Welcome to this year’s edition of baseball chaos: the 2016 MLB Trade Deadline. We’ve already seen a swath of moves over the last few days (including one trade veto), and there are sure to be more to come this morning. Will Chris Sale stay in Chicago? Can teams like the Giants, Dodgers, Rangers or Astros get that big name to push them over the hump? Some will win and some will lose, but for now let’s see how the teams stack up as they are.
30. Atlanta Braves (37-68, previously 30)
Trading for Matt Kemp may have been the best thing that has happened to Atlanta all season. In other news, FiveThirtyEight now projects the Braves to finish the season with 103 losses.
29. Minnesota Twins (40-64, previously 27)
Eduardo Nunez, the only all-star from the Twins this season, is now a San Francisco Giant. The Twins took two of three from the White Sox this weekend, but are still nine games back from the 4th place Kansas City Royals in the AL Central.
28. Tampa Bay Rays (42-61, previously 29)
Plagued by lengthy losing streaks all season, the Rays are now on a 4 game win streak entering a series against the ice cold Royals, but even a sweep would not be enough to get the AL East cellar dwellers back into the picture. The big talk is where, if anywhere, will Chris Archer be headed by the end of the day? The Dodgers and the Rangers appear to be leading candidates.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks (43-62, previously 26)
It was “that kind of weekend” for the Arizona pitching staff against the Dodgers. On Friday, the D-backs erupted for seven runs in the 7th inning to jump ahead 7-3, only to have the bullpen allow 4 runs immediately before even recording an out. On Saturday, the bullpen gave another scare when they had trouble to record the final out (they won the game). Then on Sunday, Arizona jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before surrendering 14 unearned runs. Raise the white flag in the desert.
26. Cincinnati Reds (42-62, previously 28)
The Reds continue to play decent ball out of the All-Star Break, completing a 4-2 west coast road trip that saw them take three-game series against the Padres and Giants. They’ve now won seven of their past 10, but that in all likelihood will not be enough to prevent red-hot slugger Jay Bruce from being traded by the end of today. Reports have surfaced that the Dodgers Braves and Reds were in negotiations for a massive trade deal, but with Atlanta now acquiring Matt Kemp, it’s hard to believe whatever was on the table is still intact.
25. San Diego Padres (45-60, previously 22)
The Padres looked good when they took series against the Giants and Nationals the first week out of the All-Star Break. Well, the glimmer of hope didn’t last long, first dropping a three-game series to Toronto mid-week before losing two of three at home against the cellar-dwelling Reds. But the biggest hit of all may have been losing SP Andrew Cashner and OF Matt Kemp to trades. If there were any signs of life for the Padres, you can now kiss your hopes goodbye.
24. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (47-58, previously 24)
What a roller-coaster ride for the Angels this weekend against the Red Sox. The Angels got lucky with a come-from behind 9th inning win on Thursday, courtesy of some Boston errors. The next night, a 6-2 blown lead in a loss. On Saturday, another come from behind victory. And then on Sunday afternoon it was the Halo’s turn to collapse in the ninth as the bullpen surrendered five runs to see a 3 run lead vanish. Stuck at 11 games under .500, look for Hector Santiago to be shipped off today.
23. Oakland Athletics (47-58, previously 21)
A hot start to the 2nd half gave Oakland something to cheer about, reaching as little as eight games under .500 last week. The hope was short lived, as the A’s were swept by the Cleveland Indians this weekend to fall back into a last-place tie with the Angels. The A’s will get to battle it out with the Halos this week to see who gets the distinction of cellar-dweller once the series comes to an end.
22. Philadelphia Phillies (48-59, previously 23)
An absolute beating at the hands of the Marlins was followed up by a mere series split against the lowly Braves over the weekend. I guess you can say it’s not so sunny in Philadelphia right now.
21. Milwaukee Brewers (47-56, previously 25)
Yes, Jonathan Lucroy really did exercise his veto when he learned he was traded to the Cleveland Indians over the weekend. And maybe it was for a good reason, as the Brewers have won four straight and seven of their last ten. They are only nine games under .500, and though it is a long-shot, they are not dead just yet. If Lucroy goes somewhere else today and so does Ryan Bruan, that changes the entire picture though.
