Another week has passed, bringing us one week closer to July. That means #TradeSzn will be here before we know it.
There were a ton of great questions this week, so I tried to get to as many as I could. Keep ‘em coming! You can send them to me on Twitter @feinsand, then check back each Friday for our latest Trade Deadline Inbox.
In the words of the Black Eyed Peas, let’s get it started.
Will the Blue Jays do a repeat of the 2015 Trade Deadline?
Toronto was one of the most active teams at the Deadline in 2015, though in going back over its transaction log from that summer, I had forgotten that the club added Phil Coke, Joba Chamberlain and Ronald Torreyes in May and June, which delighted this former Yankees beat writer.
(The Jays also made a small move on July 2 that year, signing a kid named Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as an international free agent. That might turn out to be a good move, eh?)
As for the actual Deadline that summer, the Blue Jays were lingering around the .500 mark when they acquired Troy Tulowitzki and David Price in the final days of July, bolstering their roster that would go on to lead the franchise to its first postseason appearance since 1993.
Could Toronto do something similar this summer? It remains to be seen which frontline starters could be available, but in terms of reputation and pedigree, a trade for Max Scherzer would be a solid comp for the Price deal. Price went 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts for the Blue Jays down the stretch that season, helping Toronto topple the Yankees in the AL East.
A move for a starter (or two) seems realistic, but given the core of position players currently in Toronto, I don’t see them adding a big-time position player the way they did with Tulo back in 2015. Then again, George Springer has had a total of 18 plate appearances this season, so his return should have the same impact as adding a big bat to the lineup via trade.
Should the A’s go all-in? Are there big deals like 2014?
Much like the Blue Jays did in 2015, the Athletics went for it the year before, acquiring Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija among others in July. (They also added Adam Dunn in a separate deal on Aug. 31, back when August trades were still a thing.)
Oakland was in first place in the AL West at the time, though the A’s would wind up finishing second, earning a Wild Card spot before losing to the Royals in the win-or-go-home playoff game.
Billy Beane and David Forst have never been shy to go for it when they believe their club has a chance to make a run, so it would not surprise me to see Oakland become one of the more active players at this year’s Deadline.
As I’ve mentioned in this space before, Trevor Story is the perfect fit for the A’s, who have received virtually nothing from Elvis Andrus at shortstop this season. Oakland has the No. 26-ranked farm system according to MLB Pipeline, and although there are a handful of well-regarded prospects such as Tyler Soderstrom (the A’s No. 1 prospect), Nick Allen (No. 3) and Robert Puason (No. 6), it would be surprising to see them dealt for short-term rentals. But as we’ve seen in recent years, the cost for a two- or three-month rental position player such as Story doesn’t typically include top-tier prospects.
Would the Yankees shop around DJ LeMahieu and other pieces they think aren’t the future of this team?
Given that the Yankees just signed LeMahieu to a six-year contract, I have to think that he’s a player they consider to be part of the team’s future.
LeMahieu aside, I could see general manager Brian Cashman getting creative if the season looks like it’s slipping away from the Yankees’ grasp. Remember 2016? New York dealt Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltrán before the Deadline, bringing back a haul of prospects including Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield and Dillon Tate.
New York doesn’t have any expiring contracts other than Corey Kluber, Brett Gardner and Justin Wilson, but might Cashman try trading players with a year or two of club control remaining? Remember, although Chapman and Beltrán were impending free agents, Miller had two-plus years left on his contract when the Yankees traded him to Cleveland.
What about trading Luke Voit? LeMahieu could move to first base, opening second base for Torres and shortstop for one of the big free agents this offseason. Voit is arbitration-eligible for three more years and would seemingly have value to power-deficient clubs.
Or Miguel Andújar, perhaps? He doesn’t seem to have a full-time spot on the Yankees’ roster, but with all three years of arbitration ahead of him, he could be appealing to other teams.
How do the Padres fix the offense?
I must admit, I did a double-take when I first read this question. San Diego entered Thursday tied for fourth in the National League in runs scored, just nine runs out of second place and 39 behind the NL-leading Dodgers (which is a difference of about a half-run per game).
Do you genuinely think the Orioles would move Trey Mancini?
The Orioles have been a hot topic this week, so I figured I’d grab these two questions and put them together.
Mancini has been one of the great stories of 2021, returning from colon cancer to post a superb first half. And while he’s certainly a fan favorite in Baltimore, Mancini’s season has put general manager Mike Elias in a position to capitalize on that success — no matter how unpopular it might be with some fans.
Mancini is affordable this season ($4.75 million) and is arbitration-eligible for the third and final time in 2022, so an acquiring team would view the 29-year-old as more than just a two- or three-month rental. His ability to play first base and both corner-outfield spots should make him attractive to some clubs, as will his reputation as a great clubhouse guy.
As for Means and Mullins, they pose a far different scenario for Elias and the Orioles. Means will be entering the first of three arbitration years after this season, and Mullins won’t begin his arbitration process until the end of the 2022 season.
Controllable players are the foundation for which rebuilding teams can build upon, and so as long as the front office believes these two guys are the real deal, there’s no reason either of them should be dealt this summer. If, however, Baltimore believes that either Means or Mullins is playing above their head, perhaps they could try to sell high and cash in on the early-season success.
Any chance since the Braves keep sliding that Freddie Freeman will be available?
As we sit here Thursday, Atlanta is 29-31, just four games behind the Mets in the NL East. I believe it would take a monstrous slide for the Braves to consider moving the reigning NL MVP, and even a disastrous month probably wouldn’t cause general manager Alex Anthopoulos to trade Freeman.
Now before some of you start yelling at me for having a double standard when it comes to Freeman and Scherzer, I think these two cases are vastly different.
Scherzer is a soon-to-be 37-year-old headed for free agency, playing for the third team of his Hall of Fame career. Freeman is a 31-year-old who has played his entire career with the Braves, who presumably want to lock him up with a new deal to keep him in Atlanta for the remainder of his career.
Pitchers are always in higher demand than position players come July, so the Nats would likely make a more impactful trade with Scherzer than the Braves would make with Freeman. And the fact that Freeman has worn just one uniform during his career still means something, so even though a trade wouldn’t prevent Atlanta from signing him back as a free agent after the season, it seems like sending him away for two months is a long shot.
I don’t think Freeman is heading anywhere, no matter what the next six or seven weeks look like for the Braves.
Dickerson is having a respectable year, posting a .722 OPS through his first 58 games. After hitting 24 or more home runs in three of four seasons between 2014-17, his power numbers have dipped in recent years, as he’s hit 34 home runs in 323 games since the start of 2018 — a far cry from his 27-homer All-Star season of 2017.
Still, the lefty-hitting 32-year-old has hit lefties well this year, slashing .294/.342/.441 in limited at-bats, so he’s not a pure platoon player. Dickerson was a Deadline acquisition just two years ago, when the Phillies traded for him on July 31, so the idea of him being an appealing target for a team in need of outfield or bench help isn’t novel.
Sánchez, the Marlins’ No. 6 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is off to a hot start at Triple-A, slashing .353/.405/.647 with eight home runs in 30 games. It certainly seems as though it would make sense for the Marlins to make a deal that would open up a spot for him to break into the lineup.