Just when you start to count out the Twins and A's, they reel off winning streaks and re-enter the contention picture. Right now, only six teams are at least eight games out of their division or wild card: the Orioles, Royals, Marlins, Cubs, Astros, and Padres.
Some teams may prefer to make trades now, to get an extra month from their acquisition. That means the best of the trade market looks like this, assuming the six non-contenders will listen on these players, their contracts don't prevent deals, and the players are healthy:
- Hitters: J.J. Hardy, Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, Luke Scott, Vladimir Guerrero, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francoeur, Wilson Betemit, Omar Infante, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Jeff Baker, Carlos Pena, Reed Johnson, Hunter Pence, Jeff Keppinger, Carlos Lee, Michael Bourn, Clint Barmes, Ryan Ludwick, Brad Hawpe
- Starting pitchers: Jeremy Guthrie, Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies, Javier Vazquez, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Doug Davis, Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Aaron Harang
- Relievers: Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara, Kevin Gregg, Mike Gonzalez, Joakim Soria, Leo Nunez, Randy Choate, John Grabow, Kerry Wood, Chad Qualls, Heath Bell
Cross off the Cubs players with crazy contracts and the Astros and Orioles who may never hit the market, and there's not much out there aside from relievers right now. In theory, the state of the market should improve the return for guys like Ludwick and Francis, at least until more sellers show up.