Aside from the Philadelphia Phillies' dominance in the NL East, every division in MLB is separated by five games or fewer. You can bet there will be plenty of action over the next two weeks by teams hoping to gain an edge down the homestretch.
In 2009, we saw the Chicago White Sox take on the massive contract of Alex Rios in an August trade, and last season the San Francisco Giants acquired playoff hero Cody Ross after the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline.
The 2011 waiver trade period will be no different. Whether in the thick of the playoff race or dead last in their division, each team in baseball has a chance to make some moves to help themselves this season and beyond.
Here are potential waiver deals for all 30 teams.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have turned themselves into the feel-good story of the 2011 season and will look at all possibilities to remain neck and neck with the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
While the D-Backs recently signed Lyle Overbay to help out at first base, he isn't the answer down the stretch and they will continue looking for an upgrade.
If the Chicago Cubs are willing to trade Carlos Pena, the first baseman would be a perfect fit in the middle of Arizona's lineup. Pena doesn't hit for average, but he can hit the long ball and he is solid defensively.
The D-Backs pitching has been pretty good from top to bottom this season, yet a contender can never have too many bullpen arms. They probably wouldn't go after any of the sexier names made available, but they may look to add depth.
The Atlanta Braves filled a giant-sized hole by acquiring center fielder Michael Bourn before the non-waiver trade deadline in July. Couple that with the emergence of Dan Uggla's bat and the Braves appear pretty set on offense—although finding life in Jason Heyward would be a huge addition down the stretch.
With the Braves currently sitting with the second-best record in the NL, a lot of the big names will be claimed before Atlanta even has a chance. That being said, there are plenty of relievers who stand to be moved and Atlanta will surely snag one of them.
Two names that stand out as possibilities are the Padres' Chad Qualls and the Twins' Joe Nathan. There is a good chance that both would clear waivers and neither would cost a lot in terms of prospects.
The Braves may also look for a right-handed version of Eric Hinske to help reinforce their bench. It seems unlikely that Josh Willingham would clear waivers, but Ty Wigginton may be a possibility.
The Baltimore Orioles completely fell apart two months into the season and they will definitely be open to moving some names during the waiver trade period.
Kevin Gregg would most likely clear waivers, allowing the O's to deal him to any interested team. The same goes for DH Vladimir Guerrero.
The most interesting name to watch for is that of Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie is set to become a free agent after the season and it was a bit surprising that he wasn't moved before the deadline. He has held his own within the tough AL East and would be a great addition for a contending NL team.
It is unlikely the 32-year-old would clear waivers, but the O's are best suited to take whatever they can get for him at this point.
One thing is clear—pitching down the stretch will decide who wins the AL East. Right now the Red Sox rotation appears to have an advantage over the Yankees, but after Josh Beckett and Jon Lester there is a dramatic drop-off and it is unclear who would be the third starter in the playoffs.
While a deal fell through to acquire Rich Harden before the July 31st deadline, it is still possible that a trade gets worked out in the coming weeks. Harden has pitched well so far this month (until Sunday) and the Red Sox wouldn't have to give up much in return.
Another possibility is Jeff Francis, although it would be very surprising to see the Royals pitcher not get claimed before Boston has a chance.
Just like all contenders, the Red Sox will definitely look for some bullpen arms to help down the stretch. With an abundance of names expected to be available and plenty of money to spend, it wouldn't be surprising to see them land a name like Matt Capps or Kerry Wood.
The Chicago Cubs were the surprise team of the deadline after the only player they sent packing was Kosuke Fukodome.
With the Cubs expected to be very active during the upcoming free-agency period, they would like nothing more than to get rid of some of their horrible contracts—even if that means eating some or most of the money.
Carlos Zambrano's latest tirade takes him off the list, although he has already cleared waivers so, in reality, he could still be moved. Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood and even John Grabow may be more attractive options for teams looking to add pitching.
It was surprising that Carlos Pena lasted in Chicago past July 31st and I would be shocked if he isn't dealt in August. Then, of course, there are Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez.
