MLB Power Groupings: Some Deadline Thrills and Playoff Chances Killed
The trade deadline is upon us, and that means some teams might practically wave the white flag even though they might not belong in the worst grouping of them all.
I look at a team like Seattle, which seemed to very much be in the thick of the AL West race until last weekend rolled around. Its sweep at the hands of Cleveland put the Mariners a little farther back in the division and gave them some thoughts about trading some of their pieces.
Had they not been swept, who knows what we might be saying about the Mariners right now?
It's true, you can't win a pennant in April, but you can lose it. You also cannot win it at this point in the season with one hot streak, but you sure can knock yourself out of the race.
Welcome to the Disaster Zone
Baltimore, Toronto, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Washington, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Arizona
Toronto is still five games better than their feathered division rivals in Baltimore. But they are a good 12-some games back of the division going into Monday's play. They've made it very clear Roy Halladay can be had, and to me, that's good enough to say they are done.
Cleveland did indeed sweep Seattle, which got a few crazy people thinking this team isn't dead. They are—get over it. Rafael Betancourt was dealt, and a few more pieces could be next. The question is, will Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez be the names of those pieces?
The Royals have absolutely hit rock bottom. They are now officially the worst team in the American League, and given the past for Cleveland and its second-half surging, they are going to remain in the AL Central cellar.
I have to credit the Pirates. I didn't think they'd break up the brothers LaRoche. But they did it, and it was yet another move in their youth movement.
I don't know if anyone I haven't mentioned in this group is worth talking about. The 120-loss season watch is on in Washington. We know you can do it—you're the Nationals!
Teetering on the Brink of Disaster
Cincinnati, New York Mets, Seattle
You can no longer have shifty eyes, in my eyes.
You're either feeling good about your chances or you are pretty much near completion, if not already completed.
The Mets and Reds were pretty much locks for this space anyway. Seattle could have probably been shifty eyes, but with the trade deadline looming and their willingness to trade Jarrod Washburn increasing, they might as well be close to that breaking point.
I've never felt good about the Mets, but I'm starting to really feel for them in general. They are a few games away from being done, and if they don't get their big guns back soon, they will be.
Rumors are swirling about the Reds being sellers. They might as well be with Edinson Volquez already on the disabled list and now Micah Owings joining him.
I like the middle, where the center is warm.
Tampa Bay, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota, Atlanta, Florida, Houston, Milwaukee
Does the AL Central ever end? These buggers are sticking around. At least it's only three teams now, I guess.
Chicago and Minnesota seem to love just sitting there and not making moves. I don't think Minnesota is ever going to do it this year. On the other hand, I have some faith Chicago might make a move.
I just feel bad that Tampa Bay can be nine games above .500 and be third in a division while Chicago is three games above and just two games back in theirs.
You'll notice we have a new member, the Milwaukee Brewers. You see, the Brew Crew has been struggling as of late, and a team that is farther back in the wild card than their division isn't really in it to win it, are they? Hope is not lost, but for now, Milwaukee doesn't deserve their previous status.
In it to win it.
Detroit, Texas, Chicago Cubs, Colorado, San Francisco
You will have noticed this group shrunk considerably.
Well, between a promotion and the Milwaukee demotion, yeah, there has been some movement.
I think it's the same old same old for most of these clubs. I'll pass on ripping on the Tigers; it's just not challenging to bring them up. I don't really know what I'm talking about.
I want to speak about the Cubs, though. I thought was pushing them a little too much at first, but hey, if they did good last week, then there would be no arguments as far as their ratings.
Now they’re leading the NL Central. Granted, it's still the NL Central, but it's good. They did lose two out of three to the Phillies, but at least they swept a team they should have in Cincinnati.
Here we are, where we should be.
Boston, New York Yankees, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers
Well, look what I have gone and done now.
Sox and Phillies, Angels, Dodgers, and Cardinals—it's the usual suspects.
And we have the Yankees!
Well, I finally gave in to the evil empire's side. It was nothing they did, but I didn't want to hold the kid in the Yankee hat back any longer; time to see if they can run with the big dogs. They are, after all, leading the AL East, the best MLB has to offer.
So why not tip our hats to the Yankees? With any luck, this jinxes them enough for them to drop back a rung.
Not that I have anything against the Yankees. No really, I don't.
Okay, I sort of do, but that's beside the point, because the Cardinals and Red Sox have been making moves.
Philadelphia believes one move, for Halladay, would put them as the team to beat not just this year, but for next year as well.
I look at the Cardinals, though, and see a team ahead of the game. They already obtained Mark DeRosa to fit into the two hole and play multiple positions.
Now, they've added Matt Holliday, a bona fide slugger in the outfield to hit behind Albert Pujols.
Their offense is now on par with most of the teams out there, especially in the National League.
Add that all to a good rotation and bullpen—man, that speaks volumes.
*All statistics, standings, and opinions were based off their states going into action on July 27.
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