With the July 31 MLB trade deadline looming, teams need to figure out whether they will be buyers, sellers or simply stand pat and not play the market.
The contenders will look scour through the rosters of teams out of the playoff mix and look for that one player to put them over the top. There are also a few teams that would be better off maintaining their current rosters with the 2014 season in mind.
Here are three teams that should stand pat for the trade deadline.
If the Philadelphia Phillies made Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee available to the rest of the league, it's both good news and bad news for Phillies' fans.
Closers like Papelbon have a high turnover in MLB and every team in contention could use another late-innings reliever. If a team is willing to offer a couple of quality prospects in exchange for Papelbon, the Phillies should certainly entertain the idea.
Lee, on the other hand, is an invaluable asset who should not be dealt. Mound aces under contractual control of a team for multiple years are hard to come by, and having Lee and Cole Hamels atop the Philaldelphia rotation is as good of a one-two punch as any team will find.
While the Phillies' offense isn't what it used to be, Dominique Brown has finally figured out major league pitching and Ben Revere is a legitimate leadoff hitter. Couple that with over $50 million scheduled to come off the books next offseason with Roy Halladay, Michael Young and Chase Utley set to head out of town, and the Phillies are in a good position to completely revamp their roster to build around Lee and Hamels for years to come.
The Kansas City Royals have been my dark-horse team for the past two years, and each time, they have shown that they are very close to becoming a contender in the AL Central.
Their young offense certainly has the names, but a disappointing year by Mike Moustakas and a slow start by Eric Hosmer have caused this offense to underachieve so far.
On the other hand, Royals' pitching—which has been a determinant for the past decade or so—has actually fared well this season. Despite having only four wins, James Shields has pitched like an ace and the bullpen has been fairly good.
This is a young team that is on the verge of contending on an annual basis. If the Royals could find a way to add another starter who is not a rental player, they should inquire about doing so. Otherwise, standing pat would be the best decision that the Royals' brass can make.
It has been a tough year for the San Francisco Giants as they try to defend their World Series championship from 10 months ago.
After being in first place in the NL West for the majority of May, the wheels have fallen off in San Francisco. The Giants are currently eight games under .500 and 6.5 games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks.
Whether or not the Giants can get back into the race is a whole other story, but things look promising. Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence hit the ball hard all series against the San Diego Padres right before the All-Star break, and Tim Lincecum strung together six promising starts over his previous seven outings.
However, regardless of how 2013 shapes up, the Giants shouldn't trade away what brought them two World Series in the past three years. I'm not saying they should be hoarders and hold onto everyone for sentimental reasons, but this team—on paper, at least—is built to contend for championships on a yearly basis for the foreseeable future.
Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval (skinny version) Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford form a core of young talent that rivals any in the major leagues.
As far as Lincecum and Hunter Pence are concerned, both are free agents at the end of the season, so would the Giants be able to get equal value in return for either? It is unlikely because teams are looking at Lincecum as a potential reliever instead of a starter, even though he looks like he's finally figuring out how to pitch in the low-90s.
Pence has also made it clear he'd like to return to San Francisco, and right fielders like Pence are hard to come by.
If the right deal happens to find its way to general manager Brian Sabean, then any player outside of Posey and Bumgarner should become available. It's just too early to blow up this Giants' team.