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Robertson moves atop Trade Deadline rankings

MLB.com @feinsand

With the MLB Draft in the rearview mirror, the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline takes center stage for the next six weeks.

Which teams will emerge as buyers or sellers? When will the dealing begin? As is typically the case, the standings tell the story.

With the MLB Draft in the rearview mirror, the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline takes center stage for the next six weeks.

Which teams will emerge as buyers or sellers? When will the dealing begin? As is typically the case, the standings tell the story.

"Look at the standings. The entire American League is still in the Wild Card race," one executive said. "That's not the case in the National League. Almost every team is 10 or more games out, so those teams could decide to become sellers earlier."

The AL East and AL Central races are still tight, and although the Astros have a sizeable lead over their four AL West foes, every other team in the division is within striking distance in the Wild Card race.

That's not the case in the NL, where the Dodgers, Rockies and D-backs have all passed the 40-win mark, leaving most of the league in catch-up mode. And while the entire NL Central is separated by less than a half-dozen games, the Nationals and the three aforementioned NL West teams have created some separation, which could mean teams like the Giants, Padres, Phillies, Marlins and Braves will be posting "For Sale" signs in the near future.

Here's our latest look at who could be headed elsewhere in our sixth installment of MLB.com's Trade Deadline Power Rankings.

1. David Robertson, RHP, White Sox
Contract: $12 million (2017); $13 million (2018)
Last ranking: 5

Robertson fell in the rankings two weeks ago thanks to the emergence of Koda Glover in Washington, but June started out in disastrous fashion for the Nats' rookie closer before he landed on the DL. The Nationals' bullpen is in crisis mode, and with the White Sox clearly open to trading their closer, Robertson would appear to be the ideal fit in Washington. This has felt like a match all along.

Video: CWS@CLE: Robertson slams the door on the Indians

2. Pat Neshek, RHP, Phillies
Contract: $6.5 million (2017)
Last ranking: 2

Philadelphia's season continues to spiral out of control, as a shaky May has continued into June. With the worst record in the Majors, the Phillies will likely try to unload any short-term assets they can, with their veteran right-hander topping that list. Neshek has allowed two runs over his first 24 innings this season for a sparkling 0.75 ERA.

Video: PHI@BOS: Neshek induces an inning-ending double play

3. Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics
Contract: $3.575 million (2017); arbitration-eligible in 2018-19
Last ranking: 1

Gray held the first-place Nationals to three runs over seven innings on June 4 and struck out 10 Rays while allowing five runs (two earned) in six innings at Tropicana Field on Saturday. He took a no-decision Thursday night, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings against the Yankees. Oakland sits in last place in the AL West with the worst record in the AL. Gray is under team control through 2019, which should mean a nice haul for the A's if they decide to move him.

Video: OAK@TB: Watch Gray's 10 K's in 10 seconds

4. Johnny Cueto, RHP, Giants
Contract: $21 million (2017), $21 million (2018), $21 million (2019), $21 million (2020), $21 million (2021), $22 million option (2022); Can opt out of contract at end of 2017 season
Last ranking: 3

Cueto's uncharacteristic season is one of the many reasons the Giants find themselves last in the NL West, trailing the top-three teams by double-digit games, but the right-hander could be energized by a change of scenery if he's thrust into a pennant race. The Astros, Yankees and Twins could all use an extra rotation arm as they try to solidify their hold on first place in their respective divisions. Cueto's opt-out clause could complicate any trade, though.

Video: KC@SF: Cueto escapes a bases-loaded jam

5. A.J. Ramos, RHP, Marlins
Contract: $6.5 million (2017)
Last ranking: Not ranked

Ramos has pitched well, with seven of his nine earned runs allowed coming in three of his 23 outings. The Marlins face large deficits in both the NL East and Wild Card races, and given the constant need for relief pitching around the Majors, swapping their 30-year-old closer -- who is under team control for 2018, too -- for a couple of prospects would make perfect sense.

Video: MIA@CHC: Ramos nails down the Marlins' win

6. Jason Vargas, LHP, Royals
Contract: $8 million (2017)
Last ranking: Not ranked

Among the starting pitchers considered prospective trade candidates, the 34-year-old Vargas is having the best season of his career by a wide margin. The lefty is 9-3 with a 2.10 ERA in 13 starts, holding opponents to a .625 OPS. He's been especially excellent of late, posting a 3-0 mark and 1.29 ERA in three June outings. He might not the sexiest name, but Vargas would be a solid addition to any rotation if the Royals decide to move him.

Video: KC@SF: Vargas rings up six, picks up 9th victory

7. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Phillies
Contract: $17.2 million (2017)
Last ranking: 4

Hellickson made himself an obvious trade candidate after a brilliant April that saw him post a 1.80 ERA in five starts. But the right-hander hasn't been able to continue that pace, pitching to a 6.89 ERA over his last nine outings. Still, the Phillies will ultimately take whatever they can for him, as they can't make him another qualifying offer to collect a Draft pick after the season.

8. Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals
Contract: $12.25 million (2017)
Last ranking: Not ranked

A subpar April (.225/.281/.292) left many wondering if the Royals would even be able to unload their first baseman come July, but Hosmer rebounded nicely, posting a .364/.411/.565 slash line since May 1. Despite their sub-.500 record, the Royals remain well within striking distance in the AL Central and Wild Card races, so it's no sure thing that general manager Dayton Moore will sell any pieces until the Trade Deadline gets closer. The other problem? Few contenders appear to be in need of a first baseman, potentially limiting the market.

Video: KC@SD: Hosmer jacks a two-run homer to right-center

9. Todd Frazier, 3B, White Sox
Contract: $12 million (2017)
Last week's ranking: Not ranked

Frazier fell out of our rankings following a dreadful start that saw him hitting .176/.277/.324 with three homers through May 16. But the White Sox third baseman has bounced back over the past month, slashing a more respectable .247/.364/.516 with seven home runs over 27 games, boosting his trade value in the process. The Red Sox are still seeking an answer at third base, with Frazier and Mike Moustakas among the leading candidates.

Video: CWS@CLE: Frazier drills a two-run double off the wall

10. Eduardo Nunez, SS/3B/OF, Giants
Contract: $4.2 million (2017)
Last week's ranking: Not ranked

The Giants don't have many pieces to sell thanks to long-term commitments to Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon, but Nunez -- their lone significant free agent this season -- would fit nearly any contender in some form or fashion. With the ability to play shortstop, third base and the outfield, the 30-year-old speedster should bring back a decent prospect or two, and his departure would also open a spot for top prospect Christian Arroyo.

Dropped from last week's rankings: Clayton Richard, Lorenzo Cain, Jay Bruce, Jaime Garcia, Andrew McCutchen

Mark Feinsand is an executive reporter for MLB.com.