1 Roster Move All 30 MLB Teams Must Make ASAP

Matthew SmithCorrespondent IIIMay 19, 2014

1 Roster Move All 30 MLB Teams Must Make ASAP

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    Oscar Taveras is the one move the St. Louis Cardinals must make.
    Oscar Taveras is the one move the St. Louis Cardinals must make.USA TODAY Sports

    The middle of May is when the wheels really start turning around Major League Baseball. It is when the standings begin to soften up a bit and the separation between first and last place in divisions such as the National League East becomes greater than just a few games.

    The middle of May is also when one well-timed move can make the difference between heading into June atop the division or going into the month tied for third, three games out. For non-contenders, this is when the future starts to become the focus and teams begin contemplating who they may be able to trade with next season.

    Unfortunately, this is also when the futures of MLB front office executives and managers are called into question because a season that began with such promise suddenly turns into one that is quite forgettable. Such is life in the grandest game around.

    Either way, each MLB squad has one move it needs to make ASAP as the month of May grinds on. Let's take a look. 

     

    Note: Unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate as of game time on Sunday, May 18. 

The Atlanta Braves Need to Sever Ties with Dan Uggla

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    USA TODAY Sports

    If there is one thing the Atlanta Braves need to do immediately, it’s cut Dan Uggla.

    Going into action Sunday, Uggla had a .183/.246/.269 slash line with two home runs, 10 RBI and 31 strikeouts already. Those are just abysmal statistics. And for a team in the middle of a pennant race—no, it’s not too early to say that—wasting a spot on the 25-man roster unacceptable.

    The Braves have an in-house replacement in the form of Tommy La Stella, who is having a highly productive season at Triple-A Gwinnett. True, he has little of the power that Uggla possesses, but the Braves need baserunners and La Stella’s .370 on-base percentage and ability to make contact would do wonders for the their offense.

    There is no doubt that Uggla earned the five-year, $62 million extension he signed prior to the 2011 season. He had hit at least 30 home runs in each of the prior four seasons. The time has come, however, for general manager Frank Wren to do something serious about the lack of production from the three-time All-Star. Cutting his playing time (two plate appearances after May 6) simply isn’t enough.

    Wren needs to cut Uggla and promote La Stella.

The Arizona Diamondbacks Need to Let Kevin Towers Go

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    For the sake of everyone involved, the Arizona Diamondbacks need to let go of general manager Kevin Towers.

    To be sure, the poor performance of the team this season isn't entirely his fault. The squad he assembled looked good on paper before spring training began. That was before injuries to the pitching staff and position groups began to take their toll, though.

    Since the season started, it has been a steady diet of poor performances, injuries and blown leads. And with the recent hiring of Tony La Russa as chief baseball officer, it is only a matter of time before there is a change at GM.

    Why wait? La Russa is surely heady enough when it comes to the MLB draft that he can make sure the team’s needs are covered and the best players are selected.

    Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi wrote after word broke that the La Russa had been hired that the Diamondbacks had “changed their identity.” Strong words, indeed.

    Don’t delay the inevitable, La Russa. Let Towers go now.

The Baltimore Orioles Must Address David Lough's Performance

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    Somehow, the Baltimore Orioles are a half-game back of the New York Yankees in the AL East even though the offense had scored the third-fewest runs in the American League going into play May 18.

    At the heart of the team’s offensive struggles at the plate are injuries. Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Manny Machado, for example, have all missed time this season, but the play of David Lough certainly isn’t helping.

    Now seeing as how the Orioles just acquired Lough via a trade with the Kansas City Royals this past offseason, he probably isn’t going anywhere. That doesn’t mean general manager Dan Duquette can’t find a better platoon partner than Nelson Cruz, however. After all, Cruz is best served as a designated hitter given his defensive liabilities.

    As it stands, the move that makes the most sense is to call up Quintin Berry. In 31 games for Triple-A Norfolk, Berry has a .278/.356/.356 slash line with four doubles and six stolen bases, and he is playing as well defensively as he ever has. And considering that he has played a majority of his games in left field, the decision should be an easy one.

    The Orioles need to come together on offense. Getting healthy is the first step, of course, but Berry could provide the spark the team needs.

The Time Is Now for Garin Cecchini and Boston Red Sox

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    The Boston Red Sox have a gaping hole at third base. Simply put, Will Middlebrooks (.197/.305/.324, 9 RBI, 23 K) wasn't getting the job done before he went on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured finger.

    Brock Holt, who was playing well at Triple-A Pawtucket, was called up to replace him, but what about Garin Cecchini? After all, he is hitting .305 with a .771 OPS and has scored 19 runs at Triple-A. 

    Manager John Farrell said it was because Cecchini’s defense “is still developing,” via Mass Live’s Jason Mastrondonato. Sorry, but the Red Sox need offense. In particular, they need some energy in the lineup, and Cecchini can provide that.

    General manager Ben Cherington could also use Cecchini as part of a larger deal to acquire Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres, as B/R’s Ben Carsley opined recently.

    To a point, he is correct. Headley would be a massive upgrade over just about everyone, but he is a free agent at the end of the season, which makes the fix temporary and would largely leave the Red Sox in the same position next year that they currently find themselves in.

    The Red Sox need to promote Cecchini, and they need to do it now.

Emilio Bonifacio Needs to Play Everywhere for the Chicago Cubs

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    Scott Kane/Associated Press

    The Chicago Cubs need to make Emilio Bonifacio as attractive as possible for any potential suitor. To that effect, manager Rick Renteria should begin playing him on the infield more often, specifically at third base and shortstop.

    Listen, everyone knows he can play center field at a fairly high level, and he's not a bad second baseman. But how often have other teams had a chance to see how well he handles the hot corner this season? And what about short?

    The more exposure Bonifacio gets at the other positions, the more value he brings back in any trade. There are, after all, numerous teams looking for players with versatility.

    On the season, he has appeared in 28 games in center, 15 at second base, three at third base and only one at shortstop. Right now, it’s about maximizing exposure, and the best way to do that is to get Bonifacio time at positions he hasn’t played as much this year.

Erik Johnson Needs to Rejoin the Chicago White Sox

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The Chicago White Sox need to recall Erik Johnson. Sure, he pitched poorly enough (1-1, 6.46 ERA, 15 BB, 1.775 WHIP, 23.2 IP) to get sent down to Triple-A Charlotte earlier this season, but given the state of the White Sox’s rotation, he is a better option than Hector Noesi or Scott Carroll.

    To be sure, one of those two will be optioned once Chris Sale returns from the disabled list, but the other spot needs to go to Johnson regardless. Since being sent down, he has started four games, has a 3.38 ERA and has only walked five batters in 24.0 innings pitched.

    Now Johnson has surrendered seven earned runs over his last two starts covering 11.0 innings, so there is a concern. But with the White Sox still very much in the wild-card picture, the five best starters need to take the mound, and Johnson is one of them.

The Cincinnati Reds Should Acquire Didi Gregorius

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    It isn’t going to be an easy get, but the Cincinnati Reds should trade for Didi Gregorius (.293/.384/.451), who is currently in the minor leagues with the Diamondbacks. He’s young, fast, gets on base and plays sparkling defense. And don’t forget, the Reds were the team that drafted him.

    Acquiring Gregorius is a matter of production, which is something the Reds aren’t getting from their current shortstop, Zack Cozart. In 37 games, the three-year starter has a .205/.239/.288 slash line with almost as many strikeouts (22) as hits (27). Simply put, he is doing more harm than good to the offense.

    In years past, Cozart at least brought a little bit of power with him to the plate, but this season, the stroke has all but disappeared. And make no mistake, Gregorius is available for the right price. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal recently noted that the Diamondbacks “remain in no rush to move Gregorius, except perhaps if they could get a quality young starting pitcher in return.”

    With the Reds fighting to remain relevant in the NL Central, it is time for general manager Walt Jocketty to make the move.

