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MLB 2024 trade deadline: Rumors, X factors to watch, more - ESPN

As the July 30 MLB trade deadline slowly approaches and the market begins to heat up, one executive says there are only five teams that clearly have defined themselves as dealers: the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels in the American League and the Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies in the National League.

That's because the vast majority of teams — those with even a hint of a chance at the playoffs — will likely think twice before depleting their rosters.

«Look at the Nationals,» he said. «They're only 2½ games out of the wild card. You've got a lot of teams in the mix — a lot of teams that remember what happened with the Diamondbacks and the Rangers last year.»

Indeed, Texas and Arizona barely made the playoffs last year — the Rangers were a No. 5 seed and the Diamondbacks were a 6-seed — but wound up playing in the World Series. Both got a big boost from making the championship series, and this year's bubble teams will be hoping for the same.

In the eyes of this executive and others, the relative parity of the two leagues will be one of the more significant X factors that will impact the action — or inertia — in the trade market over the next 50 days.

Let's dig into the other X factors that will rule this year's trade deadline based on what executives around the league are saying.

1. Teams will try to follow the paths of the 2023 World Series contenders ...

One club official cited the NL Central as the embodiment of the add-or-subtract quandary that could paralyze a lot of the trade talk in the coming months. The Pittsburgh Pirates, who have been dealers at the deadline in recent years, have a run differential of minus-17, but they are just a half-game back in the race for the NL's third