MLB Trade Scenarios: 10 GMs Under the Most Pressure to Stay Active at Deadline

Ben Leibowitz@BenLeboCorrespondent IIIApril 26, 2012

MLB Trade Scenarios: 10 GMs Under the Most Pressure to Stay Active at Deadline

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    There are 162 games in the Major League Baseball season. We have a long way to go in order to determine playoff seeding.

    Admittedly, the standings at this moment have a very slim chance of looking the same in September.

    But which teams and general managers already are under the most pressure to improve their rosters?

    Here are 10 MLB GMs who need to be active before the trade deadline.

1. Ben Cherington, Boston Red Sox

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    At the start of the season, the Red Sox certainly didn’t plan on being a last-place team in the AL East. That, however, has been the harsh reality for Boston and new manager Bobby Valentine.

    The Red Sox have managed to turn their fortunes around a bit with a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins. But if they want to contend, they may have to stay active in trade talks.

    The Red Sox already made a move, acquiring outfielder Marlon Byrd from the Chicago Cubs.

    After injuries to Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury thinned the Red Sox outfield depth, they had to acquire another player. Byrd has been good in the past, but at the time of acquiring the veteran outfielder, he was batting .070.

    Something that the Red Sox have to consider is acquiring more bullpen depth.

    The Boston bullpen has been terrible. Alfredo Aceves has had a rough transition to the closer role after Andrew Bailey went down before the start of the season with thumb surgery. Additionally, Mark Melancon has had the effectiveness of a pitching machine so far this year, currently sporting a 49.50 ERA.

    The loss of Bailey has really hurt the Boston bullpen, especially with Daniel Bard’s move to the starting rotation.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cherington and Company add another arm to bandage the bullpen until Bailey gets back.

    How’s that for alliteration?

2. Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals

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    At the start of the season, the Royals seemed like a club ready to have a breakout season.

    Youngsters Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas were supposed to lead the charge offensively, and the addition of pitcher Jonathan Sanchez was seen as a move that could help their woeful pitching.

    But the Royals have an 0-10 record this season at home.

    You read that correctly. Playing in their home stadium, the Royals are winless this season.

    They had a lot of promise, but thus far, they’ve been a disappointment. The addition of Sanchez hasn't helped much either; he has a 6.75 ERA.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Royals brass add some much-needed pitching to jump-start this team.

3. Billy Beane, Oakland Athletics

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    The Oakland A’s are 10-10 so far this season; that’s good for second place in the AL West.

    Nevertheless, if the Athletics start to slip near the trade deadline and aren’t in the hunt as a contender, look for Billy Beane to be aggressive in trade talks. The A’s have a ton of talented pitchers who could yield prospects in return.

    Bartolo Colon has looked great so far and might be a guy that contending teams in need of pitching could target; same goes for A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who they may deal regardless. He's in the last year of his contract.

    In addition to the starters Oakland may choose to move, the A's have a lot of talented bullpen arms that will be highly coveted (especially by the Red Sox if their bullpen continues to struggle). Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes are veteran relievers with experience pitching in clutch situations.

    If Beane can improve his team over the long haul by adding prospects for the arms he has on his team, I think he’ll pull the trigger.

4. Brian Cashman, New York Yankees

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    Losing Michael Pineda for the entire 2012 season is a huge blow to the Yankees' championship aspirations (report from ESPN). 

    The Yankees gave up Jesus Montero to get Pineda in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, and so far it appears that the Mariners got the better of the deal.

    Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia have struggled so far, as has Yankees ace CC Sabathia.

    The loss of Pineda may force Brian Cashman to make some type of deal. Honestly, I would be shocked if the Yankees didn’t make a trade to add a starting pitcher before the deadline.

    If they have hopes of competing with the Tampa Bay Rays for a playoff spot, the Yankees' starting pitching simply has to get better.

5. Mike Rizzo, Washington Nationals

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    The Washington Nationals' starting pitchers have been nothing short of amazing to start the 2012 season.

    They lead all of baseball in ERA (2.20), WHIP (1.03) and batting average against (.200). They also rank fourth in the majors with 13 quality starts.