Francisco Lindor Needs to Be Promoted by the Cleveland Indians

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The Cleveland Indians did themselves a favor when they promoted Trevor Bauer and sent Danny Salazar to Triple-A. Now, general manager Chris Antonetti needs to do the fanbase another solid and promote Francisco Lindor.

    Lindor is absolutely ready to play right now, and the Indians are desperate for an infusion of both talent and energy. In 38 games for Double-A Akron, he's compiled a .293/.375/.449 slash line with four home runs, 27 RBI and four doubles. Overall, he has generally looked as good as the hype surrounding MLB’s No. 9 prospect suggests he would.

    Antonetti can do any number of things with current shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. After all, there are a few teams looking for a shortstop to get them over the hump this season, and who better than a playoff-tested, two-time All-Star?

    And even if the Indians don’t trade Cabrera right away, they can always have him serve as a designated hitter in addition to giving Lindor the occasional rest.

The Colorado Rockies Need to Bring Jon Gray Up from Double-A

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    Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    Not one of the pitchers who have started a game for the Colorado Rockies had a FIP (fielding independent pitching) under 4.00 or a WHIP under 1.200 when play began May 18. That is not good.

    The Rockies are winning because of their offense, but if they want this feel-good story to extend into September, they had better find a way to improve the rotation. And with that, they should immediately call up Jon Gray.

    Gray has been absolutely beastly for Double-A Tulsa, posting a 2.98 ERA and a 0.969 WHIP in eight starts. And all he throws are strikes. Well not literally, of course, but he has issued a grand total of just 15 walks over the course of 79.2 innings between this season and last.

    He's lights-out. He's also ready.

    Now, there are some who think that Gray is best used as a trade chip. Take Mark Kiszla from The Denver Post, for example. He thinks that trading the No. 1 prospect in the organization for Jeff Samardzija would be a sign that the front office is finally serious about winning.

    I'm not so sure about that.

    Promote Gray. Safe money says he ends up being just what the Rockies need.

The Detroit Tigers Need to Part Ways with Phil Coke

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    The Detroit Tigers need to send Phil Coke (7.45 ERA, 1.862 WHIP, 3.7 K/9) to the showers. It’s not even funny anymore that he is still on the 25-man roster.

    True, he did pitch a scoreless inning against the Boston Red Sox Saturday night during what ended up being a 6-1 victory, but that only proves Patrick OKennedy's point. OKennedy, who writes for Bless You Boys, recently surmised that the Tigers “seem content to let Coke work the lowest leverage innings when two or three runs won't make a difference.”

    Now, his replacement doesn’t even need to be a left-hander necessarily. It just needs to be someone who can get outs in high-leverage situations. Options include Corey Knebel, who recently made his debut for Triple-A Toledo, Chad Smith and Kevin Whelan, also at Toledo.

    It must be noted that, as MLB.com’s Jason Beck wrote, the team will likely take “more of a patient approach with” Knebel, so the fanbase may have to wait a while. But he is not the only one who can remedy the situation.

The Houston Astros Should Promote Jonathan Singleton

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    Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

    For the Houston Astros, the youth movement is already afoot, and there is no reason it should stop now. The next young star who needs to be called up is Jonathan Singleton.

    Not that Singleton’s arrival is going to spark a run at a division title, but Jesus Guzman and Chris Carter are giving the front office little choice. According to Hardball Talk’s Aaron Gleeman, “it might be tough to wait” until Singleton clears service-time issues “if he keeps posting a 1.000 OPS and the Astros’ first basemen keep hitting below .200.”

    Yep. That about says it all. And the Astros aren’t too concerned with the amount of days these youngsters accrue anyway, as evidenced by the recent promotion of George Springer.

    It’s time to get Singleton, who has 12 home runs, 34 RBI and a .586 slugging percentage at Triple-A Oklahoma City, some playing time.

The Kansas City Royals Should Send Mike Moustakas to Triple-A

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    Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

    The Kansas City Royals have to address the lack of productivity they are receiving from just about everybody in the lineup, but Mike Moustakas stands out as the guy who is most in need of replacement. To be sure, this isn’t news, as the Royal front office and coaching staff have already considered it.

