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Identifying All 30 MLB Teams as Buyers or Sellers Post All-Star Break

Karl BuscheckContributor IIIJuly 16, 2014

Identifying All 30 MLB Teams as Buyers or Sellers Post All-Star Break

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    Brian Blanco/Getty Images

    The MLB trade deadline is looming. 

    What follows is a breakdown of which teams will be buying and which teams will be selling between now and July 31. For teams at the top of the standings and clubs who are already buried, the decision to become buyers and sellers, respectively, is easy enough.

    For teams like the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays, who are caught right in the middle, the issue is far more complicated. Should they sell off their assets and restock the farm system, try to make additions or just do nothing at all?

Houston Astros

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on The Market

    The Houston Astros could be unusually inactive at the deadline. 

    Bullpen arms like Tony Sipp and Chad Qualls both will to be trade targets, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports suggests. There's also a chance that center fielder Dexter Fowler could be on the move. When asked about that possibility by Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, Fowler didn't exactly shoot the rumor down.

    "It's out of my control. No use thinking about it."

    The 28-year-old is on the disabled list right now but could return on Friday, per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    The Los Angeles Angels are on the lookout for pitching. 

    According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, "major league sources" have told him that the Angels are interested in closer Huston Street and starter Ian Kennedy of the San Diego Padres. One major complication for Los Angeles is that its farm system is extremely thin. Bleacher Report's Adam Wells ranked the team's minor league setup No. 29 out of 30. 

Oakland Athletics

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane has already been busy upgrading his roster.

    Still, in an interview with Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game, the executive explained that he's hopeful that he'll be able to complete another move before the end of the month. Second base would be a logical spot for the team to try to add a player, as Oakland has struggled to get consistent production from that position in the first half. 

    It won't be easy to find that middle infielder, as there simply aren't that many players available on the market. Plus, the club has already cashed in some of its biggest trade chips. Then again, if there's anyone who can pull off a creative deal, it's Beane. 

Seattle Mariners

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    Kevin Liles/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    The Seattle Mariners need bats. 

    The club's offense has been dismal, ranking last in the American League with a .677 OPS. The M's have engaged in "serious discussions" with the Philadelphia Phillies about the possibility of acquiring Marlon Byrd, according to Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times. Chicago White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo has also been linked to Seattle by Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston.

    While either of those right-handed hitters would help, the Mariners need to think bigger if they want to keep up with the furious pace in the AL West. 

Texas Rangers

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on The Market

    The Texas Rangers have been torpedoed by injuries in 2014, leaving the squad 21 games out of first place. 

    The train wreck of a first half means that the Rangers "may be willing to trade just about anyone," according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. As Heyman clarifies, the only exceptions on the roster are likely to be Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre. With a lack of impact bats on the market, the Rangers just might want to reconsider that stance on Beltre. 

    Even if they don't, the team still has a ton of talent to offer. Right fielder Alex Rios, shortstop Elvis Andrus, closer Joakim Soria and reliever Jason Frasor could all be shipped out to restock the farm system. 

Cleveland Indians

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Status: TBD

     

    Players on the Block

    The Tribe is in a difficult spot.

    At 47-47, the Cleveland Indians aren't good enough to justify dealing away top prospects for an immediate return, but they're also just good enough to still be hanging around in the Wild Card race. When the second half opens up, Cleveland will be 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. 

    If the team drops out of the hunt before the deadline, free-agents-to-be like shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and starter Justin Masterson could be on the way out of town. 

Chicago White Sox

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on The Market

    The Chicago White Sox have a myriad of trade candidates on the club's 25-man roster. 

    The problem is that none of them are having particularly impressive seasons. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports points to second baseman Gordon Beckham, shortstop Alexei Ramirez and designated hitter Adam Dunn as three players who could be on the move, and all three are hitting under .200 in July. 

    According to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, starter John Danks could be available, but he still has two-and-a-half seasons left on his five-year, $65 million deal. Plus, outfielder Dayan Viciedo has been the subject of trade rumors since the winter, per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago

Detroit Tigers

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    The Detroit Tigers are in the market for bullpen arms.

