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Week Ahead: Action picks up on field, phones

MLB.com

By the end of the week ahead in Major League Baseball, there will be only one day remaining in July.

In dugout-speak, that means one day until there are two months left in the regular season. In deal-speak, though, that means just 24 more hours to make a non-waiver Trade Deadline trade that could shake up the standings and alter October.

By the end of the week ahead in Major League Baseball, there will be only one day remaining in July.

In dugout-speak, that means one day until there are two months left in the regular season. In deal-speak, though, that means just 24 more hours to make a non-waiver Trade Deadline trade that could shake up the standings and alter October.

As the next seven days in the big leagues begin, it's important to keep attuned to the very public division and Wild Card races, where teams are gearing up for a stirring final third of the 162-game slate, but it's also imperative to keep abreast of the reports that arise from the much more behind-closed-doors-and-on-mobile-phones world of Deadline deals.

To that end, there are series early and late over the next week that could very well determine their teams' courses of action on July 31.

On Monday, for example, we've got the annual home-and-home Crosstown Series in Chicago, with the White Sox and Cubs squared off for four games -- two on the South Side, two on the North Side -- and in different modes when it comes to roster construction. The White Sox have already dealt David Robertson, Todd Frazier and Tommy Kahnle in the past week, and there have been reports swirling that outfielder Melky Cabrera could be next.

The defending World Series champion Cubs are playing better of late and are on the lookout for more help. Reports have indicated Theo Epstein might be interested in adding a relief pitcher, like A.J. Ramos of the Marlins, and possibly more infield help, with Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera a name that has been bandied about. Meanwhile, they'll get last year's National League ERA champion, Kyle Hendricks, back from the disabled list to start Monday's game.

And they'll need him in a crowded NL Central race.

"Nobody's going away," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I believe it will be an interesting battle the rest of the season. I like the challenge. I don't think anybody is going to run away with anything right now."

Elsewhere, the Royals are making things very interesting in the American League Central. They have won five consecutive games and are only 1 1/2 games behind the Indians, who have won three in a row, and are currently tied for the second Wild Card berth in the AL.

Kansas City will hit the road in the early part of the week to play three games vs. the Tigers in Detroit while the Indians host the Angels for four. Then the Royals will spend the weekend in Boston while the Indians travel to Chicago to play the White Sox.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com.