The MLB trade deadline is an ever-changing landscape. Teams are sellers, teams are buyers, and then there are those teams whose fate is still somewhat up in the air. They're the teams that are barely hanging around the .500 mark, and they're the teams that make the trade market unpredictable each and every season.
The first two teams on the list come from the American League East. With the division not a strong as it has been in years past, all of the teams still have a chance to make a push for the division. The lack of a juggernaut team or clear favorite has seemingly made the entire division a potential buyer, as it might not take many wins to capture the AL East crown.
The Orioles are in a tough spot though, and may need to be both buyers and sellers. They're just two games back of the Rays and could look to upgrade some areas of their club, but they also have nine players hitting free agency at seasons end. The front office could look to move some of those pieces that they won't be able to resign, and reap some reward before they're gone. Bud Norris is one of those impending free agents that could get moved. Tommy Hunter, who has excelled in his last three years in the bullpen, is another along with outfielder Delmon Young.
Blue Jays (34-32)
The Toronto Blue Jays have a fantastic offense. Their .332 team on-base percentage is good for 3rd best in all of baseball, and 2nd in the American League. Their team OPS of .777 is the top mark in MLB, but even with their high-octane offense, they stand at just 34-32. The fault seemingly lies with their pitching staff, as they entered today with a combined 4.24 ERA that ranks 27th worst.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that they have discussed bringing in Tyler Clippard and Jonathan Papelbon to address their bullpen concerns. Both of those pitchers are likely two of the top talents in the relief market this year, and it will take a good prospect package to acquire even just one of them. Toronto could also look to the starting pitching market, although they've already been ruled out as a Cole Hamels landing spot.
When Yu Darvish was lost for the entire season, many counted the Rangers out for 2015. They were coming off an abysmal season, and it didn't seem like Texas would be able to compete in what was expected to be a tough AL West division. But with both the Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners under-performing, and the Rangers sporting a winning record, they're just 2.5 games back of the even more surprising Houston Astros.
The Rangers were thought of as sellers when the season began, but the Rangers could be buyers before the deadline is over. They may look to upgrade their starting rotation, and while Hamels has been mentioned in rumors, Jon Daniels might not be able to construct a strong enough package for what Ruben Amaro desires.
The Pirates are really good, and nobody seems to be talking about them. They're six games back of the Cardinals, but Pittsburgh is still positioned well for the playoff hunt. Their offense has been good, while Gerrit Cole and A.J. Burnett have been outstanding. GM Neal Huntington has said that he wants to balance winning now with winning in the future, which likely rules them out for any blockbuster type trades.
Putting the Braves on this list is more of an indictment on the National League East than anything else. The Braves traded a lot of their team in the offseason, and made it seem that they were playing for 2017 and beyond. But, lackluster play from the Nationals has allowed the Braves to hang around in the division race. It's difficult to see the Braves mortgaging any part of their future to win now, but the Braves could still try to add a minor piece or two and try to sneak into the playoffs. Their bullpen is a prime candidate for an upgrade, as they're the 29th least valuable relief core in baseball.