All Things Baseball

MLB Trade Deadline Looms — What’s Your Team Looking For?

The MLB Trade Deadline is fast approaching, and it looks like a ton of deals could be made before 4PM on July 31st.  Here are the needs for each MLB team and players that it could look at acquiring. 

Oakland Athletics — With the injury to Eric Chavez, and the send-down of Dan Johnson, the A’s are in need of a power hitter who does well against righties.  With inconsistency at first base and in the outfield from Milton Bradley and Jay Payton, the A’s are likely to try and get their lefty slugger by acquiring a first baseman or rightfielder.  Unfortunately for the Athletics, they don’t have a lot of trade bait; Barry Zito appears to be staying and the minor leagues are near empty (rare for Billy Beane’s squad) with Daric Barton as the only top-tier prospect in the organization.  Possible options for Oakland: Jacque Jones (Cubs), Jason Lane (Astros).

Texas Rangers — Texas’ needs start and end with starting pitching.  Kevin Millwood has been good, but he hasn’t exactly been an “ace”.  Vicente Padilla is the most consistent starter on this team, and that’s a problem, because he isn’t that great.  The Rangers have a few players they might be willing to trade, including Kevin Mench and Francisco Cordero, but their farm system is not strong.  Possible players of interest for Texas: Jon Lieber (Phillies), Paul Byrd (Indians).

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — The Angels have plenty of pitching, but they could definitely use some help in the lineup.  Vladimir Guerrero and Juan Rivera are the major contributors at the plate for Anaheim, with occasional help from Garret Anderson, who’s having a down year with his bat.  With terrible defense also a major issue for Mike Scioscia’s team (the biggest issue being Adam Kennedy), a good defensive 2nd-baseman is also a potential acquisition.  With a rich farm system, including top-10 prospects like Howie Kendrick and Brandon Wood, the Angels have plenty of bait for other teams to jump at.  Players that the Angels could look into acquiring: Alfonso Soriano (Nationals), Todd Walker (Cubs), Cesar Izturis (Dodgers). 

Seattle Mariners — The Mariners are improving each year, but they’re probably still a couple of seasons from World Series contention.  That said, the M’s biggest interest should be prospects that can help them win a championship in 2008-2009.  Their only major weakness is starting pitching, now that they have a solid closer in JJ Putz, and good hitters in Jose Lopez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre, and Kenji Johjima.  Joel Pineiro probably isn’t going to develop into a solid pitcher, Jamie Moyer is past his prime and nearing retirement, and Jarrod Washburn has 10 losses through just over half of the season.  That means Felix Hernandez and Gil Meche are the only consistent starting pitchers the Mariners have, and a team can’t go far without depth in the starting rotation.  Young sluggers like Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt, as well as Richie Sexson are the M’s best trade offerings.  The Mariners might try and acquire Jon Lieber (Phillies) or Livan Hernandez (Nationals).

Cleveland Indians — The Indians are a solid all-around team, but they aren’t nearly as good as the White Sox, Tigers, and Twins, both at the plate and on the mound.  CC Sabathia is the ace of a decent pitching staff, but Cliff Lee was a one-year-wonder (2005), and with his downfall went the Indians’ pitching depth.  The off-year from Jhonny Peralta has lessened the impact of the Indians lineup to just Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, and occasionally Ben Broussard.  They’re good, but not great, and the Tribe needs another ace in the pitching staff or big bat in the lineup to raise the team’s level to the caliber of the AL Central’s elite.  Possible players to help Cleveland do this: Bobby Abreu (Phillies), Alfonso Soriano (Nationals), Andy Pettitte (Astros).

Chicago White Sox — The White Sox are the 2nd best team in the league; unfortunately, they’re in the same division as the MLB’s top team, the Tigers.  While the White Sox are the likely AL Wildcard if they don’t win the division, they would rather not face a top team in the ALDS when they get into the playoffs.  The Yankees also can’t be discounted with their 12-year streak of making the postseason if Boston wins the AL East, so the Wildcard is not a sure bet.  To win the AL Central, the White Sox need another solid starting pitcher, with the recent struggles of Mark Buehrle and Javier Vazquez.  The rumors of acquiring Alfonso Soriano are probably base-less (who’s he going to replace?), as the White Sox have one of the best hitting line-ups in the league.  The pitchers the ChiSox might look at are Greg Maddux (Cubs) and Livan Hernandez (Nationals). 

Detroit Tigers — The Tigers don’t have any glaring needs and are by far the MLB’s best team this season.  With solid pitching from Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander, and torrid hitting from Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, and Ivan Rodriguez, the Tigers only weakness might be in the bullpen.  Although Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya, and Todd Jones have been solid, another middle-reliever could help the Tigers bridge the gap if a starting pitcher lasts less than 6 innings.  Middle-relievers usually come cheap as they don’t play an extremely crucial role, so the Tigers will likely set their sights on solid veterans like LaTroy Hawkins (Orioles), Ray King (Rockies), or Chad Bradford (Mets). 

Kansas City Royals — The AL’s worst team, and the MLB’s second-worst team has some top prospects on the horizon, but nothing to hope for until 2008 at least.  Alex Gordon is a top-10 prospect and will soon fill a crucial need at the plate for KC, and 2006 first overall draft pick Luke Hochevar appears poised for quick development into a staff ace.  Meanwhile, the Royals need to stock up on young pitchers who will be a part of potentially solid 2008-2010 teams.  A couple of players the front office might look into are Elizardo Ramirez (Reds) and Paul Maholm (Pirates), who are both inconsistent at this point but could develop into decent middle-of-the-rotation starters.  With plenty of veterans on board, the Royals have players a borderline contender like the Reds or Angels might be looking for. 

Minnesota Twins — The young talent of the Twins is unmatched around the league.  Francisco Liriano is every bit as good as advertised, and Johan Santana has continued his Cy Young form.  Although Kyle Lohse and Carlos Silva have been weak points (Lohse is now in the bullpen) in the rotation, the starting pitching has been quite good for Minnesota.  Lohse moving to a relief role signals that he is trade bait, and Minnesota doesn’t have very many trade-able players.  The hitting from Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer has propelled this team closer to the playoffs, but the Twins will need to pass either the ChiSox or Tigers to get there.  A veteran starting pitcher or another solid bat might do the trick.  GM Terry Ryan might try and lure Jon Lieber (Phillies) or Reggie Sanders (Royals) to Minnesota. 

Toronto Blue Jays — The Jays have improved greatly from 2005 to 2006, and that’s largely thanks to JP Ricciardi’s much increased budget during the offseason.  Troy Glaus, Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill, Vernon Wells, and BJ Ryan have done their part, but the Blue Jays need something to propel them past the Yankees and Red Sox if they’re going to make the playoffs.  Losing Shea Hillenbrand certainly didn’t help the Jays lineup, and acquiring another good middle-infielder certainly wouldn’t hurt.  Logical options for Ricciardi and the Jays to go after are Julio Lugo (Devil Rays) and Cesar Izturis (Dodgers), but it may take more than one player to bridge a 5.5 game gap and get ahead of two of the MLB’s elite teams. 

Boston Red Sox — The BoSox’ needs are mainly ones that have been created because of injuries.  The long-term absence of David Wells and Matt Clement, as well as the recent ribcage injury to Tim Wakefield have caused a major shortage of starting pitchers in Boston.  Rookie Kason Gabbard had a promising first start, but Kyle Snyder has been inconsistent, and Theo Epstein would love to add a veteran arm to the staff.  Another potential need is the bullpen, where relievers Julian Tavarez and Rudy Seanez have struggled, and with Keith Foulke’s injury, it has been up to the rookies (Craig Hansen, Manny Delcarmen, and the amazing Jonathan Papelbon) to keep leads for Boston.  A few players the BoSox should look at are Mark Redman (Royals), Jon Lieber (Phillies), and Ray King (Rockies).

New York Yankees — The Yankees have two glaring needs; corner outfielder(s) and starting pitching.  The long-term injuries to Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield have prevented the Bronx Bombers from scoring runs at clutch times.  While both are supposed to return in August-September, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be at full strength right away.  That said, the rumors of Bobby Abreu coming to the Bronx are missing a crucial part of Abreu’s contract.  Abreu has an option for 2008 with which he’d earn 16 million.  Abreu is unlikely to waive his “no-trade” clause unless that option is picked-up, and if Matsui returns and Melky Cabrera develops into a solid player, there will be little room for one of them.  That makes Abreu to the Yankees somewhat problematic, so other potential outfielders or starting pitchers are Jon Lieber (Phillies), his teammate Pat Burrell, or Jacque Jones (Cubs). 

