MLB Power Rankings: Orioles reach a season high; bold-ish trade deadline predictions (2024)

By Grant Brisbee, Andy McCullough and Stephen J. Nesbitt

Every week,​ we​ ask a selected group of our baseball​ writers​ — local and national — torank the teams from first to worst. Here are the collective results.

These were supposed to be bold predictions. They were to be spicy predictions, each one with more capsaicin than the last. However, one of us doesn’t make bold predictions. We’re not naming names, but he has a book about Clayton Kershaw that you should buy, and his predictions are as spicy as unsalted hot dog water. It’s a shame.

Advertisem*nt

Of course, even the unseasoned predictions will be wrong. We’re some weeks away from knowing anything concrete about the deadline. We don’t even know who’s buying and selling, other than a couple teams.

So let’s be wrong together. Here are some (mild-to-medium) predictions for the 2024 MLB Trade Deadline.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 55-29
Last Power Ranking: 1

Trade deadline prediction: Dealer Dave goes for it

For the first time in a while, the Phillies didn’t make many major additions this past winter. They re-upped with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler while keeping the lineup intact. The team saw itself as a good bet to return to the postseason, and they’ve already out-performed expectations, zooming past the Braves to control the National League East. The Phillies are good enough to win it all. But it would be on brand for Dave Dombrowski to trawl the market for a major addition — something like Oakland reliever Mason Miller. The Athletics are expected to ask a lot for Miller. Has there ever been an executive with a stronger track record of making these sorts of deals than Dombrowski? — Andy McCullough

2. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 53-31
Last Power Ranking: 3

Trade deadline prediction: Mike Elias upgrades the rotation

Elias built up Baltimore’s roster with patience. He wasn’t willing to deal away prized prospects for marginal upgrades. When it came time to make a big move, he did so during the winter, bundling a few minor-leaguers in exchange for one season of Corbin Burnes. With Kyle Bradish, John Means and Tyler Wells all out for the season, the Orioles once again have a sizable hole in their rotation. The farm system still features enough talent to procure a replacement through a trade. The question will be if Baltimore is willing to potentially overpay for a risky investment like White Sox starter Garrett Crochet, who does not feature a lengthy track record of success as a starter. — McCullough

GO DEEPERMLB trade target tiers: Ranking 92 hitters, starters and relievers who could be available

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 52-33
Last Power Ranking: 4

Trade deadline prediction: Luis Robert Jr. and Erick Fedde in a package deal

They’ll try to get Garrett Crochet instead, but they will be rebuffed. They’ll ask again and get re-rebuffed. So Fedde it is, and they’ll be fine with that. He’s been excellent in his first season back from Korea.

It will take a lot of shiny prospects and young players to make this happen, but don’t worry, the Dodgers will make more of them. Their only real cost will have to be the overtime pay to the people working the prospect assembly lines. The Dodgers don’t always go big, but this is one of those deadlines where they go a little nuts. You can’t have the offseason they had and limp into the postseason with on-hand roster fixes. —Grant Brisbee

GO DEEPERMLB trade deadline watch: The Brewers’ approach to deals; Bo Bichette’s fit with Dodgers

4. New York Yankees

Record: 54-32
Last Power Ranking: 2

Trade deadline prediction: There’s going to be a new starting infielder

It could be at first base, if the team opts for an upgrade over rookie Ben Rice and declines to rely on Anthony Rizzo upon his return from a broken arm. It could be at second base, where Gleyber Torres is muddling through a miserable platform season. Or it could be at third base, where DJ LeMahieu has been unable to hit the ball hard (and hasn’t produced a slugging percentage better than .390 since 2020). Brian Cashman could target a utility player capable of plugging different infield spots on different days. But upgrades are necessary for a team with championship aspirations. — McCullough

Advertisem*nt

5. Cleveland Guardians

Record: 52-30
Last Power Ranking: 5

Trade deadline prediction: Mike Chernoff goes after an arm and two bats

MLB Power Rankings: Orioles reach a season high; bold-ish trade deadline predictions (3)

Could adding Jack Flaherty help solidify the Guardians’ current rotation? (Duane Burleson / Getty Images)

How very unlike the AL Central that the Guardians are 22 games over .500 and still feeling the (mild) heat from the Twins and Royals. Even after losing ace Shane Bieber in April, Cleveland is in position to shop purposefully this season. They don’t need a lot. The rotation will benefit massively if Gavin Williams returns to healthy form, but add rental Jack Flaherty or level up for Garrett Crochet and, baby, you’ve got a stew going. Chernoff could go a couple different directions in fixing the lineup — and some may be addressed by internal options — but I see them primarily targeting a couple right-handed bats. (I’d say a short-term shortstop, but there are so few options out there.) Let’s go with Justin Turner and Lane Thomas, two dudes feasting on lefties. — Stephen J. Nesbitt

GO DEEPERMissing Bats: A special series in The Athletic

T-6. Atlanta Braves

Record: 46-36
Last Power Ranking: 6

Trade deadline prediction: It’s Tommy Pham time

Atlanta knows it can’t replace Ronald Acuña Jr. with one person. But they can try to remake him in the aggregate. Pham would improve the club’s performance against left-handed pitching. He can handle multiple outfield positions. He plays with an edge. The Braves once traded for Joc Pederson to enliven the offense en route to a championship, and this would be an amusing bookend to that whole thing. What more do you need? — McCullough

GO DEEPERBraves trade scenarios: Jim Bowden assesses 4 proposals to fill key needs

T-6. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 50-35
Last Power Ranking: 7

Trade deadline prediction: Brewers bolster rotation — at a reasonable cost

You don’t need five starters in the postseason, but you do need at least three. The Brewers, short-term injuries included, have an ace (Freddy Peralta), two intriguing young arms (Tobias Myers, DL Hall) and a grab bag of Other Guys (Bryse Wilson, Colin Rea, Dallas Keuchel, Joe Ross). Milwaukee isn’t likely to swing big at the trade deadline, but adding a rental starter at a moderate cost is eminently doable. If the asking price for Jack Flaherty is more than the Brewers’ front office can stomach, then there’s Frankie Montas, Yusei Kikuchi and Luis Severino. That’s my pick. The Brewers would scare more folks if they had Severino’s upper-90s heat and outrageous sweepers for a few months. — Nesbitt

8. Seattle Mariners

Record: 47-39
Last Power Ranking: 8

Trade deadline prediction: An infielder with offensive skills

Jorge Polanco should be better than this. If you pretend his 2020 didn’t happen — and I think we all do that for ourselves, every day — he had a run of five straight seasons with an OPS+ of 110 or better. He’s just 30. He should be good!

Advertisem*nt

He has not been good, and the Mariners need help now. Jonathan India isn’t a second baseman, but that’s where the Reds keep putting him, and I can see the Mariners using him as a DH who can also double as a Polanco contingency plan. — Brisbee

9. Minnesota Twins

Record: 47-37
Last Power Ranking: 9

Trade deadline prediction: Twins make an outfield splash

When mostly healthy, this Twins lineup is something of a sight to behold. It’s really good! So good, in fact, that it makes the greatest need extremely obvious: a right-handed-hitting outfielder. Max Kepler and Trevor Larnach, both lefties, are currently manning the outfield corners. The oft-injured Byron Buxton is in center. Wouldn’t you, Joe Twins Fan, feel better if Luis Robert Jr. were roaming that outfield? The dude can mash and play center. Wouldn’t it bring you comfort if Randy Arozarena, Taylor Ward, Lane Thomas or Tommy Pham were Twins? There’s outfield inventory on the trade market, from star to small splash. Go get one of ’em, Twins. — Nesbitt

10. Houston Astros

Record: 43-41
Last Power Ranking: 11

Trade deadline prediction: A first baseman

I don’t like using this platform to call teams out or to pick on individual players, but I’ll just say it: I don’t think the José Abreu signing worked out very well. And while the Jon Singleton career arc is one of the most fascinating in recent memory, it doesn’t seem like he’ll hit enough to entrench himself at first.

They could have options, depending which teams truly believe in the power of the third wild card. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., LaMonte Wade Jr. or Pete Alonso could all be available with a lousy enough July from their clubs.

My internal monologue is hoping they get Andrew Vaughn from the White Sox, though, just to see one of these:

MLB Power Rankings: Orioles reach a season high; bold-ish trade deadline predictions (6)

Yep, here’s your problem. Someone set this thing to White Sox. — Brisbee

11. San Diego Padres

Record: 46-42
Last Power Ranking: 12

Trade deadline prediction: Something wacky

We’re all crowded around A.J. Preller waiting to see what he’s going to do next. He’ll think of something, just give him a minute. Someone will ask him if he’s going to trade Ha-Seong Kim in a four-way deal. No, don’t push Kim onto the trade market, he’ll think of something, just give him a minute.

Advertisem*nt

Preller has already made the best deadline move of the year in getting Luis Arraez. Maybe he’ll flip Arraez for prospects, then trade those prospects for relievers, then trade those relievers for different prospects? Then he’ll take those prospects and get an impact hitter, someone like Arraez. Could work. — Brisbee

12. Boston Red Sox

Record: 44-39
Last Power Ranking: 10

Trade deadline prediction: Boston won’t listen to Ken Rosenthal

It’s not Ken’s fault. He made a compelling case for why the Red Sox, who entered this week within striking distance of a third wild-card spot, should push for making upgrades, using members of its middle infield surplus to improve the rotation. Yet it’s hard to envision Boston deviating from their strategy (or, less charitably, inertia) for a team that is unlikely to contend for a division title. They didn’t go full throttle last winter. A hot streak in June feels unlikely to change any of the minds within the ownership group. But if it does? Bostonians can thank Ken! — McCullough

13. Kansas City Royals

Record: 47-39
Last Power Ranking: 13

Trade deadline prediction: An ‘aggressive’ but targeted approach

J.J. Picollo has said the Royals “will be aggressive” in pursuing upgrades, as they attempt to hold onto their current wild-card position and chase down the Guardians and Twins. But that type of quote can mean a looooot of things, and many fans simply read it as: “We’re gonna trade for stars. Lots of them!” The Royals will not be doing that. Picollo later said on the Starkville podcast that he’s looking for swing-and-miss relievers and more outfield production. Which both makes sense and is a much clearer signal of the road ahead. The Royals outfield has been miserable. It wouldn’t cost a ton to add, say, Joc Pederson, Tommy Pham and Carlos Estevez. — Nesbitt

14. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 43-40
Last Power Ranking: 14

Trade deadline prediction: Cards solidify depth but don’t shop aggressively

The Cardinals have launched themselves into wild-card position and out of seller territory this summer. If they’re going to make a deep postseason run, though, it’ll be because the current core came to life. The talent is there, and the pieces are showing signs of coming together lately. Would impact moves make St. Louis better? Of course! But the focus will likely be on improving in the short term without sacrificing the future. The Cardinals could use a mid-rotation starter; another reliever or two; a bench that has someone — anyone! — batting above .200. Those aren’t sexy moves, but could prove to be crucial upgrades. — Nesbitt

15. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 42-42
Last Power Ranking: 19

Trade deadline prediction: Randy Arozarena bids farewell to The Trop

MLB Power Rankings: Orioles reach a season high; bold-ish trade deadline predictions (7)

Randy Arozarena will likely be a major target for a number of teams at the deadline. (Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today)

