Early trade targets for GMs

When it comes to the July 31 trade deadline, good things do not come to those who wait.

With the first month of the season in the books, general managers around the major leagues already have begun to deploy scouts to evaluate other teams and their farm systems as well as take stock of their own major-league 25-man roster and farm system.

By now, most GMs have a good grasp of their team’s main strengths and weaknesses. They have begun to target the possible sellers at the trade deadline and who might be their competition for a particular player. Contending teams have begun to crystallize whether they will be able to address certain weaknesses from within their farm systems or if they will have to go outside the organization. But no matter what, they are trying to stay ahead of the curve and that means sending out scouts to watch players now.

Going by their records, selling teams are already obvious: Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres. By the end of May, more teams such as the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners could join that group as their surprising starts could -- or should -- fizzle by then.

In three categories, there are a number of players who should be prime targets of most contenders: closers, starting pitchers and position players.

Targeted closers: Brandon League, Joel Hanrahan, Huston Street, Carlos Marmol, Brett Myers and Grant Balfour

Clubs in need: Los Angeles Angels, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins

League should draw interest especially from the Angels and Reds. His fastball sits at 96-97 mph, occasionally touching 98-99 with great sink. He’s also got a good slider and a nasty split.