We took a week off from our Weekly Rankings last week for our own vacations and the MLB All-Star break. Now we’re back in action and can’t wait to see what the week of July 25th has in store. We are not expecting a ton of blockbuster trades this coming week, but rather a flurry of impactful moves to add depth to contending rosters.
A number of top teams in each division, including the Giants and Rangers, have seen their division leads shrink as a result of poor performance since the break.
1. Chicago Cubs (59-38) (5)
The Cubs regain the top spot in our rankings after a few weeks off the throne. With the return of OF Dexter Fowler, the table setter has the Cubs’ offense back in gear and ready to extend their NL Central lead. With rumors flying about the club’s imminent acquisition of Yankees flamethrower Aroldis Chapman it’s clear the Cubs are not acquiring the Cuban Missile just to make the postseason. They’re trying to acquire Chapman to win the World Series.
2. San Francisco Giants (58-40) (1)
The Giants are 1-6 since the break. It’s abundantly clear the club needs to add a bat to the outfield, another starter to replace Jake Peavy or Matt Cain in the rotation, and an impact arm in the bullpen. Still, the fact that the Giants have been able to tally 58 wins with significant injuries to many starters earns them the second spot in this week’s rankings.
3. Baltimore Orioles (57-40) (7)
The O’s have the best record in the AL, and are looking to add depth to their outfield at the deadline. They’ve been linked to trade discussions with the Padres over Melvin Upton Jr. and the Reds’ Jay Bruce. They could probably use another starting pitcher for the postseason, but their offense and bullpen will carry them a long way through the summer.
4. Washington Nationals (58-41) (2)
The Nats are solid. That’s pretty much it. It seems like they’ll miss out on making any major moves at the deadline since they’re unwilling to part ways with Trea Turner or Lucas Giolito.
5. Cleveland Indians (56-41) (3)
The Indians have been linked to trade discussions with the Brewers over Jonathan Lucroy. Adding another bat could not hurt that lineup at all.
6. Texas Rangers (57-42) (4)
The Rangers just need to pitch more consistently, and get better performance from Prince Fielder. They’re said to be interested in Chris Sale, but any move to acquire the left-handed ace will require Texas to part ways with top prospects Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo.
7. Boston Red Sox (55-41) (8)
The Sox already traded for a pitcher in Drew Pomeranz, so don’t expect anymore major moves from Boston.
8. Toronto Blue Jays (55-44) (6)
With RHP Aaron Sanchez likely to be moved to the bullpen to limit his innings in 2016, we expect Toronto to make a strong push for Padres RHP Andrew Cashner before the trade deadline.
9. Houston Astros (54-44) (10)
With the signing of Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel, and the call-up of Alex Bregman, the Astros infield is suddenly very crowded. Watch for one of those players to shift to the outfield if all goes according to Houston’s plans.
10. St. Louis Cardinals (52-46) (11)
Oh has supplanted Rosenthal in the closer’s role very well so far. The Cards have a ton of depth at all positions, so it’s unclear if they’ll make any majors moves at the deadline.
11. Los Angeles Dodgers (56-44) (9)
With Clayton Kershaw out as the Dodgers consider surgery, look for LA to make a major move to acquire a top-two starter. They’ve decreased their NL West deficit to three games, but they still need an outfielder and some bullpen help to fortify their position.
12. Miami Marlins (53-45) (14)
The Marlins have come out of nowhere. If they playoffs ended today, Miami would hold the second Wild Card spot. Jose Fernandez would likely pitch in that game, giving them a real chance to win. With the return of the suspended Dee Gordon looming, the offense will get a real boost from a guy (chemically enhanced or not) who won the batting title in 2015.
13. New York Mets (52-45) (13)
Harvey hasn’t been Harvey this year. Steven Matz has struggled after a hot start. Thor has left a few games early this season with minor injuries or fatigue. Could the Mets’ offense actually be their strength down the stretch?
14. Pittsburgh Pirates (51-47) (12)
The Pirates have fought back to within striking distance of the second Wild Card spot in the NL. Look for the club to add a starting pitcher at the deadline (yeah, we’re looking at you, Tampa Bay). Still, if the Pirates flop badly this week, the Bucs could just as easily become sellers before Monday.
15. Detroit Tigers (51-48) (15)
Due to salary concerns, don’t expect any major moves from Motor City.
16. Seattle Mariners (50-48) (18)
The M’s looked good a couple weeks ago, but the absence of King Felix has really hurt them.
17. New York Yankees (50-48) (19)
The Yanks keep winning, but the club still needs to make some deals. With a trade of Aroldis Chapman imminent, the Yanks seem to be OK with trading their best player in 2016.
18. Kansas City Royals (48-49) (16)
The Royals are below .500 for the first time in a while. There are rumors the defending World Series champs will be sellers by the end of the week. With several big-name free agents this offseason and next, the Royals are not in position to move any prospects. Unlikely to re-sign all of their free agents, the Royals must hold onto their elite prospects and hope they can simply play better down the stretch to make it to October.
19. Colorado Rockies (47-51) (21)
The Rockies are just hanging around. Don’t expect any deadline deals here, barring an astronomical offer for Carlos Gonzalez.
20. Philadelphia Phillies (45-55) (20)
Under the reign of Ruben Amaro Jr., it was unclear if the Phillies were ever going to be true sellers at the deadline. This year, however, it’s clear – the Phils will look to trade anyone not in the club’s three-year plan.
21. Chicago White Sox (48-50) (17)
It’s time to trade Chris Sale. There’s an obvious rift with the front office. Some things can’t be swept under the rug anymore when the rug becomes a speed bump. Take advantage of Sale’s tremendous value and cash in on the return.
22. San Diego Padres (43-56) (24)
The Padres have been hitting dingers at franchise-record pace over the last three weeks. What’s important for San Diego is mitigating the salary crippling trades and signings the club has made over the last few years. Look for Andrew Cashner and Melvin Upton Jr. to be dealt, and maybe Matt Kemp too if another team is willing to eat some salary.
23. Oakland Athletics (45-54) (25)
Billy Beane is a dealer at the deadline. Look for the A’s to initiate a fire sale at any time.
24. Milwaukee Brewers (41-55) (23)
The Brewers have some trade pieces garnering interest on the market. They’re sellers by definition, and need to capitalize on the value of Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy to build for the future.
25. Arizona Diamondbacks (41-57) (22)
AJ Pollock was the key to the Diamondbacks season. 2016 is over for Arizona. With rumors circulating that the club is fielding offers for the struggling Shelby Miller, it’s clear the team has already moved on to 2017.
26. Los Angels of Anaheim (43-55) (26)
The Angels must trade Mike Trout.
27. Minnesota Twins (37-61) (28)
Overall, the Twins are garbage. But, over the last few weeks Brian Dozier has shown the pop he displayed last season. It will be interesting to see if the Twins will consider offers for guys like Eduardo Nunez and Dozier over the next week.
28. Tampa Bay Rays (38-60) (27)
The low-payroll Rays are obviously out of the race in 2016. They have a lot of talent at the front end of the rotation, but trading Matt Moore and/or Jake Odorizzi may yield significant value for the future.
29. Cincinnati Reds (38-60) (29)
There’s not much to see here. The Reds are obviously out of contention. Adam Duvall has been a bright spot, but much of the focus has been on when the Reds may trade Jay Bruce.
30. Atlanta Braves (33-66) (30)
Will the Braves trade Julio Teheran and finish 2016 without a true ace on the roster? Time will tell, but the Braves would be foolish not to listen for offers up until August 1st.