It is the time of year when certain Major League players must take stock of their situation. Some may be looking for new luggage in preparation for a quick move. Some may be socking away funds for a stint in the minors. And some may be rolling out the welcome mats for a savior to lead their team to the post-season.
July 31st is a little over a month away, so it’s time to figure out who’s buying and who’s selling.
Let’s start with the sellers.
The Houston Astros are the worst team in baseball right now. They may be moving to the American League, and they are up for sale. They have no reason to be buyers or even holders. That being said, the team is still trying to attract an owner. Don’t expect them to give up all of their veteran talent.
The Kansas City Royals started the season playing respectable baseball. Now, they are struggling to stay above the Twins who are surprisingly still in last place. The Royals have a lot of young talent and are one good farm crop away from an above .500 season. The Royals are likely going to be sellers looking for young prospects in return.
After a 90-win season, the 2011 Padres have completely reverted. They brought up Anthony Rizzo as a last ditch attempt at competing, but that didn’t help. The Padres are sellers with one of the hottest products on the market for the second year in a row. Expect to see Heath Bell closing out games for a contender come August.
Finally, we come to Oakland. They are in the basement of a bad division and will likely be dumping talent if they can. That is, if they can figure out where they’ll be playing baseball in the near-future. With their lease on the Coliseum expiring soon, the A’s may be too preoccupied to jump heavily into the seller’s market.
The buyers are always more fun. These are the teams vying for play-off spots or battling for respect. These are the teams that will throw caution to the wind even if it’s not in their nature.
The Yankees and Red Sox are always buyers so there’s no need to break them down.
The Phillies may need (or want) another arm with the injury to Roy Oswalt. Otherwise, while old, they might not need anything else.
The Twins are a proud franchise, more proud than many people believe. This Twins team was picked by most to win the Central and by some to make the World Series. Yet they are dead last. Their pride will make them buyers. It will be a tough go to make the play-offs but with a little help to fill injury holes, they can earn back some respect.
The Diamondbacks and the Giants will both be looking to add the finishing touches to their title hopeful teams. There have already been rumors involving David Wright going to the Dbacks from the Mets. The Giants could use a second baseman or catcher down the stretch.
Finally, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be buyers. That’s how important a finish above .500 is to the team and the city. Their fans are packing the park and national media is taking notice. They have already sold out as many games so far this year as they did all of last year.
Things will heat up as July 31st gets closer. As the mercury pushes toward triple digits in many Major League cities, the trade rumors will be hotter. For now we predict. In a month we react. But either way, it signals the official start of pennant races.