It should go without saying that every team with a realistic possibility of reaching the postseason ought to be approaching Friday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline with earnestness and urgency. Tomorrow is promised to none of us. You have to live each day as if it’s your last. You’ll only regret the chances you don’t take … and all that other stuff you’ve read on motivational daily flip calendars.
So, yes, the Blue Jays should be going for it as they finally return to Toronto. The Giants should be going for it as their season that has wildly exceeded expectations marches toward October. The Mariners, with a postseason drought that’s old enough to vote, should be adding, not subtracting.
But there’s going for it, and then there’s GOING FOR IT. Really, truly, reaching for the World Series.
The following six teams -- one from each division -- are in the latter category. This is a moment when they should step outside their comfort zones, throw caution to the wind and do something that’s going to win headlines … and maybe even some games!
The Dodgers ended their 32-year wait for a World Series title last fall. But the circumstances surrounding the pandemic-oriented postseason obviously weren’t ideal. Serious baseball observers understand that the 2020 season, short as it was, asked an awful lot of those involved, and so there was nothing cheap about the Dodgers’ championship. But they’d sure love to win one in a more traditional arrangement and take on a dynastic sheen after all those frustrating finishes of the recent past. The National League West has evolved in a hurry as the Giants awaken and the Padres leave no stone unturned, and the Dodgers want to prove that they still own this dynamic division.
Who they could land: Nationals ace Max Scherzer, Twins ace José Berríos and Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel are all possibilities. It’s the Dodgers. Think blue, and think big.
Who they’d have to trade away: For a player like Berríos -- a high-impact addition who is not a rental (or perhaps even for Scherzer, if the bidding gets crazy enough) -- the Dodgers might have to consider parting with one of the two catchers among their top 10 prospects: Keibert Ruiz (No. 1 on the club’s list and No. 41 on MLB Pipeline’s top 100) or Diego Cartaya (No. 6 on the Dodgers’ list). Having one of the best young catchers in the game in Will Smith would give the Dodgers the luxury of making such a move.
2. White Sox
The South Siders have survived all kinds of injury hits atop the relatively weak AL Central this season, and now, with the recent return of Eloy Jiménez and the pending return of Luis Robert, they’re getting healthier in big spots in time for October. But the Sox need to recognize the special opportunity they have with the strength of the top end of their rotation and the complexion of the AL playoff picture. While it seems their run is just beginning, they might not have a better opportunity to win a pennant than they do right now. Second base has been an obvious need ever since Nick Madrigal was lost for the rest of the season, and the bullpen could use another effective option.
Who they could land: A crosstown move for Kimbrel is not out of the realm of possibility, but the Rangers’ Ian Kennedy and the Rockies’ Daniel Bard are among the many other relief options that might work. As for second base, with Adam Frazier already sent to San Diego, Cleveland’s Cesar Hernandez is probably the best option available. But if we can dare to dream bigger, adding and repositioning Story would certainly be bold.