We’re inside a month until baseball’s Aug. 2 trade deadline and plenty of things can change until then. Nevertheless, The Athletic’s baseball staff has offered up status checks for all 30 teams. Each has been assigned a role they’re expected to play as trade talks heat up: buyer, leaning buyer, seller, leaning seller.
Of course, the fun of this is how quickly each of the teams can find themselves like stranded summer travelers, at the mercy of outside forces such as inclement weather or incompetent airlines. Plans can be wiped away and redrawn in an instant.
All it takes is a couple of funny bounces or a run of good luck to create a well-timed winning streak; conversely, a fluky injury can also alter strategy. Adding to the chaos are two additional playoff spots that will allow teams to hold off even longer on making decisions. And, as front offices have become more creative through the years, there could be teams acting as both buyers and sellers.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Leaning seller
The biggest trade chips are the ones the Diamondbacks won’t cash in. Ketel Marte, recently re-extended, is a franchise centerpiece. Zac Gallen, who has regained his ace-like performance under new pitching coach Brent Strom, figures to be part of the future as well. The notable names who could move are mostly guys who have played themselves out of the team’s long-term plans: Caleb Smith, Luke Weaver and, just maybe, Carson Kelly.
Atlanta Braves: Buyer
The Braves’ top need is an experienced starter and/or reliever. They can’t be certain of what to expect from Mike Soroka after missing two seasons recovering from a twice-torn Achilles. Also, Spencer Strider pitched only 96 innings in his first season of pro ball in 2021. Because he has been highly effective both in relief and as a starter, he’s likely to surpass that total by mid-August.
Baltimore Orioles: Seller
The biggest trade chip would be center fielder Cedric Mullins because he is a dynamic leadoff hitter and strong defender coming off a 30-30 season. He’s only 27 and isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2025 season. He is having a down year in comparison to 2021, but teams would line up for his services and he would fetch the best return. It’s more likely, however, that the Orioles trade Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander, Jordan Lyles, Rougned Odor and/or Dillon Tate if there are solid offers for them instead of going bold by shipping away Mullins.