2024 MLB trade deadline: Passan's top additions for contenders

Luis Robert Jr. will be a coveted name at the deadline -- with which contender is he a perfect match? Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Five weeks before Major League Baseball's July 30 trade deadline arrives, the murkiness of the landscape remains its defining feature. The National League remains a muddled mess, with sub-.500 teams directly in the playoff picture. The American League isn't much better. This summer, all it takes is a week to pivot from contention to concession -- and vice versa.

The Toronto Blue Jays, losers of seven consecutive games and sporting the 12th-best record in the 15-team American League, still aren't willing to put players on the trade market, even if teams ahead of them in the AL standings are. The Houston Astros, winners of five in a row, have climbed enough to transform from a potential off-loader to one of the most intriguing teams looking to add.

And while Houston might yet falter and Toronto could still climb, their unresolved statuses are forcing general managers of teams planning on adding to curate their wish lists carefully. With July less than a week away, definite contenders don't want to spend too many hours pursuing what could ultimately be dead ends.

So consider the following exercise -- finding a single perfect trade match for each contending team -- written in pencil and not ink. For now, Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette aren't going anywhere, so they're not included. Another long losing streak could change that. Tampa Bay and Detroit, meanwhile, have discussed potential deals that would move veteran players, according to sources. A stretch that thrusts them back into contention might change that, too.

With that in mind, we've defined the "contenders" as the 12 current playoff teams and one more to account for every team with a better-than-500 record. The biggest omission is the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers, who, barring a total collapse, are expected to bolster their roster before the July 30 deadline. As for the seven NL teams within five games of .500, some of their players appear on the list because logic dictates they'll recognize that in a distinct sellers' market, pragmatism invites more on-the-bubble teams to join the fray.

In order of record, here are teams and their ideal targets.