With the expanded playoff, I think this MLB trade deadline is going to look vastly different. There are very few sellers, and what they are selling is not great.
KC and Oakland are clear sellers in the AL and the Nats, Reds, and Cubs are clear sellers in the NL. The Pirates can finally see the light at the end of the Rebuild tunnel ditto for the Os. So they may be less inclined to sell players or they may sell them for a higher than market value price (specifically your top tier controlled players like Reynolds and Mullins). Second tier players like Manchini and Gamel may still be available. The Rangers and Tigers have invested a small fortune in their clubs, so rentals may be available, but not much else. I have no clue if the Rockies even have a GM based on the director or lack of direction the organization has over the past two seasons. Also it is so hard to evaluate and anticipate what offense you are getting from someone leaving Coors. The only other teams not in the race are the Diamondbacks and Angels. I think the diamondbacks are in the same boat as the Bucs and O’s and I don’t know what to make of the Halo’s. They need to be in the playoffs for the sake of the MLB, but it would be wiser for them to sell at this point.
Which leads me to what could potential be an answer to the trade deadline. Contending teams trading with other contending teams. These would be potentially shake up trades that alter a clubhouse. So the first thing to look at are teams in the mix but not in the playoffs. Teams like the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Astros would not want to move players from their MLB roster. Second you are looking at players who are probably not in that team’s future plans so a pending FA, maybe just 1 more year of team control, or teams that have in house replacements ready.
With the M’s this would open up players like Adam Fraizer 2nd/OF
The Guardians might be willing to move Amed Rosario SS/OF
The White Sox might look at moving OFs Pollock or Engle (they might have to with their MiLB system)
The Rays might look at in house replacements for Yandy Diaz (CIF) before he gets too expensive
Finally, would the Red Sox entertain moving Xander Bogarts or Enrique Hernandez?
These are much better options from players on the sellers teams like Benintendi or Drury where you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The problem is those teams would want players on the MLB roster because they are competing as well. I think this is a way to effectively move a player like Familia. Would the M’s feel that they could fix Familia and better utilize a Moniak 4th OF/LH bat for an underperforming Fraizer? Would Xander Bogarts at SS for the next few months make the team a better contender than having Hoskins for this year and next?
In some ways trades like this could be better for the team in the long term, because you aren’t dipping into the prospect pool. If a team is contending, they don’t trade a player for prospects, they need help at the MLB level. This is where teams look for something they can use. Maybe the Ms feel with a better defense that Famila can be an effective late inning arm. Maybe the Phillies feel Long can get Fraizer back to his all-star level. But also a team might look at a deal for a big shake up. The Red Sox were flat against the Yankees, they are fighting in the East, and had zero progress with Bogarts. Maybe shake up the locker room and gain one more year of control of a player in Hoskins. They have an in house replacement in Story. It could be something worth looking at because the Red Sox, like the Phillies, see the offensive upgrades on the market and are even more impacted on the unvaccinated options than the Phillies are.