- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN Insider
CHICAGO -- The Milwaukee Brewers are 17 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central, with a run differential of minus-60. The solace in that, however, is that general manager Doug Melvin can go about his business with a clear conscience: This team has declared itself as not good enough to make the postseason this year, leaving the front office free to devote all of its efforts to make deals before the July 31 trade deadline, with the goal of making the organization better for the start of 2016.
But for a handful of other teams, the context is not nearly so defined. Rather, there's no real indication that the team is going to be a legitimate contender, and it also hasn't fallen so far that the front office can wave a white flag on the season.
"It's like being in baseball purgatory," said one NL evaluator.
Here are three clubs that could really use a major push in either direction, up or down:
They are 32-32 and five games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, and rival evaluators see them as a talented group but perhaps fatally flawed, given the team's defensive issues and high strikeout totals.