With less than 2 hours remaining until the MLB’s official non-waiver trade deadline (3pm CT), let’s take a look at where each of the league’s 30 teams currently stand:
Baltimore Orioles (59-45):
While the O’s have relatively maintained their division lead since the all-star break (they just regained it last night, after their 6-2 win over Toronto), they desperately needed to upgrade their starting rotation if they expect to be considered in serious contention discussions. Outside of Chris Tillman (last night vs TOR: 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 K) and Kevin Gausman, their rotation has been a complete disaster. As of today, Baltimore’s starters have combined for a 5.02 ERA, which translates to the 3rd-worst starting staff in the majors. Their bullpen, on the other hand, is one of the best in all of baseball and just recently got better with the return of Darren O’Day, their right-handed setup man, who’s only given up one hit and walked one batter, while fanning five, over 3.1 innings since coming back from a hamstring strain. While their 153 home runs may be the most in baseball, they can’t solely rely on their bats and bullpen moving forward. It’s been widely speculated that Baltimore’s lack of expendable talent in their farm system put a damper on them acquiring prime starting pitching talent, however, they did manage to strengthen the back end of their rotation by acquiring Wade Miley from Seattle yesterday. Miley was roughed up quite a bit in the season’s early going, but over his last 8 sports, he is sporting a 3.80 ERA.
Toronto Blue Jays (59-46):
The Jays have won 8 of their last 12 games and have not only climbed their way to the top of the AL wild card race, but are now having a tug-of-war match for the division lead with the Orioles. Toronto is witnessing a breakout campaign from 24-year old All-Star Aaron Sanchez (last night vs BAL: 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 K), who has posted a 2.71 ERA through 139.1 innings. While talks of preserving the young talent’s arm have been discussed among Toronto’s clubhouse, he continues to impress every chance he gets. ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark does a nice job, here, at reviewing all of the potential options that Toronto has with regards to Sanchez and the deadline.
Boston Red Sox (57-46):
The Red Sox have had the most prolific offense over the first half of the season, largely due to their 40-year old designated hitter, David Ortiz, having quite possibly the best season of his lengthy professional career. Big Papi isn’t the only man getting the job done, however, because Boston, as a team, leads the majors with their .828 OPS and .288 batting average. While they’re currently second in the AL wild card race, their moves in recent weeks show that they have been one of the most active teams in the trade market, thus far, after agreeing to terms on deals with four different clubs. For starters, Boston shored up some infield depth, particularly at the hot corner, with the acquisition of Milwaukee’s Aaron Hill on July 7th. Not even a full two days later, with closer Craig Kimbrel simultaneously hitting the disabled list, Boston pried closer Brad Ziegler away from the Diamondbacks. To cap things off, the Red Sox bolstered their rotation with the addition of San Diego lefty Drew Pomeranz, on July 14th. Since putting on a Red Sox uniform, however, Pomeranz has allowed 12 earned runs over 14.1 innings. Just minutes ago, the Red Sox completed yet another deal that will send lefty reliever Fernando Abad their way from Minnesota, per Fan Rag’s Jon Heyman.
New York Yankees (52-52):
Despite sitting at .500 and having already shipped away their top two relief arms, New York is still optimistic about this season. Skipper Joe Girardi even goes on to say, “I never wave a white flag and this organization never waves a white flag,” per New York Post’s George A. King III. A week ago, the Bronx Bombers dealt their closer, Aroldis Chapman, to the Cubs for a package of prospects, headlined by top shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres. Yesterday, they sent lefty Andrew Miller to the Indians for another package of minor-leaguers, this one with highly-touted outfield prospect Clint Frazier highlighting the return. It’s also been rumored that the Yankees’ slugger, Carlos Beltran, could be on a different team by this afternoon. While New York’s execs might still seem hopeful about this season, I’d bank on 2017 and beyond.
