MLB Power Rankings: Each team's main objective at trade deadline

Dustin Bradford / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Welcome to the ninth edition of theScore's MLB Power Rankings. This week, we focus on each team ahead of the trade deadline.

1. Houston Astros

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
61-39 7-3 +144 3 (+2)

Get Byron Buxton: One of the league's best offenses has gone cold in July. While Buxton comes with significant injury risk, he boasts a top-five player ceiling, and the veteran could offer the spark Houston's lineup needs. Conventional wisdom may suggest the Astros add pitching, but there aren't really any holes on the club's rotation, and its bullpen has been bolstered nicely since Cristian Javier was removed from his starting role.

2. San Francisco Giants

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
62-37 5-5 +120 1 (-1)

Find an outfielder: The Giants have passed every test so far and they're not going away. So it's time to add an outfield bat and really challenge the Dodgers and Padres. There are enough outfielders available to ensure the team doesn't come away empty-handed. Buxton or Starling Marte could be a fit.

3. Chicago White Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
59-40 5-5 +115 4 (+1)

Second base: Eloy Jimenez is returning ahead of schedule, and he'll be an impact deadline acquisition of sorts. There are still a few holes on this roster, though, including at the keystone. With Nick Madrigal done for the season, finding a second baseman remains the priority for general manager Rick Hahn. The White Sox lost out on Adam Frazier, who went to the Padres. Eduardo Escobar would be a game-changer, as would Whit Merrifield if Chicago could pry him from the rival Royals.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
61-40 5-5 +146 2 (-2) 

Improve depth: A hallmark of this Dodgers era has been the team's depth, but that strength has been tested significantly this year. Corey Seager, Gavin Lux, and now Mookie Betts are all on the injured list, while Cody Bellinger missed a ton of time earlier and has been slow to find his groove. There's a need for pitching depth too, as Clayton Kershaw and Dustin May headline the seven hurlers on the IL, and Trevor Bauer could be gone for good. The Dodgers should consider waiting until the winter to add another top star, and instead seek more marginal but impactful players on both sides of the ball now.

5. Tampa Bay Rays

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
60-40 7-3 +92 5 (-)

Add starting pitching: Getting slugger Nelson Cruz from the Twins already addresses one need for the Rays, but they could use another starter with Tyler Glasnow likely out for the year. That may sound strange after they just traded Rich Hill to the Mets, but Tampa Bay is often a buyer and seller simultaneously, and the club is among the best at both. Don't be surprised if the Rays acquire Kyle Gibson or Jose Berrios before the deadline.

Winslow Townson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

6. Boston Red Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
61-39 6-4 +68 6 (-) 

Acquire first base help: Bobby Dalbec is struggling, and the club ranks 28th in OPS at first base. While Anthony Rizzo would be the most exciting talent to acquire with his left-handed bat, the slugger's contract would be tough for the Red Sox to add if they want to remain under the luxury tax. Less expensive players like Jesus Aguilar, Jonathan Schoop, or C.J. Cron could fit better.

7. San Diego Padres

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
58-44 5-5 +93 7 (-)

Add pitching: Yes, San Diego traded for Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove during the offseason. But as Dinelson Lamet's recurring injury and Adrian Morejon's Tommy John surgery have proven, a contender can never stockpile too much pitching. Additionally, there's a whole bullpen's worth of relievers on the IL in San Diego. While Joey Gallo is certainly appealing and Frazier - acquired Sunday from the Pirates - will boost the lineup, the Padres' pitching staff needs the most help for the home stretch.

8. Oakland Athletics

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
56-45 5-5 +39 8 (-) 

Upgrade at shortstop: It's been a disaster offensively and defensively for Oakland at shortstop. Offensively, only the Reds and Pirates have received worse production at the position. Defensively, the club's shortstops have combined for minus-2 defensive runs saved (20th). The A's need to find a significant upgrade over Elvis Andrus if they're serious about contending. Trevor Story would certainly be nice, but their situation is so dire that the A's can still improve drastically if they decide to look elsewhere.

9. Milwaukee Brewers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
58-42 5-5 +65 10 (+1)

Find some bats: Milwaukee's pitching is propelling the team to an NL Central title, but the lineup is a bit thin. Trades for shortstop Willy Adames and first baseman Rowdy Tellez have been attempts to address that problem, and the early returns on both are great. But those two aren't enough. At least one more bopper to slot in alongside Christian Yelich (who's producing a subpar year) would be most welcomed. Third base remains a hole, and perhaps someone like Josh Donaldson could be a match if the Brewers can make it work financially.

