With almost six weeks of baseball in the books, the 2014 Major League Baseball season can be defined thus far by one word: parity.
At the end of play on May 7, only three teams—the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros—sat at least five games out of a wild-card spot in either league. It's still too soon to dissect the day-to-day standings and playoff odds across the sport, but don't mistake patience for clarity. We may not know which teams will play on through October, but it's clear that many clubs have the potential to stick around the crowded pennant chases.
Unlike in the recent past, a simple and well-established pecking order of trade rumors and obvious future acquisitions isn't likely to emerge. With so many teams capable of playing decent baseball, a marginal upgrade in any roster area could be the difference between a precious win or loss.
Every week, new rumors swirl as baseball executives focus on long-term gains (and ignore small sample sizes). Separating fact from fiction is key for any educated baseball fan, especially in a league where there likely won't be a 100-win team.
Here's a rundown of everything you need to know about the latest big rumors around the sport.