    According to the Kansas City Star’s Andy McCullough:

    After discussing whether to send Mike Moustakas to the minor leagues on Monday, the Royals rallied around their embattled, ineffective third baseman and reiterated their confidence in his eventual revival, despite little evidence of progress.

    ...

    Both Yost and general manager Dayton Moore offered ringing endorsements of Moustakas, praising his defense and power potential.

    True, Moustakas is fine with the glove and does have some pop in his bat, but that is only if he hits the ball. In 37 games, he has a .162/.231/.342 slash line and has 23 strikeouts. Any way it’s sliced, that's not getting the job done.

    Given his production, who replaces him isn't as important as the act itself. There are options, of course, including Triple-A third baseman Jimmy Paredes, but the larger point is that Moustakas needs to spend some time on the farm.

    As SB Nation’s Marc Normandin recently noted, it worked for Alex Gordon in 2010, and it’s worth a shot here. The playoffs are not out of the question for the Royals, but everyday Yost trots Moustakas out to third, his team is already in the hole.

The Los Angeles Angels Need to Find a Starter

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Like many other teams, the Los Angeles Angels are having one heck of a time with their starting pitching. To that end, the team recently sent Hector Santiago to the bullpen to “work on making adjustments” after a series of rough outings, according to MLB.com’s Chris Toman.

    Unfortunately, the Angels don’t have a whole lot of ammunition to go get another starter. Sure, there are options in the minor leagues who can fill in, but considering that general manager Jerry Dipoto went out and traded for both Santiago and Tyler Skaggs this past offseason, the organization's depth isn't where it needs to be.

    One option to find a starter from outside is to trade C.J. Cron, but he is off to such a fantastic start that the Angles may end up holding on to him. Then again, they have Albert Pujols at the position for the next few seasons and Josh Hamilton on the roster as well, so moving him now may make the most sense.

    Whatever Dipoto does, adding rotation depth is something that needs to happen right away.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Should Trade One of Their Four Outfielders

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Dodgers need to trade one of their outfielders. Not only do they have Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig on the 25-man roster, but they also have Joc Pederson blazing a trail at Triple-A Albuquerque.

    Talk about having too much of a good thing.

    The purpose of trading one of their stars is to improve depth across the board. Their reserve infielders—Chone Figgins and Justin Turner—are not performing at all, and as Anthony Castrovince noted not too long ago, “overwork could be an issue” in the bullpen. The Dodgers also need a closer, so that is something that could be addressed by trading any one of their outfielders.

    However it's approached, the Dodgers would be wise to make a deal. There are plenty of teams in dire need of offense.

The Miami Marlins Should Promote Andrew Heaney

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Following the loss of Jose Fernandez to Tommy John surgery, the Miami Marlins should call up Andrew Heaney. That is, of course, if they are indeed serious about winning the NL East. As of right now, however, that does not appear to be the case.

    After the left-hander’s last outing, MLB.com’s Alex Espinoza and Adam Berry noted that, “according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, Heaney appears to be in line for a promotion to Triple-A New Orleans.”

    Triple-A is close, but it's not quite far enough.  

    On the season, Heaney is 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA and has 52 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched. He has fantastic stuff and is the best of his class. His time is simply at hand.

    There is little reason for him to be in the minor leagues if the Marlins are intent on making a run this season.

The Milwaukee Brewers Must Make a Move at First Base

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    In his last 10 games, Mark Reynolds is hitting .167 with a .494 OPS for the Milwaukee Brewers. Over that same stretch, the other first baseman on the roster, Lyle Overbay, is also hitting .167, but his OPS is only .354.

    Those numbers won’t help the Brewers hold off the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Now, what the Brewers will do to address the situation is anyone’s guess. They do have Hunter Morris at Triple-A. He is playing solid baseball and is already on the 40-man roster.

    They could also try and trade for someone like Chris Carter from the Astros. Carter isn’t hitting much better than either Reynolds or Overbay is, but perhaps a change of scenery would be as helpful for him as it was for Ike Davis, who has found a home with the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. from the New York Times.

