The summer trade market is weeks away from its final form, but the foundation has been poured already. Seven MLB teams are on track to win 100 or more games -- seven teams that will presumably be buyers in search of one last championship-level player. On a parallel plane, about six or seven teams are on track to lose 100 or more games, and those clubs are likely already preparing for a sell-off in their internal discussions.
In this first season in which the playoff field will be expanded from 10 to 12 teams, the bulk of the deals will occur between July 17 -- the first day of baseball's amateur draft -- and 4 p.m. ET on Aug. 2, this summer's trade deadline.
The variables that drive the market will shift and sway in the weeks ahead, but here are some of the major X factors that executives around the sport are already watching.
1. Will the Washington Nationals trade Juan Soto?
At 23 years old, Soto is already a superstar, and there aren't any comparable examples of hitters of his stature being dealt at such a young age. But rival execs say the Nationals might well be compelled -- and motivated -- to move Soto this summer.