Whether teams project to be buyers or sellers, we need to take a close look at MLB trade deadline teams’ needs in 2023.
Even if we already know the top trade deadline candidates, it’s important to know the MLB trade deadline team needs for 2023 before trying to predict how things will play out this summer.
MLB trade deadline team needs 2023
Obviously, fans are hoping for an active deadline with some of the best MLB trades ever. That’s why we wanted to explore the positions to improve at the trade deadline for every team and the trade targets by team.
Keep in mind that even teams that are sellers have needs to address. Therefore, we are hoping to explore MLB trade deadline team needs in 2023 for all 30 teams.
Blue Jays – Bullpen Help, Outfield Depth
The Blue Jays have had a topsy-turvy season. There have been times when it looked like they couldn’t lose and other times when they looked like they couldn’t win. At the moment, Toronto is in decent shape, but being in the AL East, the Jays will need to make moves at the trade deadline to ensure they claim a Wild Card spot since catching the Rays seems unrealistic.
The good news is the core of the Blue Jays is in good shape. But with some injured relievers, Toronto’s bullpen could use another arm or two. The Jays are also light on right-hand-hitting outfielders outside of George Springer. To help balance out Daulton Varsho and Cavan Biggio, Toronto should add an outfielder who can hit lefties.
Orioles – Starting Pitcher, Star Power
For the first time in a long time, the Orioles aren’t going to be obvious sellers at the deadline. In fact, as the second-place team in the AL East, Baltimore could be rather aggressive. The Orioles have a deep farm system that could be useful, especially since they could most benefit from a proven starting pitcher.
Outside of Kyle Gibson, Baltimore’s rotation is young, so a proven veteran starter could be a great addition. In fact, any big-name player, especially someone with postseason experience, is the type of player the Orioles should be targeting.
Rays – Bullpen Help, Second Baseman
Needless to say, the Rays haven’t shown too many flaws this year. When looking at MLB trade deadline team needs in 2023, the Rays have a shortlist.
If Tampa does have an obvious weakness, it’s in the bullpen. The Rays have a good collection, but if they can trade for one of the better late-game relievers on the market, they can get to another level and be better prepared for the postseason. Meanwhile, the Rays should at least consider their options at second base. Even before Brandon Lowe went to the IL, that wasn’t a position where the Rays were getting much production.
Red Sox – Young Pitchers
The Red Sox have to be careful at the trade deadline because they are a borderline Wild Card contender at best. It’s more likely that Boston will be a seller if the Red Sox can’t get their act together soon.
There are even rumblings that some veterans could be traded. If that happens, the Red Sox need to target pitching prospects. They need to start building a younger rotation and their farm system lacks high-end pitchers.
Yankees – Outfielder, Starting Pitcher
While the season hasn’t unfolded as they would have liked, the Yankees will be buyers at the trade deadline. New York’s needs are also crystal clear. First, they need an outfielder who can play every day.
Even if they get Harrison Bader and Aaron Judge back from the IL, the Yanks are just rotating outfielders at the third spot and hoping to get lucky. They need a reliable player in left field or at least a platoon partner with one of their left-hand-hitting outfielders.
Meanwhile, injuries to Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes have created a clear need for rotation depth. Another reliever wouldn’t hurt either, but the Yankees need another starter who can eat up innings while their big guns are hurt.
Guardians – Hitters
It’s clear by this point in the season that the Guardians need more offense. The AL Central is there for the taking and Cleveland’s pitching looks to be good enough. But the Guards just haven’t scored enough runs.
To be more specific, the Guardians need better offensive options in right field and catcher. The Guardians should also be looking for a right-hand-hitting first baseman or DH who can complement Josh Naylor and Josh Bell, who have not produced enough power this year.
Royals – Farm System Depth, Controllable Big Leaguers
This season was practically over before it started for the Royals. The only thing left to do is trade away any players of value who have two years of team control or less.
