Major League Baseball's trade deadline is less than two weeks away. Unlike in years past, teams will no longer be permitted to make deals after July 31 this season. As such, teams on the outskirts of the playoff picture will have to make a call: Do they buy, do they sell, or do they stand pat and let the winds of destiny guide them as they may? We'll find out soon enough what the real general managers decide to do over the coming weeks.

In the interim, we decided we'd partake in a little role-playing exercise by highlighting one (very fake) trade that each team should execute ahead of the deadline. Before we get to the roster shuffling, let's lay some ground rules, beginning with the most important: These trades are to be consumed as entertainment and nothing more. We're not saying the teams are interested in these players, or that these deals are likely to happen. In some cases, we're outright dreamcasting.

We also didn't make an effort to include every big name or player likely to be dealt at the deadline, nor did we go through the trouble of trying to identify a worthwhile prospect return in every instance. Think of this as trying to provide the general outline of what teams should do at the deadline, with us leaving it to them to fill in the finer details.

Onto the nonsense.

Prospect watch

Diamondbacks trade Greg Holland to the Cubs for a mid-tier prospect: If the Diamondbacks decide to sell, closer Greg Holland would likely draw interest from every contender on the block. We think the Cubs would be wise to check in on his availability. 

Braves acquire Chris Martin from the Rangers for a mid-tier prospect: We like Chris Martin, and we think contenders will too if the Rangers make him available. Though Martin is a free agent at season's end, he's established himself as a quality big-league reliever since returning from overseas in 2018. Because Martin is a short-term addition, and because he can't be marketed as a closer, we think the return would be modest.

Orioles trade Jonathan Villar to the Cubs for a mid-tier prospect: The Orioles don't have a ton of movable assets. They've already moved Andrew Cashner and we have Mychael Givens and Jonathan Villar both going elsewhere -- to the Phillies and Cubs, respectively. (You can maybe try to find a Trey Mancini deal if you wanted. We didn't.) Neither is likely to bring back a top-flight prospect.

Red Sox acquire Billy Hamilton from the Royals for a low-level prospect: Presuming the Red Sox continue to buy, they could probably use another outfielder. We're plugging in Billy Hamilton because, while he's non-threatening to Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr., we just really want to see Hamilton used as a pinch-runner extraordinaire come October.

Cubs acquire Jonathan Villar from the Orioles for a mid-tier prospect: The Daniel Descalso deal hasn't worked out. So, how about trading for Jonathan Villar as a means of improving the second-base situation? 

White Sox trade James McCann to a contender for a mid-tier prospectJames McCann has been very good for the White Sox, which may make this a hard sell. But it would be fun to see the Athletics, the Rays, or the Reds (or anyone else, really) take a leap of faith that McCann will keep hitting the rest of the year as a means of improving their playoff odds. And if the White Sox can get a decent prospect for a half-season of surprise hitting? All the better. 

Reds acquire Jake Diekman from the Royals for a low-level prospect: Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson is a bit of a miracle worker. Let's give him a real test by handing him Jake Diekman, who has good stuff but can't throw strikes consistently. If Johnson can turn Diekman into a shutdown lefty setup man, then it's probably time to open an investigation.

Cleveland acquires Nicholas Castellanos from the Tigers for a mid-tier prospect: Cleveland could use another bat -- one who can ideally anchor the DH position for the rest of the year -- so we're giving the team Nicholas Castellanos. There aren't many other teams expected to compete for Castellanos, and he's a free agent at season's end, so Cleveland could probably get him at a modest cost.

Rockies acquire Austin Brice from Marlins for a mid-tier prospect: The Rockies could use another reliever if they're serious about their playoff push. We'll throw them Austin Brice of the Marlins, who has generated more than 50 percent grounders for his career.

Tigers trade Shane Greene (and more?) to the Dodgers for prospects, including an upper-level one: The Tigers are mentioned here a few times. We'll focus on the idea of shipping Shane Greene to the Dodgers. The Tigers are known to be asking for big returns on all their players. Would they be able to get someone like Tony Gonsolin in return? Who knows, but maybe they'd throw in Joe Jimenez or Buck Farmer if Andrew Friedman asked nicely.

Astros acquire Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays for a prospect package, including an upper-level one: The Astros have been known to be interested in adding a starter. Let's get funky and have them land Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays. Houston could tinker with Stroman's pitch selection (or not) and try to eke a little more out of him. Or not, seeing as how he's already pretty good. It would be fun to see him perform in the postseason again no matter what.

Royals trade Ian Kennedy (and cash?) to the Nationals for a prospect of appropriate value: We have the Royals making a couple of trades. We'll focus on the Ian Kennedy-to-Washington idea, because it could work two ways: either with the Nationals eating money as the main part of the equation, or with the Royals devouring most of the more than $20 million he's owed through next season in order to get something back. Either way, we think it's worth pursuing.

Angels trade Kole Calhoun to an unnamed contender for a mid-tier prospect: The Angels are in a tough spot. You can argue they're the fourth most likely AL West team to make the postseason. Under that line of thinking, they'd probably be wise to sell. Kole Calhoun has a $14 million club option for next season which may or may not be exercised. He should have value to contending teams nonetheless, and might bring back an interesting piece.

Dodgers acquire Shane Green (and others?) from the Tigers for a prospect package, including an upper-tier one: We think the Dodgers need to add a reliever or two. Maybe they could get a pair of arms from the Tigers -- like, say, Shane Greene and Buck Farmer or Joe Jimenez -- if they were willing to dangle Tony Gonsolin. Maybe not. There's a reason Andrew Friedman is where he is and we aren't.

Marlins trade Nick Anderson to the Rays for a mid-tier prospect: The Marlins don't have a ton to trade, necessarily, but they're likely to field countless calls about their pitching depth -- especially in the bullpen. We have Nick Anderson and his standout breaking ball headed to Tampa Bay. What would the Marlins get in return? Perhaps someone like Ian Gibaut, who has been made available in past trade talks and could eventually turn into an Anderson-like reliever on his own.

Brewers acquire Zack Wheeler from the Mets for a prospect package: The Brewers acquiring Zack Wheeler all these years later sounds like the premise for a bad romcom. We're all-in on it, however, as we think Wheeler has untapped upside (if he's healthy). 

Twins acquire Will Smith from Giants for an upper-tier prospect: The Twins are one of the best stories in baseball. Let's keep the good vibes going by adding Will Smith from the Giants to shore up the late innings. Smith, a free agent at season's end, could even bring a friend with him (like Sam Dyson, perhaps?) if the Twins want to get frisky.

Mets trade Zack Wheeler to the Brewers for a prospect package: Zack Wheeler figures to be one of the more intriguing starters moved this deadline for reasons we've outlined elsewhere. Again, it's dependent on his health, but some around the league expect he's going to bring back more than expected, too. The Brewers don't have a good farm system anymore, but we love the idea of Wheeler ending up in Milwaukee after all these years.

Yankees acquire Madison Bumgarner from the Giants for a prospect package, including an upper-level one: The Yankees are shopping around for starting pitching help. Whether or not they land on Madison Bumgarner is anyone's guess, but we think such a pairing makes sense. Watching Bumgarner square off against, say, Justin Verlander in the ALCS would be fun -- and, as an added bonus, the Yankees would still be able to stay under the steepest part of the luxury tax.

Athletics acquire Corey Dickerson and Jordan Lyles from the Pirates for a prospect package: The Athletics have already added Homer Bailey. They could use some more help, however, so how's about a two-for? They get Corey Dickerson and Jordan Lyles from the Pirates for combination of prospects. Exciting? Not really, but more effective than their current options? Perhaps!

Phillies acquire Mychael Givens from the Orioles for a prospect package: We're painting by the numbers for this one. The Phillies front office is familiar with Mychael Givens from their shared days in Baltimore. Meanwhile, the Phils have an obvious need for bullpen help and don't have the prospect war chest required to make a huge splash. Sometimes it's silly to say one-plus-one equals two, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Pirates trade Corey Dickerson and Jordan Lyles to Athletics for a prospect package: The Pirates should trade Melky Cabrera to whichever contender wants a bat off the bench. We also have them dealing Corey Dickerson and Jordan Lyles to Oakland for a prospect package. 

Padres acquire Omar Narvaez from the Mariners for a prospect package: Honestly, beats us. The Padres appear to be on the hunt for an ace. We don't think a deal is likely at the deadline. We do think they could move some of their prospect depth -- especially someone like Joey Cantillo, who has upside -- for an upgrade. For the sake of the exercise, let's say they deal for Omar Narvaez to give them an offensive boost behind the dish.

Giants trade Madison Bumgarner to the Yankees for a prospect package, including an upper-tier one: We have the Giants dealing Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith despite their sudden proximity to the postseason picture. 

Mariners trade Mike Leake and cash to an unnamed contender for a mid-tier prospect: The Mariners have made so many trades that it's hard to identify just one for them to make. We'll go with Mike Leake, with the caveat that in our version of reality Seattle's ownership will eat enough coin to get the best possible prospect return -- that's not a given in the actual reality, but whatever.

Cardinals acquire Alex Colome from the White Sox for a mid-tier prospect: We're not quite sure what to make of the Cardinals. We'll give them Alex Colome because it's the kind of move they aren't likely to regret if they come up short in their playoff push.

Rays acquire Nick Anderson from the Marlins for a mid-tier prospect: As we mentioned in the Marlins section, we have the Rays acquiring Nick Anderson. Anderson would then crank up his breaking-ball usage even more -- the way Chaz Roe and others have under Tampa Bay's watch -- with the hope that it would help his ERA match his peripherals.

Rangers trade Chris Martin to the Braves for a mid-tier prospect: We mentioned Chris Martin in the Braves section. We could easily throw out some others, but under such a scenario it would be neat to see the Rangers grab a Chad Sobotka or otherwise unproven arm with the chance to contribute now and later.

Blue Jays trade Marcus Stroman to the Astros for a prospect package, including an upper-tier one: The Blue Jays continue to transition to a new core, and while they should consider re-signing Marcus Stroman, we think a trade is more likely. Dipping into Houston's system and trying to net Kyle Tucker (trying being the key word) would be an all right consolation prize.

Nationals acquire Ian Kennedy (and cash?) from the Royals in exchange for a prospect of appropriate value: The Nationals are, obviously, shopping for relief help. We like the idea of them eating Ian Kennedy's money in order to add another quality arm in lieu of having to send out prospects that, frankly, they don't have in the first place. Whether the Lerners like that idea as much as we do is to be determined.