Soriano would clear waivers in a heartbeat, but the only suitor for him would be the Yankees and only if the Cubs were to pick up most of the tab. Ramirez would most likely be claimed, although at this point he seems reluctant to waive his no-trade clause.
Geovany Soto and Marlon Byrd are also possibilities, but far less likely to be made available.
The Chicago White Sox are in the midst of a very disappointing 2011 season—one they came into with high expectations after re-signing Paul Konerko and bringing in Adam Dunn.
The fact remains, however, that they are still only five games back in the AL Central, so it isn't clear whether they will make an addition or try to shed payroll.
If they were going to trade Mark Buehrle they probably would have done it before July 31st, and it's unlikely that they'd be willing to part with any of their other starters after sending Edwin Jackson packing.
Adam Dunn and Alex Rios would both clear waivers, although the White Sox would probably be more willing to move Rios. In either case, the Sox would have to eat most of the contracts. I still think Dunn could be a big addition to a contending team down the stretch but it would be a huge gamble nonetheless.
With the Milwaukee Brewers seemingly unbeatable so far in August, the Cincinnati Reds may wish they had made a couple of moves in July. They are now more than 10 games back in the NL Central with no shot at getting back into the race.
Ramon Hernandez may be the most sought-after player on the Reds, with the San Francisco Giants seeming like a logical destination. He is owed less than $1 million through the remainder of the season, and considering catching is thin throughout the league, there is almost no chance he clears waivers.
Francisco Cordero would most likely clear waivers and would definitely get some looks from contenders looking to shore up the back end of their rotation. Other than that, the Reds probably wish they could find a team to take Bronson Arroyo off of their hands, but at this point it seems unlikely.
The Cleveland Indians made the biggest deadline move by acquiring pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez from the Colorado Rockies, although they failed to get the big bat they needed to make a run in the AL Central.
The Indians missed out on outfielder Ryan Ludwick before the deadline, with their only offensive addition being Kosuke Fukodome.
A bat remains at the top of the Indians' wish list, and they could conceivably go after guys like Jason Kubel, Josh Willingham or even Johnny Damon. All three would upgrade their lackluster production on offense.
If the Indians happen to fall back a few more games in the AL Central, it wouldn't be surprising to see them make Travis Hafner available. While Hafner has struggled of late, he has showed some pop at times during the season.
They could also make Fausto Carmona available due to the addition of Jimenez and because they have some solid young arms in Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin. It would be interesting to see if Carmona would clear waivers.
The Colorado Rockies already made their big move by sending Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians for a package of top prospects.
Well out of playoff contention, the Rockies will probably part with a couple of players in August as well.
Of possible trade candidates, utility man Ty Wigginton figures to have the most value and would make a good bench player for many teams in contention.
Ian Stewart stands the chance of being dealt, yet it wouldn't make much sense considering he is considered a non-tender candidate in the offseason. It would be more likely that Jason Giambi finds a new home sometime this month.
Relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt will get some looks and Matt Lidstrom would have if not for a trip to the DL.
The Detroit Tigers finally appear to be creating some separation atop the AL Central with newcomer Doug Fister tossing the ball well on his new team. Wilson Betemit is also producing—hitting .360 with 10 RBI through his first 15 games with Detroit.
The Tigers were able to get the pieces they desired before July 31st, so expect them to stay relatively quiet in August.
They could make a move to acquire a left-handed reliever or a bench bat, but all signs point to this being the Tigers squad that will head into October.
The Florida Marlins have quite a few possible trade candidates, as we are all well aware that penny-pinching owner Jeffrey Loria is always ready to save a buck or two.
The Marlins have two utility men in Greg Dobbs and Omar Infante who wouldn't take long to get claimed and at this point, they have no reason not to part with the two of them.
While they most likely won't put Anibal Sanchez or Ricky Nolasco on waivers since they weren't willing to pull the trigger on a trade in July, veteran Javier Vasquez has become an intriguing trade candidate.
Vasquez' ERA peaked at 7.09 in mid-June but has since dropped all the way to 4.72. During that span, Vasquez started 10 games and allowed three runs or fewer in all but one of them—including two runs or fewer on eight occasions.
