At the end of the evening Saturday night, every team in the American League was within single digits of their division rival except for two teams. The two offenders being the vastly improving Houston Astros, trailing the Oakland Athletics by 10 games, and the Tampa Bay Rays, 13.5 games behind the surprising Toronto Blue Jays. In the National League, only the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, and Arizona Diamondbacks trail their division leaders by more than 10 games. They aren’t the only struggling teams in MLB, as the Philadelphia Phillies are having a very disappointing season as well, trailing the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals by 9.5 games in the NL East.
In my estimation, those are the only 5 teams that really don’t have much of any realistic chance of making the playoffs, or even sniffing contention as the summer rolls along. That leaves 25 teams with a realistic chance of having a realistic chance at making the playoffs, and thus, potentially being buyers at the trade deadline.
It’s basic economics from that point. Supply and demand, and the supply may be very limited.
Talk is beginning to heat up already about Jeff Samardzija, and Jason Hammel as Aaron Somers covered this afternoon, and their potential trades could be the first domino that triggers the rest of the trade market. No doubt the existence of the second wild card will make the market even more difficult to predict, as even the above mentioned clubs could find themselves within reach of a one game shot at the ALDS.
So while a Samardzija trade could be the first domino to fall, there may be a shortage of dominoes to follow. The beauty of it all is that Major League Baseball often finds ways to surprise us, and we all know there are out-of-the-box thinkers at the helm of many teams, so truly anything can happen between now and July 31st.
Just don’t hold your breath.