AL Trade Deadline Targets
The Diamondbacks should be sellers as the August 2nd trade deadline gets closer. They have multiple players that they could trade off the current 40-man roster. Outfielders, infielders, starting pitching, and relief pitching. The Diamondbacks have a good stockpile of talent in their upper minor league systems, but that doesn't mean when they make trades, they should not target major league ready or close to major league-ready talent. This article is going to name the American League Contending teams and give a couple players who the Diamondbacks should target from each of those teams. First, let's decide who the contenders are.
In the AL East, the Yankees lead the division with 69 wins, but Tampa Bay has 54 wins, Toronto has 56 and Boston has 50 currently. As far as the Wild Card, Toronto holds the first spot while Tampa Bay has the 3rd. 2 of the 3 Wild Card spots are in the East division with Boston being only 4 games out. Therefore, all 4 of those teams are contenders. In the AL Central Minnesota leads the division by only 1.5 games over Cleveland and 3 games over the disappointing White Sox. All 3 of those teams are contenders. Then the AL West has taken an unusual turn. The Seattle Mariners won 14 games in a row going into the All-Star break, yet they still trail the division-leading Houston Astros by 12 games. That win streak, however, has vaulted them into owning the 2nd Wild Card spot but unless they make another surprising move and the Astros don't, I think Seattle, while being a contender will have to settle for a Wild Card battle. I also want to throw the Texas Rangers in the mix. I don't think they will mortgage their future for a rental player, but I can see them making a trade with a team that has a big-money player who is owed big money for a couple of years as long as a high-level prospect is attached to that player and his money. They have a new stadium, which means a better revenue stream than most current clubs, and although they are 9 games below .500 currently, they have only scored 10 more runs than they have given up. If they are able to pull off something to where they can add a big name, I think they will consider pulling the trigger. This does not make them a contender necessarily, but it does put them in the position to add at the trade deadline.
The American League East
The Yankees are already well over the new $230MM luxury tax threshold, currently checking in at about $246MM worth of luxury obligations, in the estimation of Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez. They’re paying a 20% tax on every dollar spent over that line (approximately $3.2MM as things currently stand) and would pay that same 20% on every dollar up to $250MM. Any spending thereafter would be taxed at a 32% rate, up to $270MM. So they have at least $20MM to play with. They will be active and they need left-handed outfield help. If I were the Diamondbacks, I would target left handed relief pitcher JP Sears he owns a1.83 ERA, 50-to-6 K/BB ratio in 39 1/3 innings at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Or possibly Devi Garcia He made his debut in August of 2020 when he shut out the Mets for 6 innings. He then went on to win 3 of his last 5 starts in September. Then, the wheels fell off the following year to the tune of a brief stint with the Yankees and a 6.45 ERA and when he was sent back to AAA he posted a 6.85 ERA. He is back in AAA trying to make a difference as a reliever. If he could find that 2020 groove again he has a very high ceiling.
The Red Sox currently have Rich Hill who joins Chris Sale, and James Paxton on the IL and Michael Wacha is dealing with a dead arm that landed him on the IL as well. Therefore the Sox may have interest in Zach Davies or Luke Weaver. I would try to pry Frank German from AAA Worcester. He spent his first 2 years in the Yankees farm system then he became a RED Sox in the Adam Ottavino salary dump. Boston assigned him to AA as a starter, as he was with the Yankees. But he did not fare well, so the Red Sox decided to make him a reliever. Since his role change, he has added about 5 MPH to his fastball and has improved his secondary pitches which include a low 80's slider, a splitter and a changeup. He has a lot of upside and should improve the Diamondback bullpen.
Like the Yankees, the Jays need a left-handed outfielder, and they need some relief help. The Diamondbacks have Ian Kennedy and Joe Mantiply the player I think the Diamondbacks should target may seem a little strange to some people. I think the guy they go after is a player they just traded for in 3rd baseman Matt Chapman. When the Jays acquired Chapman from Oakland many people thought he would rake in that line-up, myself included. But the Chapman experiment is not really working. His slash line with Toronto is .225/.299/.421 he is signed through next season with his price tag being $12.5MM each season. He would be an expensive investment, but the Diamondbacks need more offense and a 3rd baseman. He would do all of that from the right side, and the Dbacks are a left-handed heavy line-up. Lastly, two of Toronto's top 4 prospects play 3rd base.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Tampa is a fun team. They seem to always figure a way to get whatever done, yet just come up a little short. The one name I would focus on is minor league left-hander Ryan Yarbrough. He is arbitration eligible in 2023, a free agent in 2025 which means he is controllable, but he also makes almost $4MM this season and the cost-efficient Rays may want to move that salary. In his 5 years, his record is 37-27 and he owns a 426 to 120 strikeout to walk ratio. This season has not been in line with his career, but the Rays are trying to stretch him to a starter, and I think he would fit in well in the Snakes bullpen.
There is your look at the contenders in the AL East, now we will do the same with the AL Central.