With more than a quarter of the 2012 MLB season complete, teams are beginning to separate themselves from each other, and a picture is starting to appear about what teams have a chance to make the playoffs and what teams should start looking forward to the 2013 season.
There is still a lot of time left before the 2012 MLB trade deadline, and teams could certainly climb out of the cellar and into the playoff race. However, the potential buyers and sellers are starting to become more apparent.
A number of different impact players will be on the trade market this summer, and buyers will be interesting in bringing them in for the stretch run. Here are the top 30 hitters who could move by the trade deadline.
The Boston Red Sox season has not gone according to plan, and that may lead them to make some moves that they never would have considered prior to the season.
Will Middlebrooks has done a good job at third base and is looking like a viable replacement for Kevin Youkilis. Boston could choose to move Youkilis, and both the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies have their eyes on him, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
This season is already looking like a lost year for the Minnesota Twins, and they are going to need to make a few moves to put themselves in position to compete in 2013.
Jim Bowden of ESPN (Insider required) has suggested that the Twins could look into moving Justin Morneau, as they could get a significant return for their star first baseman.
Theo Epstein has proven that he can build a successful team, and he will need to make a number of changes in Chicago if he is going to turn the Cubs into a World Series contender.
Buster Onley of ESPN (Insider required) has suggested that the Cubs could look to take advantage of Bryan LaHair's hot start and deal him this summer while his value is at its peak.
Almost every single Chicago Cubs fan would scoff at the idea of trading away Starlin Castro, but the Cubs may have to make a difficult decision.
It has been noted by Buster Olney of ESPN (Insider required) that Castro has some flaws, but he also has a tremendous amount of trade value. Olney also suggests that Castro could bring two top-tier prospects.
Given the way that David Wright has begun the year, he would have a tremendous amount of value if the New York Mets decided to trade him. His play has also given them more of a reason to keep him.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post seems to believe that a trade involving Wright is still a possibility. Such a deal probably won't happen since Wright will have more value this winter.
The Toronto Blue Jays placed Adam Lind on waivers, and the team will likely look to find if there are any suitors that would be willing to take his contract off of their hands.
The Miami Marlins have an interest in Lind, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. If the Marlins don't trade for him, someone else might.
Though playing better of late, it should come as no surprise that the Houston Astros are currently under .500. They are a young team, and they will eventually get better.
At the trade deadline, the Astros could look to trade away some of their older, more expensive veterans in an effort to get more young talent. Carlos Lee could be one of the players that is dealt.
For the first time in a long time, the Baltimore Orioles may be buyers at the MLB trade deadline. That does not mean that they will not deal players that are on their current roster, however.
Mark Reynolds could be a potential trade candidate this summer. According to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, the Orioles have made Reynolds available.
Melky Cabrera has mentioned that he would be open to discussing an extension midseason, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
That does not mean that the Giants would not entertain dealing their outfielder. Cabrera could interest a number of teams this summer.
Carlos Quentin just become a member of the San Diego Padres this year, but he may not be sticking around for too long.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Padres may be open to dealing Quentin at some point this season.
The Los Angeles Angels signed Erick Aybar to an extension recently, but with the team's struggles, they may look to make some changes.
Shortstops are always in high demand, and a team could be interested in Aybar even though he has had a tough season (a .217 average through 44 games played).
Given all of the success that the Los Angeles Dodgers have had this year, it is hard to see them trading away one of their starters.
However, James Loney could draw some interest on the trade market as they approach July 31. If Jerry Sands looks like he is ready to consitently play first base in the majors, then the Dodgers could try to deal Loney for pitching help.
Delmon Young has had some issues off of the field this season, and the Detroit Tigers may grow tired of having him on their roster.
Another team may be willing to take a risk on Young this year, as he is set for free agency at season's end.
The Tampa Bay Rays considered trading B.J. Upton this offseason, and he could be on the block once more this summer.
Tampa Bay would get a nice return for the outfielder. The 27-year-old Upton should draw the interest of a number of contending teams.
