MLB Trade Deadline 2013: Analyzing Needs for Every Team
With the 2013 MLB trade deadline now just three days away, what has been a quiet trade market will no doubt kick into full gear as contenders look to make the final additions to their rosters.
What follows is a look at what all 30 MLB teams need to do at the deadline, whether they are in a position to buy or sell.
I first looked at the non-contenders and their top trade chips. Then I examined the contenders and what areas they could look to upgrade before July 31 comes and goes.
American League Non-Contenders and Their Trade Chips
Chicago White Sox (40-62): SS Alexei Ramirez, RF Alex Rios, SP Jake Peavy, RP Jesse Crain, RP Matt Lindstrom
The top trade chip on the market right now looks to be Peavy, and he's all but a sure thing to be moved at this point. Rios is not as sure a thing to be dealt, but he may be the best bat available. All-Star setup man Crain won't return from injury before the deadline passes, so he likely won't be moved, but Lindstrom could help fill out a contender's bullpen.
Houston Astros (35-69): 1B Carlos Pena, SP Bud Norris, SP Erik Bedard, RP Jose Veras, RP Wesley Wright
After Jake Peavy, Norris may be the best starting pitcher on the market, and he has the added value of being controlled through 2015. Bedard will come significantly cheaper, and he's thrown the ball really well his last two times out. Pena was designated for assignment last week and could help fill out a bench, while Veras is a proven veteran reliever but likely not a closing option for a contender.
UPDATE: The Astros traded Veras to the Detroit Tigers on Monday morning.
Kansas City Royals (51-51): SP Ervin Santana, RP Luke Hochevar
Riding a six-game winning streak, the Royals have pulled to .500 on the season for the first time since they were 34-34 back on June 17. While a playoff spot is still highly unlikely, they could decide not to sell in an effort to record a winning season, though either way they likely won't buy. Santana could net a big return if they do decide to deal, as he's among the most attractive starters on the market.
Los Angeles Angels (48-55): RP Scott Downs
Expectations were high for the Angels entering the season, but they never managed to put it all together and are on their way to another disappointing finish. The way the team is assembled, they'll be looking to contend again next season, so they aren't likely to sell off any major pieces. Downs, 37, is a free agent at the end of the season and is one of the better left-handed relievers in the game, so he could be moved.
Minnesota Twins (45-57): 1B Justin Morneau, SP Mike Pelfrey, RP Glen Perkins, RP Jared Burton, RP Brian Duensing, RP Casey Fien
All-Star closer Perkins is a valuable chip, but they don't need to move him, and it will take a lot to pry him away. Lifelong Twins first baseman Morneau could help a contender, but the team may opt to hold on to him as well and re-sign him at season's end. They have a handful of bullpen arms who could be moved, while Pelfrey is a decent low-cost arm to fill out a rotation.
Seattle Mariners (50-55): 1B/DH Kendrys Morales, 1B/OF Michael Morse, OF/DH Raul Ibanez, SP Joe Saunders, RP Oliver Perez
Riding a 9-3 stretch, the Mariners have been one of the hotter teams in baseball of late and, as a result, may not sell at all, according to a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Still, they likely don't have a legitimate chance at contention and could look to move at least a few pieces. All five of the above-mentioned players will be free agents at the end of the season and will be of interest to at least a few contenders.
Toronto Blue Jays (48-56): UT Mark DeRosa, OF Rajai Davis, RP Darren Oliver, RP Steve Delabar, RP Brett Cecil
A hot stretch briefly pulled the Blue Jays back into a position to contend, but they've fallen off again since and don't look to have a chance at reaching the postseason. DeRosa and Davis are both free agents at the end of the season, and either could be a solid final piece on a contender's bench. The value of All-Star relievers Delabar and Cecil is at an all-time high right now, but they're under team control through 2017 and 2016, respectively, so the Jays would likely have to be wowed to consider moving them.
