by Mickey Bell
The 2019 MLB Trade Deadline is on July 31, and this year it has an added finality to it since waivers in August and September are no longer allowed. That being said, it might not be as active as some might expect because so few teams (especially in the National League) have thrown in the towel on their season.
In the NL, the Marlins are the only clear cut sellers at 36-59 and 13.5 games back from the second wild card spot. However, they have nobody of fantasy baseball relevance except for Sergio Romo, who would likely lose his closer role if he went to a contender. 2B Starlin Castro (owned in 9% of Yahoo! Leagues) could potentially be moved as well.
The second worst team, the Cincinnati Reds, have announced they are buyers (https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/07/reds-trade-deadline-buyers-rumors-dick-williams.html), but that could just be lip service in an attempt to keep their negotiating position as strong as possible. The next week and a half will be crucial to what they decide to do as they currently sit at 43-52, 6.5 games back of the last wild card spot, having lost four straight.
In the offseason, the Reds were aggressive acquiring “rentals” like Alex Wood, Tanner Roark, and Yasiel Puig. Those three and Scooter Gennett all have one year left before unrestricted free agency. If they decide to sell, those two pitchers and two hitters could certainly help teams more in the thick of the hunt.
Alex Wood is working his way back from a back injury that has sidelined him the whole year. If he is traded, he will in all likelihood go to a better pitching environment as there are not many parks more hitter-friendly than Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Teams do not often trade for a guy who is recovering from an injury though. Even if he stays in Cincinnati, the 28 year old has a history of home run suppression which will be important in the new juiced ball era. His career 0.76 HR/9 is in the top 10 for qualifying starters since his rookie year in 2013, up there with guys like Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Martinez, and Noah Syndergaard for avoiding the long ball. Tanner Roark, 32, would have a slightly lower price tag but has a 3.97 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, and a career high 8.91 K/9.
Yasiel Puig has been on fire in June and July. On June 2, his wOBA was a miserable 0.266! Even in April and May, many people were slotting him into their fantasy lineups because 10 HR and 7 SB were alright. Since then, his wOBA is 0.438 with 12 HR and 6 SB. If he is traded, he will face the opposite problem as the pitchers going to a less hitter-friendly stadium. However, I see a trade as unlikely since the Reds can always try to re-sign him in the offseason and give him a qualifying offer so that they can get a draft pick as compensation if he leaves. Scooter Gennett is in a similar situation to Alex Wood as he is just returning from an injury. He has really struggled out of the gate hitting 0.154 with no home runs in his first 41 plate appearances. Scooter is a Cincinnati native and they might be confident the 29 year old can be re-signed in the offseason, trade or not.
Potential Winners: Alex Wood (CIN), Tanner Roark (CIN)
Potential Losers: Sergio Romo (MIA), Yasiel Puig (CIN), Scooter Gennett (CIN)