Tampa Bay Rays (42-61):
With the Rays having an unfortunate year, their selling standpoint has them dangling several trade pieces and they’re taking all phone calls. It’s been widely speculated that Tampa will move at least one of their starting pitchers, with Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore, and the more valuable Chris Archer all potentially on the trade block. Third-baseman veteran Evan Longoria is having one of the best seasons of his career and he is controllable through the 2022 season. Outfielder Steve Pearce is on a one-year deal and could be a nice rental for a team needing a power boost. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the San Francisco Giants are pursuing Moore, but notes that the Giants might not have enough prospects to complete a deal (via Twitter).
Cleveland Indians (60-42):
Dare I say that the city of Cleveland, Ohio has another championship watch on the horizon? After the Cavaliers ended the city’s 52-year championship drought, the “Windians”, as Cleveland fans have been calling them lately, seem to want to keep the good times rolling for their city. The Tribe continues to march on with, arguably, their best offensive asset, Michael Brantley, still sidelined. Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes reported that the veteran outfielder has said he’s confident that he’ll still be able to make an impact for his team this season. The addition of Andrew Miller, however, should arguably make Cleveland the AL favorites down the stretch.
Detroit Tigers (57-48):
Detroit has recently been the hottest team in baseball, winning 6 straight and 8 of their last 10 games. After their 11-0 rout of the Astros yesterday, the Tigers have pulled to within one game of an AL wild card spot. While FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that it’s possible Detroit jumps into the mix for all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy, a deal still seems unlikely as the Tigers are one of the eight teams on Lucroy’s no-trade list. Trade deadline aside, Detroit could see their slugger, J.D. Martinez, return to the outfield as soon as August 7th, which should provide extra firepower to that offense.
Chicago White Sox (51-54):
The White Sox had one of the best starts to a season in franchise history and found themselves sitting atop the AL Central with a 6-game lead on May 9th. Since then, Chicago has gone 28-44 and that 6-game division lead has turned into a 10 1/2-game deficit. Now presumed sellers, there is a possibility Chicago’s aces, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, could be dealt today, however it’s highly unlikely, with ESPN’s Jayson Stark even tweeting that there’s a “less than 5 percent” chance the former gets traded.
Kansas City Royals (49-55):
The defending World Series champs have had their fair share of injuries this year, most notably to third baseman Mike Moustakas, who tore his ACL in his right knee on May 26th. Stints on the disabled list for Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain didn’t help either. The Royals had one of the worst single months by a defending World Series champ, in July, and sitting 12 games back in the division has them all but out of the race. It was rumored that Kansas City’s closer, Wade Davis, could be moved by the deadline, but he recently just hit the disabled list with a flexor strain in his pitching elbow.
Minnesota Twins (40-64):
If the firing of GM Terry Ryan wasn’t a clear indication of how the Twins’ season has gone, I’ll see if I can be more blunt about it. From the beginning of the season, not a whole lot was clicking for Minnesota. For example, South Korean slugger Byung-Ho Park, whom they had somewhat high hopes for, hit to a .191 average before being demoted on July 1st. In the midst of a lost season, one in which their closer, Glen Perkins, has been shelved for nearly the whole year, the Twins have big things to look forward to from the likes of Miguel Sano and top pitching prospect Jose Berrios.
Texas Rangers (62-44):
The Rangers experienced the worst month of their season, in July, after winning only 11 of their 26 games. However, after sweeping the defending champs yesterday, the Rangers have now won 7 of their last 10 and they’ve increased their division lead to 6 games over Houston. With one of Texas’ southpaws, Derek Holland, on the 60-day disabled list, and veteran Colby Lewis also sidelined until possibly September, Texas appears to be scrambling to strike a deal (outside of acquiring Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez from Atlanta last week). Having, statistically, the third worst bullpen in the majors coupled with agonizing performances by rotation fill-ins during July, many wonder how Texas is still 18 games over .500. Here’s how to answer that: the Rangers have the best win percentage in games decided by a single run. They also have the 3rd best batting average with runners in scoring position. While the latter statement may seem like the definition of being “clutch”, both these facts point to a natural decline for Texas. As they’ve been rumored to be in nearly every team’s circle, look for the Rangers to get a deal done by 3pm CT.
