That Houston covets another ace-type starter has been among the worst-kept secrets in the sport since the offseason. But now that the AL West race is all but over, it’s time to find that arm for the postseason.
Troy TaorminaTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
It’s nearly impossible to imagine a team that is nine games under .500 declaring “postseason or bust,” especially a team with a history of dealing veterans and one still in a rebuild. Honestly, what Oakland needs most is a losing streak that knocks it out of wild-card contention.
Cary EdmondsonCary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Finally getting Aaron Sanchez healthy would be nice, as would getting consistent production from the corner outfield spots. Jose Bautista is a fixture in right field for the rest of this season, so an upgrade over Ezequiel Carrera in left is the move.
Dan HamiltonDan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
The good news is that Edwin Encarnacion finally is hitting. The bad news is that most of their starters still aren’t pitching. Beyond Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, the rotation has been frustratingly subpar. Cleveland doesn’t need to add an ace — just a reliable arm.
Rick OsentoskiRick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Every time an impact player comes off the DL, another seems to take his place. With ace Felix Hernandez (shoulder) due back Friday and shortstop Jean Segura (ankle) on the horizon, Seattle has a chance to make a charge. Adding a reliever would help.
Bob DeChiaraBob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The expected return of closer Zach Britton should stabilize a rocky relief corps, though J.J. Hardy’s broken wrist creates a void at shortstop. But there’s no way Baltimore will remain in the playoff chase without upgrading its rotation (its 5.60 ERA is 29th in MLB).
Evan HabeebEvan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
With Tyson Ross finally on the mound and Cole Hamels (oblique) on the mend, the rotation will soon be formidable. Not surprisingly, the bullpen remains Texas' biggest flaw.
Tim HeitmanTim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Their rotation depth is enviable, and their catcher issues could be solved with the upcoming season debut of Wilson Ramos (remember him?). If Mallex Smith struggles to replace the injured Kevin Kiermaier (hip) in center, though, another outfielder will be needed.
Kim KlementKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The bullpen has been superb recently and Eduardo Rodriguez (knee) should rejoin the rotation soon, meaning Boston can focus on upgrading at the hot corner. It has become quite clear that Pablo Sandoval — now on the DL with an ear infection — isn’t the answer.
Bill StreicherBill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Left for dead just a week ago, Kansas City suddenly is playing its best baseball of the season. But the Royals are getting nothing from their corner outfielders or shortstop, making another bat a bigger priority than a starter to serve as a placeholder until Danny Duffy (oblique) returns.
Peter AikenPeter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit has absolutely no business buying — not with a rotation that is nearly equally as inept as their bullpen. But if Justin Verlander suddenly gets hot and the front office decides to go for it, adding a late-inning reliever tops the priority list.
Winslow TownsonWinslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
The rotation is full of question marks after Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios, and Minnesota’s relievers are last in the majors with a 5.21 ERA. While the Twins’ bats and gloves can keep them in games, the bullpen needs a boost.
USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
Any lineup additions should arrive from the minor leagues, but if there’s really a chance to cancel/postpone the fire sale … perhaps add a bat to a lineup that ranks 21st in on-base percentage (.320) and 18th in slugging percentage (.420).
David BanksDavid Banks-USA TODAY Sports
There’s a big void at first base and an upgrade at third would be nice, but those concerns are secondary. With CC Sabathia (hamstring) likely sidelined several more weeks and Masahiro Tanaka struggling, a frontline starter should be the focus.