    Either way, the Brewers have to address what is happening at first base.

Alex Meyer's Time Has Come for the Minnesota Twins

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    The Minnesota Twins are in the playoff hunt even though their starting pitching is at the bottom of the American League. It is quite remarkable, actually.

    And considering that the rotation has been as bad as it has been, it is also remarkable that Alex Meyer (2-1, 3.79 ERA, 1.289 WHIP, 10.9 K/9) hasn’t been promoted from Triple-A yet.

    From B/R’s Jason Catania:

    Checking in at 6'9" and 220 pounds, Alex Meyer is a right-hander with a fastball that's just as big as he is. The 2011 first-round selection by the Washington Nationals regularly registers in the upper 90s with his heater, a pitch he gets great downhill plane on, given how large of a human being he is.

    ...

    The Twins have a very real need for quality arms, specifically a power one like Meyers, whose career strikeout rate is 10.5 per nine. Seriously, how much longer can the folks in Minnesota stand to watch Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey?

    It’s a fair question. Another reason to call up the big right-hander is that, as Catania points out, “he's battled arm trouble in the past, so the Twins would do well to get him up sooner than later to see what they have in him.”

    General manager Terry Ryan would be wise to make the call to Rochester.

The New York Mets Should Bring Up Noah Syndergaard

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Much like the Minnesota Twins, the New York Mets have no reason to delay promoting their top pitching prospect, Noah Syndergaard.

    Syndergaard, (5-2, 3.88 ERA, 1.459 WHIP, 9.4 K/9) is ready to join a rotation in New York that has not done enough to this point. Consider that only Dillon Gee and Jon Niese have been close to respectable. Frankly, the situation is reaching critical mass, especially if the anemic offense in taken into consideration.

    The Star-Ledger’s Mike Vorkunov noted that general manager Sandy Alderson said financial reasons weren’t behind the delay promoting Syndergaard. But that seems to be disingenuous. There is no other reason why he is still at Triple-A.

    Alderson needs to forget about the money for a second and bring the right-hander up now. Waiting for Zach Wheeler and Matt Harvey each of the past two seasons didn't do the team any good. Why would that change with Syndergaard?

The New York Yankees Need Rotation Help

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    JEFFREY PHELPS/Associated Press

    The New York Yankees need a starting pitcher. Look no further than the fact that only Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka remain from the group that opened the season in the rotation for proof.

    Considering that CC Sabathia is a shell of his former self even when healthy, the need for an upgrade becomes even more imperative.

    The good news is that adding a starting pitcher will happen. Hal Steinbrenner said as much recently, per the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff. The bad news is that Steinbrenner said the words “come July.”

    That is entirely too long. A trade must happen immediately. To be sure, it will take the bulk of the Yankees’ prospects to pull off a trade of any value, but that is the price to pay in the AL East.

The Oakland A's Need to Give Eric Sogard Some Time Off

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    The Oakland A’s need to seal the leaks in an otherwise potent lineup. In particular, an upgrade at second base is in order.

    Yes, Eric Sogard is a fan favorite and brings quite a bit to the table, but he is simply not producing well enough for the A’s right now. The same can be said for his platoon partner, Nick Punto.

    To his credit, manager Bob Melvin hasn’t lost faith in Sogard, saying that “he’s still putting the ball in play, at times hard,” via MLB.com’s Stephen Ellsesser. That isn’t enough, though, and general manager Billy Beane has to see it too.

    Triple-A second baseman Jose Martinez is an option, and considering that Colin Walsh was recently promoted from Double-A, a move could be imminent. Outside of that, Beane may have to look elsewhere.

The Philadelphia Philles Should Promote Ken Giles

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    The Philadelphia Phillies bullpen could use a boost, and Ken Giles is the guy who could give it to them.

    Going into action Sunday, the relief corps had put together 4.51 ERA to go with a 1.346 WHIP, which isn’t good enough, especially given the makeup of the Phillies roster. See, the offense isn’t playing quite as well as anyone hoped it would, and the starting pitching is mercurial.

