All right, full-season All-Star breaks are done. Onto the next major event on the baseball calendar.
The 2019 Trade Deadline comes in two and a half weeks, on July 31. Between now and then, contending Major League clubs will try to wheel and deal and build up their rosters for the stretch run.
This season's deadline is unique for a few reasons. For one, a rule change goes into effect that makes the July 31 Trade Deadline the only Trade Deadline. No more waiver Trade Deadline a month later. (Waiver claims are still allowed in August, but trades are not.) Second, as of Friday, there are still several teams that could talk their way into being Major League buyers.
For the purposes of this column, however, we'll look at the Major League sellers, aka those clubs that stand a chance to build up their farm systems by trading valuable players from the top level. Below is a breakdown of where potential sellers' farm systems ranked at the start of 2019, where they stand now and who they have available to trade for prospects before the deadline hits on July 31.
San Francisco GiantsWhere they stood: 28thWhat's happened since: Top prospectsJoey Bart
and Heliot Ramos
spent parts of the first half injured, but both look back on track at Class A Advanced San Jose. In a small sample, Marco Luciano
is looking very much like the real deal as a 17-year-old shortstop, and Alexander Canario
, 19, showed enough power to move to Class A Short Season Salem-Keizer. Shaun Anderson
has graduated to the Major League rotation. The Giants took outfielder Hunter Bishop with their top pick, adding his plus power and plus run tools from Arizona State. Logan Webb
's 80-game PED suspension was perhaps the biggest demerit of the first half. All in all, it's a farm system on the upswing, but not one where it needs to be for a full rebuild.Deadline preview:
The big draw here is Madison Bumgarner
, whose chances of being dealt have been widely discussed since last offseason. The veteran left-hander would be a rental, since he'll be a free agent this year, but he's a proven postseason performer. Any playoff contender looking for a starter should at least be checking in on him, and that could drive up the price some, potentially giving San Francisco another piece to build around. All-Star closer Will Smith
is also available as a rental and could bring his own big return with fellow relievers Sam Dyson
, Tony Watson and Reyes Moronta
likely available for less. The sneaky fun trade would be Pablo Sandoval
, who has been a well above-average hitter two years after being cut by the Red Sox. Despite his power jump, Sandoval wouldn't bring back nearly as promising a prospect return, but it would be fun to see how much another club would be willing to bet on the 32-year-old switch-hitter.
Toronto Blue JaysWhere they stood: SixthWhat's happened since:
A lot of that ranking was tied up in Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
, who opened the season as the No. 1 overall prospect but has since (finally) graduated to the Majors. Cavan Biggio
joined him as well, and Trent Thornton
is getting regular turns through the Toronto rotation. Bo Bichette
shouldn't be too far behind now that he's healthy from a broken hand and destroying the ball at Triple-A Buffalo. Nate Pearson
continues to throw heat and feature a plus slider at Double-A New Hampshire, and Jordan Groshans
and Eric Pardinho
have showed promise (and health concerns) at Class A Lansing. The graduation of Guerrero took a serious shine off the Toronto pipeline, but there's still a good amount of promise heading north of the border. And more could be coming...Deadline preview: Marcus Stroman
. Marcus Stroman. Marcus Stroman. Everyone knows that the All-Star right-hander, in the midst of arguably his best season yet as a Major Leaguer, is on the market, and with one more year of arbitration-based team control beyond this one, he should fetch an impressive return. It might not reach the levels of what Tampa Bay got back for Chris Archer
last season -- even Archer for Austin Meadows
wouldn't look great now, never mind the additions of Tyler Glasnow
and Shane Baz
-- because Archer had more years of control, but Stroman has also been the better starter. Adding pieces to build around Guerrero, Bichette, Pearson, Biggio and first-half standout Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
would be better for Toronto's long-term future than keeping Stroman for one more year. Also keep an eye on the market for closer Ken Giles
, who has bounced back tremendously one year after he was included in a deadline deal for fellow reliever Roberto Osuna
. As with Stroman, Giles becomes a free agent after the 2020 season and has been special this summer. He has a 1.45 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 31 innings, and his potential return may never be higher.
