Dominoes are going to fall between now and the passing of Major League Baseball's trade deadline on Friday.
But how many? In what order? And when?
In and of themselves, these are doors to too many questions than can be answered in one sitting. Yet we've speculated on the likely answers to eight big ones which, to some degree or another, will determine what happens before 4 p.m. ET on Friday.
Starting with the fate of a certain star in Cleveland, let's get to it.
Could Jose Ramirez Be on the Table?
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Cleveland doesn't plan on moving Jose Ramirez unless it's "overwhelmed" by an offer. Apropos of that, it wasn't surprising when Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported there "aren't active talks" right now.
Even still, the prospect of Ramirez playing elsewhere come July 31 can't be ruled out.
The 28-year-old was a top-three finisher in the American League MVP voting in 2017, 2018 and 2020, and he's now having yet another strong season marked by a .252/.342/.511 line, 20 home runs and 3.1 rWAR. After 2021, he has contract options for 2022 and 2023 that would pay out only $24 million.
That's to say Ramirez is a hugely valuable trade chip just on the surface. And because this year's market seems to have more buyers than sellers, Cleveland could perhaps cash him in for an above-market price.
The tricky part, of course, is that Cleveland isn't in need of a full-on rebuild amid a campaign that's seen it go 49-48 so far. It would presumably take an offer of both established major leaguers and top prospects to pry Ramirez loose. Even in this market, not many teams have that kind of depth to spare.
Best Guess: Ramirez stays in Cleveland long enough to become a Guardian.
How Available Is Joey Gallo?
Assuming Ramirez merely stays on the periphery of the trading block, the best combination of talent and control among position players actually on the block belongs to Joey Gallo.
Though the 27-year-old hasn't taken the most direct route to stardom, he's definitely putting it all together in 2021. He has a .380 OBP and 24 home runs among his offensive inventory, and he co-leads right fielders with six outs above average.
Factoring in how Gallo is earning only $6.2 million in his penultimate year of club control, and he's a mighty shiny trade chip.
Yet Gallo has also been open (see here and here) about wanting to stay with the Texas Rangers, and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported that they're trying to make it happen with a contract extension.
They could be sincere about that...or it could be a thinly veiled effort to make rival front offices even more desperate to trade for Gallo. The interest is surely there, and the Rangers absolutely need prospects for their 18th-ranked system, so pardon us for [/puts on tinfoil hat] buying into our own conspiracy theory.
Best Guess: Gallo is no longer a Ranger on July 31.