With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, the pressure will be on teams to make the moves necessary to compete for a World Series title.
However, some teams in the hunt need to be careful. While the pressure may be on to win right now, they shouldn't sacrifice their long-term future to achieve victories next week.
Here are four teams that need to keep their eyes on the horizon and not get caught up in the insanity of the MLB trade deadline.
The Nationals are a team that hasn't really done anything of note since moving from Montreal and getting rid of the Expos.
This season, they are in the driver's seat for a playoff spot to this point, and if they continue playing the way they have, they will end up with their first NL East division title.
However, with new success comes new pressures.
The biggest asset this team has is youth. However, that can also be a weakness. If management feels they are too young, they could very easily want to make a move for some more veteran leadership in the clubhouse, sacrificing young talent in the process.
This would be a catastrophic mistake for them. While it may not yield a division title or a World Series ring this season, the core of this team is built to succeed in the long run, and it is already paying off.
The Nationals may not be the favorite to win it all this year, but don't be surprised if we're talking about that being the case in the not-so-distant future.
The only thing that can derail that is impatience. The Nationals management needs to be patient with this squad and know that if they can keep their key pieces together, they will go far in the future.
Another team from Maryland having a comeback season of sorts is the Baltimore Orioles.
After being the perennial doormat of the AL East for practically the last decade, the O's find themselves in position for a Wild Card spot right now and six games behind the New York Yankees for the division lead.
While they don't have the inside track to win the division the way the Nationals do, you have to look at the other teams in the AL East and be impressed.
They're six games behind the Yankees and are currently ahead of the Rays, the Blue Jays and the Red Sox.
I know that the Rays haven't shown what many thought they were capable of and just about every single player in the entire Red Sox organization has spent time on the DL this year, but it doesn't change the fact that the O's are playing excellent baseball and could be a dangerous team down the stretch.
Much like the Nationals, though, they have to be careful not to get caught up in this season. If the Orioles want to compete in the AL East for years to come, they need to be careful not to be too overzealous at the trade deadline.
Keeping the team together right now is the best thing they can do. If they can pick up another prospect or a veteran for the rotation or the bullpen at a decent price, it wouldn't be the end of the world, but they need to be extremely careful.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are on track to have their first winning season since George H. W. Bush was in the White House.
Just to give you a little more perspective, that was the same year Aladdin came out in theaters and Collective Soul became a band. Needless to say, it's been a while.
The Pirates have struggled through nearly two decades of losing for this one shining moment when they may finally make it back to the postseason.
However, if they want it to last, they need to be very cautious that they don't get too aggressive at the trade deadline.
They aren't involved in any crazy trade talks yet, but if they want to continue winning, they cannot get too ambitious just yet.
I know that you may be thinking that a team with Boston's payroll should be better than .500 at this point in the season, but as I mentioned before, it isn't due to lack of talent.
They lost Carl Crawford for and Jacoby Ellsbury for practically the entire season up to this point, and now that they are coming back, it shouldn't shock anyone that they're starting to pick things up a little bit.
I was at Fenway when the Yankees came in on July 7th for their four-game series, and I didn't even know who half the players starting for the Red Sox were, because they'd been so decimated by injuries.
They came into this season with a new GM and a new manager, and then they didn't just get bitten by the injury bug—it practically gave them the West Nile Virus.
Now that things have settled down, they are only three and a half games out of a Wild Card spot, and the three teams ahead of them are all in their division. If they can get hot against the Rays and the Blue Jays, that gap can close quickly.
It's a good thing that they aren't shopping Crawford around. Now that they can settle in with the team they have, look for the Red Sox to make a run.