20. Kansas City Royals (49-55, previously 18)
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!!! The defending champs are all but dead after getting swept by the Rangers in four games over the weekend, moving them to a season-worst six games under .500. Now after so much hope for a run at another title in 2016, it is in fact reasonable to wonder whether or not the Royals will be sellers today.
19. Chicago White Sox (51-54, previously 20)
The White Sox appeared to have signs of life when they took two in a row against the Cubs at home earlier in the week. Then they lost the next two games at Wrigley Field, and couldn’t take a series against the Twins this weekend. If Chris Sale and Todd Frazier are traded today, then the White Sox have officially thrown in the towel on a season that showed so much promise at the start.
18. New York Yankees (52-52, previously 16)
Aroldis Champan is gone. Andrew Cashner is now gone. There are also rumors that Carlos Beltran could even get shipped to either the Red Sox or Rangers today. The Yankees are not the team you would usually think to surrender with their historical spending habits, but it appears they have, and manager Joe Girardi was not having it in his remarks on Sunday about recent trades.
17. Seattle Mariners (52-51, previously 17)
The Mariners were able to snag one game from the Cubs, but a series loss is a series loss. They now get to play another playoff-contender in the form of the Boston Red Sox back home this week, and it will be an important one to win if Seattle intends to stay over .500 and in wild-card contention.
16. Pittsburgh Pirates (52-51, previously 13)
Getting swept by Milwaukee over the weekend did not help the Pirates in their quest for a wildcard spot, but they may be able to get some ground back when they travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves this week. The concern though; Pittsburgh’s 23-28 road record is the worst of any winning team.
15. Colorado Rockies (52-53, previously 19)
Don’t look now, but the Rockies have won eight of their last ten games and were even able to get back to the .500 mark on Saturday before losing to the Mets Sunday afternoon. Colorado will have an incredible chance to gain even more ground in not just the NL West standings but especially the wild card standings as they host the Dodgers for a four game series starting today. There will be a lot of power on both sides, but you have to like their odds as the home team.
14. New York Mets (54-50, previously 12)
Colorado got the best of the Mets this weekend, who have now fallen to just four games over .500 and 6.5 of the lead in the NL East. Even with Yoenis Cespedes on the field again, New York’s talented line-up and it’s pitching staff with names such as Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom is not paying dividends like it did last year. Next up: The Subway Series.
13. St. Louis Cardinals (56-49, previously 14)
The Cardinals are playing consistent .500 baseball of late, which had been good enough to put them in wild-card contention. That is, until this past weekend, as the Cards were rocked by the Marlins in Miami to surrender the second seed to the Fish. They can get it right back though as they play the Reds this week while Miami will have to head north to play the Chicago Cubs.
12. Houston Astros (55-49, previously 9)
It was about as disastrous of a weekend that one could imagine for the Astros; swept by the Tigers in three games while the first place Rangers simultaneously swept the Royals. Houston has now dropped from three games to six games out of first place, and they will need to play well against Toronto and Texas this week if they intend to remain in playoff contention.
11. Miami Marlins (57-48, previously 11)
Miami was able to two wins against St. Louis this weekend, including a Derek Dietrich walk-off triple on Sunday, to take over the second wild-card spot in the National League. Ichiro remains just two hits away from the 3,000 mark, and that may be a bigger story line in Miami right now than any playoff run. Nonetheless, it’s looking more and more like the Fish could finally go far again in its first year under the leadership of Don Mattingly and Barry Bonds.
10. Detroit Tigers (57-48, previously 15)
They’re GREAT! Yes, the Tigers have won six in a row and are suddenly four games out of first place in the AL Central and only one game out of the wildcard. They outscored the Astros 28-8 in their three game sweep of Houston, and they’ll have the chance to continue their tear against winning teams as they take on the Blue Jays this week. A big trade could be in store today as Detroit attempts to make a surprise second-half playoff push.
9. Toronto Blue Jays (59-46, previously 10)
The Blue Jays crept into first place for one day in the AL East this weekend, a division which is nothing short of stacked at the top. They will have to opportunity to get the division lead back when they take on the slumping Astros while the leading Baltimore Orioles take on the Texas Rangers, who are in the midst of a four game winning streak. There have also been rumors of a trade that could send Josh Reddick north of the border, a trade that would reunite him with former Oakland teammate Josh Donaldson. If that happens, watch out for the Jays to win their second straight AL East title.
8. Boston Red Sox (57-49, previously 2)
Slam on the breaks (and yes, maybe they were ranked higher last week than they should have been). Just when it looked like Boston was going on a tear that would put them atop the AL East for good, they got swept at home against the Tigers before only splitting a series against the lowly Angels. Both losses to the Halos came via blown leads, and utter collapses like the Sox had in the ninth inning on Friday night just won’t cut it. They will need to get things going back in the right direction against Seattle this week before they face a difficult series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, a place where they have not played in six years.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (59-46, previously 8)
When it rains, it pours. The Dodgers took two of three against Arizona this weekend, blasting the Diamondbacks for nine and 14 runs in those two games. In the games that they lost last week against Arizona and Tampa they only scored two runs and one run, respectively. Kenta Maeda looked dominant over the weekend and he will be an integral part of the rotation until Clayton Kershaw comes back. On the other hand, the bullpen appears to be slipping, allowing 7 runs in one inning on Friday and nearly blowing a late 3-0 lead to Tampa earlier in the week. Nonetheless, the Dodgers are now only 2 games back of the Giants after being 6.5 back at the break. If they acquire Jay Bruce or Chris Archer by the end of the day, watch out.
6. San Francisco Giants (61-44, previously 6)
The Giants post-All-Star Break slump hit a new low when they hit into the first 3-5 triple play in MLB history Friday night, but they were able to take the final two games against Washington to improve to .500 in their past six games. We should also note that Hunter Pence returned the same day the two game win streak began. Coincidence? Maybe, but with an increasingly healthy squad and the acquisition of Eduardo Nunez from Minnesota last week, you have to think the future is brighter for the Giants as they enter their toughest stretch of their schedule in the coming weeks.
5. Baltimore Orioles (59-45, previously 3)
Wade Miley is now an Oriole, which should give Baltimore’s starting pitching some tremendous relief as the squad looks to re-solidify its first place standing in the AL East. The trade and the boost back atop the standings is also some good news for the O’s after they lost five in a row before beating Toronto on Sunday. Next up is a tough series against the Rangers at home.
4. Cleveland Indians (60-42, previously 7)
Cleveland got back on track with a three game sweep of the A’s this weekend at home, maintaining its 4.5 game lead over the red-hot Tigers in the process. Mike Napoli had himself quite an offensive showing at the plate alongside Jason Kipnis and Corey Kluber, and that jolt from the three may have been just what the Tribe needed after doubt began to arise regarding the team’s sustainability in the stretch. Cleveland now gets even more relief as they play the lowly Twins this week.
3. Washington Nationals (61-44, previously 4)
As I mentioned, the Nationals made history Friday night by turning the first 3-5 double play in MLB history, also the franchise’s first TP since moving to Washington in 2005. Yet again though, the Nationals failed to take home a series against an NL West opponent as they split a four game series with the Giants after taking the first two games. Having acquired Mark Melancon, the squad may have a better chance at success next time around when the host the Giants next weekend. Daniel Murphy also exited Saturday’s game with an apparent injury but made a pinch hit appearance on Sunday, so we can assume it’s nothing serious.
2. Texas Rangers (62-44, previously 5)
The Rangers are officially back to themselves after sweeping the Royals in four games over the weekend. Texas has now beaten the defending champs six times in the last ten days, and has won seven of their last ten played. With a healthy pitching staff and some breakout performances at the plate by guys such as Ian Desmond, the Rangers are once again clicking at every level as they were for a quite some time earlier in the year. If they can land Carlos Beltran or Chris Archer today, sky is the limit for Texas.
1. Chicago Cubs (63-41, previously 1)
The Cubs continue to boast the best record in baseball again for the second week in a row. Yes, they only split the four game series against their crosstown rival White Sox last week, and yes, Aroldis Chapman did blow a save on Saturday, but the Cubs are an incredible 34-17 at home and have maintained a 7.5 game division lead thanks to some sloppy play by the Cardinals and Pirates over the past week. They will be in for a slug fest of a series this week as they host the Miami Marlins.
Biggest Jump: Detroit Tigers (+5)
Biggest Drop: Boston Red Sox (-6)