The Major League Baseball trade deadline looms at the end of this month, and some teams, based on records and playoff chances, must ascertain whether to make themselves buyers or sellers in the lead up to July 31.
This is an all-or-nothing proposition; teams cannot be buyers and sellers. General managers are charged with the responsibility of assessing their teams at the current moment and peering into the future about the team's chances of a playoff berth.
By the two-thirds mark of the season, most teams have a pretty good idea of what they are and whether or not they've got what it takes to challenge for the playoffs. However, it's not so cut and dry for many teams that hover somewhere between also-ran and division champion. Front office personnel are routinely fired in part because of failed trade deadline decisions, while others build their reputation on successful ones.
The 2011 first half was marked by parity in the standings, with only two teams exceeding a .600 winning percentage and only two currently below .425. The majority of teams are unexceptional, but not dismal.
In a year where 16 of 30 teams lie within 4.5 games of the lead in their respective divisions in early July, sorting through the pretenders and contenders can be hard to do.
Let's sort of out the fraudulent from the real with 10 of baseball's present most unknown commodities and evaluate why they should be buying or selling at this year's deadline.