Unfortunately, the Royals have just one prospect in MLB’s top 100, so their farm system needs reinforcements. Most of Kansas City’s top prospects are still in A-ball, which means the Royals should be looking for young players who are in the majors or close. Otherwise, 2024 could look a lot like 2023.
Tigers – Young Outfielders
Detroit had a chance to surprise some folks before the season, but things haven’t panned out that way. The Tigers will once again be sellers at the deadline with the hope of trying to acquire players who can accelerate their rebuilding process.
In terms of young talent, the Tigers are in decent shape when it comes to their infield and pitching staff. Not that you can ever have enough pitching, but the Tigers need to focus their efforts on finding outfield prospects with upside because they don’t appear to have that at the moment.
Twins – Rebuild Outfield
While the AL Central appears to be Minnesota’s to lose, the Twins are barely a .500 team. While injuries have hurt a little, Minnesota’s pitching staff is still in good shape. It’ll be a lackluster offense that the Twins will need to address at the deadline.
Keep in mind that they traded away last year’s batting champ, so it’s not surprising that Minnesota’s lineup has struggled. The hope is that Carlos Correa and some others can get things turned around. But the Twins are getting nothing this year from Max Kepler, Michael Taylor, and their other outfielders. Injuries have played a role, but the Twins may need to acquire multiple outfielders at the deadline to give their lineup a boost.
White Sox – Rebuild Farm System, Young Catcher
The White Sox have somehow gotten themselves back within striking distance in the AL Central. But they might be better have a fire sale at the deadline and rebuilding their farm system in a big way.
Obviously, acquiring as many young arms as possible is a priority for a team in Chicago’s position. But the White Sox also need to look to get stronger up the middle by trying to acquire prospects who can be MLB starters at second base or shortstop one day, as well as a young catcher to groom for the future because the White Sox have no such player in their farm system right now.
Angels – Rotation, Bullpen
The Angels are hoping that the tandem of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani can keep them in contention and make them buyers at the deadline. Offensively, the Halos are in good shape if they can keep everyone healthy.
But they don’t exactly have a playoff-caliber rotation outside of Ohtani. The Angels will need to get the best starting pitcher they can. In the bullpen, they don’t need a stud, but the Halos do need to add additional depth if they’re going to claim a spot in the crowded Wild Card race.
Astros – Outfielder, First Baseman
Houston typically makes deadline moves for fun rather than need. But they aren’t leading the AL West right now, so the Astros are in a similar boat with everyone else when it comes to MLB trade deadline team needs in 2023.
At the surface, it looks like the Astros need pitching, but they just need to get healthy. The thing the Astros need more than anything is help in the outfield, especially in left field. Also, it might be worth exploring their options at first base because Jose Abreu has had a disappointing season.
Athletics – MLB-Ready Talent
The A’s will be sellers at the deadline, although they’ve made so many moves over the last couple of years that they don’t have many trade chips yet. But with whatever trades they make, the goal should be getting players who are at least close to contributing in the big leagues.
Oakland has a few prospects that are getting there. But if the A’s are going to be noticeably better in 2024, they need players who can help in the immediate future rather than trying to build their farm system from the bottom up.
Mariners – Full-Time DH, Second Baseman, Third Baseman
When it comes to trade targets by team, the Mariners usually have a long list this time of year. GM Jerry Dipoto isn’t shy when it comes to making trades, and with the Mariners having a disappointing year, they need to do something big at the deadline.
The first thing Seattle needs is a full-time DH or a right fielder who can push Teoscar Hernandez to that role. The Mariners just haven’t gotten enough out of that spot. They could also use a versatile infielder who can play multiple positions because third baseman Eugenio Suarez has had a down year while Jose Caballero may not be the answer at second base.
Rangers – Back-End Starter, Veteran Bat
As the AL West leaders, the Rangers are surely eager to add reinforcements at the deadline rather than become sellers. With Jacob deGrom out for the season, the Texas rotation needs help, although Nathan Eovaldi and Jon Gray have pitched so well that the Rangers don’t necessarily need to target a high-end starter.
