With the trade deadline in less than a month, teams start to make trades to improve their team if they are contending or improve their farm system if they are rebuilding and going for the future. The American league features multiple contenders as the AL East and the AL West are very close, and there are also multiple teams who are vying for a wild-card spot if they don't win their division. On each contending team, there are ways the team can improve to clinch their division or wild-card spot as well as attempt to make a deep postseason run. Here's a look at the positional needs for each contending team in the AL.

New York Yankees

The Yankees are currently a game back of the Red Sox of the divisional lead and now have a two-and-a-half game advantage for the number one wild-card spot. With the Yankees being one of the favorites to win the World Series coming into the season, the Yankees have some holes on their roster they need to address to compete in the playoffs.

Starting pitching

Behind Severino who's been pitching like a Cy Young candidate all season long, the Yankees rotation is in need of some help. Sabathia has been decent, but the Yankees can't rely on Sabathia and Severino to get them through the playoffs. Tanaka has only thrown 72 2/3 innings this year and has a 4.58 ERA, Gray has been disastrous this year with a 5.44 ERA with an opponent average of .276 and Montgomery is returning this year.

Since Montgomery's injury, the Yankees have shuffled between Loaisiga and German to make starts which have seen them be dominant at times but inconsistent. With their inconsistency and lack of experience, they can't be relied on to perform in the postseason.

The Yankees have been linked to Hamels and Happ as potential targets they could add to their rotation.

Hamels has a 20 team no-trade list that where he can block trades to, and the Yankees are on that list. He did mention that he could allow a trade if the Yankees pick up his $20 million option for next season. Acquiring one of Hamels or Happ would be a good addition as the Red Sox have a hard time hitting left-handed pitching and both Hamels and Happ are lefties.

The Yankees currently have only three left-handed pitchers on the team and Sabathia is the only lefty in the rotation.

First base

The Yankees' current first baseman is Greg Bird (who is only batting .200 this season with five home runs). Bird is also very injury-prone as he has been on the disabled for the past three seasons, and missed the entire 2016 season. If Bird were to go down with another injury, the Yankees don't have anyone to replace him. They do have Tyler Austin in AAA, but he batted .223 in the majors this season with 53 strikeouts in 34 games. First base on the Yankees' roster still belongs to Greg Bird, but due to his current struggles, the Yankees could seek to get a first baseman as a rental.

Lucas Duda could be a fit for the Yankees.

Left-handed relief pitcher

The Yankees' bullpen might be the best bullpen in all of major league baseball, but it is dominantly right-handed. The only lefties in the Yankees bullpen are closer Aroldis Chapman and Chasen Shreve who has a 4.85 ERA. The Yankees would be wise to add a left-handed reliever, and they could look at adding Jake Diekman from the Rangers.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox currently lead the AL East by one game, and they are good enough of a team to take the division, but they will have to improve their team to do so.

Someone that can hit left-handed pitching

If the Red Sox can get someone that can hit left-handed pitching, no matter what position they play, Dave Dombrowski will take him as the Red Sox have struggled to hit southpaws all season long.

The Red Sox did already get Steve Pearce who's known to have the ability to mash lefties, but it would be good for the Red Sox to add another bat that can hit left-handed pitchers.

An elite relief pitcher

The Red Sox already have an elite closer in Craig Kimbrel, but their bullpen drops off considerably after him. With bullpens playing a huge role in the playoffs these days, the Red Sox are going to need to try and get an elite arm that can pitch out of the bullpen. They've been linked to Raisel Iglesias who's the closer on the Reds, but if he were to be acquired by the Red Sox, he would be used as a set-up man.

Second baseman

The Red Sox have had Pedroia as their second baseman for over a decade, but he has only appeared in three games this season due to a knee injury.

The Red Sox currently have Nunez as their starting second baseman, but he has also been battling some knee issues as well. They also have Holt and Pearce who can play second, but they are utility players that are best used in that role. It would be best for the Red Sox to add a second baseman whose contract expires at the end of the season and Jed Lowrie would be the perfect fit.

Cleveland Indians

With them being in a division that features three teams rebuilding, the Indians are all but guaranteed to take the division. While they will get through their division with ease, it won't be the same story in the playoffs. They lost in game seven in the World Series two years ago and got ousted by the Yankees in the ALDS last year.

The Indians currently hold the longest title drought and are motivated to end that this season.


For the past two seasons, the Indians had the best bullpen, but this year the bullpen isn't as good as it used to be. The bullpen wasn't expected to be as good this season as they lost a couple of relief pitchers and didn't replace them with anyone significant. To make things worse for the Indians bullpen, Miller has been injured for the majority of the season and hasn't been the pitcher people know he is when he's been healthy. The Indians will be on the lookout for relief help and will look to acquire anyone they can get.


The Indians' outfield has been a struggle for a while. Brantley has played fantastic so far in his first full season back from multiple injuries, but his injury history is what made it hard to rely on him in previous years.

Zimmer has struggled and strikes out a lot which got him sent down to AAA. The Indians currently have Naquin in center field and Guyer in right which is not ideal for a team that wants to end its title drought. The Indians should look to add a star outfielder as well as another outfielder that can serve as a bench bat. Bautista would be an ideal option for the Indians who can be used as a pinch hitter off the bench. Bautista to the Indians would be beneficial for both sides as Bautista has tons of playoff experience and he would be able to reunite with his former teammate Edwin Encarnacion who were iconic figures when they both played for the Blue Jays.

Houston Astros

Even the reigning World Series champs still have needs on their roster that they need to fill.

Unlike last season where they cruised through their division easily, they currently only remain one-and-a-half games ahead of the Mariners for the division lead.

Late inning relief pitchers

Giles used to be an elite closer, but he has struggled a bit this year. Giles has a 3.94 ERA with a .269 opponent average which makes him too risky to be pitching in high pressured games. Giles also struggled in the postseason last year which makes him even riskier. Joe Smith has only pitched 19 1/3 innings this year and has an ugly 5.49 ERA. Sipp has been decent this year but has just thrown 20 innings so far and has been horrible the previous two seasons.

Due to their need of a late-inning arm, the Astros have been linked to almost any late-inning relief pitcher that will be available for trade.

Those include Familia, Iglesias, Britton who they nearly acquired last season and many others.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners currently have a 17-year drought of not making it to the postseason, and if the season ended today, that drought would end as they now occupy the second wild-card spot. While they are seven games ahead, they still need to add to their roster. They could also sneak past the Astros and take the AL West as they are currently only one-and-a-half games back for the division lead.

Relief pitcher

The Mariners have a good back end of the bullpen with Diaz serving as closer and Colome as the set-up man. The Mariners bullpen still needs some help though as other than them two, no one is that good. The Mariners don't need anyone elite, but a solid middle relief pitcher would do.