    According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, it "seems extremely likely" that the club will add a reliever before the July 31 deadline. However, Iott doesn't except the potential acquisition to be a big name, pointing to the team's preference not to pay a steep price in terms of prospects or salary. 

    It's possible that Joakim Soria of the Texas Rangers could fit that criteria. The right-hander has been linked to Detroit by Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports

Kansas City Royals

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    The Kansas City Royals have some work to do if they're going to land a playoff spot. 

    The Royals sit third in the Wild Card standings, trailing the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners. Strengthening the offensive is one of Kansas City's top priorities, and the team is taking a look at Boston Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

    Gomes hasn't enjoyed any success against right-handers with a .156 batting average, but he is hitting .306 against lefties. 

Minnesota Twins

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on The Market

    With the Minnesota Twins tied for last place with the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, there's no question that the club will be sellers this July. However, the team doesn't have a lot to offer. 

    Catcher Kurt Suzuki, outfielder Josh Willingham and starter Kevin Correia all have contracts which expire at season's end. The All-Star Suzuki figures to have the most value, but none of the veterans are going to bring back a substantial return. 

Baltimore Orioles

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    Now is the perfect time for the Baltimore Orioles to think big. 

    The O's are atop an uncharacteristically weak AL East, and could open up a considerable lead in the division if the team makes a move for a front-line starter. 

    According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are unlikely to part with the prospects required to snag an ace like David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays or Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox. Connolly lists pitchers Dylan Bundy, Hunter Harvey and Eduardo Rodriguez among the players that the club would be extremely hesitant to move. 

    No team ever wants to trade away its talented young prospects, but there's arguably never been a better moment for the Orioles to take just such a risk.

Boston Red Sox

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Status: Seller 

     

    Players on The Market

    Along with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox are in the cellar in the AL East. 

    All that losing has led to a lot of trade buzz surrounding the reigning World Series champions. According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, the team will ship out starter Jake Peavy "at some point" before the end of July. 

    The 33-year-old right-hander shouldn't be the only pitcher the Red Sox trade, either. The Red Sox should also listen to offers on closer Koji Uehara and starter Jon Lester, who are both set to become free agents at the end of the season. If Boston moved both pitchers in the same deal, the team could land a monster return. 

New York Yankees

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    Alan Diaz/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    It's not looking good for the New York Yankees.

    Entering the second half of the season, the team is 47-47 and will be without its ace Masahiro Tanaka for at least the next six weeks. Despite the fact that New York's playoff hopes are slipping away, GM Brian Cashman "plans to be aggressive on the trade market," according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News

    Feinsand suggests left-hander Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies as a pitcher who the club could go after. It's unclear just how much help Lee would be able to provide this season, as the lefty is currently on the DL with an elbow strain.

    Either way, with Lee under contract through the 2015 season (with a vesting option for 2016), adding him now would allow the Yankees to get a jumpstart on rebuilding their disheveled starting rotation. 

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on The Market

    No player has faced more trade rumors in the first half of 2014 than David Price. 

    Of course, the speculation actually predates the start of the season. As the left-hander explained via Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, Price has "understood" that a trade was possible since 2012. The All-Star isn't the only Ray who could be nearing his end in Tampa.

    Second baseman Ben Zobrist has drawn interest primarily from the San Francisco Giants, but also the Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. It's worth noting that the sought after switch-hitter has produced a pedestrian season with six home runs and a .754 OPS. 

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    There's no other way to put it, the Toronto Blue Jays are struggling. 

    The team lost eight of its last 10 games entering the All-Star break, but still remains just four games out of first place in the AL East. To help end that slide, the Blue Jays will need to bring in a bat. With Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and Adam Lind all on the DL, it would be preferable for that player to be an infielder.

    Chase Headley, Martin Prado and Aaron Hill are all names to watch out for, according to Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star. None of those players should cost too much in terms of prospects, but they also don't exactly sound like game-changers either. 

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on The Market

    As Nick Piecoro azcentral.com explains, one of the central goals for the Arizona Diamondbacks between now and the trade deadline will be to trim payroll. 

    Two players who could be dealt to help accomplish that are infielders Martin Prado and Aaron Hill. Prado has more value than Hill since the Venezuelan can play a variety of positions, but neither player figures to bring back an impact return if they can even be moved at all.  

Colorado Rockies

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    JACK DEMPSEY/Associated Press

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on The Market

    Just a half game out of last place in the NL West, the Colorado Rockies will undoubtedly be sellers this month. 

    Troy Tulowitzki has been the subject of speculation ever since Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post wrote about the shortstop's wishes to play for a perennial contender, but don't count on the right-handed hitter going anywhere just yet. Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, however, could be on his way out. The Baltimore Orioles have been keeping tabs on the lefty, according to a report from Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    The Los Angeles Dodgers need to add pitching before the July 31 deadline. 

    According to Dylan Hernadez of the Los Angeles Times, that pitching isn't likely to be an ace such as David Price. Of course, the Dodgers are one of just a few teams in baseball that have the minor league players to make just such a trade happen. 

    As Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports explains, to pry Price away from the Tampa Bay Rays, the Dodgers would need to deal "some combination of Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias." Trading any one of those three players would make Ned Colletti an exceedingly unpopular figure in Los Angeles. 

San Diego Padres

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on The Market

    Buried in the NL West, the San Diego Padres have plenty of motivation to ship out some of the team's high-priced veterans. 

    Huston Street told Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM that he "expects" to be dealt before the deadline passes. Reliever Joaquin Benoit, starter Ian Kennedy and third baseman Chase Headley are just a few of the other Padres who could be switching teams, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports

    Moving those players would not only take the Padres off the hook for a considerable amount of salary, but would also provide the organization with the opportunity to rebuild the farm system. 

San Francisco Giants

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    The San Francisco Giants have been sliding for the past moth.

    Despite their poor play, the Giants remain just one game out of first place in the NL West. San Francisco has endured all sorts of problems from a bullpen that has regressed to a lineup that simply can't score runs. One glaring issue for the team has been a lack of production at second base. 

    That's where Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays could enter the equation, according to Chris Haft and Ryan Hood of MLB.com. Haft and Hood report that the Giants have been scouting the switch-hitter. While Zobrist would certainly provide the team with an upgrade, GM Brian Sabean would have to do more than just that to keep pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second half. 

Chicago Cubs

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on the Market

    Even though the Chicago Cubs have already dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, the team still has trade pieces on the major league roster. Outfielder Justin Ruggiano, infielder Luis Valbuena and reliever Wesley Wright could all be valuable pick-ups for contending clubs. 

    The Cubs' biggest trade chip of all, though, is still in the minor leagues. 

    As Adam Rubin of ESPN New York writes, the presence of Starlin Castro at Wrigley Field and prospect Addison Russell in Double-A could make Triple-A shortstop Javier Baez expendable. Rubin reports that "Baez is believed to be a more realistic target for the [New York] Mets" than Castro.

    If the Cubs did choose to make the 21-year-old available, the team would almost certainly want lots of pitching in return. 

Cincinnati Reds

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    The Cincinnati Reds' right side of the infield is hurting. 

    Both second baseman Brandon Phillips and first baseman Joey Votto are on the shelf. The team has checked in on Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays to fill in for Phillips, according Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Meanwhile, in a video for Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal remarked that the club is also interested in finding a replacement for Votto.

    Whatever GM Walt Jocketty decides, he'll need to do it fast, as the Central is the most competitive division in the NL. 

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    The Milwaukee Brewers limped into the All-Star break. 

    Manager Ron Roenicke's team lost eight of its final 10 games as the club's lead over the St. Louis Cardinals dwindled to just one game. The time would seemingly be right for the Brewers to pull off a trade in order to end that trend.