With Arozarena hitting more like himself in June, batting .291 with an .893 OPS, the market for his services figures to be strong. He’s a proven performer in October and an electric presence. It was a coup for Tampa Bay to acquire him from St. Louis back in 2020. What keeps the Rays relevant, though, is their ability to churn through the roster and part ways with talented players. Arozarena is entering his age-30 season next year with his salary likely to rise in arbitration from his $8.1 million mark in 2024. A team like the Dodgers would surely be interested in him. — McCullough

GO DEEPERMLB execs predict Crochet, Chisholm and 16 other players most likely to be traded at deadline

T-16. New York Mets

Record: 41-41
Last Power Ranking: 17

Trade deadline prediction: David Stearns won’t kill the vibe

The Mets resurrected their season with some inspired play in June. The final weekend of the month, though, demonstrated some of the team’s liabilities, particularly a pitching staff that has been hamstrung by Edwin Díaz’s sticky-stuff suspension. They are the sort of club that could go either way at the deadline. In his first season at the helm, it’s hard to envision Stearns replicating the sort of divisive but reasonable deal he made during his final days in Milwaukee, trading away closer Josh Hader to the consternation of his clubhouse. Don’t expect anything seismic, like a similar deal for Pete Alonso, despite Alonso’s obvious market appeal. The Mets have shown they are good enough to contend for a wild-card spot and will likely give it a shot. — McCullough

T-16. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 41-43
Last Power Ranking: 15

Trade deadline prediction: All in

Last season, the Diamondbacks foolishly traded for a closer, even though they were being outscored on the season and weren’t even in position for the third wild card at the time. What fools. What rubes. What absolute …

Then they won the pennant. Surprise! If there’s one rule of gambling, it’s that if you win big like that, you have to keep doing it because you’ve definitely figured out the secret of gambling and you’ll just keep winning. But they could definitely use someone to fill the void in the middle of the lineup that Eugenio Suárez was supposed to fill. — Brisbee

Advertisem*nt

18. San Francisco Giants

Record: 41-44
Last Power Ranking: 23

Trade deadline prediction: A veteran outfielder traded away in a sideways deal

The Giants want to get better. We all do. I need to start running again. But the Giants also want to get younger. We all want that, too! We should all start running again.

One way for the Giants to achieve these bilateral goals is to trade a veteran outfielder like Michael Conforto, Mike Yastrzemski or Austin Slater to a team that needs outfield depth. The Giants would have to send a sack of cash along in most cases, but that’s fine. The spot that would open up would be just as important as whatever they got back.

The rest of the deadline will involve minor trades unless they absolutely crater in July, in which case all sorts of possibilities open up. Camilo Doval would look nice in a lot of bullpens, you know. — Brisbee

GO DEEPERWhere the 2024 Giants are statistically first (or last)

19. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 40-43
Last Power Ranking: 21

Trade deadline prediction: Bring on the bats!

It struck me on Saturday, after the Braves walked off the Pirates, that the Buccos had over their previous 10 games scored exactly one run as many times as they’d scored any number more than one run: five times apiece. That’s one of many ways I could tell you that the Pirates can’t score. Another is that the only offenses with a worse OPS than their .655 belong to the Marlins and White Sox.

All of this to say the Pirates need more bats before they give away more well-pitched games. This team needs more than depth, though, so Ben Cherington will need to find regulars who are upgrades without being prohibitively costly to acquire. My guess is he gets two rentals and an outfielder under contract beyond 2024. — Nesbitt

GO DEEPERThe 25-game hitting streak is vanishing (but don't tell Bryan Reynolds)

20. Texas Rangers

Record: 38-46
Last Power Ranking: 16

Trade deadline prediction: Kirby Yates gets traded to a desperate team for way too much

The Rangers are caught between two timelines. They’re in the middle of a youth movement of sorts, featuring Evan Carter, Wyatt Langford and assorted Joshes, but they also have a lot of expensive players who only make sense for a team looking to win now, and they probably aren’t trading them.

