7 MLB Teams That Should Prepare to Sell Before the 2021 Trade Deadline

By Anthony Haage in MLB
| June 21, 2021 6:32 am PDT
MLB Trade Deadline

The MLB trade deadline typically determines if a team is preparing to compete in the postseason or looking more towards the future. However, it doesn’t necessarily determine who will make the playoffs, even if they appear to “sell” at the deadline.

We can see many different types of trades at the deadline, and there are close to no boundaries between teams. The question, of course, is what will happen at the 2021 MLB trade deadline?

Let’s look at which teams should prepare to sell at the deadline and look more towards the future instead of attempting to reach the postseason.

Baltimore Orioles (21-38)

The Orioles play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. The AL East has four teams that are currently good enough to make a postseason run and/or potentially secure both Wild Card slots.

The Rays currently hold first in the division, but the Red Sox are only half a game back behind them. Toronto has some young studs that could make the Blue Jays dangerous in the coming years, and they sit 6.0 games back. The Yankees are never out of the question, either, and they sit just behind the Blue Jays at 6.5 games back.

This leaves the Orioles falling way far behind in the division race at 16 games back after 59 games played. The Orioles have some talent that they could deal in hopes of future return on value.

Trey Mancini is due to become a free agent in 2023, and the Orioles could shop him this year. Mancini is a career .275 batter and provides some flexibility as well, as he can play both corner outfield positions along with first base.

Mancini is a feel-good story, too, as he successfully made his way back from cancer.

Other names that stand out include SS Freddy Galvis, SP Matt Harvey, and 3B Maikel Franco. They are all free agents at the conclusion of this season, and they could all provide depth to their respective positions.

They won’t cost a lot, but they could be on the move by the time July 30th comes.

Mr. No Hitter John Means could also be on the move as he is 28, and a team may want to get him while he is in his prime. Means also doesn’t become a free agent until 2025. SP Jorge Lopez is also 28, RP Adam Plutko is 29, and they both are under contract until 2025, as well.

Baltimore is in a loaded division that will keep them out of the MLB playoffs for some time. If they want to get better, they should be among the MLB teams that sell at the 2021 trade deadline.

Arizona Diamondbacks (20-41)

If you’re trying to predict what will happen at the 2021 MLB trade deadline, brace for the Diamondbacks to sell off some assets.

Arizona is another team that has fallen very far behind in their division race. They’re in the loaded NL West, which includes three legit playoff teams in the Giants, Padres, and Dodgers.

The D’backs find themselves in last place in their division at 15 games back, so they should be among the MLB teams looking to sell at the deadline.

Here are the big names that could be most appealing for prospective trade partners.

  • Eduardo Escobar
  • Asdrubal Cabrera
  • David Peralta
  • Christian Walker
  • Madison Bumgarner

Eduardo Escobar could be a nice pickup for a team that needs a good switch-hitter in the middle of their lineup. Escobar can play all over the infield and even has played outfield in the past. He has many home runs (14) to where he could cost a little more than some other flexible veterans.

Asdrubal Cabrera is in the same exact spot as Escobar, as he is a switch-hitter who can play several spots. He also becomes a free agent after the conclusion of this season.

OF David Peralta could also be traded, as he becomes a free agent in 2023. Their young core players consist of C Carson Kelly, OF Ketel Marte, SS Josh Rojas, OF Pavin Smith, and SP Zac Gallen. 1B Christian Walker is also under contract until 2025, but he is 30 years old and may be traded sooner rather than later.

Other players who could be traded include C Steven Vogt, SS Nick Ahmed, OF Josh Reddick, RP Joakim Soria, RP Tyler Clippard, and RP Caleb Smith. Madison Bumgarner could also be traded, but they might have to include cash to help pay for his contract.

Texas Rangers (23-38)

The Rangers have already traded away 2B Rougned Odor to the Yankees, and they probably aren’t done there. Their players who become free agents following this season include 2B Brock Holt, SP Jordan Lyles, SP Mike Foltynewicz, RP Ian Kennedy, and DH Khris Davis.

