The 2020 MLB trade deadline has come and gone. The focus now is on the fast-approaching postseason, with its expanded 16-team format.
While we wait for the October excitement to unfold, let's make some way-too-early offseason free-agency predictions.
This involves ample guesswork and conjecture, obviously. But the recently concluded deadline offers some clarity as to clubs' needs and intentions, helping us make one educated prognostication per team.
Obviously, many teams will make more than one move, but this at least gives us a starting point as we look ahead to what should be an interesting offseason.
American League East
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Baltimore Orioles: They won't make any significant moves
The Baltimore Orioles got off to a surprisingly strong start in 2020 before sinking below .500, selling some pieces such as reliever Mychal Givens at the deadline and settling into their role as a rebuilding team with its eyes on the future.
The O's should remain on that trajectory this winter. They don't have many players left to trade but should give their No. 11-ranked farm system another year to develop while avoiding any significant financial commitments in free agency.
Boston Red Sox: They'll let Jackie Bradley Jr. walk
The Boston Red Sox are ticketed for last place in the AL East and sold off multiple assets before the deadline, including closer Brandon Workman and first baseman/designated hitter Mitch Moreland. Clearly, Boston is headed for a full-scale retool, if not outright rebuild, a path it indicated in February when it sent star right fielder Mookie Betts and left-hander David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Designated hitter J.D. Martinez isn't likely to opt out of his deal after a subpar offensive season, but outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. will be a free agent. Boston shouldn't be among the clubs to pursue the 30-year-old, who has spent his entire eight-year career with the Red Sox.
New York Yankees: They'll re-sign Masahiro Tanaka
After signing ace Gerrit Cole to a massive deal last offseason, the New York Yankees will be in the market for starting pitching again. They could pursue external options, but the first order of business may be bringing back right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
The 31-year-old has been up and down in 2020, but overall he has posted a 3.38 ERA through six starts. Given his comfort and familiarity with the organization and the scarcity of impact arms available in free agency, expect New York to ink Tanaka to a multiyear pact and allow him to finish his big league career in pinstripes.
Tampa Bay Rays: They'll sign James McCann
The Tampa Bay Rays are in first place in the AL East thanks to a strong pitching staff and a balanced lineup. And the future is bright for Tampa Bay, which boasts the game's No. 1 farm system.
The small-market Rays aren't likely to hand out any mega-deals in free agency, nor do they need to. But they could improve a catching core that has produced little offensively and may lose Mike Zunino to free agency.
One option? Veteran and 2019 All-Star James McCann, who has posted a .968 OPS in 17 games as an overqualified backup for the Chicago White Sox.
Toronto Blue Jays: They'll re-sign Robbie Ray
The Toronto Blue Jays beefed up their pitching staff at the deadline, particularly with the acquisition of left-hander Robbie Ray from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After posting an unsightly 7.84 ERA in 31 innings with Arizona, Ray looked solid in his Jays debut, striking out four and allowing one earned run in 3.1 frames.
It's a tiny sample, obviously, but if Ray continues to make a change-of-scenery turnaround with Toronto, the club could bring the 28-year-old back in free agency and hope he rediscovers his 2017 All-Star form.