Movers and shakers

Before I run off to do, gulp, news reporting, I thought I’d share my list of five teams that need to make a move before baseball’s July 31 trading deadline.

5. St. Louis Cardinals – After the Brewers went out and got CC Sabathia and the Cubs traded for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin, the Cards suddenly find themselves as the third-best team (on paper) in the N.L. Central.

Tony LaRussa’s club sits in second at the moment, 4.5 games behind the Cubbies and a half-game better than Milwaukee. Pitching would help, as the Cards are a bit wounded in the rotation with Adam Wainright and Mark Mulder ailing and a bit shaky in the pen – Ryan Franklin is serving as the closer.

Potential targets – Brian Fuentes (Colorado), Erik Bedard and J.J. Putz (Seattle)

4. Texas Rangers – Not many folks had this team pegged to be over .500 in mid-July, but thanks to a strong offense and decent pitching, the Rangers are 48-44 and just 6.5 games back of the first-place Angels.

I know Arlington is not exactly a pitcher’s paradise, but can you imagine how could Texas could be if they had a pitcher that had an ERA under 4.20? With this offense and a little pitching help, this team could make a run.

Potential targets – Bedard (Seattle), Joe Blanton (A’s), A.J. Burnett (Toronto) or Paul Byrd (Cleveland)

3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Is it me, or has this team needed a bat for about the last five years?

They’ve got good starting pitchers, a great bullpen and an ordinary offense. Time to come off some of those hot prospects in AAA and AA and get a stick.

Potential targets – Matt Holiday (Colorado), Jason Bay and Xavier Nady (Pittsburgh) or Adam Dunn (Cincinnati)

2. Tampa Bay Rays – Raise your hand if you picked the Rays to be in first place in the A.L. East on July 10? Anyone? Bueller?

This is a great story, but it isn’t going to fly without some help in the pen, or perhaps even another bat.

Potential targets – Fuentes, Damaso Marte (Pittsburgh), Jon Rauch (Washington), Raul Ibanez (Seattle) or Holiday

1. New York Yankees – The Bronx Bombers are in real danger of missing the postseason for the first time since the Clinton administration (1994).

They need some pitching help. Badly. An outfield bat wouldn’t hurt, either. It will be interesting to see if Brian Cashman wants to trade his young prospects to try to stay with the Rays and Red Sox. I’m guessing he doesn’t want to, but he’ll get over-ruled by upper management.

Potential targets – Blanton, Byrd, Bedard, Fuentes, Holiday, Bay, Dunn and Nady

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