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Identifying buyers, sellers from NL East ahead of MLB Trade Deadline

The National League East doesn’t have a dominant team, so a trio of clubs could try to upgrade before the deadline

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals looks on against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on July 27, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Nationals defeated the Phillies 6-4. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

In any other division, teams such as the Phillies and the Braves would likely be trying to sell, sell, sell prior to Friday’s trade deadline at 4 p.m. ET. But in the National League East, all things remain possible. Here is how each team will approach the next couple of days.

New York Mets


The Mets, who lead the division by 3.5 games as of Wednesday afternoon, could go in a number of directions. Although they added Rich Hill from the Rays last week, starting pitching remains an area of need. They have checked in on the Nationals’ Max Scherzer, but Washington won’t give him to an intradivsional team. Maybe New York turns its attention to the Rockies’ Jon Gray or the Cubs’ Zach Davies.

The Mets could also look to upgrade the left side of their infield, especially as Francisco Lindor is still recovering from an oblique strain. ESPN’s Buster Olney said during the most recent Sunday Night Baseball telecast that he expects the Mets to end up with one of these players: Kris Bryant, Trevor Story or Javier Baez. Any one would be a huge get for the Mets.

Atlanta Braves


It seemed as if the Braves would be definite sellers as soon as Ronald Acuna Jr. tore his right ACL earlier this month. But to their credit, they have hung in the race and sit four games behind the Mets. They have already added Joc Pederson to their outfield. Will they bolster their bullpen? They should if they truly intend to vie for a division title. If Atlanta decides to go the other way, they have a boatload of pitchers who could be on the block, highlighted by veteran starter Charlie Morton, who is an impending free agent.

Philadelphia Phillies


Speaking of bullpen help, arguably no team in a divisional race needs it more than the Phillies, who have blown 23 saves thus far this season. Although there are a few legit closers on the trade block right now — Craig Kimbrel, Richard Rodriguez, Raisel Iglesias — the Phillies don’t have the prospect capital to obtain someone of that stature. So, look for them to make smaller moves with the hope that they pay big dividends.

Washington Nationals


The Nationals’ 2021 fate was sealed this past weekend when they were swept by the Orioles. Now they are in position to change a pennant race with the players they could make available. Many teams are in on Max Scherzer right now. The Mariners are reportedly interested in shortstop Trea Turner, but it’s unclear how much Turner’s recent positive COVID test impacts his market. Washington has also fielded inquiries on slugging outfielder Kyle Schwarber and closer Brad Hand.

Miami Marlins


The Marlins continued their sale on Wednesday, when they agreed to a deal with the Athletics involving outfielder Starling Marte. Miami got pitcher Jesus Luzardo, which is a great return for a rental such as Marte. They followed that up by reportedly dealing closer Yimi Garcia to the Astros. Who’s next to leave South Beach? Outfielder Adam Duvall, infielder Miguel Rojas and reliever Anthony Bass all make sense