In advance of the trade deadline, here are some quick thoughts on what all 30 teams are looking at this week. I'll post the August rankings next week.
Baltimore: The Orioles got a jump on the market by acquiring Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez to bolster the pitching staff, and they've also called up Henry Urrutia and now L.J. Hoes to see if they can aid the lineup. They haven't been ruled out as a possibility for a big starter (Jake Peavy?) or a complimentary bat (Michael Young? Michael Morse?), but my guess is that they'll be quiet from here on in. Urrutia has been starting regularly against righties, and he's 9-for-28 with a triple so far. I'm not much of a fan; he doesn't have a lot of power and he doesn't walk, but he's not necessarily a worse bet than the veterans they could acquire in his place. Hoes will likely start against some lefties, and he's a long shot to have much AL-only value.
Boston: The problem for the Red Sox is that they may need another starter to help them make the playoffs, but it doesn't make sense to pay a big price for someone who may not help them if they get there. If everything goes according to plan, they already have their pick of either Ryan Dempster or Felix Doubront to follow Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and John Lackey in the postseason rotation. Is Peavy enough of an upgrade over those two to warrant parting with a couple of quality prospects? I think they'll address the pen instead and possibly bring in a closer to bump Koji Uehara back into a setup role. Not that Uehara isn't fine in the ninth, but it would allow them to manage his workload more carefully. A bat is also a possibility, but it's more likely that they'll fill from within with Jackie Bradley Jr., Will Middlebrooks and maybe even Xander Bogaerts.
Chicago: It remains to be seen how far the White Sox will go in their role as sellers. Peavy, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, Matt Lindstrom and the injured Jesse Crain are the best bets to go, but GM Rick Hahn may decline to completely blow things up if he feels the White Sox can contend next year. When the White Sox do make their moves, we could see Andre Rienzo up to join the rotation and Jordan Danks get a look in the outfield. Rienzo has a 4.06 ERA in Triple-A, but he's fanned 113 in 113 innings, making him sort of interesting. The 27-year-old Danks probably isn't going to make it, but the White Sox need to figure out whether he's going to be worth carrying again this winter. One problem with trading Ramirez: the White Sox have no one to replace him. Carlos Sanchez has a .600 OPS while splitting time between short and second in Triple-A. Steven Tolleson would be the better stopgap, though his range at shortstop leaves something to be desired. Ideally, the White Sox would get a young shortstop back in a trade.
Cleveland: The Indians are in a tough spot; they're in the thick of the race at 56-48 and they'd certainly love to give their fanbase something to be excited about. However, they don't have any obvious holes in clear need of an upgrade. Zach McAllister, the guy who would be replaced if a starter is acquired, has a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts this year. They could give up on Mark Reynolds and get themselves a different DH, but Reynolds still figures to be good for another hot streak this season. Maybe the most obvious move would be to get an outfielder and turn Drew Stubbs into a reserve. Even then, though, they have Ryan Raburn capable of playing right field and pounding the ball every time he gets a start. A Hunter Pence rental would be nice, but it's unlikely they'll aim that high.
Detroit: Bruce Rondon and Al Alburquerque have failed to step up, so the Tigers probably need to add two relievers to their pen. With Joaquin Benoit sporting a 1.50 ERA, they don't necessarily need a closer. It couldn't hurt to get one, though. Apart from the pen, they could consider a left fielder or a second baseman to fill in for the ailing Omar Infante (ankle). My choice would be to stick with Andy Dirks in left, with the possibility that top prospect Nick Castellanos could overtake him in late August or September. While I don't expect it to happen, just imagine Chase Utley hitting second in the Tigers lineup. It's just hard to imagine them getting Utley without using Castellanos in the deal.
Houston: With Lucas Harrell and Wesley Wright pitching so poorly, the Astros would seem to have just Bud Norris and closer Jose Veras to sell. A Norris trade could put either Brad Peacock or Asher Wojciechowski in the rotation. Both have ERAs in the 2.80s in Triple-A. Peacock had his opportunity earlier this year, so it might be Wojciechowski's turn now. Neither would be a great bet in AL-only leagues. Veras's departure would make Jose Cisnero the favorite for saves in Houston. Hector Ambriz has been awful, so he isn't an option right now. No one in Triple-A Oklahoma City's bullpen figures to come up and make much of an impact.
Kansas City: Although they have the ninth-best record in the AL, the Royals have been stubbornly refusing to admit they need to sell. Of course, it's hard to blame Dayton Moore for that; after going all in on James Shields over the winter, his job is on the line. The right move would be for the Royals to cash in both free agent-to-be Ervin Santana and closer Greg Holland. Not that they need to move Holland, but he'd bring back a very nice return and they'd still have a fine bullpen without him (maybe even with Wade Davis sliding from the rotation into the closer's role). Alas, the Royals might choose to buy instead or even do a little of both. A second baseman to replace Chris Getz is an urgent need, and an outfielder wouldn't hurt. The Royals could have both Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino back from Tommy John surgery next month to fill any rotation gaps.
Los Angeles: And the Angels have the 11th-best record. Albert Pujols' trip to the DL on Sunday, maybe for the rest of the season, seemed to be the final nail in their coffin. The Angels, though, don't really have much to sell. Left-handed reliever Scott Downs is the obvious option; he's making $5 million and is in the final year of his deal. Atlanta and Boston are a couple of possibilities for him. Jason Vargas and Peter Bourjos would have been trade candidates, but they're on the DL. Vargas might be a possibility for a waiver deal next month. It's unlikely that they'll trade Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar. Alberto Callaspo should be made available if anyone wants him. Luis Jimenez would be the top candidate to step in at third base, though Tommy Field could share time with him. Kole Calhoun got the call in Pujols' place Sunday and is well worth trying in AL-only leagues.
Minnesota: The Twins' best trade chip is out of play with Josh Willingham on the DL, but Justin Morneau could be of use to the Pirates or Orioles. If the Twins part with Morneau, they could move Chris Colabello to first and give Chris Parmelee his job back in right field. Alternatively, they could move Trevor Plouffe across the diamond and call on Deibinson Romero to play third. Plouffe is eventually going to need to move off third to make room for Miguel Sano anyway. The Twins probably aren't trading Glen Perkins, but if they do, Jared Burton would take over the closer's role for now. Mike Pelfrey could go. With Vance Worley on the minor league DL, Andrew Albers could be a possibility to step into Pelfrey's rotation spot.
New York: The Yankees, having already picked up Alfonso Soriano, are one of the teams that could buy and sell, with Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain being the top two candidates to depart. However, it doesn't look like anyone is particularly interested in Hughes and a Chamberlain trade wouldn't bring much in return. The Yankees could still use another bat, preferably one able to play third base. Maybe Alex Rodriguez will return this week, but the Biogenesis suspension is still hanging over his head and he might have to start primarily at DH anyway. Michael Young is a fit and should come cheap.
Oakland: Finally blessed with relative good health for once, the A's must be feeling that their chances are about as strong as anyone's and thus are very much in the mix for Peavy and Utley if he's made available. A Peavy acquisition would send Dan Straily back to Triple-A. Utley would be huge as the second or third hitter in Oakland's lineup, but if the team can't get him, it'll probably stick with Eric Sogard at second base rather than trade for a lesser stopgap.
Seattle: The Mariners have a GM on the hot seat and thus are resistant to the idea of selling. After all, with two top starters and an offense that has suddenly gelled, the Mariners may feel they can make some noise in the postseason, if only they can get there. I suspect that the team will stand pat this week and then maybe sell in August if the standings don't seem favorable. Morse, Raul Ibanez, Joe Saunders and Brendan Ryan would all be candidates for waiver deals. Kendrys Morales and Oliver Perez would turn bigger profits for the team, but Jack Zduriencik would be admitting defeat if he gives either up now.
Tampa Bay: Wil Myers has been outstanding in right field, Chris Archer has locked up a rotation spot and the bullpen has clicked after some early struggles, leaving the Rays with no clear needs right now. It wouldn't hurt to pick up a reliever to replace either Cesar Ramos or Kyle Farnsworth, but the Rays have alternatives in Triple-A, too (Josh Lueke, Alex Colome, Cory Wade, Kirby Yates, Steve Geltz, Jeff Beliveau).
Texas: The Texas rotation is set after the big Matt Garza pickup. Now they need a bat or maybe even two with Lance Berkman making little progress with his hip and Nelson Cruz facing a Biogenesis suspension. FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reported that the Rangers could get really gutsy and trade Joe Nathan, figuring that Joakim Soria would be fine in the ninth and Tanner Scheppers will continue to excel in the eighth. It still seems like a long shot that they'll go that route, though. For one thing, the teams most likely to want Nathan don't have the bat to offer in return, meaning it'd probably have to be a three-team deal. I expect they'll keep Nathan and add an outfielder like Rios by parting with a prospect or two.
Toronto: I wrote about the Blue Jays as sellers at HardballTalk last week, and things haven't gotten any better since. They may well move Casey Janssen, which would likely put Steve Delabar in the closer's role or at least as the head of a committee. Janssen wouldn't necessarily close for his new team, so he might lose most of his fantasy value. Their starting pitchers figure to stay put, mostly because no one is going to want to give up much for any of them.
Arizona: The Diamondbacks' lineup is set, for better or worse, so GM Kevin Towers and company have to decide whether to add to the rotation or the pen. On the one hand, Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill are on the way back to aid the starters and Randall Delgado has been terrific filling in. On the other, I'd say Patrick Corbin is the only starter on the club I'd feel good about starting in a postseason game. The bullpen is the more obvious need, given the struggles of Heath Bell and David Hernandez. Still, the Diamondbacks have right-handers Will Harris and Josh Collmenter pitching well in losing causes if they just want to give them more of a chance. They may just grab a lefty reliever rather than a closer candidate.
Atlanta: The terrible Tim Hudson injury has the Braves weighing a rotation upgrade, such as Peavy, but they'll probably just add a reliever instead. A southpaw from the group of Downs, Mike Gonzalez and Mike Dunn would make the most sense. Even without Hudson, they still have six starters in Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Alex Wood. While I'm intrigued by Wood as a starter, he may be best utilized out of the bullpen for now. He could turn into a nice weapon there in the postseason.
Chicago: The Cubs are still open for business, with Nate Schierholtz and Kevin Gregg serving as the obvious candidates to go. David DeJesus, recently back from a shoulder strain, seems more likely to be dealt in an August deal. A more intriguing name was added to the mix Saturday, with the news that Jeff Samardzija could be had. The Cubs have the newly acquired Jake Arrieta and Justin Grimm in reserve, so rotation depth is a strength right now. Still, a Samardzija deal is probably a 10:1 shot. If Gregg goes, Pedro Strop will take over as closer, something that's probably going to happen anyway. Schierholtz's departure would put Cole Gillespie and Julio Borbon in right until Brian Bogusevic returns from a hamstring strain. Maybe Brett Jackson will be ready for a look in September. The Cubs could also deal Luis Valbuena to make room for Mike Olt at third, though it's more likely that they'll keep Valbuena as a part-timer.
Cincinnati: The Reds haven't gotten much from injured relievers Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall and Nick Masset this year, so they could stand to add a bullpen arm to help out in the seventh and eighth innings. However, they should be able to stick Tony Cingrani there in September and October if Johnny Cueto makes a triumphant return. So, really, they're pretty well set. A better left-handed hitter to play behind Todd Frazier at third base and maybe Zack Cozart at shortstop would be nice, but those guys aren't easy to find.
Colorado: Colorado's situation isn't hopeless yet, but being six games back in the NL West and eight behind in the wild card suggests selling would be the prudent choice. Of course, that doesn't mean they will. In Michael Cuddyer, Jorge De La Rosa and Rafael Betancourt, they have some key pieces they could put in play. A Betancourt trade, though, would most likely have to wait until after he recovers from appendicitis. Most likely, they'll simply stay the course. If they do trade Cuddyer, right field would be wide open for Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson or Tyler Colvin. Dickerson has been the best of the bunch this year, but Blackmon is manager Walt Weiss's preferred option now.
Los Angeles: The Dodgers are on a roll and don't necessarily need the help, but subtle isn't really their thing. Their pending signing of Cuban defector Alexander Guerrero to a $32 million contract could aid the infield as soon as September. Perhaps he'll serve as a backup then and replace Mark Ellis at second base in 2014. The Dodgers could also consider Utley if he becomes available and any of the top starters put up for bid. Still, the most likely addition is a right-handed reliever. Most likely, it'd be for a setup role. However, it's not outside of the realm of possibility that they'll acquire an experienced closer (Nathan?) and push Kenley Jansen back to the eighth.
Miami: Perhaps wary of further reprimands over what they're doing with their revenue sharing money, the Marlins are poised for a quiet week. Not only is Giancarlo Stanton off limits, but the Marlins are telling teams that Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn aren't available. Perhaps they'll move Chad Qualls or Ryan Webb for a prospect. Justin Ruggiano could make for a decent fourth outfielder on a contender, but given that he hasn't had a hit in three weeks, his stock is awfully low at the moment. Placido Polanco is the other position player most likely to depart, but it's unclear if anyone is going to want him. As for the callups, well, they're mostly already here. Christian Yelich is worth a try as a fifth outfielder in mixed leagues. Jake Marisnick seems likely to be overmatched, but he's still worth a pickup in NL-only leagues. Derek Dietrich could get another try later if Polanco goes.
Milwaukee: Already having moved Francisco Rodriguez, the Brewers are going to keep dealing from their bullpen. Mike Gonzalez is sure to go. John Axford has always seemed a likely possibility, as well. However, now there's some talk that Jim Henderson, too, could be a trade candidate. Henderson was picked over Axford to regain the closer's role after the K-Rod trade, which would seem to suggest that he'll stay. It will all depend on the offers, though. Either way, there's still some chance Axford will get some saves the final two months. If the Brewers make a move in their rotation, I think it's more likely to involve Tom Gorzelanny than either Yovani Gallardo or Kyle Lohse. They'll be cautious there, in part because they lack much in the way of rotation fallbacks; Jimmy Nelson might be the best option. One player who would get some notice if made available is Rickie Weeks, even though he's cooled off again after his outstanding June. The A's and Royals could use his pop. Scooter Gennett would take over at second in the event of a Weeks deal.
