07/25/11 2:43 PM ET
This year's Trade Deadline should be busy
By Mitch Williams / MLB.com
Let's start with the American League. As usual, the Yankees will be busy at the deadline. They have done a great job to this point, with pitchers like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia exceeding expectations, but the Yankees will need another front-line starter to have a chance to advance to the World Series. Considering how things are falling apart in Seattle -- a 15-game losing streak and 15 games under .500 -- the Mariners should be willing to part with Felix Hernandez if they can get back some of the huge prospects in the Yankees' farm system.
Boston also will look to add starting pitching due to the injuries it has endured. The Rays will be sellers. They are a team that has won over the past couple of years with young players under club control. I wouldn't be surprised if B.J. Upton or James Shields is wearing a different uniform after the Deadline.
Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland will be buyers in the AL Central. Having lost Grady Sizemore to another injury, Upton could be a good fit for the Indians, who, shockingly, have put themselves in position to compete in the second half of the season. The White Sox will be looking for starting pitching and maybe a proven closer. Heath Bell makes sense there. Detroit might very well do something, but I think the Tigers are the only team in the AL Central that could stand pat and still win the division. The Twins and Royals will be in a selling mode.
In the AL West, the Rangers will be looking for pitching. They have a potent offense but could use help in the starting rotation and the bullpen. The Angels will try to find offensive help, while the A's and Mariners are sellers, trying to add solid prospects for the future.
Now, to the National League. The defending champion Giants are built around great pitching, but they are in need of a power bat for the middle of the order. Ditto for the Phillies and Braves.
The Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates are competing for the NL Central crown, and each team will be trying to add pitching help. Despite trading for Francisco Rodriguez, the Brewers still could use bullpen help. The Pirates are in the market for starting pitching, and the Cardinals could use both.
No one can say for certain what will happen between now and Sunday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, but be assured the Braves and Phillies will be in heavy pursuit of Carlos Beltran. He's a rental, considering he's a free agent at the end of the year.
I don't see the Phillies being able to land him because: 1) They have traded away many of their top prospects over the past couple of years; and 2) they are the Phillies, and Mets fans would be extremely upset if the Mets did anything to make the Phillies better. So, I see the Braves winning that deal.
Regardless, I think Trade Deadline 2011 will be one of the busiest we have seen in years. As we sit here today, the largest lead in any division belongs to the Phillies, who have a six-game lead over the Braves. There are 10 teams within 4 1/2 games of first place in their divisions. It should be exciting.
Mitch Williams is a studio analyst for MLB Network. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.