National League Non-Contenders and Their Trade Chips
Chicago Cubs (48-55): RF Nate Schierholtz, SP Jeff Samardzija, RP Kevin Gregg, RP James Russell
The Cubs have already dealt Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano, Scott Feldman, Carlos Marmol and Scott Hairston this year, and they likely aren't done. Scrapheap resurrection Gregg and right fielder Schierholtz are the most likely remaining players to be moved, but the Cubs would consider moving ace Jeff Samardzija if the price is right, according to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Colorado Rockies (51-55): RF Michael Cuddyer, RP Rafael Betancourt, RP Matt Belisle
It may be a bit unfair to call the Rockies non-contenders at this point, but they're on the fringe of contention at best, six games back in the NL West and eight back in the wild-card race. They'll likely opt to neither sell nor buy at the deadline, though they do have some pieces to move if they do sell. It would take a lot to pry All-Star Cuddyer away, but Betancourt and Belisle could likely be had and are both reliable veteran relievers.
Miami Marlins (40-63): IF Placido Polanco, IF Greg Dobbs, OF Juan Pierre, CF Justin Ruggiano, RP Ryan Webb, RP Chad Qualls
According to a report from Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are likely to hold on to RF Giancarlo Stanton, 1B Logan Morrison, RP Mike Dunn and RP Steve Cishek, as they are viewed as building blocks for the future. That doesn't leave much of value, but center fielder Ruggiano brings a good mix of power and speed, and a handful of low-cost veteran pieces could help fill out a contender's roster.
Milwaukee Brewers (43-61): RF Norichika Aoki, SP Yovani Gallardo, SP Kyle Lohse, RP John Axford, RP Mike Gonzalez
Aside from the breakout performances of SS Jean Segura and CF Carlos Gomez, it's been a rough season in Milwaukee so far. The Brewers have already dealt reliever Francisco Rodriguez, and they could look to deal more before the deadline passes. The asking price for Gallardo in relation to how he's pitched this season will likely keep him in Milwaukee, but they could move the veteran Lohse and a few other relievers.
New York Mets (46-56): OF Marlon Byrd, RP Bobby Parnell, RP LaTroy Hawkins
Despite the fact that they're out of contention, the Mets reportedly won't look to move Byrd or Parnell at the deadline, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. However, if someone makes an overwhelming offer, they likely wouldn't turn it down. Byrd in particular seems like a prime candidate to be traded, seeing as he was signed to a minor league deal in the offseason and is a free agent at the end of the year, but he's been their best power hitter, and they want to remain competitive.
Philadelphia Phillies (49-56): C Carlos Ruiz, 2B Chase Utley, 3B Michael Young, RP Jonathan Papelbon
The Phillies seem likely to deal the veteran Young, with a number of teams in the market for a third baseman and veteran bat, and the team could look to move a handful of other veteran pieces as well. Utley is also a free agent at the end of the season, but the team could opt to keep him and look to re-sign him to a less expensive deal to finish out his career in Philly. Moving Papelbon's contract may be tricky, but they'll likely try to do that as well.
San Diego Padres (48-58): C Nick Hundley, LF Carlos Quentin, OF Chris Denorfia, SP Edinson Volquez, RP Luke Gregerson, RP Joe Thatcher
The Padres have played better than expected at times this season, but they're in a position to sell nonetheless. Top setup man Gregerson is the most likely to be dealt and should net a solid return, but there are a handful of other second-tier players who could be shopped. Quentin has a no-trade clause and won't come cheap, as he's under contract for two more years.
San Francisco Giants (46-58): RF Hunter Pence, SP Tim Lincecum, RP Javier Lopez
The reigning champions have fallen off badly over the last month, and while the likely scenario is that they just stand pat at the deadline, they do have a few pieces they could shop. Chances are they'll look to re-sign Pence at the end of the season, so holding on to him seems likely. Lincecum has been up and down once again, while left-hander Lopez is one of the better southpaws out there.
Washington Nationals (52-54): RP Tyler Clippard, RP Drew Storen
The Nationals may very well wind up buying at the deadline, with a starting pitcher their most likely target, but at 8.5 games out in the NL East and seven back in the wild-card race, they fit the bill of non-contender. If they were to wind up selling, it wouldn't be much, but they do have some bullpen pieces to deal.
