If the Mets can find a silver lining to their mascot's flippant finger, it's that for a brief moment, the incident diverted attention away from the team's sluggish play. New York enters Friday solidly below .500 (23-29) and buried 10 games out in the NL East. The Mets also have a flock of pending free agents, making them perhaps the most interesting of what we're calling the TBD Ten, the clubs that will soon have to determine once and for all whether or not they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.
As of right now, it's safe to assume that a half-dozen teams more foucsed on building for the future than contending in 2017—the Phillies (17-34), Padres (22-33), Braves (22-29), A's (23-29), Reds (24-28) and White Sox (also 24-28)—will be sellers. Then there are the six upstarts, who came into 2017 hoping but perhaps not expecting to turn the corner from pretender to contender. Count the Rockies (33-22), Diamondbacks (33-22), Yankees (30-20), Brewers (28-25), Twins (26-23) and Rays (29-27) here. If they're still in the hunt as the deadline approaches, they will be buyers, though not necessarily the most aggressive ones, because even if they wind up fading in the summer heat, their futures are generally looking bright.
Barring sudden collapses, it's safe to assume that eight teams that viewed themselves as contenders coming into 2017 will be more aggressive than the aforementioned hopefuls. This group includes the Astros (an MLB-best 38-16), the Nationals (33-19, first in the NL East), the Dodgers (33-21, tops in the NL West), the slow-starting-but-suddenly-surging Red Sox (29-23), the Orioles (27-24) and the reigning AL champion Indians (also 27-24) and—despite the fact that they've slipped below .500—the reigning world champion Cubs (25-27). As long as Chicago doesn’t run away from the pack, there’s no reason to expect the Cardinals (25-25 but just a 1 1/2 back in the NL Central) to drop out.
With 20 of the 30 teams accounted for, here's the muddle in the middle, presented in alphabetical order: