With another All-Star break in the books, it’s time to direct our attention toward the second half of the regular season. The trade deadline is approaching, and as playoff races begin to heat up, teams will have to decide if they will be “buyers” or “sellers” Here are a few notable moves that could impact the second half.
Trade Deadline Moves... So Far
The first domino fell when Manny Machado was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers over the break this past week. This deal greatly impacts the outlook of the National League pennant race as the Dodgers are now a popular favorite in the NL. One of five prospects going the other way to Baltimore is Yusniel Diaz. The 21-year-old Cuban outfielder put on a show in the Futures Game in D.C. over the break.
Another big name was moved a few days later when Padres closer Brad Hand was dealt to Cleveland. Hand will join a talented but underachieving Indians bullpen for the stretch run. In return, the Padres landed young, switch-hitting catcher Francisco Mejia. They may not be good now but as they continue to stockpile talent, the Padres will be a team to watch in the future.
The third noteworthy trade to occur since the break involved the New York Mets and Oakland Athletics. The Mets dealt reliever Jeurys Familia to Oakland for two minor leaguers. The Mets are waving the white flag on a disappointing season, while Oakland feels that they can catch the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot. Adding Familia to bolster their bullpen is a step in the right direction for a playoff run.
Players That Could Be on The Move
While some big names have changed addresses, there are a few more quality players that could be dealt. The teams that missed out on Manny Machado (the Indians, Brewers, and Phillies) still have a need that has to be filled for the last few months. Those teams, according to Buster Olney of ESPN, are interested in Mets veteran middle infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. While Cabrera may be 32, he would be a welcome addition to any lineup; he's currently hitting .280 BA with 17 homers and 53 RBI.
Another player whose trade value has been linked to Machado is Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnik, the Red Sox and Braves have shown interest in the 29-year-old. While Moustakas hasn’t always been the most consistent player, he would be a good fit in further solidifying either lineup. Like Cabrera, look for a deal involving Moustakas to be more on the side of a rental rather than something long-term.
Zach Britton has been a solid reliever for arguably the worst team in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles. With Brad Hand and Jeurys Familia already traded, Britton is now viewed as the best relief pitching option on the trade market. Britton has been “lights out” as of late, he has not given up a run in his last eight appearances.
Playoff contenders such as the Astros, Braves, Dodgers and Cubs (perhaps more) are very interested in Britton. With such a valuable trade chip in their pocket, the Orioles again are looking to land the best offer possible as they did with Machado. It will be interesting to see who lands where over the next week as well as when teams can make trades via waivers following the trade deadline.