Every MLB team has a particular need in one way or another. It can be something very specific, or it can be a host of things, but no matter if the team is in first or last, a good old fashion shot in the arm always helps.
Today we're going to look at what every team could use as that "shot in the arm."
Whether it is an upgrade, an addition, a coaching change or just a tweak, each team's individual needs are vastly different.
Let's take a look at what each team needs, and we'll do it by division.
Part of what makes the Phillies so deadly is their unusually powerful pitching lineup, but when one piece of the puzzle goes southward, it can disrupt what the team plans.
The Phillies are playing great ball right now, but Roy Oswalt has seemingly hit a wall, particularly with his fastball which has had an unusual low velocity.
Oswalt has gone 1-3 in his last four outings despite manger Charlie Manuel insisting he will come back around.
If and when he does, it will be quite a shot in the arm for a team already playing at a high level.
The Mets have been without the services of the surprise first baseman Ike Davis for over a month now, and it is really showing its effects.
Davis has been dealing with a bum ankle and is still in a boot with an MRI to be done today.
Before he went out, Davis was hitting .302 with seven home runs and 25 RBI.
The Marlins have had three different managers in as many days now and they are still 1-19 over their last 20.
This team has begun to completely spin out of control with the hitters producing zilch and the entire pitching staff suffering unneeded losses which cuts into their moral.
At this point, the real shot in the arm is for someone—anyone—to step up consistently and give the rest of the team something to believe in and emulate if there is to be a turn around.
The Giants—as you will hear about again—are hungry for a catcher right now and are willing to strike a deal to help prevent them from having to promote their exciting prospect Hector Sanchez.
The Nationals can’t even begin to think about contending until the year 2013 with all the injuries they have sustained for one.
But dealing away "Pudge" for perhaps a more youthful player could help this team get to that contending level, especially considering they will have Strasburg back by then, and Bryce Harper could be ready to play by 2013.
Dan Uggla was supposed to be the power bat the Braves were looking for this offseason, but instead, he has been a huge disappointment as he sits on a .178 average with nine homeruns and 21 RBI.
Uggla has slowly begun to turn things on, but by that I mean, he has only raised his OPS to a dismal .571.
Uggla needs to start playing the way he always has which is what the braves were most interested in from the get go.
Once he does—if ever—he will provide the shot in the arm and morale booster the Braves so desperately need right now, if they are to remain somewhat competitive.
Remember back at the beginning of the season when Adam Wainwright went out and everyone said to themselves, “Ah man, that really stinks”?
Well, since then, Lance Berkman has been dinged up, David Freese has gone down and is out until the end of the month along with Nick Punto. Gerald Laird and Allen Craig are grounded until late July, and if this isn’t enough, now Albert Pujols is out until August tentatively!
Obviously the biggest shot in the arm will be getting Pujols back, but at this point, the less the infirmary is occupied, the better off the Cardinals will be.
I think this is one of the few teams in the majors that can’t get any better than they are right now.
The Brewers are hitting well, pitching well and despite a little funk in interleague play, they have been in control of the division since almost day one with no signs of slowing down.
Saito’s return would be nice, though.
The Cubs have a bevy of unpredictable issues including, but notwithstanding, base running, inconsistent defense, inconsistent hitting and injury related issues to the rotation.
But these sorts of issues are considered par for the course in baseball.
What is probably the most glaring issue right now is the bullpen and how underachieving and mismanaged it is.
It isn’t just the recent monumental meltdown of Carlos Marmol or the ridiculous usage of Marcos Mateo, a player who isn’t ready for the bigs yet. It’s just the overall management hands down.
The Cubs brass should have seen enough, and if things continue they will have to consider letting go of bullpen coach Lester Strode or continue to fall away from contention altogether.
Drew Stubbs has been a steady source of power in the early goings for the Reds, but as of late, Stubbs’ bat has gone ice cold with the Reds altogether producing minimally.
In his last seven games, Stubbs has hit just a single homerun but has stuck out 10 times which is a bad ratio.
The game goes in cycles, but the Reds can ill-afford to have Stubbs hit a wall.
It was bad enough that Chris Snyder went down with a back injury, and it was even worse when Ryan Doumit went down with an ankle sprain which has both slated for a lengthy stint on the DL.
But to make matters even worse, is the fact that Dusty brown, the Pirates immediate solution has wasted his chance of taking advantage of the situation hitting .107 in 28 at-bats.
