MLB Power Rankings: The trade deadline could bring a bunch of surprises from fringe postseason teams

As of Monday morning, we're just two days away from the July 31 MLB trade deadline. With it being a hard deadline -- no more August waiver trades -- I fully expect an onslaught of activity before the deadline. We got a taste of it on Sunday when the Mets -- not the Yankees -- traded for Marcus Stroman. It's just that there hasn't been much clarity on teams being in contention or not to this point. We might see some teams function as something that would have been a surprise heading into the season or even just a month ago. Let's highlight some and how their fortunes have turned. 

Surprise seller: Rangers

The Rangers were either in a playoff position or close to it pretty much throughout the first half, even pulling to within 4 1/2 games of the Astros in late June. They then lost six of seven and after three straight wins proceeded to lose eight in a row. Surely they are going to deal Hunter Pence and some veteran relievers while it's possible to get a nice haul for Mike Minor (who is signed through next season). Just one month ago this wouldn't have been a discussion. 

Surprise buyer: Giants

At one point, we could have had a reasonable argument whether the Giants were as bad as the Marlins in contention for the worst team in the National League. They were a fixture here in the bottom quadrant of the rankings. The Giants went to the last day of June 12 games under .500 and only those lowly Marlins were worse among NL teams. It had been well-known dating back to the spring that Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith and maybe even Tony Watson were obviously going to be dealt. 

Instead, the Giants have gone 19-5 since then, jumping right to within a stone's throw of the wild card. Word is they might even buy. Baseball, man. 

Possible surprise buyer: Indians

The Indians looked broken for much of the first few months of the season and we were hearing the names of Trevor Bauer and Brad Hand bandied about in trade rumors. We know ownership would have loved an excuse to shed payroll after crying poor all offseason. 

Instead, the players are forcing their hands. They've won 18 of their last 23 and are breathing down the Twins' necks in the Central. It now looks like whatever team doesn't win the division is going to lock down a wild-card spot with relative ease, too, since the bottom three teams in the Central stink. If ownership allows them to buy, I like Pence as a fit here. 

Possible surprise non-seller: Diamondbacks

After letting A.J. Pollock walk and trading Paul Goldschmidt in the offseason, it sure seemed like the Diamondbacks would be sellers, possibly even flipping highly-priced and highly-performing ace Zack Greinke, but also names like Robbie Ray, David Peralta, Jarrod Dyson and Adam Jones would be shopped. They still might do all of this, but they are hanging around wild-card contention and it might be a tough sell to fans. 

Possible Surprise buyer: Angels

I think this would be a mistake, but the Angels are on the periphery of contention and a report late last week suggested the Angels might buy. 

Possible surprise seller: Mets

The new front office technically tried to win in the offseason with the big-splash trade bringing them Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, but it was a half-measure and they didn't go all out. Apparently now they are buying despite not really being a contender. Shrug. 

Previous rankings: Week 17Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason | Offseason 