Kyle Gibson could also be dealt, as his contract expires in 2023, along with power-hitting OF Joey Gallo.

OF Adolis Garcia has put together a great start to his 2021 season, as the 28-year-old has the fourth most home runs in the entire league. Garcia doesn’t become a free agent until 2027, so he could stick around in Texas for a few more years, but if his stock is as high as it’s going to be, the Rangers may opt to trade him.

RP Jose Leclerc, 1B Nate Lowe, OF David Dahl, SS Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, OF Willie Calhoun, and 2B Nick Solak look to be their younger players that could hang around for a few more years as well, but no one is completely safe in Ranger territory.

Texas hasn’t fielded a truly dangerous team in years, and they’re not close to contending. They absolutely should be considered sellers at the 2021 MLB trade deadline.

Pittsburgh Pirates (23-35)

The NL Central appears to be a three-way race between the Brewers, Cubs, and Cardinals. The Reds look to be the ones to fill in 4th place, leaving the Pirates at the bottom of the division.

The Buccos are currently 15 games out of first place. The players who become free agents after this season include RP Chasen Shreve, SP Trevor Cahill, and SP Tyler Anderson. They also have some players who are getting close or past the wrong side of 30.

C Jacob Stallings is 31, 1B Colin Moran is 28, 2B Adam Frazier is 29, OF Gregory Polanco is 29, and SP Chad Kuhl is 28. Frazier and Moran are some quality hitting lefties who could be nice inexpensive pickups as Moran is due $2.8 million and Frazier is due $4.3 million.

Polanco has underperformed and is due a good amount of money, so a buyer may not want to spend on him. The only player who could be considered to be “safe” is third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes.

Pittsburgh is going nowhere in a hurry, and their lineup simply isn’t scary. If teams come calling, the Pirates should be prepared to have a fire sale.

Colorado Rockies (24-36)

The Rockies have had a season on par with their name; rocky. Ever since Nolan Arenado was traded to the Cardinals, the Rockies’ playoff hopes stopped there.

I’m surprised that Charlie Blackmon even made it this far. Their prized shortstop is about to hit the market too. Trevor Story could be due a massive contract following this year, and the Rockies probably won’t be the ones signing him.

They could try to deal him now and get some good prospects in return. Blackmon is due over $55 million until he becomes a free agent in 2024, when he will be 38 years old.

Blackmon is an institution as far as Rockies fans are concerned, as he’s easily one of the best players the team has ever had. He also has his place in the team record books.

It would be sad to see Blackmon go, but it’s a departure Colorado must seriously consider.

Another veteran outfielder they have is Ian Desmond, who has a team option for next year worth $15 million, which the Rockies will surely decline. Their players who become free agents after this season include 1B C.J Cron, 1B Matt Adams, 2B Chris Owings, SP Jon Gray, RP Mychal Givens, and SP Jhoulys Chacin.

Will the Rockies try to solve their pricier problems through the trade deadline? There are zero reasons why they shouldn’t at least be taking calls.

Detroit Tigers (24-35)

The Tigers have a decent handful of free agents after this season. The likes of 2B Jonathan Schoop, RP Daniel Norris, SP Jose Urena, SP Julio Teheran, C Wilson Ramos, OF Nomar Mazara, RP Derek Holland, RP Wily Peralta, and SP Erasmo Ramirez are slated to leave this offseason.

SP Matt Boyd, OF Robbie Grossman, and SP Michael Fulmer join them in 2023.

None of these players will be worth a huge return, but they could all be on the chopping block as the Tigers could trade them away. It would seem to be a waste to keep these players throughout the year as the Tigers are far from competing. It’s worth a shot to try to turn them into some prospects that might help them in the future instead of letting these players go in free agency.

Matthew Boyd is likely to bring back the most in a prospective deal, but teams could also find use in bats like Mazara and Ramos, among others.

Minnesota Twins (24-35)

The Twins have struggled this year and find themselves in last place in the AL Central. The Twins have made the postseason the last two years, but this year doesn’t appear to be the same story.

Minnesota still has some quality players that could give them some good prospects in return.

Here’s a quick look at some of their main guys that are set to hit free agency after this season.

  • Nelson Cruz
  • A. Happ
  • Michael Pineda
  • Andrelton Simmons
  • Matt Shoemaker
  • Hansel Robles

Their prized young pitcher Jose Berrios also becomes a free agent after the 2022 season.

Some other players who become free agents in 2023 include OF Byron Buxton, RP Taylor Rogers, RP Alex Colome, RP Tyler Duffey, and OF Rob Refsnyder. They could also try to trade Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco, and Miguel Sano.

The biggest trade piece they have is the ageless wonder, Nelson Cruz. Cruz is 40 years old but is still one of the best hitters in the league. With him hitting the open market at the end of this season, Cruz could be dealt to another AL team to play DH.

Their trio of pitchers hitting the open market could also be dealt. Happ and Shoemaker both have ERAs above 6.00, so they might not cost too much for another team. Michael Pineda has had a good beginning to his season with an ERA of 3.46, and he could be flipped into a decent prospect for the Twins.

Taylor Rogers has been one of their best bullpen pieces, with an ERA of 3.20 in 25.1 innings of work. Hansel Robles hasn’t been bad either, with an ERA of 3.04 in 26.2 innings.

As for other bats that could bring something back, it’s safe to say that Byron Buxton is going to be an interesting name around the trade deadline. Buxton is one of the best defenders in center field and is a terror on the bases.

The guy is truly something else.

He can also hit for power, but his health is the only thing holding him back. If Buxton can get healthy before the deadline and catch some eyes from other teams, he could be traded.

Josh Donaldson’s name tends to be thrown around every year at the deadline, and it’s no different this year. He’s another viable power bat that someone could view as a key difference-maker as they prepare for a playoff push.

The aforementioned Berrios could be traded this year if a team would like to compete for this year and next year, but he would cost a lot.

Minnesota didn’t think they’d be major sellers at the 2021 MLB trade deadline, but they simply regressed too sharply. In planning for the future, it may make sense for them to unload their litany of assets.

Other Potential Sellers at the Deadline

The MLB teams detailed above should sell at the 2021 trade deadline, but they might not be alone.

There are some “middle of the pack” teams that could go either way still, and how things transpire in the near future could dictate how they approach the trade deadline.

If these teams have a bad stretch, they could find themselves far from competing and should look to sell at the trade deadline. Not knowing where you stand as a team at the trade deadline is a recipe for disaster.

Here’s a quick look at teams that could potentially be sellers at the 2021 MLB trade deadline and the biggest name they could end up shopping.

Team Notable 2022 Free Agents
Washington Nationals SP Max Scherzer
Miami Marlins OF Starling Marte
Philadelphia Phillies SP Chase Anderson
Atlanta Braves 1B Freddie Freeman
St. Louis Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright
Cincinnati Reds RP Michael Lorenzen (60-day IL)
Chicago Cubs 3B Kris Bryant
KC Royals SP Danny Duffy
Cleveland Indians OF Eddie Rosario
LA Angels SP Andrew Heaney
Seattle Mariners SP James Paxton (60-day IL)

There are some massive names on this list, to be sure. Rosario, Bryant, and Duffy are all interesting, but when you start talking about guys like Mad Max or Freddie Freeman being traded, you know things are getting out of control.

Going Away

Again, what happens at the 2021 MLB trade deadline depends on two things; where teams think they’re at and what they hope to accomplish.

There will be some trades going down, and if you’re trying to predict who will get traded before the deadline, this list of potential sellers is a great place to start.

Of course, there’s the flip side to this debate. Be sure also to check out the teams that should be buyers at the 2021 MLB trade deadline in the article below.

Which MLB Teams Should Be Buying Before the 2021 Trade Deadline?

The 2021 MLB playoff picture is starting to take shape, but a few teams could still benefit from some big moves ahead of this year’s MLB trade deadline. There is still time to act, with the 2021 MLB trade deadline officially arriving on July 30th, 2021....

Read More

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