operations A.J. Preller knows how to make a splash. — AJ Cassavell

Rockies: Cash in trade chips and restock upper levels of the farm system
Only three of the Rockies’ top 30 prospects per MLB Pipeline are above the Double-A level, which is part of the reason the organization’s farm system is ranked among the bottom 10 in baseball. Meanwhile, the Major League club is nine games under .500. The outlook for Colorado remains dim in a division featuring the Dodgers and Padres, and the Rockies have two attractive trade chips in C.J. Cron (.878 OPS, 22 HRs) and Daniel Bard (1.91 ERA, 21 saves). Time to cash in those chips for some upper-level Minor League prospects. — Manny Randhawa

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