The MLB trade deadline is just around the corner, and it seems that more teams than ever find themselves in contention for a spot in the playoffs.
Realistically, 17 of the big league’s 30 clubs still have a shot at making a run at either a division title or the wild card.
However, only eight of those 17 clubs will find themselves bound for the playoffs when the season comes to an end on October third.
Since less than half of the teams in the run for a birth in the playoffs will actually make the postseason, nearly all 17 teams will be looking to improve their squads prior to the trade deadline.
So which teams will see their playoff hopes dissolve if they don’t make an impact before the trade deadline? Let’s take a look at The Five Teams Most Hurt By Staying Put.
*Note: Article written prior to Dan Haren being traded to the Los Angeles Angels.
Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox find themselves sitting atop the AL Central as August nears, but they will need to fight off the feisty Tigers and Twins if they want a spot in the playoffs.
While the loss of Jake Peavy would suggest that the White Sox are in need of a power arm to fill Peavy’s shoes, outstanding seasons from John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Mark Buehrle leave the White Sox’s rotation in good form.
Instead, the White Sox are in need of a slugger who will bolster their lineup, which has struggled to get consistent production from more than four players, and an arm to a bullpen that is currently full of question marks.
The White Sox have set their sights high with Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder and Washington’s Adam Dunn being the focus of most of their trade talks. However, they may have to give up top young talent Gordon Beckham to acquire either slugger.
While Beckham has struggled this year, giving up a talent of his quality could haunt White Sox fans for years to come if Fielder or Dunn doesn’t lead them deep in the playoffs.
In terms of bullpen arms, the White Sox are likely to make a move for one of the rumored available options such as Kansas City’s Octavio Dotel, Pittsburgh’s Joel Hanrahan, or Arizona’s Chad Qualls.
The two-time defending National League champions find themselves in a peculiar position, looking up in both the NL East and wild card standings.
So why the change? Because after Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels, the Phillies rotation is far too unstable.
Joe Blanton has been terrible, Kyle Kendrick has been too inconsistent, and Jamie Moyer is out indefinitely.
Perhaps recently activated JA Happ will provide the Phillies with a reliable third starter, but if the Phillies are serious about making another run deep into the playoffs, or making them at all, another elite arm is a must.
With uber-prospect Domonic Brown all but ready to go, Jayson Werth is expendable and he is the key to acquiring an elite starter such as Haren, Oswalt, or Lilly in a three-way deal.
The Giants boast perhaps the league’s most impressive pitching staff. A rotation anchored by Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Barry Zito, and supported by two impressive young talents in Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner, and a strong bullpen featuring Brian Wilson should be enough to get any team to the playoffs.
However, it takes just one look at the Giants lineup to understand why the Giants find themselves right in the middle of a tight race for the NL wild card.
Buster Posey has provided the offense with a huge spark since he was recalled from the minors, but a disappointing season from Pablo Sandoval and others leaves the Giants in desperate need for a big bat if they want to make a run to the playoffs.
The Giants best bet is to acquire a slugging corner outfielder or corner infielder who will provide the pop that they lack in the middle of the order.
Corey Hart has been discussed for a while, but the Brewers want either Sanchez or Bumgarner and the Giants don’t seem interested in parting with either of the young starters. Look for the Giants to make a move for Kansas City’s Jose Guillen, Toronto’s Jose Bautista, Florida’s Jorge Cantu, or maybe even Washington’s Adam Dunn.
The Angels find themselves in a world of trouble. They have fallen well of the pace of the Texas Rangers in the AL West and sit even further behind the Rays in the race for the wild card.
However, this is a proud franchise that will not concede and is likely to make a move or two as they hope to catch Cliff Lee and the Rangers.
Their first glaring need is another quality starting pitcher. However, they are unlikely to be able to secure someone like Oswalt, Haren, or Lilly, and none of the other available options seem to be enough of an upgrade to be worth their while.
The Angels most pressing need is a slugger, preferably a left handed first basemen, to fill the hole left by injured Kendry Morales.
The Angels already made a move to fill their hole at third base by acquiring Alberto Callaspo, and I expect them to make a strong move for the Cubs Derrek Lee, Washington’s Adam Dunn, Florida’s Jorge Cantu, Arizona’s Adam LaRoche, or Houston’s Lance Berkman.
The Mets have struggled since the All Star break and are starting to slide down both the NL East and wild card standings.
If the Mets want to prevent their season from ending in disappointment again in 2010, they must add a capable arm to their shaky rotation.
The Mets rotation is a series of question marks following ace Johan Santana. Sure, R.A. Dickey and Jonathan Niese have pitched very well as of late, but neither is instills the type of confidence a team needs from the middle of their rotation when a birth in the playoffs is on the line.
Unless the Mets are able to add a quality arm, such as the Cubs' Ted Lilly, Houston’s Roy Oswalt, Arizona’s Dan Haren, or Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook, as well as a quality arm out of the pen, such as Pittsburgh’s Octavio Dotel or Toronto’s Scott Downs, they will be watching baseball in October, not playing it.
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