Entering the 2012 season, there was very little chance that the Philadelphia Phillies would consider trading Shane Victorino. With the team's struggles, that may be changing.
The Phillies may not be able to re-sign Cole Hamels, and that could have a big impact on the Phillies' approach at the trade deadline. If they are still near last place, they could choose to trade Victorino before he becomes a free agent.
Stephen Drew has yet to play a game for the Arizona Diamondbacks this year, and he is going to have a lot to prove upon his return.
If the 29-year-old Drew proves that he can once again be a high-caliber shortstop, then the Diamondbacks may entertain trading him before risking losing him in the free-agent market after this year.
Gerardo Parra has been important to the Arizona Diamondbacks during Chris Young's absence. He has done a good job filling in.
He may find a more full-time position later in the year if the Diamondbacks choose to trade him. Teams have asked about Parra in the past, according to Steven Gilbert of MLB.com.
The Minnesota Twins and the Washington Nationals discussed a trade involving Denard Span last year, but nothing came out of the discussions.
With the struggles that the Twins are having this year, the Twins may once again look into trading away their CF to help with a possible rebuilding process.
Chris Coghlan went from a player that was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2009 to someone that is struggling for consistent playing time.
There might be a team or two out there that is willing to take a risk on Coghlan since he is still just 26 years old. The Miami Marlins may trade him if they don't feel that he has a future with the team.
The San Diego Padres have multiple options in their outfield, and they often call upon Will Venable to play right field.
Venable interested the Atlanta Braves during spring trading, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but he was not on the market then. San Diego might reconsider this depending on how the team looks around the trade deadline.
There will be a number of big decisions that the Texas Rangers need to make this year, and the trade deadline could provide some insight into their offseason plans.
Julio Borbon has lost his spot in the majors with the Rangers, and a number of teams could be interested in having Borbon play center field for them.
Travis Snider has a whole world of potential, but he has not been able to have consistent success in the big leagues.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Spots notes that the Toronto Blue Jays are unlikely to move him. Still, there is certainly a long list of teams that would be more than willing to take a chance on Snider and could offer a deal Toronto cannot pass up on.
Marco Scutaro was supposed to be a short-term option for the Colorado Rockies at second base, as they were trying to get back to the playoffs this year.
Neither Scutaro or the Rockies are living up to expectations thus far in 2012. This could lead the team to dealing him to a squad looking for middle infield help for the stretch run.
Jason Bartlett has been miserable thus far in 2012. He has struggled at the plate, and he has never really found a groove since being traded to the San Diego Padres.
Bartlett does have some solid pop for a middle infielder, so the Padres may still be able to get something in return should they decide to deal him.
Things have certainly not gone the Philadelphia Phillies' way this year, which may cause them to make some difficult decisions.
One of those tough decisions could be trading away Placido Polanco. He is going to be 37 next year, and the Phillies may not want to pick up his option.
Angel Pagan became a San Francisco Giant this winter, and his stay in the Bay Area may wind up being a short one.
Pagan will become a free agent after the season, and if the Giants are out of contention, then they could look into dealing him to a contender.
Since the 2011 season began, Aubrey Huff has done nothing but struggle for the San Francisco Giants. And, as a result, he has naturally seen his playing time decrease.
Huff has been identified as a possible trade candidate by Brian Gramling of ESPN, but there may not be any takers for him.
Even when the Oakland Athletics are able to add Manny Ramirez to their starting lineup, it likely will not make a difference in the way that their season turns out.
Ramirez could have an impact on their future, though. Should Ramirez play well, the A's could deal Ramirez to a contender in return for a prospect.
Cody Ross has gotten off to a fairly strong start for the Boston Red Sox, but like the rival Yankees, his team has struggled and is near the bottom of the AL East standings.
If 2012 continues to be a disappointing year for the Red Sox, then they may look to deal Ross. He could certainly serve as an upgrade for a contender's outfield.