Meanwhile, it’s hard to find a glaring weakness in the Texas lineup. But adding a veteran hitter to the mix couldn’t hurt, especially someone who can play the outfield and bats left-handed.
Braves – Starting Pitcher, Outfielder
The Braves don’t appear to have a lot of needs right now, but they will surely do something at the deadline to boost their chances of winning a second World Series in three years. With Max Fried and Kyle Wright currently sidelined, the Braves will surely look for a starting pitcher rather than take a chance on their younger arms.
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s outfield could use a boost unless Michael Harris II can get it going. Even if he does, a right-handed outfielder who can play multiple positions would be a good fit for the Braves.
Marlins – Starting Pitcher, Outfield, Catcher
Don’t adjust your screen when we tell you that the Marlins are likely to be buyers at this year’s trade deadline. In a perfect world, Miami would find a frontline starter to pair with Sandy Alcantara, who hasn’t been at his best in 2023.
However, that won’t be their only need. The Miami outfield could be in need of reinforcements, especially if Jazz Chisholm struggles when he returns from the IL. The Marlins are also likely to explore their options on the trade market behind the plate.
Mets – Bullpen Depth, Left-Handed Power Bat
In terms of MLB trade deadline team needs in 2023, the Mets are facing a conundrum. They spent like a contender during the offseason but haven’t looked like one on the field.
Unfortunately, New York’s problem is that key players haven’t performed up to exceptions. That’s not something that can be fixed at the deadline. However, if the Mets are going to make moves this summer, they surely need to add multiple relievers, perhaps a proven late-game reliever.
Finding a left-handed power bat to replace Daniel Vogelbach as the primary DH would also make sense.
Nationals – MLB-Ready Pitchers, Farm System Depth
While the Nats will be sellers, they have a chance to be productive this summer. They have a few building blocks in place and some talented outfielders in the minors.
That means Washington needs to keep trying to acquire MLB-ready pitchers to add to the group that also includes MacKenzie Gore and Josiah Gray. They can also trade some rental players and add more depth to an already solid farm system.
Phillies – Bullpen, Rotation Depth
Even in the midst of a disappointing season, there will be pressure on the Phillies to do something at the deadline. Just like last year, the bullpen is a lingering concern that needs to be addressed.
But the Philly rotation can’t be ignored either.
Ultimately, the Phils aren’t going anywhere if Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola can’t pitch like aces. But filling out the last two spots of their rotation has been problematic with Matt Strahm essentially being used as an opener. Adding a back-end starter would be a cost-effective move the Phils can make at the deadline.
Brewers – Rotation Depth, Outfield
Milwaukee should be running away with a mediocre NL Central at this point. Instead, it looks like the Brew Crew will need some help at the deadline. Given the injuries to Milwaukee’s starting rotation, that’s where the Brewers need to start.
They don’t necessarily need a frontline starter, but it’d be nice to find someone to be the no. 2 starter behind Corbin Burnes. Meanwhile, injuries and a lack of production have been an issue in the outfield. The Brewers may need to add at least one everyday outfielder, possibly more, before the trade deadline.
Cardinals – MLB-Ready Pitching, Farm System Depth
Unless something drastic happens, the Cardinals could be relegated to being sellers at the deadline. While disappointing, a couple of trades could help them to reload for 2024. St. Louis has an aging and injury-prone rotation, so acquiring MLB-ready pitchers should be the priority.
Oddly enough, there aren’t a ton of glaring needs in the organization, allowing the Cards to focus on pitching and trying to add talent to their farm system for the next time they are buyers at the deadline.
Cubs – Young Pitchers, Young Catcher
The Cubs made an honest effort to rebuild this past winter, but it looks like they’ll be sellers this summer.
