MLB Trade Deadline 2012: Biggest Winners That Will Use Moves to Reach Playoffs

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MLB Trade Deadline 2012: Biggest Winners That Will Use Moves to Reach Playoffs
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The Major League Baseball trade deadline is a tricky time for contending teams. While a couple pieces would likely be enough to secure a playoff spot, the price tag for available players is usually high as sellers look to capitalize on desperation.

There were a few teams that were able to navigate the situation extremely well this season, and it should result in a postseason appearance. Let's take a look at three clubs that fall into that category and analyze how the trades will help them moving forward.

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Atlanta Braves

The Braves were probably disappointed after a trade for Ryan Dempster fell through, but it actually worked out for the better. Atlanta was able to snag Paul Maholm, whose career numbers are very similar to Dempster's, without giving up one of their top-two young pitchers.

Instead, the Braves sent Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman in exchange for Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson. Vizcaino is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, which is always a concern, and Chapman is only a fringe bullpen piece.

On the flip side, the Braves get a pitcher who should stabilize a rotation that's been inconsistent throughout the entire season and a versatile outfielder who thrives against left-handed pitchers. Both players will play key roles for Atlanta down the stretch.

Prediction: NL Wild Card

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Los Angeles Dodgers

No team added more talent at the deadline than the Dodgers. They brought in Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino to boost the offense while also getting Randy Choate and Brandon League to eat up some bullpen innings.

The biggest acquisition is obviously Ramirez, who was among the best hitters in all of baseball as recently as two seasons ago. Even though he's having a down year in terms of OPS, he's still on pace for 23 homers and 24 stolen bases.

Los Angeles' offense will improve drastically if he can return to top form and Victorino is productive in one of the first two spots in the order, which is certainly within reason. And, like Atlanta, the Dodgers were able to pull off the moves without trading their top pitching prospects.

Prediction: NL West Winner

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Los Angeles Angels

Zack Greinke was the most coveted starting pitcher on the market leading up to the deadline and the Angels were the team that stepped up to get him. It's the type of impact move that makes them a serious contender in the American League.

They acquired him from the Milwaukee Brewers for a trio of prospects, which isn't really a huge price to pay for an ace with his track record. As long as he continues to pitch like a top-tier starter, which he did in his Angels debut, it's a terrific move.

The Texas Rangers should have enough offensive firepower to hold on to the division lead, but the Angels should cruise to a playoff berth via the wild card. And once they do get in, Greinke makes them a whole lot more dangerous.

Prediction: AL Wild Card

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