MLB Trades That Should Happen By the 2021 Deadline
There is a lot of chatter involving the 2021 MLB trade deadline right now. Atlanta has been busy improving their starting lineup after acquiring Stephen Vogt and Joc Pederson.
They might not be done, and you better believe plenty of other MLB teams will be buyers going into the 2021 trade deadline.
That means some star players will be dealt, and I’m here to detail which big names could be on the move. With a look at teams buying and selling, let’s break down the MLB players that need to be traded at the 2021 deadline.
Cubs Trade Kris Bryant to Mets
Chicago has already been active on the trade block, so they unsurprisingly kick off the top MLB trades that need to happen in 2021.
The Cubs just had an 11-game losing streak at the worst time. Their GM stated that they were intending on buying before their 11-game skid, which put them more than 8 games back of the Brewers for the division lead.
This was an incredibly important season for the Cubs because their core is hitting free agency at the end of this season.
These big names become free agents at the end of the season.
- Kris Bryant
- Javier Baez
- Anthony Rizzo
They all could be on the chopping block. Bryant is the most likely to be shipped away because his agent is Scott Boras, who is famous for landing huge deals for his players.
Chicago has money issues and there is seemingly no way that they could afford to extend Bryant. They could land a huge return by trading him, as he is enjoying an impressive season.
There are several teams that could use Bryant, but none more than the New York Mets.
The dots are being connected here, too.
The Mets need a big-time bat in their lineup. The Mets pitching is their strong suit, but their team batting wRC+ is 16th lowest in the league. Bryant would give them a huge boost in their lineup and hit next to Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso.
The Cubs should try and get one of the Mets top prospects, but they might not get their best one (Francisco Alvarez), because Bryant is technically a rental for them. They should target third baseman prospect Brett Baty, who is the Mets #4 ranked prospect.
The Cubs should also try and grab some lower-ranked guys in a package deal.
- Prediction: Bryant traded to Mets
Cubs Trade Craig Kimbrel to Astros
The Cubs have other assets that they could trade, as well, mostly in their bullpen. Bullpen pitchers are a hot commodity when it comes to the trade deadline and the Cubs have a nice handful of them.
Their collective bullpen ERA is 6th best in the league at 3.40, and Craig Kimbrel is leading the way for them. Ryan Tepera, Dan Winkler, and Rex Brothers could also be nice trade pieces for them.
The Cubs should make the big decision to trade their top guys now in an attempt to land some more top prospects. One potential suitor that makes a lot of sense is Houston.
The Astros are blocking out the noise this year and find themselves in first place in the AL West.
Kimbrel can instantly help the Astros with his 0.57 ERA and 20 saves already. Kimbrel is also under contract for the 2022 season, so the Cubs can try and get more of a return.
The Cubs should target one of the Astros top 10 prospects, along with some lower-tier prospects as well.
- Prediction: Kimbrel traded to Astros
Nationals Trade Max Scherzer to Red Sox
The Washington Nationals are another team that has a very big decision to make at the deadline. They will probably wait until the very last minute to see if they have a shot at the postseason, but they should trade Scherzer, at least.
The Nationals only have 2 players in the top 100 prospect rankings, and they are both below rank 75. 7 out of their top 10 prospects are pitchers too, so if a couple of them can turn into some rotation pieces, that could make Scherzer the odd man out.
There is almost no way any of their prospects now are going to have the career that Scherzer has had, but they could potentially grab the next “Scherzer” or top-level talent by trading him.
The Nationals have some young stars that they are going to have to focus on paying and they probably won’t want to extend the 36-year-old for more than 2-3 years.
Scherzer could make big money coming into free agency and the Nationals trading him to a contender can help him make a case for a good contract if he plays well in the postseason.
It’s not like Mad Max isn’t still slaying, either. Just look at his 2021 numbers.
- 7-4 W/L record
- 83 ERA
- 142 strikeouts
The Nationals also have a good handful of impending free agents along with Scherzer. Their other upcoming free agents include Brad Hand, Starlin Castro, Josh Harrison, Jon Lester, Joe Ross, Ryan Zimmerman, and Daniel Hudson.
The Red Sox could take their team to the next level with Scherzer. They get Chris Sale back soon and he and Scherzer can provide elite-level pitching for the Red Sox as they try to beat out the Rays for the division lead.
The Boston starters have a collective ERA of 4.47 which is 10th worst in the entire league. They should grab Scherzer at the expense of a handful of good prospects.
- Prediction: Scherzer traded to Red Sox
Rangers Trade Joey Gallo to White Sox
Gallo is arbitration 3 eligible for 2022, so he might stay in Texas for another year or so, but the Rangers should at least try to trade the premium slugger while his value is high.
He could entice a team because they could get that extra year of control. Gallo is getting on base at a great rate (.402, 4th highest in the MLB), and hits for great power (24 home runs in 84 games this year). This has been his best year in the MLB so far and the Rangers should try and get a big return for him.
Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez, and Luis Robert are their core hitters and they are all righties. Once Jimenez and Robert are back to full health, the White Sox would have a dangerous collection of outfielders.
It would be awesome to see Gallo play in between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton as the Yankees would boast one of the most dangerous trio of power hitters the game has ever seen.
However, the White Sox have some more money to work with and that could help pay for Gallo’s arbitration coming up. Gallo could ultimately stay in Texas for another year, as well.
