MLB Trade Speculation: Quick Fixes for All 30 MLB Teams
Three weeks into the season, injuries start to pile up and weaknesses arrive that need to be fixed.
Some teams have glaring holes as they make changes with hope for the future, while the contending clubs have to focus more on the present and making their team better for a late October run. The Boston Red Sox have already been active in the trade market, trading for Marlon Byrd over the weekend to solve their crisis in the outfield.
With that being said, here is an idea for each team to try and fix some problems that have developed thus far early on in the season.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Add OF Depth
Justin Upton is still going to be an MVP candidate come September, but he has really struggled out of the gate this season. He has been playing with a jammed thumb and still does not have a homer or RBI on the year.
After Chris Young landed on the DL, the D-Backs are shorthanded in their outfield and do not have much of anything after Upton, Parra and Kubel to allow Upton to rest and get his hand better.
Acquiring an OF who could step in while Chris Young recovers and give Upton a day off to rest his hand could really help Arizona for the long haul.
Atlanta Braves: Acquire a SS
After a terrible start to the season which saw the Braves go 0-4, the Braves have since gone 10-2 and find themselves with the fourth-best record in the NL.
One area they definitely will need improved production will be at shortstop.
Pastornicky is a promising-looking infielder, but he has gotten off to a slow start, hitting .175 with seven strikeouts in 40 at-bats.
A shortstop market is developing, and a player like Jason Bartlett would be a nice fit in Atlanta.
Baltimore Orioles: Add a 3B or DH
With another win Sunday, the Orioles have surprised a lot of people, myself included, with a 9-7 start.
Their bullpen has been outstanding, and the starting rotation has outperformed expectations. However, other than Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold and Adam Jones, the lineup has struggled.
The combination of Wilson Betemit, Mark Reynolds and Nick Johnson have gone just 13-for-109, good for a batting average of .119. If the Orioles plan on staying near the top of the division, they will need to drastically improve on what they are currently getting from their 3B and DH.
Boston Red Sox: Add Bullpen Help
The Red Sox just acquired Marlon Byrd to fix their biggest hole in the outfield, but they still have a huge need in the bullpen.
In Saturday’s loss to the Yankees, 27 hitters came to the plate in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings against the Red Sox. Phillip Humber faced 27 hitters the entire game.
Alfredo Aceves, Mark Melancon and company simply have not gotten it done as Boston was forced to put Daniel Bard back in the bullpen, at least temporarily. With Andrew Bailey out indefinitely, the Sox need to acquire a late-inning reliever such as Jonathan Broxton because their bullpen will continue to be a problem.
Chicago Cubs: Continue to Get Rid of Veterans
Sorry, Cubs fans, but after a 4-12 start, I'm afraid this year still is not going to be "the year," either.
With that in mind, the Cubs should dedicate this year to looking at what they have internally for the future. Anthony Rizzo is raking in Triple-A, as is top prospect Welington Castillo. Each of them have proven they can handle the minors, now they just need playing time at the major league level.
The Cubs were able to acquire a former first-round pick in the Marlon Byrd trade with the Red Sox, and they should look to move other struggling veterans such as Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano to continue to open up playing time for the younger players.
Chicago White Sox: Find a New 3B
Brent Morel has never been a good hitter at the major league level.
Coming into the season, he had a .243 career batting average, but this season he has not done himself any favors, going 7-for-51, striking out in an incredible 43 percent of his at-bats.
The White Sox are still an impressive 9-6, but they need to find a way to get more production from the power position that is third base.
Cincinnati Reds: Replace Willie Harris
The fact that the Reds are 7-9 is a testament to how good their pitching has been.
After Sunday's action, the Reds only have two starters hitting better than .250. For the time being, the easiest thing they can fix is cutting ties with Willie Harris.
Harris was not anything special in a limited role with the Mets last season, but this year he has been awful. He has appeared in 13 games but has just two hits, and his defense is nowhere near what it used to be. As a role player on the bench, his at-bats could easily be replaced and improved with a trade or call-up.
Cleveland Indians: Trade Ubaldo Jimenez
Yes, the Indians have gotten off to a strong start, but the more Ubaldo Jimenez pitches, the worse he looks. While his ERA is not terrible so far, his k/9 is down more than three per nine innings compared to his career rate. His fastball velocity is down, he is getting less ground balls and all while walking more hitters. These are all trends that have started after his 2010 breakout, and they are not good signs moving forward.
Before people completely forget about his great 2010, the Indians should try and use it to trade Jimenez before it is too late.
Colorado Rockies: Add a Starting Pitcher
Drew Pomeranz is going to have a bright future in the major leagues, but he is not ready right now.
In his first season in the Rockies' organization, he dominated the minor leagues, but he still only had 28 innings above A-ball in the minor leagues coming into 2012.
While Pomeranz was decent in his last start, he still needs more time in the minors to refine his control and secondary offerings. Adding another starting pitcher in a trade would allow the Rockies to send him down and call him back up when he is ready.
Detroit Tigers: Find a New LHP for the Bullpen
The extent of Daniel Schlereth's struggles this season are new for him in a big league uniform, but the warning signs were always there.
