6 MLB Trade Deadline Matches for Playoff Contenders

Mike Esposito
Washington Nationals  v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Logan Riely/Getty Images

The July 31 MLB Trade Deadline is just one day away and select contenders have yet to make the trade or trades that are seemingly necessary to increase their chances of a playoff run. However, the trade market is still flush with talent that could be enough to catapult some teams into World Series contention.

With that in mind, here are some of the best matches for some potential playoff teams at the trade deadline.

1. Atlanta Braves: Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers

The Atlanta Braves may be in the driver's seat in the National League East, but addressing the back end of their bullpen at the deadline would make them even stronger. Atlanta's bullpen has blown 17 saves this season (tied for fifth-most in MLB) and acquiring Detroit Tigers' reliever Shane Greene would give them a true shutdown closer. The 2019 All-Star has been excellent, posting a 1.18 ERA and 0.87 WHIP while successfully converting 22 of his 25 save opportunities this season.

2. Tampa Bay Rays: Zack Wheeler, New York Mets

The Tampa Bay Rays are in desperate need of starting pitching now that Blake Snell has joined Tyler Glasnow on the injured list. Top-end starting pitching may be too expensive for the Rays' liking, but a high-upside rental like Zack Wheeler could be acquired at a cheaper cost. The soon-to-be free agent has been a middle-of-the-rotation starter in 2019 (7-6, 4.71 ERA, 1.24 WHIP), but Tampa has been known to handle its pitchers well, something that could very well help Wheeler realize his potential to become an impact arm down the stretch.

3. Milwaukee Brewers: Mike Minor, Texas Rangers

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers have an explosive lineup, but limiting the damage has been a big issue this year. Brewers starters have combined for a 4.84 ERA (No. 20 in MLB) this season and adding a front-line starter like Mike Minor could go a long way in seeing the Brew Crew back in the postseason. The 31-year-old lefty is in the middle of a strong 2019 campaign with the Texas Rangers, sporting an 8-6 record and a 3.00 ERA with 136 strikeouts across 135 innings pitched. Minor would immediately step in at the top of the Brewers' rotation and could be a difference maker down the stretch.

4. Houston Astros: Jake McGee, Colorado Rockies

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Houston Astros have one of the best and deepest bullpens (3.83 ERA, No. 4 in MLB) in the Majors, but the one place they could seemingly improve is by acquiring a lefty specialist. Rockies' reliever Jake McGee has dominated left-handed hitters in 2019, holding them to a .496 OPS while not allowing an earned run across 43 plate appearance. McGee would provide a clear upgrade over Houston's current lefty relievers, who sport a 6.82 combined ERA on the year.

5. Cleveland Indians: Yasiel Puig, Cincinnati Reds

The Cleveland Indians have vaulted themselves back into playoff contention, thanks to a 17-5 record in July, but a well-rounded outfielder like Yasiel Puig could be just the acquisition that helps take the Tribe deep into October. The 28-year-old has done a little of everything in 2019, slashing .255/.305/.480 with 22 homers, 60 RBI and 13 stolen bases while playing solid defense in right field and would fit seamlessly into the middle of the Indians' lineup.

6. Washington Nationals: Kirby Yates, San Diego Padres

The Washington Nationals find themselves in playoff contention after a ridiculous 33-16 record since June 1. However, the Nats arguably have the worst bullpen in the Majors this year, owning a collective 6.04 ERA (No. 30 in MLB) with 20 blown saves (T-No. 2 in MLB). A dominant reliever like Kirby Yates could be the perfect acquisition for the Nats. Yates may cost them a few of their top prospects, since he's under team control through 2021, but his 1.02 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and MLB-best 31 saves (two blown saves) could be well worth the price for a team that has a good enough rotation to make some noise in the postseason.

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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.