Mike Cameron and Wes Helms may also garner some interest this month.
After shipping off Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn before the July 31st deadline, the Astros roster is already much different than it was on Opening Day.
With plenty of possible trade candidates left on their roster, the Astros figure to get even younger before August is through.
Pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers headline the available players, although Rodriguez' contract and the fact many scouts worry he wouldn't be as effective in the AL diminishes his value. Myers may be the more likely of the two to get moved.
The Astros would love to get rid of Carlos Lee but they'd surely have to eat a large chunk of his contract to make it happen. He would be a good fit on an AL squad where he could DH at least part-time.
The Kansas City Royals sport a roster full of potential but somehow every year they appear to be sellers.
Joakim Soria would have been moved in July had the Royals wanted to get rid of him, so he is staying put. Other pitchers—most notably Jeff Francis—would garner some interest if the Royals decide to make some moves. Bruce Chen and even Kyle Davies are possibilities, although I doubt either would excite any contending teams.
Two of their outfielders—Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur—figure to draw some interest but the team hasn't shown a real desire to move either player at this point. Most likely, the Royals will have a quiet August.
With the Los Angeles Angels in a tight race with the Texas Rangers atop the AL West, the team would like to make a move to help them down the stretch. Seeing as they made no moves prior to the July 31st deadline, the Angels will be August buyers.
The Angels would be a great fit for the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez if the slugging third baseman would be willing to waive his no-trade clause. I don't know if Ramirez would fall that far on waivers though.
The Angels are in need of a starting pitcher as well, with the struggling Joel Pineiro recently summoned to the bullpen. Wandy Rodriguez is probably out of the question, but guys like Jeremy Guthrie and Ted Lilly may be of interest.
It was somewhat surprising to see the Los Angeles Dodgers be so inactive before the July 31st deadline considering the current financial state of the franchise. Shortstop Rafael Furcal was the only big name who was moved.
Pitcher Hiroki Kuroda was a desirable arm to many, but in the end, he wasn't willing to waive his no-trade clause in order to get a deal done. That will not change in August.
The Dodgers do, however, have a trio of infielders in Jamey Carroll, Aaron Miles and Casey Blake who could be key additions off the bench of a few contending squads. It was thought that Carroll would find a new home in July, so it's unlikely he'll be wearing Dodger Blue past August.
The last big name who may find a new home is pitcher Ted Lilly. Although he's struggled this season, Lilly would be an upgrade on a team like the Yankees.
The Milwaukee Brewers have begun taking control of the NL Central in August after adding some key pieces in July.
Francisco Rodriguez has turned the back end of the Brewers bullpen into a formidable group. They also added lefty Randy Flores in early August, so barring any injuries, it appears unlikely that the Brewers would seek to add more pitching.
The Brewers also added infielders Felipe Lopez and Jerry Hairston, Jr. to help shore up second base while Rickie Weeks is on the DL. Upon Weeks' return to the lineup in a couple of weeks, both players provide great depth around the infield.
The Brewers are another team who made their moves before August, and with the way incumbents Casey McGeehee and Yuniesky Betancourt have played as of late, I wouldn't expect them to be very active this month.
After appearing to jump back into the AL Central race before the initial trade deadline, the Minnesota Twins decided against making any big trades. Now that the Twins are 12 games back of the Detroit Tigers, we can expect a few players to change teams this month.
Outfielder Michael Cuddyer was a hot name in July and would undoubtedly be claimed if the Twins make him available. The same goes for DH Jason Kubel—who is capable of making some starts in the outfield as well. It's almost a given that Jim Thome will find a new home.
The Twins may rather keep Joe Nathan over Matt Capps, but one of them could be gone in the next two weeks. Nathan stands a better chance at clearing waivers at this point.
While unlikely, the Twins could opt to place Carl Pavano on waivers. He would probably clear, but I don't know how much of an upgrade he'd be on any contending squad.
As expected, the New York Mets shipped away Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran in July. They may be wishing they had sent Jose Reyes packing as well, although he won't be traded this month.
The Mets would love to rid themselves of Jason Bay. He would definitely clear waivers but they'd have to eat his contract and take almost nothing in return for a chance at moving him.
The Mets also have a trio of pitchers that may garner some interest if put on waivers in Chris Capuano, Jason Isringhausen and Tim Byrdak. Capuano has pitched well this season and teams looking for a southpaw could have some interest, while Isringhausen has increased his value by assuming the closing role in New York since K-Rod left town.
The New York Yankees were the biggest losers at the July 31st trade deadline after making zero additions to their ballclub. It is no secret that they need pitching and it would be shocking if they don't acquire an arm in August.
I doubt they would reach as far as Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros, but he may be worth a look if the Astros are willing to eat some of his contract.
The Dodgers' Ted Lilly may be an option, as would Jeremy Guthrie of the Orioles. If not for an ugly two-year stint in the Bronx, I'd think the Marlins' Javier Vasquez would be a nice fit in the Yankees rotation.
Other than a starter, the Yanks may look to add a bat to their outfield. Nick Swisher has been better over the last month but he's still having a dreadful season. Is it possible that we see a reunion between Alfonso Soriano and the Yanks?
For once, GM Billy Beane wasn't very active in July. With quite a few names who could appeal to contending teams down the stretch, we can expect that to change in August.
Pitcher Rich Harden was all but dealt before the deadline and should be on the move this month, and it's possible we could see relievers Grant Balfour or Brian Fuentes on the move as well.
The entire A's outfield could be made available, with Josh Willingham being the most likely trade candidate. Coco Crisp and David DeJesus may actually be better options, though.
There is also first baseman Conor Jackson, who—with the ability to play outfield—could be an attractive option off the bench.
The Philadelphia Phillies got everything they needed by acquiring outfielder Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros in July.
When Roy Oswalt has the worst ERA in your rotation at 3.84, you know your team is set with pitching. One thing the Phillies may want to add is a second lefty in the bullpen, but it is definitely not a pressing need.
Other than that, the Phillies roster appears set to dominate October. They could look to add a guy like Jamey Carroll or Casey Blake to add depth to their infield, but at this point they appear comfortable with Wilson Valdez backing up Placido Polanco at the hot corner.
For the first time in almost 20 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates were buyers at the deadline. Since then, they've gone on a downward spiral and now sit more than 10 games out of first place in the NL Central.
The Pirates would probably like to send Derek Lee and Ryan Ludwick—their two big acquisitions—back out of town. Lee just landed on the DL and Ludwick wouldn't appeal to many teams, so both are likely to stay put.
Catcher Ryan Doumit will be put on waivers, but other than that, the Pirates are a team built for the future so they don't have many pieces to move. They should have a relatively quiet month of August.
With setup man Mike Adams and outfielder Ryan Ludwick shipped away in July, the big name on the waiver wire this month is Heath Bell. If the San Diego Padres don't believe they can get an extension in place after the season, Bell will most likely find himself in a new uniform this month.
The most likely suitors would be the Cardinals and either the Diamondbacks or Giants, depending on who is in first place if he were placed on waivers. The Cardinals would love to add him to the back of their bullpen.
The Padres could also draw interest in relief pitcher Chad Qualls and maybe even starter Aaron Harang. Of the two, Qualls seems the more likely to be moved in August.
The Carlos Beltran deal hasn't paid off in the way the Giants had hoped so far, as the slugger is hitting only .244 with two RBI through his first 11 games.
Per the usual, their pitching is great. But with the way the Diamondbacks are slugging the ball lately, the Giants will need to add some more pop to their lineup for a chance at defending their title.
Carlos Pena could be an option for the Giants at first base if they are willing to give Beltran a chance in center field. Then they'd be able to move Aubrey Huff to right field and put Aaron Rowand's dead bat on the bench.
Their most coveted player would probably be catcher Ramon Hernandez, seeing as they haven't gotten much productivity from their backstops since Buster Posey went down. It is not yet known whether the Reds will make Hernandez available.