Despite an ERA of 2.89 and 3.49 in 2010 and 2011, respectively, Schlereth has always had control issues, walking 41 batters in just 67 innings. In addition, he has never been a ground-ball pitcher, getting just 39 percent of his outs on the ground last season.
So while he will definitely improve on his current 10.29 ERA, the Tigers should look to improve that area of their bullpen before trying to make a deep run into the playoffs.
Houston Astros: Call Up Fernando Martinez
Due to health concerns, Martinez never appeared in more than 90 games over the course of a full season. However, when he was on the field, he was still a great hitter, and that is what the Astros were taking a chance on when they claimed him from the Mets this offseason.
Thus far into the season, F-Mart has not disappointed, hitting .316 with three homers and 15 RBI in 16 games. The Astros are currently starting Brian Bogusevic in RF, so they should just get rid of him and hand his spot to Martinez with an eye towards the future.
Kansas City Royals: Send Jeff Francoeur Packing
Was Jeff Francoeur good for the Royals last season?
Will he continue to be good for the Royals moving forward?
After seven-plus years in the majors, we know Frenchy is an outfielder who does not take walks while striking out a lot. Last year, his BABIP jumped 20 points higher than his normal rates, while his walk rate fell and strikeout rate went up.
With a 3-12 start, it will be another down year for the Royals. They need to start looking for pieces that will help them in 2013, and even though he has a contract through the 2013 season, Francoeur should not be one of them.
Los Angeles Angels: Cut Vernon Wells/Bobby Abreu, Call Up Mike Trout
This is the easiest decision on this list...as long as you do not have to be the one signing the checks.
Mike Trout is absolutely raking in Triple-A with a .391 batting average and six steals in 17 games, but Vernon Wells is owed $63 million over the next three seasons and has shown decent power with three homers this year.
With the Angels struggling to score runs, the have already fallen seven games back in the AL West of the Rangers, who are looking like the best team in baseball by a wide margin. After spending more than $300 million in the offseason, the Angels need to win now, and their best outfielder is playing in Triple-A.
Sounds like an easy fix to me.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Get Rid of Juan Uribe
Ever since Juan Uribe arrived in L.A., he has struggled.
Last season, he hit just .208 in 270 at-bats; this season, he is hitting .211 with only one extra-base hit in his first 11 games.
The Dodgers already have a capable replacement for Uribe on their roster in Jerry Hairston Jr., so they should look to find a taker for Uribe on the trade market and improve another area of their team.
Miami Marlins: Look to Upgrade 1B
Gaby Sanchez is a nice player, but it looks like that is all he is ever going to be.
The Marlins need to change something up in their lineup, as they have too much talent to sit in the bottom 10 of the league in runs scored.
Throughout his two-plus seasons on the Marlins, Sanchez has looked more and more like a platoon first baseman. Hitting .255 with only 28 homers against right-handed pitching will not get it done at 1B, and if the Marlins want to keep up in what is now arguably the best division in baseball, they will need an upgrade.
Milwaukee Brewers: Sit/Trade Nyjer Morgan
Nyjer Morgan, or should I say, "Tony Plush," certainly made a name for himself among Brewers fans last season with his play and commentary on and off the field.
Unfortunately, this season, he has not had the same luck, hitting just .119 in 15 games with nine strikeouts and zero walks.
With Carlos Gomez on the roster and getting off to a hot start, the Brewers can sit Morgan until he regains some confidence, or try to deal him to help out a pitching staff that has the third-worst ERA in all of baseball.
Minnesota Twins: Trade Francisco Liriano
When Liriano dominated in spring training, it looked like he had finally returned to his 2006 (and 2010) form that had him as one of the best left-handers in the game.
It is too bad that when the games started counting, he has been nothing but awful, with an 11.02 ERA and 13 walks against 12 strikeouts in 16.1 innings spanning over four starts.
Teams are always looking to add starting pitching, and the Twins should look to sell Liriano before his value is all gone.
New York Mets: Improve the Bullpen
The Mets' bullpen has struggled this season, leading to the sixth-worst ERA in baseball of all bullpens.
At this point, the one area that would be the quickest fix is the long man, Miguel Batista.
There is a reason that Batista has been on 11 different teams in his career and barely made the Mets out of spring training.
He has not looked good in any of his appearances thus far, and with Johan Santana on a limited pitch count, the Mets need to have a better option ready to pitch multiple innings out of the pen.
Batista is the Mets' spot starter in Monday’s double-header, so he will get one last chance to prove his worth. It would not surprise me to see him released if he struggles again.
New York Yankees: Replace Brett Gardner
After placing Brett Gardner on the 15-day DL, the new Yankees' platoon in left field may be Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez.
The Yanks have never been a team to sit back and wait for things to come to them, and I could see them going after a speedy, leadoff type outfielder to avoid using that platoon. There have been rumblings that Eduardo Nunez may see some time in the outfield, but I do not think that is a viable long-term solution.
Oakland Athletics: Get Infield Help
When your starting infield is hitting a combined .187 17 games into the year, it is a miracle that the Athletics are still 8-9.
