Riding a seven-game winning streak on the road, the Texas Rangers have improved their record to 40-28, which is good for fourth best in all of baseball.
Even with the Rangers strong play, the Los Angeles Angels still sit only 2.5 games back of the Rangers after Saturday's games, so it looks like the Rangers should be looking for some help when the trade deadline arrives.
Not everyone is going to be available at the trade deadline, but of the ones that are, the Rangers should be able to put up some pretty good offers for key pieces to a playoff run.
As we have seen in recent years, players like Cliff Lee, Manny Ramirez, and Mark Teixeira can make significant impacts to a contending teams' chances at the end of the year and into the playoffs.
Many expect Texas to go after an ace-type pitcher at the deadline this year. Sure, Colby Lewis, CJ Wilson, and even Scott Feldman over his past few starts have been pitching great, but that doesn't mean they don't want to add a true top guy for improved success along the way.
With the Rangers seemingly on the brink of a run of playoff seasons, this trade deadline seems like the perfect time to use their outstanding farm system to target some of the biggest names on the market. Which players should they go after most aggressively?
The Rangers have been linked in discussions about Roy Oswalt for the past couple of years as a legitimate possible destination for the 32-year old right-handed ace.
The Astros certainly aren't in contention this season, and don't really look like they have many weapons in their farm system that could come and help the big league club any time soon. They absolutely must trade Oswalt at this year's deadline in order to restock their depleted farm system.
Texas seems like a great fit for Oswalt because of their desire for a proven top of the rotation pitcher for their possible playoff run.
Oswalt would bring an established arm like this Rangers club hasn't seen in a very long time. The other plus is that he is under club control until 2012.
Lost in the Astros terrible season are the great numbers that Oswalt is putting up. His win-loss record may be 5-8, but he has a 3.12 ERA and a 3.28 FIP to go along with his 89/24 K/BB ratio in 92.1 innings.
While some may question how his stuff would translate to the AL, I think he would be just fine. He has a solid 1.49 career GB/FB ratio and has enough postseason experience to be a leader in the Rangers clubhouse immediately.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have all ready announced that they will be having an all-out firesale at this year's deadline. That includes 29-year old Dan Haren, a pitcher with a lot of outstanding seasons under his belt.
Texas seems like it could be a possible landing spot for Haren because it would be a trade across leagues, and as stated earlier, the Rangers would really love to have a true ace heading their rotation for the stretch run.
Although the numbers may seem to indicate that Haren has struggled this season, he has been hurt by a terrible Diamondbacks defense behind him. His ERA is 4.76 this season while his FIP is a more appealing 4.10.
Haren is an established pitcher in both leagues and has a lot more dominant years left in his arm. His contract takes him through 2013, so the Diamondbacks may be asking for a ton in return, but he may be well worth the price to the Rangers.
Cliff Lee is probably the top player on the market this season, seeing as how his team is clearly out of the division race and he is having a dominant season, even though he missed the first month.
Lee is showing his dominance in the AL this season, boasting a flat out ridiculous 67/4 K/BB ratio in his 10 starts.
Even though he may be the best player on the market, the Rangers may be wise not to make a move for him. Lee is only signed through this year and the Mariners will probably be asking for way too much for only a two month rental, so the Rangers should probably consider other options before this one.
The fact that he is currently a member of the division rival Seattle Mariners could also be another stumbling block on the way to a deal here. The Rangers don't want to give any of their top prospects to an in-division team, so this deal could be really hard to get done.
Those two hurdles will be tough to jump over, but if they are willing to do that the Rangers will be able to add a huge piece at the deadline.
This could be wishful thinking seeing as how Greinke just signed an extension a year ago, but it could be time for the Royals to stock their farm system even deeper than it is now, and trading Greinke would be a good way to build towards 2011 and beyond.
It would cost a lot of top prospects and maybe even some MLB pieces to get the job done for last year's AL Cy Young winner, but it would no doubt be a good deal for the Rangers to make.
Much has been made of Greinke's "terrible" 2010 season, but if you look at the numbers, he hasn't been all that bad.
His K-rate is near the 8's and his walk rate is better than last year's, but his 2-8 W-L record is making people think he is doing much worse than he is. I believe he will be able to return back to 2009 form, so he could be a possible buy low candidate.
This may not seem like too much of a huge deal to make at the deadline, but it could be huge for the 2010 Rangers.
Their performance against left-handed pitchers, especially at first base, has been fairly underwhelming this season. The split in team OPS is .782-.720 vs. RHP-LHP and is .798-.504 for first baseman Justin Smoak.
Wigginton is a corner infielder who is having a pretty solid season, and would fill a role being filled by spare middle infielder Joaquin Arias.
His career .280/.356/.476 split against left-handed pitchers is more than solid, and would be a marked improvement against what the team has now on the bench.
The trade would give the Rangers the ability to give Smoak days off against tough lefties and a good right-hander off the bench, something the team doesn't have right now.