MLB Trade Deadline: Teams That Must Make a Move
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With the MLB trade deadline inching closer, teams on the cusp of contention may be looking to add certain pieces.
After slow starts and injuries have derailed some promising 2012 seasons, there are teams that must make transactions if they hope to make the playoffs.
The addition of a second wild card team certainly aids teams that are waiting for their stars to return from injury, such as the Tampa Bay Rays. However, teams would be well suited to stockpile talent around the deadline rather than wait for players to return.
Some teams have been forced to become sellers at this year’s deadline, which will hopefully improve the quality of available players.
With studs such as Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke reportedly being scouted by other squads, the 2012 deadline could have major implications on this season’s playoff picture.
Here are a few teams that should make moves before the trade deadline.
Boston Red Sox
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After they stumbled out of the gate, Boston is suddenly making their push in the AL East. They are currently 6.5 games out of first, but only find themselves half a game back for the second wild card spot.
With players such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford on the DL, the Red Sox have seemingly weathered the storm. They have gotten production from unheralded players such as Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Cody Ross.
Nonetheless, the Sox have been riding David Ortiz’s strong season, and must find more consistency throughout their lineup if they want to extend their season into October.
Boston has struggled with starting pitching so far this season and they would be well suited to target one of the starters that are reportedly available.
However it remains to be seen exactly what the Red Sox will be able to offer. With a seemingly depleted farm system, and only two prospect in the top 100, according to MLB.com, it is doubtful the Red Sox will be a major player for one of the top pitchers.
Regardless, if they can bolster their depth and find a way to acquire a strong arm, Boston should be in good shape in the playoff race.
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Pittsburgh has not reached the playoffs since 1992 and this season may be their best chance to make their return.
Andrew McCutchen has been nearly their entire offense, as he leads them in batting average, home runs, RBI and OBP. Yet outside of McCutchen, the Pirates lack any other offensive threats. They have no other players batting higher than .273 and it is time for the Pirates to cash in on some of their young talent.
According to MLB.com, the Pirates feature four top 100 prospects. They would be well suited to package those prospects in hopes of acquiring another bat.
After failing to acquire Kevin Youkilis, the Pirates need to find a corner infielder to pair with McCutchen.
The Pirates have the talent to be able to make a move, it all depends if the right player would become available.
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The Braves currently sit 4.5 games out of first and are reportedly very interested in grabbing another starter to bolster their rotation.
Some have suggested the Braves would consider adding Zack Greinke, if he becomes available. Also, the Braves are reportedly scouting Francisco Liriano in hopes of him improving on his 2-7 2012 record.
The Braves rank ninth in the NL in ERA and with Tommy Hanson already in place, Atlanta would be wise to acquire one more arm before the deadline.
They must target a pitcher that could come in and make an impact, in the Matt Garza, Greinke or Cole Hamels mold. If they deal for a pitcher that flops in the second half of the season, Atlanta will be left at home during October.
The Braves feature the No. 1 overall prospect in Julio Teheran, but it is doubtful they would be willing to part with him. Regardless, the Braves also have four other talented youngsters who rank in the top 100.
Atlanta would be wise to make a move at the deadline in hopes of catching up to the talented Washington Nationals.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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Led by a young tandem of Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles would be wise to make moves to bolster their young roster. With the hopes of Albert Pujols rebounding in the second half of the year, the Angels could be primed for a huge second half.
Nonetheless, they will need more production out of their tail-end starters, who have had a fairly quiet season.
Ervin Santana has lost half of his starts while posting mundane 5.12 ERA. Dan Haren has shown glimpses, but his 6-7 record and 4.53 ERA say otherwise.
Although general manager Jerry Dipoto anticipates a quiet deadline, according to ESPN. But, the Angels should add a starter along with bullpen help.
With young talent in the minors, including Jean Segura, who is ranked 46 according to MLB.com, the Angels could find talent before the deadline.
If they are able to make a trade, they will definitely position themselves as a playoff contender.