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Phil Rogers power rankings

Tigers move up to No. 1; Cardinals drop to second

Phil Rogers

On Baseball

6:56 PM CDT, July 29, 2013

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1. Tigers (4): Acquired closer Jose Veras from the Astros at a time Detroit hadn't had a blown save in 40 games. The bullpen has been much better since Joaquin Benoit took over as the closer.

2. Cardinals (1): They kicked the tires on Alexei Ramirez but don't seem sold on the need to upgrade at shortstop.

3. Rays (3): Chris Archer, the guy the Cubs gave up to get Matt Garza, was dominant in July (4-0 with an 0.73 ERA). This is the best rotation in the majors, bar none, after James Shields was traded away.

4. Dodgers (5): Winning high-scoring games and low-scoring games. Carlos Marmol took his lumps in his first two outings in the bullpen.

5. Red Sox (2): Competition for playoff spots in the AL is going to get intense. A trade for Jake Peavy is possible, but they already have four veteran starters under control for 2014 in addition to Felix Doubront and an impressive inventory of prospects.

6. Athletics (9): This year they're going to have to hold off the Rangers, not the other way around.

7. Pirates (6): Neil Walker hasn't been himself in July, but there's no reason to make a change at second base.

8. Orioles (7): So much for Chris Davis making a run at 60 homers. He was homerless in 39 at-bats in the first 10 games after the All-Star break, with Baltimore going 5-5.

9. Braves (11): Ultra-impressive sweep of the Cardinals in Atlanta, behind strong starts from Kris Medlen, Julio Teheran and Mike Minor.

10. Reds (10): Dusty Baker has to be careful with his use of Homer Bailey. He's one of four starters who have three starts with 120-plus pitches this year (the others: Chris Sale, Yu Darvish and C.J. Wilson).

11. Indians (15): Don't look now, but they're pushing the Orioles for the AL's second wild-card spot.

12. Rangers (8): Does it make any sense to trade Joe Nathan after giving up a nice collection of prospects to get Matt Garza? The Rangers may have noticed Nathan's tendency to wear down late in the seasons he was with the Twins.

13. Diamondbacks (12): They could use the energy from a significant midseason reinforcement as much as anyone. Don't be surprised if they pull off a surprising trade.

14. Yankees (13): The return of Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano's big day at the plate made Sunday's win over the Rays a big game for Joe Girardi's team.

15. Royals (18): Banking on a big August rather than a talent sell-off.

16. Nationals (19): Lineup is showing some signs of a resurgence.

17. Angels (14): They'll owe Albert Pujols $212 million after this season, with his salary jumping from $16 million to $23 million next year. How smart are the Cardinals looking for not getting sucked into a similar contract?

18. Rockies (16): Led by Tyler Chatwood and Rex Brothers, there are good things happening for the beleaguered pitching staff.

19. Mariners (20): Second baseman Nick Franklin is hitting home runs and producing runs like a future All-Star.

20. Blue Jays (21): Would they trade Mark Buehrle? He has done a great job not getting caught up in the disappointing season going on around him, as always.

21. Cubs (24): Don't look now, but Javier Baez has 27 home runs, including 10 in 20 games since being promoted to Double-A Tennessee.

22. Mets (22): If they wanted to shake up New York dynamics, they'd be the highest bidder for Robby Cano this winter.

23. Phillies (17): Signing of Cuban right-hander Miguel Alberto Gonzalez should make it a little easier to consider trading Cliff Lee.

24. Twins (25): Team Italy star Chris Colabello is showing he can hit big league pitching.

25. Giants (23): After getting swept by the Cubs, they fell to 18-36 since May 27.

26. Padres (28): GM Josh Byrnes included a no-trade clause in the extension he gave to Carlos Quentin last July.

27. Brewers (26): An organization badly needing impact pitching is diving toward one of the top spots in a draft heavy with college pitching.

28. Marlins (29): Beginning with a stretch winning six of seven June 23-July 1, they've been winning more than they lose. Not that many people in Miami care.

29. White Sox (27): As Paul Konerko notes, don't blame their bad play on trade rumors. They've had the worst record in the majors since May 26, when they were 24-24.

30. Astros (30): Outfielder Danry Vasquez, acquired from Detroit for Jose Veras, is an intriguing prospect but at age 19 a long, long way from big league success.

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