Arizona Diamondbacks (54-51, Second in NL West)
Needs: Starting pitcher, left-handed middle reliever, closer.
With starters Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy on their way back from injuries right now, the Diamondbacks may not be as desperate to add a starter as some teams, but they could still use another arm.
The bullpen is a more likely area for them to upgrade. A second left-handed reliever alongside Tony Sipp and an upgrade over Brad Ziegler at closer would be welcome additions.
Though they're certainly in a position to buy, they may also look to deal outfielder Jason Kubel, who has solid value in a weak market for hitters.
Atlanta Braves (60-45, First in NL East)
Needs: Starting pitcher, left-handed reliever.
The season-ending ankle injury suffered by Tim Hudson certainly puts the Braves in the market to add a starting pitcher, but Paul Maholm is on his way back from injury, and Brandon Beachy is close to making his season debut after undergoing Tommy John surgery midway through last season.
In the bullpen, Luis Avilan has stepped up huge in the setup role, but they could still look to add a second left-hander, as Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty landed on the DL with season-ending injuries early on.
Baltimore Orioles (58-48, Third in AL East)
Needs: Starting pitcher, DH.
Much like last season, the Orioles have succeeded on the strength of their offense and could use some help in the starting rotation. The trio of Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez looks solid, but another reliable veteran arm would be a big addition.
They could also look to add a veteran bat to serve as DH, with Michael Young and Justin Morneau among the likely targets. Prospect Henry Urrutia has gone 9-for-28 with two RBI in eight games since being called up, but they could still look to upgrade for the stretch run.
Boston Red Sox (63-43, First in AL East)
Needs: Starting pitcher, reliever, third baseman.
With the timetable for All-Star Clay Buchholz's return still unclear, the Red Sox will no doubt do their best to add an impact arm before the deadline, and they are certainly one of the teams in the running for Jake Peavy.
The bullpen has dealt with issues all season. Even with Koji Uehara stepping up in the closer's role and Matt Thornton coming over from the White Sox, Boston could look to add another veteran arm to round things out.
The team has also been linked to Phillies third baseman Michael Young, according to a tweet from Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. Rookie Jose Iglesias has cooled off significantly after his fantastic start to the season, hitting just .205 over the past month, so upgrading at third would make sense.
Cincinnati Reds (59-47, Third in NL Central)
Needs: Right-handed hitter, setup reliever.
The Reds' biggest deadline acquisitions will likely come in-house. The returns of Ryan Ludwick, Johnny Cueto, Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall are potentially huge additions for the stretch run.
The middle of the order is heavily left-handed without Ludwick. The Reds could look to add a right-handed bat if they don't think the veteran will be back to full strength right away, but he's already begun rehab games and should be back soon.
The returns of Marshall and Broxton remain less certain, however, and the team could look to add a veteran setup man such as Jesse Crain or Scott Downs to shore things up at the deadline.
Cleveland Indians (56-48, Second in AL Central)
Needs: Starting pitcher, left-handed reliever.
The Indians have managed to hang around in the AL Central, and with their starting rotation rounding into form of late, they may not do much at the deadline.
Veterans Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez have pitched well over the past month, and the rotation is currently healthy and productive. They could still look to add a starter, but it would likely be more of a depth move than a deal for a front-line arm.
The biggest need is finding a second left-handed reliever to slot alongside Rich Hill in the bullpen. Considering he's the only southpaw, Hill has not pitched well this season, with a 6.43 ERA in 41 appearances.
Detroit Tigers (59-45, First in AL Central)
Needs: Late-inning reliever, utility infielder.
The Tigers bullpen has not shaken out as expected this season, but the duo of Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit has emerged as a solid one-two punch to close out ballgames of late.
While that means the Tigers may not look specifically to acquire a closer, they are certainly still in the market for late-inning relief help.
Starting second baseman Omar Infante is currently on the mend from a sprained ankle, and the team could add a utility infielder simply as a precaution. Ramon Santiago and Hernan Perez have split the starting role in his place for now.
UPDATE: Detroit acquired Jose Veras from the Houston Astros on Monday morning.
Los Angeles Dodgers (56-48, First in NL West)
Needs: Reliever, starting pitcher.
The Dodgers are playing as well as any team in baseball right now, and they have managed to weather a storm of injuries to emerge without any major holes on their roster moving forward.
The biggest need is bullpen help. The trio of Kenley Jansen, Paco Rodriguez and J.P. Howell has been solid all season, and Ronald Belisario has been great of late, but the team could still use another veteran arm.
Their starting pitching depth is also thin. Should another injury strike, Matt Magill would be next in line to start, so they could look to add a starter too.
New York Yankees (55-50, Fourth in AL East)
The Yankees have already made a move to acquire Alfonso Soriano and have also recently welcomed Derek Jeter back to the lineup, but their offense remains a collection of aging stars and light-hitting place-fillers.
Third base is the biggest question mark, as Alex Rodriguez remains in a limbo of sorts but would nonetheless be an upgrade over the likes of Brent Lillibridge and Jayson Nix.
Really, it looks like the Yankees' postseason hopes for this season are slim, and they could still look to sell starter Phil Hughes before the deadline passes.
Oakland Athletics (62-43, First in AL West)
Needs: Starting pitcher, second base.
The A's have started to put some daylight between themselves and the Rangers in the AL West, currently holding a six-game lead, and they could be aggressive buyers at the deadline as a result.
They're one of the teams aggressively pursuing Jake Peavy, though not at the cost of top prospects Sonny Gray and Addison Russell. According to a tweet from Peter Gammons of ESPN, the White Sox asked for both prospects and for the A's to take on roughly $20 million.
An upgrade over Eric Sogard at second base would also be a welcome addition, though the market is incredibly thin on middle infield help as usual.
Pittsburgh Pirates (61-42, Second in NL Central)
Needs: Right fielder or first baseman, reliever.
Without jinxing them, it looks as though the Pirates are in a good position to not only post a winning record this season but also to make the postseason for the first time since 1992.
Adding a bat looks to be the top priority, and White Sox slugger Alex Rios is one option who could add some firepower to the lineup. The team could also look to add a bat at first base and slide Garrett Jones into right field, where he has spent plenty of time in the past.
With the injury to closer Jason Grilli likely costing the All-Star four to eight weeks, according to CBS Sports, the team could also look to add another arm to the bullpen.
St. Louis Cardinals (62-40, First in NL Central)
Needs: Starting pitcher, shortstop.
The Cardinals look like the team to beat in the NL right now, but they could still stand to upgrade at a few spots.
With youngsters Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Lane Lynn making up three-fifths of the rotation, adding a veteran starter is one option. They're among the players for Jake Peavy but could explore arms like Bud Norris and Ervin Santana as well.
On the offensive side of things, the weak link is rookie shortstop Pete Kozma, though he has held his own replacing Rafael Furcal this season. Shortstop options are minimal, and a platoon of Kozma and Daniel Descalso should be able to hold down the fort.
Tampa Bay Rays (62-43, Second in AL East)
The Rays are notoriously quiet at the deadline, and they have no major needs as July 31 rapidly approaches.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe recently wrote that the Rays don't have any obvious needs on their roster. At 21-4 over their last 25 games, they're the hottest team in baseball right now.
Getting Alex Cobb back from the disabled list will give the Rays six viable starters, and they have all the pieces to legitimately contend for a title.
Texas Rangers (56-49, Second in AL West)
Needs: Outfielder or DH.
At 2-8 in their last 10 games, the Rangers have hit a rough patch, but following the trade for Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, they look to be all-in on this season.
Getting pitchers Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz back from injury will help, but the team could look to add a bat to play outfield or DH in an effort to add some extra punch.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the team is also exploring the idea of moving All-Star closer Joe Nathan in an effort to add a bat. Joakim Soria and Feliz give the team a pair of options to step in for him should he be moved.