A Move For Every Team - AL West
Whether you're the Houston Astros -- reigning World Series Champions, second best record in the entire MLB, and a six game lead in the division -- or the Kansas City Royals, who have the second worst record in baseball, or any team in between, there's a move your team can make this deadline and I'm here to tell you what it is.
Today we wrap up the American League with the AL West.
Houston Astros (67-37, 1st AL West, 2nd AL)
The champs brought back much of the same roster that won 101 games last season, and they look like they could easily win 100 games again this year.
Despite being four and a half games behind the Red Sox for best record in the league, they have a better run differential by nearly 25 runs and have better starter and bullpen ERA's. The Red Sox lead most of the offensive categories in the league, but the Astros are right on their heels and will be just as serious of a threat in this year's postseason as last.
While there aren't many positions to upgrade, starting catcher Brian McCann is expected out until September after undergoing knee surgery, so getting a catcher on a rental wouldn't be a bad idea in case his timetable gets pushed back.
Their Target: Tyler Flowers, Atlanta Braves.. He's been platooning with Kurt Suzuki this year, but would be able to take over a starting role while McCann gets healthy.
Seattle Mariners (61-41, 2nd AL West, 4th AL)
The Mariners have had a very interesting year so far.
They sit in second place in the AL West, an impressive 20 games above .500, and yet have scored just a single run more than they have given up all season. That's right, one run. The M's have the fourth best record in the entire league, but the 17th best run-differential.
How's this possible? A 27-13 record in one-run games combined with an 8-0 record in extra-inning games, two statistics that seem impossible to keep up. So what do the Mariners need to do at the deadline?
Their Target: Simply put, acquire anyone who will help them score more runs. The Mariners are the 21st ranked team in runs scored, and right around league average for home runs and slugging percentage. At least four of the top five teams in each of those categories is in the playoff picture today. While scoring more runs won't guarantee them playoff success, it will help even the playing field with some of the playoff power houses.
Oakland Athletics (60-43, 3rd AL West, 5th AL)
The Athletics are likely the only team that will challenge the Mariners for the Wild Card this year as they sit one and a half games back after going 8-2 in their last 10.
Khris Davis has been on a tear of late, he's hit six home runs in his last four (!!) games. The A's have never been fully out of a game this year because of their power-packed offence. They have six comebacks of four runs or more, and are in the top five teams in the league in home runs, total bases, and doubles.
If there is somewhere they could improve, it's the starting rotation. Oakland has the 20th ranked starter ERA, and the least strikeouts from starters in the MLB. They need to improve both these numbers in their hunt for the post-season and while there aren't any aces that are likely to move, there are some solid starters still available.
Their Target: Cole Hamels, Chris Archer, Marco Estrada.
Los Angeles Angels (52-52, 4th AL West, 8th AL)
Another year, another postseason that won't see the best player in baseball on it's biggest stage. Mike Trout is continuing to do dominant, Mike Trout things, and yet the Angels sit at .500 and will -- in all likelihood -- miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season. They made a splash this past off season by signing Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani -- who has had a roller coaster of a season, to say the least -- and has been relegated to only hitting after his elbow injury early in the year.
But it isn't just Ohtani's elbow. The Halo's have faced injuries around the diamond this year to several other players including middle infielder Zack Cozart and starter Nick Tropeano. In fact, they currently have eight players on the 60-day DL, no other team in baseball has more than five. Because of how much they've been ravaged by injury it is unlikely they will be making major moves, but an upgrade they could make is in right field. Kole Calhoun has been abysmal and is hitting under .200 this season, any sort of upgrade at the position would help.
Their Target: Domingo Santana, Milwaukee Brewers.
Texas Rangers (42-61, 5th AL West, 12th AL)
The Rangers bring up the rear of the most consistent division in the AL as the only team in the West that has a losing record. Similar to the Angels situation, the Rangers have also faced their fair share of injuries this year and have a league-high 28 team DL stints -- including injuries to key contributors Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, and Rougned Odor, as well as several other players who have made two or even three trips to the DL this year.
Cole Hamels and Bartolo Colon have both been rumoured to be on the trading block as Texas looks to build for the future. Both of those pitchers could be on the move as the Rangers attempt to improve on a farm system that has three outfield prospects in MLB's Top 100 Prospects.
Their Target: Suitors for Hamels and Colon, specifically the Cubs, Athletics, Brewers, or Mariners.
Edit 8:53 PM: The Rangers have traded Hamels to the Cubs... I am a wizard.