It is now the most exciting week of the MLB season. The Trade Deadline is now just days away and it seems pretty clear who should be buying and who should be selling. And who knows what in the world the Yankees will do! Some teams such as the Cubs are going to look extremely different when the next set of rankings come out. With that being said let’s get into the pre-deadline rankings.
- Houston Astros (61-40) +3
The Astros are kind of just on cruise control right now. A couple of relatively easy series against Cleveland and Texas has Houston with a lot of momentum. They need it too as they visit a red hot Seattle team followed by a trip to San Francisco. Bullpen help is something they must acquire this week if they want to be the American League favorites.
- San Francisco Giants (62-37) -1
Taking three out of four from the Dodgers gave San Francisco the momentum to put themselves in the driver’s seat in the NL West. That momentum quickly disappeared when they dropped two of three to the Pirates over the weekend. They are 5-5 since the break which is not a good start for the second half. With this division race so tight, the Giants can’t give away a series to any lower tier teams.
- Boston Red Sox (62-39) —
The Red Sox just put an absolute beat down on two of their fellow AL East contenders in the Blue Jays and Yankees. I think that makes this a two team race between them and Tampa Bay. The biggest need for Boston is starting pitching. The rotation they have now will not cut it against teams like Chicago or Houston. The good news for them, they can solve that problem without making a trade. Chris Sale seems to be on his way back and that could shift the division race in Boston’s favor.
- Tampa Bay Rays (60-40) +3
It has been an incredible start to the second half for the reigning AL champs. Not only are they winning ball games, but they acquired an absolutely massive bat in Nelson Cruz. He has the presence in the lineup that the Rays have been lacking. They are still missing their ace Tyler Glasnow, but they are looking like a serious threat to get back to the Fall Classic.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (61-40) -3
The series with the Giants was extremely tough for the Dodgers. They had an opportunity to win that series in the final two games and couldn’t get the job done. It is going to be extremely interesting to see what the Dodgers do at the deadline. I think another outfielder with a struggling Cody Bellinger and an injured Mookie Betts should be their top priority as well as maybe some bullpen help.
- Chicago White Sox (59-41) -1
Well look who might be getting healthy. Eloy Jimenez is back which is a great sign for the Sox. I have said that when healthy this is the best team in the American League. They might try to make a trade or two but even if they don’t, I really like where they are at. This team is legit and is my pick to win the AL pennant.
- San Diego Padres (58-44) -1
I am pretty confused at the Padres strategy at the deadline. They are at a point where they have too many guys that should be playing every day. There is already some talk about them moving Eric Hosmer and they are already pushing to trade for more pieces. The bad news is they are likely to settle for a Wild Card spot which means one bad game could put an end to their season.
- Milwaukee Brewers (58-42) —
The Brewers gave up five runs in a three game set with the White Sox. This pitching staff is absolutely top tier. Their hitting is the only reason they are not in the top 5. That weakness is something that they will likely address this week. Regardless of what the lineup looks like, no team should want to face this team in the playoffs. Pitching can mask mediocre and bad offenses in October.
- New York Mets (53-45) +1
The Mets are atop the NL East because they are the most consistent team in that division. It is still a close race to keep an eye on but it feels like it is the Mets to lose. They added Rich Hill to the rotation and are getting Carlos Carrasco into the fold. They have a chance to bury the Braves this week.
- Seattle Mariners (55-46) +1
Here come the Mariners! After taking three of four from Oakland, Seattle is now just a game back of the A’s for the second Wild Card. A team that many thought would be sellers at this point are going to actually buy. Second base help and adding another arm to the rotation seem to be the biggest need. I look for them to get a smaller name like Jonathan Schoop to help out.
- Oakland A’s (56-45) -2
Oakland was doing everything right until they traveled to Seattle. After taking the first game of the four game series, they dropped three straight all by one run and two of them were due to wild pitches. They now are just 1 ½ games ahead of Seattle for the second Wild Card. The worse news is other teams are closing in as well. Oakland needs to start hitting better if they want to hold on to their playoff spot. Visiting the Padres and Angels this week doesn’t help.
- Cincinnati Reds (51-49) —
The Reds had so much momentum heading into the All-Star Break. Coming out of it has been a different story. They were swept by the first place Brewers and then lost Nick Castellanos to a fractured wrist. To make the playoffs they are going to have to win the division. Right now it looks like they will be watching the playoffs from home.
- Toronto Blue Jays (49-47) —
The Toronto Blue Jays are back. They will return home on Friday and that feels like it could be the morale boost they need to really make a run. It is going to be tough though in that division. This team is the best offensive team in the AL East but need to add a starter or two to turn themselves into a legit threat.
- New York Yankees (51-47) —
The weekend series with Boston had to have been an absolute nightmare for Yankee fans. Blowing the game Sunday night was the awful cherry on top to end the week. However the Yankees are headed in the right direction. They are 5-4 since the break. I don’t think that is quite good enough for them to be big buyers this week.
- Philadelphia Phillies (50-49) +1
It sounds like the Phillies are going to be aggressive this week. They really want to make a run at the Mets and I think they can put some pressure on New York. They haven’t had very good luck with the team’s health this season which is a reason why they aren’t leading the division. I will be very interested to see what kind of deals the Phillies make.
- Los Angeles Angels (50-49) -1
Losing two of three to Seattle and then two games to Oakland shows this team still is a step behind the Wild Card contenders. Mike Trout still looks to be a little ways away in his rehab which might force the Angels to sell. Maybe one of these days we will get to see Mike Trout in the playoffs.
- Cleveland Indians (49-48) —
Credit to Cleveland. They have fought through a lot of adversity this season and are still above .500. That is in large part due to the division opponents that they play. Shane Bieber is out until at least mid-August and Jose Ramirez is being shopped. The rotation is young and very solid though so this might not be a large or long rebuild.
- Atlanta Braves (49-51) +2
I gave up on this team as soon as Ronald Acuna Jr. went down for the season. This might be the right time for Atlanta to sell small and load up for next season. They already traded for Joc Pederson and Stephen Vogt but don’t be surprised if they make a few more moves. Nobody is ever really out of the NL East race.
- St. Louis Cardinals (50-50) -1
The Red Birds are actually playing some solid ball here in the second half. It seems to be too little too late but it gives some optimism for the club and the fans. I believe they will be pretty quiet this week and just continue to build their team chemistry. Their time to contend is just beginning.
- Chicago Cubs (50-51) -1
This week is going to be very tough for Cubs fans. The guys that played such a key role in ending the long World Series drought will likely be wearing different uniforms next week. Any of their tradable pieces that they decide to keep would be a missed opportunity. It’s a tough pill to swallow but it will help the future of this club.
- Detroit Tigers (47-55) +2
Tigers fans have to love what they are seeing from this club. In a year where they were supposed to be among the worst teams in baseball, they are now a team that no contender wants to face down the stretch. I actually think Detroit will stay pretty quiet this week and focus on just being competitive and getting their young guys that valuable experience.
- Washington Nationals (45-54) -1
There were a lot of questions about the Nats starting the second half. Would they buy and try to have a repeat of 2019? Would they sell and if so would it be a small sell or would everyone be available? It turned out to be the latter as trade talks surrounding Max Scherzer and Trey Turner have been cranked up. They struggled out of the break and as a result everyone not named Juan Soto is available.
- Colorado Rockies (43-57) +1
Another team that is selling are the Rockies. They seem like they are going to keep German Marquez but almost every other asset is available. The biggest one is Trevor Story. It is not out of the realm of possibility that they hang on to him. But at this point they would be better off trading him and trying to bring him back in free agency.
- Miami Marlins (43-57) -2
The Marlins are clearly set up for the future. They have a very young and solid rotation that gives them a core to build around. They’re also in a division that seems to not have a dominant team or a team really built for the future. The NL East is going to be a fun division to watch for the next five years and the Marlins are going to be right in the thick of it.
- Kansas City Royals (43-55) +2
And the Royals are once again on a winning streak. It won’t be enough for them to contend this year or avoid selling some pieces. They have just been too inconsistent to buy and give up their future. The biggest question is what do they do with Whit Merrifield? With two and a half seasons of control on his contract, it will take a lot for another team to get him. It might just be worth it though.
- Minnesota Twins (43-58) -1
I would not want to be in the Twins organization right now. They already moved Nelson Cruz and guys like Michael Pineda and Max Kepler are likely next. The worst news is Byron Buxton turning down a contract extension. With his injuries teams aren’t going to want to spend as much to get him either. The last thing you want is you superstar walking out the door without getting anything in return.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (38-61) +1
Since the break, the Pirates have taken series from the Mets and Giants. They were also swept by Arizona. That right there is a big reason why the Pirates’ phones will be ringing off the hook this week. They already sent away one of their All-Stars in Adam Frazier and there is still much more to come.
- Baltimore Orioles (34-64) +1
The Orioles are red hot! A sweep of the Nationals have them with a record of 6-3 since the break. Baltimore is in an interesting spot where they are clear sellers but don’t have much to sell. Their team is very young and those aren’t the guys you want to trade as they won’t really bring much in return. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place right now but are still fighting which is fun to see.
- Texas Rangers (35-65) -3
The Rangers haven’t won a game since July 9th. That is 12 straight losses and many of them haven’t been competitive. Kyle Gibson will likely be gone after this week. Joey Gallo is a bigger question mark. He is a guy that you can use as the leader and veteran of the club. He is also red hot right now which could net you some good players in a trade. A tough decision that I am glad I don’t have to make.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (31-70) —
The D-Backs have a winning record since the break! They still should be listening on ALL trade offers. They have a lot of players that would be pointless to keep around for a rebuild. The division is already loaded so the time is now to hit reset on the franchise and start building back to something special.
Matthew graduated in 2019 from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with a specialization in Media and Journalism Production. He currently is a broadcaster and writer at Eli Sports Network. Baseball and football are his specialties but Matt covers anything he can. Follow him on Twitter @matt_king19