Biggest Movers
4 Red Sox
6 Pirates
1 Dodgers How many relievers do they need? All of them? They are at the point where anything but a World Series title is a failure and the prospect of this bullpen keeping a team like the Astros, Yankees or Twins off the board late isn't very likely. They can't afford to mess around. 198-54
2 Astros Carlos Correa comes back and quickly hits his first career grand slam. Welcome back, kid. 199-53
3 Yankees At some point in the last few weeks, I was asked if the Yankees can win the World Series as currently constructed and I said yes. I have since changed my mind. This rotation is a mess and couldn't survive a playoff series against someone like the Astros. What a pitiful series in Boston. 299-53
4 Twins They haven't blown this lead as much as the Indians have chased them down, but it's not good to think about playing in a one-game wild card after having a double-digit division lead in June. 193-58
5 Indians The only series they've lost in July was to the Twins. 188-63
6 Athletics The A's were in danger of losing six of eight, but instead pulled off the ninth-inning comeback win Sunday with a Khris Davis walkoff walk -- and those are always popular. 291-61
7 Braves So much for the reinvention of Kevin Gausman, huh? They missed out on Stroman, too, so the urgency for getting another starter increases. --93-59
8 Red Sox Every time this season the Red Sox have looked fixed, they turn around and do something dumb like lose a series to the Orioles. For the umpteenth time, they look right. Let's see if it continues now. 479-71
9 Rays The Rays had lost eight of 11 before pulling off a huge comeback. They also lost Blake Snell this past week and he had a 1.64 ERA in his last four starts. Really rough. --89-63
10 Nationals They lost three in a row this week and that hadn't happened since a five-gamer that went through May 23. Still, they went 4-3 during this week. --83-67
11 Cardinals This was one of the most surreptitious runs to first place I think I've seen and the Cardinals are a high-profile team. I think it speaks to the mediocrity of the "big three" teams in the NL Central. 384-67
12 Brewers They've won eight of 12 but now face a tough week on the road, hitting Oakland and then Chicago (north side). 182-69
13 Cubs So much for the second-half surge. The bullpen is a real problem and the front office could address that (again), but will they be able to fix how the team plays on the road? They are pathetic away from Wrigley (20-31/19-32). 582-69
14 Phillies I know the Giants are surging but I fully expect it to end soon. If that happens right now, the Phillies have a relatively soft schedule the next two weeks that includes seven against those Giants, three against the White Sox and three in Arizona. 177-72
15 Giants Sorry, Giants fans, I just can't see this continuing. It's likely to end up being a fun stretch that made them hold onto the likes of Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith in a non-playoff season. 373-78
16 Angels Albert Pujols now has 650 home runs. He might reach Willie Mays (660) this year. 168-83
17 Rangers Veteran utility man Danny Santana is hitting .324/.353/.588 with 17 doubles and 15 homers. It sure seems like they should sell high here. --74-78
18 Diamondbacks They had six games against the Orioles and Marlins this past week and went 3-3. That doesn't inspire confidence in a run to the playoffs. 277-75
19 Mets The move might not work out, but you're gonna love Marcus Stroman, Mets fans. He's one of the most fun pitchers to watch. 378-73
20 Reds With the Reds' in selling position, it's terrible timing with Scooter Gennett's injuries and .207/.230/.241 line. 471-81
21 Padres Here's my pick for Noah Syndergaard if the Mets' flip him. I would love the fit here. 268-83
22 Rockies The Rockies have just completely fallen apart. Since winning on June 29, they've now gone 5-18 since. 166-86
23 Mariners Daniel Vogelbach is hitting .214 with a .270 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. Good thing he wasn't in the Home Run Derby because then we'd have a bunch of idiocy about how it ruined his swing. 363-88
24 Marlins A bit depressing to glance at Curtis Granderson's numbers, but Father Time will always remain undefeated. Very admirable career and he might even get a few votes for the Hall of Famer (I'm talking less than five percent but not zero). 453-98
25 White Sox There was a stretch where the White Sox were competent. They were only one game under .500 going to the Fourth of July. They have been brutal since. 265-86
26 Pirates The Pirates were hot going into the All-Star break, but they are now 2-14 since. Yikes. 665-86
27 Royals Hey, a 3-3 week against the Braves and Indians. Not too shabby. The downside is it probably convinced Dayton Moore to be a buyer (kidding!). --56-96
28 Blue Jays Bo Bichette makes three sons of former MLBers -- two Hall of Famers and a four-time All-Star. Gotta love the genes in Toronto, at the very least. 360-91
29 Orioles Taking three of four in Anaheim is not the route to the number one overall pick, Birds. --49-102
30 Tigers Their futility in the last two-plus months has been remarkable. Since the Tigers were 18-20 on May 12, they've gone 12-51. That's just jaw-droppingly awful. --45-105
CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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