The Pirates acquired Mike McKenry who has been doing a little better ( .208 in 24 AB), but clearly the catcher position is a huge weak spot for the Pirates, and getting back either Davis or Doumit would be a huge shot in the arm.
I think it is pretty safe to say Ed Wade’s time in Houston has gone as far as it could go, perhaps even a bit too far.
Wade has been serviceable finding some nice young talent over the years and implementing them, but he hasn’t done much else for the team and a new regime is in order.
Changing the GM may not have an immediate effect, but it will surly help this team find new reasons to play better. Before he does go, perhaps Wade will enter the trade deadline with open doors and strike one last impact deal for that big shot in the arm.
The Giants have issues at the backstop, and the Brewers have made it known that George Kottaras is “available.”
The Giants are in a desperate situation with the catcher spot despite still having their exciting prospect Hector Sanchez lighting up Triple-A Fresno.
Grabbing Kottaras would act as additional insurance and give the Giants a huge shot in the arm at the one position they need it most, but it will all come down to what the Brewers want in return.
Still, it’s a deal worth giving a hard look at.
The Padres are in need of some serious upgrades, particularly in the outfield and at short stop, if they are to continue building a contending team for the future.
The upgrade at shortstop would be ideal considering the market right now ( *cough* Jose Reyes *cough*).
The Padres could leverage their pitching as a bargaining tool, and upgrading over Jason Bartlett would give this team a giant shot in the arm that would be felt for years to come.
I could make a strong case that the Dodgers need a significant upgrade—or addition—to their bullpen or that the team needs to find a way to strike a deal for some much need youthful talent, but none of that can truly be examined until McCourt is given the pink slip.
There is literally nothing McCourt can offer the Dodgers anymore, not like he has given them much at all, and before the team decided which way to go, they need to find a new boss.
Sometimes a shot in the arm can come from a long-term move.
The D-Backs have plenty of talent marinating down on the farm, but they are all still a year or two away from being called up.
The D-Backs also have some solid pitching which has been part of the backbone that has made this team a sneaky contender, but their depth is a glaring issue.
The trade deadline is right around the corner, and there will be plenty of tires to kick around. If the Diamondbacks want to give themselves a true shot in the arm, they will add another quality pitcher to the rotation to beef things up, and both Oakland and Houston would be two teams to look at first.
Dexter Fowler has basically lost his swagger, and the new kid in town—Charles Blackmon—is rapidly making a case to stay in the roster.
Fowler has already been option down to Triple-A, and Blackmon is already hitting .354 with six RBI in 48 AB with five stolen bases.
That’s after hitting .342 with 10 homeruns, 49 RBI and 12 SB in Colorado Springs (PCL).
If Fowler’s struggles continue in Triple-A and Blackmon continues to excel at the major league level, they will have no choice but to stick with what is already becoming a huge shot in the arm for the Rockies.
Crawford was having one of his worst starts to a season in the early goings but began showing signs of offensive life before his hammy landed him on the DL.
I’ll admit there isn’t much this team needs to do right now since they are playing at such a high level, but getting Crawford back, AND ON TRACK, would be such a shot in the arm, the entire division would feel it.
This rotation needs Hughes back in a big way, there’s no question about it.
The other pitchers have been struggling with consistency, and having Hughes return to the rotation would just give the Yankees a huge shot in the arm right now.
There has been rumors of the Yankees entertaining a bevy of trade ideas including, but not limited to, letting Nick Swisher walk, scooping up Carlos Zambrano or perhaps even dealing Russell Martin (are you listening San Francisco?).
But none of these things would be as big as Hughes’ return, no matter what.
I’ll admit, it may be difficult to land such a player considering how overextended the O’s payroll is right now, but they have been noted as one of the teams seriously interested in Fielder’s 2012 free agency.
The Orioles are not that far away from being a contending team, and adding a power bat like Price Fielder—if they can pry him away from Milwaukee that is—would be the final piece of the puzzle and shot in the arm this team needs to crawl out of the basement.
Just imagine Prince Fielder hitting in Camden Yards!
The Blue Jays are about average offensively, but their team defense is just horrible (not to mention their pitching isn’t so great either).
The Jays could find themselves entertaining a deal for a better defensively oriented player and could dangle Encarnacion out there as bait or perhaps package him with J.P. Arencibia to "sweeten" the deal.
This strategy could also be used for a pitching prospect, but I believe their real issue is their defense, and that’s what should be dealt with first.
