Best- and Worst-Case Trade Scenarios for 5 MLB Teams Looking to Fill Holes

Jason MartinezContributor IMay 8, 2013

Best- and Worst-Case Trade Scenarios for 5 MLB Teams Looking to Fill Holes

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    A handful of teams are already in danger of falling out of contention and must figure out a way to plug roster holes in order to avoid having to play meaningless games for the last few months of the season.

    Finding a trade partner can be challenging at this time of the season since most teams aren’t willing to give up on the season just yet and deals with contending teams usually can only happen if it helps both major league rosters. These types of trades are uncommon.

    Here’s a look at five teams that have a hole or holes to fill on their major league rosters and the best and worst-case trade scenarios for each as they try to find a spark to keep their seasons alive over the next couple of months.

Chicago White Sox

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    The loss of Gavin Floyd for the season leaves the team a bit thin in the rotation, but Hector Santiago and Dylan Axelrod have been capable replacements, and John Danks could return in the next few weeks.

    The biggest hole appears to be in the lineup, where Adam Dunn (.569 OPS) and Jeff Keppinger (.397 OPS) have been awful and only Alex Rios and Conor Gillaspie, who’s in the starting lineup because Gordon Beckham is on the disabled list, are the only hitters contributing above-average production at the plate.

    While their farm system is considered to be weak, they have a few prospects on the rise, including Micah Johnson (.814 OPS, 25 SB in Low-A) and Marcus Semien (.837 OPS in Double-A) and could certainly put together a good enough trade package for an impact bat.

    Best-case scenario: Michael Morse (pictured; .766 OPS, 9 HR in 29 games), DH/1B/OF, Seattle Mariners; or Josh Willingham (.903 OPS in 26 games), DH/OF, Minnesota Twins 

    Worst-case scenario: Jesus Guzman, DH/IF/OF, San Diego Padres; or Greg Dobbs, DH/1B/3B, Miami Marlins

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    With an infield that currently includes some combination of Juan Uribe, Luis Cruz, Dee Gordon, Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker and a less-than-100 percent Adrian Gonzalez (who is playing with a strained neck), it’s obvious where the last-place Dodgers need help.

    Making top pitching prospect Zach Lee (2.15 ERA, 37.2 IP, 36 H, 9 BB, 30 K in seven Double-A starts) and/or outfielder Yasiel Puig (.935 OPS in Double-A) available in a deal could give the Dodgers a shot at an impact shortstop or third baseman. That is, if there was one available.

    At this point, it’s not happening, and it’s too early to tell which teams will fall out of contention that have such a player. The Phillies, who could have some trade chips if they decide to sell later in the summer, could convince Jimmy Rollins to waive his no-trade clause.  

    Best-case scenario: Jimmy Rollins (pictured, .632 OPS in 34 games), SS, Philadelphia Phillies; or Luis Valbuena (.855 OPS in 28 games), 3B, Chicago Cubs  

    Worst-case scenario: Brendan Ryan, SS, Seattle Mariners; or Ian Stewart, 3B, Chicago Cubs

Los Angeles Angels

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    The Angels are falling quickly, and there’s no Mike Trout coming from the minors to ignite the fire this time around. He’s not part of the problem, but he’s certainly not capable of carrying this struggling Angels team on his back right now.

    Ten games under .500 and 8.5 games behind the Rangers in the AL West, the biggest hole on the roster has been created by prize free-agent signee Josh Hamilton’s inability to do much of anything positive at the plate. An 0-for-4 night against the Astros on Tuesday has dropped his OPS to .535 with seven walks and 40 strikeouts.

    With the money invested in the 31-year-old Hamilton, they have no choice but to be patient and hope he turns it around. Without Hamilton’s ability to carry an offense, and since Albert Pujols can't be depended on too much as he plays through a painful foot injury, the Halos have needed much better starting pitching than they’ve been getting.

    Staff ace Jered Weaver will return in a few weeks from a fractured elbow, which should give the team a huge boost. Offseason acquisitions Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson haven’t been awful. Joe Blanton has been better after a terrible start.

    That trio is simply not good enough, though, to get the Angels through a rough patch when the offense isn’t scoring a lot of runs. The same can be said for a bullpen that is currently without injured pitchers Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett and Kevin Jepsen.

    A healthy Weaver, C.J. Wilson and one other reliable starter could be what the Angels need to make a run. Unfortunately, the Angels farm system lacks much talent or depth. Their best prospects coming into the season haven’t been impressive, either.

    The best they can do is another back-of-the-rotation starter and none are guaranteed to be better than what the Angels currently have.

    Best-case scenario: Scott Feldman (pictured, 2.70 ERA in six starts), RHP, Chicago Cubs; or Bud Norris (3.89 ERA in seven starts), RHP, Houston Astros  

    Worst-case scenario: Kevin Slowey, RHP, Miami Marlins; or Mike Pelfrey, RHP, Minnesota Twins

Milwaukee Brewers

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    This Brewers team was good enough to win nine games in a row and they’re bad enough to put together separate five-game losing streaks on the season. The starting pitching, despite having a solid duo in Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse, isn’t consistent enough to stick around in the NL Central.

    Like the Angels, they’ll need a more reliable third starter or they could fall out of the race quickly. They also lack much talent and depth in the minors.

    A few struggling pitching prospects, including Johnny Hellweg, Taylor Jungmann and Tyler Thornburg, have enough upside, however, to entice a team to give up a free agent-to-be that could be a fit behind Gallardo and Lohse.

    Best-case scenario: Ricky Nolasco (4.14 ERA in seven starts), RHP, Miami Marlins; or Edinson Volquez (pictured, 5.50 ERA in seven starts), RHP, San Diego Padres 

    Worst-case scenario: Kevin Slowey, RHP, Miami Marlins; or Mike Pelfrey, RHP, Minnesota Twins

Philadelphia Phillies

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    The loss of Roy Halladay to a shoulder injury has the Phillies looking for a rotation replacement just in case the 35-year-old veteran misses more than just a few starts. That might not be their biggest problem, though.

    An offense that ranks near the bottom of the majors in several categories isn’t getting much production at all from two of the three spots. Domonic Brown isn’t putting up huge numbers but is holding his own with a .723 OPS and six homers in 33 games. Offseason acquisitions Ben Revere (.516 OPS) and Delmon Young (3-for-20 since return from foot surgery), however, aren’t holding their own.

    The Phillies are 16-18 and only four games out in the NL East, but they could fade quickly without a dominant rotation and not enough offense to make up for it.

    Along with pitching prospects Jesse Biddle and Adam Morgan, the Phillies have some pretty good infield prospects in the minors with shortstop Roman Quinn and third baseman Maikel Franco. If they feel like they have another run in them, maybe they package one of the pitchers and one of the infielders to fill the void in the outfield.

    Best-case scenario: Alex Rios (.804 OPS), OF, Chicago White Sox; or David DeJesus (pictured, .855 OPS), OF, Chicago Cubs 

    Worst-case scenario: Brennan Boesch, OF, New York Yankees; or Juan Pierre, OF, Miami Marlins