2023 MLB Trade Deadline: What Each American League Contender Should Target

Marcus Semien of the Texas Rangers

We’ve already looked at what each National League team should target as we approach the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline. Now, we move to the American League. More than half the American League has a shot of making the playoffs, and a lot can change between now and the end of the season. With that considered, let’s take a look at the one thing that each AL team should look for this summer.

Related: 2023 MLB Trade Deadline: What Each National League Contender Should Target


  • Most notable need: SP

We’ll start off with the Orioles, who entered play on July 18 just one game back of the Rays in the AL East. The O’s sit in the middle of the pack in team ERA (4.16), and have received good overall production from Tyler Wells and Kyle Bradish. On the other hand, Kyle Gibson, Cole Irvin, and Dean Kremer have been roller coasters.

Baltimore has the bats and the bullpen to succeed, but a #1 or a #2 starter can take this team to the next level. A name like Marcus Stroman makes sense here.

Red Sox

  • Most notable need: Middle infield

Even without Chris Sale, the Red Sox rotation has been largely productive. However, one major weakness of the Red Sox is their defense. The Red Sox attempted to make Enrique Hernandez the team’s regular shortstop, but he struggled mightily in that role. Recently, infielder Yu Chang‘s seen time at short for Boston.

Boston infielder Trevor Story is on the path back, so perhaps the Sox’s production issues at short ends when he returns. However, it wouldn’t hurt if Boston could add a backup option that can play second, short, or both.


  • Most notable need: Power-hitting bat

The Guardians are in a strange place. Cleveland entered the day on July 18 with a 46-48 record, but just 1.5 games back of the Twins. Trade rumors regarding Shane Bieber have gone on for months, but a forearm issue sent him to the IL earlier this month.

Should Cleveland look to add, another bat to slot into the middle of the lineup would do the Guardians well. After 94 games, the Guardians held the sixth-worst team OPS (.694) and fourth-fewest runs scored (385).


  • Most notable need: Infielder

At 42-51 after 93 games, it’s really hard to see the Tigers buy at the Trade Deadline. If anything, it’s more likely that Detroit sells, given how much the Tigers could get for a piece like Eduardo Rodriguez. However, Detroit did sit five games back of the AL Central lead on July 18.

If the Tigers were to add a piece, an infielder would make the most sense. Detroit’s rotation was besieged with injuries earlier in the year, but the returns of Rodriguez, Matt Manning, and Tarik Skubal gave the Tigers much-needed reinforcements. Detroit hasn’t received much production from the infield, particularly at third base.


  • Most notable need: SP

One could look at the impending returns of Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve from the IL as the Astros’ pickups. But in reality, the Houston front office will likely look to add to the Astros’ roster, and one the focus could be the team’s rotation.

Framber Valdez has emerged as the Astros ace with Justin Verlander gone, but up-and-down seasons from Cristian Javier and Hunter Brown, as well as the loss of Lance McCullers Jr. have left the rotation much thinner than a year ago. Houston’s been linked to starters, including White Sox ace Dylan Cease.


  • Most notable need: 3B

The Twins infield has been a quandary in 2023. Jorge Polanco has been on the IL multiple times this season, while Carlos Correa’s .717 OPS is far from what Minnesota hoped for from the 28-year-old when he re-signed this past winter. Infielder Royce Lewis hit .326 with four home runs over his first 26 games back from the IL, but an oblique strain took him out of action again earlier this month.

While the Twins could also look to bolster the outfield, another infielder that can play the hot corner wouldn’t hurt. 


  • Most notable need: OF

The Yankees offense has labored this season, as New York’s .708 team OPS is much lower than the team’s .751 figure last season. Much of the Yankees’ struggles on offense can be attributed to the loss of Aaron Judge, but also pedestrian seasons from DJ LeMahieu, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Giancarlo Stanton.

New York’s been linked to switch-hitting outfielder Dylan Carlson, a former first-round pick that possesses good power and gets on base, but has struggled in St. Louis over the last few seasons. While a potential Carlson acquisition wouldn’t be a sexy one, it would offer the 24-year-old an opportunity to get back on track.


  • Most notable need: 2B

It’s safe to say that Kolten Wong has not worked out in Seattle. Acquired from the Brewers in exchange for Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro, Wong owns a .458 OPS through 57 games. For reference, the lowest OPS of Wong’s career — aside from his 32 game trial run in 2013 — was .675 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Thus, an upgrade at second would make the most sense here.

The M’s have a chance to pull out a Wild Card spot, but the team will more importantly need more from Seattle’s current group in order to get that done.


  • Most notable need: SP

The Rays rotation, at one point, looked like the strongest and deepest group in the Majors. Season-ending injuries to Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs changed that, however. 

Tampa has two high-end starters in Shane McClanahan and Tyler Glasnow, as well as a reliable middle-of-the-rotation arm in Zach Eflin. Another piece to pair with those three should help Tampa.


  • Most notable need: OF

There is an argument to be made that the Rangers should make adding a starter a priority, given the struggles of Martin Perez. But realistically, another outfielder would make a lot of sense for the Rangers, even though Texas’ outfield has been relatively good this season.

Aside from Adolis Garcia and Leody Tavares, Texas received great production this season from Ezequiel Duran, who’s spent time in left field and in the infield this season. Journeyman Travis Jankowski, who owns a .326/.421/.418 slash line in 2023, provides speed but little power. Robbie Grossman, meanwhile, started hot but has been cold since the start of May. An upgrade from Grossman would deepen an already strong group of hitters.

Blue Jays

  • Most notable need: SP

What the Blue Jays do at the deadline could ultimately depend on the health of Hyun-Jin Ryu and the consistency of Alek Manoah. If one of those two can be the final piece to the Jays’ rotation, then Toronto could look to make a bench bat the top priority.

If not, Toronto may consider adding another arm. The Jays have been linked to one notable starter, in former Toronto ace Marcus Stroman.

Note: A team must either be in a playoff spot or five or fewer games out of a spot in order to qualify for this list (as of July 18).