MLB: Moves Each Team Should Make To Shake Up Their Batting Order

Anthony LifrieriContributor IMay 18, 2011

MLB: Moves Each Team Should Make To Shake Up Their Batting Order

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 21: Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two-run home run against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium on April 21, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Now that a quarter of the season is over, we have a pretty good idea on how the season is going for most players.

    Some guys like Jose Bautista have proven to be one of the best players in baseball, while others like Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez have flopped.

    Still, there is hope for some teams, and a simple tweak of the batting order or trade can fix just about any team.

    Here is a list showing a move each team should make to improve their batting order.

D-Backs: Swap Montero and Upton in the Order

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 17:  Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks comes in to score a run against the San Diego Padres during the seventh inning of the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on May 17, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Justin Upton is not hitting, and Miguel Montero is.

    The D-Backs are not going to trade for a big bat, so making this easy swap in the lineup will at least temporarily take pressure off Justin Upton, along with his falling trade value.

Rockies: Trade for Michael Young

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    ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 07:  Michael Young #10 of the Texas Rangers hits a solo homerun against the New York Yankees at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on May 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    This is like beating a dead horse, but the Rockies NEED Michael Young. 

    They are getting no production out of their current third-base platoon, and they need someone at the top of the lineup to set up for CarGo and Tulo.   

    Getting Young and putting him in the two-hole will allow him to see some pitches and get on base for the big bats.

Padres: Bat Cameron Maybin Third

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Cameron Maybin #24 of the San Diego Padres celebrates his run in the dugout for a 4-0 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Cameron Maybin has been one of the few Padres hitting this season, and because they are such a low-budget team, don’t expect them to go after a big bat.

    Instead, look for the Padres to make do with Maybin in the three-hole.

Dodgers: Trade for Jorge Posada

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    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15:  Jorge Posada #20 of the New York Yankees reacts after missing a pitch against the Boston Red Sox during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The Yankees and Posada may have patched things up, but the damage has been done between the two.

    The Dodgers need a catcher, and Posada could fill that void for at least the rest of 2011. 

    The Yankees would probably give him up for nothing too, as it will allow them to bring up super prospect Jesus Montero to DH.

    By acquiring Posada, the Dodgers can give him fresh start with a familiar face in Manager Don Mattingly. 

    Posada can give the Dodgers an experienced bat and a great clubhouse leader in the twilight of his career.

Giants: Trade for Edgar Renteria

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    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 03:  Edgar Renteria of the San Francisco Giants celebrates during the Giants' vicotry parade on November 3, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Thousands of Giants fans lined the streets of San Francisco to watch the San Francisco
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    The Phillies admitted they made a mistake when they re-signed Cliff Lee this past offseason, and the defending champion Giants need to do the same thing by trading for their World Series MVP.

    Edgar Renteria was a quality player who hit in the clutch.  He is currently playing in a platoon in Cincinnati but could be dealt for some prospects or pitching.

    Miguel Tejada is not cutting it for the Giants, so going back to the future should help the champs defend their title.

Angels: Swap Howie Kendrick and Torii Hunter in the Order

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    BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 15:  Torii Hunter #468 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by teammate Howie Kendrick #47 after Hunter scored a run in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox on September 15, 2009 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massach
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Hunter is slumping, Kendrick is raking, simple as that.  By getting Kendrick up to the cleanup spot, he can drive in more runs. 

    By moving Hunter down one spot, he can relax and get back to basics.

A's: Trade for a Third Baseman

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 08: Aramis Ramirez #16 of the Chicago Cubs takes a swing against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field on May 8, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Reds defeated the Cubs 2-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    When David Wright got hurt, the A’s lost a solid trade option for third-base weakness. 

    They probably can’t go after Michael Young, but there is other more middle of the lineup options that might help bolster the order for a playoff push.  These players include Scott Rolen and Aramis Ramirez.

Mariners: Flip-Flop Ichiro and Figgins

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    Teamwork!
    Teamwork!Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Ichiro is still hitting, and maybe a move to the leadoff spot is what Chone Figgins needs to wake up his sleeping bat.

    Ichiro also has a higher slugging percentage, making further sense to move him down one spot.

    Figgins will probably steal more bases than Ichiro too.

Rangers: Get Josh Hamilton Back

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    BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 10:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers during batting practice before thier game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 10, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    There really is no better move for the Rangers to make than to simply wait for Josh Hamilton to get back.

    The Rangers have done OK without Hamilton, and getting him back and putting him third of fourth in the batting order will create an elite lineup.

    Hamilton’s return will also take pressure off Ian Kinsler, who has a low average that could be caused by swinging for the fences.

Astros: Trade Carlos Lee

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    HOUSTON - MAY 14:  Carlos Lee #45 of the Houston Astros during game action against the New York Mets at Minute Maid Park on May 14, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    The Astros seriously need to rid themselves of Carlos Lee and replace him with a young prospect. 

    Lee clearly cannot hit anymore, so they ought to bring in a youngster that can.

    I like Jonathan Villar, a young shortstop, who might be able to stick in the pros.

