One team has played only 17 games, and yet we're just one week away from the trade deadline. That's so 2020, right? Decisions need to be made by teams who might be interested in activity. The front offices need to decide if they are going to buy or sell. With such a small sample in the books, small samples being prone to flukes and more than half the league making the playoffs this year, the bet is it's going to be a seller's market. The very few teams who sell are going to have an awful lot of leverage.
Let's go backward and figure out what teams are going to be sellers, because I figure the list will be short.
Pirates - The big problem here is the lack of veteran players going well that would land a return. We know they'd sell, though.
Red Sox - They already have sold and new boss Chaim Bloom seems very likely to gut the place before trying to build it back up. Might J.D. Martinez be in play? Xander Bogaerts? It's also possible it will just be at the margins, but they are absolutely sellers.
Tigers - When they started 9-5 I started to have flashbacks to the worst-timed hot streaks we've had in recent seasons like the Giants last July or the Pirates in 2018 (which caused them to trade Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows for Chris Archer). Fortunately for the betterment of the franchise long term, the Tigers have since shown what they are.
Is that it? I really might be. The Orioles and Marlins surely want to sell, but they are probably too close to contention (the Marlins are in a playoff position right now). Giants boss Farhan Zaidi didn't sell Madison Bumgarner last season when the Giants were on the periphery of contention and that's where they sit now. Can the Angels really justify a sell-off in Mike Trout's prime when they just paid for Anthony Rendon? Everyone else is within a series of the playoffs. There's still another week for teams like the Marlins and Orioles to play to their true talent levels and help their front offices maintain their long-term course, but for now, the teams in this paragraph are all likely holders.
That means there are just those six sellers. Teams like the Nationals, Phillies, Reds and Brewers have disappointed but have playoff aspirations and I don't think they are about to reverse course. They'll try to buy. In all, this leaves 20 teams that would be looking to buy. Again, that's from six sellers.
This is all so 2020.
|The streaking Dodgers have won 11 of 12 and look like world-beaters on a near-daily basis. If this was a full regular season they'd be on pace to win 119 games. Cody Bellinger just got hot after a slow start, too.||1||106-56|
|They didn't lose the top spot due to poor play. The Dodgers just stole it from them.||1||86-76|
|The Rays have won 13 of 15 and are 6-1 against the Yankees. Somehow, they were swept early in the season by the Orioles. #2020||3||100-62|
|Just cruising along, taking two of three every series. They better keep it up, too, because the White Sox and Cleveland aren't going anywhere. And, man, Nelson Freaking Cruz.||--||73-89|
|What's with all the major injuries they suffer? They need to get things figured out there, but also need to learn how to beat the Rays if they are to achieve their championship goals.||2||92-70|
|This power, man. No team wants any piece of them in a three-game series in October.||6||93-69|
|They went 4-4 in a really challenging week. The offense needs to start hitting for the power it's capable of hitting for and stop striking out so much. Also, they've been atrocious with the bases loaded this season (6 for 33 with 14 strikeouts). That needs to get fixed as well.||2||71-91|
|Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor will hit, but the back half of that lineup is way too workable for opposing pitchers.||1||80-82|
|Good to see the possible breakthrough campaign from Dansby Swanson is continuing. The Braves certainly need it due to the Ronald Acuna injury.||1||88-73|
|How did this new contender deal with the adversity of a five-game losing streak? By throwing together a winning streak -- seven straight! -- and hitting a season's worth of grand slams in one week. These guys are here to stay.||5||79-83|
|With so many pitching injuries, it just seems like they are going to be inconsistent all year.||1||95-67|
|Fun small-sample slash: Yadier Molina is hitting .314/.314/.314. Yes, every single plate appearances has either been a single or an out.||1||90-72|
|The six-game winning streak climbed the Jays into playoff position. Unfortunately, they lost Bo Bichette to injury, but Cavan Biggio has been killing the ball (.900-plus OPS after a dreadful start to the season), Teoscar Hernandez is slugging .653 and did you see the Lourdes Gurriel throw? If you did, you know what throw I'm talking about.||10||91-71|
|After his power breakout in 2019, Jeff McNeil is only slugging .328 and doesn't have a homer. Is this concerning? It's only 20 games but that's 1/3 of the season in 2020.||7||77-85|
|That's now six wins in a row for this roster that has no business being close to the playoffs. Two seasons in a row they've put their club president in such a bad spot with surprising runs of good play.||12||107-55|
|I love them as a JD Martinez fit. The Nats need to add some slugging. Also, this jump is less at them playing well and more jumping a bunch of teams that have been awful recently.||3||65-97|
|Remember when the Rockies were 11-3? Yeah, it seems like ages ago, given that they've been utterly terrible ever since. Last week I mentioned that this was to be a huge week and they went 0-7, losing twice on walk-offs.||8||74-87|
|They closed last week on a hot streak. They closed this week by getting swept by the worst team in baseball. Yikes. The Brewers are now four games under .500 and don't have the look of a playoff team, even in this expanded field.||5||95-67|
|The D-Backs just can't seem to get consistency. They sweep the Padres and take two from the A's and look fixed, only to drop five straight to close the week.||5||52-110|
|They get back on the field and immediately start playing inconsistent at best and terrible at worst. At some point, they've been showing us who they are long enough to accept they just aren't good.||4||83-79|
|Who had "Anthony Santander" will have the longest hitting streak of the season on your bingo card? No, you didn't. Stop lying. It is currently 18 games, so it's not a huge streak but it's definitely notable.||4||52-110|
|They've only played 24 games and they have seven bullpen losses and five blown saves. They blew a seven-run lead last week and it was a seven-inning game as part of a doubleheader! They tried to blow it Sunday night, too, but an outfield assist getting the tying run at home ended the game.||2||82-80|
|Might they have something in Pablo Lopez? He looks pretty good through four starts with a good strikeout rate and excellent groundball rate (over 60 percent).||1||67-95|
|Hey, they took two of three in Cleveland after a nine-game losing streak, so that's good. Plus, we got a glimpse of Casey Mize's immense upside last week. That splitter is filthy.||--||77-85|
|Kyle Lewis is now hitting .368/.456/.585 with seven homers and 19 RBI in 29 games. Here's your leader in the clubhouse for AL Rookie of the Year.||4||90-72|
|They've lost eight in a row and their manager is whining about an opposing player trying his best. Suffice it to say, this isn't going well.||8||60-102|
|At least they broke the nine-game losing streak, but this team is broken. Who would've thought heading into last season that the first team to 20 losses in 2020 was the Red Sox?||1||92-70|
|Jo Adell is hitting 196/.255/.216 and has a few embarrassing miscues in the outfield. This is not working so far, no.||3||77-85|
|I wonder if they'd part with Hunter Dozier? He's over a .400 OBP and .550 slugging right now. He's under team control through 2023, but he's also 29 years old. Will he still be productive by the time the team contends again? Should the Royals just strike while the proverbial iron is hot and get something good for him?||3||74-88|
|Finally, the Pirates fans got to enjoy a series like the rest of us. Good for them.||--||61-101|