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AL East: Who's buying, who's selling?

MLB.com @wwchastain

The table has been set in the American League East for which teams will be a part of this year's postseason feast. Boston and New York have distanced themselves from the rest of the division and staked claim to one of the AL Wild Card spots. Save for an epic collapse by either, that's how it's going to be.

The reality of the situation leaves the rest of the teams in the division looking to position themselves for the 2019 season, whether that's by trying out young players from within the organization or acquiring others to help them go forward. Meanwhile, the Red Sox and Yankees will be going through a self-examination period to see what they need to acquire to better equip their teams for postseason runs.

The table has been set in the American League East for which teams will be a part of this year's postseason feast. Boston and New York have distanced themselves from the rest of the division and staked claim to one of the AL Wild Card spots. Save for an epic collapse by either, that's how it's going to be.

The reality of the situation leaves the rest of the teams in the division looking to position themselves for the 2019 season, whether that's by trying out young players from within the organization or acquiring others to help them go forward. Meanwhile, the Red Sox and Yankees will be going through a self-examination period to see what they need to acquire to better equip their teams for postseason runs.

Still, an interesting second half is in store in the AL East.

BLUE JAYS
What we've learned
The second quarter of the Blue Jays' season cemented their status as a seller for the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. A 9-19 record in May greatly reduced the hope Toronto had of contending for a spot in the postseason, and things didn't get much better in June, with injuries to key players such as Josh Donaldson and Aaron Sanchez. A team that had hopes of competing for an AL Wild Card spot will instead have to be content with turning the page with an eye toward 2019 and beyond.

What they're hoping to accomplish in the trade market
Continue to replenish the farm system. Donaldson's problematic left calf and Marco Estrada's glute injury have already dealt a serious blow to the Blue Jays' ability to stockpile prospects at the Deadline, but lefty J.A. Happ remains one of the top starters available. Toronto also is expected to shop veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson, along with relievers Tyler Clippard and Seunghwan Oh. If Donaldson and Estrada get healthy before the Deadline, the Jays will be expected to aggressively shop them as well, while the club prepares to enter a full rebuild.

Video: Joel Sherman discusses J.A. Happ's value

Stock watch
Definite sellers. The Blue Jays should be in the market for players with multiple years of control remaining on their contracts, but this team certainly won't be targeting any rentals. The priority will be moving as many players on expiring contracts as possible in order to increase the depth around top prospects such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.

ORIOLES
What we've learned
The Orioles continue to deal with injuries, with setup man Darren O'Day the latest player out for the season. Closer Zach Britton has struggled to return to form since comng back from the disabled list, and the team's offense continued its early-season struggles in May and June. Any hope of the O's getting on their feet after a rough start has pretty much dissipated as executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has already indicated that the club now needs to eye the future. With the Trade Deadline near, all eyes will be on prized shortstop Manny Machado.

Video: MLB Now on the possible destinations for Machado

Baltimore is not afraid to shuffle the roster. Countless players have shuffled around and that will likely continue as the Orioles evaluate for the future and try to keep a struggling bullpen healthy. Chris Davis has responded better at the plate as of late, following a prolonged benching.

What they're hoping to accomplish in the trade market
The Orioles need to get the best possible player for Machado, who is considered the best position player available. Britton, if he can establish some consistency, could also net Baltimore some prospects. Same too for Adam Jones and Brad Brach. The O's have to have an open mind when it comes to trades as they're in a pivotal spot. The right moves, particularly adding some young pitching, could go a long way in helping in the rebuild.

Stock watch
Definitely sellers.

RAYS
What we've learned

Tampa Bay already made a big trade, sending Denard Span and Alex Colome to Seattle. In addition, the Rays parted with Brad Miller, which opened up room for Jake Bauers to join the team. Bauers' addition, along with that of Willy Adames, has injected life into the team, and Tampa Bay has responded with a scrappy style of play and some winning. Clearly the front office believes Bauers, Adames and company are the future, and augmenting that future with young players is the road the club wants to travel.

Video: TB@MIA: Bauers hits go-ahead 2-run double in extras

What they're hoping to accomplish in the trade market
With a roster that includes several veterans who could be nice pieces for contending teams, the Rays would like to maximize any opportunities that bring a nice yield for the future. Players such as Wilson Ramos, Adeiny Hechavarria, Nathan Eovaldi and Chaz Roe appear to be the most likely targets of opposing teams.

Stock watch
Sellers. Despite the way the Rays are playing, they are too far out to not trade veteran players of value.

RED SOX
What we've learned

After reeling off 28 wins in their first 40 games, the Red Sox have been just as machine-like over the past several weeks, going 30-17 from May 14-July 3. This team appears strong enough to be a big factor come playoff time. For the third consecutive year, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will be in the market for a setup reliever before the July 31 Deadline.

What they're hoping to accomplish in the trade market
As he has a habit of doing, Dombrowski struck early last week when he acquired right-handed hitter Steve Pearce. With the roster of position players pretty well set, and Dustin Pedroia potentially coming back at some point to bolster the lineup, Dombrowski can put all his focus into an upgrade for the bullpen. A left-hander would fit particularly well.

Video: Dombrowski, Cora discuss acquiring Steve Pearce

Stock watch
The Red Sox are buyers, in hopes of making a deep playoff run after getting bounced in the AL Division Series the past two years. With Chris Sale in his prime and closer Craig Kimbrel eligible for free agency at the end of the season, there's an urgency for Boston to get to the World Series. That said, Dombrowski doesn't feel he needs to make a blockbuster move. His current roster, which includes stars Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, is plenty talented enough. Dombrowski is looking for some subtle additions.

YANKEES
What we've learned

The Yankees have lived up to their preseason projections, which is to say that their greatest strengths are a power-hitting lineup and an air-tight bullpen. The starting pitching, as it was expected to be, has not been stellar outside of Luis Severino. CC Sabathia has been more than solid as he continues to fight Father Time, and New York's rotation should get a boost when Masahiro Tanaka returns from his hamstring injuries. Even so, general manager Brian Cashman said he is not tempted to stand pat with what the club has in-house.

Video: BOS@NYY: Severino fans 6 over 6 2/3 scoreless frames

What they're hoping to accomplish in the trade market
Cashman said he has been trying to acquire a starting pitcher since the offseason, and while there are moves the club could make right now, the Yanks are not comfortable with the sticker prices in terms of outgoing players -- almost certainly outfielder Clint Frazier, who continues to draw interest while he waits in the wings at Triple-A. A potential blockbuster for the Mets' Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard has filled hours on talk radio, but New York is more likely to target a more attainable piece like Toronto's Happ.

Stock watch
Buyers. Even before the Yankees' surprising postseason run in 2017, which left them one win away from the World Series, people within the organization were speaking of '17 as a potential rebuilding year. 2018, they said, would be the season in which the Yanks were primed to make a serious run at championship No. 28. Nothing we saw in the first half should suggest that is not still the case.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.