The Seattle Mariners wish-to-trade list begins and ends with Chone Figgins, although the utility infielder landed on the DL earlier this month which will hinder his chances of being dealt. If Figgins is able to return on August 17th as scheduled, he could be involved in a trade similar to Alex Rios' two seasons ago.
Infielders Jack Wilson and Adam Kennedy could both be good defensive options off the bench and would both come relatively cheap to any interested parties.
Relief pitcher Jamey Wright could be had, but with the abundance of arms available there are much better options out there.
Again, their dream scenario is for someone to take Figgins off of their hands. We'll see if anyone dares to make the move.
The St. Louis Cardinals made some big moves in July in their drive towards the NL Central crown, acquiring Edwin Jackson, Rafael Furcal and some bullpen arms while losing center fielder Colby Rasmus.
Jackson has been up and down in three starts since joining the team, but it is unlikely that the Cards make a move to acquire another starter for the stretch run.
Their most likely acquisition could be the Padres' Heath Bell, as the Cards would be first in line for his services among contenders at this point. Bell would be to the Cards what K-Rod has been to the Brewers, and they wouldn't hesitate to grab him if the opportunity arose.
The Cardinals appear to be set on offense. They could look into a reserve infielder or outfielder depending on how Furcal and center fielder Jon Jay play over the next couple of weeks.
The big question out of Tampa Bay was whether or not the Rays were willing to trade B.J. Upton before the July 31st deadline. They chose to hold onto the center fielder and will most likely wait to revisit the idea of trading him this offseason.
Johnny Damon has already cleared waivers and could provide a solid bat to a team like the Cleveland Indians if they stay in the hunt. While he has lost a few steps, he can still play outfield a few games per week.
Although in the middle of a horrible season, catcher Kelly Shoppach can be had by a team looking for a veteran backup behind the plate. It is also possible for a team to snag away reliever Juan Cruz.
Any big moves the Rays decide to make won't happen until the offseason.
The Texas Rangers were one of the big winners of the non-waiver trade deadline after acquiring bullpen arms Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. At this point, their pitching staff appears set heading into the homestretch.
The Rangers lack depth in both the infield and the outfield, especially with Adrian Beltre on the DL. Beltre will be a huge boost if he's able to rejoin the team in the next few weeks, although they still could look to add a utility man on the cheap.
Outfield depth should be their primary concern with both Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz being prone to injuries. Both Coco Crisp and David Dejesus would be a good fit with the Rangers, and even Johnny Damon would bring a good veteran presence along with being a solid bench bat.
It also wouldn't be crazy to see Vladimir Guerrero back in Arlington. He is Johnny Damon with a little more pop, and he proved to be a good fit with the Rangers last season.
It is safe to say that the Toronto Blue Jays have made three of the best trades in recent memory after shedding the horrible contracts of both Alex Rios and Vernon Wells the past two seasons and then acquiring Colby Rasmus this season.
It is clear that the Blue Jays will make any move that is in the best interest of the ballclub, so there is a chance they could be active still in August.
Second baseman Aaron Hill is an intriguing possibility. He hit 62 home runs the past two seasons but has lost his power stroke with only five long balls so far in 2011. Hill does provide good defense and he has the potential to be a steal on the waiver wire.
Outfielders Rajai Davis and Mark Teahan could get some looks, as could bullpen arms like Frank Francisco, Trever Miller and maybe even Jon Rauch.
The Nationals have done a nice job shaping their franchise for the future and they have plenty of guys who aren't in the mix for the Stephen Strasburg-Bryce Harper era in Washington.
Catcher Ivan Rodriguez would make for a nice backup on almost all contending teams, especially a team like the Milwaukee Brewers or San Francisco Giants.
Although they acquired outfielder Johnny Gomes in July, he and Rick Ankiel both have some pop and may be of some value off the bench for a contender.
Reliever Todd Coffey has struggled at times this season, but just two years ago he pitched to a 2.90 ERA over 83.2 innings and could be of some value to a team looking for bullpen help down the stretch.
Jeffrey Beckmann is a MLB Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow Jeffrey on his new Twitter account for all of his latest work. You can also hear him each Friday at 1 pm EST on B/R Baseball Roundtable.