It's one month until the non-waiver Trade Deadline -- it's Aug. 1 this year -- which means Twitter is about to become awash with rumor and innuendo (even more than usual), every internet comment section will be loaded with impractical proposals ("Mike Trout for Luis Severino, Rob Refsnyder and the
It's one month until the non-waiver Trade Deadline -- it's Aug. 1 this year -- which means Twitter is about to become awash with rumor and innuendo (even more than usual), every internet comment section will be loaded with impractical proposals ("Mike Trout for Luis Severino, Rob Refsnyder and the entire Pulaski Yankees infield ... who says no?") and the phrase "according to a source" will be repeated so often you may start repeating it in your sleep.
It also means it's time to familiarize yourself with each club's Deadline decisions. Here's a division-by-division rundown.
American League East
Don't look for a repeat of 2015, when Toronto famously went all-in at the Trade Deadline. Those blockbuster swaps raided a system that new team president Mark Shapiro has been entrusted with protecting. So as the Blue Jays look for answers in their rotation (where Aaron Sanchez's innings will have to be closely monitored) and the bullpen, they have to be economical, all while hoping their lineup can deliver as intended.
It's amazing the O's have been this good despite a rotation that counts Chris Tillman's bounceback year and Kevin Gausman's occasional flashes of brilliance as the only true positives. General manager Dan Duquette will to navigate a thin starting market with a farm system short on valuable trade chips.
An 11-game losing streak in mid-to-late June probably makes the Rays sellers, the question is how aggressive they'll get. They have controllable starting pitching in Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and others, but that's a hard commodity for a small-market club to part with. There is also Evan Longoria, who will take up an increasing percentage of their payroll over the next six years.
Team president Dave Dombrowski is prone aggressive strikes in the trade market. It's no secret that the Red Sox need pitching, because, among other issues, the pined-for Eduardo Rodriguez breakout has not yet occurred. Boston will also be monitoring the market for left-field help.
Mathematically, they're in it. Realistically? They've got to play a lot better ball than they've showed. Otherwise, the Yanks have to think hard about dealing pending free agents Aroldis Chapman and Carlos Beltran -- or possibly dominant lefty setup man Andrew Miller, who is under contract through 2018.
The Indians have depth in outfield and pitching trade chips (outfielders Brad Zimmer and Clint Frazier are their top prospects) that they could use to augment their outfield power (especially with Michael Brantley's return timetable still murky) and/or their bullpen, but it's a risky proposition for a club that relies heavily on young, controllable talent.
With Mike Moustakas out for the rest of the season and Lorenzo Cain currently down with a hamstring injury (only days after Alex Gordon returned to the lineup), the Royals are spread thin on the position-player side. Trouble is, much like the Blue Jays, Kansas City isn't in a great position to make a 2015-like binge on boosts. The system is a lot thinner than it was a year ago at this time, before the Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist deals. The Royals might have to continue to hold out hope that their in-house reinforcements can handle things and perhaps round out the roster with a smaller move. But one thing we do know is that the Dayton Moore-led front office is really good at finding buy-low bargains.
GM Al Avila has already said, "This is the team we are counting on to win," which basically translates to, "What you see is what you get."
The rebuilding Twins won't deal any of their young up-and-comers, but they'd almost certainly listen on veterans Ervin Santana and Trevor Plouffe, as well as surprising All-Star candidate Eduardo Nunez and surprisingly effective lefty reliever Fernando Abad, to name a few.
Because the White Sox have varied between two extremes this season, it's still an open question whether they will continue adding (they already made a trade for James Shields) or start subtracting this summer, so the July results are especially important here.
GM Billy Eppler made it pretty clear to reporters that a rebuild is out of the question, but that doesn't mean the Halos can't listen on short-term pieces, such as reliable reliever Joe Smith. The Angels could do well in a Yunel Escobar trade, but only if they're comfortable creating a 2017 question mark at third base (he's under contract for just $7 million next year).
GM Jeff Luhnow has not been shy in the swap market in the past. The Astros could certainly use an impact starter, and they've got the young position player pieces in their system to make that happen.
If they can prove their health, free agents Rich Hill and Josh Reddick have value that ought to be explored. The big fish, of course, is ace Sonny Gray, but he's had an uncharacteristic season and the A's showed no interest in dealing him last offseason.
The Mariners are within reach of their first postseason appearance since 2001 and likely won't be sellers. Buying will be difficult, because this is another thin system (which is why GM Jerry Dipoto had to make low-profile moves last offseason), but Seattle will be on the hunt for right-handed relief help and possibly an offensive upgrade to Norichika Aoki in the outfield.
Stay tuned. Despite making the big play for Cole Hamels a year ago, the Rangers still have plenty of trade chips to pull off a blockbuster, and the likely target would be adding to their injury-ravaged pitching staff.
It's the same plan that's been in effect for a year and a half: Sell anything that isn't nailed down (and even some things that are). But the real intrigue here revolves around Julio Teheran, who has value in a thin starting market but is also the very kind of piece (young and controllable, with upside) that the Braves are trying to build around.
Internally, this club acknowledged that its roster depth was lacking going into the year, but the Fish stayed healthy enough to stay frisky in the NL East and put themselves firmly on the buy side. They already made the move for Fernando Rodney, adding to an underrated bullpen. We've heard about the Marlins poking around on starting help, too, so don't be surprised if they make a move to lengthen their rotation beyond Jose Fernandez, Adam Conley and Wei-Yin Chen.
They reminded us last year that all this Trade Deadline lead-up and speculation has merit, because Yoenis Cespedes changed the complexion of their season. But deals like that don't come around every year. The Mets already tried to address their injury-riddled infield with James Loney and Jose Reyes, but that doesn't preclude them from poking around on other upgrade options.
They'd love to acquire the 2015 version of Bryce Harper. But failing that, you'll continue to hear the Nats name associated with the impact relievers in this market. If the Yankees make Chapman available, you'd better believe Dusty Baker would be pushing for Mike Rizzo to move heaven and earth to make it happen.
Perhaps they'll try to parlay Jeanmar Gomez's surprising success in the ninth inning into something useful on the trade front, and they could try to find fits for Freddy Galvis or Peter Bourjos or one of the other vets rounding out the roster. But any talk of them dealing Rule 5 wonder (and All-Star candidate) Odubel Herrera seems excessive.
Jonathan Lucroy has held up his end of the bargain with a bounceback season, and now we'll see if a Brewers club that has maintained a high asking price for the affordable catcher (he has a team-friendly contract through 2017) can find a midseason fit. More practical (and realistic) are trades involving reliever Jeremy Jeffress and first-base masher Chris Carter.
The Cards, like many clubs, could use bullpen help and perhaps rotation depth -- as well as a center-field spark, if you want to get greedy. Realistically, look for GM John Mozeliak to make the bullpen a priority.
It's World Series or bust on the North Side, and the Cubs have the pieces in their system to have their pick of the midseason litter, and, given their need for back-end relief help (particularly from the left-hand side), they would be at the forefront of any Chapman or Miller conversation.
This season has not gone as planned for the Pirates, and it could compel them to move pending free agents Mark Melancon and David Freese. Spare me your Andrew McCutchen trade proposals. Not going to happen in 2016.
The rebuild continues in earnest. They have affordable control of Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart through 2017, but the best bet for a franchise that needs to acquire as much young talent as possible is to move both of those guys now.
The season has not gone to plan for an Arizona club that went all-in last offseason, but the shape of the roster makes it unlikely that we'll see a dramatic unloading here. What you'll probably see, if anything, is talk about relievers Brad Ziegler and Daniel Hudson, who are both on the cusp of free agency.
It has been one injury hit after another to this rotation, including -- most recently and most prominently -- Clayton Kershaw's back issue. That prompted the Andrew Friedman-led front office to make Thursday's move for Bud Norris, who they hope can eat some quality innings for them while others are on the mend. The Dodgers still could make another rotation add, but they also have needs in the lineup and bullpen, and they've been keeping their eye on the catching market (fronted by Lucroy), as well. This is a team with deep pockets and a deep farm system, but, as we saw when David Price and Hamels were available last summer, they've avoided a blockbuster swap so far. We'll see if Kershaw's injury causes the Dodgers to put the foot on the pedal.
Javier Lopez in 2010. Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro in '12. Jake Peavy in '14. The even-year titles all included some sort of July swap that proved important. Injuries to Pence and Matt Duffy mean that trend could continue this month, and Brian Sabean and the boys will also be on the lookout for relief help.
Their decision to stand pat at the Deadline last year was odd and perhaps even regrettable (at one point, the Mets were talking about Michael Fulmer for Justin Upton, before New York pivoted to Cespedes). This year, the Padres aren't fooling around. They already dealt Rodney to the Marlins and ate significant money to move Shields. It's not out of the realm of possibility that they'd do the same with Matt Kemp or Melvin Upton Jr.Andrew Cashner's injury and lackluster stats hurt his trade value ahead of his free agency, and Jon Jay was a nice chip until he broke his forearm. You'll know the Padres are serious about a big rebuild if they move Wil Myers, but he's the kind of player you build around.
Buy or sell? In the offseason, they did a little bit of both, and now the Rox find themselves on the fringes of the NL Wild Card hunt. If they buy, the need is the same -- starting pitching. If they sell, one of the chips is Carlos Gonzalez, who is under control through 2017.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.