New York MetsWhere they stood: 20thWhat's happened since:
New York let Pete Alonso
open the season on the Major League roster, and the slugging first baseman has given the club no reason to second-guess that decision. In the Minors, Anthony Kay
has been the story of the first half after a 1.49 ERA over 12 starts at Double-A Binghamton pushed him to Triple-A perhaps sooner than expected. Ronny Mauricio
has held his own as an 18-year-old shortstop at Class A Columbia, while Andrés Giménez
hasn't quite got things going as a 20-year-old at Double-A. Elsewhere on the pitching side, Simeon Woods Richardson
has shown signs of popping at Class A, even if his 4.86 ERA isn't rosy. Replacing Alonso with Kay in the Top 100 is somewhat of a loss for the Minor League pipeline, but this wasn't a farm system built for a rebuild. At least not in the first half.Deadline preview: Zack Wheeler
always seemed like the starting pitcher the Mets were most likely to deal if they weren't going to be competitive in July -- 10 games under .500, they're certainly at that point -- with additional hope they could find a taker for Jason Vargas
. The former, whose 3.65 FIP is more indicative of his performance than his 4.69 ERA, will be a free agent this offseason, making him this year's Nathan Eovaldi
equivalent. (Eovaldi brought Jalen Beeks
to the Rays last July.) That's not farm-system-altering talent, but it's something. However in recent days, Noah Syndergaard
's name has popped up in rumors as clubs inquire about what it would take to pry the hard-throwing right-hander -- who wouldn't enter free agency until after the 2021 season -- from New York. Such a deal would certainly bring a new wave of talent to the Mets pipeline, but it would take a serious waving of the white flag for the organization's near future. It comes down to what kind of project Brodie Van Wagenen & Co. want to take on. Based on last year's win-now moves, the bet here is that they hold onto Syndergaard. If they don't, it could be the blockbuster of the summer. In non-pitcher moves, the Mets will likely also try to move Todd Frazier
in the final season of his two-year deal, but seeing as Frazier has been a league-average bat since moving to Queens, the return might not move the needle much, if at all.
Miami MarlinsWhere they stood:
26thWhat's happened since:
Since he got going, Sixto Sanchez
has very much lived up to the hype at Double-A Jacksonville and earned a Futures Game invite as a result. Monte Harrison
has risen back into the Top-100 ranks by looking like his toolsy self at Triple-A New Orleans, and at the same level, Isan Díaz
has been an offensive force. Zac Gallen
and Jordan Yamamoto
showed enough in the first half to join the Miami rotation, and neither looks ready to give up their spots. Speaking of pitching, first-rounders Braxton Garrett
and Trevor Rogers
are starting to live up to the billing at Class A Advanced Jupiter, and No. 8 prospect Edward Cabrera
is showing breakout potential after spending the first half between there and Double-A Jacksonville. Unfortunately, Víctor Víctor Mesa
is having difficulty adjusting stateside in the Florida State League, Connor Scott
has been inconsistent at Class A Clinton and Nick Neidert
has missed significant time with knee tendinitis. For all the good that's happened, this still isn't a farm fitting of team in full-rebuild mode, but there are positive steps here, including the drafting of Vanderbilt star JJ Bleday in June.Deadline preview:
With a 33-55 record, the Marlins will continue their rebuild in any way they can this summer. Unfortunately, there isn't potential for a real blockbuster here. Miami has solid controllable starting pitching in Sandy Alcantara
, Trevor Richards
and Caleb Smith
, but dealing from that pool would serve as more of a move to kick the can further down the road at the Major League level. Relievers Sergio Romo
and Austin Brice
could intrigue some clubs in need of bullpen help, especially the latter in the midst of a breakout season before he even hits arbitration. The one to watch could be Miguel Rojas
. The 30-year-old shortstop has just been average with the bat but has provided plenty of value with the glove; his 13 Defensive Runs Saved are second-most among all shortstops while his 16.1 UZR/150 is tops among qualifiers. That defense, along with the fact that Rojas won't be a free agent until after 2021, could be attractive to some team for a trade that could bulk up the Miami system at least a little more.
Seattle MarinersWhere they stood:
16thWhat's happened since:
If there was an award for Most Improved Farm System, the Mariners would probably win it running away. Seattle now boasts six Top-100 prospects, more than all but the Padres and Rays, each of which have eight. Top prospect Jarred Kelenic
is very much looking like the real five-tool deal in his first full season, while fellow former Met Justin Dunn
is off and running at Double-A Arkansas. First-rounders Logan Gilbert
and Evan White
have climbed into the Top-100 after showing an impressive arm and bat/glove, respectively, while Julio Rodriguez
is the next big name to watch at Class A West Virginia. Justus Sheffield
, acquired from the Yankees last offseason, struggled with control at Triple-A Tacoma but seems to be back to finding his way at Arkansas as well. Elsewhere, Cal Raleigh
and Jake Fraley
are enjoying breakout seasons at the plate, and Shed Long
has been a Major League contributor when healthy. This is without a doubt a top-10 system now and could be climbing higher if the second half repeats the first and if any more big additions are made.Deadline preview:
General manager Jerry Dipoto loves himself a trade. He's already dealt away Edwin Encarnación
and Jay Bruce
after one of the busiest offseasons in baseball. That doesn't leave a lot of obvious trade chips. Dipoto said on MLB Network Radio last month that he would be more focused on dealing veterans
than potential franchise building blocks. That would probably point to deals involving right-hander Mike Leake or infielder Dee Gordon
, though neither has quite taken off in 2019. Leake could be an innings-eater for a club needing rotation help, while Gordon would likey be bench help (and pinch-running extraordinaire) for a contender. Both are signed at least through 2020. Otherwise, the arrow will likely continue to point up in the M's system, but only because of the prospect talent the club already possesses.
