So far, it feels as if the biggest move for this iteration of the MLB trade deadline, is the one which is apparently NOT going to be made. I refer, of course, to the Angels decision to hold on to two-way superstar, Shohei Ohtani. Their GM Perry Minasian said earlier today, “We’re going to roll the dice and see what happens.” It’s a brave move, especially considering the Angels are currently outside of a playoff spot, and only have a one-in-six change going into play today, according to Fangraphs. But the team is apparently in buy mode, adding Lucas Giolito in what is probably the biggest trade thus far. If the results turn up snake eyes, with the Angels missing out again, Minasian’s job could go with it.
But for now, let’s look at what fans around the league expect as the deadline approaches. Obviously, these questions were asked before the news, both of the Giolito deal, and the Ohtani non-deal, came out. Still, it’s an interesting snapshot of expectations.
Who will be the biggest star traded at the deadline?
Unsurprising to see the name at the top. Though I guess, the fact only 21% named Ohtani, means that 79% of respondents didn’t think he’d be moved? Hard to make the argument that he’s NOT a bigger star than, say Cody Bellinger or Marcus Stroman, though the case is perhaps less clear-cut when comparing him to Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer. Quite a broad spread of opinions here, with only six percent covering the top four names. It will be interesting to see what happens, now that Ohtani is staying put. That will likely drive up the market, and thus the price, for the other players, simply through supply and demand. You’d now need to trade for Bellinger AND Stroman, if your team had its heart on Ohtani...
Which team will be the biggest buyer at the deadline?
Oh, would you look at the team in sixth place. Mind you, I’m not sure how many teams were listed on the ballot. If there were only six, the D-backs’ position becomes a lot less impressive. And since the total percentage for these teams adds up to 100%, I’ve a feeling that was likely the case. Still, I guess even being in the conversation as trade deadline buyers is not a bad thing: it has likely been five years since that was the case: in 2018, Arizona got Eduardo Escobar plus relievers Jake Diekman and (for his second spell with the club) Brad Ziegler in late July. This year is the first time since then the Diamondbacks have been above .500 after 102 games.
Which team will be the biggest seller at the deadline?
Interesting that although Ohtani topped the “Players most likely to be gone” poll, the Angels as a whole ended tied with the Padres for last place. Thus far, the White Sox are indeed the biggest sellers, but that’s mostly because they were involved in the only large trade. It’ll be interesting to see how things stack up after the deadline. If the rumblings this afternoon about the Dodgers hunting Nolan Arenado from the Cardinals come to fruition, that would certainly move the needle there. It’s interesting to see the Mets, Cubs and Padres listed here, because their Fangraphs playoff odds are little different from the buying Angels. Indeed, the Padres (27.6%) and Cubs (18.1%) are both higher. So, go figure...
It’ll certainly be an interesting few days. I suspect some D-backs’ fans are going to be underwhelmed by the team’s lack of activity at the deadline. But right now, I’d rather they err on the side of caution than go all Angels on us.
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