7 Early Predictions for the 2024 MLB Trade Deadline (2024)

7 Early Predictions for the 2024 MLB Trade Deadline

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    7 Early Predictions for the 2024 MLB Trade Deadline (1)

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    Major League Baseball's trade deadline will fall on July 30 this season. Whether it will be a particularly interesting hot stove season will depend on if some of the league's most prominent stars—Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Mike Trout and Pete Alonso, to name a few—are available via trade.

    With more than three months until teams have to decide whether to buy or sell, this is hardly an exact science. But here are seven early predictions on how the MLB trade deadline will unfold in 2024.

The Marlins Will Be the Most Active Seller

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    It may not be to the same extent they sold after winning championships in 1997 and 2003, but expect the Miami Marlins to be the most active seller in advance of the trade deadline, as new president of baseball operations Peter Bendix tries to retool the team in his image.

    Assuming he rebounds from a slow start, Jesús Luzardo will be the most coveted starting pitcher on what projects to be a weak market. Luzardo posted a 3.48 ERA in 50 starts between the 2022 and 2023 seasons. Further increasing his value is the fact that he can't become a free agent until after the 2026 season.

    Tanner Scott led all National League relievers in WAR a season ago and may end up being the top relief pitcher moved this summer. Scott will be of interest to virtually every team looking to upgrade its bullpen, and it may actually help his value that he doesn't need to be a closer.

    Other veterans on Miami who might be of interest to contending teams include Josh Bell, Anthony Bender, Trevor Rogers and Tim Anderson.

    What will really be interesting is whether two-time batting champion Luis Arráez is made available. Arráez can become a free agent after the 2025 season, and if the Fish don't anticipate retaining him beyond then, they will certainly have the opportunity to move him to a contender this summer.

Red Sox Trade Tyler O'Neill to Phillies

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    Tyler O'Neill recently went on the seven-day injured list with a concussion after colliding with third baseman Rafael Devers on a fly ball. Prior to that, though, O'Neill had been performing at a very high level for the Boston Red Sox.

    Acquired in an offseason trade with the St. Louis Cardinals following a pair of injury-plagued seasons, O'Neill was slashing .313/.459/.750 with seven home runs and a 1.209 OPS in 15 games.

    Granted, that's a small sample size, but it served as a reminder that during O'Neill's last healthy season of 2021, he was quietly one of the best all-around players in the sport, as he homered 34 times and won his second consecutive Gold Glove Award.

    B/R Walk-Off @BRWalkoff

    Your MLB home run leader is now Tyler O'Neill 💪<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/MLB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLB</a>) <a href="https://t.co/Dgc7ND3S6r">pic.twitter.com/Dgc7ND3S6r</a>

    Even if the Red Sox aren't contending this summer, they could opt to hold on to O'Neill, hoping to either reach a long-term extension or give him a qualifying offer.

    But O'Neill does have an injury history, and on what projects to be a relatively weak trade market, Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow would probably be best served to get a return while he can for the veteran outfielder via trade.

    The Phillies are a team that makes sense as a landing spot. Center fielder Johan Rojas is an elite defender whose bat has improved of late, but by late-July, it may be apparent he still needs more seasoning offensively at Triple-A. The Phillies also need more right-handed thump in their lineup. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski could trade for O'Neill and shift Brandon Marsh back to center field on a full-time basis as the organization tries to get over the hump and win a World Series.

    O'Neill would likely only be a rental for the Phillies, giving them much-needed right-handed thump and leaving open the door for Rojas to return to center field in 2025.

Paul Goldschmidt Will Be Traded, but Nolan Arenado Won't

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    Obviously, it's too early in April to rule most teams out of the playoff picture. It's entirely possible that a veteran St. Louis Cardinals team will rebound from a relatively disappointing start and compete for one of the three wild-card spots in the National League.

    But on a team with so many players in their mid-30s, it just feels like the Cardinals may have missed their opportunity to win with this group. If St. Louis is trending toward a second consecutive last-place finish in the NL Central this summer, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak may have to come to grips with some sort of retool.