Cubs: Move Carlos Pena Down

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MAY 18:  Carlos Pena #22 of the Chicago Cubs draws a walk during a game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on May 18, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    There really isn’t anything the Cubs can do to boost their batting order, except trade Carlos Pena or move him down in the order. 

    His sub-.240 batting average is horrible, and he is not hitting home runs like he did in Tampa Bay.

    If the Cubs move him for prospects, they give his spot to Marlon Byrd or Alfonso Soriano, who are both having better years.

Reds: Bat Ramon Hernandez Fifth

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    CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 14: Ramon Hernandez #55 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates in the third inning after hitting the first of his two home runs against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on May 14, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds defea
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Ramon Hernandez is one of baseball’s hottest hitters right now, and the Reds need to go with it.

    By moving him up to the five-hole, he can clean up the Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips’ leftovers, which could result in the Reds becoming the NL’s dominant offense.

    It would also allow him to set the table for the end of the lineup, headed by Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen.

Brewers: Trade for a Shortstop

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    CHICAGO - JULY 03:  J.J. Hardy #7 of the Milwaukee Brewers at bat against the Chicago Cubs during their MLB game on July 3, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Yuniesky Betancourt is just not cutting it.  The Brewers need a shortstop if they want to contend for a World Series title before they lose Prince Fielder.

    By trading for a Michael Young or a JJ Hardy-type, the offense will be boosted while not hurting the defense of the Brewer infield.

    The Brew Crew could really get nuts and trade for Jose Reyes, bat him at leadoff and move Weeks down to the two-hole, creating what could be the best lineup in baseball.

Cardinals: Bat Yadier Molina Eighth or Ninth

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 24: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates his three-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on April 24, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Yadier Molina is a good hitting catcher, but he would be best served in the eighth spot in the order. 

    They could also consider batting the pitcher eight and Molina ninth to set up for the top of the order.

    Either way, Molina in a seven-hole does not work.

Royals: Bring Up Mike Moustakas

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    SURPISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 27: Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals bats during a spring training game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
    Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    With the Royals bringing up Eric Hosmer, the lineup already made a major improvement. 

    Bringing up Mike Moustakas to play third base will be the next move for the Royals, who are getting poor production out of their current platoon at the hot corner.

    Moustakas is an elite prospect, who should stick at third base now that he is hitting in AAA.

    Look for the Royals to bring him up in June, which will delay his arbitration eligibility for another year.

Indians: Swap Hafner and Choo in the Order

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    Travis Hafner seems to be back to his glory days of raking, while Shin-Soo Choo is entrenched in a deep slump. 

    By swapping them in the lineup, Hafner will get more opportunities to drive in runs hitting third, while the pressure can ease off Choo batting fifth.

    It’s more important to get Chooie going, because he is their best all-around player on the team.  He needs his team’s support through his slump and off-the-field issues.

Twins: Bring Up Aaron Hicks

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 24: Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after being tagged out at home plate for the final out of the third inning against the Cleveland Indians during their game on April 24, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minne
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Aaron Hicks is the Twins’ best prospect.  Therefore, bringing up their best hitting prospect could give the team some much-needed pop until Joe Mauer comes back.

    If the Twins don’t bring up Hicks, look for them to move Justin Morneau down in the order to ease pressure to produce off him.

White Sox: Swap Dunn and Konerko

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 07: Paul Konerko #14 of the Chicago White Sox (R) talks about the stadium to teammate Adam Dunn #32 before the home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field on April 7, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Dani
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Yet another case of the No. 3 hitter performing poorly and the cleanup hitter hitting well.
     
    By moving Konerko up, the offense can be jump started by a .300 hitter.

    Dunn may be better off in the cleanup spot because his more powerful swing could drive in Konerko’s leftovers.

Tigers: Bump Up Miggy and V-Mart in the Order

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    BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 06:  Victor Martinez #41 and Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate after hitting back to back home runs in the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 6, 2011 in Baltimore, Mary
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Why are these guys batting fourth and fifth respectively?

    Both Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez need to bat third and fourth respectively. 

    It can get the offense going, which will propel it to more games.  It probably would get Miggy going again too.  He’s a better hitter than he’s been.

Pirates: Bat Andrew McCutchen Third

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    PITTSBURGH - MAY 06:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates lays down a bunt against the Houston Astros during the game on May 6, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    The Pirates could make so many moves to improve their batting order, but they won't because they're cheap.

    Instead, they'll bat Andrew McCutchen third because he is the best hitter on the team.

    McCutchen should be finally ready to hit third but don't be surprised if he enters a slump because he tries to swing for the fences too much.

    I hope the Pirates don't ruin this kid.  He's too good to let his talent be wasted by a cheap franchise.

Marlins: Bat H-Ram Leadoff

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: Hanley Ramirez #2 of the Florida Marlins is brushed back by a pitch during the seventh inning as catcher Ivan Rodriguez #7 of the Washington Nationals holds onto the ball at Nationals Park on May 15, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Phot
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Marlins skipper Edwin Ramirez had the right idea moving Hanley Ramirez out of the three-hole, but he should have moved Hanley back to leadoff.

