No, we're not at the halfway point of the season right now, despite all these weaksauce newspaper columnists assigning 'midseason grades' to teams and players. Heck, the Red Sox have played 97 games already and that's nearly 60% of the 162 games proscribed to them by Herr Selig.
So as we approach the three-fifths mark of the season, we also approach the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. Let's take a look at which teams might be a little confused about whether they are buyers or sellers.
- Atlanta Braves (45-50, 6.5 GB): The Braves have been one of the unluckiest teams in the first three-fifths, losing a ton of one-run affairs and even more road games while amassing enough injured players to fill a MASH unit. Still, they have such a good young rotation to replace the Mike Hamptons and John Smoltzes; they just need their offense to maintain or improve their 4.5 runs per game average. If they choose to sell, expect Mark Teixeira to pack his handbags and his gladrags. If they opt to buy, they'll need a good hitting outfielder like the Royals' David DeJesus.
- Florida Marlins (50-45, 1.5 GB): They're not even supposed to be here! Yeah, nobody thought the young Marlins would get their shit in gear for the 2008 season but yet they sit atop the NL with 135 homers. The pitching and defense have been shaky at best and, with too many games left against the Mets and Phillies, I see them being sellers. Reliever Kevin Gregg would earn a nice ransom from bullpen-starved teams like the Tigers.
- Texas Rangers (50-46, 7.5 GB): General manager Jon Daniels denies the reports that he and team president Nolan Ryan are a-fightin' and a-feudin' about whether to buy or sell. Still, with a league-high 5.10 ERA and a whopping 968 hits allowed in just 96 games, this team has no chance to contend in 2008. If those reports are true, Daniels should step up and ship out Milton Bradley, despite the fact that he's leading the league in on-base percentage AND slugging percentage. You could get a boatload of pitching prospects for the fella, but perhaps Nolan Ryan knows the old saw: there is no such thing as a pitching prospect. Either that or Ryan is just waiting to put Daniels in a headlock and pummel him senseless.
- Oakland Athletics (51-44, 6 GB): Just when you think they're out, they pull you back in. No, I don't get what's going on and I don't know if they're going to catch the Angels and no I don't know if they're even trying.
I don't think we're any closer to determining what strategies these teams will adopt prior to July 31st, but we know one thing: the market is bullish on tall dudes.