MLB Power Rankings: Post-deadline stretch run about to begin

Trevor Bauer during his tenure with Cleveland. (Fred Thornhill/CP)

With Major League Baseball’s one and only July 31 trade deadline in the rearview, the stretch run to the post-season is officially underway.

There are about 15 teams (half of the entire major leagues) who, based on the current standings, all could realistically be playing October baseball and the moves some of these clubs made at or in the immediate lead-up to the deadline could go a long way to determining how the playoff chase will shake down.

Take the Cleveland Indians, for example. They came out looking good from a difficult situation with Trevor Bauer, trading the 28-year-old stud right-hander by bolstering their offence with some solid pickups in Franmil Reyes from the San Diego Padres and Yasiel Puig from the Cincinnati Reds.

Cleveland is currently holding down the top American League wild-card spot, and while its rotation certainly took a hit with the drone enthusiast no longer available to take the hill for the team every five days or so, it still appears as if the Tribe isn’t satisfied with its current lot in the standings.

The addition of Reyes and Puig should give a boost to a below-league-average offence and help keep the team somewhat on par with the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins’ bruising lineup. Additionally, the emergence of all-star Shane Bieber and the impending returns of ace Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar figures to help mitigate the departure of Bauer and help Cleveland possibly catch the Twins for the division crown.

Another team that strengthened itself was the Houston Astros.

The clear big winners of the entire hectic period, the Astros added six-time all-star and 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke to an already stacked starting pitching rotation that features the likes of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Houston isn’t involved in a playoff run as it holds a commanding lead over the rest of the AL West, but what the team does clearly appear to be chasing is another World Series title, a cry made even louder thanks to the deafening silence of other presumed World Series favourites at the deadline such as the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

But those looking to reinforce their clubs to position themselves better weren’t the only teams making moves at the deadline. Though the pool of teams was smaller, there were a few who were actively looking to sell off assets, with the most obvious being the Toronto Blue Jays.

Top of mind for Blue Jays fans were the trades of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini — holdovers from two short years of relevance in 2015 and 2016 the club enjoyed since winning the World Series back-to-back in 1992 and 1993.

Toronto also dealt Eric Sogard and Daniel Hudson and likely were looking to deal closer Ken Giles as well, but a poorly-timed elbow injury killed that possibility.

The haul the Blue Jays got in return for the players they did manage to deal can be described as questionable at best and the actual need to trade Sanchez (to Houston no less) is also head-scratching but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Blue Jays appear to be a team that will be pushing 100 losses this season and had no choice but try to acquire something for their veteran pieces as their youth movement is now in full swing.

So, with teams rosters now set in stone for the playoff push — barring any September call-ups, of course — here’s a look at this week’s MLB Power Rankings, projecting what teams could be thanks to their deadline acquisitions and departures.

1 (3) Houston Astros

2 (1) Los Angeles Dodgers

3 (2) New York Yankees

4 (4) Minnesota Twins

5 (5) Tampa Bay Rays

6 (8) Cleveland Indians

7 (6) Atlanta Braves

8 (7) Chicago Cubs

9 (10) Oakland Athletics

10 (12) Boston Red Sox

11 (15) Washington Nationals

12 (14) St. Louis Cardinals

13 (9) Milwaukee Brewers

14 (11) Philadelphia Phillies

15 (13) Arizona Diamondbacks

16 (18) San Francisco Giants

17 (22) New York Mets

18 (17) Los Angeles Angels

19 (16) Texas Rangers

20 (23) Cincinnati Reds

21 (20) San Diego Padres

22 (19) Colorado Rockies

23 (24) Pittsburgh Pirates

24 (27) Toronto Blue Jays

25 (26) Seattle Mariners

26 (21) Chicago White Sox

27 (28) Miami Marlins

28 (25) Kansas City Royals

29 (30) Baltimore Orioles

30 (29) Detroit Tigers

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.