MLB Trade Speculation: Quick Fixes for All 30 MLB Teams

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2011

MLB Trade Speculation: Quick Fixes for All 30 MLB Teams

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    We are a little over a month into the season, and it is already becoming clear where the strength and where the weaknesses lie with each team.

    This early in the season, it is important to address those shortcomings and keep from falling too far behind, or to shore up what may be the weakness holding you back from true contention.

    So here are quick-fix options for all 30 teams to address their biggest weakness, be it through a trade or within the organization.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Biggest problem: Starting pitching

    Solution: Trade with Astros for Wandy Rodriguez

    The Diamondbacks seem to be stuck in a perpetual state of mediocrity the past few seasons, and their starting pitching has been a consistent issue as they have a number of good young arms, but little experience to help them out.

    Trading for Rodriguez, who would be under contract until after the 2014 season, could finally bring some stability to the rotation and give the team the ace that it doesn't have right now.

Atlanta Braves

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Biggest problem: Center field

    Solution: Call up Jordan Schafer

    When the Braves traded for Nate McLouth, he was coming off a breakout season with the Pirates, and for once, it looks like the Pirates sold high on someone and got it right.

    While he is not awful, McLouth is no doubt the weak link of the offense. Schafer, who got a shot at the starting center-field job back in 2009 when he was one of the team's top prospects, deserves one more shot at the job.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Problem: Inexperienced starting pitching

    Solution: Sign Kevin Millwood

    The Orioles took big steps to shore up their offense this offseason, adding Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, JJ Hardy and Vladimir Guerrero. However, they did not add to what is an extremely young starting rotation.

    After Jeremy Guthrie, the other four Orioles starters are 25 years old or younger, and while they all have promising futures, adding a veteran arm like Millwood would not only provide depth, but would also give the youngsters someone to learn from.

Boston Red Sox

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    Biggest Problem: Relief pitching

    Solution: Call-up Rich Hill or Michael Bowden

    The Red Sox have two solid arms in the pen in closer Jonathan Papelbon and setup man Daniel Bard. However, free-agent acquisitions Dan Wheeler and Bobby Jenks have struggled mightily, and that has left the bullpen as the team's biggest weakness.

    They have a number of intriguing options at Triple-A that should be given a chance before they look elsewhere. Hill, a former starter with the Cubs who seemed on his way to being a top-of-the-rotation guy at one point, has a 1.12 ERA in 16 innings of relief with one save.

    Bowden, once a top prospect as a starter, has been converted to a reliever and has a 1.65 ERA in 16.1 innings. He has recorded three saves. Either of these guys could provide a shot in the arm for the Red Sox bullpen.

Chicago Cubs

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    Biggest problem: Back of the rotation

    Solution: Call up Jay Jackson

    The Cubs are in the midst of another mediocre season, as they simply don't look like a team that is good enough to compete, and they have a decent amount of money coming off the books after this season, so they would be wise to hold off on making any big trades this season.

    Instead, they should evaluate the talent they have and see who stays and who goes moving forward. Jackson, one of the team's top prospects, bounced between the rotation and bullpen last season, and he is big-league ready now in whatever role the team decides. He should be the next pitcher called up.

Chicago White Sox

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    Biggest problem: Relief pitching

    Solution: Trade with Pirates for Evan Meek

    The White Sox chose to let Bobby Jenks walk this offseason, as they had an All-Star setup man in Matt Thornton and a young flamethrower in Chris Sale to take his place. However, those two have posted ERAs of 7.71 and 7.15 respectively, and the team needs help.

    Meek, an All-Star last season with the Pirates, was the team's primary setup man, but he has lost that role to Chris Resop, and he could be had for a steal thanks to his slow start.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Biggest problem: Starting pitching

    Solution: Call up Dontrelle Willis

    Coming out of spring training, the rotation looked to be a point of strength for the Reds. However, they have struggled to this point, as only Bronson Arroyo has an ERA under 4.50.

    That said, the team still has not had a healthy Homer Bailey or Johnny Cueto, and they would be wise to stand pat until those guys return from injury.

    Willis has pitched well at Triple-A so far this season, and he could be an effective, if not interesting, stopgap option while those guys recover.

