Rating All 30 Teams Before MLB Trade Deadline

Is your favorite team a contender, a pretender or somewhere in between?

We are seven weeks away from the MLB trade deadline, which this year is August 1st. Since we are now in mid-June, there is enough data to determine which teams are contenders and which are pretenders. But the water muddies in the middle. Teams on the fringe have to figure out whether they have a shot at the playoffs or not. A wrong decision can have an adverse effect not just on the rest of this season, but the ones to come.

That is the goal of this exercise. Determining which categories the teams belong in. What I will not be doing is determining all of the needs of these teams. So check out where your team (or rival) is as trade season starts to get serious.




Tampa Bay Rays: Been the best team in baseball since Opening Day.

Texas Rangers: Surprisingly better than expected this season and on top of the American League West.

Atlanta Braves: Winner of the National League East the last five years are looking like the best team in the NL this season.

Baltimore Orioles: The rebuild is over. The Baby Birds are here to stay.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The biggest positive surprise in MLB this season is the unlikely leader of the NL West thanks to a promising young corps.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The perennial big dog of the NL is still that, but has had to navigate injuries to the starting rotation.

Houston Astros: The reigning World Series champs haven’t hit their stride yet and will be a factor in the AL playoff push.

New York Yankees: The Bombers have had noteworthy holes since a rather uneventful offseason. Still, they are in the thick of the AL East.


Contenders With Questions


Miami Marlins: Another upstart team in the NL.

Toronto Blue Jays: Perhaps the most disappointing team in the AL, they haven’t shown the skills that made them a chic World Series pick.

Milwaukee Brewers: With the Cardinals’ struggles, the Brewers should be running away with the NL Central. But they just got swept by the lowly A’s.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Even without Oneil Cruz, the Bucs have continued to be in the thick of the NL Central race and the fan base deserves seeing this team go for it.

Los Angeles Angels: This is too obvious. If the Angels don’t show Shohei Ohtani that they are serious about winning, he is even more out the door than is assumed.

Minnesota Twins: The AL Central is the worst division in MLB, with the Twins in first place.

New York Mets: The team with the highest payroll in MLB history, yet in fourth place in the NL East. They should be active, but as a buyer or seller?


Pretenders With Hope


Boston Red Sox: Despite being above .500, the Red Sox are in last place in the AL East. All three AL wild-card teams could come from this division and the Red Sox would not be one of them at this moment.

San Francisco Giants: Truly, 2021 was a fluke. As the team reshapes itself and brings up young players to mix with veterans, they are still hovering just above .500 and within striking distance of a playoff berth.

Seattle Mariners: Do you think Jerry Dipoto is going to stand pat with a struggling club at the deadline? Not a chance.

San Diego Padres: The team with MLB’s third-highest payroll has been up and down all season.

Philadelphia Phillies: The defending NL pennant winner has been very below average and has a record just below .500.

Cincinnati Reds: One player’s presence has helped to elevate the Reds up a level. Now, how do the Reds add around Elly De La Cruz.

Cleveland Guardians: The reigning AL Central champion has been underperforming, but in this division they can still rebound and be a threat.




Detroit Tigers: As recent as June 2, the Tigers were in second place in the AL Central. A nine-game losing streak, snapped Monday, has them in fourth.

Chicago Cubs: There was a little hope early in the season, but the Cubs have regressed to who they really are this season. Wait till next year?

Washington Nationals: The Nationals have finished last or tied for last in each season since winning the 2019 World Series. They are currently in last place again.

St. Louis Cardinals: The most enigmatic team in MLB this season after opening the year as the clear-cut favorite in the NL Central. They are one of the worst teams in the NL.

Chicago White Sox: Another puzzling team, the White Sox have some of the talent to be a contender, yet are nowhere close to .500.

Colorado Rockies: When you figure out what the Rockies are doing, please let us know.

Kansas City Royals: The hope was to make progress after a 65-97 season and making a managerial change. Yet this young group has gone backwards.

Oakland A’s: What John Fisher has allowed to happen to this roster is a farce.

Steve Drumwright

Steve Drumwright is a lifelong baseball fan who retired as a player before he had the chance to be cut from the freshman team in high school. He recovered to become a sportswriter and have a successful journalism career at newspapers in Wisconsin and California. Follow him on Twitter and Threads @DrummerWrites.

2 responses to “Rating All 30 Teams Before MLB Trade Deadline”

  1. John says:

    I think you guys forgot to rank the yankees

  2. Al says:

    29 teams ranked. I guess the Yanks don’t warrant any mention?

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