2021 MLB trade deadline: Key information and trade targets

Kris Bryant
This could be the year the Cubs finally trade Kris Bryant.

In need of another arm in the bullpen? A lefty bat in the order? A utility infielder to add some postseason versatility?

Major League Baseball teams have a few weeks remaining to add those final pieces as they try to position themselves for a run to the playoffs, or even the World Series.

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming trade deadline, including some big names that soon could be changing teams.

When is the 2021 MLB trade deadline?

The 2021 MLB trade deadline is at 4 p.m. ET on July 30. 

The deadline is a day earlier than it customarily is because July 31 falls on a Saturday this year. Major League Baseball reportedly wanted to avoid having the deadline fall on a weekend when more day games typically are being played amid last-minute trade talks.

Will August waiver trades be allowed after the 2021 trade deadline? 

Nope, those days and deals are over. 

MLB in 2019 abolished the August waiver deals that enabled teams to continue making trades after the actual trade deadline had passed. If a player cleared waivers, he was eligible to be traded and still qualify for the postseason roster. That transaction loophole of sorts led to the annual July deadline to become known as the non-waiver trade deadline, or in other words, not much of a deadline at all. 

Now it’s a true trade deadline. If a team wants to trade for a player in 2021, it will have to be done before the clock strikes 4 p.m. on July 30.

Which players could be dealt before the 2021 MLB trade deadline?

Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies, SS

A team with one of the worst records in the league. A new front office that already entered sell mode by trading Nolan Arenado. An All-Star-caliber player headed for a big pay day in free agency. It has all the ingredients for an inevitable trade that will ship the power-hitting shortstop out of Colorado.


Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies, SP

No Rockie is safe, particularly not a veteran, soon-to-be-free-agent pitcher who could command interest from contending teams, even if only as a rental. Moving Gray out of the hitter’s haven that is Coors Field adds intrigue for prospective buyers.  

Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs, 3B

An annual trade deadline candidate. The Cubs made cost-cutting moves over the offseason by parting ways with Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber. With Bryant swinging the bat like it’s his 2016 MVP season, and with free agency looming, this might be the year the Cubs move him.

Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2B/OF

Which playoff-bound team wouldn’t want a player who can play the infield and outfield, and who is also hitting nearly .330? The average likely will revert back to the mean, but at the affordable price of $4.3 million, Frazier will be a worthwhile and versatile postseason addition.

Richard Rodriguez, Pittsburgh Pirates, RP

The last-place Pirates don’t have much use for a quality, veteran reliever who can protect a lead. Contending teams most certainly do. The 31-year-old right-hander has an ERA around a 2.65 this season and would be a welcome addition for teams playing into October. 

Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers, OF

Teams know what they’re getting at the moment in Gallo: a walk, home run, or strikeout. But at 27 years old, there’s still upside, and contending teams might be willing to pay for it. The Scott Boras client, whose name reportedly came up at last year’s deadline, hits the open market in 2023. 

Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners, OF

The former All-Star has returned to form, sitting among the league leaders in home runs and RBIs after missing most of the 2019 season and all of the 2020 season. The Mariners are above .500, but with Haniger a year away from free agency, and with plenty of outfield prospects in the organization, he could become expendable for Seattle and a difference-maker for a contending team.