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The Aug. 1 Major League Baseball 2023 trade deadline is just around the bend, and that means teams are deep in trade discussions right now. Some are looking like obvious buyers -- particularly in light of the expanded postseason field -- and others are very much in seller territory. Others, however, have a less certain path forward and may not know until the final hours whether they're trading away vets, acquiring them, or doing nothing much at all. So we're stepping into that uncertain fray to categorize each team as a buyer or seller or, failing that, note the uncertainties that are making things, well, uncertain. 

By way of reminder, there's only one trade deadline in MLB these days, and that's been the case since 2019. Players can still be claimed on outright waivers after the deadline, but they can't be traded. 

Now let's jump in (teams are listed in alphabetical order).

Arizona Diamondbacks

Status: Soft buyer

The D-Backs don't really spend these days, which means they're probably not going to trade many players who are cost-controlled and have long-term value. As such, they'll probably do some bargain-bin shopping for relievers and maybe some back-end rotation help. 

Atlanta Braves

Status: Soft buyer

The Braves at this juncture have the strongest active roster in baseball and as such they don't have much to do before Aug. 1. Like any contender, they could use additional bullpen depth, so that's probably the extent of what they'll get done. A play for additional rotation depth is also a possibility if they lose confidence about their injured starters being able to adhere to their timelines. 

Baltimore Orioles

Status: Buyer

The Orioles are in the mix for not only the AL East title but also the top overall postseason seed. As such, they should be aggressive in adding both rotation and relief help. Baltimore also has room in the budget to take on significant salary to that end. 

Boston Red Sox

Status: Buyer

Maybe the Sox rotation gets healthier in time for the stretch drive, but they can't take that chance. They've got a shot to get back in the playoffs after finishing in last place in 2022, and GM Chaim Bloom's job security could use such a boost. As such, Boston needs to be angling for starting pitching leading up to Aug. 1. 

Chicago Cubs

Status: Seller

The Cubs are fading from contention in the NL Central, and that likely means they'll be shedding veterans at the deadline. Marcus Stroman and Cody Bellinger should have strong markets in particular. The Cubs have been rebuilding for some time, so obviously another teardown won't be acceptable. Walk-year and pillow-contract guys, however, should be headed elsewhere. Will they also move franchise stalwart Kyle Hendricks?

Chicago White Sox

Status: Seller

Walk-year right-hander Lucas Giolito figures to be one of the top prizes of the deadline, and the market for his services figures to be healthy indeed. Lance Lynn also figures to go. One of the leading deadline subplots is whether the Sox decide to part with ace Dylan Cease, who isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2025 season. Needless to say, he'd net Chicago a very healthy return. 

Cincinnati Reds

Status: Buyer

The rotation is the priority in Cincy, and it must be addressed if they're going to emerge as the Cinderella winners of the NL Central. Yes, the Reds still figure to get Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo back, but help is still in order. Owner Bob Castellini should be willing to take on payroll to get something done, at least if he's inclined to do his part. 

Cleveland Guardians

Status: Buyer

Thanks to their calling the AL Central home, the Guards are very much alive for a postseason berth despite a .500-ish record. They're burdened by what to date has been one of the AL's worst offenses, so they badly need at least one bat that can plausibly be slotted in the middle of the order. 

Colorado Rockies

Status: Seller

It's never easy to figure out what exactly the Rockies are doing at any given juncture, but if horse-sense prevails then they'll flip a few veteran pieces before Aug. 1. There should be markets for C.J. Cron and maybe Randal Grichuk and Jurickson Profar, and the Rox should seek to move any reliever they can. 

Detroit Tigers

Status: Probable seller/possible buyer

The "probable" is attached because the Tigers are a hot handful of games from being back in the AL Central race. What they should do for now is hold, evaluate, and have groundwork discussions with a variety of teams. At this juncture, they profile as sellers, which means, mostly, moving rotation pieces like Eduardo Rodriguez and Michael Lorenzen

Houston Astros

Status: Buyer

The Astros are angling for their seventh straight playoff berth and more essentially trying to become the first team to repeat as World Series champs since the 1999-2000 Yankees. The margins in the AL are tight, though. After the free-agent loss of Justin Verlander followed by season-ending injuries to Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia, first-year GM Dana Brown badly needs to add rotation help leading up to the deadline. 

Kansas City Royals

Status: Seller

Top-line reliever Scott Barlow is probably their most interesting chip. There's been some semi-informed speculation about franchise catcher Salvador Perez, but it's hard to see that happening unless he expressly wants a change of scenery. Veteran moundsman Zack Greinke could be appealing to contenders in need of rotation depth provided he's open to being dealt. Whatever the specifics, the earlier trade of Aroldis Chapman suggests the sale is on in K.C. 

Los Angeles Angels

Status: Buyer

The deadline's most intriguing team is right now too close to a wild-card spot – and thus too close to their first postseason berth since 2014 – to justify selling. Shohei Ohtani remains the most compelling trade hypothetical, but it would take a quick collapse between now and deadline day to give the Angels the cover needed to ship off the best and most popular baseball player in the world. Even if they do slip in the standings, do you trade Ohtani knowing he might make a stretch-drive run at 60 homers? That's a lot of lost ticket sales if you move him. What the Angels really need is rotation help to get Ohtani and Mike Trout into the playoffs. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

Status: Buyer

Injuries and surprising ineffectiveness have hit the L.A. rotation hard this season. If they're to fend off the D-Backs, Giants, and maybe even Padres in the NL West, then they'll need rotation help. That's priority No. 1 for lead operator Andrew Friedman, and they could also use some right-handed thump in the outfield. 