    Unfortunately, GM Doug Melvin doesn't have a lot to work with in terms of minor league trade pieces. The club's farm system ranked No. 28 in baseball, per Adam Wells of Bleacher Report. As a result, the most viable addition will be a bullpen arm. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    Entering the second half, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in fourth place, but just 3.5 games out of first in the congested NL Central. An addition or two could be vital if the squad hopes to climb up the standings. 

    GM Neal Huntington and the front office "have focused most of their attention on pitching," per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The most probable course of action for the Pirates looks to be acquiring a bullpen arm. Biertempfel identifies closer Huston Street of the San Diego Padres and lefty Andrew Miller of the Boston Red Sox as two late-innings options who the club could consider. 

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    With a stockpile of minor league talent, the St. Louis Cardinals are one of the "best-positioned" teams in baseball to acquire David Price, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports

    There is some debate as whether GM John Mozeliak is actually in the market for a starter, let alone the lefty ace. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston recently reported that the Cardinals were scouting Jake Peavy, but then Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted that the team was "looking for offense," not the righty. 

    Considering the club's struggles at the plate, prioritizing offensive additions makes perfect sense. Then again, a one-two punch of Adam Wainwright and Price would redefine the playoff race in the NL. 

Atlanta Braves

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    Tied atop the standings with the Washington Nationals in the NL East, the Atlanta Braves don't have a lot of needs as the trade deadline approaches.

    One area of the roster that GM Frank Wren should be looking to bolster is the bullpen—especially if he can land a left-handed reliever. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution argues for the acquisition of Andrew Miller, who has been dealing for the Boston Red Sox. The 29-year-old has a 1.84 ERA against left-handed hitters in 2014. 

    The big question for Wren is just how much the free-agent-to-be would cost in terms of prospects.  

Miami Marlins

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    The Miami Marlins are sinking in the NL East.

    The club is 7.5 games off the pace in the division after losing seven of 10 entering the All-Star break. Nonetheless, Miami doesn't think the season is over just yet, as president of baseball operations Mike Hill explained via Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.

    "Hopefully we start playing better and we start winning games and we put ourselves back in the race. I don't think we're out of it by any stretch of the imagination."

    According to Frisaro, Hill's top priority is to add "controllable starting pitching." Finding that won't be easy. It's possible that the Oakland Athletics could be a match. The team recently optioned Tommy Milone and Drew Pomeranz to Triple-A after both lefties enjoyed big league success earlier this season. 

New York Mets

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on The Market

    With a 45-50 record, the New York Mets enjoyed a relatively successful first half of the season. 

    There's no reason for the Mets to dismantle the roster before the trade deadline, but veteran starter Bartolo Colon could be nearing the end of his time with the team. The right-hander is "available," according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York

    Colon has been steady for the Mets, posting an 8-8 record and a 3.99 ERA in 18 starts. However, the fact that the 41-year-old is owed $11 million in 2015 will limit the return the Mets will receive if they do move the righty. 

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Status: Seller

     

    Players on The Market

    The Philadelphia Phillies have an absurd number of trade chips. 

    Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and A.J. Burnett are all on that list. One member of the team who would definitely like to be traded is closer Jonathan Papelbon. When Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer asked the right-hander if he would rather pitch for a contender than the last-place Phillies, Papelbon didn't hesitate to offer a candid response.

    "I think that's a no-brainer."

    With Papelbon set to make $13 million this year and next (plus a vesting option for the same amount in 2016), it won't be easy for GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to find the reliever a new home. 

Washington Nationals

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    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Status: Buyer

     

    Players to Target

    There haven't been a lot of rumors surrounding the first-place Washington Nationals.

    However, the team is already planning ahead, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal reports that the Nationals are "actively seeking to add a young shortstop" with Ian Desmond set to become a free agent after the 2015 season. 

    Aside from looking to add a shortstop of the future, the deadline could be quiet for Washington. The team already has a loaded rotation and plenty of options for manager Matt Williams' lineup.

     

    Note: All stats courtesy of MLB.com. All salary information courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts on BaseballProspectus.com.

    If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.

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