They have a solid farm system, although immediate help isn’t on the way. Chicago’s farm system has a few promising pitchers and outfielders but not much else. The Cubs should try to acquire a young catcher with Miguel Amaya looking like a bust. They should also try to acquire as much young pitching as possible.
Pirates – Frontline Starter, First Baseman
In another shocking twist in 2023, Pittsburgh could be a buyer at the deadline. If the Pirates are serious, they’re going to need to acquire the best starting pitcher they can find.
While Mitch Keller has turned things around, Pittsburgh still lacks a proven ace with playoff experience, and while he’s a good no. 3 starter, Rich Hill no longer fits that description. Elsewhere, first base and possibly catcher are positions that could also use an upgrade. Carlos Santana’s power just isn’t there, and since he doesn’t add much else but power potential, the Pirates need to look at their options at first base.
Reds – Veteran Starting Pitcher, Outfield Depth
Believe it or not, the Reds might be buyers this summer too. If Elly De La Cruz and other young players can make an impact, Cincinnati could make a push for the NL Central crown. But a young rotation will likely need a veteran leader.
It doesn’t have to be a frontline starter, but an experienced starter would be a great asset for the Reds. Adding another arm or two to the bullpen wouldn’t hurt either. However, given the rash of injuries to the Cincinnati outfield, that’s one area where the Reds need help, even if it’s just a part-time player who can provide some pop.
Diamondbacks – Back-End Starter, Bullpen
As the current leaders of the NL West, the Diamondbacks could be aggressive at the deadline. One thing they’ll likely need to hold off the Dodgers is some rotation help.
Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly are leading the way, but Arizona needs to shore up the back end of the rotation. Likewise, the D’Backs will surely search for one or two bullpen arms to help down the stretch. Offensively, look for the Diamondbacks to trust the players they have, perhaps adding a veteran outfielder to be safe, but pitching is Arizona’s obvious need for the trade deadline.
Dodgers – Starting Rotation, Shortstop
Los Angeles was unusually quiet last winter, so it’ll be interesting to see if that changes this summer, especially in what could be a tight NL West race. With no guarantee that some of their injured starters will return and be reliable, the Dodgers will surely need to add to their rotation.
They might trust Tony Gonsolin and Clayton Kershaw but a veteran back-end starter will help. Of course, shortstop might be an even more pressing need. The Dodgers weren’t able to replace Gavin Lux before the season, although the trade deadline will give them another chance to replace their injured shortstop.
Giants – Late-Game Reliever, Power Hitter
With a little help at the deadline, the Giants could make a strong playoff push late in the season. The rotation has carried San Francisco at times, but the bullpen could use another reliable setup man.
Of course, depending on how the injury situation shakes out in July, the Giants might also need rotation depth as well. Equally important, the Giants need more power in their lineup. That power could come in the form of a catcher, outfielder, shortstop, or third baseman. No matter what, the San Francisco lineup needs more power.
Padres – DH, First Baseman, Center Field, Catcher
San Diego invested too much in this year’s team to turn into sellers at the deadline. Look for the Padres to double down and make an aggressive move or two.
Veterans Nelson Cruz and Matt Carpenter haven’t done much, so a new DH could be on San Diego’s wish list. They could also look at first baseman, knowing Jake Cronenworth can move to another position.
Catcher could also be considered a position of need unless Gary Sanchez can continue his hot hitting. Finally, given a lack of production from Trent Grisham, the Padres could explore their options in center field.
Rockies – Young Pitching, MLB-Ready Outfielders
It’s no surprise that the Rockies will be sellers at the deadline. Fortunately, with some decent trading chips, the Rox can get to work on strengthening their farm system. As usual, the Rockies need young pitching, especially those who induce a lot of ground balls.
It’s not easy for Colorado to sign free agents, so the Rox need to overload their farm system with young arms they can develop. Colorado should also seek MLB-ready outfielders since most of their current outfielders are a little old. While the Rockies have some promising outfield prospects, most are still a year or two away from reaching the majors.