With the advent of the third Wild Card in each league, there are more MLB teams this year that can consider buying prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline. At least, in theory. Some teams on the outside looking in at a Wild Card spot will probably choose to sell with the hopes of improving their fate in 2023 and beyond. But many other clubs will absolutely be looking to add the player(s) who could lead them to a championship.
Here is a rundown of the teams that should be the most active prior to the deadline.
2022 MLB Trade Deadline buyers
New York Yankees
No offense to Daniel Vogelbach, but the Yanks pulled off the first noteworthy deal of trade season when they acquired Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi on Tuesday night. With their need for a left-handed outfield bat satisfied, New York will now turn its attention to adding a starting pitcher as well as a reliever or two.
The Astros, who have won five of seven games against the Yankees this season and are chasing them for home-field advantage in the American League, need a first baseman and a catcher. They have been in contact with Cubs on catcher Willson Contreras, who could fit in at either spot.
New York Mets
The Mets have already added a couple of bats — Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin — but they are still aiming to add a right-handed hitter to complement those two lefties. Contreras and Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini have been tied to the Mets in rumors. The NL East leaders are also looking to acquire a quality reliever who can set up dominant closer Edwin Diaz.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers made the biggest deal at last year’s trade deadline, bringing aboard both Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Nationals. This year, they should be heavily involved in the pitching market, so expect them to be in the hunt for Luis Castillo, Frankie Montas, Pablo Lopez, etc. The Dodgers could also use some bullpen help. (Note: Every contender is looking for bullpen help, so just assume that for each team as you read on).
San Diego Padres
The Padres, currently 2.5 games out of a playoff spot, should be welcoming back Fernando Tatis Jr. soon, so that’s kind of like a trade deadline upgrade. They have been linked to Castillo and Montas, which would certainly make sense in the wake of MacKenzie Gore’s elbow injury. San Diego is also reportedly a “frontrunner” to acquire Nationals superstar Juan Soto.
The Mariners — and just about every other team on this list — are also in on Soto. But it’s still unknown if the Nats will find the prospect package that’s right for them in order to trade the face of their franchise before the deadline. Seattle wants to add to the starting rotation, and Castillo is reportedly its “main focus.” You know that general manager Jerry Dipoto, affectionately known as “Trader Jerry” for his proclivity for deals at this time of year, will do something big in order to help this franchise end its decades-long postseason drought.
St. Louis Cardinals
Hey, look: Another team interested in Castillo and Montas! That makes a lot of sense for St. Louis considering that its rotation consists of Miles Mikolas, 40-year-old Adam Wainwright, rookie Andre Pallante and a bunch of injured guys.
The Twins’ need at the deadline is clear as day: Relief pitching! Yes, I know I said that every team on this list would like to add a reliever, but for the Twins, it’s an absolute necessity. They rank 15th in bullpen ERA, but if you omit rookie closer Jhoan Duran, they plummet to 22nd. So, they will probably make a run at the top relievers on the market — David Robertson, Daniel Bard, David Bednar, Jorge Lopez, etc. Minnesota has also been involved in rumors regarding starting pitchers Tyler Mahle and Carlos Rodon.