    That makes an effective bullpen that much more important. And there isn’t a player in the system more capable of having an immediate impact on the group’s performance than Giles.

    MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo recently tweeted that a source said the Phillies were interested in Todd Coffey, but that would be a mistake given how well Giles is pitching. In 17 games across two levels, the right-hander has a 1.42 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP.  

The Pittsburgh Pirates Should Put Gregory Polanco on the 25-Man Roster

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    Given the poor showing to this point from the offense, the Pittsburgh Pirates would be wise to promote Gregory Polanco.

    It is a straightforward proposition, according to B/R’s Mike Rosenbaum, since "Polanco has played like a man among boys this season for Triple-A Indianapolis.” And he’s right. On the season, the outfielder has a .389/.453/.623 slash with five home runs, 13 doubles and 38 RBI.

    Unfortunately, bringing up players like Polanco doesn’t seem to be general manager Neal Huntington’s MO. “The Pirates have always been deliberately slow in promoting their top prospects,” Rosenbaum adds, “but the fact that they’re currently fourth in NL Central with a 17-23 record makes it impossible to ignore the reality that promoting Polanco will improve the club."

    It’s time to break the trend and bring Polanco up. With Andrew McCutchen being the only player who is consistently producing, the Pirates need him in the worst way.

The Seattle Mariners Need to Call Up an Outfielder

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    The Seattle Mariners need to do anything they can to improve a woeful offense, and that includes bringing Xavier Avery up from Triple-A after designating him for assignment at the end of spring training.

    To be sure, it’s a last-ditch effort, but that is what things have come to in Seattle. Consider that James Jones was recently given the starting job in center field after Abraham Almonte’s production forced general manager Jack Zduriencik’s hand. And outside of Dustin Ackley, the rest of the outfield isn’t playing much better.

    Simply put, the offense needs a spark. It ranks last in the American League in on-base percentage and 14th out of 15 teams in OPS. Something has to be done, and barring a major trade, bringing up Avery, who has 14 stolen bases and is hitting .285, is a move the team can make right now.

    There’s no guarantee it will work, of course, but it’s worth a shot.

The San Diego Padres Need to Drop Jedd Gyorko Down in the Order

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The San Diego Padres need to take a little pressure off of Jedd Gyorko. He’s simply trying to do too much right now, having hit fourth (14 times) or fifth (13) the majority of the season, according to his splits over a Baseball-Reference. The results are noticeable.

    From a post over at SB Nation’s Gaslamp Ball:

    Jedd is hitting a ton of ground balls, and is ice-cold on pitches low in the zone.  This combination is usually indicative of a hitter 'saving' a bad swing by rolling over the pitch and reaching for it.  Hitters will often end up making weak contact and pulling the ball (to the left side of the infield in Gyorko’s case).

    While it's always better to whiff less, the ideal scenario is that Jedd continues to trend towards avoiding bad pitches altogether rather than making weak contact.  The West Virginian second baseman is hitting over 20% more ground balls this year than last, mostly at the expense of line drives.  Gyorko is just having a tough time consistently getting the thick part of the bat onto the ball.  

    Gyorko needs to get comfortable. Sure, he has had a lot going on off the field, but on the field, the results have been disastrous.

    Manager Buddy Black should drop him down to seventh or eighth in the order and leave him there for a while.

The San Francisco Giants Should Promote Gary Brown

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    The San Francisco Giants outfield is in a state of disarray following the injury to Brandon Belt.

    Yes, Belt plays first base, but his injury has forced manager Bruce Bochy to move left fielder Michael Morse over to first, creating a void in the outfield. As if that wasn’t enough, Angel Pagan just injured his left shoulder, and while Bochy thinks he “will be OK,” per the San Francisco Gate’s Henry Schulman, the Giants are going to have to prepare for anything.

    That makes now the time to give Triple-A outfielder Gary Brown his first taste of the big leagues. Brown isn’t a can’t-miss prospect by any stretch, but until the roster gets back to full strength, seeing what he can do against elite pitching will only help the Giants front office in the future.

