With the All-Star Game now in the rear view mirror, teams are really starting to set their eyes on the beginning of the postseason. The trade deadline is just days away, and we’ve already started to see some jockeying by the league’s top contenders. Let’s get to it!

Multiple Contenders Make Moves

We’re still a few days away from the July 31st trade deadline, but that doesn’t mean that teams are waiting for that day to come around. In fact, there were 5 trades made this week, with each one having the ability to impact the playoff race. 

First, the New York Yankees kicked things off by acquiring Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres after years of trade rumors surrounding the third baseman. He’s off to a great start in the Bronx, collecting a walk-off hit in his first game with the team. For what the Yankees gave up (essentially nothing), this could be a great move. In addition to grabbing Headley, the Yanks picked up left-hander Chris Capuano from the Colorado Rockies; he should be able to adequately fill the void for a lefty in their rotation.

Next up was the Detroit Tigers, who carried on their recent penchant for Texas Rangers relief pitchers by picking up Joakim Soria in return for two prospects. With the struggles that former Ranger Joe Nathan has experienced this year, this was a move that the Tigers had to make. The addition of Soria could be a game-changer for one of baseball’s best teams.

Staying in the Midwest, the Minnesota Twins shipped Kendrys Morales back to the Seattle Mariners after he had spent just 39 games with the team. The Mariners are looking to compete for a playoff birth this year and getting Morales’ bat back certainly won’t hinder them in doing so.

The last move of the week was between the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants. The defending champions looking to be moving more towards a selling phase after this season went far from what they planned. Shipping Jake Peavy off to the Giants for two pitching prospects who now rank #7 and #17 in their prospect rankings was quite a respectable return.

With all of this action going down before the deadline, we could see the 31st being a bit quieter than usual. Are there any other moves out there that you could see happening? Who do you think were the winners from these 5 trades?

Hall of Fame Adds Top Notch Members

In what was hailed as one of the best Hall of Fame classes in recent memory, the 2014 group of individuals finally got their plaques officially into Cooperstown. The six men that entered were truly some of the best that this generation of fans has ever seen.

In what should have been a unanimous selection (thanks for that, Ken Gurnick), Greg Maddux made his way into the Hall of Fame as one of the better right-handed pitchers of all-time. He never had overpowering stuff, but his pinpoint control was the stuff that legends are made of.

Joining him in the class was one of his partners in the dominant Braves rotations, Tom Glavine. Much like Maddux, Glavine never possessed the mid-to-high 90’s fastball that many coaches look for, but it’s safe to say he got the job done. With them was their manager, Bobby Cox, who won an astounding 2,504 games in his career.

Along with Cox were two other managers, Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa. Of course, both of their impacts were not just on the coaching side of things, but that’s probably where they’ll both be best remembered. The Yankees and Cardinals won a combined 7 championships under the direction of these two legends.

Last, but not least was “The Big Hurt” Frank Thomas. While north-siders may have been a bit jealous of the Chicago White Sox getting to have a player of Thomas’ caliber for so long, I can safely say that everyone who has watched him play respects him. He was one of baseball’s nicest guys by all accounts and the impact he had on games was unforgettable.

When thinking of all of the historic Hall of Fame classes throughout time, where would you rank this legendary 2014 class?

Trades Potentially Upcoming For Big Names

While there were some moves already made to adjust the rest of this MLB season, the names that have been floated around recently may change the landscape of some division races entirely. Rather than being baseless rumors, these actually have some validity to them.

In Philadelphia, first baseman Ryan Howard has fallen a long way since his days of competing for MVP’s year-in and year-out. Unfortunately for the Phillies, they’re still paying him like his, so Ruben Amaro has been aggressively trying to find him a new home. They’re said to be willing to eat a large portion of his contract, which could help in moving him. He’s not the player he once was, but he would be able to bring some pop to any team’s lineup.

Moving along with MVP candidates, the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to clear up the logjam that they currently have in the outfield and it appears that Matt Kemp could be the odd man out. They’ve had talks with multiple teams regarding the former MVP runner-up and while he’s also had a down year, his 30/30 potentially would be gladly welcomed from a team in need of some star power.

The last name that’s reportedly out there is definitely the biggest; Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo, who happens to be the best shortstop in baseball when he’s healthy, is seemingly tired of being in the Mile High City and wants out, presumably to a contender. The package that would have to be put together to acquire a player of his caliber would be astounding, but he’s more than worth it.

Looking ahead a couple of days, do you see any of these three players getting moved? If so, where do you see them going, and which will have the biggest impact on their new team?

This Week’s MVP: Carlos Santana (.444/.531/1.000, 4 HR, 6 RBI)

This Week’s Cy Young: Steve Cishek (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 SV, 7 K)

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Brian Rzeppa is an avid follower of the Cubs, and of Major League Baseball in general. You can find his basketball-related work at Sheridan Hoops, and you can follow him on Twitter @brianrzeppa.