By Cole Parkinson
It’s the Dog Days of summer and the trade deadline is approaching quickly — which means it should be an entertaining week for MLB teams looking to add for the final portion of the season.
The Toronto Blue Jays should be one of those teams looking to add multiple pieces for their playoff drive, and while they are currently occupying the top Wild Card spot, they have several holes. I’d expect them to add a bullpen arm or two, a starter, and another bench player. While adding Juan Soto would be fantastic, don’t expect it because most teams in MLB are hoping to pry him out of Washington. The Jays desperately need help from the pitching side — starters and bullpen — so that should be priority one if a Soto trade can’t be made.
Looking at the AL East, this past weekend may have been the nail in the coffin for the Boston Red Sox. The Jays ran them outta Fenway on Friday with a 28-5 win and then followed it up with 4-1 and 8-4 wins for the sweep. And sure, injuries have hampered the Sox, but with the deadline only days away, how can they possibly add at the deadline? I’m not suggesting they blow it up or anything, but trading away their best prospects away for 2022 seems like a bad idea. Reloading for next season looks to be the path for Boston, and they have tons of players hitting free agency including Nathan Eovaldi and J.D. Martinez, while Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers are arb eligible.
Why is that a bad idea for Boston to go all out at the deadline? Well, for one, the New York Yankees look like they’ve already clinched the top spot in the AL East. With a 66-31 record after the weekend and a 12.5 lead over the second-place Jays, it would take a massive fall from grace to upset the Yankees this season. They most certainly will be adding and they’ve been linked to Andrew Benintendi and Juan Soto. Like every other team hoping to reach the postseason, I’d be shocked if they don’t add a pitcher or two as well. Their starting five has been really good, especially with the breakout season of Nestor Cortes, so they may not need another starting pitcher. Though placing Luis Severino back on the IL may force the Yankees’ front office to add a backend starter just in case — you can never have too much pitching.
Looking at the Tampa Bay Rays, they’re still right in the thick of things as they sit in third place in the AL East and second in the Wild Card. And what can even be said about the Rays? They continue to do more with less. They don’t pay players high salaries but they trot out winning teams every year. They tried to sign Freddie Freeman last offseason and with the team ranking near the bottom in home runs, OPS, and batting average, I’d bet they look to acquire a power hitter to solidify their middle of the lineup. With a strong pitching staff in place, some more offence could do wonders for the Rays as they hope to clinch a Wild Card at the very least.
And lastly, the Baltimore Orioles have been a very nice surprise after the last few seasons of absolutely atrocious baseball. After the weekend, they were a game under .500 with a 46-47 record, and while they may not be headed to the postseason, I think O’s fans have to be happy with where they’re headed…finally. Adley Rutschman is here and the O’s have plenty more prospects knocking at the door including pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, infielder Gunnar Henderson, and outfielder Colton Cowser. Look for the O’s to trade Trey Mancini and another few players before the deadline to stock the prospect cupboards even more. They have a few MLB full-time players (Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle, Austin Hayes) under team control for another few seasons, so they could turn this thing around fairly quickly if things fall into place.