Cleveland Indians

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    Biggest problem: A solid fourth starter

    Solution: Trade with Mets for Mike Pelfrey

    The Indians are the surprise of the 2011 baseball season to this point, as they enter today with a 20-8 record. Hitting .274 as a team, and with solid starters at every position, their offense looks to be for real.

    However, Fausto Carmona is the only proven arm on the staff, while Josh Tomlin and Justin Masterson have opened the season 9-0. Even if those two can continue to pitch at such a high level, the team needs another arm in their rotation, ideally a veteran who could take some pressure off of Tomlin and Masterson.

    Everyone is expecting a Mets fire sale, and Pelfrey could certainly be part of that. He is off to a tough start this season, but at 27 years old, the Mets will be asking a decent amount for him. Still, I think he makes the Indians a legitimate contender.

Colorado Rockies

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Biggest problem: Back of the rotation

    Solution: Trade for Mark Buehrle

    The Rockies seem to once again be right on the edge of contention this season, as they currently lead the NL West with an 18-10 record. With a terrific lineup and a good bullpen, they could be one starter away from making some noise in the National League.

    Buehrle, a free agent at season's end, could become available once Jake Peavy returns to the White Sox rotation, as that gives them six legitimate starters. A veteran such as Buehrle could go a long way toward helping the Rockies young starters mature, and he is a terrific clubhouse guy as well.

Detroit Tigers

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    Biggest problem: Leadoff hitter/second baseman

    Solution: Trade with Royals for Mike Aviles

    Austin Jackson is a promising young player, and I am not suggesting that the Tigers give up on him, but he is not a leadoff hitter by any means, and he needs to be moved out of that spot. He is hitting just .197 so far this season and has stuck out 41 times in just 117 at bats.

    The team also has a hole at second base, and trading for Aviles could kill two birds with one stone. While he generally hits second, Aviles has a .335 average in 176 at-bats in the leadoff spot, and he has solid speed as well.

Florida Marlins

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    Biggest problem: Infield depth/experience

    Solution: Trade with Reds for Edgar Renteria

    The Marlins are a team on the rise, as they have a number of good, young pieces in place to contend in the NL East in the not-too-distant future.

    However, with that young talent comes a need for an experienced veteran to help the youngsters along in their development. Also, Omar Infante has been a disappointment thus far at second base, and the team has very few options as far as infield reserves.

    Bringing Renteria back to the place where he started his impressive career seems like a win-win for both parties, and he could come at a reasonable price.

Houston Astros

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    Biggest problem: Relief pitching

    Solution: Sign Kiko Calero

    The Astros have begun to rebuild, and as they continue to shed more payroll and ditch more of their veteran talent in the coming seasons, they will need to make some solid decisions if they hope to be competing by the 2013 season.

    That said, for the sake of what is an adequate starting rotation, they will have to add another bullpen arm this season. Calero, currently a free agent, would represent a low-risk, high-reward signing, and while he comes with health concerns, he is worth taking a chance on because he could be their best reliever if he is healthy.

Kansas City Royals

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    Biggest problem: Their minor-league system could beat the big-league club...consistently.

    Solution: Call the kids up

    The Royals have the best farm system in all of baseball, but their big-league club is consistently one of the worst in the league, and although they are off to a solid 16-13 start, they don't have the horses to compete all season.

    However, if they 100-percent commit to a youth movement, they could call up 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Mike Moustakas, SP Mike Montgomery and SP John Lamb, and they may immediately be a better team. If not immediately, they will be within months as that group accustoms itself to life in the big leagues.

    Of course, there are the issues with holding players back to push back their arbitration eligibility and what not, and this is not likely to happen. It would make for an interesting shake up, and if nothing else, the baseball world would be much more interested in the Royals.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Biggest Problem: Starting pitching

    Solution: Trade for Tim Stauffer

    The Angels have a solid one-two punch with Dan Haren and Jeff Weaver at the top of their rotation. Beyond that, however, they have nothing but questions to round out the rotation.

    With Scott Kazmir and Joel Pinero shelved by injuries, and Ervin Santana struggling, the team has turned to a group of unproven arms to round out the staff. Picking up someone such as Stauffer could solidify the rotation, as he has proven to be a reliable arm whether it is as a starter or a reliever.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Biggest problem: Closer

    Solution: Promote Kenley Jansen to Closer

    The Dodgers have watched closer Jonathan Broxton struggle for long enough now, and while he could be trade bait, he should not be dealt for another closer, as the team has the heir to that position already pitching in their bullpen.

