The MLB pennant races are heating up now that July has arrived, and the Chicago Cubs are one of the sellers to watch at the trade deadline.
The second Wild Card will impact the trade deadline tremendously. Only a few teams are completely out of the race, and many teams believe they still have a chance to make the postseason.
Even though there are five playoff spots in each league, 14 teams currently find themselves sitting at least five games back of the second Wild Card (standings via MLB.com).
As the month moves on, more teams will begin to decide whether they are buyers or sellers.
Here are teams that will affect the pennant races by selling at the deadline.
Despite a 35-46 record, the Cubs have actually looked decent at times. Their starters have a 3.82 ERA, which is No. 9 in baseball. They have great pitching to build around, and they will ship out players to continue the rebuilding process.
Chicago has plenty of attractive pieces. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com lists the Cubs as the biggest sellers.
Closer Kevin Gregg could bring in a nice return. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA and has only blown one save in 14 opportunities. He has 29 strikeouts compared to only eight walks.
Starting pitcher Matt Garza's name will be thrown around, and he could find himself pitching back in the American League. James Russell and Shawn Camp are other pitchers who the Cubs could deal.
Left fielder Alfonso Soriano has to approve any trade, so he will be tough to move. Nate Schierholtz is hitting .284 with 11 homers and 34 RBI. He would give any contender a cheap outfielder who can make plays on offense and in the field.
The Cubs are one of the few teams that will be selling early. They don't have a great record, but they have plenty of players who can help contenders down the stretch.
Chicago White Sox
Heyman also throws out some names that the White Sox will look to deal. Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com gave a couple more potential trade chips.
Padilla reported earlier Wednesday that one pitcher on the trade block, Jesse Crain, is now on the disabled list. Jake Peavy has been out for over a month with a rib injury. Injuries could prevent the team from trading away their best pieces.
Relievers Matt Lindstrom and Matt Thornton will be on the block, and the bullpen market looks thin right now. With so many teams needing help in relief, those two pitchers could be the most valuable assets the team can deal.
Alex Rios will be difficult to deal because of his contract. If the White Sox are willing to eat some of the salary, they could get some prospects back for the veteran.
Until the White Sox get healthy, they can't maximize their value. They have great trading chips on the disabled list and they need them to return quickly to prove that they are healthy enough to trade.
The Phillies are a team that is in a difficult situation. They aren't completely out of the race, but they have a lot of work to do if they are going to get back in contention.
Philadelphia trails the Atlanta Braves by 9.5 games in the NL East and faces an 8-game deficit to the Cincinnati Reds for the second Wild Card.
Dash Treyhorn of NBC10 (Philadelphia) thinks it's time for the Phillies to sell.
They have plenty of veterans who could help a contender, and they will eventually decide to make some deals.
George A. King III of the New York Post reports that both the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are interested in infielder Michael Young. He is solid at the plate and can play anywhere in the infield.
Veteran second baseman Chase Utley is likely to draw interest. Injuries have hurt his value, but a team looking for offensive help will be aggressive. Utley is hitting .279 and has 11 home runs and 30 RBI in 56 games.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz, starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick and closer Jonathan Papelbon are other veterans who could bring in good value. Cliff Lee could be dangled, but the team would have to get a great deal in order to trade him.
Philadelphia has very little chance of making the postseason, so it should start trading away veterans this month.
*All stats are courtesy of MLB.com