Houston Astros (55-49):
Just when you thought Houston’s resurgence had declared themselves as the real team to beat in the AL West, they’ve now lost 5 of their last 6 games after being swept by Detroit. There’s no denying the Astros’ formidable lineup — and Houston still has the best record in baseball since May 23rd — but the Rangers appear to be out of their slump and Houston needs to get with the picture. On Friday, it was reported that third baseman Luis Valbuena was placed on the 15-day DL with an injured hamstring. Correspondingly, Tyler White was recalled from Fresno, where he carried a .288/.352/.583 slash line, with 11 home runs, through 34 games with the Triple-A Grizzlies. Top prospect Alex Bregman, whom they called to the big leagues a week ago, will most likely continue to get additional looks at the hot corner. On Saturday, Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan tweeted that Cuban slugger Yulieski Gurriel‘s work visa was approved and that he was in the lineup for Houston’s GCL affiliate. With the 4th best bullpen in baseball and even more lineup reinforcements looming, it’s still very much a possibility that Houston unseats Texas from the AL West throne in the coming weeks.
Seattle Mariners (52-51):
The Mariners aren’t completely out of the race by any means, as they’re only 5 games back from a wild card spot, but they’ve already been on the selling side of things. Yesterday, they sent Miley to Baltimore for minor-league lefty Ariel Miranda, and on July 20th, the M’s engaged in a four-player deal with the Cubs that sent lefty reliever Mike Montgomery and minor-league pitcher Jordan Pries to Chicago in exchange for first baseman prospect Dan Vogelbach and Double-A righty Paul Blackburn.
Oakland Athletics (47-58):
Sitting at the bottom of the AL West cellar, the A’s have been mulling over which pieces to move and where to move them. Just moments ago, it was first reported by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, that Oakland has traded lefty Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick to the Los Angeles Dodgers (via Twitter). Oakland has seen a nice season from Hill and many believed he would be moved before the deadline. Hill has had multiple issues with a blister on his throwing hand since the all-star break, however, which stalled both trade talks, as well as contract extension talks. Sonny Gray was thought to be another potential trade candidate, but his lackluster season has driven his value too far down.
Los Angeles Angels (47-58):
The Halos saw their season flash before their eyes when the supposed ace of their staff, Garrett Richards, was diagnosed with a “high-grade” ulnar collateral ligament tear on May 6th, per Los Angeles Times’ Mike DiGiovanna. As good as Mike Trout is, it doesn’t appear that even he can save this team from their struggles. If the Angels were to move any of their pieces, I’d expect someone like Hector Santiago, Joe Smith, or closer Huston Street to find a new home.
Washington Nationals (61-44):
Washington still remains the team to beat in the NL East even though Miami isn’t far off. With Jonathan Papelbon recently having a difficult time shutting down the ninth inning, the Nats made their trade deadline splash by acquiring Pittsburgh’s closer, Mark Melancon, on Saturday. The Pirates, in return, received southpaws Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn in the deal. Washington was said to have been interested in Aroldis Chapman, however, the asking price was too steep, so they settled for Melancon.
Miami Marlins (57-48):
Miami has a young team that has been on the verge of breaking out over the last couple of years, but hasn’t tapped into their full potential yet. We’re seeing glimpses of that potential, and more, this season as this young Marlins squad currently controls the second NL wild card spot. While injuries have limited their ace, Jose Fernandez, to only 19 starts from 2014-2015, they appear to be in his rear view mirror and he’s not looking back. Fernandez’s 13.3 K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings) lead the majors and his slider is the main reason for that. After the 2016 Home Run Derby champ, Giancarlo Stanton, got off to a slow start to the season (.192 AVG on 06/12), he has found a groove of late. In July, Stanton slashed .305/.371/.621 and has sent 7 balls to the bleachers. The addition of former Padres’ closer Fernando Rodney, on June 30th, has given Miami a more formidable back end of the bullpen. The Marlins also managed to bolster the back end of their rotation by landing both Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea in a deal with the Padres, on Friday.
New York Mets (54-50):
Only 2 1/2 games back from a NL wild card spot, the Mets feel they’re still in the pennant race despite injury issues of their own. NJ.com’s Maria Guardado reported, on July 18th, that Matt Harvey underwent season-ending surgery to address his thoracic outlet syndrome. On top of that, bone spurs have been a concern in both the arms of Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. As far as the rest of the diamond is concerned, there are still holes that can be filled in the short and long terms. ESPN’s Buster Olney recently tweeted that the Mets are on the verge of completing a deal with the Reds for Jay Bruce and Fan Rag’s Jon Heyman has since confirmed the deal (via Twitter). Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown was the first to report that Brandon Nimmo will be one of the pieces headed back to Cincinnati.
Philadelphia Phillies (48-59):
The Phillies, much like the White Sox, started off the season relatively well. On May 19th, Philadelphia was 7 games over .500, but since then, the Phillies have a 24-42 record, which is the worst in the National League. If Philiadelphia’s front office is going to make any moves, look for them to possibly move some of their young pitching talent, such as Jeremy Hellickson or closer Jeanmar Gomez, although their asking prices may be too high.
Atlanta Braves (37-68):
The Braves are clearly having a rough go at it this year, once again, as they’re still in rebuilding mode after dealing away many of their core pieces over the past couple of years. That didn’t stop them from acquiring slugger Matt Kemp from San Diego, for third baseman Hector Olivera, a couple days ago, in what was a swap of bad contracts. Interestingly, Forbes’ Josh Benjamin discusses why he believes the trade is perfectly timed.
Chicago Cubs (63-41):
The Cubs lost 14 of their last 20 games heading into the all-star break, but have since bounced back to the Cubs we’ve all seen and become accustomed to this season. After their unbelievable comeback win over Seattle last night, Chicago has further supplanted themselves as the favorites to win the National League. Chicago’s lineup and rotation are both so deep that the only flaw that could possibly be said of them was with regards to their bullpen. The Cubs quickly blanketed what could be said about that by adding Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman to their roster last Monday. The first blockbuster of the trade deadline season sent top shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, former Yankee Adam Warren and minor league outfielders Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford to the Bronx.
St. Louis Cardinals (56-49):
The Cards have seemed to be in postseason discussions every year for the past decade, and this year is no different. St. Louis addressed an area of need, yesterday, when they worked a deal with the White Sox to acquire left-handed reliever Zach Duke in exchange for minor-league outfielder Charlie Tilson. Duke was having an outstanding season for Chicago, as he currently has a 2.63 ERA to go along with his 10.0 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 rates. While the Cardinals might be stuck under the division-leading Cubs’ thumb for now, don’t count this team out because, if they can sneak into the postseason, they’ll put up a fight.
Pittsburgh Pirates (52-51):
The Bucs entered the all-star break having won 9 of their previous 11 games and looked to remain hot post break. Unfortunately, they’ve only won 6 of their last 14 games and are now sitting 4 games back from a NL wild card spot. The return of their ace, Gerrit Cole, has provided a spark to their rotation, but with that being said, the Pirates are still stuck in, what seems like, a battle for second place in the division and a fight for that wild card spot.
Milwaukee Brewers (47-56):
The Brew Crew is expected to work out a deal with some team involving all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy, today, and I’m sure many would be surprised if he’s still a Brewer by tonight’s game. Initially, Milwaukee had a deal with Cleveland in place for the Brewers’ backstop, but Lucroy expressed his rights within his no-trade clause and vetoed the trade, per Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt. The trade would have sent Lucroy to Cleveland and the Brewers would have received a package of prospects headlined by 20-year old catcher Francisco Mejia, tweeted Fan Rag’s Jon Heyman.
