MLB Power Groupings: Wait, What Exactly Did We Do Again?

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer IAugust 4, 2009

NEW YORK - AUGUST 01:  Angel Pagan #16 of the New York Mets celebrates after hitting a eigth inning grand slam against the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 1, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

In the end, I'm glad that the Mariners decided to take up my advice by becoming sellers.

Sort of, I guess.

I find it hilarious that no one really knew if the Mariners were going to be buyers or sellers, even themselves, and we still don't know what they exactly did.

They traded Jarrod Washburn, a move only a seller would do. But then they went ahead and traded for Jack Wilson and Ian Snell, a move a buyer would typically do.

The losing has pretty much dictated them as a team who's done this year, but it still makes me laugh that the trade deadline really did nothing to help us with this situation.

The deadline did provide a nice little shakeup in the groupings though. As always, we'll use that as the theme.

Welcome to the Disaster Zone

Baltimore, Toronto, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Seattle, Washington, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Arizona, San Diego

It's official, this group is too big.

With the new additions, I feel it's getting a bit cramped up here and that isn't a good thing considering the real characters we've got here.

I mean look at this cast of misfits!

First we've got Baltimore who go on some of the most roughest stretches of baseball I've ever seen. Yet they're still not as bad as Kansas City, Cleveland, or Oakland. How is this possible in a division like the AL East?

Then we've got the other basement dweller in that division that refused to give up Roy Halladay. That's an adventure in itself, but I'm sort of on the surprised side. I thought J.P Ricciardi was all talk and no walk, but he proved me wrong.

Cleveland did deal their best pitcher and team leader and the media and fans are ready to feast on Mark Shapiro's still living body. That's all I'm going to say about that.

I don't understand how Kansas City is behind Cleveland. They must really be bad, because I regard Cleveland's play this year as awful.

They were going to make a movie about Oakland; do I really have to explain anything here to you? Matt Holliday comes in for three players, Billy Beane flips him when the team tanks for prospects. Just as I thought.

One of our new additions in Seattle is a team I cannot make fun of anymore. I already said they were going to be one of the worst the AL had to offer this year and I dedicated the intro to them. All my assessments on them have been wrong, they've got some fight.

I'm not even going to resort to a "Natinals" joke or saying something like,"Washington, Hahahah, funny isn't it?", like I did the one time. I'm just going to bring up the fact that this team is 27 games back and that's only going to grow. Cleveland fans are lucky they don't root for the Nationals.

I hear Cincinnati is ready to pack it in for next season too as they've heard their ace is going to have Tommy John surgery that will pretty much wipe out most of 2010 as well as the rest of 2009.

That isn't going to stop them from acquiring Scott Rolen.

I heard a good joke on Pardon the Interruption about the Pirates when Mike Wilbon asked Tony Kornheiser about Andrew McCutchen's future as a Pirate. Kornheiser shrewdly mentioned that it was great that he hit the three home runs in one game, but he'll be traded by Thursday.

It's sad, but this is what the Pirates have been reduced to, a punch line to silly jokes.

I hear Arizona wanted to try and trade a few of their pitchers, yet failed. Pretty much the story of their season thus far.

Can someone explain to me how San Diego got away with trading an injured pitcher for four pitchers? They should just put Kevin Correia on the injury report and see if they can get anything for him. No luck with Cha Seung Baek?

Teetering on the Brink of Disaster

New York Mets

Well well well, look who's surviving with one side of a cardboard box and half a bag of stale Lays.

That's all that the Mets really have left at this point and they're just trying to survive the storm until they get back some of their players.

They were a bad week away from being placed in the group that no one wants to be in. As we saw with Seattle and Cincinnati, the trade-deadline almost forced them into the disaster zone along with their bad play.

The Mets didn't sell anything though; they aren't in a position to. They've just been struck with the injury bug.

Things aren't the end of the world though. While the division is a long shot, they aren't that far out of the Wild Card race, especially if they can play decent ball until they get the likes of Jose Reyes and John Maine back.

They all need to hurry though, I don't know how much the Mets can last with that stale bag of potato chips.

I like the middle, where the center is warm: The Bad Group

Minnesota, Atlanta, Houston, Milwaukee

You're probably wondering, "Hey Nino, why did you do this? As if I wasn't confused by your silly group names to begin with." Well the answer to that confused statement slash question is simple.

There are teams that are in the middle that are playing well and or in a good position while there are teams in the middle that are not.

This is that bad group. Not to say this is a bad group, but these teams are just not the flavor of the week to me. And considering that spell check tells me my name is spelled wrong, I deserve this moment.

I love the addition of Orlando Cabrera, he fits what the Twins are about and I think they'll make enough strides to actually be involved in the AL Central race more than they have.

They haven't been playing that kind of ball quite yet though.

Ditto Atlanta and the moves they've made, but they're a few games back of the Florida Marlins right now. They are capable of more, but right now, they are on the downswing.

Then we have the two NL Central teams in Milwaukee and Houston.

Not only are they not playing well, neither of them made a move of significance at the deadline.

I don't really blame either of them though, especially the Brewers who took their shot last year with CC Sabathia. They're probably not fit to make a big move, especially with St. Louis showing the aggressiveness they did with the Matt Holliday add.

Milwaukee hasn't been the same team they were for most of the first half these past few weeks. Something isn't the same and if they don't pick it up soon, they could just be stuck in the middle for the rest of the year.

With Houston, really, it's just a matter of time if you ask me.

I like the middle, where the center is warm: The Good Group

Tampa Bay, Chicago White Sox, Florida

Ah the good students in the middle classroom, I welcome you.

You have to feel good right now if you are Tampa Bay. So far, this team has stuck to their blueprint and hasn't gone out and given the farm for a player and at the deadline, the Red Sox were really the only team to make a move, it was only one move.

They aren't out of this race by any means either. They've got the same talent that got them on top of the division last year and to them that's enough.

Whether it will be is another story though. They are playing decent ball lately, and have yet to really go on that big run, which could be around the corner for all we know.

Chicago made the biggest splash at the trading deadline by surprisingly resurrecting the deal with San Diego for Jake Peavy. However, Peavy won't be an immediate contributor, and some don't even know if he'll contribute at all. While he probably will, Chicago still has to get to that point.

Maybe just the mere thought of the management showing faith in the current team by adding a big arm like that though will be enough motivation. Detroit had a forgettable series against Cleveland that has brought the Sox ever so close.

Florida went out and got themselves an extra bat in Nick Johnson and they've been playing good ball that has thrown them into the Wild Card race. The Phillies haven't completely run away yet, but the realistic goal for the Marlins at this point is the spot that they've won both their championships from.

In it to win it.

Detroit, Texas, Colorado, San Francisco

This group keeps shrinking for whatever reason and they've now lost another member. It was a promotion for the Cubs, but we still have four teams hanging in there as contenders.

All of these but Texas went out and made a deal to get stronger and probably no team made more of a important deal that Detroit. By getting Jarrod Washburn, they established that they want top-notch pitching to get them that AL Central title.

They've fallen on a little rough patch against Cleveland, but this team is still good and now they've got one of the best pitchers in the AL Central this year, Jarrod Washburn. Also, party at Clete Thomas' house!

Colorado really impacted their bullpen with the addition of lefty Joe Beimel and setup man Rafael Betancourt. It was their most glaring weakness and they took care of it. Unfortunately their main competition for that last playoff spot in San Francisco did the same.

So really these two teams are on equal footing and I'd expect that remain for the rest of the year.

Texas was said to have tried to put together a package for Roy Halladay, which would have made them serious winners, but if there was such a thing, it fizzled. The red-hot Angels are going to be tough ones to catch, even if they had snagged Halladay, but this team is still in the mix for the division and the Wild Card.

Here we are, where we should be.

Boston, New York Yankees, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers

In New York, the Yankee fans are quivering about the addition of Victor Martinez. As if the Red Sox needed a bat like this in the middle of their lineup. It was the one thing the Yankees could say they had the Red Sox number in.

In Boston, the Red Sox fans are quivering equally at the addition of Jerry Hairston Jr.

I'm sorry, that was really lame and not as funny as I thought it was going to be.

In all seriousness, the Martinez addition gives the Red Sox a major boost with their pitching depth. Losing Justin Masterson might hurt, but we're talking about a very deep staff beyond the rotation and into the bullpen.

I really expect the rest of the year to be filled with streaks by these two teams, alternating the division lead.

Philadelphia ran away in the month of July and will spend August looking for a good hiding spot from Florida. That's all I really have to say. Cliff Lee knows a few good ones, which should just increase their likelihood of finding one. Get the little thing I was trying to do there?

Some might get on the Angels for not making a big move, but I don't think they have to. Their pitching just needs to get healthy. They're always finding bullpen pieces while their rotation has the talent as is.

They get healthy there and they don't need refined. This is a team that is still playing well offensively despite losing Torii Hunter and Vlad Guerrero.

I had the Cubs up here for the division title, so this was expected. Now that they've played better baseball and put their team right there for the division lead, they are deserving of this status.

However I'm still a big fan of the way the Cardinals are playing this year. It seems as if things are on their side and now with the addition of Matt Holliday to hit behind Albert Pujols, look out.

I do like the small addition the Cubs made to get John Grabow though. It may not be a real exciting move, but they just need to get healthy and get better performances out of their current players. The consistency from Rich Harden and Alfonso Soriano is a good start.

Oh the Dodgers again? I mean, are we still talking about this team?


*All statistics, standings, and opinions were based off their states going into action on Aug. 3.


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