The MLB trade deadline brought a lot of changes around Major League Baseball. Some teams decided to make big additions, while others decided that perhaps they would be better off trying to compete for a World Series in the future.
With all of these changes, we can definitely anticipate that the power balance in Major League Baseball will change along with it.
For these power rankings, the teams will be positioned based on their chances of capturing the World Series.
Let's face it, the Houston Astros traded away virtually every veteran they had for prospects. I am not criticizing them for that, but they were already among the worst teams in baseball, and a fire sale never helps that.
If it only matters how many runs a team is capable of scoring, the Colorado Rockies would be one of the best teams in baseball. They have been scoring a lot of runs, but they are the only team in Major League Baseball with a staff ERA of over 5.00. That definitely isn't a recipe for success this year.
The Chicago Cubs are not much better off than the Houston Astros. After selling off Ryan Dempster, the rotation will be even shakier than it has been.
Unless they can find a way to generate some offense, it will be a long end of the season.
Of course, the Kansas City Royals are going to be good eventually. They almost always seem to have a decent pipeline of talent developing in the minor leagues, but by the time they get to the majors, it doesn't seem to work out that well.
At the bottom of the division, they don't have a lot of hope right now.
The Minnesota Twins have had some encouraging signs this year from Joe Mauer. He seems to be returning to his old self, and he has been supported nicely by the emergent Ben Revere and Josh Willingham.
Of course, until their pitching staff gets everything together, they will be near the bottom of baseball.
The San Diego Padres extended Carlos Quentin, which is definitely a positive sign for their future, but they are trapped in the standings right now. Part of the reason for that is a little run support. Hopefully Quentin will be able to help with that in the future, because the pitching staff actually has some decent pieces.
This year really isn't going to happen for San Diego, though.
I will admit that I was honestly shocked when the Seattle Mariners traded away Ichiro. He has been the face of the franchise for so many years that I thought he would be there for life. However, that isn't the last time I will be wrong.
The American League West is so competitive this season that even if the Mariners play great baseball, they probably won't be able to move up near a playoff position.
The Philadelphia Phillies have had one of the most frustrating seasons in baseball. All they have been waiting for are the returns of Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay and Chase Utley. Now that they have them back, they have traded Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino.
On the brighter side, they were able to lock Cole Hamels up with a long-term deal that will keep their best homegrown ace in town.
The Miami Marlins sent problem child Hanley Ramirez the Los Angeles Dodgers, while also sending Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers. Even in this major fire sale, the team still has some talent that it retained, such as Josh Johnson, even though he was rumored to be on the move.
This season probably won't work out well for the Marlins, but they do have a foundation off of which to build.
The Milwaukee Brewers traded away their ace in Zack Greinke, so I had to mark them down for obvious reasons. They are still decent, and Ryan Braun will continue being incredibly productive in the middle of the lineup. Also, they have gotten respectable contributions from Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart.
This season might be a bit too late, but they have the potential to be great again.
The New York Mets have been relying on exceptionally strong individual performances so far this season, but they will need those to continue in order to continue this chase.
Of course, R.A. Dickey and David Wright have been fantastic, but they have had a bunch of guys overachieving in general like Scott Hairston and Jon Niese. They have a long road if they want to climb into a wild-card spot.
At the beginning of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks were expected to compete for the top of the National League West. However, that hasn't really happened.
Jason Kubel has been playing like an MVP, and the offense has been functioning pretty well. Most of their problems have been on the mound, and they really didn't do much at the deadline to improve that area.
The Boston Red Sox are not having that awful of a season right now, but the simple fact of the matter is that the American League East is so competitive that it will be almost impossible for them to pass by the amount of teams they need to to make it to the playoffs.
They needed to find another strong starting pitcher at the deadline, but they didn't do that, and that will hurt them as we go down the stretch.
The Cleveland Indians are not that far out of any playoff race, but they also needed to find a strong starting pitcher in order to make a serious run.
The offense has been fine behind the bat of Shin-Soo Choo, and their bullpen has been pleasantly surprising behind Chris Perez and Vinnie Pestano. However, the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers are too good to chase down without a strong starting rotation.
The Toronto Blue Jays definitely bring some big bats with Edwin Encarnacion, José Bautista and Colby Rasmus, but they are yet another team that could have used a starting pitcher.
That being said, they are a little bit higher than the last two teams because Ricky Romero has ace potential. He hasn't been pitching that well this year, but if he turns it on, they will have the ace that they need. That is a big if.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been strong for a couple of years now, but it seems as if they might come up a little bit short.
David Price has been phenomenal, but the entire rotation has not been up to the high standards that they have set the past few years. Also, their offense has been slightly off as a result of missing star third baseman Evan Longoria.
Without any major movement at the trade deadline, Tampa Bay probably won't improve too much.
The Baltimore Orioles were the hottest team in baseball, and even though they are still in the race, they have definitely cooled off. Adam Jones is still having a great year, and Jason Hammel's return to the rotation will definitely be helpful.
