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The dumb teams that are going to ruin the lame trade deadline because of the stupid Wild Card

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These three teams are just a couple games away from a wild card spot, and they’re going to steal rumors away from us.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

If you like fun facts, look elsewhere. This is not a fun fact. From ESPN:

Since divisional play started in 1969, there's never been a season in which every division leader had at least a five-game lead heading into July -- until now. The O's, Indians, Rangers, Nats, Cubs, and Giants all have a cushion of five-plus games.

At least one of those teams is going to stumble, so don’t get too irritated. It takes one lousy three-game sweep to let a second-place team get right back in the race, and because of the unbalanced schedule, they’ll all play those second-place teams about 373 times before now and the end of the season. There will be a divisional race we care about.

But this is a reminder that there doesn’t have to be a divisional race we care about, which means we might be forced to care about the wild card races just a little too much. That’s okay. We’re a hardy people, us baseball fans. We can make do with some salted wild card excitement in the ol’ earthquake kit if need be.

The problem is that if all we have to look forward to is a wild card battle, that means that all of the teams not leading their division are also looking forward to a wild card battle. Which means there’s a scrum on the second tier. Which means the trade deadline has an excellent chance to be boring.

You can take my divisional races away, but get your filthy paws off my trade deadline, you monsters.

Look at this list of the teams more than five games away from a postseason spot halfway through the season:

  • A’s
  • Rays
  • Brewers
  • Diamondbacks
  • Phillies
  • Padres
  • Braves
  • Twins
  • Angels
  • Reds

Not a bad list of teams with something to deal -- the Rays might try to shelby some top prospects away for their starting pitchers, Ryan Braun could be traded, and I’m fascinated by what the Diamondbacks might do -- but there could be more. Nay, there should be more.

These are the teams, then, that are just a little too close to the wild card to give up, and they’re being selfish. It would be rude to suggest their hopes should just die already, but, well, their hopes should just die already.

New York Yankees

Will Andrew Miller move? Apparently the Yankees are asking for Kyle Schwarber who, even though he’s injured, has 40-homer potential and five years of team control left. That’s a $300-bottle-of-water-after-society-collapses price, but they might actually get something like that. They have the arms that the other teams crave, and they’re not going to be shy about it.

Except they’re three games behind the Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox for a wild card spot. This .500 team, this bedraggled mess, this team that can play like a van crashing into a retirement home, is just three games away from a postseason appearance. It’s been more than a month since we explored the Yankees at the crossroads, and there still isn’t a good answer for what they should do.

Considering the ages of everyone in the lineup, I’m leaning towards giving it one more shot. It’s unlikely that Miller and the rest of the bullpen will be devoid of value this offseason if things implode, and the Yankees know that rebuilding on the fly isn’t part of their brand.

Detroit Tigers

I’m not exactly sure who the Tigers would trade if they had a hankering for some rebuilding/reloading. It’s not like Miguel Cabrera is going anywhere. It’s not like anyone would touch Justin Upton’s contract with a 55-foot curveball. Two of their more productive players this year are youngsters, Jose Iglesias and Nick Castellanos. Mike Pelfrey isn’t pitching that well, which is weird, but I guess you can’t predict baseball.

Really, the only WOW-trade I could see happening is with Ian Kinsler, which would be extremely unlikely. He’s under contract for two more years at below-market prices, and he’s one of the sneaky-best players in baseball. If the Tigers want to consider themselves contenders in 2017 -- and you know they do -- they’re holding on to Kinsler.

All of those reasons, though, might be why another team goes into full screw-it mode and offers a Mark Teixeira-type prospect package. It was a trade that kick-started the Texas Rangers’ run of success in the early part of the decade, and we’re talking about a 33-year-old second baseman here. That’s the perfect player to deal in the Branch Rickey philosophy of "Better to deal a player a year too early than a year too late."

Alas, we’ll never know. Because the Tigers still think they’re in a postseason race. And they might actually be in a postseason race. So they’re going to take our rumors away, selfishly.

I’d love to speculate on some hot Kinsler action. Guessing at the PTBNL for Anibal Sanchez just doesn’t have the same pop.

Colorado Rockies

This is the one that kills me for a couple of reasons. First, the Rockies were responsible for DEADLINE MAYHEM last year, sending Troy Tulowitzki away to a team that won 54 of its last 53 games to win the AL East. Second, because Carlos Gonzalez might be the biggest impact bat on the market if he’s available.

Third, because we have to contemplate a world where we have to pay attention to the Rockies.

Their lineup should give them a chance to compete, though. Five of their eight lineup spots aren’t just filled with players teams would tolerate in the right situation, but players teams might actually covet. They’ll all be around next year, which gives them time to figure out the pitching situation. That was supposed to be the goal of this season, really, and Tyler Chatwood, Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson are making it look like the Rockies have a plan that might work for the first time since they won the pennant. So, even if the Rockies weren’t just four games out of the wild card, they might not have gone into full sell mode.

On the other hand, if the Rockies want pitchers around whatever youngsters they develop this year, they know they’re not going to get them in free agency, and they can’t depend on developing any more pitchers. Not when their franchise history suggests that will always be an uphill battle for them. So, if their strength is developing hitters, it’s far more likely that they’ll find another Charlie Blackmon or Carlos Gonzalez before they develop another Jon Gray, so this would be the perfect time to make a hitting-for-pitching deal and stock up for next year.

As of now, though, it’s probably not going to happen. The Rockies are sneaky contenders, and they might not deal a single player, not even Jake McGee. If you’re a rumor junkie, and I know you are, that’s an absolute shame.

All of these teams are messing up our sacrosanct rumor season, really. Everybody cross your fingers and root for a 14-game losing streak. How dare they quasi-contend without asking us first.