MLB Teams Who Completely Blew Addressing Trade Deadline Needs
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The non-waiver trade deadline has passed without too many surprises. The starting pitchers that were expected to be traded were traded. Not too many hitters were available and no deals were made for the big names involved in trade talk over the past few weeks.
While the Red Sox (Jake Peavy, Matt Thornton) and Orioles (Scott Feldman, Francisco Rodriguez, Bud Norris) were the most active during the month of July, several teams didn't do a thing. And that's OK if you're the Pirates or any other team who is already in good shape in the standings and throughout its 25-man roster.
But a few other teams failed to either make desperately needed upgrades to help stay in contention or, despite not having much of a chance to join the playoff hunt, missed a chance to sell high on some veteran players who are set to become free agents.
Here are five of those teams that failed to address their trade deadline needs.
Clearing some salary and a rotation spot, possibly for a more significant deal was a priority. They traded Ian Kennedy to the Padres to acquire Thatcher, minor league reliever Matthew Stites and a draft pick. Despite it being a "sell low" move on a former 21-game winner, it still made some sense. Check.
As for that significant trade, however, it never happened. Regardless of the reason, the fact remains that the Dodgers have blown past them in the standings and aren't showing any signs of slowing down. Unless Arizona is focused on the wild-card race, where it is one game further back than the division race, I think it missed the boat on an opportunity to counter what the Dodgers are doing.
The Diamondbacks have the trade chips that could've landed them Peavy, Matt Garza or even a bigger name. Instead, they're virtually standing pat and hoping Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy can pitch better than they were before landing on the disabled list. If not, hopes of a division title could be a distant memory before the start of September.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals decided they weren't sellers and their current seven-game winning streak to bring them within 4.5 games of a playoff spot probably had a lot to do with that. But they decided not to be buyers, either, despite an obvious need in their lineup.
Acquiring Justin Maxwell (pictured; .698 OPS, 2 HR, 43 K in 40 games) from the Astros might be a slight upgrade, especially against left-handed pitching. But it's not likely to make as big of a difference as a trade for Howie Kendrick or Chase Utley or even Rickie Weeks would have made over their current options at second base. Nate Schierholtz or Alex Rios in the outfield would have been good targets too.
A very strong rotation gives the Royals a fighting chance, but my guess is that they'll regret not trading free-agent-to-be starting pitcher Ervin Santana when they had a chance. He likely would've netted the Royals a similar return as the Cubs got for Garza.
The caliber of prospect the Phillies would've gotten in a deal for Michael Young (pictured) probably would've made it just slightly above pointless to trade the 36-year-old veteran, who is having a fairly solid season (.758 OPS). He might even be a good mentor to have around for rookie third baseman Cody Asche, who was called up to the majors on Tuesday. Not trading Cliff Lee or Jonathan Papelbon for young talent is also excusable because that duo is expected to be an integral part of the team over the next few seasons.
But failing to sign Chase Utley to a contract extension when he would've been the top hitter available on the trade market would be disastrous. If they end up with nothing to show for the 34-year-old free-agent-to-be, who has an .845 OPS and 14 homers, it will be viewed as a huge mistake for a team that desperately needs some more talent down on the farm.
Another mediocre season in 2014 and it will be easy to point back at the 2013 trade deadline and wonder what could've been.
At 50-56 and 11 games back of a playoff spot going into Wednesday, the Mariners and general manager Jack Zduriencik are making a pretty bold statement by failing to trade any of their four free-agents-to-be who should've had some pretty good value on the market.
Raul Ibañez (pictured; .834 OPS, 24 HR), Kendrys Morales (.807 OPS, 16 HR), Michael Morse (.739 OPS, 11 HR) and Joe Saunders (4.65 ERA, 12 quality starts) are all staying put, barring an August waiver deal. For what? Veteran leadership on a young team, maybe.
Regardless, the M's had a shot to turn players who aren't expected to be around next season into more young talent and failed to do so. Unless the team makes a significant run back into playoff contention, the strategy will be questioned for years to come.
Even if outfielder Nelson Cruz avoids suspension or can appeal a suspension and put it off until 2014 in connection with the Biogenesis scandal, the Rangers are a team that could've used another bat in their lineup. Adding Matt Garza helps strengthen the rotation and sets them up to be a legitimate World Series contender. But that's only if they get into the playoffs.
If the season ended today, they'd fall short of that goal—they came into the day 3.5 games out of a wild-card spot and 4.5 games out in the AL West—and the acquisition of Garza for a strong package of prospects would be viewed as all for naught.
With David Murphy struggling and Lance Berkman possibly out for the season, they had a clear need for an outfielder or designated hitter. There were plenty who were available, including Michael Morse, Alex Rios and Nate Schierholtz.
Even if the price tag was a bit high, it will be a huge disappointment if this impressive pitching staff doesn't have a chance to compete in the playoffs because the offense wasn't good enough.