Answering 30 MLB trade deadline questions with a month to go and so many possibilities

With four weeks to go until the July 30 trade deadline, we asked subscribers what they wanted to know about how the market is shaping up. Here are answers to 30 of your questions, based on what I’m hearing in conversations with people throughout the game and my own thoughts on various scenarios.

(Questions were edited for clarity and length.) 

1. Are the Orioles prepared to make a big move at the deadline? It seems like a (deal with the White Sox for) Garrett Crochet and Tommy Pham would be perfect for them. … Could catcher Samuel Basallo be the main piece in a deal for a controllable starter? — Brad K.

The Orioles were proud that they didn’t trade any of their top-seven prospects when they landed Corbin Burnes from the Brewers in the offseason, and they’re continuing down that path in negotiations for starting pitchers now. They believe they don’t have to trade Basallo or Coby Mayo — ranked 12th and 17th, respectively, in Keth Law’s top 50 from early June — because they can instead deal from the depth of their strong farm system. Their approach is to hold onto all of their top prospects and deal from the middle of their farm system, which is better than the top of most teams’ systems.

That being said, a trade for Crochet would probably have to start with Basallo or Mayo, which could mean the Orioles pivot to a lesser starter, perhaps pursuing a reunion with Jack Flaherty of the Tigers or trying to land Luis Severino from the Mets.

2. Do you think Cal Quantrill would be a good fit for the Orioles? — Charles W.

Yes, I think Quantrill would be a solid pickup for the back of their rotation. He wouldn’t be at the top of my target list — with pitchers such as Crochet, Flaherty, Severino, or any of the Blue Jays’ starters — but I put him in the category of Erick Fedde of the White Sox as a solid rotation depth play. Quantrill, 29, is under team control through 2025.



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3. Aside from more pitching, the Yankees’ biggest hole is the inconsistency of the bottom half of the order — who can we get to fill it? — Ron P.

The Yankees are optimistic that Ben Rice will be able to contribute significantly at first base. They’re hoping Gleyber Torres has a much better second half and plays more like he did a year ago. They also need DJ LeMahieu to contribute more now that he’s healthy and get back to hitting line drives the other way. That being said, I’m told the Yankees front office is exploring the trade market to see what hitters could become available and are looking in particular at first base, second base and third base for upgrades or better platoon-type options.



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4. Please tell me the Cubs will “sell” at the deadline. Dumbfounded at fans wanting (them) to “buy” for the third wild card. This team stinks. — George R.

The Cubs are 5 1/2 games out of the National League’s third wild-card spot and if they stay about that close, I doubt they sell at the trade deadline. In fact, if they have an opportunity to improve the bullpen, upgrade offensively at catcher and add a middle-of-the-order bat, I think they will. At the same time, I do not see a scenario in which they will trade any of their top-tier prospects for a short-term gain. The Cubs front office has a good feel of where the team is right now and building for 2025 and beyond is more likely than any “rental” type of move.

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Cody Bellinger has slashed .270/.329/.421 (.750 OPS) this season. (Katie Stratman / USA Today)

5. There is precedent for players to be sent back to their original team as part of a deal that includes a PTBNL. Could the Cubs trade Cody Bellinger, with the deal structured so that they would have to take him back if he exercises his player option? (That way), the Cubs get a better player (in the trade) and the other team doesn’t carry risk. — Daniel S.

Those types of deals used to be possible, but not anymore. The current rules do not allow a player who is traded to be one of the players to be named later and traded back in the same transaction.

6 and 7. Assuming the Red Sox buy, could they acquire a name like Jesús Luzardo or Garrett Crochet without giving up prospects Kyle Teel, Marcelo Mayer or Roman Anthony? And is there a way they could turn an expiring contract like Chris Martin or Kenley Jansen into an expiring starting pitcher? — Patrick W.

Luzardo (lumbar stress reaction) is on the injured list and the Marlins front office has indicated they are not planning to trade him before the deadline. The Red Sox certainly could pursue other starters including Crochet, but the asking price for the majors’ strikeouts leader would have to include Teel, Mayer or Anthony to even start the conversation. I do think there is a scenario where the Red Sox could trade Jansen or Martin for a starting pitcher who is an impending free agent if they matched up with a team that needed a closer or set-up reliever more than one of its back-end starters because it had enough rotation depth.



