Before we realize it, the eight weeks between now and the MLB Trade Deadline will have passed and major baseball decisions will be staring teams in the face.

With nearly 40 percent of the regular season played, there is a decent enough understanding of which teams to expect to contend in each league.

At the very least, there is a clearer picture of how teams should be approaching the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

Here, we project the most relevant teams into six tiers: buyers, sellers, teams in between, big spenders who are underperforming and a few others in a rare position.




The arms race so many anticipated in the NL East has not exactly materialized. Atlanta is the class of the division and has the best record in the NL.

They also lead the NL in run differential, OPS and sport the lowest ERA. It's actually remarkable how Atlanta has pulled this off, considering injuries to Max Fried, Kyle Wright and Ian Anderson in their rotation.

To make good on this run, it's only sensible for general manager Alex Anthopoulos to aggressively shop the market for starting pitchers at the trade deadline.

Pitchers like Shane Bieber and Marcus Stroman are among those who could be available and shore up Atlanta's rotation.

Houston Astros

Houston and Atlanta are similar in a lot of ways, but specifically in how it relates to the trade deadline. Both are missing key pieces to their rotation and performing in spite of it.

The Astros let Justin Verlander walk in free agency, then lost Lance McCullers Jr., Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy to significant injuries.

All-Star Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and rookie Hunter Brown are doing just fine at the top of their rotation, with another rookie J.P. France and Brandon Bielak admirably picking up the slack.

But how long can the Astros rely on this group to lead them to the lowest ERA in baseball?

First-year general manager Dana Brown, who worked closely with Anthopoulos in Atlanta, and should be thinking along the same lines.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are in the unusual spot of scrapping among the NL contenders, rather than being a clear-cut favorite.

They are currently the NL Wild-Card leader, but 1.5 games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL West lead.

Pitching has suffered in Los Angeles because of injuries to Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Dustin May and Daniel Hudson.

Even the Dodgers would have to acknowledge this is one of the least consistent teams they have produced in this impressive run over the past decade. The bullpen has been a nightly adventure and need reinforcements.

They have shown a history of making big deadline deals and they need it now more desperately than ever.

New York Yankees

The Yankees enter Friday 0.5 games up on Astros for the final two AL Wild Card spots. Both are considered serious contenders for the 2023 World Series even if they fail to win their respective divisions.

With that in mind, expect the Yankees to be active at the deadline. Like the Dodgers, the Yankees have a tendency to make moves. Just look at them trading for Frankie Montas, Harrison Bader, Lou Trivino and Andrew Benintendi last year.

We talked earlier about the arms race in the NL East and it's similar with the AL counterpart.

Only the American League is even more competitive. Every AL East team was .500 or better before Boston's loss on Thursday, and only two of the five AL West teams were below .500.