Our final trade deadline divisional primer….two buyers, two sellers. Pretty simple, huh?
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
45-36, second place, five games out in division, wild card leader
The Angels have just PUT IT ON after a terrible first month, going 37-21 since April ended and rocketing to the top of the wild card standings. Anaheim could use a couple of upgrades on offense, where third basemen Alberto Callaspo and Maicier Izturis just haven't gotten it done with the stick. Erick Aybar is heating up at short, and Peter Bourjos's sublime defense keeps him in the lineup every day. The Angels could also use a catcher, because Chris Iannetta has been hurt, and backup Bobby Wilson hits like…well, a backup. The Angels have a good bullpen, and their only below average starter is the gopher-prone Ervin Santana. This is a damn good team with only a few holes, but their rough start put them behind the eight-ball immediately.
40-42, third place, 10.5 games out in division, four out in wild card
All things considered….the A's aren't having too bad of a year. Only two games under .500 for a bargain basement team like this? Not bad at all. I don't see the A's buying, but with this team, you never know. Billy Beane is sneaky like that. They do have some pieces to deal, most notably catcher Kurt Suzuki, who has proved to be irrelevant after the promotion of Derek Norris, acquired in the Gio Gonzalez trade last winter. I could also see the A's listening on veteran outfielder Jonny Gomes, who was dealt at midseason last year to the Nationals. Coco Crisp is struggling in the outfield, but he could get some calls too. Oakland's pitching staff has a couple of names that could be moved too, headlined by starter Brandon McCarthy, who has found himself a second life with the A's, and is one of the most unheralded pitchers in the league. Veteran Bartolo Colon, a cheap signing who's been largely effective, could also find his way to a contender that wants some veteran presence. Veteran relievers Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes (who was actually DFAed yesterday) will also likely find new homes this month.
35-48, fourth place, 16 games out in division, 9.5 out in wild card
The Mariners have worked themselves into the position of having the worst record in the American League….but that's good for just the fifth overall pick, thanks to the state of the dregs of the National League. Typical Seattle luck. Alright, let's see what they can move. Veteran shortstop Brendan Ryan could be moved to a team looking for bench help due to his impeccable defense. I think the Mariners will want to keep John Jaso around behind the plate, leading to a possible ouster for light-hitting veteran Miguel Olivo. Seattle would (of course) love to move the contract of Chone Figgins, who continues to be a disaster for the team at the plate and in the field. On the mound, I don't think Felix Hernandez is going anywhere unless the Mariners get an unreal offer (like, three top 50 prospects plus other goodies), but veterans Kevin Millwood and Jason Vargas will likely find their way out of town. The team should also look to move overrated closer Brandon League, who just doesn't strike enough hitters out to be an effective reliever on a full-time basis…but could have value for a team infatuated with saves.
50-31, first place
Saving the best for last….the Rangers are the only 50 win team in baseball, and have been rolling along like a freight train all season. This is a really, really good team. Even first baseman Mitch Moreland is hitting after an awful year last year. One player, however, has been an extreme disappointment: classy professional "hitter" Michael Young, who had just a .647 OPS and three homers. He just shouldn't be playing every day, but here we are. A guy like Jim Thome would have been perfect to take Young out of the equation, but Jason Giambi could be just as good. The Rangers pitching staff has been good all year, until an injury spell over the past couple of weeks has taken them down to just Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison from the Opening Day rotation. The team did sign Roy Oswalt last month fo fill a vacancy, and Derek Holland might be back as soon as this weekend, but yet, there are still reports that the Rangers are scouting starters…specifically Zack Greinke. GM Jon Daniels has shown no hesitation towards moving prospects during his tenure as Rangers GM, and it wouldn't surprise me if they made a move for a top of the line starter…not that they need to.