The 2021 MLB trade deadline is approaching, and we already have a decent sense of which contending teams will be looking to add some key pieces.
Let’s rank some teams who will almost certainly be buying at the deadline.
3. San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are one of the most exciting teams in baseball, and they’re firmly in the mix in the NL West.
The Padres have an elite bullpen and rotation, but there are some holes in the lineup that they may want to fill.
With Jurrickson Profar and Tommy Pham struggling, San Diego could use another outfielder.
If the Padres really want to make a splash, they could bring in Kris Bryant of the Cubs.
Bryant is having the best year of his career, with a league-leading 184 OPS+ and a .308/.401/.615 slash line.
Top 5 MLB offensive WAR:
1. Xander Bogaerts (2.6)
2. Mike Trout (2.3)
3. Kris Bryant (2.2)
4. Byron Buxton (2.1)
5. JD Martinez (2.0)
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) May 16, 2021
He’s on pace for 37 home runs, which would be Bryant’s highest mark since his 2016 MVP season.
Bryant is a free agent after the season.
2. New York Yankees
The New York Yankees were extremely slow out of the gate this season, but they’re finally putting it all together.
The top point of emphasis at the deadline for New York has to be offense.
The Yankees have a team OPS of .699 and rank 24th in average at .227.
Trevor Story could prove to be a valuable rental option.
The 28-year-old has received MVP votes for three straight seasons, and has a decent slash line of .258/.330/.421 this year.
Story would be an option over Gleyber Torres at shortstop who has had a rough season.
If the Yankees really want to upgrade a point of weakness, they could trade for Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras.
Gary Sanchez (.192 BA, .696 OPS) has been a liability this season.
Kyle Higashioka—the Yankees’ only other catcher on the roster—actually has an .822 OPS (despite a .193 batting clip), so the team does have a decent second option already.
Contreras, however, has posted an above-league-average OPS+ in five of his six MLB seasons, and would really stabilize the position for New York.
1. Boston Red Sox
Keeping things in the same division, the Boston Red Sox are ahead of schedule and exceeding expectations this season.
The AL East is extremely competitive, but Boston is holding steady at the top with a 27-18 record.
Here are the current AL East standings 👀 pic.twitter.com/0bFF8S8TT7
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 21, 2021
There are two major areas where the Red Sox could look to improve.
First, the team lacks a reliable left-handed reliever.
The Boston bullpen has been serviceable thus far and has a 3.75 ERA, but all of the team’s top options are righties.
LHP Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers could be on the move this deadline despite the Brewers being in the postseason mix.
The speculation is that the Brewers are likely going to attempt to maximize his value before they can no longer afford his contract as he gets more and more expensive through arbitration.
Hader could put this Red Sox bullpen over the top, but he would come at a tall price.
Aside from relief help, the team could use some outfield depth.NEXT: 3 MLB Teams That Will Be Selling At The Deadline