Three Teams Who Should Blow it Up at the 2024 Trade Deadline

The 2024 season hasn't gone according to plan for these three clubs, which means each should at least explore selling at the trade deadline.

2024 trade deadline sellers Toronto Blue Jays
DETROIT, MI - JULY 08: Bo Bichette #11 (L) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays look on in the rain during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 8, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Blue Jays 2-0. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Less than a month stands in between us and the MLB Trade Deadline on July 30. And even with the All-Star Game festivities coming up shortly, the trade deadline remains a front and center focus for fans and front offices across baseball.

Thanks to MLB’s expanded playoff format, which added a third wild card to each league in 2022, nearly half of the teams can now qualify for the postseason. That doesn’t include the majority of clubs who will also consider themselves “in the race” deep into September, creating an interesting dynamic of buyers and sellers at the July trade deadline.

As a result, only a select few teams can truly be considered ‘sellers’ this summer. And vice versa, only a handful of clubs are really ‘buyers’ in the traditional sense.

And then there’s everyone else, this so-called new ‘tier’ of potential buyers and/or sellers that may do a little of both, or nothing at all. Among the teams in this tier are three American League squads: The Toronto Blue Jays, the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers.

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Let’s make the case for each of them to sell off this summer.

All stats and standings taken prior to play on July 5th

Toronto Blue Jays

Sitting at 39-48 and in last place in the American League East through their first 87 games of 2024, one thing seems clear about the Toronto Blue Jays: they’re not the team we thought they were.

Considering their current position within the Wild Card race (8.5 games back of the third wild card spot as of July 5), selling off this July seems to be the most pertinent path forward. And that’s a disappointing outcome given the talent they possess, at least on paper.

Inconsistency and injuries have plagued a position player core that has largely failed to deliver in recent seasons, even as the Blue Jays made the playoffs in three out of the last four seasons.

What happened to Bo Bichette, the once promising shortstop who was a well above-average hitter from his debut in 2019 until as recently as last season? In 2024, Bichette has an uncharacteristic 75 wRC+ in 74 games played.

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Ditto Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who had a rough start to this season but has rebounded thanks to a recent hot streak. However, we’re still waiting for him to fully recapture his 2021 dominance (48 HRs, 166 wRC+).

On the pitching side, Toronto’s starting rotation is solid and steady, sporting a 4.03 ERA (14th in MLB). But Kevin Gausman is supposed to be an ace; instead, his ERA sits north of four.

The good news, at least, is that Jose Berrios, Chris Bassitt and Yusei Kikuchi have all been effective and they’ve largely kept their team in games.

But back to the main issue at hand: The Blue Jays aren’t winning and we can blame the other segment of the pitching staff for that: Toronto’s unsightly 4.83 bullpen ERA ranks 29th in baseball, only beating out the Colorado Rockies, who call Coors Field home.

All in all, 2024 has amounted to a poor season thus far for the Blue Jays. That means it’s time to think about a sell-off. And perhaps even in a major way, because while the big league club has talent, what’s behind them in the minor leagues is not terribly exciting.

Texas Rangers

Surprise! The defending World Champions have reached a critical point in their quest to repeat.

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2024 has not been kind to the Texas Rangers, largely from an injury standpoint. That’s the primary reason they’ve fallen behind in the American League West standings, sitting eight games back of the first-place Seattle Mariners and six back of the Houston Astros, whom the Rangers toppled in last season’s ALCS.

Texas’ 39-48 record is identical to that of Toronto’s, which also leaves them 8.5 games back of that final Wild Card spot in the American League.

Rangers’ General Manager Chris Young isn’t ready to throw in the towel yet, though, despite the bleak outlook. But he has a valid reason for that mentality: the expected return of many key contributors in the second half.

Texas just got Max Scherzer back from injury, for example, and also anticipates the return of starters Tyler Mahle and Jacob deGrom from their respective Tommy John rehabs. deGrom, in particular, is a huge wild card: If he returns to dominant form, that’s better than any trade deadline acquisition the Rangers could make.

A rotation featuring deGrom, Scherzer, Mahle, Nathan Eovaldi and Jon Gray would be extremely formidable down the stretch. But considering how volatile this older group is, it would be challenging to depend on them.

Injuries have also forced Texas’ hand on the offensive side. Corey Seager has missed time this season, as have Nathaniel Lowe, Evan Carter and Josh Jung. Meanwhile, others including Adolis Garcia have underperformed at the plate.

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22-year-old rookie outfielder Wyatt Langford has been a jolt for this beleaguered lineup in recent weeks, but that’s largely been it.

The best course of action for the Texas Rangers will likely be to stand pat this July. They have a decent farm system that can continue to provide reinforcements over time.

But if a team comes calling about one of their players leading up to the trade deadline and offers a mass, Chris Young shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger and look towards a bounce-back campaign in 2025.

Detroit Tigers

Going into 2024, the Detroit Tigers had their share of believers. With an emerging rotation and young position player core, the infrastructure was certainly in place to facilitate a leap towards contention.

That’s not how things have played out on the field, though.

The Tigers complete the 39-48 trifecta, sitting 8.5 games back of a playoff spot. And considering how well the Cleveland Guardians and Kansas City Royals have played in 2024, the American League Central is out of the picture for Detroit.

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On an individual level, the Tigers have some intriguing pieces: Ace Tarik Skubal could be in line for an All-Star start in Texas. Rotation mate Jack Flaherty has had something of a career renaissance in the Motor City and is a potential trade piece for Detroit at the trade deadline. And Reese Olson continues to develop into a stable option (3.32 ERA in 16 starts).

At the plate, however, the Tigers have the fifth-worst team OPS in 2024 (.665) and struggle to find any sort of consistency. It’s a glaring reminder of how much work Detroit has in front of them to bring their lineup back to a respectable level.

Of the three clubs listed, the Tigers appear to be the most obvious sellers, with no major injury reinforcements on the way or a talent base strong enough to lead a second half resurgence. The larger question, then, would be just how many of their assets are coveted by contending teams.