Baltimore Orioles — If not for rookies Nick Markakis and Chris Ray, as well as suddenly rock-solid Erik Bedard, the O’s would be behind the Devil Rays in the standings.  While their 2006 is likely over, the O’s would like to add a starting pitcher or two for their future, and acquiring a 1B would also help.  The most obvious need for the Orioles is to add offense, since that part of the game is what makes the BoSox, Yankees, and Blue Jays the best teams in the division.  The Baltimore front office should be interested in Livan Hernandez (Orioles) and Richie Sexson (Mariners).

Tampa Bay Devil Rays — The Devil Rays have almost no trade bait, but plenty of holes to fill.  That makes GM Andrew Friedman’s job very difficult.  He’s already seemingly made a mistake by acquiring Jae Seo and Dioner Navarro (Seo is 0-5 for TB and Navarro is not hitting well at all), so Friedman may be on thin ice.  If not for Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, and Scott Kazmir, the Devil Rays would be the worst team in baseball, unfortunately, those three are the only major trade bait Friedman has to use, unless the Rays are willing to trade Julio Lugo.  He might try to work a deal for Ervin Santana (Angels) or Kevin Mench (Rangers), but both of those players will be difficult to acquire with the limited bait. 

San Francisco Giants — The Giants’ best move in awhile came several days ago, when GM Brian Sabean pulled the trigger for 1B Shea Hillenbrand, and got him for just Jeremy Accardo.  That filled a major need in the Giants line-up, so the only remaining hole is in the bullpen.  With Armando Benitez getting “boo-ed” every time he takes the mound (and with good reason since he has 5 blown saves), and no reliever other than Jonathan Sanchez pitching consistently well (everyone else has been consistently poor), the Giants will look to acquire a reliever/closer at the deadline.  GM Brian Sabean might try to lure Ray King (Rockies), Francisco Cordero (Rangers), or Todd Jones (Tigers) to San Francisco.

San Diego Padres — The Padres’ only problem is that they have little power in their lineup.  While Brian Giles, Mike Piazza, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Barfield, and Josh Bard are all good hitters, they provide little pop, and at Petco Park (a pitchers’ park), that causes a problem if you only have limited power.  Jake Peavy has also been “un-ace-like” going 4-10 with a 5.15ERA through mid-July.  Chris Young has taken Peavy’s spot as the ace, and young pitchers like Clay Hensley round out the rotation for Kevin Towers’ team.  The need for a big bat however, is a big one, and the Padres may need to dig deep to find the bait they’ll need to acquire a top slugger.  Look for Towers to try and acquire veterans like Reggie Sanders (Royals) or Pat Burrell (Phillies) to help out the offensively deprived Friars.

Los Angeles Dodgers — The Dodgers offense has been non-existent the past couple of weeks, and it’s because formerly hot bats like JD Drew and Andre Ethier have cooled off quickly.  The sub-par starting pitching (outside of Brad Penny) also doesn’t help the Dodgers if they can’t make up for it at the plate.  Acquiring a good hitter (probably an outfielder or 2B) and a veteran starting pitcher will be top priorities for GM Ned Colletti as the deadline approaches.  He might try to bring Trot Nixon (Red Sox) and Elmer Dessens (Royals) to LA (back to LA in Dessens’ case). 

Colorado Rockies — The Rockies are starting to look like an early-season fluke, with the offense going south and the pitching allowing more and more balls hit north and out of Coors Field.  Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe, and Garrett Atkins continue to propel the Colorado offense, but disappointing production from Clint Barmes and the early ailment to Todd Helton has kept the Rockies line-up from getting into a groove.  That combined with inconsistent pitching from Jason Jennings, Aaron Cook, Byung-Hyun Kim, and Josh Fogg, has led to the falling Rocks at Coors Field.  GM Daniel O’Dowd has some work to do at the deadline if he’s going to turn Colorado into a contender, and he should have his sights set on Julio Lugo (Devil Rays) and Jon Lieber (Phillies).   

Arizona Diamondbacks — Rookie GM Josh Byrnes has done a pretty good job with the Snakes this season, but the starting pitching still leaves a lot to be desired.  Brandon Webb has been terrific, but beyond him, there aren’t any consistent starters.  That coupled with the off year from Luis Gonzalez, a clutch hitter in the Arizona lineup, has led the D-Backs to fall a couple of games back in the NL West standings.  Still far from out of contention, Byrnes will try to push Arizona over the top by acquiring Mark Redman (Royals) or Pat Burrell (Phillies). 

Chicago Cubs — The Cubs seem to want to blame their troubles on Manager Dusty Baker, when they really lie with GM Jim Hendry.  If Hendry fires Baker, Baker should call for Hendry to resign.  What has Jim Hendry done wrong?  Let’s see: he’s kept injury prone pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood; he’s completely ignored OBP when putting together his offense; he’s been away from his office when solid relievers were being signed.  No starters, few relievers, little hitting; a recipe for disaster.  To make up for it, Hendry needs to look to the future — far to the future — and acquire prospects for Greg Maddux and Jacque Jones.  Julio Lugo (Devil Rays) and Alfonso Soriano (Nationals) would be good additions as well, if Hendry wants his Cubs to have any shot at NL Central contention in 2007. 

Milwaukee Brewers — The Brewers are just a hair away from contending for the NL Central crown.  They need one more arm in the rotation, one more arm in the bullpen, and one more bat in the lineup.  Credit GM Doug Melvin and Manager Ned Yost for bringing this team closer to greatness, but they still have some work to do.  If Prince Fielder can get back to his early-season form, the Brew Crew might not need a bat.  If Ben Sheets can stay healthy and consistent, the Brewers might not need a starting pitcher.  That means the only need is in the bullpen, and if Derrick Turnbow can regain his 2005 form, that need isn’t very glaring.  The most important thing is that Melvin needs to keep Carlos Lee in a Milwaukee uniform in 2007, and Lee has said he would like to stay in Milwaukee.  At the deadline, the Brewers might go after Greg Maddux (Cubs), Kyle Lohse (Twins), and Ray King (Rockies). 

Cincinnati Reds — The Reds have a solid 1-2 combination in the starting rotation with Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang.  Unfortunately, they have no 3-4-5 consistency in the rotation from Eric Milton, Elizardo Ramirez, and Joe Mays.  GM Wayne Krivsky has had a good first-year, especially adding “everyday” Eddie Guardado, although his last move wasn’t too great, trading Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns for Gary Majewski and Bill Bray, both of whom have struggled.  Kearns and Lopez were good contributors to the Cincinnati lineup, and their absence is being felt, as Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. have struggled of late.  Look for Krivsky to add a starting pitcher and power-hitting infielder at the deadline, such as Todd Walker (Cubs) or Livan Hernandez (Nationals). 

St. Louis Cardinals — The Cardinals are finally looking like their 2004-2005 form, with Chris Carpenter regaining his Cy Young stuff and Albert Pujols and Juan Encarnacion finding a groove.  Still, adding another power-hitter to the lineup will likely be on GM Walt Jocketty’s mind, and a secondary need might be a workhorse starting pitcher (it’s time for Jeff Weaver to be shunned by every team in the MLB — he is nothing like his brother Jered).  If those are the two gaps Jocketty is trying to bridge, Pat Burrell (Phillies) and Livan Hernandez (Nationals) will be on his radar.

Houston Astros — Biggest ’06 disappointment: Andy Pettitte.  Pettitte has been erratic this season, showing a few signs of brilliance (very few), and his Cy Young expectations are going very much unfulfilled.  Roger Clemens’ return has added a veteran ace to the staff, but GM Tim Purpura will definitely look to acquire a starting pitcher, although the Astros might be out of contention in 4th place in the division.  A disappointing season from Jason Lane (now in the minors) and Preston Wilson (a bad acquisition) has left Lance Berkman and Mike Lamb to produce all the runs for Houston.  Two hitters won’t do it if your pitching is terrible.  Another problem has been the inconsistency from Brad Lidge.  He has over 20 saves, but he’s blown quite a few, and he’s allowed runs in tie games which have caused Astros losses.  Perhaps the effects of allowing the World Series walkoff to Scott Podsednik haven’t worn off yet.  Purpura should have Pat Burrell (Phillies) and Jon Lieber (Phillies) on his mind as the deadline approaches. 

