The MLB trade deadline has come and gone with a flurry of moves that have seemingly set up certain teams well for the stretch, added depth for others, and allowed certain teams to boost their farm system for the future. If you are like me and restart your MLB The Show franchise every time a new roster is dropped, then now is the real start of the season for people like us. Thankfully, the roster creators in the Ridin’ Roster camp have the community covered, as they work with Sony’s official release and update the minor league rosters, lineups, and ratings as closely as possible.
Now, sadly my beloved Chicago Cubs are in a rebuilding phase, and finishing a complete season with them is a rather daunting task, so for the second half of the season and into the winter I am looking for a team that can be fun, exciting, and yet still provide a bit of a challenge to make the playoffs. If you’re looking for an easy ride into the playoffs, the obvious choices are there with the Braves, Mets, Dodgers, Yankees, and Astros. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but I’m looking at five teams that have the talent and depth post-deadline to fight their way into the playoffs if things go right and the team stays healthy.
My Five Teams
Toronto Blue Jays
A lineup that is the envy of fans, the Blue Jays are a team that is dangerous from one through nine on most days. That’s a lineup that is powered by Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Matt Chapman, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, and a pitching staff that currently sports a team ERA of 3.93, that is headlined by Alek Manoah.
I was a bit disappointed in the Blue Jays’ failure to land one of the prized pitching options at the deadline, but they did add some bullpen help in Anthony Bass and Zach Pop, and added the versatile Whit Merrifield. I thought Ian Happ or Noah Syndergaard were two moves that made sense for the club, but obviously the Jays felt otherwise.
At this stage, it’s evident the Jays are hoping Springer’s elbow can heal properly, and plan on making a run for the playoffs with who they brought to the dance. Sitting at 9 games over .500 and still 10 games back of the struggling Yankees, could the Jays find a way to take the American League East?
That’s where you come in. Taking control of the Blue Jays is going to provide a ton of excitement at the plate in MLB The Show, and if you can squeeze enough production out of a solid starting staff and decent bullpen, the division and a playoff run could be in the cards.
The Mariners haven’t been this fun to watch since the days of Suzuki, Buhner, Martinez, and Cameron. Fine, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but still. Since starting the season 9-11, the Mariners have found a way into the playoff conversation with the help of a 14-game winning streak, a solid starting staff, and one of the league’s best bullpens.
While the pitching may be a bit better than the bats at this point, the Mariners still provide a threat at the plate, both with the long ball and the ability to draw walks. This a team that is young and hungry and knows how to win on the road, as one of only three teams in the American League with a winning road record (30-26)
While there is a struggle at the plate even now for consistency, make no mistake that playing with the Mariners in MLB The Show can still be a great time. Guys like Cal Raleigh, Ty France, Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, and of course Julio Rodriguez all see to that.
Another perk if you’re looking for a long franchise run is how young the Mariners are as a whole, which helps keep budget concerns at a minimum.
An already solid staff was given the addition of prized trade option, Luis Castillo, which was a massive acquisition. They also added some depth in the form of Jake Lamb and Matthew Boyd (injured but worth the chance) at the deadline. Taking down the Astros to win the West in MLB The Show might be a tall task, but regardless, the Mariners are a great choice at the plate and on the mound, and have one of the best stadiums in all of baseball.
San Diego Padres
Well, the Padres certainly know how to make a splash at the trade deadline, and grab the headlines. Acquiring a generational talent Like Juan Soto through trade is rare, yet the San Diego Padres did it with help of a deep farm system and a front office that isn’t afraid to swing for the fences.
A lineup that now includes the likes of Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Jake Cronenworth, and Manny Machado can somewhat stomach the suspension of Fernando Tatis Jr. (and, hey, it’s a video game so you don’t necessarily need to keep him out if you don’t want to).
The Padres also added hard-throwing, Josh Hader, from the Brewers. It was a solid move, and while Hader has struggled a bit in the last month, this is a team that can be scary good come playoff time, both at the plate and on the mound.
Although 64-51 and sitting 16 games back to the powerhouse Dodgers, if healthy this team could be a lot of fun to use in the present and future. While some prize pieces were traded away, the farm system is still solid, and the talent across the board at the MLB level is undeniable. Can we also add what a beautiful venue Petco is in real life and MLB The Show, and getting to play 81 games there is not what I would describe as roughing it.
Chicago White Sox
Has there been a more disappointing MLB team this year than the Chicago White Sox? A team that won 93 games last year and has a pitching staff and bullpen that most teams would kill to have is just sort of aimlessly wandering around. Even with the loss of Carlos Rodon to the Giants, the Sox returned Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease, and Michael Kopech.
They also had a lineup littered with talent from one through nine, and while the pitching has been solid, the lineup that was so fun to watch in 2021 has failed in multiple ways in 2022.
Injuries, bad field management (see: Tony La Russa), and underachievement have plagued the South Siders this year, and while they made no moves of noticeable worthiness at the deadline, they are still a fun team to run with as you pursue a postseason spot.
Much like the White Sox, the Phillies struggled early and have dealt with poor performance and injuries. Things spiraled so badly ( 22-29 ) that management deemed the release of (then) manager Joe Girardi to be the issue and let him go. When you look at a healthy lineup, one that includes Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, Nick Castellanos, Bryce Harper, and J.T. Realmuto, it is a formidable one to face and an exciting one to use.
Since bench coach Rob Thompson took over for Girardi, the team has gone an astonishing 41-20 — and that is with a struggling Castellanos and an injured Harper in the lineup. The Phillies in real life find themselves in a battle for a playoff spot, but with the deadline additions of Noah Syndergaard, Brandon Marsh, and David Robertson, they have added some pitching, bench depth, and versatility for the run towards the playoffs.
Not only are they a fun team to use in MLB The Show on the field, but playing at the launchpad known as Citizens Bank Park is always a blast.
Again, these are five teams that interested me for myriad reasons and offer a bit of everything, from excitement to the challenge of overcoming adversity.
If the minor league rosters are more of an exciting approach for you, several teams have strong farm systems and might be on the verge of seriously competing in the next few years. The Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Guardians, and Arizona Diamondbacks would be teams who fit that mold.
If you’re starting a new franchise with the release of Ridin Rosters Version 2.0 and your favorite team is off the table, who are you picking to make a deep run?