The Duel

5 Pitchers That Could Be Traded From the NL to the AL Prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline

Dan Israeli
San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers
San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers /

The July 31 MLB Trade Deadline is just over a week away, which means we're likely in for a slew of upcoming moves. Most teams have likely determined by now if they intend to be buyers or sellers at the Trade Deadline, but there could be some last minute shifts.

There are a number of contending teams looking for rotation and/or bullpen help, and there's always movement between the National and the American League. With that in mind, here are five NL pitchers that may get traded to the AL prior to the deadline.

1. Noah Syndergaard, SP, New York Mets

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It's yet to be determined whether the New York Mets are truly serious about trading Noah Syndergaard, but their crosstown rivals are seemingly ready to pounce if that's the case. The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros are both rumored to be after the man they call Thor. Syndergaard is in the midst of his worst year in the Majors (4.36 ERA) and, with the Mets going nowhere fast, it may make sense to trade him before his value depletes more than it already has.

2. Zack Wheeler, SP, New York Mets

If the Mets are adamant about keeping Syndergaard to pair with Jacob deGrom for their future, they could instead trade Zack Wheeler. Even though he's currently on the IL, Wheeler is a likely candidate to be traded since the right-hander is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. While Syndergaard has been connected to the Yankees, Wheeler's name has been tied to the Boston Red Sox, meaning one AL East team may very well add a Mets' starter when all is said and done.

3. Kirby Yates, RP, San Diego Padres

Kirby Yates has been arguably the best closer in baseball this season, with 31 saves to go with a 1.05 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 43 innings. Those numbers will play anywhere, and if there is one thing contenders like to add at the MLB Trade Deadline, it's an impact relief pitcher. A pair of AL Central rivals in the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians have both been linked to Yates, even though the Padres seemingly haven't been defined as a buyer or a seller just yet. If San Diego decides to sell, there will be no shortage of suitors for the first-time MLB All-Star.

4. Will Smith, RP, San Francisco Giants

It seems highly likely that Will Smith will be traded, as the San Fransisco Giants are dead-last in the NL West with little to be excited about as far as their farm system is concerned. Smith, who was an NL All-Star this season, is having a stellar year with 24 saves to go along with a 2.55 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings. While Smith has a lot of potential suitors in the National League, he'd also fit on nearly any AL team looking to bolster its bullpen.

5. Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants

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The Giants aren't just likely to trade their closer, they're also heavily rumored to part with their ace of the past 10 years – three-time World Series champion and 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. Linked to teams including, but not limited to, the Yankees, Astros and Twins, Bumgarner could be paired with Smith for one hell of a trade package. The left-hander is again having a solid season (3.65 ERA, 1.18 WHIP), but there is some concern over how a change of scenery might affect the soon-to-be 30-year-old starter since he pitches better at home (2.75 ERA) than he does on the road (3.40 ERA) during his career.

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