The New York Yankees made a big move by acquiring Ichiro, and Baltimore will need to catch up to someone in order to make it into the playoffs. The Orioles are talented, but that cooling trend is somewhat disturbing.
The St. Louis Cardinals have done a great job rebounding from the loss of Albert Pujols over the winter, but they have been overtaken in the National League Central by both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds.
They have had an incredibly balanced and powerful offensive attack, and they do have a chance at making a run. However, there are some major obstacles to overcome.
The Los Angeles Dodgers started out as one of the best teams in baseball, but they have cooled down a little bit. That being said, adding Hanley Ramirez to the lineup means that they potentially have two of the most talented players in baseball right now. Shane Victorino was also a quality acquisition.
These two could combine with Matt Kemp to form an amazing nucleus, but the Dodgers need to return to their early-season form if they want to grab one of the playoff positions.
I love the Oakland Athletics storyline as much as anyone else, but with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bolstering their rotation even more and the Texas Rangers already strong, it might be difficult for the Athletics to keep pace.
Josh Reddick has been strong at the plate, and Brandon McCarthy has been throwing well, but with such a strong division, you have to wonder how long they can hold out. However, the wild card is a definite possibility, and strange things happen once the playoffs come.
The Detroit Tigers had a tough start to the 2012 season, but they have been getting their act together behind their superstars, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander. Overall, starting pitching had been a little bit of a problem for the Tigers, but they made a nice trade to acquire Anibal Sanchez from the Miami Marlins, along with second baseman Omar Infante.
The Detroit Tigers have a ton of talent, but I did not want to put them any higher. What if they fall into a problem like they did early in the season?
The Atlanta Braves get a lead, and they really don't like to give it up. Their bullpen is among the best in baseball, and Ben Sheets has been a pleasant addition to a rotation that has been solid at times. Chipper Jones is having a great final season, and Jason Heyward is finally displaying some of the five-tool potential that we all knew he had.
Their starting rotation is still a bit suspect, but the Atlanta Braves almost always seem to get the job done when they have to.
The Pittsburgh Pirates filled their greatest hole by acquiring left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez from the Houston Astros. They are a very young team, and a veteran presence definitely helps during a playoff run.
Andrew McCutchen is a perfectly legitimate MVP candidate, and Pedro Alvarez has provided some power from the hot corner. Their pitching staff is definitely solid, but adding a veteran was the perfect touch.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were yet another team that got off to a slow start in 2012, but they are getting their act together. Even as they are rallying, they made their pitching staff even stronger by acquiring the biggest prize on the market in Zack Greinke.
Mike Trout should definitely win Rookie of the Year, and he will definitely be in the MVP discussion.
Overall, the Angels are the first team on the list that I would say has a good chance of a World Series championship.
The Chicago White Sox completed a pair of nice deals, as they brought in Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano. While Liriano is risky, he has been good in the past and might catch fire in a new environment.
Even before they made those acquisitions, the White Sox had been playing great baseball highlighted by performances from the always strong Paul Konerko as well as the slightly more surprising Chris Sale and Jake Peavy.
The White Sox have not been that great for a little while, so it is good to see them back near the top of baseball.
Matt Cain is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now, but if the San Francisco Giants have a weakness, it is simply the fact that they have some problems scoring runs. Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval provide almost the entire attack for the Giants.
Their pitching can take them a long way, but because of their somewhat suspect offense, they couldn't be any higher.
The Cincinnati Reds have finally gotten over the hump and are the team to beat in the National League Central. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce have generated most of the offense for the Reds, while the entire starting rotation has actually kept their ERAs down this season.
The Cincinnati Reds have always given up a lot of runs, but since they seem to be controlling that area much better this year, look for the Reds to take their powerful offense deep into the playoffs.
The Washington Nationals have arguably the best starting rotation in baseball this season, led by the powerful Stephen Strasburg. Of course, he might be taken out of the equation if he hits his innings limit, but that rotation will carry them a long way. In fact, their offense hasn't really had to do a whole lot this year.
However, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond are having very strong seasons at the plate and are helping the Nationals become the team to beat in the National League.
The New York Yankees are always near the top of baseball, and this year is no different. They made a big splash by acquiring Ichiro from the Seattle Mariners, and even though that trade might not have a lot of long-term significance, the Yankees didn't really need a lot of help.
Robinson Cano has been putting up his usually strong numbers, and Derek Jeter has had an excellent comeback season.
The Yankees might need a little help in the starting rotation, but in the long run, there is still an excellent chance of seeing the Yankees raise the trophy at the end of the season.
The Texas Rangers have been one of the best teams in baseball all season, and even though the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made a huge trade for Zack Greinke, the Texas Rangers are simply too dominant to be caught in the division.
The impact of that Greinke trade is somewhat lessened by the fact that Texas went out and got Ryan Dempster at the deadline.
Not only that, but they have probably the best combination of pitching and offense in baseball. They have some huge bats led by Josh Hamilton, and their pitching staff has been great all season.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed in baseball, but even without a massive trade, the Texas Rangers are the team to beat right now. I know that they do not have the best record, but their offense is so explosive that it is hard to bet against them in a short series.
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