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Who's on wish list for NL Central contenders?

MLB.com @jonmorosi

The Brewers were tied for the best record in the National League as recently as July 13. Now they're clinging to an NL Wild Card spot by one game in the loss column.

The Pirates woke up Monday ahead of the Cardinals, Giants and Nationals in the NL Wild Card picture.

The Brewers were tied for the best record in the National League as recently as July 13. Now they're clinging to an NL Wild Card spot by one game in the loss column.

The Pirates woke up Monday ahead of the Cardinals, Giants and Nationals in the NL Wild Card picture.

The Cardinals, with their ace on the disabled list and a new manager in the dugout, are unsure about how much they should change their roster in the coming week -- if they make any moves at all.

Yes, the NL Central is in turmoil as the non-waiver Trade Deadline looms.

Meanwhile, the Cubs' record finally reflects what their NL-best run differential has suggested all along: Since being swept by the Reds in late June, the Cubs are tied for the best record in the NL at 16-7.

The Cubs could strengthen their status as the new divisional front-runner with the acquisition of pitching help. Orioles closer Zach Britton is reportedly among the bullpen options they are considering, and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein may upgrade the rotation, too. The Cubs signed two starting pitchers last offseason, and neither has performed up to expectations. Yu Darvish is on the DL with a 4.95 ERA, and Tyler Chatwood has issued the most walks in the Majors (79) by a wide margin.

The Brewers have two motivations to make a trade: They want to improve a roster that has managed only two victories in the past 11 games, and an impact deal could bring a needed psychological boost. Milwaukee pursued Manny Machado, only to lose him to Los Angeles. Then the Brewers dropped two of three games to the Dodgers during Machado's debut weekend with his new team.

Sources say the Brewers are focused on infield bats and have had conversations with the Royals on both Whit Merrifield and Mike Moustakas. Milwaukee has remained in talks with Minnesota on pending free agents Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar.

Meanwhile, industry sources expressed doubt that the Pirates will add aggressively during the coming week, even as they ride a nine-game winning streak. If anything, the current circumstances most closely resemble those of two years ago, when Pittsburgh dealt free agent-to-be Mark Melancon despite being only three games out of a Wild Card spot. (The Pirates are four games back now.)

The Bucs have shown little willingness to move starter Jameson Taillon, who is probably their most valuable player in the current trade market. Jordy Mercer is perhaps the most logical player for the Pirates to move this summer, but there's little demand for shortstops and he could clear trade waivers in August.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com.