    On the season, Brown has a .272/.326/.387 slash line with two home runs, 17 RBI and 15 walks.

The St. Louis Cardinals Need Oscar Taveras in the Outfield

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    The St. Louis Cardinals need to bring up Oscar Taveras to play center field for the time being. Eventually, as Cardinals Farm’s Zach Bernat notes, he will move to one of the corner outfield spots, but for now, the Cardinals need him to replace Peter Bourjos.

    As Bernat posited, the Cards may wait until “late June or early July” so that he won’t qualify as a Super 2, but that is entirely too long. They are chasing the Milwaukee Brewers and cannot afford to let any opportunities slip through their fingers.

    Taveras is that good. So far this season, he has a .289/.343/493 slash with six home runs and 31 RBI and looks every bit the part. There is no reason general manager John Mozeliak should be waiting.

    MLB.com’s No. 2 prospect is ready.

The Tampa Bay Rays Should Move James Loney Up in the Order

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    The Tampa Bay Rays are in a tricky spot.

    On one hand, they need to start winning now. On the other hand, it will be very hard to do that with so many players on the disabled list. What manager Joe Maddon needs to do is find a way to win with a lineup that struggles at the top of the order.

    With that in mind, how about moving James Loney into the No. 2 hole?

    Sure, it’s a radical idea, but Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings simply aren’t consistent enough right now, according to lineup splits taken from Baseball-Reference. And the Rays need to maximize the productivity from the top of the order. Bottom line, they need baserunners, and Loney’s .396 OBP this season would certainly satisfy that need.

    Either way, Maddon is going to have to get creative.

The Texas Rangers Need to Add a Mid-Level Starter

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    With Martin Perez going down to Tommy John surgery, the Texas Rangers will have to find another starting pitcher. And to fill the spot, they will look internally, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.

    Sullivan mentioned a few different names, noting that the club will go with Nick Martinez up front and hope for speedy returns from Joe Saunders and Derek Holland, but that might not be enough. Perhaps general manager Jon Daniels should be proactive and go get another starter.

    This is not to say that the Rangers should get into the Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes. To be sure, they aren’t shy about trading for the best available pitcher on the block, but maybe a guy like Bronson Arroyo would be enough.

    Another thing to consider is that if the Rangers are successful in adding a mid-level starter, they won’t have to rush the development of guys like Alex Gonzalez in the minor leagues.

The Toronto Blue Jays Need to Add a Second Baseman

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    Brett Lawrie was forced to move to second base recently against a National League team.
    Brett Lawrie was forced to move to second base recently against a National League team.Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos needs to something about the perennial problem at second base. It is that simple.

    This season, the Blue Jays are getting a .222/.279/.320 slash with five RBI and only 12 runs scored from the collection of players who have logged time at second, per splits from the team page at Baseball-Reference. It is woeful.

    And for a team that had the most wins in the AL East when play began on Sunday but trailed both the Yankees and the Orioles in the standings, every bit of offense is needed. It must be noted here that they don’t have many options in the minor leagues, so Anthopoulos will have to get somebody who can positively contribute.

    The situation is so bad that manager John Gibbons switched third baseman Brett Lawrie over to second during a recent interleague matchup in order to give the lineup as much production as possible, via John Lott of the National Post.

The Washington Nationals Need to Sit Danny Espinosa for a While

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    So Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams benched Danny Espinosa Sunday following a prolonged stretch of poor play. That is something that should happen more frequently, actually.

    See, Espinosa wasn't just underperforming, he was woeful. According to splits over at Baseball-Reference, he has compiled a .132/.143/.309 slash line with only nine hits since he went 3-for-5 against the Padres April 24. Four out those hits were home runs, but outside that, he has dragged down an otherwise productive lineup.

    Sure, the Nationals struggle in a few metrics, but they have been without Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper for parts of the season.

    Options aren't plentiful behind Espinosa, but it seems clear that the magic he had at the plate early on this year is gone. It's time to see if someone else can turn it on. 

     

    Transaction, injury and game information is courtesy of MLB.com. Salary information was pulled from Cot's Contracts.

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