To buy or to sell, that is the question

Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:15pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The All-Star Game has come and gone and it is back to business in Major League Baseball, both on and off the diamond as teams ponder whether it is time to buy or sell talent with the Aug. 1 trade deadline looming.

All 30 clubs return to action on Friday following the All-Star break for a second-half push that will settle berths in the postseason playoffs leading to the World Series.

Impactful players including Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, slugger Jay Bruce of the Reds, Oakland starting pitcher Rich Hill and Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman are among presumed trade targets of contenders.

Last year, eventual World Series champions Kansas City Royals added starting pitcher Johnny Cueto and versatile regular Ben Zobrist, and National League pennant winning New York Mets turned their season around by adding slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

It takes two to tango, of course, so struggling teams such as the Oakland A's, Tampa Bay Rays and Cincinnati Reds are taking hard looks at their rosters with their future in mind.

Eighteen clubs are within five games of a playoff spot with three division titles and two wildcard berths at stake in both the American and National League.

With demand strong, promising prospects could be changing hands in order to get an instant boost, giving teams on the bubble a delicate dilemma.

One such club is the New York Yankees, who after adding Cuban fireballer Chapman to in-house relievers Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in a pre-season trade with Cincinnati, have a troika of top-rate closer candidates.   Continued...

Jul 11, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; National League catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) of the Milwaukee Brewers during workout day before the MLB All Star Game at PetCo Park. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports