The MLB trade deadline is on July 30, which is nine days from now.
Teams are letting these last few games before that date help them decide their approach.
There are already buyers and sellers, but several MLB teams are stuck in a middle ground right now.
Here are three of them.
3. Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals are in a weird spot.
They are currently 45-49, and one would think they are far from the first-ranked team in the National League East.
That is not the case, however, as the Nats are only five games behind the New York Mets.
The Nats are 8.5 games away from the second Wild Card spot, so they actually have a better chance of winning the division.
The problem for them, however, is that they have to overcome not only the Mets, but also two other teams on their way to the top: the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies.
As of now, with nine days to go before the deadline passes, Washington doesn’t have conclusive evidence of whether they should buy or sell.
Mike Rizzo says he believes the Nationals are buyers right now but will take a “dual approach” of dropping lines as sellers, too. Said that means they will likely act pretty close to the deadline, meaning the next 7-10 days will decide the ultimate direction.
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 20, 2021
If they decide to sell, they could get a very good return for ace Max Scherzer, who has a 2.83 ERA in 18 starts so far.
2. Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds are also in a difficult position.
Before Wednesday’s games, they are 49-46, 6.5 games behind the division leaders, the Milwaukee Brewers.
They had a good chance to come closer this weekend, but were swept by the Brewers.
That left the Reds in an uncomfortable spot: they are flawed, but talented, as their positive record suggests.
Ace Luis Castillo is back on track after a disastrous start of the season, and the offense is in good hands with Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos plus the surging Jonathan India and the veteran Joey Votto.
The problem is, they are currently too far back in the division.
The Wild Card is also achievable, as they are currently five games behind the second and final spot, currently occupied by the San Diego Padres.
Still, five games isn’t something they could overcome in a week or two, realistically.
Lots of things would need to happen for the Reds to take one of those spots, so they still don’t know if they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline.
These next 7 games decide rather the Reds will be buyers or sellers
— GML (@Redsfan1150) July 8, 2021
1. Cleveland Indians
The 47-45 Cleveland Indians have had the season you would expect from a team with several top pieces, but also without stellar players they have traded over the years.
They are currently second in the American League Central division, but they are miles away from the Chicago White Sox (58-37) both on paper and in the standings.
Cleveland could theoretically compete for the second Wild Card, given that they currently are 5.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the last spot.
However, they would also need to overcome three teams placed in front of them besides the A’s.
As a potential incentive to buy, or at least make a couple of modest improvements here and there, is the impending return of ace Shane Bieber, who is out with a shoulder strain but should return in a few weeks.
However, it remains to be seen what Cleveland does, as they are no strangers to selling at the MLB trade deadline.