With the MLB trade deadline just weeks away, the baseball rumor mill is heating up.
While the majority of baseball has been distracted by who is likely to land Juan Soto, there is likely to be a flurry of other activity at the deadline that could drastically impact the results of the 2022 MLB season.
Since everybody loves trade speculation, we decided to put together our projections for how the MLB trade deadline will go down. Below are our staff’s predictions for the moves we’ll see at the deadline. It’s important to keep in mind that we’re making these with no inside knowledge from all of these teams’ front offices but simply by connecting the dots between team needs and players that we know are available.
If we hit on a few of them, that’s awesome, but let’s have some fun with predicting the future.
Potential MLB Trade Deadline Moves
Juan Soto stays in Washington
OK, so this isn’t a trade prediction, but it’s a prediction of a non-trade, so we’ll include it. We think the rumors of Soto being on the move this month are all smoke and no fire. Will he be dealt in the future? Potentially. We just don’t think it’s happening right now.
Reds trade Luis Castillo to the Yankees for SS Oswald Peraza, SP Ken Waldichuk, and Miguel Andujar
The Yankees know they need to go for it this year. They’ve been one of, if not the, best team in baseball for the entire season, so they have to feel like this year is theirs for the taking. However, that got a little more complicated with the injury to Luis Severino, given his history of injuries. Jameson Taillon’s struggles also give them a certain sense of urgency to upgrade the rotation.
Other than Soto, Luis Castillo is the prize of the MLB trade deadline, but the beauty of this move for the Yankees is that Castillo is not a rental since he is also signed through next year. Since Taillon is a free agent after this year, there is a spot open in the rotation for Castillo to hold onto.
The Yankees can also afford to part with Peraza and Waldichuk since they have Anthony Volpe as the SS of the future and plenty of minor league SP depth.
Athletics trade Frankie Montas to Twins for INF/OF Austin Martin, SP Simeon Woods-Richards, and maybe a few low-level prospects
The Twins have been rumored to be in on Montas since the offseason. Given the struggles of Dylan Bundy and Sonny Gray, it makes sense for Minnesota to use the MLB trade deadline to look for rotation help as they try to hold onto the lead in the AL Central. After all, it’s hard to think you can win a playoff series starting this version of Chris Archer. The Twins can afford to give up former Top-100 prospect Austin Martin because Spencer Steer has passed him.
Royals trade Andrew Benintendi to the Blue Jays for 3B Jordan Groshans and SP Nate Pearson
The Blue Jays are desperate for a left-handed bat in their righty-heavy lineup. With the emergence of Santiago Espinal as a solid MLB starter and the trade for Matt Chapman, they don’t really need Groshans, who also has just one home run in 64 minor league games this year and might not be the type of prospect some thought he was. The shine has worn off of Nate Pearson due to multiple injuries, but he could still carve out a solid career as a late-inning reliever.
Cubs trade Willson Contreras to the Giants for OF Heliot Ramos and SP Sean Hjelle
We know everybody thinks Contreras is going to Houston before the MLB trade deadline, but the Astros have withstood Martin Maldonado’s poor offense for years so they could have his defense. Why would that change this year? Instead, the Giants will swoop in and acquire Contreras to either buy time for Joey Bart or give themselves a fallback in case he continues to fail to perform at the major league level.
Given how the Giants platoon their players, it’s not a stretch for them to part with one of their top-five prospects in Ramos. The outfielder has also struggled in Triple-A this year, but is only 22 years old and has plenty of potential.
Nationals trade Josh Bell to the Mets for Mark Vientos and a low-level prospect
The Mets need help at designated hitter because Dom Smith and J.D. Davis just aren’t cutting it. There are rumors that the Mets are asking about Trey Mancini, but the Orioles are just two games out of the playoffs right now, and Mancini is the heart of that franchise, so it’s becoming less likely that they trade him away. We know this isn’t the hitter Mets fans want to get from the Nationals, but it’s one that makes their lineup immediately better.
Plus, since Bell is on an expiring contract, the Mets won’t have to give up too much to snag him. Losing Vientos may be hard for Mets fans to stomach, but he has a concerning 32% strikeout rate at Triple-A and plays the same position as Brett Baty, who is likely the better prospect long-term.
Cubs trade David Robertson to the Mets for 1B/OF Dom Smith and SP Jose Butto
We covered this potential move a few weeks ago when we previewed relief pitchers that the Mets could trade for. It’s a match that just makes too much sense.
Smith’s trade value is at an all-time low as his bat has experienced a swift and dramatic fall from grace. After being a top-10 bat in the National League in 2020, the 27-year-old is slashing just .194/.276/.284 (.560 OPS) with no homers and 17 RBI. The Cubs are one of two teams that have checked in on him and could use the help at first considering they’ve received nothing from Frank Schwindel and Alfonso Rivas.