    While his 7.43 ERA this season doesn't look good, he gave up nine runs over 1.1 innings in two outings, and without those two, he has been nearly untouchable. With a blazing fastball and 22 strikeouts in just 13.1 innings, Jansen has the stuff to be a solid closer, now and down the road.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Biggest Problem: Closer

    Solution: Trade with Padres for Heath Bell

    The Brewers went all in this offseason when they held on to Prince Fielder and traded for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, but they are off to a tough start, with a 13-17 record entering play today.

    Their closer, John Axford, has faltered after thriving in that role in his first opportunity last season. If the Brewers truly are committed to this season, they will have to upgrade that spot, and dealing for Bell and his expiring contract would do just that, although it would cost the Brewers.

    Time to decide if they are really all in or not.

Minnesota Twins

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    Biggest problem: Infield depth with offense

    Solution: Trade with Astros for Bill Hall

    The Twins have run into injury problems fairly consistently the past few seasons, and this year has been no different, as Joe Mauer and new second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka have both gone down.

    That has forced Michael Cuddyer into a utility role, and the fact that no one on the Twins bench is hitting over .208 means the team could certainly use another bat as well. Hall was signed by the Astros as a stopgap at second base, but they're going no where, and Hall could solve a number of problems for the Twins.

New York Mets

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    Biggest problem: Hope

    Solution: Give it up and begin the fire sale

    The worst thing that could happen to the Mets this season is they could show marginal success and decide to try to pick some players up and make a run at the postseason.

    With literally tens of millions of dollars coming off the books next season, and Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran heading for free agency, a rebuild is coming, and the sooner the Mets accept that and begin selling off pieces, the better off they will be down the road.

New York Yankees

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    Biggest Problem: Starting pitching

    Solution: Trade with Twins for Kevin Slowey

    Slowey is a promising, young pitcher who has been a member of the Twins rotation since being called up in 2007, going 39-21 in that span, including 13-6 last season.

    However, he has been relegated to the bullpen this season as the Twins had only five spots for six legitimate starters. Still just 27 years old, Slowey should be starting, and he would represent a vast improvement over the current bottom of the Yankees rotation.

Oakland Athletics

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    Problem: Lack of offense

    Solution: Call up Chris Carter

    The Athletics have quietly developed one of the best rotations in all of baseball, and they have a solid bullpen to back it up. However, their offense leaves a lot to be desired, and if they hope to contend any time soon, they will need to pick up some bats to round out their offense.

    However, they have one of the top power prospects in all of baseball in Chris Carter sitting in their minor-league system right now. While he is still a bit of a raw talent and strikes out a ton, he has more power than anyone on the big-league roster and could certainly provide a spark.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Biggest problem: Raul Ibanez's age

    Solution: Trade with Mets for Carlos Beltran

    The Phillies have the pitching to carry them to an NL pennant, but their offense has been a bit of a disappointment thus far in 2011. While much of that can be attributed to the lack of Chase Utley in the lineup, he will be back at some point.

    Rather than dealing for a temporary replacement for Utley, the team should instead turn their attention towards replacing Ibanez in left field. At 39 years old, Ibanez has struggled mightily, hitting just .168 so far this season. Chances are he is at the end of his rope, and picking up an expiring contract like Beltran could be a smart move for the Phillies, as they are built to win now.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Biggest problem: Starting pitching

    Solution: Trade with Mariners for Erik Bedard

    The Pirates have one of the most promising young lineups in all of baseball, and with some patience, and if they can keep that group together, they may be relevant in the NL Central sooner rather than later.

    However, their pitching is holding them back, and while it would be unwise to mortgage their future to improve their rotation now, picking up a veteran arm to help eat some innings and take some pressure off the bullpen could go a long way. Bedard is a seasoned veteran and could do just that.

San Diego Padres

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    Biggest Problem: Lack of offense

    Solution: Trade with Athletics for Josh Willingham

    Much like last season, the Padres will only go as far as their pitching takes them, as they are sorely lacking on the offensive end of things. However, now that Adrian Gonzalez is gone, things look even worse at the plate for the team.

