MLB Trade Scenarios: 1 Huge Trade to Fix All 30 Teams' First-Half Problems
The MLB trade deadline is approaching fast, and now that we're at the halfway point of the season, most teams know if they're going to be buyers or sellers this year.
For those that are buyers, they know that players are at a premium this year with the extra wild card, but at the same time, they know that if they want to make the playoffs, they need to make the tough moves.
Here is a huge trade each team can make to achieve their goals.
Somehow, the Baltimore Orioles are in second place in the AL East with a 45-39 record. I'm still not fully sold on them, and I doubt too many are, even though they're getting the difficult wins.
Acquiring Cole Hamels would not only give them that ace to provide legitimacy moving forward, but it would give them a great ace, since right now Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen are holding the entire rotation in place.
Boston Red Sox
Despite a .500 record, the Boston Red Sox have a lot more troubles than it may seem. Yes, Will Middlebrooks and David Ortiz have been great, among others, but right now there are zero starters that are legitimately playing good baseball.
They already traded Kevin Youkilis, and honestly the one thing they need right now is some stability. A trade may help in the short term, but they need some stability more than anything; a trade would almost certainly go badly, even if it was to add an ace.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are starting to run away with the AL East, and with their combination of pitching and hitting it's to be expected.
Their only weak spot is Russell Martin, who has just been flat-out bad this season. Unfortunately for them the trade market is weak, and the only player that could really help them out is possibly J.P. Arencibia if they can convince Toronto to trade with a division rival.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays' biggest problem is that their hitting has been bad, but you can't blame them entirely since Evan Longoria's been out most of the year. What's a team hanging on in the AL East to do in that case?
They need to being in someone who is there simply to hit, not necessarily for power, just in general. Justin Upton is a guy who I don't see leaving, but even in a down year like 2012 he can hit, and he could jump-start the Rays' offense.
Plus, if they keep B.J. Upton, then you'd have two brothers who can work off each other.
Toronto Blue Jays
I can't tell if the Blue Jays should be buyers or sellers. As usual, they are mired around .500, but in the AL East one good streak can push you right into second.
On the pitching end, they need a guy who can strike people out; suddenly Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero have forgotten how to do that. Bringing in Zack Greinke would be a huge move and would give them a pitching edge in a division where that could make all the difference.
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are in first place in the AL Central, but more importantly, they are 9-3 since Kevin Youkilis joined their ranks and brought some pop.
I was skeptical of the Sox, but they have looked legitimate, and they filled their weakness in the lineup with the Youkilis trade. They already made the trade they needed to make, and could realistically win the division with what they have now.
The Indians are in second place in the AL Central despite some very rough patches. Their rotation was a disaster, but Justin Masterson and others are bouncing back. Left field, meanwhile, remains a monstrosity.
A right-handed hitter who can mash home runs is what the team needs, and the fact that Carlos Quentin can do that and play in left field simply makes it a perfect match for them.
Despite being the most talented team in the division on paper, the Detroit Tigers are mired around .500. They have their leaders playing great, but the role players are not picking up the slack.
A blockbuster move would not fix the weaknesses in the lineup, since it's about the other guys stepping up. That being said, why not bring in Cole Hamels as a one-two punch behind Verlander? It brings the rotation as a whole from average to very good just that quickly.
Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals have a lot to fix, but nothing more so than the starting rotation, which has been a joke outside of Felipe Paulino this year—and he's been out.
This would never happen in a deadline move, but Zack Greinke returning would bring not only stability to the rotation, but a sorely needed ace as well, and it might help them progress.
The Minnesota Twins have proved with their 2012 season that they need to go into rebuilding mode. They have some young talent, but it's far from enough right now.
If they can get some solid pieces for Justin Morneau and Matt Capps, then the trade deadline is a win for them. If they can somehow turn Josh Willingham into a prospect gold mine, then that's even more of a win, even though they need him to provide some power in the lineup right now.
It doesn't really hit on the main point of the list, since it doesn't fix the problems. There are a few teams that need to sell, since that's the only way to salvage the season at this point.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
After a slow start to their season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are bouncing back, and seem to have found their groove. They're in second place in the AL West and could easily grab a wild-card spot.
They do have a weakness at catcher, and have had one there for many years. Bringing in Kelly Shoppach could make their team that much better, and this way at least one catcher can actually hit while the other can concentrate on defense.
The Athletics are obviously going to be sellers at the deadline this year. They somehow have a .500 record thanks to great pitching, despite having no hitting.
They could acquire any bat and it would be an improvement, but when it comes to long-term improvements, it's time to trade the veterans. Bartolo Colon would bring in a decent return, and given that he tends to fade in the second half it's a move Oakland will need to make.
Felix Hernandez is not going anywhere. Now that that's out of the way, the Mariners are in dead last, and with hitting that rivals Oakland's in futility, they need to make a move.
Kevin Millwood is pitching effectively and would definitely be someone a contender would be willing to pick up. If they can get a current bat to go along with a prospect, that just makes it better, since they need some help; Ichiro leads the team regulars with a meager .260 average.
The Texas Rangers are still running away with the AL West despite a few bumps. They have no real weaknesses in their potent lineup, though it would be nice if Mike Napoli's batting average went back up.
Their rotation is good, and the addition of Roy Oswalt made it even better. At this point, any trade would not make the team better, but simply would disrupt the flow they've had going most of the year.
The Atlanta Braves are in a tough spot. They are close to first place, but the NL East is very tough. Nonetheless, they are a mostly young team that has to make a move.
With Brandon Beachy out, they have no one who has been particularly effective. They need a consistent pitcher who they could get without having to give up too many prospects, and someone like Matt Garza could work out for both teams.
The Miami Marlins are tough to figure out. They were bad in April and June but great in May, and have an overall solid-but-nothing-special rotation to go with an underachieving lineup.
Gaby Sanchez hasn't been the answer at first base, and the acquisition of Carlos Lee should help. They need more than veteran help though, but in terms of what would fix their problems, Lee does a decent job of that.
I would want to see how he fits into the lineup before asking for another move.
New York Mets
It seemed a given that the Mets would be in last this year as they tried to rebuild, but perhaps surprisingly, they are right in the thick of the pennant race.
The bullpen is the weak spot, but it has been improving; it's now okay instead of terrible. K-Rod won't come back, but if they can get the next-best closer on the market in Huston Street, it could further solidify a bullpen that's slowly starting to come together.
I don't know if it was the absence of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, or the fallout from missing the World Series last year, but the Phillies are an utter mess despite the talent, and it doesn't look like they'll bounce back.
At this point, they need to start selling. Cole Hamels can bring in a few top-tier prospects, especially hitting ones that the Phillies sorely need. This season has to be marked off as a wash and they just have to bounce back next year.
The Washington Nationals have made it to first place thanks to an amazing rotation and bullpen; no question that they're the best pitching staff in baseball. Their lineup however, especially the outfield, leaves much to be desired.
Bringing in a guy who can both hit and steal bases like B.J. Upton could be a big boost to them. He does not hit for average too well, but he can provide other benefits; besides, it's still an improvement over Rick Ankiel.
The Chicago Cubs are easily going to be the biggest sellers at the deadline, there's no question about that. The question is simply which players will go.
To move forward, the best trade they can make is to ship off Alfonso Soriano. He's playing well enough that they could actually get something for him, and part of their problem so far was not having anywhere to place prospects who were major league ready.
The coming trades will fix that.
I didn't have much confidence in the Reds heading into 2012, but they're first in the NL Central and have a great rotation. The fact that they have only used five starters all year speaks volumes.
Drew Stubbs in center field seems to be the weak link, and bringing in a veteran with playoff experience like Shane Victorino could give the team the push it needs, especially against the Cardinals.
I think that the Houston Astros came into 2012 knowing they were going to be sellers at the deadline, and while they've had a few nice surprises, they remain around the NL cellar.
Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez will certainly be on the trading block. As long as they can get some solid prospects from both, then they can move forward. If they sit on them like they did last offseason, there could be problems.
The Milwaukee Brewers had a slow start thanks to a pitching staff that's been horrible, but they have improved, even though they remain near the bottom in ERA. Both the bullpen and middle infield have been very bad this year.
One move is not going to fix the team, and I don't know if they'll buy or sell yet. Assuming they're buyers, they might have to make a move like adding Kelly Johnson. It would require trading Rickie Weeks, but at this point they will either need to go all in or sell their top guys; they can't take the middle road this year.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in first?
That's certainly a surprise heading into the All-Star break, but what's more surprising is that it's the great pitching that's been carrying the team.
They need another bat, since right now Andrew McCutchen is doing just about everything. They not only need to bring in talent there, but someone with playoff experience. Someone like Justin Upton would fit very well, since when he's on he can be MVP-quality.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are the defending World Series champions, and have mostly looked the part. However, losing Chris Carpenter for the season means that they will need to bring in someone.
They need someone consistent to prop everyone up, and if they are fine with looking in the division, then Wandy Rodriguez could be perfect for them. It worked with Edwin Jackson last year, and it could certainly work again this year.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are mired around .500 after a great year last year, and that's a result of their pitching. Wade Miley's been a nice surprise, but there hasn't been a real ace showing up this year.
I see no chance Arizona trades Justin Upton, but bringing in a veteran like Ryan Dempster could help, especially with the year he's had so far.
The Rockies, as usual, have a potent lineup but no pitching to speak of. More accurately though, their bullpen is actually solid, it's the starting rotation that's a joke.
At this point they're sellers, and they may have to sell a starter or two. Dexter Fowler seems most likely to leave, but if they can convince someone to take on Jeremy Guthrie by using Coors Field in their argument, then that would be a win.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Apparently shedding Frank McCourt helped out, as the Los Angeles Dodgers have roared to first place in the NL West despite losing Matt Kemp for a chunk of the season.
Right now, Juan Uribe isn't getting it done at third base. If they could add in yet another power bat like Edwin Encarnacion into the lineup, that could bump the Dodgers into a World Series-caliber team.
San Diego Padres
While the Padres are one of the worst teams in baseball and remain inept hitting-wise, they do have a few players available for trade, such as Chase Headley and Huston Street.
Their best bet for improving their club is through trading Carlos Quentin. Yes, he's the only guy providing power, but that should change as Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal get more experience. The Padres can also add to an already great farm system.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants are a tough team to pick a trade for. They are in second in the NL West and will likely be looking at a wild-card spot. Outside of Tim Lincecum and the bench, they have no real weaknesses that stick out.
Unless they make a miracle move that I could never see coming, their best best is really just to hope that Lincecum finally bounces back and Melky Cabrera continues his career year. If they trade him, then they're saying that they're not going to bother this year, even though they certainly have a shot.