Butto has emerged as a strong pitching prospect for the Mets with a 3.73 ERA and 26.5% strikeout rate in Double-A. There are some control issues, but if those improve, he’s a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Reds trade Tommy Pham to the Yankees for OF Estevan Florial and a SP prospect
The Yankees are in need of an outfielder that is actually a strong defender. While Stanton has been their right fielder and Aaron Judge has patrolled center, the Yankees would love to be able to slide them (particularly Stanton) into the DH spot here and there and not have to put Matt Carpenter in the outfield. Joey Gallo has seemingly played his way out of the lineup and Aaron Hicks is as streaky as they come.
Pham gives the Yankees a versatile outfielder with plus speed on the bases. After a slow start, Pham hit .283 with six home runs in June and would be a potent bat near the bottom of the lineup. The team could also look to flip Florial based on his good stats at Triple-A. The soon-to-be-25-year-old doesn’t seem to be in the team’s plans for the future but could be enticing to a team like the Reds who really need young OF help.
Athletics trade Ramon Laureano to the Brewers for SS Brice Turang
As we’ve discussed, basically everything that isn’t nailed down could be moved for Oakland. Laureano has another year of team control, which means he could fetch a nice prospect, and while Turang is one of the Brewers’ best, he also plays a position where the Brewers have a lot of Major League talent (Willy Adames, Luis Urias). Laureano can fill the Lorenzo Cain hole in CF for this year and beyond, which is crucial for a Brewers team that is competing right now.
Marlins trade Jesus Aguilar to the Rays for low-level minor leaguers
This is the type of move I can see the Rays making. Aguilar is a solid MLB regular and fills a major need as a right-handed 1B/DH option in Tampa Bay. Ji-Man Choi has been solid for Tampa this season but historically has been pretty poor against lefties. Aguilar is on an expiring contract and won’t cost the Rays much.
Oakland trades Lou Trivino to Boston for low-level minor leaguers
This is the type of low-cost bullpen addition that seems most likely after Chris Sale was lost for the season. Boston is still in the playoff hunt, so they might not become full-on “sellers,” but they also won’t want to trade key prospects to make a run this season with their ace now hurt. Trivino has closer experience and has settled down after a rough start to the season. The cost will be minimal, and the Red Sox can acquire experience and depth for their bullpen.
Diamondbacks trade Zach Davies and Ian Kennedy to the Blue Jays for INF Otto Lopez and low-level pitching prospects
With Jose Berrios returning to form a bit of late, we don’t think the Blue Jays make a big swing in their rotation. They really just need to replace Yusei Kikuchi. By partnering with the Diamondbacks, they can acquire help for the back-end of their rotation and also give themselves a late-inning reliever with closing experience in Ian Kennedy.
Reds trade Brandon Drury to Atlanta for low-level minor leaguers
Drury was a tremendous signing for the Reds, but he’s about to turn 30 and is certainly not going to be part of Cincinnati’s rebuild. He could be a perfect fit as a swiss army knife for the Braves though. The Reds are primarily playing him at 3B, but he would likely move to 2B for Atlanta until Ozzie Albies gets back and then back up at 2B/3B and the corner outfield spots to give the Braves a strong multi-position bench bat.
Tigers trade Michael Fulmer to San Diego for Ryan Weathers and low-level prospects
Fulmer is on an expiring contract, so he won’t bring back too much, but the Padres have the starting pitching depth to part with Weathers, who has really struggled in Triple-A this year as a 22-year-old. Fulmer would bring a strong right-handed complement to Padres’ left-handed closer Taylor Rogers and allow the Padres to use Luis Garcia and Nabil Crismatt in fewer high-leverage situations. The Tigers could try to develop Weathers as they have Tarik Skubal and Alex Faedo (kind of).
Tigers trade Andrew Chafin to the Mets for lower-level prospects
Yes, we already projected the Mets already get David Robertson at the MLB trade deadline, but we don’t think that ends their quest to upgrade the bullpen. The team is in real need of a lefty out of the pen and were reportedly linked to Chafin in the offseason. It will take too much to get Tigers closer Gregory Soto, but Chafin is a great left-handed option to turn to in high leverage moments.
Pirates trade Jose Quintana to the Phillies for SP Christopher Sanchez and C Donny Sands
The Phillies need rotation help given the health concerns of Zach Eflin and the inconsistency of Kyle Gibson. However, we can’t see them taking a massive swing at the MLB trade deadline on one of the aces listed above, but the organization has shown a willingness to acquire veteran control-oriented pitchers. With only one lefty in the rotation, adding Quintana could make sense. The Pirates get back a young pitcher in Sanchez who has flashed ability but isn’t ready to help Philadelphia with their playoff push this year.