New York: If the Mets were gutsier, they'd look to sell high on Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell. They'll probably just let the deadline pass them by, though. No team is going to give up a top prospect for Marlon Byrd, and the Mets would rather keep him than give him away. Right-handed relievers LaTroy Hawkins and David Aardsma might get looks from contenders, but the Mets will likely ask for more than their worth. On the off chance that Parnell is traded, Aardsma would be the logical choice to close.
Philadelphia: Losing eight in a row might have been the best thing for the Phillies, as Ruben Amaro seemed prepared to mortgage even more of the farm system for what figured to be an ill-fated run this year. Now the team can make Utley, Michael Young, Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz and even Cliff Lee available. I'd include Jimmy Rollins on the list, but the Philadelphia Daily News reported he won't waive his no-trade clause. Young seems to be the most likely candidate to go, and Cody Asche could come up and play third base in his place. Utley and Ruiz will give the Phillies pause, since even though they're set to become free agents, the team may well want to re-sign them. Of course, there's nothing stopping them from dealing them now and trying to bring them back this winter. My guess is that Utley and Young go and everyone else stays. Papelbon is just so expensive at $13 million per year through 2015 or 2016 if his option vests. Lee's contract is huge -- he'll make $62.5 million for 2014-15 or $77.5 million for 2014-16 -- and while I'm guessing the Dodgers or Red Sox would take it on, neither is going to want to give up top prospects to do so.
Pittsburgh: The Pirates are usually sellers this time of year, but not in 2013. With Garrett Jones having rebounded some of late and Gaby Sanchez still doing a nice job against lefties, the Pirates don't have any obvious needs. I still think Morneau or Adam Lind would be a nice fit -- Jones can play right field after all -- but the Pirates can get by as is. Shortstop is another place where an upgrade would be a luxury, not a necessity. I'd stick with Jordy Mercer and Clint Barmes before giving up a prospect for Alexei Ramirez and taking on his contract. With Jason Grilli down for a month, the Pirates could add a reliever. The bullpen has been outstanding this year and is perfectly capable of covering Grilli's absence, but someone like Janssen or Luke Gregerson would only add to its potency.
St. Louis: The Cardinals have baseball's best record and its best run differential, but they're still being aggressive in looking at Peavy and Alexei Ramirez. The bummer for them is that there are no better shortstops than Ramirez available. Aybar would be great, but the Angels (after trading Jean Segura for Zack Greinke last year) would have to be bowled over. The Indians are in the thick of the race and can't part with Asdrubal Cabrera. Rollins reportedly won't waive his no-trade. Jurickson Profar for Oscar Taveras? That old rumor still makes some sense, but there's no reason to think it's ever actually been discussed and Profar isn't necessarily a short-term upgrade. Probably best just to target Peavy and to continue to cobble together the shortstop situation.
San Diego: Injuries have robbed the Padres of their depth and some of their opportunities to sell. Also, Chase Headley, who would have been a top target had he been made available last winter, isn't nearly as attractive to teams now after four months of mediocrity. The Padres could trade Carlos Quentin, but they probably won't. He is their best hitter, even if he gives a lot of it back on defense. Nick Hundley was supposed to be trade bait, but not only is Yasmani Grandal hurt, he also has the Biogenesis cloud handing over his head. It sounds like the Padres will trade Gregerson; he'll bring in a significantly nicer return than Huston Street would at the moment. Edinson Volquez is available but unwanted. The righty swinging Jesus Guzman would make a nice bench piece for a contender.
San Francisco: The Giants have slipped behind the Padres into last place in the NL West, which should make the decision to sell easy. It's not Brian Sabean's style, but he may have to suck it up anyway. Tim Lincecum's bounce-back outing Sunday after an initial rough start following his no-hitter should have his stock on the rise. He might be an ideal get for Boston; he could be the fifth starter now and then potentially move back to the bullpen in the postseason. Pence seems like a good bet to go, perhaps to Texas or Pittsburgh. If that happens, Francisco Peguero could get a look in right field for the Giants. Chad Gaudin, Santiago Casilla and Jose Mijares are also possibilities for trades.
Washington: The Nationals won't give up, but they probably won't do anything big, either. The lineup is set, and Taylor Jordan has more than held his own while filling in for Ross Detwiler in the rotation. Plus, Ross Ohlendorf has looked great as a swingman. If the Nationals add, it will most likely be to the bench or the bullpen. It probably won't have much in the way of fantasy ramifications either way.
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