- Prediction: Gallo traded to White Sox
Nationals Trade Brad Hand to Giants
The Nationals may try to play out Scherzer’s contract in hopes of making the postseason, but they could get a huge return for him and need to strongly consider trading him. They could also trade their other veterans and rebuild their prospects and look forward to Juan Soto’s career.
Hand has been a solid closer throughout his career, but he also is a free agent at the end of the season. The Nationals can pair Scherzer and Hand together in order to land a big-name prospect, but Hand can get some good value by himself.
Hand can be a nice piece at the back end of the Giants’ bullpen.
- Prediction: Hand traded to San Francisco Giants
Mariners Trade Kyle Seager to Brewers
The Mariners are somewhat of a surprise at this point in the season. They find themselves five games above .500 (48-43) at this point in the season.
They probably won’t be able to reach the postseason at this point because they would probably have to battle for the Wild Card with the A’s, Angels, Red Sox, and/or Rays.
The Mariners should start to build around their core of J.P Crawford, Kyle Lewis, Ty France, and Justus Sheffield. They also have one of the very best prospects in all of baseball in Jarred Kelenic.
Kyle Seager’s contract is coming to an end, as the Mariners have him for this season and a club option for 2022 at $15 million. Seager’s past accomplishments will be his selling point, as he isn’t having an ideal year so far.
His .213/.280/.411 slash line isn’t pretty but should improve as the year goes on. He’s always a solid bet for 20+ home runs every year and he plays good defense from third base. He could be a sneaky good veteran option for a postseason team that needs some depth.
The Brewers have struggled to get production from their third basemen who have a collective wRC+ of 81, 23rd worst in the MLB. Seager can use a change of scenery and the Brewers need a jumpstart from third base.
The Brewers won’t probably have to offer a lot considering Seager’s performance so far this season, so that’s a bonus for them as well.
- Prediction: Seager traded to the Brewers
Twins Trade Nelson Cruz to Athletics
The ageless Nelson Cruz finds himself 15 games out of first at the break with the Twins in the final year of his contract. This is what the 41-year-old is doing this year.
- .301 batting average
- .380 OBP
- .543 slugging %
- 18 home runs
- 85 hits
- 47 RBI
He remains one of the very best power hitters in the league and he could do serious damage for a team who trades for him. His $13 million contract isn’t too expensive for a premier DH, too.
The Twins will have to trade him to another AL team because of his lack of defense.
Cruz could slide right into the DH role for the A’s and hit next to Matt Olson. Olson and Cruz would be a killer lefty-righty combination for the A’s.
The A’s also haven’t gotten a ton of production from their DH spot either, as they have a collective wRC+ of 97 (11th lowest in the AL). This comes down to what the A’s are willing to give up.
They will most likely want the Twins to pay for a portion of Cruz’s remaining contract, but that might cost them higher-end prospects.
The Twins should try and grab a nice prospect or a handful from the A’s in return for their top-tier DH.
- Prediction: Cruz traded to Athletics
Marlins Trade Jesus Aguilar to Red Sox
The Marlins find themselves in last in the NL East and 9 games back behind the first-place Mets. They made the Wild Card recently to a lot of people’s surprise in 2020, but this season is even more of a long shot.
The NL Wild Card is probably going to be two NL West teams, as the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres all have the best chances to make the postseason. The Marlins would have to climb all the way back from last to first in their division to make the postseason.
They have a good group of free agents hitting the market in 2021.
- Jesus Aguilar
- Starling Marte
- Yimi Garcia
Aguilar is a solid, power-hitting first baseman and could provide quality work for a contender. He may not cost a whole lot, but it’s better to get some prospects than no prospects if you are missing the playoffs.
The Red Sox are going to be gearing up for a playoff run, and they could use Aguilar’s stick.
Boston has not gotten a lot of production from the first base spot, with a collective wRC+ of 63, easily the lowest in the entire league. The Red Sox would be happy to grab Aguilar at a cheaper price in order to get them back in the game from the first baseman perspective.
- Prediction: Aguilar traded to Boston
Marlins Trade Starling Marte to Mets
The Marlins have a very nice collection of prospects. Of their 5 players in the top 100 prospects list, 3 of them are ranked within the top 20.
Sixto Sanchez (11), J.J Bleday (14), and Max Meyer (20) are going to be solid pieces for them in the near future. They should look to add to their list of good prospects with the departures of Aguilar, Marte, and Garcia.
The Marlins can look ahead to the future and set themselves up for a lot of success with their top-tier prospects.
Starling Marte is another quality hitter who could get some decent prospects for the Marlins. His .271 batting average and .382 on base percentage are very solid.
The Mets have struggled to get production offensively and defensively from their outfield, and Marte can help them in both categories. Marte is the 5th highest rated defender from the outfield position and 18th best offensively. He’s not going to hit a ton of home runs, but you can leave that to Pete Alonso.
- Prediction: Marte traded to the Mets
Looking to the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline
Only two moves have been made at a high level, so logic suggests teams are about to get very busy over the next week or so.
There are numerous teams that see the writing on the wall and will be prepared to have a fire sale, while playoff hopefuls can add some pieces and get serious about a title run.
Other deals could go down, but above are the MLB trades that should happen in 2021. For some insight as to which MLB teams could be more active than others – whether it be buying or selling – check out the posts below.