Detroit TigersWhere they stood:
15thWhat's happened since:
It's still all about the pitching in the Tigers system. Casey Mize
and Matt Manning
would give any farm system a desirable 1-2 punch, and they even combined to do the same in the Erie rotation before Mize hit the IL with a shoulder issue. At the same level, Alex Faedo
has shown signs of getting back on track. In terms of position players, Isaac Paredes
has been a solid hitter for a 20-year-old at Double-A, and catcher Jake Rogers
-- a defensive wizard behind the plate -- showed enough with the bat to push a move to Triple-A Toledo. Going much further down, 2019 first-rounder Riley Greene
has already pushed a move to Class A Short Season Connecticut after he was barely challenged in the Gulf Coast League. There's still a good amount of disappointment to go around here though; Franklin Perez
still can't get rid of the injury bug, Kyle Funkhouser
has really struggled at Triple-A and outfielders Daz Cameron
and Parker Meadows
aren't close to their offensive ceilings. If this is going to be a full rebuild, the Tigers need to add more than Greene to the mix.Deadline preview:
All-Star Shane Greene is having the best season of his career as the Tigers' closer (22 saves, 1.09 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 34 K in 33 IP), and it should get him an opportunity to pitch in the playoffs for the first time. With another season of control before Greene hits free agency and many clubs in need of bullpen help, the return on the 30-year-old right-hander could be substantial enough to give the Tigers more to build around at the top than the usual suspects. Elsewhere, Matthew Boyd
would probably bring back the biggest return in his breakout season, considering he's only in his first season of arbitration, but it would take a boatload of young talent for the Tigers to let go of the 28-year-old southpaw. Expect him to stay unless one club is willing to really go all in. Also, expect Detroit to try to find a taker for Nicholas Castellanos before he enters free agency, though a dip in his offensive production (along with the limited control) takes away a good amount of his value on the trade market.
Kansas City RoyalsWhere they stood:
22ndWhat's happened since:
A real mixed bag here. The pitching class of 2018 (Brady Singer
, Daniel Lynch
, Jackson Kowar
, Kris Bubic
) thrived early on with all but Lynch -- who has popped into the Top 100 but is currently on the IL with arm soreness -- moving up to a new level. Success at those higher rungs has been so-so, with Singer especially struggling to get outs against Double-A bats. On the position-player side, MJ Melendez
, Nick Pratto
and Seuly Matias
were hoping for big things at Class A Advanced Wilmington but have each stumbled. Nicky Lopez
was an elite hitter at Triple-A Omaha and has since graduated to the Majors, where he hasn't nearly been the same. Adding No. 2 overall pick Bobby Witt Jr.
might have been the biggest success of the first half, so Kansas City could use more help if this is the system to provide its next World Series winner.Deadline preview: As of last month,
the Royals weren't willing to part with building blocks Adalberto Mondesi
and Hunter Dozier
, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, but would they consider moving All-Star Whit Merrifield
? The 30-year-old has been even better in 2019 while splitting time between right field and second base, and he's signed through at least 2022 with a team option for 2023 at a very affordable rate (he would be due $25 million over the next four seasons, if that $10.5 million option is picked up). Any team in need of help at either position would do well to pick up that contract, but it'd take an absolute blockbuster to make it happen, one that would likely move Kansas City's system up several notches in the rankings. Veterans Danny Duffy
and Ian Kennedy
could also be on the move, though both would provide more depth than ceiling.
Baltimore OriolesWhere they stood:
23rdWhat's happened since:
The new Baltimore regime's hope to turn around the old belief that the O's couldn't develop pitching has been aided by the first halves of Grayson Rodriguez
and DL Hall
, each of whom went to the Futures Game last weekend. Rodriguez, last year's first-rounder, has particularly been a revelation with a four-pitch mix that has been hard for Class A hitters to touch. Meanwhile, Hall has shown perhaps even more velocity in his second full season, keeping his promise despite some hiccups in the control department. Elsewhere, Ryan Mountcastle
has shown a good enough bat at Triple-A that it won't matter this his position is likely to be first base, and DJ Stewart
was good enough at the same level to push his way to the Majors. Yusniel Díaz
's stock has slipped as he continues to look average in his third season at Double-A. No matter what happened in the Minors, the talk was always going to be what happened with the No. 1 overall pick, and the O's did the right thing in taking the best talent in Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. The rest of the Baltimore system will be built around him (Rodriguez, Mountcastle and Hall included), but he could still use more help, considering where Baltimore wants its youth movement to go. Deadline preview:
The Orioles have a couple of impressive first-half performers in All-Star John Means
and outfielder Trey Mancini, but don't expect either to head out of Charm City. The more likely two to go are starting pitcher Andrew Cashner and reliever Mychal Givens. The veteran Cashner has a 3.83 ERA over 96 1/3 innings and a $10 million team option for 2020 -- conditions that would be attractive for clubs that want to add depth to their rotation. Givens' overall numbers (4.76 ERA, 1.29 WHIP in 34 innings) aren't as rosy, but there could be a team willing to bet on his 13 K/9. Long story short: don't expect any Manny Machado-type deals this time around.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.