Steven Ryan / Getty Images Sport / Getty

10. New York Mets

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
52-44 5-5 +12 9 (-1)

Beef up the bullpen: The Mets landed Hill from the Rays to help after their rash of starting-rotation injuries, but they could still use some additional arms. New York's bullpen has been pedestrian (14th in fWAR, 15th in ERA) despite posting decent strikeout numbers, so perhaps the Mets pursue someone like the Pirates' Richard Rodriguez. The front office has already discussed Rodriguez and Tyler Anderson with the Pirates.

11. Cincinnati Reds

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
51-48 4-6 -19 11 (-)

Go for it: The Reds didn't bring in the likes of Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas (presently injured) to fold at the end of July, even if they're seven games out in the NL Central. Don't trade Sonny Gray or Luis Castillo, or even Wade Miley, and instead pursue a big-ticket starter (Max Scherzer) and relief help (Brad Hand, Taylor Rogers). Cincinnati can't deal away the farm (Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo should be untouchable), but there will be other options. This team hasn't won a playoff series since 1995. It's time for the Reds to put their foot on the gas.

12. Toronto Blue Jays

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
49-46 5-5 +86 12 (-)

Add controllable starting pitching: The Blue Jays are loaded with young talent and they have payroll flexibility, giving them the ammo for a deal involving pitchers with multiple years of control. Berrios or All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel are available, and they could help Toronto in both 2021 and 2022. It's time for the Jays to start acting a bit more like the Padres.

13. New York Yankees

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
51-47 5-5 +5 13 (-)

Bolster the outfield: The Yankees started Greg Allen, Estevan Florial, and Ryan LaMarre in the outfield for games against the Red Sox this past weekend. Aaron Judge will be back this week, but New York needs additional help and would benefit from more athleticism in its lineup. Marte or Merrifield would fit.

Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty

14. Philadelphia Phillies

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
49-49 5-5 -23 14 (-)

Get bullpen help, most importantly a closer: Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said he plans to be aggressive before the deadline. The club's relievers rank 19th in ERA and are tied for first with 23 blown saves. The team has been linked to Kimbrel, and Dombrowski knows him well from their time together with the Red Sox.

15. Seattle Mariners

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
54-46 6-4 -52 18 (+3)

Second base: The Mariners are hanging around in the wild-card race. Shoring up second base is a must if they choose to buy and make a push to end their 19-year playoff drought. Mariners second basemen have been the MLB's worst in 2021, and there's no way they can shock the world without an upgrade. Seattle is reportedly pushing for Merrifield, who's exactly the kind of player the club needs.

16. St. Louis Cardinals

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
50-50 6-4 -35 20 (+4)

Resist the urge to buy: The NL Central is weak, but the Cardinals just aren't in a position to make a convincing run at the division or go deep in the postseason. Though injuries have plagued their rotation all year, the Cardinals' offense has been largely punchless outside Nolan Arenado. However, there are no quick fixes, and landing someone like Scherzer on an expiring contract won't be enough. It's time for a new era in St. Louis with Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, and Matt Carpenter all hitting free agency this winter.

17. Atlanta Braves

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
48-50 4-6 +37 17 (-)

Find better outfielders: Adding Joc Pederson and Stephen Vogt appeared to signal the Braves aren't giving up on the season, but there's still plenty of holes for the team to fill. A better starting outfielder than Guillermo Heredia or Abraham Almonte would help, and so would another starting pitcher. Gallo is available, but a reunion with Adam Duvall seems more likely. Gibson, Jon Gray, or Merrill Kelly could be pretty affordable if Atlanta seeks a starter.

18. Cleveland Indians

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
49-48 4-6 -31 16 (-2)

Make more tough decisions: The Indians are in a tough spot. They're playing .500 ball while nine games back of the White Sox in their division and six out of a playoff spot. Their offense is among the league's worst, so a bat would help if they plan to contend. But Jose Ramirez trade rumors have begun to surface, which means the Indians could clean house. If they go that route, expect Cesar Hernandez and Eddie Rosario to be playing elsewhere by the end of the month.

Quinn Harris / Getty Images Sport / Getty

19. Chicago Cubs

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
49-51 5-5 -21 15 (-4)

Retool: They may not be calling it a rebuild, so we'll honor their wishes and label it retooling. Whatever term you use, it's clear the current glorious era of Cubs baseball will unofficially end on July 30 once Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and many more are traded. Jed Hoyer needs to cash in every one of his pending free agents (and Kimbrel) before it's too late.

20. Los Angeles Angels

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
49-49 5-5 -29 19 (-1)

Get controllable pitching: GM Perry Minasian is well aware of the Angels' biggest weakness, and he began to address it by using all 20 picks during this year's draft on pitching. Still, since projecting when any selection will reach the majors is a crapshoot, it will benefit the Angels to make acquiring controllable pitching a priority. This season increasingly looks like a wash even with Mike Trout coming back, but the team's offensive core (Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon, David Fletcher, and Jared Walsh) is good enough on paper to make Los Angeles a future contender. The Angels' best path is moving the pitchers on their roster who are about to hit free agency (Alex Cobb, Raisel Iglesias, Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney) with sights on 2022.

21. Washington Nationals

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
45-53 3-7 -26 21 (-)

Go for it, or send Mad Max packing: Mike Rizzo and Co. aren't known for throwing in the towel easily (hello, 2019), but this season might be an outlier. Washington is eight games below .500 while struggling through a 5-15 month. Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber, and Brad Hand, among others, are all likely trade candidates if the team doesn't turn things around quickly.

22. Detroit Tigers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
47-54 7-3 -57 25 (+3)

Hold tight: The Tigers could deal Schoop or Robbie Grossman, and they should if the offer is right. But those two won't yield much of note. The trade deadline went sideways for the Tigers when pitchers Matthew Boyd, Julio Teheran, Jose Urena, Spencer Turnbull, and Michael Fulmer all went down with long-term injuries. Detroit was more likely to recoup value on the trade market from that group.

23. Miami Marlins

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
43-57 4-6 +1 22 (-1)

Get younger on offense: Marte, Aguilar, and Duvall are all likely to be dealt, with adding youth to the offensive core the prime objective. Miami's collection of young arms both at the MLB level and in the minors is solid, but the injured Jazz Chisholm and Jesus Sanchez will need some serious help in the lineup going forward, especially since top-hitting prospect JJ Bleday has struggled during his first taste of Double-A.

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

24. Colorado Rockies

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
43-56 5-5 -58 24 (-)

Get something for Trevor Story: Rockies interim GM Bill Schmidt has mused about holding Story beyond the deadline, but it will be an absolute shock if the shortstop isn't in another uniform by Friday. Story has, by all accounts, indicated he won't re-sign with the Rockies. That might make Schmidt's task of getting a quality return somewhat difficult, but a couple of prospects would also be better than a compensation draft pick. The Rockies need to fully turn the page on this era of their franchise.

25. Kansas City Royals

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
42-55 6-4 -87 27 (+2)

Let go of vets: Dayton Moore and the Royals have long resisted the urge to trade players like Merrifield and Danny Duffy, but it's time to move on from them. Duffy is tricky because his 10-5 rights started, but he could waive those rights. Regardless, the Royals need to earnestly commit to their rebuild as some of the club's young players inch toward the majors.

26. Minnesota Twins

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
42-58 3-7 -71 23 (-3)

Decide the future of Berrios, Buxton: The Twins have reportedly approached both stars about extensions, but if little progress is made, the front office should aggressively shop the pair and take advantage of a seller's market. Minnesota doesn't necessarily need to blow things up, and the Twins could easily reset in time for 2022, especially if they can acquire major-league ready pieces now.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
38-61 5-5 -122 28 (+1)

Keep selling: The Pirates need to tear their roster down even further after sending Frazier to the Padres. The next logical step is to move outfielder Bryan Reynolds, who's enjoying an incredible bounce-back campaign. He should fetch a better return than Frazier, as Reynolds isn't eligible to hit free agency until after the 2025 season.

28. Texas Rangers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
35-65 0-10 -112 26 (-2)

Trade Gallo if an extension can't be reached: Gallo wants to stay with the Rangers. But he's not going to give Texas a discount, so the reeling club needs to make a decision on his future ASAP. If the two sides can't find common ground, the Rangers will need to assess whether they're better off building around Gallo or the potential assets that would be coming back, factoring in that their competition window isn't realistically opening for several more years.

29. Baltimore Orioles

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
32-64 4-6 -133 29 (-)

Trade 'em if you got 'em: The Orioles are clearly sellers and should deal whatever assets they can. While a Trey Mancini trade would be unpopular among the fan base, he'd net them the biggest return. Baltimore should also try to find trade partners for Tanner Scott and Paul Fry while their value is high. The team might even be able to deal Matt Harvey for something. The veteran hurler hasn't allowed a run over his last two starts.

30. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
31-70 5-5 -150 30 (-)

Sell everybody: It's been a very difficult, if slightly unexpected, season for the D-Backs. But this tough campaign also could be good for a club that's spent the last few years making moves to both rebuild (trading Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke) and contend (signing Madison Bumgarner). Arizona is now obviously in rebuild mode, and it's time to accept and embrace that reality. Trade Escobar, David Peralta, and even Ketel Marte and start fresh.

MLB Power Rankings: Each team's main objective at trade deadline
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