With two weeks to go until Major League Baseball's July 31 trade deadline, theScore's MLB editors offer five bold predictions for deals they want to see happen.
Despite being within striking distance of the Twins in the division and remaining in the wild-card race, the Indians send Trevor Bauer to the Houston Astros in a deal for outfielder Kyle Tucker and right-hander Josh James. Cleveland believes trading the 2018 All-Star doesn't inhibit its ability to win, but actually sets the club up for long-term success and more financial flexibility. The team can fill numerous holes with the return for Bauer and is able to shed a starter who will cost north of $15 million next season and wasn't going to sign long term. Meanwhile, the Astros land another high-strikeout arm and have an elite top of the rotation when Bauer is lined up alongside Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. There is a risk of awkwardness given Bauer's rift with Alex Bregman, but after the acquisition of Roberto Osuna last year, the Astros' clubhouse proved it could still win despite some tension. Adding Bauer gives Houston the best chance to win, and it also means the club will have another pitcher under control next season when Cole, Collin McHugh, and Wade Miley hit the open market. - Brandon Wile
The Oakland Athletics acquire Madison Bumgarner, which isn't that outlandish when you think about it. The A's are currently tied for the second wild-card spot in the American League and - with all due respect to Homer Bailey - need starting pitching. Frankie Montas was in the midst of a breakout, and while he can return near the end of the season from his 80-game suspension, the right-hander won't be available for postseason play. Grabbing a potential ace with playoff experience is crucial. Also, consider the fact this fits the Athletics' modus operandi. Prior to the 2014 deadline, Oakland made a huge splash by acquiring a different rental lefty in Jon Lester, sending Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox. It didn't work out, but the cost wasn't prohibitive. And finally, recall that new San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi originally worked under Billy Beane with the Athletics. This move keeps Bumgarner in the Bay Area, and almost certainly helps turn the A's into a contender. - Michael Bradburn
Plenty of Blue Jays fans (correctly) would rather see Toronto extend its ace right-hander than trade him, but a package bursting with high-end prospects might help ease the pain. Minnesota was already linked to the Blue Jays in relation to both Marcus Stroman and closer Ken Giles, and the Twins are in a fairly good position to offer the moon. The Blue Jays don't appear to have room for shortstop Royce Lewis with Bo Bichette on the way, but outfielder Alex Kirilloff would have to be part of any deal. Additionally, one or both of Brusdar Graterol and Jordan Balazovic would help bolster the future pitching staff. Minnesota isn't far removed from having one of baseball's worst farm systems, and this trade would undo a lot of good work. With Cleveland breathing down the Twins' necks, however, this move could be worth the investment if it helps solidify a deep playoff run. - Jason Wilson
Crosstown rivals the New York Yankees and New York Mets swing their first player-for-player trade since 2004 - and it's a big one. Both clubs reportedly talked about a deal involving Noah Syndergaard during the offseason, but this time, they take the plunge. The Yanks get the starting pitcher they so dearly covet in the hard-throwing right-hander, who replaces injured ace Luis Severino in the rotation. The team wanted a controllable starter in exchange for Clint Frazier - the key piece going back to Queens - and Thor isn't scheduled to hit free agency until after the 2021 campaign. While Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen didn't want to deal Syndergaard, the return was too sweet to pass up. With the acquisition of Frazier, the club now features one of the best young outfields in baseball with Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil rounding out the group. The Mets also get pitching prospects Jonathan Loaisiga and Deivi Garcia to complete the blockbuster. - Tom Ruminski
Yes, that's the last-place Cincinnati Reds we're talking about, the team that sits six games under .500. But this isn't your ordinary last-place team. The Reds are only 6.5 games behind the first-place Cubs in what's become an unbelievably tight and competitive NL Central race. And they're playing below what they're capable of, as evidenced by that plus-35 run differential - second-best in the division - and a pitching staff that ranks top 10 in overall production. A playoff berth is certainly within their grasp, and Cincinnati is going to make a calculated push before the deadline. That starts by grabbing some much-needed help for a woeful offense. James McCann, who's having an All-Star year behind the plate for the White Sox, makes perfect sense as an instant upgrade at a position of need, and he'd likely come at a reasonable price even by rental standards. Expect the Reds to look for additional outfield help, too, perhaps targeting a player like David Peralta in Arizona. It makes a lot of sense for Cincinnati to take a shot this season, and some feasible trades should present themselves. Expect the Reds to take advantage. - Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb