By Dan Schlossberg
Today is July 2, a day after Dominion Day, two days before Independence Day, and 12 days before Bastille Day.
It is also one month from the 2022 baseball trading deadline.
If this year is anything like last year, it will be a busy one.
A record 10 players who were 2021 All-Stars changed uniforms within two weeks of the Denver game. With an even dozen playoff slots up for grabs this time around, action figures to be even crazier — especially in the closing minutes.
Relief pitchers figure to be most in demand but starters won’t be too far behind. And don’t forget the host of stars whose contracts are expiring.
The 2022 trade deadline will produce tons of headlines. Cost-cutting clubs like the Kansas City Royals will be looking to rebuild by slicing well-paid veterans Zack Greinke, Andrew Benintendi, and Whit Merrifield. But don’t be surprised if contenders consider unloading veterans they don’t think they can sign (we’re talking Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox).
Boston figures to follow the example of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who shifted Trea Turner to short after Corey Seager split for the Texas Rangers. The Sox could follow suit with Trevor Story, a career shortstop who has been playing second base for Boston.
Both New York clubs should be active buyers, with the Yankees ogling outfield help and the Mets hoping to bolster their bullpen and maybe third base too.
The World Champion Atlanta Braves, seeking their fifth straight NL East crown, want left-handed help — preferably an outfielder but perhaps a second baseman and a starting pitcher that can bolster an all-righty rotation behind southpaw staff ace Max Fried.
Don’t be surprised if Alex Anthopoulos brings back Mark Melancon, currently languishing in Arizona, to supplant ailing closer Kenley Jansen.
Clubs in need of a catcher could do worse than Willson Contreras, the top trade chip of the struggling Chicago Cubs. The Mets, Yankees, Padres, and Giants could all have interest. The younger Contreras brother, William, isn’t going anywhere after impressing the Braves with both his bat and his work as a backstop.
Nobody can replace injured MVP Bryce Harper but the Phillies would love to try. Is a Joey Gallo trade a possibility? A bust with the Yankees, he’s definitely on the bloc.
The Toronto Blue Jays, another team that likes to shake things up, could be persuaded to part with Cavan Biggio, who hasn’t lived up to his pedigree. And Seattle GM Jerry DiPoto always ranks at the head of the class when it comes to making multiple moves.
With three wild cards per league, some teams that think they can make it just might stand pat. But others will be active traders because they think that’s the best way to reach that goal.
No matter what happens, it’s going to be an interesting month, with the All-Star Game July 19, the Hall of Fame Inductions five days later, and the early-August deadline.
Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ covers baseball for forbes.com, Latino Sports, USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Sports Collectors Digest, and many others. His e.mail is email@example.com.