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8. Crochet has already pitched more innings (101 1/3) this season than he had in his entire career. If a contending team acquires him, how will they manage his workload for the rest of 2024? — Robert S.

That’s a great question, Robert. I asked two NL GMs who had interest in Crochet the same question and they both answered that if they were able to acquire him, which both believed would be difficult based on the return the White Sox would need to move him, they likely would use him as a reliever for the second half of the season, then stretch him back out at the end of September to give him a chance to start in the postseason.

9. Are teams specifically asking for pitchers Landon Knack, Gavin Stone or Bobby Miller in any potential trades with the Dodgers? — Ivan G.

Absolutely. They’ve been asking for all three over the past couple of years and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Brandon Gomes have maintained the same answer: “No.” Remember, despite their big payroll, the Dodgers still need non-arbitration and controllable players to fill out the roster so they’re able to pay Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow and company. However, keep in mind that the Dodgers’ farm system is flourishing in depth and talent; they have plenty to trade to get what they need without having to include Knack, Stone or Miller in deals. The Dodgers are looking to upgrade their pitching staff and outfield, and I’ll be surprised if they don’t make a move or two before July 30.

10. Dodgers get Crochet, Michael Kopech, and Paul DeJong.

White Sox get Gavin Lux, Miguel Vargas, Dalton Rushing, Payton Martin, Justin Wrobleski, and Emil Morales.

Who says no? — Andrew C.

I think the Dodgers say yes and the White Sox say no. I think Chicago could get a better “lead and top” prospect to start a package from another team.

11. Hey, Jim. Thoughts on the Phillies’ Taijuan Walker predicament? He’s been an expensive problem for them. (Walker is in the second year of a four-year, $72 million deal.) Any shot he’s dealt (with 50 percent to 75 percent of his salary paid) for prospects in a three-team deal that gets the Phillies their coveted outfield bat: Luis Robert Jr., Ian Happ, Jake McCarthy, Jazz Chisholm Jr., etc? — Nate P.

Walker is on the IL with a blister on his right index finger. At this point, the right-hander doesn’t have much trade value even if the Phillies pay most of his remaining salary, especially for players the caliber of Robert, Happ, McCarthy and Chisholm. If the Phillies are going to land those types of players, they’ll have to offer some of their best prospects, especially for Robert and Chisholm.

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Could Randy Arozarena make sense for the Phillies? (Nathan Ray Seebeck / USA Today)

12. Dave Dombrowski is due for a splash. Who is the outfield bat the Phillies acquire? I’d be willing to nab Randy Arozarena along with Amed Rosario (from the Rays), with Philly dropping Whit Merrifield in the process. — Andrew R.

I would like to see the Phillies land Robert or Chisholm instead because I think a better all-around center fielder is a better fit than another left fielder. However, if the Phillies can’t get Robert or Chisholm and Arozarena is the best they can do, I guess I would have interest, but that would mean moving Brandon Marsh from left to center field, which is not ideal.

13. Would Chisholm fit in Atlanta as a lefty platoon partner with Adam Duvall and an offensive upgrade at shortstop versus lefties? Full-time shortstop next season when Ronald Acuña Jr. returns? — Kenny T.

I’m a fan of Chisholm but think his best position is second base and if I’m Atlanta, I would have no problem moving Ozzie Albies over to shortstop because he’s a plus defender there too. I do like Chisholm’s fit with the Braves and think their clubhouse culture would do him wonders. I’m just not sure the Braves’ farm system matches up well with the Marlins, based on conversations I’ve had with front office executives.



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14. Would the Braves try to trade for Kevin Gausman again?

Gausman has yielded 19 runs over his last 21 1/3 innings and is sitting at -0.7 WAR on the season, according to Baseball Reference. If I’m the Braves, with the way he’s pitching right now, I wouldn’t want to absorb his salary nor give up the prospect package it would take to land him. (Gausman, 33, is making $22 million this year and is owed $23 million in both 2025 and ’26.) Because of his strong career track record, I would monitor Gausman’s starts between now and July 30 to see if he improves and it’s worth reconsidering a potential trade. However, I would have more interest in his teammates José Berríos, Chris Bassit or Yusei Kikuchi if the Blue Jays make any of them available.

