More than two-thirds of Major League Baseball teams were 9.0 games or less behind the top of their division or a Wild Card at the time of the All-Star break. With the deadline to make changes (July 30) getting closer and closer, the managers of several novenas will have to decide whether to go all out after a ticket to October or if it is time to trade players with an eye on the future.
Here are six unclear outlook outfits that could shake things up and impact the postseason landscape if they decide to sell in these two weeks.
(Odds of advancing to the playoffs until the All-Star break, via Fangraphs.com.)
Atlanta Braves (Postseason odds: 7.6%)
While the Braves moved quickly by acquiring outfielder Joc Pederson from the Cubs and catcher Stephen Vogt from the D-backs, they will likely have to be sellers either way before the end of July, according to MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal. . Atlanta is in the middle of a 15-game stretch in 14 days against Tampa Bay, San Diego, Philadelphia and the Mets to start the second half.
Main Piece of Change – LD Charlie Morton: Morton has looked fabulous in his last six starts, with a 2.31 ERA, 10 walks and 47 strikeouts.
A surprise choice – LZ Drew Smyly: The veteran is 5-0 with a 3.02 ERA since early June.
Will probably stay: 1B Freddie Freeman.
Chicago Cubs (Postseason odds: 3.1%)
The Cubs have made it clear that they are ready for business this July and have several quality pieces that could profoundly impact the postseason landscape.
Main Change Parts – 3B / OF Kris Bryant, LD Craig Kimbrel: Bryant seems to be the biggest name available this summer. Kimbrel, the intractable Cubs closer, has a 2022 team option on his contract, making him both more interesting and more expensive.
Surprise options – RHP Zach Davies, RHP Ryan Tepera: Davies had a 1.72 ERA in May. Tepera has a WHIP of 0.81 and opponents hit it for just .149.
They will probably stay: 1B Anthony Rizzo, SS Javier Báez.
Cincinnati Reds (Postseason odds: 11.1%)
The Reds seemed closer to buying than selling, but poor performances against the Brewers – leaders of their division – and the Mets, followed by another step back against the Cardinals could send Cincinnati to the sales department.
Main piece of change – LD Sonny Gray: It’s hard for the Reds to get out of Gray, who is under contractual control until 2023, which means it would take a tempting offer for the Reds to part ways with his ace.
A Surprise Choice – LZ Wade Miley: Miley has had a solid season – no-hitter included – and is 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA in his last nine starts.
You will probably stay: RF Nick Castellanos.
Los Angeles Angels (Odds of going to postseason: 11%)
The Angels have three high-profile superstars with Mike Trout, Anthony Rendón and Shohei Ohtani, but they are far from the postseason spots due to Trout’s injury and a pitching corps that is among the worst in the majors in career average. clean, WHIP and batting average against.
** Main game changer – RHP Raisel Iglesias: ** The Cuban is 22-19 in save chances this year, but can also take on a more than one-inning role thanks to nearly identical numbers against lefties and righties.
A surprising choice – LD Alex Cobb: He is in the Top 10 percent in percentage of barrels and out-of-zone pitches with swing from the opposition, according to Baseball Savant.
They will probably stay: Dylan Bundy, Colombian José Quintana and Andrew Heaney.
New York Yankees (Postseason odds: 34.6%)
The Yankees are more likely to end up buying, but if the team continues to struggle, it could be forced to make changes and find value where it can with 2022 in mind.
Main change piece – LZ Zack Britton: The Yankees activated Britton from the disabled list on July 15, which gives them the opportunity to use him in tight situations for other teams to take a look at.
A Surprise Choice – LD Chad Green: Green’s walk and turn rates are in the 90th percentile, according to Baseball Savant.
They will probably stay: RF Aaron Judge, C Gary Sánchez.
Seattle Mariners (Postseason odds: 3.9%)
The Mariners have been one of the surprises of the season and are in contention for an American League Wild Card, thanks in part to excellent extra-inning records and games decided by a run. That said, perhaps the best thing they can do is sell top-of-the-line talent with an eye toward 2022 and beyond.
Main Piece of Change – RF Mitch Haniger: Haniger has found another rhythm this month, with an OPS hovering around 1,000 throughout July. Represents an option with more than one year of contract for various contenders.
A surprise choice – LD Kendall Graveman: Graveman has been a star part of the Mariners’ bullpen, going 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA.
Will probably stay: LZ Yusei Kikuchi.