    While it will not fix everything, trading for Willingham would bolster the middle of the team's order and give them another legitimate power hitter alongside Ryan Ludwick.

San Francisco Giants

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    Biggest Problem: First base/power hitting

    Solution: Trade for Adam LaRoche

    The Giants gave top prospect Brandon Belt a chance at the everyday first-base job when they broke camp, but it quickly became clear that he was not yet ready for the big leagues and was sent back down.

    While Aubrey Huff has been moved back to first for now, the team could look to add another bat in the form of a first baseman, and LaRoche would give them a veteran with very good power and a left-handed bat to help balance their lineup.

Seattle Mariners

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    Problem: Offense

    Solution: Call up Dustin Ackley

    The Mariners have a bright future ahead of them, with one of the best pitchers in the game in Felix Hernandez, as well as a number of good young arms to back him up. Pair that with an offense centered around Justin Smoak, and the Mariners have the makings of a contender in a few years.

    However, at the moment they are dangerously short on offense, and they happen to have one of the top offensive prospects in all of baseball in Ackley. While he will not solve all of their offensive problems, he will no doubt give the team a shot in the arm if they were to make him the everyday second baseman.

St Louis Cardinals

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    Biggest problem: Relief pitching

    Solution: Trade with White Sox for Matt Thornton

    The implosion of Ryan Franklin was a messy one, and it looks as though his days closing games are over. Prospect Fernando Salas has stepped up well in the role for now, and could be a long-term solution, but if the Cardinals hope to contend, they will need a setup man.

    With Kyle McClellan moving to the rotation, the team has a void in the eighth inning, and the White Sox could be willing to deal the struggling Thornton as they look to make a postseason run themselves. An All-Star last year, Thornton was tried as the closer this season, but struggled, and a change of scenery to the National League could turn things around for him.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Biggest problem: Power hitting

    Solution: Sign Troy Glaus

    Glaus is currently a free agent, choosing to begin the season spending some time with his family, as he recently became a father for the first time, while also resting the knee that gave him problems late last season.

    With the retirement of Manny Ramirez, the Rays have moved Sam Fuld into a full-time job in left field and Johnny Damon to designated hitter, meaning a severe downgrade in power.

    Glaus is no longer the guy that was a 40-home run threat, but he had a terrific first half last season, hitting 14 home runs with 58 RBI in the first half of the season last year before fading in the second half. With extra rest, and not needed in a starting role, Glaus could be a valuable bat off the Rays bench.

Texas Rangers

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    Biggest problem: Starting pitching

    Solution: Trade with Marlins for Javier Vazquez

    The Rangers missed out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes this offseason, as the Phillies swooped in and picked up the lefty starter in what was the surprise of the offseason.

    In the wake of that, the team still has a decent rotation, fronted by C.J. Wilson, and a strong start from Alexi Ogando, but the rest of the Rangers staff has been disappointing to this point, with Colby Lewis and Matt Holland falling far short of last season's numbers.

    The Marlins took a chance on Vazquez this offseason when they signed him to a one-year deal, and while he is not Lee, he could be the veteran arm the Rangers need to make their staff a strength once again.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Biggest problem: Left field

    Solution: Trade with Padres for Ryan Ludwick

    The Blue Jays have one of the game's most dangerous hitters in Jose Bautista and first baseman Adam Lind, who looks to be back on track, but beyond those two guys, the offense does not exactly strike fear into anyone.

    The weakest spot on the field seems to be Travis Snider in left field. Once a top prospect, Snider has never quite figured it out at the big-league level, and he is hitting just .184 so far this season. The team could look to upgrade that position and perhaps deal Snider while he still has some value in his potential, and they could pick up a solid veteran like Ludwick to help protect Bautista and Lind.

Washington Nationals

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    Biggest problem: Relief pitching

    Solution: Call up Ross Detwiler

    The Nationals are one of the most promising teams in baseball right now. They just need a few years to develop, as the combination of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper could make them a contender.

    However, for the time being, they could really use some relief pitching to help out what has been a very good starting rotation. They need look no further than their own system, where former top-prospect Detwiler, who has really never gotten a chance to stick with the big-league club, could be the answer.

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