Jemile Weeks is a great young player, and he will turn it around, but the rest of the A's infielders—Daric Barton, Josh Donaldson and Cliff Pennington—should be on very short leashes as GM Billy Beane looks to fix the situation.
Philadelphia Phillies: Address the Lineup Issues
Injuries are out of a team’s control, but being able to adjust to them is vital, and the Phillies are not making the right moves.
Placido Polanco has been declining every year since 2007. Third base is suppose to be a position that drives in runs, and without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, that type of production has become even more important for the Phils.
He is far from perfect, but I think Mark Reynolds could be a great addition as they wait for Howard and Utley to return.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Find a Hitter Other Than Andrew McCutchen
As a team, the Pittsburgh Pirates are hitting .202, and that is with Andrew McCutchen hitting .351 entering Monday's action. They only average two runs scored a game and they sit dead last in baseball in runs scored, and it is not even close.
The Texas Rangers have scored 64 more runs than them!
The Pirates have the pitching to compete in the NL Central, but if they do not add to their lineup, they will have a historically bad season trying to score runs.
San Diego Padres: Get Rid of Under-Performing Veterans
Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett are two guys who are not part of the Padres' long-term plans.
They should not be a part of their 2012, either.
If the Cubs could land a former top prospect in Michael Bowden and salary relief in exchange for Marlon Byrd, these guys could bring back something to help San Diego in the present and not-so-distant future.
San Francisco Giants: Trade Aubrey Huff
Another season, another Giants team that struggles to score runs.
Brandon Belt has only received 21 at-bats so far this season while Aubrey Huff has gotten 33. The problem with that is, Belt is the Giants' first baseman of the future and is ready to handle the gig full time, while Huff appears to be over the hill and very much on the downside of his career.
I believe Huff can turn things around, but it should not come at the expense of letting Belt play every day.
Seattle Mariners: Call It Quits with Chone Figgins
A week into the season, Chone Figgins was hitting over .300 and M's fans were rejoicing.
Maybe, just maybe, after two years of suffering, the Figgins they watched on the Angels would show up for their hometown Mariners.
That hope and optimism ended quickly.
Figgins is now down to a .215 batting average with 20 strikeouts in 65 at-bats. That is unacceptable for a major league hitter without power, even more so for a leadoff hitter who needs to get on base.
With Kyle Seager playing well and/or when Mike Carp returns from the DL, Figgins' time in Seattle may reach its end.
St. Louis Cardinals: Improve 2B Production
While Orlando Hudson may not be a good fit for a Padres team looking to build for the future, he could be a perfect fit for the Cardinals, who should be looking for more production from their second basemen.
Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene are hitting a combined .216, and although Hudson's production has declined every year since 2008, moving from a non-contender playing in Petco Park to a team with World Series aspirations could change how a player plays and produces.
With reports saying the Padres are going to release Hudson, it could be a great low-risk, high-reward signing the Cardinals always seem to pull off under the radar.
Tampa Bay Rays: Need for Speed
For a team that plays small ball with the best of them, the Tampa Bay Rays lack a crucial element to enhance success.
B.J. Upton returned to the Rays' lineup this weekend and his 40-plus steals will definitely help, but as a team, they only have six stolen bases on the year. This was a team that finished second in all of baseball in 2011 with 155 steals but ranks in the bottom five this year.
The Rays have not gotten a lot of production from their middle infielders, as Rodriguez, Keppinger, Brignac and Johnson have combined for a .181 average, so I would expect a change to come up the middle of the diamond.
Texas Rangers: Outfield Depth
The Texas Rangers are the class of baseball right now.
Sitting at 13-3 with the most runs in baseball and the third best team ERA, there really is not much this team needs to change.
However, the fact remains that their best player and AL MVP, Josh Hamilton, is still very injury prone, and the Rangers have very little outfield depth behind him if he were to come down with an injury.
Acquiring a player like Endy Chavez (whom they had last year), a great defensive outfielder who could contribute in short spurts, would be a great insurance policy for the Rangers.
Toronto Blue Jays: Add Relief Pitching
Being a closer this season seems to have a curse, as Sergio Santos became the seventh pitcher to be placed on the DL with arm troubles who had 20 or more saves last season.
The Jays' signing of Francisco Cordero looks even better now and he will slide into the closer's spot, but it makes what was already a thin bullpen even thinner.
Only two pitchers in Toronto's bullpen has an ERA under five, so they will be looking at the trade market to see if there is something out there they could acquire to increase their depth with Santos out.
Washington Nationals: 1B / OF Depth, Playoff Experience
Despite a 12-4 start, there are some things that Washington could add that would make their team an even greater threat.
The lineup still does not have a lot of depth, and with Mike Morse out for the foreseeable future, I think getting insurance behind Adam LaRoche's shoulder and Mark DeRosa in the outfield would be a quick fix.
The Giants’ Aubrey Huff could be a viable solution.
The Nats have not gotten a lot of production from their outfield of Mark DeRosa, Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina, so Huff could play in the outfield everyday, provide insurance if Morse does not return and/or LaRoche aggravates his shoulder injury. In addition, he would bring the locker room that World Series pedigree from his run in 2010 with San Francisco.