The MLB trade deadline is a midsummer ritual of intrigue and desire — fans are intrigued by what their team is going to do, and desirous that they just won’t give up on their season. With the trade deadline so far before the end of the season (even the MLB commissioner thinks it's too early), teams have to decide quickly whether to give up on their seasons and stock up on talent for the next one, or go for broke and try to win it all this year. With that all in mind, here are a few teams who will be buying, selling, or have absolutely no idea what to do.
Kansas City Royals: Buyer
Getting 90 feet from a title is enough to make any team desperate for another shot at it. In an uncharacteristically bold move, the Royals traded for Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, giving the team a legitimate ace to go with its solid hitting. With the best record in the American League, the Royals have bolstered their chances to repeat as league champions. Given their win-now mentality, they might not even be done dealing yet.
Philadelphia Phillies: Seller
This season for the Phillies has been an unmitigated disaster from the start. They can’t hit a lick, and don’t seem to have much of a plan for the future. So the obvious move is to get rid of their best player, who just so happened to pitch a no-hitter over the weekend. Baseball is weird like that, but it makes a lot of sense. Cole Hamels has a fairly large contract that the rebuilding Phillies would be wise to get rid of — in return, they’ll get a nice crop of prospects or young players. There’s no hope for the Phillies over the next three years anyway, so the time to unload Hamels is now.
New York Mets: Buyer
The Mets offense isn’t as hopeless as the city’s tabloids would have you believe. With two more decent bats, the Mets would at least put up enough runs to win games for their outstanding pitching. But the Mets are in a tricky position — management won’t trade any of their young pitchers (nor should they) and their younger players are far too valuable to unload. So instead they're left either trading off aging players no one really wants, or young projects that might yield nothing. Expect the Mets to make one more move before the deadline for someone like the Padres’ Justin Upton. Curtis Granderson, who’s been a disappointment in Queens, might be shipped out in exchange for the consistent Padre, who is much better at driving in runs (and unlike Granderson, doesn't strike out like it's his job).
New York Yankees: Standing Pat
The Yankees' recent hot streak has proven that they’re a serious contender in the American League this season. With a resurgent Mark Teixera and an age-defying Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees have finally gotten their veterans back on track. The front end of their lineup is outstanding and the bullpen remains one of the best in the league. The Achilles heel of this team is the injuries to starting pitching, but for once it appears that every starter will at least make it to the home stretch. Whether they can count on oft-injured players like MasahiroTanaka or Ivan Nova to actually pitch in October is a risk they should be willing to take. With the team finally replenishing its farm system, its far too early to begin pillaging the youth for a long-shot title run.
Detroit Tigers: ?????
The Tigers are unsure of where they go from here as a franchise. It seems like the current core of players who have produced almost a decade of quality baseball have begun to slow down. Justin Verlander is nowhere near his 2011 dominant self, and Miguel Cabrera has been slowed down by injuries. Both David Price and YoenisCespedes would net the Tigers some valuable players, but Tigers management has remained bullish about their chances this season. It’s possible that management is reluctant to return to the bad old days of uninterrupted baseball awfulness in the motor city, but taking a year off and restocking the team wouldn’t be such a bad idea at all. The fans will (probably?) understand.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Buyers
The Dodgers need another starting pitcher badly to back up Zach Grienke and Clayton Kershaw, and might dig into their deep well of power hitters to get it. YasielPuig, the Cuban slugger whose dynamic play has made him a fan-favorite has so much upside that a team like the Phillies or even the Mets (although why on earth would the Dodgers possibly set up a confrontation against an angry Puig in the postseason is beyond me) would be tempted to hand off their ace to the Dodgers. A one-two-three of Kershaw, Grienke and then Hamels would be tough to beat, and in giving up one of their best hitters, the Dodgers might become that much more fearsome.
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