The trade deadline creates Declare Your Intentions Week, which sounds like something fathers tell the young men courting their daughters, but it's likewise necessary for ballclubs to decide if they're going for broke in search of a World Series title, packing it in by selling valuable commodities to build for next year or remaining steady either through indecisiveness or faith that their team's inertia will carry them into the postseason.
The Brewers jumped the gun by acquiring Mets reliever Francisco Rodriguez two weeks ago, but the Giants and Cardinals got into the act on Wednesday. San Francisco obtained outfielder Carlos Beltran; St. Louis most notably acquired starter Edwin Jackson and relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, though at the considerable cost of centerfielder Colby Rasmus.
The middle of the pack is most interesting: While the Rays are probably close to selling because of the AL East roadblocks ahead of them, what will teams like the Diamondbacks, Pirates, Indians and White Sox do?
The intentions of the top of the leaderboard are clear -- hint: they're going for it -- but of the first se ven teams only the Giants have made a notable trade, so it remains to be seen how drastic a move any of the other clubs are willing to make.
For now the Phillies and Red Sox have returned to the top two spots after a one-week hiatus that was no fault of their own: When a top-five team, such as the Rangers last week, goes on a 12-game winning streak, they've earned No. 1. Texas quickly fell back to Earth but remains ahead of the Braves, who now must cope without catcher Brian McCann for a couple weeks.
NOTE: All stats are updated through Wednesday, July 27.
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