MLB trade deadline: Yankees need pitching, Dodgers' next move and more storylines to watch

With Major League Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline passing on July 31, teams have about 12 days to work out deals before the stretch run.

Already this week, swaps have gone down involving Manny Machado and Brad Hand -- likely the best hitter and reliever on the market. Yet that doesn't mean everything is settled.

There are a number of interesting storylines that remain unresolved. We'll take a look at five of them now, but you can also follow the latest trade rumor buzz in our daily roundup, and follow the details of every deal as it happens in our trade tracker.

Will the Yankees find a starter?

The Yankees are going to make the postseason, there's no doubt about that. New York enters the second half 62-33, some 4 1/2 games back in the American League East, but five games up on the Mariners for the first wild-card slot and eight games up on the Athletics.

The question with the Yankees, then, is if Brian Cashman can land a starter at the deadline. Luis Severino will be in the conversation for the AL Cy Young Award and CC Sabathia continues to disobey Father Time. Beyond that, the Yankees' rotation is uneven: Masahiro Tanaka allowed too many home runs for anyone's comfort; Sonny Gray has been a mess; and Domingo German's body of work suggests he cannot be trusted with a spot in the playoff rotation.

The Yankees have been tied to J.A. Happ all month, and he still seems like the most likely fit. Still, don't rule out the Yankees inquiring on Mets aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, as well as potentially making another run at Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer, among others. In other words, it seems like a matter of "who", not "if," the Yankees will add to their rotation.

What will the other AL superteams do?

Yankees aside, the other top teams in the AL could have quiet deadlines.

Barring an injury, the Red Sox already have the four members of their postseason rotation on the roster, in Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, David Price, and Eduardo Rodriguez. Both Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz are out injured, so perhaps Boston tries adding a cheap back-end arm for depth purposes. Dave Dombrowski will almost certainly add a relief pitcher, and should call around for infield depth. At this point, there's no sense trusting Dustin Pedroia's health. Add in Eduardo Nunez's scuffles at the plate, and maybe the Red Sox will find themselves in on Brian Dozier and the other available second-base options.

The Astros certainly don't need another starter. They could check in on relievers, like most every other contender, and owe it to themselves to call on a few hitters -- what's the ask on Jose Abreu these days? Otherwise, Houston can rest easy knowing it'll get Carlos Correa and Brian McCann back eventually, and that prospects Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley (currently injured) have a chance to contribute more than many of the players on the block.

In all likelihood, the Indians have already made their big move: nabbing Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the Padres in exchange for Francisco Mejia. Cleveland figures to find another outfielder, with Adam Jones being a sensible target. It's also possible that Cleveland pursues one more reliever, albeit more of a rental type.

Are the Dodgers done?

On Wednesday, the Dodgers landed shortstop Manny Machado, widely believed to be the best player available on the market. Since then, they've turned their efforts to finding another reliever.

Complicating that search is the Dodgers' desire to stay underneath the luxury tax. According to Cot's Contracts' estimate, Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi have about $4 million of breathing room. They could look to free up about $4 million more by including declining second baseman Logan Forsythe in a deal. That's probably easier said than done though.

Expect the Dodgers to be linked to most every late-game reliever. If they proceed like they did last deadline, don't be surprised if they overlook the Zach Brittons of the market and end up with a Jake Diekman type.

Can the surprise teams pull off another shocker?

Few expected the Phillies and Braves to be the dominant teams in the NL East at the midway point. But with that being the case, how will they proceed at the deadline?

The Phillies, a half-game up on the Braves, have already struck out on both Manny Machado and Brad Hand. That doesn't mean Philadelphia will pack it in for the rest of the month. The Phillies are certain to check in on most every reliever available, and ought to see if they can land either Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar or Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas.

As for the Braves, they too could use some relief help. Alex Anthopoulos has warned against expecting a big deal for a rental, suggesting he's more likely to pursue down-market fits. That figures to include another starting pitcher and perhaps a right-handed outfielder.

Will Realmuto be moved?

We've seen one All-Star hitter moved this deadline. Might there be another?

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has been named in rumors dating back to last winter. He's still in Miami, and it seems like his name has been missing from the buzz of the silly season.

The Marlins have every right to be demanding the moon and more for their franchise backstop. Will the Nationals, Brewers, or Astros step up and meet the ask? Or will Realmuto, who hit .310/.365/.536 in the first half, waste another year of his prime toiling away for a bad team?

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories