MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Teams Still Looking to Acquire Top Talent
As the free-agency season comes down to a close, some teams are still looking for that one piece to the puzzle that could push them over the top. Be it pitching, hitting or even defense, some teams out there could find themselves in either the playoffs or the World Series by filling just one need.
Take the New York Yankees, for example. They appeared to be set going into 2012, but trading potential DH Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners left them with a gaping void just aching to be filled, and not necessarily through the "revolving door DH" approach.
Likewise, their division rival Boston Red Sox have a great offense, but lack a deep enough pitching rotation to really push forward.
Thus, lets take a look at five teams who are still on the hunt for top talent to put them in contention.
No. 5: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are never a team to be shy of making moves during the offseason, as they have already had a busy one in signing infielder Mark Ellis and pitcher Aaron Harang. More recently, they have added relief pitchers Jamey Wright and Todd Coffey.
While pitching is all well and good, what the Dodgers really need is another big bat in the heart of their order. Outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier provide a solid one-two punch, but no two players can carry a team to championship glory.
James Loney is entering his contract year and is a decent enough lefty bat to possibly bring in some MLB-ready prospects, or at least prospects close to that level. It's time for GM Ned Colletti to close the checkbook and start listening to offers.
No. 4: Washington Nationals
In 2012, the Washington Nationals are certainly going to be a team to watch, but they are still one piece away from being the team to beat.
A great young core featuring hitters Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse (pictured) and pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann should definitely help the team make a statement in the NL East, but a gaping hole in centerfield could prove to be a bug-a-boo for any hopes of success.
At this point, that position is going to be filled by one of two players: the aging Mike Cameron or the hit-or-miss Roger Bernadina. Seeing as how the signing of Edwin Jackson has pitcher John Lannan on the trading block, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, perhaps Lannan could bring in a reliable solution to that part of the outfield.
At that point, the Nationals could be primed to make a run at a division championship.
No. 3: Miami Marlins
The Miami Marlins have had a busy offseason and will definitely make a run for a playoff berth this year. They've made upgrades at practically every position that needed one, and they have just one remaining void in center field.
Enter Cuban phenom Yoenis Cespedes, who, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark, is high on the team's target list. With an offer seemingly imminent, there's no telling how this saga will end.
What I can tell you is that if Cespedes is the five-tool star he's reported to be, he will be a godsend for the Marlins. Their current center field battle is between the one-sided Emilio Bonifacio and the oft-injured Chris Coghlan; Cespedes would be an upgrade over either.
In that case, the Marlins would officially be the team to beat in 2012.
No. 2: New York Yankees
The Yankees are a team that looks great going into 2012, but there's still something missing. Their DH slot is currently set to be a combination of Andruw Jones and a "revolving door" system, in which incumbent stars like Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez will play at that position while a backup plays at their regular position.
This week, however, GM Brian Cashman has been looking at left-handed bats like Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Raul Ibanez (pictured) to possibly serve as a designated hitter on days that Jones does not play.
According to Mark J. Miller of Yahoo Sports, Ibanez has been high on the team's radar and a deal could be imminent.
Ibanez may be old at 39, but he still hit 20 home runs last year. With some pop left in his bat and the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium, fans could be reliving the magic of 2009 sooner rather than later.
No. 1: Boston Red Sox
A few days back, the prospect of veteran Roy Oswalt signing with the Boston Red Sox seemed to be a great possibility. However, according to a report yesterday by WEEI's Rob Bradford, there is "no traction" between the two parties.
Simply put, be it Oswalt or another arm, the Red Sox need to add another pitcher if they want to avoid another collapse similar to the one at the end of last season. Jon Lester and Josh Beckett should provide some quality starts, but everyone else in the rotation is hit or miss.
Clay Buchholz's health could be an issue, Daniel Bard has never been a starter in the majors and Alfredo Aceves is a major question mark. Unless they can find a bargain signing on the market or find themselves back in the Oswalt race, the Sawx will almost definitely be on the outside looking in come World Series time.