15. Do the Mariners trade a starting pitcher to land a bat? — Eric R.

I think if the Mariners could find a match for Emerson Hancock they would trade him for an everyday bat. He has a 1.64 ERA in seven starts at Triple A this year and a 4.79 ERA in eight starts in the majors. Besides Hancock, I think at this point it’s unlikely they move a starter — Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, Bryan Woo (IL) or Bryce Miller — in any deal.

16. The Brewers are trading for a starting pitcher by the deadline. What’s a name not being mentioned or a name not listed as someone available who they could potentially acquire? — Tyler R.

Let’s go with Chris Bassitt of the Blue Jays. I haven’t heard him mentioned in trade talks. Bassitt, who has a limited no-trade clause, will be a free agent after the 2025 season. He’s making $22 million per year and is playing for a team that needs to get younger and needs more offense. The Brewers have enough young outfield depth to make a trade like this and the Blue Jays could help pay part of his salary for this year and next.

17. Yes or no, Tarik Skubal gets moved? — John D.

I say, NO! However, two front office executives in my recent anonymous poll felt Skubal could get traded because the Tigers could get a package of four solid prospects in return, which could help them turn the franchise around at a much faster pace.

18. What is the maximum return the Tigers could receive for Jack Flaherty and Mark Canha? — Barron E.

From a team with an average farm system, I think they could get a top-five prospect and two top-30 prospects. (Flaherty is dealing with a back issue and will miss a scheduled start Wednesday. His health status will obviously impact his ultimate trade value.)

19. Give me a trade you’d like to see the Guardians make. — Michael J.

How about the Guardians trade 1B Ralphy Velazquez, RHP Gavin Williams and LHP Alex Clemmey to the White Sox for LHP Garrett Crochet?

20. Do you see the inconsistent 2024 Giants being buyers at the trade deadline? With factors such as their recent offseason investment, reluctance to trade top prospects, and optimism for the rotation in the second half, what moves could the Giants make to better position themselves in the race for a wild-card spot? — Vincent C.

The Giants are only 2 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot and I don’t think there’s any doubt they’re going to be buyers at the deadline — with no consideration of selling. As you allude to, the main thing they need is to get their injured starters — from Blake Snell to Robbie Ray to Kyle Harrison to Keaton Winn to Alex Cobb — back healthy. I would like to see them add another bat and think Chisholm would be a tremendous target, improving the team up the middle and adding his special athleticism and speed-power combination.



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21. With so many teams needing an outfielder and a reliever, the Nationals seem like they could be a good one-stop shop. What type of return could they get for a trade bundle of outfielder Lane Thomas and reliever Kyle Finnegan? — Joseph G.

I love where your mind is, Joseph, because I would consider moving them as well. I believe 2025 will be the year the Nationals become a legit playoff team. However, they’re not out of it this year as they sit 5 1/2 games out of wild-card position and just promoted one of their best prospects, James Wood. Their president of baseball operations, Mike Rizzo, won’t give in and will keep trying to win, so unless they take a dive after the All-Star break, I don’t think Thomas or Finnegan are going anywhere. The NL wild-card spots are winnable this year, and that applies to every NL team not named the Marlins or Rockies. All that said, the team that fits best in a trade scenario for Thomas and Finnegan would be the Royals, who have needs in both areas, but it’s hard to find a fair trade with KC from the Nationals’ perspective.

22. The Royals have been all over the map the last month but remain firmly in the hunt for the playoffs. Should they make a move, and if so, which prospects can they reasonably expect to move to make a difference this year without gutting the future? — Justin N.

The Royals have had a great first half, but I think they look more like a third-place team behind the Guardians and Twins and I believe the Astros and Rangers will both pass them in the second half. In addition, the Royals don’t have a great farm system, which will make it difficult to pull off a major acquisition at the deadline. That being said, their front office is trying to improve their bullpen and outfield situation, as GM JJ Picollo has been aggressive in trade talks. Matt Quatraro has done an amazing job managing this team and Picollo has impressed in rebuilding the rotation and putting together a lineup that doesn’t strike out, but I don’t see the Royals, despite their big gains in the win column this year, maintaining their grip on a playoff spot.

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Jonathan India leads the Reds in on-base percentage at .381. (Katie Stratman / USA Today)

23. With Noelvi Marte back, do the Reds look to trade Jonathan India? He’s playing his best ball since his rookie season. — John S.

I’m not trading India if I’m the Reds, even if Matt McLain comes back healthy and starts at second base again. I’d move India to first base or DH. The Reds need offense and I believe India is part of the solution. He should not be viewed as expendable.

24. It’s rumored the Astros might be interested in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or another first baseman. But as poor as that position has been this season, starting pitching has to be the top priority, right?  — Jason M.

As long as Dana Brown is GM of the Astros, starting pitching and pitching in general will be the top priority. But would they have interest in adding Guerrero to their lineup, especially knowing that Alex Bregman will likely leave in free agency this offseason? You better believe it. However, the Blue Jays are publicly saying they’re not trading Guerrero and instead are trying to extend his contract.

25. Do you think the Rangers really can turn things around this season? — Amanda B.

There is plenty of time for the Rangers to turn their season around but they’ll need starters Jacob deGrom, Tyler Mahle and Cody Bradford to come off the IL and pitch to their accustomed levels and they need Max Scherzer to be a huge factor the rest of the way. The Rangers are seven back in the division and the wild-card race, but they’re good enough in all phases of the game to get back to the playoffs despite their dismal first half of the season.

26. Any possibility of Mike Trout being moved? — Bruce W.

There is zero possibility of Trout getting traded. His injuries and contract alone make it almost impossible, then there’s his desire to spend his career with the Angels and his full no-trade rights, so I think it’s highly unlikely. As much as I’d like to see him traded to the Phillies to fill their need in center field, I just can’t see the pathway for something like that to happen.

27. Everyone asks about the biggest name to be traded, but who will be the biggest prospect to be traded? — Cameron Bortolazzo

That’s a phenomenal question, Cameron. I’ll go with Coby Mayo, who as I said earlier, the Orioles are not looking to trade. But he is the most expendable of all their top prospects in the minor leagues and has the talent to be the headliner in a trade for a pitcher like Garrett Crochet.



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28. How will the glut of teams right around the .500 mark affect this year’s deadline? I feel like it could completely paralyze teams and we’ll end up seeing no significant moves. — Carl M.

There is no doubt it’s having a major impact on trade talks. Right now, only five teams — the White Sox, Angels, A’s, Marlins and Rockies — should be considered definite sellers. That means if there’s going to be a high volume of trades, it will have to come from “buyer-to-buyer” type deals, which are much harder to make. I still think we’ll see plenty of moves but it won’t be as many as last year in my opinion.

29. What does a GM specifically look for and do at the trade deadline to improve when the team is competitive but ownership won’t take on a costly rental player? — Joe V.

The owners make the calls for all 30 teams and the GMs work under their direction because it’s their team. If an owner won’t take on a costly impending free agent, then the GM doesn’t make that type of trade. End of discussion.

30. What is the biggest misconception fans have about the trade deadline and teams’ ability to make deals? — Anonymous U.

I think the biggest misconception of fans is not understanding how difficult it is to make trades in general; how contracts, service time and farm systems factor in; and how different valuations of players, from team to team, complicate the closing of trades. In addition, some may not realize that 99 percent of trades that are discussed never come to fruition and that trade talks that leak to the media often don’t represent what is actually happening behind the scenes.

Bonus question: If you had the power to make changes to All-Star Game rules/structure, so it was actually worth watching like back in the day, what change would you make? — Rick P.

I enjoy the All-Star Game as is, but I would change the rule that every team has to be represented at the midsummer classic. I’d prefer to just have the best players in the game. If a team didn’t have a worthy player, then it would have to go without representation that year. I’d also require all players to attend the game regardless of whether they were injured (with reasonable exceptions) or were the starting pitcher on the prior Sunday, etc. I would not let players opt out just because they didn’t want to attend. Of course, there would have to be exceptions for paternity leaves, a death in the family and other agreed-upon reasons.

Oh, and one other thing: I’m with many of you in that I liked it better when the players wore their regular uniforms.



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(Top photo of Garrett Crochet: Justin Casterline / Getty Images)

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