Predicting Trade Deadline Buyers, Sellers at the One-Quarter Mark
With one-quarter of the Major League Baseball season now complete, things are slowly starting to take shape.
Some teams are where everyone thought they would be in the standings, while others are a big surprise.
Last year's Miami Marlins showed that teams could even be buyers and sellers with their acquisition of Carlos Lee and trading of Hanley Ramirez.
Any way you look at it, moves will start to be considered as the season wears on and the playoff race is defined a little more.
So which teams will be buyers and which teams will be sellers?
Note: All stats are entering Wednesday, May 16.
Buyers: Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals will most certainly be a team that is buying before the deadline.
Even with their struggles, the Nationals still find themselves one game out in the NL East.
While there has been some improvement lately, the bullpen will be an area the Nationals address as it has a 3.72 ERA. Let's not forget it's allowing opponents to hit .246 and ranks 23rd in strikeouts per nine innings with 7.88.
Washington will be in the playoff hunt at the end of the season, but bullpen help will be coming to assist along the way.
Sellers: Toronto Blue Jays
For all the talk about the Toronto Blue Jays in the offseason, this year hasn't gone according to plan.
The Blue Jays have struggled out of the gate and it doesn't look like it's going to get any better.
Jose Reyes is on the disabled list until after the all-star break (at the very least). The pitching staff (bullpen and rotation) is struggling as well as 22 different players have been used at some point already.
While some fans still hold out hope, by the time the deadline rolls around, the Blue Jays will be sellers. A player like Emilio Bonifacio would be the perfect target for any team as he can provide speed in the lineup and play multiple positions.
Buyers: Baltimore Orioles
One of those teams that could make a run at Bonifacio is the Baltimore Orioles.
Put aside the fact that the Orioles are in the same division as the Blue Jays for a moment. Second base is a real need for the Orioles as Brian Roberts can't stay healthy and Ryan Flaherty isn't getting the job done.
The Orioles have shown they're in the playoff hunt, despite the lack of star power in their rotation, which is something else they could address.
However, it doesn't take much to see that the Orioles are buyers once again this year.
Sellers: Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox look to be out of the race once again, but there is something they could do as a good-will gesture.
With Paul Konerko in the final year of his contract and nearing retirement, the White Sox could trade Konerko to a contender to give him another shot at a World Series.
Multiple teams would love to have his bat off the bench or in a DH role.
Matt Lindstrom could be another possibility out of the bullpen as teams look to shore that up as the playoffs approach.
Buyers: St. Louis Cardinals
Despite having one of the worst bullpens in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals still find themselves in first place in the NL Central. That's mainly due to having the best rotation in baseball.
With an ERA of 4.99, the bullpen is in some desperate need of some help, which will cause the Cardinals to look outside the organization for some help.
The Cardinals look to have a team that could compete for a World Series, but the bullpen is what could get them into trouble.
If they shore it up, then there's no question the Cardinals have to be considered a favorite in the National League.
Sellers: Miami Marlins
The Miami Marlins are one of the more obvious teams that will be sellers.
After trading away most of the stars during the offseason, the Marlins might as well finish it up by trading away the rest.
Ricky Nolasco has already expressed his unhappiness with what's going on, as has Giancarlo Stanton. Neither will be expected to re-sign with the team when they become free agents. Stanton is still a long ways away, but has been the subject of multiple rumors.
Miami should just go ahead and finish cleaning house and give the young guys a chance to prove themselves.
Buyers: San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants have the ability to make the right move prior to the trading deadline every year.
While it may not always be the sexiest, the Giants make the move that tends to make the biggest difference out of all trade deadline moves.
Last year, it was trading for infielder Marco Scutaro and corner outfielder Hunter Pence prior to the deadline.
This year will be no different as the Giants will look to make that one move that puts the team over the top.
Sellers: Chicago Cubs
Could this finally be the year the Chicago Cubs move Alfonso Soriano?
While that debate could take the rest of the season to pan out, the Cubs will still be a seller at the deadline, although it may not be Soriano.
Last year, the Cubs traded Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm to the Braves, and Ryan Dempster to the Rangers at the deadline.
This year, it could be any of a number of players as Theo Epstein continues to rebuild the Cubs.
Buyers and Sellers: Texas Rangers
Even after losing so much from last year's team, the Texas Rangers are still atop the AL West.
However, they could find themselves as buyers and sellers at the deadline.
With Jurickson Profar all but ready to make his major-league debut, the Rangers are going to have to make some tough decisions on the roster.
Ian Kinsler could be the odd-man out after Elvis Andrus was given a contract extension. It looks as if there may be no place for Kinsler, so he could be moved before the deadline.
The Rangers will also look to bring in some pieces that will help them win this year. Whether it's a bullpen arm or a position player, you can't expect the Rangers to sit idly by as the trade deadline passes.
Buyers and Sellers: Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves could be one of those teams that is both buying and selling at the deadline.
With struggles still coming out of multiple places in the lineup, the Braves could look to move one of those pieces.
Dan Uggla is one name that Braves fans would love to see go as he's struggled ever since he came to town. Depending on if the right deal came along, Uggla could be moved somewhere else, if and only if there is a second baseman coming back in return or there is another deal for a second baseman on the table.
Tyler Pastornicky could play second while the team tries to acquire another second baseman in the meanwhile.
Again, this would only happen if the right deal were in place as general manager Frank Wren isn't going to make a knee-jerk move, especially if the Braves are in first place.