Pittsburgh Pirates — The Pirates should have two things on their agenda: 1) Fire Jim Tracy 2) Do a complete roster overhaul.  The only good hitter the Pirates have is Jason Bay; occasional contributions from Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson haven’t been enough.  Zach Duke’s rookie magic appears to have worn off, and the other young starter, Paul Maholm, is not doing well at all.  Oliver Perez’s demotion to the minors leaves the rotation is deep, deep trouble, and the Pirates will have to wait awhile for 2006 draft pick Brad Lincoln to reach the major leagues.  Meanwhile, Jim Tracy should be fired, prospects should be acquired (if possible with the limited bait), and patience will be the key with Pittsburgh.  Since they can’t be helped this season, and likely next season, the Pirates should wait until the offseason to add players.  No interest in anyone at this point.

Atlanta Braves — After a slow start, the Braves are finally starting to make things happen.  The only question is, is it too late?  With the amazing streak of NL East crowns on the line, and the Mets taking the division by storm, the Braves will just have to try and extend their streak of making the playoffs by making a run at the wildcard.  If Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, and Edgar Renteria continue to hit well, and if John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, and Horacio Ramirez can give the Braves a chance to win every outing, Atlanta has a good chance to make the playoffs.  Kudos by the way to GM John Schuerholz for adding Bob Wickman from the Indians, but the best move he can make is to somehow lure Leo Mazzone back from Baltimore.  As for deadline acquisitions, the Braves could use a dependable veteran pitcher, and bringing Greg Maddux (Cubs) back would certainly make fans happy. 

Philadelphia Phillies — Manager Charlie Manuel is on very thin ice, and his team is not giving its fans any brotherly love.  Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Bobby Abreu, and Pat Burrell can be depended on to bring in runs in bunches, but somehow the Philadelphia pitchers are erratic enough to make the offensive efforts futile.  Brett Myers’ legal troubles certainly haven’t helped, and Cory Lidle, Jon Lieber, and top-prospect Cole Hamels have been inconsitent, at best.  That said, Philadelphia has tons of trade bait, so adding prospects and loading up for the future is the best way for the Phillies to go.  Look for either Abreu or Burrell to be traded, and Jon Lieber to be moved as well, for young talent.  There isn’t much the Phillies can do to help this season, so the front office shouldn’t try to acquire any impact players at the deadline.

New York Mets — Far and away the NL’s best team, the Mets still need help to contend with the American League (as was evidenced by their interleague struggles and shellacking in Boston).  With injuries to the starting rotation and nagging ailments to Jose Reyes (although he hasn’t shown them), the Mets could use another starting pitcher and maybe a utility player.  If that’s the case, GM Omar Minaya, who’s done a terrific job by the way, might try to bring Livan Hernandez (Nationals), Mark Redman (Royals), or Joe Randa (Pirates) to New York.

Florida Marlins — They unloaded veteran talent, keeping and adding to their stockpile of terrific youngsters.  The results haven’t been too bad, as Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, and Ricky Nolasco have developed into good starting pitchers, and Josh Willingham, Dan Uggla, and Mike Jacobs (along with Miguel Cabrera) are hitting well.  The Marlins are a few years, and potentially a new hometown away from contending in the NL East, but they’re coming along at a healthy pace.  At this point, the Marlins could use a veteran starting pitcher to mentor the youngsters, as well as a solid veteran bat, so Jacque Jones (Cubs) and Jon Lieber (Phillies) are potential players of interest.

Washington Nationals — The Nats have taken a slight turn for the worse after a promising 2005.  GM Jim Bowden does however have terrific trade bait in Alfonso Soriano (if he’s willing to deal him) and Livan Hernandez.  Adding another power-hitter to the lineup would help, since Nick Johnson and Soriano are the only consistent sluggers currently in the lineup, and adding a lefty reliever would also help the Nationals.  Look for Bowden to try to acquire Kevin Mench (Rangers) or Ray King (Rockies) to fill those needs. 

Plenty of deals are likely coming so follow closely this week!


One Response to “MLB Trade Deadline Looms — What’s Your Team Looking For?”

  1. I would like to see a continuation of the topic

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