The season is barely two weeks old, yet the Trade Deadline (Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. ET) is rapidly approaching. Teams around baseball have already been forced to deal with health issues -- both related to COVID-19 as well as traditional injuries -- that have forced them to adjust on the fly.
With less than four weeks remaining until the Deadline, what areas might the 30 teams need to address as they make their way through the 60-game sprint?
American League East
Blue Jays: Outfield
Toronto has been itching to find a true center fielder (Randal Grichuk is currently playing there), though that seems unlikely to happen before the offseason. Still, the Blue Jays’ infield is loaded with talent, and while the outfield has talent, their group is stocked with similar players. The farm system has produced big names such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, but there are no outfielders to be found on the club’s Top 10 prospect list.
Orioles: Lower-level pitching prospects
In the two Drafts since Mike Elias took over as general manager, the Orioles have loaded up their system with position players, selecting 13 with their top 14 picks. The upper levels of the system have some solid, young arms, but given the club’s recent approach in the Draft, it needs to replenish the lower levels. If Baltimore is able to flip some veteran pieces -- perhaps Mychal Givens or Alex Cobb? -- that could be an area for Elias to address.
Rays: Left-handed reliever
GM Erik Neander did a solid job assembling a well-rounded team this offseason, but Colin Poche’s season-ending UCL injury -- coupled with José Alvarado’s inconsistency -- left Tampa Bay with a potential left-handed hole in the bullpen. The Rays have big postseason hopes and a strong farm system, so they have the capital necessary to make a move at the Deadline.
Red Sox: Starting pitching
This one seems obvious. Chris Sale is out for the season following Tommy John surgery, while Eduardo Rodriguez is out for the year with a heart condition that may be related to his contraction of COVID-19 earlier this summer. That leaves Nathan Eovaldi as the lone proven starter in Boston’s rotation, and while that could result in the Red Sox becoming sellers by the end of the month (Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez and Brandon Workman could all be trade chips), it seems logical that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom would pursue a starter under control to pencil in for 2021 (or beyond).
Yankees: Starting pitching
Gerrit Cole has lived up to expectations early in the season, but James Paxton and J.A. Happ have been inconsistent while Masahiro Tanaka got off to a late start after being hit in the head by a batted ball last month. Factor in that Paxton, Happ and Tanaka can all become free agents after the season and it wouldn’t be a shock to see GM Brian Cashman deal for a controllable pitcher if one he likes becomes available.