MLB Trade Deadline Approaches: What To Expect

Besides the postseason, this is probably my favorite segment of the baseball season. A lot is learned about contenders and pretenders between the all-star break and the July 31st trade deadline. Teams that are serious about making a run will almost always find a piece or two to compliment their current roster and top prospects start getting pegged to be late season roster additions for the stretch run.

This year's trade deadline has emerged as one of the most interesting in recent memory; what makes it so exciting is that there are so many teams still in contention. Teams like the Pirates and Indians have played their way into the spotlight (I guess they didn't get the memo that their residence was supposed to be in the basement), leaving the NL Central and AL Central divisions largely up for grabs. The NL West is always a dogfight and realistically there are three teams with a legitimate shot at taking that division. With all of the teams in the hunt, the trade market is ripe with buyers and somewhat light on sellers. That being said, there are some clear cut sellers with pieces to move which makes predicting landing spots for potential trade bait very difficult... but we like a challenge.

In this market, there are motivated buyers/sellers and there are some window shoppers and unmotivated sellers. Your motivated buyers have real needs and the willingness/ability to move the pieces and spend the money necessary to meet those needs. Motivated sellers have pieces to move and ecomonic forces necessitating a move. Unmotivated sellers have pieces but aren't likely to move unless a deal is right.  Here's our take on this market and what teams might do to fill their needs.


- AL -

Yankees - the Yankees have been getting by with smoke (Bartolo Colon) and mirrors (Freddy Garcia). They need top line starting pitching and will likely look to add depth in their bullpen
Tigers - the Tigers find themselves in great position, boasting the AL's best starting pitcher (Justin Verlander) but they need run production and a front line starter to compliment their ace. They made a move for Wilson Betemit and David Purcey so the final piece is a front line starting pitcher. I'm not sure what they'll find but they will likely look.
White Sox - Ozzie Guillen is not afraid to speak his mind and he is not happy with his offense. The White Sox need Adam Dunn to step up in the worst way but they could look for outside help if they don't feel like they can wait. I don't think the Sox are convinced that they can make a run but the longer they hang around, the more likely it is that we will see them add a piece. They have some decent minor league talent so if there is a deal to be made, they should be able to get it done.

- NL -

Braves - the Braves have great pitching but a host of injuries has left them desperate for a run producing outfielder.
Brewers - The Brew Crew added relief pitching (Francisco Rodriguez) but they could still use a legitimate shortstop as Yuniesky Betancourt has been borderline awful. Trading away Alcides Escobar is proving costly but the Brewers could make a move for a shortstop if one becomes available in this make or break year.
Giants - with the loss of Buster Posey and the normalization/departure of their 2010 role players turned all-stars (Pat Burrell, Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff), the Giants will almost surely need to add a bat to make a run at another world championship.


- AL -

Red Sox - the Bo'Sox could always use pitching (starting and relief)
Indians - the injuries to Shin Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore have left the Indians in a predicament; do they trade away some of the talent that they have pegged as part of their rebuilding process or do they buy into the assumption that they can win a division title with a couple of complimentary pieces and is a division title enough to justify a trade? I think that they'll stand pat unless a deal is too good to pass up.
Rangers - the Rangers could use some depth, especially in their rotation but I doubt they'll look to make a big splash.
Angels - the Angels need quite a bit but at the top of their needs list is relief pitching and a slugger. Without Kendry Morales, the Angels are simply starved for offense and I'm not sure they'll find it at the trade deadline so I'd expect the Angels so look for some complimentary players.

- NL -

Phillies - the Phillies bullpen has been a carousel this year but, oddly enough, the results have been shockingly good. I think that they'll head into the deadline scratching their heads wondering why they were ever worried about their bullpen but a left handed reliever might be helpful. A right handed outfielder would be nice but finding a deal that makes sense with the gluton of buyers might scare away the team with the best record in baseball.
Cardinals - the Red Birds could definitely use pitching (starting and relief) but I think that they see their chances of winning a playoff series without Adam Wainwright somewhere between slim and none so I think they'll try to add depth in the pen and deal Colby Rasmus, who has fallen out of favor with the manager and the team for a young arm.
Diamondbacks - the Diamondbacks are one of those teams that has come out of nowhere. They're not known for their deep pockets and I'm not sure how confident they are in their ability to make a deep playoff run so I think they'll settle for some bullpen help.


- AL -

Rays - known for their propensity for dealing talent and with the talent they have coming back, they have some expendable pieces. They'll look to move BJ Upton (Desmond Jennings has arrived) and James Shields while his value is high.
Orioles - the Orioles are in the basement, once again, but the light is there. I think that they're on the verge of not being sellers but with Jeremy Guthrie, Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero wasting away in Baltimore, I think that they'll certainly expore opportunities.
Royals - see Orioles above... they've gotten rid of Wilson Betemit and will likely try to move Melky Cabrera while his value is high as well as Bruce Chen, Jeff Francouer and Jeff Francis and Kyle Davies.
Mariners - once a contender, quickly a pretender. The Mariners have to start thinking about what to do with King Felix Hernandez before he hits free agency (although they suggest he's still untouchable). They also have Milton Bradley, Adam Kennedy, Jack Wilson, Jason Vargas, Doug Fister and Brandon League.

- NL -

Mets- Owner, Fred Wilpon's, financial woes are well documented and the team has endured catastrophic injuries and underperformance en route to an insurmountable deficit. Despite that, the Mets are not short on movable pieces. They've already dealt their high priced closer and stand to fetch a king's ransom for all-star outfielder Carlos Beltran and NL MVP candidate Jose Reyes.
Marlins - Hanley Ramirez has burned some bridges in Florida and the team has suffered. Do they shop the perennial all-star shortstop now before he runs another coach out of town?
Astros - the Astros are mathematically the worst team in baseball. Seemingly in a difficult rebuilding period, players like Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez are certainly on the table.
Dodgers - the Dodgers have all the pieces to make a couple of big blockbuster deals and the motivation to do it (bankruptcy filing and McCourt divorce). I don't know if anyone is untouchable - players like Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Jamey Carroll and James Loney would likely peak the interest of a lot of teams if the price was right. They could also afford to unload Hiroki Kuroda and any name in their bullpen for some younger (cheaper) talent.
Cubs - the Cubs have fallen out of contention and the expiring contract of Aramis Ramirez looms large. They also have one a lot of pop at first base, where newcomer Carlos Pena has 20 HR despite a slow start.


- AL -

Twins - decimated by injuries in early 2011, the Twins are in a decent position to add pieces to a team that will surely compete again in 2012 or stand pat and see if they can make a late push at a wide open AL Central. They can choose to move any one of these outfielders- Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, Denard Span and/or one of these relievers- Matt Capps, Joe Nathan.
A's - the A's have some complimentary pieces (Josh Willingham, Brian Fuentes and Hideki Matsui) but unless they make Gio Gonzalez available, the A's don't seem to have too much to offer that would make headline news. Rich Harden is a name that will intrigue some teams but with the baggage he carries, the price tag shouldn't be too high.

- NL -

Nationals - relievers are a hot commodity in this market so Tyler Clippard might be one of the most valuable trade chips available but he's also a very reliable reliever and could really help the team down the road.
Rockies - they have a core of solid young talent and are still hanging on by a thread but Ubaldo Jimenez would still have a lot of value in a pitching starved market and Ty Wigginton is a guy that could be a productive addition to a team trying to make a push.


Teams with real needs...

The Yankees - pitching

I think that the Yankees could end up with Ubaldo Jimenez but it's more likely that they'll end up with someone like Brett Myers. Myers isn't the typical "sexy" name that the Yankees covet but he could provide some depth in their rotation and he has bullpen experience, if need be.

The Tigers - pitching

The Tigers will not find a starter that suits their needs but they could end up taking a gamble on a guy like Rich Harden.

White Sox - a legitimate major league outfielder

It sounds like the Cardinals are talking with the White Sox about Colby Rasmus and that would be a decent move for both clubs. 

Braves - a run producing/scoring outfielder

The Braves have to be the front runners to land the outfielder that I consider to be the cream of the 2011 outfield crop- Hunter Pence. They have a host of young pitching prospects and the motivation to make the move.

Brewers - a shortstop who is worth the jersey on his back

I think that the Brewers could shock everyone and make a run at Jose Reyes. If the Mets would be willing to absorb a majority of his contract, the Brewers would seemingly be willing to add Reyes, knowing that Prince is gone next year. This is the year for the Brewers. If Reyes doesn't happen, look for them to get into the mix for Jamey Carroll.

Giants - Cody Ross circa 2010

The Giants need to strike lightning again.  They have to be the front runners for Carlos Beltran but even if that doesn't happen, they could also end up with Jeff Francouer or Josh Willingham.

The rest...

One or two of the window shoppers might make a serious move - depending on what happens this week, the Indians might decide to go hard for some help; a guy like Vladimir Guerrero might just peak their interest. The Phillies could make a move for Hunter Pence; they've had success cutting deals with ex-Phillies GM Ed Wade but I can't imagine a deal for Pence that would not include current starter Vance Worley or top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart. The Red Sox will likely add some depth in their pen and on their bench; Matt Capps, Ty Wigginton and Jamey Carroll are guys that I could see Epstein (Red Sox GM) targeting.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to eat crow and claim victory...

    The Giants did end up with Carlos Beltran and the Phillies did make a move for Hunter Pence (and it did cost Jarred Cosart). The Tigers did add a starting pitcher (Doug Fister). Edwin Jackson was enough to land Colby Rasmus but inexplicably, the White Sox traded Jackson to the Blue Jays for peanuts so the Blue Jays were the team that ended up with Rasmus. The Indians did NOT stand pat and the Dodgers traded no one. The Red Sox added a starting pitcher while the Yankees stood pat and the Rangers went after relievers, not starters. The Diamondbacks made some moves to bolster their pitching staff and the Brewers were on the passive side. All in all, great trade deadline.


Copyright © 2012 FOR BASEBALL JUNKIES.