    At 14-4, the Nationals currently have a firm grasp on the NL East lead. Their pitching has been carrying them. All five starters, one through five, can dominate.

    With that said, if Mike Rizzo wants to be serious about contending, he should try to add a bat to the lineup.

    If the Nationals can rely on a hitter other than MLB journeyman Adam LaRoche to lead the charge, they may prove to doubters that they're a serious threat to contend this season.

6. Ned Colletti, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    The Los Angeles Dodgers got off to a blistering start. They've come down to earth a little bit with a 5-5 record in their past 10 games, but even so, they're leading the NL West.

    Matt Kemp has been a man among boys so far this season. He leads the Dodgers in the following categories: batting average (.449), home runs (10), RBI (23), on-base percentage (.513), hits (31) and runs (19).

    The list goes on and on with this guy. He's simply carrying the Dodgers to victory night in and night out.

    With Kemp, I think that the Dodgers have a good chance of winning the division this season—especially when you consider the injuries the Arizona Diamondbacks have sustained and the sputtering San Francisco Giants.

    Andre Ethier has been solid, but I think the Dodgers need to add another bat to help Kemp. He won't be able to sustain a .449 batting average all season (or will he?).

    Adding a guy like Carlos Lee from the Houston Astros would be an interesting fit.

7. Walt Jocketty, Cincinnati Reds

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    With Prince Fielder leaving the Milwaukee Brewers and Albert Pujols leaving the St. Louis Cardinals, I thought the NL Central was the Reds’ division to lose.

    The Reds, however, have struggled with dormant bats. Joey Votto has just one homer and is batting .273.

    Despite losing Pujols to the Los Angeles Angels, the Cardinals picked up where they left off last year and are playing great baseball. They may still be the team to beat in the division.

    If the Reds have hopes of competing with the Cardinals and making it to the postseason, they might be wise to add a player via trade.

    Mike Leake and new addition Mat Latos have struggled on the mound, while just about every Reds player has struggled on offense (outside of Jay Bruce, who is still striking out a lot).

    I don't expect Votto's early season struggles to continue, but the Reds' bats will have to heat up soon if they want to remain competitive.

8. Jerry Dipoto, Los Angeles Angels

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    What has happened to the Los Angeles Angels?

    With a 6-13 record, they've been worse than the drama-filled Boston Red Sox.

    They have a long way to go if they hope to compete with the Texas Rangers in the AL West.

    With that said, I think the Angels need to lighten the load in their outfield via trade.

    Mark Trumbo, the Angels' superstar prospect, is leading the team in hitting with a .342 average. However, because the Angels have too many outfielders, they've experimented by playing Trumbo at third base, where he has really struggled.

    Asking an outfielder like Trumbo to play third base is just plain cruel. In four games played at the hot corner this season, Trumbo has three errors.

    He belongs in the outfield.

    The problem is that the Angels have Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and Peter Bourjos, all of whom are great fielders in the outfield. Not only that, but the Angels have Bobby Abreu, another outfielder, on their bench.

    They've already made an effort to trade Abreu to open up space for Trumbo without success. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Angels mix things up moving forward.

9. Michael Hill, Miami Marlins

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    With all of the buzz that surrounded the new-look Miami Marlins this offseason, it’s disappointing to see them sitting in last place.

    The Ozzie Guillen debacle certainly left a sour taste in people’s mouths and was a huge distraction. But the Marlins brought in a lot of talent in order to be competitive and they haven't been so far.

    The Marlins rank 28th in runs, 26th in batting average, 26th in on-base percentage and 22nd in slugging percentage. They have been anemic offensively.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Marlins make a move before the trade deadline, especially if they intend to justify spending all of that money this offseason.

10. Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer, Chicago Cubs

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    Theo Epstein turned around the losing culture of the Boston Red Sox, winning two World Series titles with the team in 2004 and 2007.

    If Epstein has hopes of making the same thing happen in Chicago with the Cubs, the time is now to get the ball rolling.

    The Cubs have proved already that they aren't afraid to deal, sending Marlon Byrd to Boston. I think that Byrd will be the tip of the iceberg.

    Look for the Cubs to continue swapping everyday players for prospects as we get closer to the deadline, especially if the Cubs remain in the cellar of the NL Central.