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Insider

Sizzling in July will be critical for these six players

Solid production in the second half of the season by Masahiro Tanaka could help the Yankees win the AL East and avoid having to play in a winner-take-all wild-card game. Kathy Willens/AP Photo

Last week in this space, we discussed the players who are the most indispensable for teams fighting for a spot in the playoffs. But when talking trade deadline, call-ups and other bits of roster construction, there are players who are not necessarily the team's top contributors, but are extremely important open questions as teams plan over the next month or two. How these players fare this month may have a large effect in how the trade deadline plays out.