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Trade Deadline questions for AL East clubs - MLB.com

Trade Deadline questions for AL East clubs - MLB.com
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A look at the American League East standings show a race between the Yankees and Rays, the two teams most people expected to jockey for first place throughout the season. The team hot on their heels, however, is quite a surprise. Fresh off a last-place season that saw them win

A look at the American League East standings show a race between the Yankees and Rays, the two teams most people expected to jockey for first place throughout the season.

The team hot on their heels, however, is quite a surprise.

Fresh off a last-place season that saw them win only 54 games, the Orioles are off to a solid start, opening the year 8-7. Baltimore could find itself in the position of playoff contender next month -- though with the Trade Deadline less than three weeks away, it remains to be seen whether general manager Mike Elias will be a buyer or seller by Aug. 31.

All five teams in the division -- including the sub-.500 Blue Jays and Red Sox -- have some major internal questions to answer before the aforementioned Trade Deadline. Here’s a look at one key issue facing each team:

Blue Jays: What s the cause of the lineup woes?

The Blue Jays have been one of baseball s worst teams hitting with runners on base or in scoring position. It s been a parade of solo home runs early in 2020, which carries plenty of weight when you re playing games as consistently close as the Blue Jays have been.

If this is tough luck to some extent and balances itself out naturally, then the Blue Jays are in business. If it s the symptom of a larger issue at the plate for this young lineup stocked with aggressive swingers, then the Blue Jays will need to take a long, hard look at fixing that for 2021. -- Keegan Matheson

Orioles: Can they actually contend?

The Orioles are defying expectations in this condensed season despite being committed to their long-term rebuilding plan. Can anything really happen in a 60-game sprint?

If the Orioles keep holding their own, they need to decide whether to be surprise buyers at the Deadline or to tread forward with their goals to build toward the future, which would mean selling some veterans for more prospects for their improving system. -- Joe Trezza

Rays: Do they have enough pitching?

This is an unexpected question for the Rays, who rely heavily on their pitching staff. Coming into the season, the Rays felt confident about the pitching depth on the active roster and on the 60-man player pool, but even they couldn’t have predicted just how much attrition has happened with the pitching staff over the first three weeks of the season.
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