Miami Marlins

Status: Buyer

The upstart Marlins right now rank 14th in the NL in runs scored. While they rank a more palatable ninth in OPS, they could still use some lineup improvements for the stretch drive. In particular, they need other options at the infield corners, and they have the organizational pitching depth to acquire it. 

Milwaukee Brewers

Status: Buyer

If the Brewers are going to fend off the Reds in the NL Central, then they'll need to address what may be the worst offense in the senior circuit. First base and right field are both notable weak spots for Milwaukee even though both are bat-first positions. 

Minnesota Twins

Status: Buyer

The first-place Twins have the most talent roster in the division and are payroll-committed to winning now, so they need to fortify. Specifically, they need additional bullpen depth and a bat – ideally an outfield bat who bats from the right side (Tyler O'Neill of the Cardinals is a possible fit). 

New York Mets

Status: Soft seller

The largest payroll in MLB history has not yielded contention, and the Mets should pivot as much as they can at the deadline. The problem is that they don't have a lot of moveable talents who will be appealing to other teams. If the Mets are willing to kick in cash and no-trade provisions can be addressed, then Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander will have markets. Otherwise, they're probably looking at flipping lesser pieces for lesser returns. 

New York Yankees

Status: Buyer

Thanks to their flawed roster construction, the Yankees are woefully desperate for offense in the absence of Aaron Judge. They need multiple bats, and they could also use additional rotation depth. GM Brian Cashman needs to bold leading up to Aug. 1, and he absolutely must at least come away with an impact, middle-of-the-order bat. The Shohei Ohtani speculation will be hot and heavy, and he would of course be a dream addition for the Yankees or any other contender for that matter. 

Oakland A's

Status: Seller

The shame of it is the A's can't trade their utterly miserable owner John Fisher and his abiding jester Dave Kaval. Things as they are, they'll strip mine the roster for whatever's left. That probably means Paul Blackburn and maybe a few other names that don't rise to the level of Paul Blackburn. 

Philadelphia Phillies

Status: Buyer

The Phils are laudably committed to defending their National League title, so they figure to seek out help at the deadline. In particular, they could use a right-handed bat to help Kyle Schwarber  in left field and maybe even occasionally spell Bryce Harper against tough lefties. That should be easy enough to turn up. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

Status: Seller

The Pirates' post-April collapse has put them firmly in sell territory. Veteran lefty Rich Hill should be shopped aggressively. While you can easily make a case for keeping lockdown closer David Bednar, the Pirates could also get quite a return for him should they decide to go that route. No, do not trade Andrew McCutchen unless he specifically asks to be moved to a contender. 

San Diego Padres

Status: Buy for now

To their enduring credit, the Padres are heavily invested in winning now, but the 2023 season hasn't unfolded as hoped. They're below .500 right now but within hailing distance of the final NL wild-card spot. Given the talent on the roster, the Pads are capable of finding their level and going on a run at any moment, so at the very least they should hold steady at the deadline. If they decide to add, then they have needs they can address. Teams don't often acquire new starting catchers at the deadline, but the Padres have a real need for better production behind the plate now that Gary Sánchez seems to have come back to earth. Additional bullpen depth is in order, and first base has also been a weak spot. 

San Francisco Giants

Status: Buyer

The Giants' patchwork roster has again exceeded expectations and yielded relevance, but probably they'll need some help if they're going to remain in playoff position. The back of the rotation could use a known quantity/upgrade, and there's also a need for additional infield depth. 

Seattle Mariners

Status: Buyer

Seattle should've addressed the offense this past offseason, but they took a pass on doing so. Now they need to address it at the deadline at a cost of young talent in trade. They need better production in the outfield, and they could also use an upgrade at second base. The only good news is that the market for those upgrades may be a bit less crowded than the market for rotation upgrades. 

St. Louis Cardinals

Status: Seller

The Cardinals, one of the most disappointing teams of the 2023 season, aren't going to trade anyone who's essential to their hopes for a rebound in 2024. Most notably, that means Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt aren't going anywhere. However, the Cards will be looking to move walk-year contributors like Jordan Montgomery, Jordan Hicks, Jack Flaherty, and Chris Stratton. Among others, outfielder Tyler O'Neill also figures to be shipped off. 

Tampa Bay Rays

Status: Buyer

Some of the shine has come off since the Rays' legendary start to the season, and that's largely because of pitching injuries. They should be looking to fortify both the rotation and the bullpen before the deadline arrives. 

Texas Rangers

Status: Buyer

Even after the recent deal for Aroldis Chapman, the Rangers still need bullpen reinforcements. A lack of lockdown options in the bullpen could leave them exposed in October, and there's too much talent on this roster to allow that flaw to survive the deadline. 

Toronto Blue Jays

Status: Soft buyer

The Jays don't have any glaring roster needs, so they could be justified in sitting out this particular deadline. That said, even after the return of Hyun-Jin Ryu from Tommy John surgery they might be looking for rotation help. More specifically, they might be looking for someone to replace Alek Manaoh if the big right-hander continues to struggle. 

Washington Nationals

Status: Seller

The Nats don't have a whole lot left to deal away, but they shouldn't have much trouble finding deals for Jeimer Candelario and Lane Thomas. As well, Patrick Corbin is moveable provided the Nats kick in cash, and Trevor Williams and Dom Smith might also have markets. That's to say nothing of any bullpen arms.