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

Kyle Schwarber of the Philadelphia Phillies

With the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline nearing, let’s talk about what each contender should — and not necessarily will do — look to add over the coming weeks. With eight National League teams either in or in close proximity of a playoff spot, let’s go over what each of those eight squads should look to add.

Related: When is the 2024 MLB London Series, and which teams will be participating?


  • Most notable need: SP

We’ll start off with the Diamondbacks, who entered play on July 17 third place in the NL West and just a half a game ahead of the Phillies for the last NL Wild Card spot. Arizona slipped as of late, as the Diamondbacks lost eight of ten between July 2-16 and gave up five or more runs in half of those games.

The results from the D-Backs rotation has been mixed. Zac Gallen has been a reliable ace for the Diamondbacks. Merril Kelly posted a 3.22 ERA over 95 innings, while left-hander Tommy Henry’s fit in nicely to the rotation. However, poor years from Ryne Nelson and Zach Davies, as well as a calf issue that sidelined Kelly in June, have left the D-Backs in a tight spot.


  • Most notable need: RP

Here’s a question: what does the team with the highest OPS and the lowest ERA in baseball acquire to bolster the team at the Trade Deadline? That’s the question the Braves will need to answer over the coming weeks, as Atlanta looks to win a second World Series title in three years.

Right now, it looks like a relief pitcher makes the most sense for the Braves. With A.J. Minter, Nick Anderson, Dylan Lee, and Jesse Chavez all on the IL, a reliever to support Raisel Iglesias, Kirby Yates, and Joe Jimenez would be an ideal move.


  • Most notable need: SP

Despite a poor series against the Brewers between July 14-16, the Reds offense remains a formidable threat. The Reds rotation, on the other hand, remains a major question mark.

Andrew Abbott’s been tremendous since his promotion to the Majors, while Ben Lively turned into a pleasant surprise. But with no Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo, a starter would give the Reds a much-needed lift in Cincinnati’s quest for the NL Central title.


  • Most notable need: SP

This one is rather obvious. With Ryan Pepiot, Dustin May, and Clayton Kershaw on the IL, a starting pitcher is the focus here for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers will have competition, but Los Angeles does have a deep farm system that could be drawn from for a piece. 


  • Most notable need: SS/3B

The Marlins boast one of the game’s deepest pitching staffs, despite a down year from reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara and even with phenom Eury Perez down in the Minors. If the Marlins do look to add a piece this summer, a bat would make sense.

The Marlins could look towards adding an outfielder as a backup plan for Jazz Chisholm Jr., although the team’s outfield has produced without him. Miami received little production from Jean Segura over the first half, in what has been an uncharacteristically off year from the veteran infielder. He did get off to a good start in the second half, though, as Segura went 4-12 in the Marlins’ three-game set against the Orioles between July 14-16.


  • Most notable need: LHH bat

Against right-handed pitching in 2023, the Brewers rank 23rd in the Majors in wRC+ (93) and 24th in OPS (.694) (h/t Fangraphs). While Christian Yelich has put up his best offensive season since 2019, Milwaukee has received below-average production from Jesse Winker and Rowdy Tellez, the latter of whom is on the IL. Willy Adames belted 16 home runs over his first 84 games, but a .706 OPS would be the lowest of his MLB career should the season end today.

In general, the Brewers need a bat. However, a left-handed hitting outfielder or corner infielder makes sense here. There are not many high-profile left-handed hitters on our trade target board, but both Jurickson Profar and Jeimer Candelario are switch-hitters.


  • Most notable need: OF

Philadelphia has three high-priced outfielders in Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, and Bryce Harper. But with Harper still unable to play the outfield after UCL reconstruction and Kyle Schwarber’s -15 Outs Above Average, another outfielder makes sense here.

One thing to note about the Phillies is that Harper is set to get a look at first in the near future. Should Philadelphia roll with Harper at first — and presumably, Schwarber at DH — during the stretch run, that could open the door for a name like Hunter Renfroe. The Angels outfielder could do well in Philly with his power, and the two sides have done deals in the past.


  • Most notable need: SP

While the Giants — who sit in the middle of the pack in team OPS (.725) — could look to add a bat, another starter to pair with Logan Webb and Alex Cobb would be ideal.

The Giants have received subpar production from Ross Stripling and Alex Wood, while Anthony DeSclafani is on the IL. As a whole, the Giants have received good overall production from the team’s crop of pitchers, but another one can’t hurt.

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.

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