With Major League Baseball’s trade deadline at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, ESPN’s Stats & Info Group looks at the biggest storylines around one of the most interesting days of the midseason (all stats entering play Saturday).
The reigning champions and the Yankees are ... sellers?
The Yankees made the first major splash of the trade season when they sent Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for a package that included Gleyber Torres (the No. 26 prospect in baseball, according to ESPN’s Keith Law.)
Michael Pineda and Andrew Miller are under team control through at least next season, so the Yankees’ moving them would be a sign that they are true sellers. If they don’t unload Pineda and Miller, the Yankees can still add long-term assets and trade rental players such as Carlos Beltran.
Beltran’s 135 OPS+ is his highest since he reached 154 in 2011.
As for the Royals, Fangraphs’ projections show them with less than a 1 percent chance to make the playoffs.
The Royals are 4-10 in the second half. The only team with fewer second-half wins is the Giants (two).
Among the Royals’ biggest problems lately has been pitching. In their 14 second-half games, they have a 5.68 ERA, second-worst in the majors. Their OPS in that time is .612, also second-worst in baseball in the second half.
The Royals’ top candidate to move in a trade probably is Wade Davis. He has a $10 million team option for 2017. Since the start of 2014, Davis’ 1.09 ERA is lowest among the 147 pitchers with at least 100 relief appearances.
Given how much the Yankees got for Chapman, who is a free agent after the 2016 season, it is conceivable the Royals could get more for Davis.
Needs for contenders
Orioles: They're 26th in the majors in starters ERA (4.98). They've had six pitchers start at least 12 games, and only one (Chris Tillman) has an ERA under 3.50.
Blue Jays: They're 19th in the majors in bullpen ERA (4.09). Four of their six most-used relievers have an ERA over 4.00.
Red Sox: They're 20th in starters ERA. Of the 10 pitchers who have started a game for them this season, two have an ERA under 4.00.
Indians: They have one left-handed pitcher on their active roster: Kyle Crockett, who has a 7.36 ERA in 16 appearances. And he's allowed a higher batting average to left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters.
Tigers: The Tigers are getting great things from rookie Michael Fulmer, who is 12 innings away from matching his career high as a pro. The rest of the Tigers’ starters have combined for a 4.88 ERA, which would rank 24th in baseball.
Astros: They have a .604 OPS from their designated hitter, the lowest mark in the American League. Their 24 extra-base hits from their designated hitter are tied for the fewest in the AL, and their 11 home runs are tied for 3rd-fewest (40-year-old David Ortiz has 25 home runs and 61 extra-base hits by himself).
Rangers: They're 29th in baseball in bullpen ERA (4.86) and 28th in ninth-inning ERA (5.12).
NATIONALS: They have the fifth-lowest OPS in the majors from their outfielders (.706). And even if Bryce Harper gets hot, they have the second-worst OPS from their left fielders and center fielders (.653).
Marlins: They could use some pop, Giancarlo Stanton notwithstanding. Despite being second in the majors in batting average and ninth in OBP, they're 18th in slugging and 21st in runs per game.
Mets: The only teams scoring fewer runs per game than the Mets are the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves. The Mets are 23rd in OPS from their first basemen and 26th in OPS from their catchers.
Cubs: The Cubs just made a move to address one of their big weaknesses, the bullpen. The next weak spot to look at might be in the corners: They're 18th in OPS from their left fielder and right fielder.
Cardinals: They could use a back-end reliever. They're 19th in ERA in the ninth inning. And an offensive upgrade could be had in center field (20th in OPS).
Giants: They're 23rd in slugging as a team. They might want to address third base (28th in OPS) or center field (21st in OPS).
Dodgers: They could use an outfield bat. They're 24th in OPS from their outfielders, and they have the 3rd-lowest OPS in baseball from their 3-4-5 hitters. Only three teams have had fewer home runs from the middle third of their order.
Did you know?
In each of the past four years, a former Cy Young winner has been traded before the trade deadline. (This year, fewer top starting pitchers appear to be available. Chris Sale, Rich Hill, Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore are among the starting pitchers who might be moved.)
Traditionally, the nonwaiver deadline is July 31. For 2016, the deadline was moved back 24 hours so as to not coincide with the large number of games that will be in progress Sunday afternoon.
In the past five seasons, 77 percent of trades made in the last week of the nonwaiver window have happened in the last three days (this year, that will be Saturday, Sunday and Monday).