Here are one writer’s thoughts as baseball shifts to the All-Star break:
* The Orioles’ season is in shambles. The only way to fix it is to get more pitching into system, and the only way to do that is to make everyone available before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and hope that market will allow pitching to come their way. The Orioles’ biggest trade chips are Jeremy Guthrie, Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara and J.J. Hardy, assuming he doesn’t sign.
* The Nationals should try to trade reliever Todd Coffey and keep Livan Hernandez and Jason Marquis, unless they are blown away by an offer for either of their two starters. The Nationals will need pitching at the end of this season, for a possible contending run. Next season, it would be ideal to have plenty of pitching going into spring training.
* I like what Curtis Granderson has done for the Yankees, but Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez is the American League Most Valuable Player after hitting .354-17-77.
* The AL’s top manager is former Nats manager Manny Acta. His best pitcher, Fausto Carmona, has been lousy but the Indians are contenders. His best hitter, Shin-Soo Choo, is injured, as well as two of his franchise players, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore.
* The AL’s Cy Young Award winner is Los Angeles’ Jared Weaver in a tight race over Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Weaver has a better ERA. Weaver is at 1.87 while Verlander is 2.15.
* The AL’s top rookie is Michael Pineda of Seattle. He’s a big reason the Mariners are contending in the AL West.
* The National League Most Valuable Player is Prince Fielder. He’s tearing up the league in his walk year. He’s at .297-22-72.
* The NL Manager of the Year is Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has a losing franchise believing they can win the NL Central.
* The Nationals’ Danny Espinosa wins the league’s top rookie honors for me. His defense is incredible and his power good. But it’s hard to pick against Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel.
* Atlanta’s Jair Jurrjens and his sinking fastball is the NL Cy Young winner. The Phillies’ Roy Halladay is a close second. Jurrjens is 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA. Halladay is 11-3, 2.45.