Split the difference, then. Trade the 30-something players having surprisingly effective seasons, try again next year. Yates walks too many batters to be a truly elite closer, and he will give up a home run at some point, but what are you gonna believe: your lying eyes or that shiny ERA? — Brisbee

GO DEEPERRangers rookie hits MLB's first cycle for 2024

21. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 39-45
Last Power Ranking: 20

Trade deadline prediction: Reds sniff around on outfielders but pass

Injuries to Matt McLain, TJ Friedl and Christian Encarnacion-Strand have really underscored how badly the Reds need more bats. Spencer Steer has slid over to first base, leaving an outfield that consists of Jake Fraley, light-hitting center fielder Stuart Fairchild, and a Will Benson-led rotation in left field. Luis Robert Jr. or Jazz Chisholm Jr. would certainly spruce up the starting outfield trio, but would come at a heavy cost in prospect capital. Randy Arozarena, Lane Thomas and Taylor Ward would be upgrades, too, but would they alone turn Cincinnati into a contender? Not likely. So, while the Reds won’t be outright sellers, they’ll be hoping better health, not impact additions, will right the ship. — Nesbitt

GO DEEPERC. Notes: Should the Reds be sellers at the deadline?

22. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 38-46
Last Power Ranking: 25

Trade deadline prediction: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette stay put

The last-place Blue Jays must recognize the unsavoriness of their predicament. They were supposed to contend, not dwell in their division’s basem*nt. Given the talent on the roster, the team could net an infusion of prospects before this month is over. But it’s still hard to see Toronto parting with either Bichette or Guerrero. Bichette has struggled all season, which has diminished his value. Guerrero has recently heated up, but still serves as the face of the franchise. It’s more likely the team will deal some of its starting pitchers, like Chris Bassitt, to one of the clubs desperate for arms. — McCullough

GO DEEPERBlue Jays takeaways: What a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hot streak means for the deadline

23. Chicago Cubs

Record: 39-46
Last Power Ranking: 18

Trade deadline prediction: Jed Hoyer stands pat

The Cubs are floundering. Can you guess the last time they won more than two games in a row? April 23-26. It’s July now. Hoyer has decisions to make about the future of this club. The Cubs have the look of a seller, but because the roster is light on rentals it’s harder to sell off important parts from this team without damaging next year’s team. A front office needing to show results soon can’t afford that. So Hoyer will make minor moves but won’t create a splash. — Nesbitt

GO DEEPERCubs keep sinking toward selling at trade deadline: 'Not close to where we want to be'

24. Washington Nationals

Record: 39-45
Last Power Ranking: 22

Trade deadline prediction: The biggest addition will be James Wood

The Nationals are on the cusp of the Wild Card race, which could entice Mike Rizzo to upgrade after several years dwelling in the basem*nt of the National League East. But no player Washington pursues this month will have a bigger effect on the club’s future than Wood, who joined the organization two years ago as part of the Juan Soto trade. Wood, a 21-year-old outfielder, clobbered Triple-A pitching en route to his promotion to the majors on Monday. His future is what matters most to the franchise. — McCullough

GO DEEPERJames Wood's arrival is about more than just a young star's promotion

25. Detroit Tigers

Record: 38-46
Last Power Ranking: 24

Trade deadline prediction: One more big sale

It’s a cryin’ shame when a starter has a Cy Young Award-caliber season for a team with no realistic shot at the postseason, as with Tarik Skubal and the Tigers. They will be selling again this summer, and they — and their fans — hope this is the last one before the franchise becomes a contender once again. Jack Flaherty will surely be on the move as a coveted rental starter. Veterans Mark Canha, Carson Kelly, Andrew Chafin and Shelby Miller could go, too. The Tigers aren’t likely to trade anyone under long-term contracts. Javier Báez is essentially untradeable. The likeliest outcome is Detroit eating his contract, at some point. — Nesbitt

Advertisem*nt

26. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 36-47
Last Power Ranking: 26

Trade deadline prediction: They keep Luis Rengifo, even as teams shower them with prospect-laden proposals

You might not have noticed, but the Angels have the rudimentary beginnings of a rebuild in place. Their first-round picks from both 2022 and 2023 are already in the majors, and they’re either holding their own (Nolan Schanuel) or thriving (Zach Neto).

On the surface, a 27-year-old Rengifo looks like he fits in with that youth brigade, but he’s a free agent after next season. And while he’s always a helpful player, his offensive value is primarily driven by batting average, and his is high right now. Strike while the iron is hot!

They will not. — Brisbee

27. Oakland Athletics

Record: 30-56
Last Power Ranking: 27

Trade deadline prediction: The A’s get a moderate return for Brent Rooker, but they don’t trade Mason Miller. Also, John Fisher is visited by three ghosts

The first ghost is the Ghost of Baseball Past, the second ghost is the Ghost of Baseball Present, blah blah blah, but the third ghost is a future Las Vegas Athletic who will be drafted into the War of Eastern Aggression and lose a leg trying to defend Lake Mead. Fisher will wake up and have a plain bowl of Grape Nuts, having learned nothing.

Also, the A’s should absolutely trade Mason Miller. I’m not sure who would get excited about it at this point, but it’s the most sensible baseball move a team could possibly make. — Brisbee

GO DEEPERMLB trade deadline report: Targets and teams to track in murky market

28. Miami Marlins

Record: 30-54
Last Power Ranking: 28

Trade deadline prediction: Everything must go!

Tanner Scott is about to become a very popular man. Scott, the Marlins closer, is unlikely to still be a Marlin in August. Now it’s just a matter of rivals determining if they believe in his production (1.50 ERA) or fear potential regression (3.69 FIP, 5.8 walks per nine innings). Same story for Jazz Chisholm Jr. Miami is open for business. The problem is they just don’t have that much to sell. If Josh Bell or Jake Burger heats up, that would make Peter Bendix’s summer. — McCullough

Advertisem*nt

29. Colorado Rockies

Record: 29-55
Last Power Ranking: 29

Trade deadline prediction: Stasis. Glorious, impractical stasis.

You know who’s really good? Ryan McMahon. Hits for power, runs well and deserves a Gold Glove one of these years. He’s under contract at a reasonable rate for the next few years, and teams would line up to get him. He will not be traded.

You know who’s also really good? Elias Díaz. He’s a strong field general and pitcher whisperer, and he’s really come into his own offensively. Every team could use a catcher like that, and since he’s 33, it’s not like he’s a plausible part of a Rockies rebuild. He will not be traded.

Brendan Rogers will be a free agent after next season. He will not be traded.

My guess is Jacob Stallings to a team looking for a backup catcher. The return will be cash or a player to be named. They will put the cash toward Dinger’s dry cleaning bill. No organizational advancement will have been achieved. — Brisbee

30. Chicago White Sox

Record: 24-62
Last Power Ranking: 30

Trade deadline prediction: Full-send fire sale, part two

Last summer, the White Sox traded all their veterans on expiring contracts and plunged into a rebuild. Their focus this year: sell some more. They traded Dylan Cease this spring, and now they’re poised to move several others with years of club control remaining. Garrett Crochet and Luis Robert Jr. are the hottest names on the market. Erick Fedde has resurrected his major league career. Michael Kopech misses bats. The White Sox are fortunate to have them all healthy and, for the most part, clicking. There’s no reason to play this hand out further. The White Sox will trade them and others — Tommy Pham, Paul DeJong — then sit back and enjoy how all this trading has overhauled their stash of prospects. — Nesbitt

(Top photo: Charles Brock / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

MLB Power Rankings: Orioles reach a season high; bold-ish trade deadline predictions (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated:

Views: 5899

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.