    Will that mean Nolan Arenado gets traded? Certainly, if the Cardinals are willing to entertain offers on the 10-time Gold Glove Award winner, there will be interest. But the 33-year-old is under contract through the 2027 season, and the chance to have Arenado spend close to as much time in his Hall of Fame career with the Cardinals as he did with the Colorado Rockies might mean something to the organization.

    St. Louis Cardinals @Cardinals

    Nolan Arenado drives in his 10th run of the season.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheLou?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheLou</a> <a href="https://t.co/Mpy4oYBKFa">pic.twitter.com/Mpy4oYBKFa</a>

    The same could be said for former NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt, assuming he rebounds after what's been an uncharacteristically poor April. The difference is Goldschmidt is going to turn 37 in September and can become a free agent after this season.

    If the Cardinals plan to take a step back, it might be wise to get something in return for the seven-time All-Star. It's also possible that at this advanced stage of his career, Goldschmidt will want to go somewhere that gives him a chance to chase a World Series title.

    Also worth monitoring in St. Louis will be closer Ryan Helsley. He can't become a free agent until after the 2026 season, so the Cardinals might not feel inclined to move him this summer, particularly if they expect to contend in 2025. But you can only throw at or around 100 mph for so long before you get hurt, so if there's a fair trade offer for Helsley, you could definitely make the case for moving him.

    Without a doubt, the Cardinals will be one of the most interesting teams to follow this summer, perhaps even more so if they wave the white flag on 2024.

Braves Acquire Jesús Luzardo from Marlins

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    Trades within the division are rare, but not as much as they used to be. If the Marlins were shopping Sandy Alcántara, they probably wouldn't want to trade him to a division rival. But while Jesus Luzardo is a solid pitcher, he's not a franchise icon, which would make trading him to the Atlanta Braves a little less painful.

    With Spencer Strider out for the season, the Braves need to add front-line starting pitching as much as any contender in the league. President of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos might prefer a right-handed option to go with lefties Max Fried and Chris Sale, but beggars can't be choosers. If Luzardo is the best pitcher available, the Braves need to be in on him.

    A prospect-rich team like the Baltimore Orioles probably could put together an even more compelling trade package for the Marlins, but the Braves will probably be more motivated to get a deal done to address the top of their starting rotation. Not only would Luzardo improve their World Series chances in 2024, but he would also be insurance if the aforementioned Fried departs in free agency this upcoming offseason.

    Miami doesn't need to trade Luzardo, but the club could maximize its return for him this summer, because of the lack of other enticing options on the market and his having a few remaining years of team control.

    Bendix won't get his entire wish list, but the Braves have such a loaded lineup and a clear need to add pitching, so they may be willing to overpay a bit.

    Miami should make Atlanta say no on giving up pitcher Hurston Waldrep, the Braves' No. 2 overall prospect. Pitcher Spencer Schwellenbach, shortstop Nacho Alvarez Jr. and catcher Drake Baldwin are among the other pieces in the Braves farm system that could make sense as part of a trade package for Luzardo.

Mike Trout Won't Be Traded

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    Mike Trout is off to an incredible start in 2024, which will inevitably lead to trade speculation when the Los Angeles Angels fall out of the playoff race early this summer. That doesn't mean the three-time American League MVP will actually be traded this summer, though.

    In fact, every indication Trout has given has been that he wants to spend the entirety of his career with the Angels. He's signed through the 2030 season and spoke about his loyalty to the Halos in spring training.

    Baseball Bros @BaseballBros

    Mike Trout is loyal to the Angels 🙌 <a href="https://t.co/7E8m2WfiLj">pic.twitter.com/7E8m2WfiLj</a>

    There's been some speculation that the Angels would probably like to move Trout if he's healthy, but don't be so sure that's the case. Trout will turn 33 in August, and injuries have been a problem in recent years.

    The Angels would likely have to eat a significant chunk of his remaining money to get any return of note, and even then it would likely pale in comparison to the production Trout still puts up when he's on the field.

    If Trout asks owner Arte Moreno to trade him, the Angels should honor the request because he deserves to go to a contender if that's his wish. But if Trout isn't pushing for a deal, is whatever return they would get in return for him—on top of eating money—worth trading away the greatest player in franchise history?

    The Angels don't have any immediate path to contention, but watching the greatness of Trout and getting to see him eventually hit his milestone home runs in their uniform would be a nice treat for otherwise-tortured fans.

    Above all else, nothing to this point leads you to believe Trout will ask out. Even while the rest of the baseball world has been pining for Trout to go elsewhere, he and the Angels have remained committed to each other, far beyond a fault.

Marlins Trade Tanner Scott to Dodgers

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    Fish will be on the menu in July. Expect Tanner Scott to be one of the most coveted relievers on the market, particularly if Helsley, Emmanuel Clase and David Bednar aren't available. The Red Sox likely will be willing to trade Kenley Jansen, but Scott might be a better option at this stage, particularly if you're a team looking more for a setup man than a closer.

    Scott makes sense for a variety of contending teams, such as the Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. You can add the Dodgers—who are about as all-in as any team has ever been—as a club that makes sense for Scott as a rental addition.

    The Dodgers aren't necessarily looking for a closer, as Evan Phillips has converted on all five of his save attempts. But adding Scott would give manager Dave Roberts a second left-handed setup option along with Alex Vesia as the Dodgers try to get the ball from the starting pitcher to Phillips.

    Rob Friedman @PitchingNinja

    Tanner Scott, K'ing the side.<br><br>Marlins are going to the Postseason. 🍾 <a href="https://t.co/VEjTJaIMbp">pic.twitter.com/VEjTJaIMbp</a>

    Given that Scott can become a free agent after the season, the Marlins probably won't get a huge return when trading him.

    Rookie right-hander Landon Knack could be an interesting piece for the Marlins to pursue, though given how many injuries the Dodgers have to their starting pitching, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman might not be inclined to move someone who can start at the MLB level right now.

    Left-hander Justin Wrobleski is the No. 15 prospect in the Dodgers system, and MLB Pipeline says the 23-year-old is "a potential No. 4 starter who may not need much more time in the minors." That profile sounds like a nice piece to get in return, particularly if the Marlins do end up trading Luzardo in a separate deal.

Mets Will Hold On to Pete Alonso

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    Since starting 0-5, the New York Mets have won 12 of 15 games. Does that mean president of baseball operations David Stearns is going to push all the chips to the center of the table this July? Probably not. But if the Mets are in contention for a wild-card spot, it's hard to envision them selling either.

    To that end, unless the Mets fall off a cliff, don't expect first baseman Pete Alonso to join the aforementioned Goldschmidt on the trade market. Frankly, if the Mets plan to ramp up toward World Series contention in the next year or two, you would think the best way to do that would be to have Alonso hitting in the middle of the order.

    B/R Walk-Off @BRWalkoff

    Pete Alonso crushes his 4th of the year 💪<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/Mets?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Mets</a>)<a href="https://t.co/8xtcHBnjp0">pic.twitter.com/8xtcHBnjp0</a>

    Obviously, Alonso will get his chance to test free agency this upcoming offseason. Stearns has acknowledged that since Alonso is represented by Scott Boras, there's a good chance the first baseman will test the open market.

    So if the Mets are completely out of the playoff race this summer, seeing what's out there for Alonso might make sense. But Plan A for the Mets should be trying to retain Alonso—even if it means taking the risk of him testing free agency this offseason. Owner Steve Cohen has more than enough money to make that a reality.

    The safest bet in this scenario is probably that Alonso will not be traded this summer, will test free agency in the winter and ultimately return to the Mets, assuming they aren't able to lure Juan Soto from the Yankees.

7 Early Predictions for the 2024 MLB Trade Deadline (2024)

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