With the July 31st MLB trade deadline looming, there are some teams looking to make a run at the playoffs.  Whether they are looking to buy or stay put, a lot of the teams at the top of the ranks are weighing their options, while the teams in second or a few games back are trying to figure out where they can improve this year’s team with a free agent without breaking the bank or the farm (system).  Here is my take on all the AL teams; whether they’re buying, selling or staying put and what those buyer’s are looking for:

Baltimore Orioles: Buyers
    Over the last few years, we haven’t been able to say that about the Camden Birds, but this year has been different.  Buck Showalter has got those boys playing great baseball and they are trying to stay in the playoff possibility.  Baltimore has hitters with some pop, but some of them don’t hit consistently (ala. Mark Reynolds).  If they could find a quality lead-off hitter and move Nick Markakis back to the 2 spot in the line-up, they would be much better.  They could also use another good arm in the rotation.  If they get consistency in those two areas, they’re going to be hard to leave in the dust come Sept.
Boston Red Sox: Buyers
    They have no reason to throw in the towel.  As much as they have been injured, as much hostility as there has been in the locker room, as much crap as they received for choking last year, as much pride as they have there is no way they are going to sit back and let everyone else enjoy October.  With Jacoby getting healthy and making his comeback, with Beckett getting his swagger back, with Middlebrooks & Pedroia shaking their nagging injuries, with Buchholz getting past his stomach problems and Carl Crawford making his way back to the Majors through the racial slurring Minor Leagues then the Red Sox should have the right amount of firepower it takes to catch fire and make a run at the Wild Card.  They do need to pick up a SP & RP to make sure they’re set.  If they don’t and continure to suffer injuries in those areas, that could be their downfall.
New York Yankees: Buyers
    Was there any doubt that they wouldn’t be buyers?  I know George has passed and they’re not as aggressive as they have been, but they have a great chance of winning the East and letting their offense carry them to the Fall Classic.  They HAVE to get some more help in the rotation and bullpen.  When you have late 30 somethings in Pettitte, Garcia & Kuroda, C.C. has been injured recently and Hughes has been up & down, you need to have another arm to go to in the rotation.  Plus, with Mo not slamming the door this year; although Soriano has done a great job, you still want one more sure arm there.
Tampa Bay Rays: Buyers
    When you have Joe Maddon running the show, you have a chance for anything good to happen.  I put him up in that category with Tony LaRussa.  Both have done extraordinary things with un-extraordinary teams.  The Rays have some glaring holes offensively.  They could use an upgrade at SS & DH.  When Longoria gets healthy, that will move Keppinger back to 2B and Sean Rodriguez back to SS…but there has to be a better hitting player in there somewhere.  As for DH, don’t get me wrong Luke Scott has had a good season, but they would love to have a guy in the middle of their line-up that can change the game by going deep, finding that RBI or just getting on.  Anything good would be welcome.
Toronto Blue Jays: Buyers/Sellers
    This one is hard because they are close enough to try to make a run, but I think they have to read the writing on the wall…they don’t have enough for the long haul of Aug & Sept.  They really ought to sell.  I will completely respect them if they buy, though, and say, “What have we got to lose”?  If they do buy, they could use a good bat or an upgrade at LF & another starting arm.
Chicago White Sox: Stay Put
    After getting Youkilis from Boston, they got what they needed to make that line-up work.  They’re starting pitching has been good, they add Danks & Humber back to the rotation and Crain and Bruney come off the DL soon after.  I think they’ll be good to go with what they have.  They really are going to be a tough team to beat, especially in a three game series.
Cleveland Indians: Buyers
    The Tribe led the AL Central half the season and there’s no way they’re just going to let their season fizzle out.  Honestly, it’s a surprise that they’ve done so well this season, but they could make some news with a couple of additions.  Cleveland needs to find out if Grady can come back this season.  If he can’t, they need to find a CF that can lead-off.  Choo has done well, but they need him in the 2/3 spot and they can move Brantley over to LF.  They also need an offense upgrade at 1B too.  Kotchman is good defensively, and was good offensively for the Rays last year, but hasn’t been this season.  If they couldn’t get a better bat at 1st, you still have to get one at the top.  A good starter to add along with Masterson, Jimenez & Lowe is a must.  If they add that also, it’s going to be three wide going into turn 4 in the AL Central September playoff race.

Detroit Tigers: Buyers
    After starting the season slow, they are hitting their stride now and are starting to flex in Central.  They’re offense is picking up and the pitching is coming around.  I originally thought they would stay put, and they might.  They are looking good, but I think they realize that they needed a bit more last year to beat Texas.  They thought Prince would be it.  That’s before Victor went down and Delmon had a early 90’s Mike Tyson episode.  They may need some offense to help out the rotation, but if the rotation has anymore set backs, they’ll need someone there also.  They’re in a shaky place.  Victor might be able to comeback by the end of the season, but if not they need more firepower.  It’s not about winning your division anymore.
Kansas City Royals: Sellers
    It’s frustrating to Royals and their fans because this is the year that most of their young talent was coming up and going to start making noise and bringing KC into contention.  What happened was they lost their C, CF & Closer before the season really started, Eric Hosmer has had a sophomore slump, Betancourt has been injured off & on, and Jonathan Sanchez has been a nightmare instead of a dream come true.  I still think that the Royals will play for pride and finish out the season fairly strong, especially since Cain is coming back to roam CF, Salvador Perez is back behind the plate & the rumors of Wil Myers moving up to The Bigs, the Royals will have their core of young position players up & will send away some of the older sexier pieces to bolster their future.
Minnesota Twins: Sellers
    They’re selling more than the late Billy Mays at this point.  They have a horrible rotation and will send some of their position players away to get help them in the future.  There are plenty of desirable players on that roster and there will be some moves made before August.
Los Angeles Angels: Buyers
    LA has a big chance of being the spoiler in October.  If the Angels go sure up their bullpen with a solid closer, they can put the injured Jordan Walden as the set-up man, and finish what their stacked rotation starts.  Chris Iannetta will be coming off of injury, but is he what you need?  I think they could upgrade that position possibly and get a good base-hitting, defensive-minded corner OF.  Other than that, they’re pretty solid.
Oakland Athletics: Buyers/Sellers
    This is basically a trick question…because it’s always buy & sell all the time for Billy Beane.  That’s why he can be successful with a team that has no money in the bank.  If it is decided that the A’s are out of the possibility of making the playoffs (because we know they won’t make it to the ALCS), then they’ll sell some of their key players for prospects and try to reload.  The A’s are closer to building something close to a winner then they’ve had since ’01.  Keep up the good work Billy.
Seattle Mariners: Sellers
    They are bad and will look to see if they can find a few Minor Leaguers to bring in for the few likable parts they are willing to part with.  They need to find a way to bring in some desirable Free Agents to bring them out of the basement.  But don’t worry Seattle fans…Houston will be in your division next year so you’ll be the second worst team in your division.
Texas Rangers: Buyers
    As strong and dominant as the Rangers have been over the past couple of years, they have had one weakness that hasn’t hurt them yet, but will come back to haunt them if they’re not careful.  They need some more SPs.  They’ve got solid arms now, but if they can add a good #2-3 pitcher for the rotation, they will set themselves up for a possible Championship run.
    I will bring my NL buyers and sellers later this week and then who will be those on the trading block.  Stay tuned…