Cincinnati Reds (42-62):
With the second worst record in the National League, Cincinnati is in sell mode. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted earlier that the Reds had found a match for outfielder Jay Bruce, who has had an excellent bounce back season. Last night, San Francisco Chronicle’s Jon Shea claimed the Giants were making a strong push for Bruce, who has spent his entire career in Cincinnati. Since then, however, it’s been reported [see New York Mets above] that Bruce is on his way to the Mets. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick has recently reported that the Bruce to New York deal is being held up by a potential medical issue (via Twitter). Barring any medical setback, we should see the veteran in a Mets uniform.
San Francisco Giants (61-44):
I know what some people might be thinking. It’s an even-numbered year, the Giants are currently leading their division by 2 games, they’ve won the World Series every even-numbered year for the last six years…why can’t they win it all again this year? Well, perhaps they can. It should be noted, however, that San Francisco has lost 11 of their last 13 games. Injuries around the diamond — most notably to outfielder Hunter Pence, second baseman Joe Panik, and third baseman Matt Duffy — have somewhat plagued the Giants throughout the season, which is why their front office made a move for Twins’ shortstop Eduardo Nunez last Thursday. Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s LaVelle E. Neal III was the first to report the announcement of the trade, on Twitter, and in return for Nunez, Minnesota received top lefty prospect Adalberto Mejia. While shortstop is Nunez’s natural position, it doesn’t seem plausible that he will unseat the incumbent Brandon Crawford from his role on the field. Right now, Nunez will fill in nicely at the hot corner, but it’ll be interesting to see where Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy plugs him in once Duffy returns to action.
Los Angeles Dodgers (59-46):
The Dodgers are currently leading the NL wild card race by 2 games, but with the best pitcher on the planet, Clayton Kershaw, on their disabled list with no timetable for return, Los Angeles’ front office might look to bolster their pitching staff even further. On top of the potential season-ending surgery news about Kershaw, southpaw Alex Wood will be on the shelf until mid-September after undergoing a debridement procedure on his elbow. Bud Norris, whom the Dodgers acquired from Atlanta on June 30th, sustained a back injury, yesterday, in his sixth start with his new team. There is heavy pressure within the Dodgers’ organization to win this year, and despite the panic over their plethora of injuries, they have been doing just fine. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale even notes that the Dodgers have the best record in the National League since Kershaw landed on the disabled list (via Twitter).
Colorado Rockies (52-53):
Many presumed Colorado to be sellers at the deadline, but the Rockies have won 8 of their last 10 games and, now just one game under .500, have found themselves creeping back into the NL wild card picture. Long before Colorado’s sudden resurgence, it was speculated that outfielders Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez could be potential trade targets for contenders. Now, it appears less likely that one of them will be moved.
San Diego Padres (45-60):
The Padres, currently 15 games under .500, decided much earlier on that they would be sellers this summer. After dealing James Shields to the White Sox, on June 4th, San Diego has since been in somewhat of a fire sale mood. The Pads sent Pomeranz to Boston, on July 14th, in exchange for highly-regarded pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza. Not a full two weeks later, on July 26th, San Diego agreed to trade outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. to Toronto for 19-year old pitching prospect Hansel Rodriguez. On Friday, the Padres agreed to a seven-player deal with the Marlins, highlighted by starters Cashner and Rea.
Arizona Diamondbacks (43-62):
It’s been a lost season for the Diamondbacks during a year in which many fans, and analysts, had relatively high preseason hopes for them. Those hopes took a hit, on April 1st, when star outfielder A.J. Pollock fractured his elbow while sliding into first base during a preseason exhibition game. It was no April Fools’ Day joke as the 28-year old was estimated to be sidelined for at least 3 months. Pollock still hasn’t returned to the field and David Peralta‘s injury troubles have also forced Arizona to shuffle through different outfield options. The D-backs’ woes this season were convincing enough for their front office to deal away closer Brad Ziegler on July 8th, but Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Arizona is interested in re-signing Ziegler this off-season. Even if they don’t, the two prospects they received from Boston — right-handed pitcher Jose Almonte and 19-year old infielder Luis Alejandro Basabe — give Diamondbacks’ fans something to look forward to down the road.