Summer in North American sports means the end of the NBA and NHL seasons, pre-season training camps for the NFL and the MLB trade deadline, which hits on Tuesday August 1st this year.
With clubs able to trade players until the very last minute on deadline day, there’s sure to be fierce negotiations taking place at ballparks across the United States right up until the wire, but who are likely to be the big players everyone’s trying to get?
Let’s take a look…
Marcus Stroman to Texas Rangers
Having experienced a torrid time across the last few seasons, the Texas Rangers are having an incredible year this campaign. They top the American League West and are one of only three teams in the American League as a whole to have won more than 40 games.
There’s been a lot of investment recently, with new players arriving (notably New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, who signed during the offseason on a $185 million contract) and Bruce Bochy coming in as manager.
These signings have certainly paid off and the Rangers will want to be as proactive as possible in the trade market to keep the pace and prevent their form from fading.
One area they need immediate backup in is, ironically, deGrom’s. He’s out for the rest of this season and part of the 2024 campaign with an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.
Chicago Cubs’ Marcus Stroman certainly isn’t the only player Rangers will be looking at, but he’s in the middle of a fantastic season and is likely a target. Stroman himself is passionate about staying at Wrigley Field, but with the Cubs so far showing little movement on a contract extension, the 32-year-old’s hand may be forced.
Aroldis Chapman to Cincinnati Reds
Relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman has been on fine form for the Kansas City Royals this season and while he’s not expressed any specific desire to leave Kauffman Stadium, social media has been alight with rumours about his future.
With Chapman in such good form and a wealth of experience behind him, a number of clubs (including the Rangers) are said to be interested in him, but an unexpected factor could play a key role in the 35-year-old’s decision-making: age and nostalgia
Chapman started his career with the Cincinnati Reds back in 2010, staying with the club until 2015 when he joined the Yankees for the first of two stints. Now, as he approaches the end of his time in the MLB, he’s spoken of the possibility of returning to the Great American Ball Park.
“I’ve played for 13, 14 years in the big leagues, and I don’t know how many more years I’ll play,” he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’d be awesome to play my last year or two years with my first team.”
Lucas Giolito to the Dodgers or the Braves
After a below-par 2022 season, Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito has enjoyed a stellar 2023 campaign, with some even suggesting he’ll grab a place in the All-Star team in July.
He’s certainly been one of the few bright spots in what’s been a poor season for the Sox. The Chicago team are struggling for form but still stand a chance of making it through to the post-season because no other team in the American League Central has truly taken hold of the division.
Much will rest on how the rest of the season plays out, but with rumor suggesting that the club won’t bring Giolito back when his contract expires rivals will be on red alert as the trade deadline looms. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braces are said to be among those waiting in the wings.