The NBA and NHL champion's have been crowned and the NFL lockout is nearing its hundredth day. Sports fans across America can focus their attention fully on Major League Baseball.
Teams are beginning to show if they are contenders or pretenders, but no team is perfect. Every team in baseball has their flaws, but each team has the same goal: Win a ring.
Baseball is the one major sport in America where spending of loads of money can directly impact the product that you put onto the field. There is no salary cap, just a luxury tax that a team can choose to pay if they so dare.
There are the teams in baseball who spend mind-numbing amounts of money to keep or acquire top-flight talent and there are many other teams (owners) who are just happy that Bud Selig is so fond of revenue sharing.
Let's get right to it, here are five moves that need to be made for these contenders to win the World Series.
Josh Beckett has shown again that he is one of the top pitchers in baseball. He is 5-2 with a 2.06 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester have put up solid numbers as well, with Buchholz posting a 5-3 record and Lester at 8-2.
Most teams prefer having a four-man rotation once the playoffs begin, but the Red Sox really do not have many options right now that they can trust as a number four. Heck, even Lester has an ERA close to four.
The Red Sox could sure up their rotation by picking up the veteran Jason Marquis. The right-hander is in the final year of a two-year, $15 million dollar deal in which he has put up really solid numbers.
In 13 starts this season, Marquis has a 3.67 ERA with a 5.2 K/9 ratio. He has shown that he is fully healthy and would be a big pick-up at the trade deadline, where the pool for pitchers looks to be very shallow.
The Red Sox will not have to break the bank to acquire Marquis either.
Boston Red Sox acquire: SP Jason Marquis
Washington Nationals acquire: OF Jeremy Hazelbaker and SP Brandon Workman
The Minnesota Twins (surprisingly?) sit in last place in the AL Central at 26-39. They are nine games out of first place and if things do not turn around fast they will become sellers at the trade deadline.
Matt Capps was a big acquisition at the deadline last season, and the Twins will try and replenish some of the minor-league talent that they gave away to the Washington Nationals. Capps will be a free agent at the end of this season in which he is due $7.15 million.
The Yankees are in serious trouble as both their seventh and eighth inning guys are on the disabled list. Joba Chamberlain will most likely need Tommy John surgery and Rafael Soriano has been shut down for at least a month.
The Yankees need to add bullpen help immediately if they want to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox and the wild card contenders from the AL Central and AL West. Capps had 42 saves in 2010, and would give the Yankees a dominant set-up man for Mariano Rivera.
The Twins will most likely let Capp's walk at the end of the season anyways, so they might as well charge a king's ransom for their closer.
New York Yankees acquire: Matt Capps
Minnesota Twins acquire: Right-hander Dellin Betances
Tyler Clippard has been one of the lone bright-spots in our nation's capital this season. Clippard has been dominant out of the bullpen for the Washington Nationals.
Mlbtraderumors.com reports that the Nationals may be willing to part with Clippard, but the National's will require a lot in return.
Clippard has appeared in 29 games and posted a 1.86 ERA. If that wasn't impressive enough, he has a ridiculous 11.2 K/9 ratio.
The Florida Marlins have been neck-and-neck with the Philadelphia Phillies all season long, but they obviously have a glaring hole in the bullpen. The National's will not let Clippard go cheap, but the Marlin's have a load of prospects that they can include in a deal if it will help them win now.
Florida Marlins acquire: Tyler Clippard
Washington Nationals acquire: Catcher Kyle Skipworth and OF Chris Coghlan
No team in Major League Baseball has scored fewer runs than the Giants, who have the best record in the National League West. Things seemingly look to get worse before they get better in the Bay Area, with the Giant's best hitter in Buster Posey out for the year.
The Giant's clearly need to make a move for a catcher no matter how fast they try and move top-catching prospect Hector Sanchez through the minor-league ranks.
CBS' hardballtalk.com reported that the Giant's could be interested in acquiring Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez at the trade deadline to fill the void left by Buster Posey.
Rodriguez is just a shadow of his Hall-of-Fame self, as he’s batting just .205/.256/.342 with two homers, but he still is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball and can provide clutch hitting at the most important of times.
This trade makes sense for both teams with Rodriguez losing his spot to Wilson Ramos.
San Francisco Giants acquire: Catcher Ivan Rodriguez
Washington Nationals acquire: Right-Hander Heath Hembree and Outfielder Roger Kieschnick
Jim Salisbury of CSNphilly.com reported that the Philadelphia Phillies are extremely close to MLB's luxury tax and would have a hard time making a move at the trade deadline. Ruben Amaro has openly stated that the Phillies will not make any major moves this summer.
Any fan from Philadelphia knows however that just because the Phillies front-office says something, does not mean it's necessarily the truth. In fact, Ruben Amaro and his employees seemingly have taken a page out of the Philadelphia Eagles book of doing business.
Hunter Pence is due to make a reasonable $6.9 million this season, and every Phillie's fan favorite General Manager in Ed Wade has already shown his generosity to his former team. Wade dealt ace Roy Oswalt (and $12 million dollars) to the Phillies for prospects.
Raul Ibanez, Brad Lidge and Jimmy Rollins all have monster contracts that will be coming off the books at the end of this season, and an outfield of Victorino, Brown and Pence would be dominant for the next five years at least.
The Phillies have a ton of top-pitching talent in Single-A Lakewood, and they will have to part with some of that depth to acquire Pence.
Ruben Amaro has shown that he is not afraid to go after the big fish (Halladay, Lee, Oswalt) in his short tenure as GM, and don't be shocked if he pulls off another Houstron Astros heist this season.
Philadelphia Phillies acquire: Hunter Pence
Houston Astros acquire: Starting pitcher Jarred Cosart, First Basemen Matt Rizzotti and Outfielder Jiwan James