    Hanley broke out years ago leading off, and he still has the speed to be a relevant leadoff man.

    It would also make Ramirez focus on getting on base, rather than swinging for the fences, which could bring him out of his slump.

Braves: Trade for JJ Hardy

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    BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 12: J.J. Hardy #2 of the Baltimore Orioles in action against the Seattle Mariners at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 12, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    The Braves need a shortstop, but hell will freeze over before the Mets trade Jose Reyes to the Braves, so the Bravos will have to settle for JJ Hardy.

    Hardy is a good shortstop.  He plays good defense and hits for power.  His main flaws include his low average, caused by his high strikeout rate.

    If the Braves could land Hardy, they’d have a shot at the playoffs.  If not, they’re destined to finish second or third in the NL East.

Mets: Move Jason Bay Down Until He Hits

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    DENVER, CO - MAY 12:  Jason Bay #44 of the New York Mets is welcomed back to the dugout after scoring on a sacrifice fly by Josh Thole of the Mets to give the Mets a 3-1 lead over the Colorado Rockies in the fourth inning at Coors Field on May 12, 2011 in
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Jason Bay is either hurt or slumping, and neither will help the team until he starts hitting.

    By moving Bay down to the six to eight spots, he can figure out what’s wrong at the plate without costing his team plenty of run scoring opportunities.

    Honestly, the Mets are going to sell anyway, so they might as well increase his value so they can trade him along with Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes this July.

Nationals: Bring Up Bryce Harper

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    VIERA, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals poses for a portrait during Spring Training Photo Day at Space Coast Stadium on February 25, 2011 in Viera, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The Nationals’ lineup is horrendous, so they might as well bring up Bryce Harper now and get him ready for next year. 

    Harper is an elite prospect, and although a longshot, is the only reasonable move the Nationals can make without pulling the trigger on a major trade.

    They could also trade for Alfonso Soriano hoping they can relive the happy days of his prime.

Phillies: Start a MASH Unit

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    Over the past year, the Phillies have to deal with more injuries than they could deal with.

    Starting a MASH unit is an easy remedy...

Seriously: Bat Ryan Howard Third

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 15:  Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Ryan Howard and his nine home runs need to be batting third.

    Placido Polanco’s .339 average is great, but it belongs in the two-spot, because he’s not hitting for power.

    Hopefully, Chase Utley will be back to bolster the Phillies’ lineup, but until then, the Phillies need Howard’s thunder earlier in the game.

Blue Jays: Bring Up Brett Lawrie

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    DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Brett Lawrie #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses during photo day at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on February 20, 2011 in Dunedin, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Lawrie is the future for the Blue Jays.  He will form a tandem with Jose Bautista that will make opposing pitchers cringe for years to come.

    If the Jays are smart, they’ll bring him up now to give him experience for next year.  They could start him at the bottom of the lineup and allow him to work his way up over the next few months.

Orioles: Trade for a Proper Leadoff Hitter

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    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets connects on a second inning RBI single against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 7, 2011 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Gett
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Felix Pie is not the leadoff hitter the Orioles need to elevate their offense. 

    That is the big problem with the O’s offense.  If they can trade for a Jose Reyes, the whole ballgame changes.

    Manager Buck Showalter is just the man to get every ounce of Reyes’ potential out of him.  Showalter won’t win any popularity contests, but he is the best manager in baseball.

    It would also give them a good shot at retaining him after the season when he hits free agency.

Rays: Bring Up Desmond Jennings

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    FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  Desmond Jennings #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays Photo Day on February 22, 2011 at the Charlotte Sports Complex in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Sam Fuld started hot but has cooled off.

    Desmond Jennings is the reason the Rays let Carl Crawford go.  He is an elite prospect with epic speed.

    By bringing up Jennings and putting him in the leadoff spot, the Rays could push for a playoff spot.

    The Yankees are weak and vulnerable this year, so the Rays would be wise to take a run at it.

Red Sox: Trade for Hanley Ramirez

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    ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 12:  National League All-Star Hanley Ramirez #2 of the Florida Marlins and American League All-Star David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox shake hands on the field during the second round of the 2010 State Farm Home Run Derby during All-
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The Red Sox have been weak at shortstop since they traded Nomar Garciaparra in 2004.

    While Jed Lowrie has been good, Ramirez is great.  All H-Ram needs is a change of scenery to regain his once dominant form. 

    By trading Lowrie and some prospects for Ramirez, the Red Sox could piece together the greatest offensive lineup of the past 40 years.

Yankees: Build a Time Machine and Go Back to the Future!

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    The Yankee lineup is a mess.  Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada all look past their prime.  If this were 2005, they would still be in their primes and better suited to contribute.

    If they could find Doc Brown and pay him to build them a DeLorean, they could bring back the younger version of their players to dominate the competition.

But Seriously: Trade for an Elite Outfielder and Bring Up Jesus Montero

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    BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 12:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners in action against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 12, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Either Justin Upton or Ichiro will do. 

    They are both elite players who can hit good pitching, something both Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner can’t do.

    Another option is DFAing Posada and bringing up stud prospect Jesus Montero to DH.