These clubs are clearly in a position to make a playoff run. But there might be a few things they need to address first.
As the end of August is quickly approaches, several clubs thought to be playoff contenders might struggle and fall out of contention. Each of these clubs is in a position to remain competitive but could benefit from making an August move.
New York Yankees (64-51, AL East Division Leader)
New York was not notably active in the days leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline and only added Dustin Ackley. However, Ackley has spent time on the disabled list and the Yankees are known to be seeking infield depth. The club has been linked to Chase Utley and Martin Prado might be a name to watch.
At one point this season, the Yankees only had a pair of right-handed arms in their bullpen. While both the bullpen and rotation have been productive, adding bat might help separate the Yankees and Blue Jays in the standings.
Toronto Blue Jays (64-54, Wild Card Leader)
Before the deadline, the Blue Jays had difficulty scoring runs consistently and led the league in blown saves. But after adding Mark Lowe, David Price, and Troy Tulowitzki to their roster, the Blue Jays have thrived.
Although Price has anchored the rotation since being acquired, the Blue Jays would likely benefit from adding another starter to the mix. Mark Buehrle and Marco Estrada might be two of the more attractive back of the rotation arms, but if Toronto wants to win the division, adding another starter should be considered.
Baltimore Orioles (59-56, 0.5 Games Back of Wild Card Spot)
The American League East has proven to be one of baseball’s more competitive divisions this season and the Orioles remain in pursuit of a Wild Card spot.
Baltimore added Gerardo Parra and Junior Lake last month but the Orioles might still be one bat shy of competing consistently. The Orioles’ lineup has its share of power bats, but Manny Machado and Chris Davis have not had the most productive of seasons. Adding depth, ideally in the middle infield, would likely prove to be beneficial. The club’s pitching staff has been efficient but the roster might not be durable enough to compete throughout September. As a result, add the Orioles to the list of teams likely to fade out of contention next month.
Kansas City Royals (70-46, American League Central Division Leader)
Once again, the Royals are all in. Kansas City added Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto, two of the larger available names. The bullpen has been so productive, the Royals designated Jason Frasor for assignment while he was having a solid 2015 campaign.
While Zobrist was acquired to help at second base, Omar Infante has not thrived this season and the addition of another infield bat might prove to be beneficial. The back end of the starting rotation, if possible, could use an upgrade, with Yordano Ventura being optioned to Triple-A earlier in the year.
The Royals are among the best teams in the American League and they will likely win the division. Only depth is necessary at this point.
Minnesota Twins (58-58, 2.0 Games Back of Wild Card Spot)
Minnesota was fairly quiet leading up to the deadline, with the acquisition of Kevin Jepsen being the organization’s lone move. The Twins’ bullpen has struggled and the club might lack the middle relief depth necessary to compete consistently.
The Twins’ starting rotation has been plagued by injuries but when healthy should prove to be productive. Minnesota has the depth necessary to win a Wild Card spot. The Twins just have to be consistent enough to win between now and October.
Houston Astros (63-54, AL West Division Leader)
The Astros had a solid first half and went on to add Mike Fiers, Carlos Gomez, and Scott Kazmir. The middle of the rotation, between Kazmir and Fiers, might prove to be inconsistent and production from the outfield will be key over the next few weeks.
Houston’s bullpen has been solid and the lineup has the ability to score consistently. If the corner outfielders cannot produce, though, the Astros might begin to have difficulty.
Los Angeles Angels (60-56, American League Wild Card Leader)
Los Angeles added David DeJesus and David Murphy to an outfield that desperately needed additional bats. Shane Victorino should prove to be valuable off the bench and the rotation has been productive. Another arm might be necessary for the Angels, since the middle relievers and middle of the rotation have been inconsistent. But otherwise, the Angels are playing like a playoff club.
Texas Rangers (58-57, 1.5 Games Back of Wild Card Spot)
Yes, the Rangers added Cole Hamels but that might not be enough. The back end of the rotation has been shaky at times and the bullpen has struggled to hold onto late leads. Texas might be a team that quickly falls behind come September and would benefit from additional pitching help.
New York Mets (62-54, NL East Division Leader)
New York added Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Juan Uribe, and Kelly Johnson and appears to be the favorite to win the East. Clippard should prove to help a bullpen that struggled at times early in the year and Cespedes brings power to an outfield that previously lacked it.
Depth on the bench might be key for the Mets moving forward but the club has positioned itself well to win the division.
St. Louis Cardinals (75-41, NL Central Division Leader)
St. Louis is seemingly in contention every season and added Brandon Moss and Steve Cishek to the roster before the deadline. The Cardinals might benefit from an additional bat off the bench and middle reliever but otherwise is in position to remain ahead of the Cubs and Pirates.
Pirates (68-46, NL Wild Card Leader)
The back end of Pittsburgh’s rotation, even after adding J.A. Happ, might benefit from another experienced arm. A.J. Burnett is hoping to return, but if he is unable to do so, adding another starter should be one of the Pirates’ goals.
Pittsburgh’s lineup and bullpen have been solid, but if the starting pitchers start to struggle, the Pirates might fall out of first place in the Wild Card standings.
Chicago Cubs (67-48, NL Wild Card Leader)
Chicago’s rotation now features Dan Haren and even without Rafael Soriano the bullpen should prove to be effective. Middle infield and outfield depth could help the club but the Cubs have the talent necessary to compete.
Los Angeles Dodgers (66-51, NL West Division Leader)
While the Dodgers’ offense has been consistent, the back end of its rotation features a pair of inconsistent options. Mat Latos and Alex Wood could either be dominant on the mound or notably struggle. As a result, adding some form of starting or long relief pitching depth would likely prove to be beneficial.
Another bullpen arm might be ideal but the Dodgers are having another solid season in the West.
San Francisco Giants (63-53. 2.5 Games Back in Division)
San Francisco should get Joe Panik back soon but would still likely benefit from the addition of another bat. The Giants have depth but should not be afraid to add more.
This article was written by Scott Gelman from SB Nation MLB Daily Dish and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.