What does the Blue Jay nest have to say?
The Rays actually have several arguable needs such as another solid rotation arm and a better option at short stop, but the real team need is a solid No. 2 power bat to help Matt Joyce.
There could be several options in front of the Rays by the end of July, so the Rays will have plenty to consider.
Without another complimentary power bat though, this team will have significant trouble keeping up in the division for years to come.
The Rays could help their case by offering Upton, but it is unlikely to happen.
It may seem like a minor issue to mention, but this is a team that is teetering on the mound of first place, and fixing any sudden bullpen issues when they arise will certainly help the Tigers’ cause in the long run.
The Tigers are lucky enough to have a solid offensive core (although another addition for depth would hurt either), so it isn’t as if they can make up for some relief issues, should they arise.
Schlereth has been very stable for the most part, but his last two outings were unusually terrible walking five while striking out four and giving up two ER, two R and a lone hit in just 2.2 innings of work.
Keeping the ship together often works as its own shot in the arm.
The White Sox have dealt with inconsistency all year long, and it almost looks as if Paul Konerko is once again carrying this team on his back.
The White Sox are in desperate need of a shocking bat that can give this offense a much needed shot in the arm, and Viciedo is that guy.
Viciedo is hitting .313 with 10 homers and an .877 OPS over his first 61 games with Triple-A Charlotte, so he is obviously ready, and it could solve the problem of the slumping Alex Rios in the process.
Look, the Royals are going to be an exciting team in a few years, it’s hard to argue that. But this team might also want to consider a new skipper now before it is too late.
The situational hitting is pretty poor, the starting pitching is too inconsistent, and the power bats have remained quiet which are all issues the skipper must address.
This isn’t new to the Royals, either.
The latest move was calling up Jarrod Dyson, who is only going to be re-assigned once Bruce Chen comes back, leaving many Royals fans scratching their heads over the news.
With all of that talent rising up, a new skipper now, could give this team a shot in the arm that will take effect in a few years.
When the getting is good, it’s good. And when Fausto Carmona was on, the Indians faired rather well.
The other problem with Carmona and his abdominal 6.17 ERA is now a pathetic 6.17 (through just 16 starts mind you), is the fact that he is the only veteran pitcher in a rotation filled with youngsters looking for some guidance.
There is more to baseball than just stats, the mental side is vastly important to a team’s success and growth, and a great shot in the arm for Cleveland would be for Carmona to find his stride again, so he can be that veteran leader this young team absolutely needs.
The Twins have missed Joe Mauer and have been lacking some serious offensive power with Jason Kubel also being out.
But Mauer is back, just in a limited role.
But the Twins must continue to get him back to day-to-day duties if they are to solve their offensive situation.
Thank God the pitching staff is doing so good, or the season may have been over for the Twins weeks ago.
The A’s have been decimated by injuries to their starting rotation, and to make matters worse, Rich Harden is also out—no real surprise there.
Dallas Braden, Brandon McCarthy, Tyler Ross and Brett Anderson are all out with Anderson’s status not yet being known at the time of this article and Braden out until 2012.
The make shift rotation has done an admirable job filling in, but the A’s need someone to return from the DL for that true shot in the arm if they are to somehow find a way back in the postseason race.
McCarthy is currently slated for a early-July return along with the strike throwing Rich Harden and Ross is slated for a mid-July return.
This is more of a personal strategy opinion here, so hear me out.
The Rangers lost one of the key offensive pieces in Mike Napoli, a guy who already hit 10 homeruns in 136 at bats, so getting him back as soon as possible is the obvious shot in the arm they need.
But until then, the Rangers could certainly use another one-two shot in the arm if Yorvit Torrealba were to step things up just a bit and prospect Taylor Teagarden were to come on strong in his fill-in role.
Teagarden has yet to amount to what the Rangers have hoped for. He has been called up a bunch of times this year but has failed to register anything other than a bunch of headaches and underachieving performances.
But if the Rangers can get these two guys to combine forces and get the job done until Napoli returns, it would certainly be a shot in the arm in the face of a terrible injury.
Aside from two stellar outings against the White Sox and Padres, King Felix has been slightly above pedestrian all year long, and that simply won’t cut it.
There has been some running rumors of trade talk surrounding Hernandez which could be part of the reason, but to be honest, it’s probably the dismal team hitting that has hurt Hernandez and the pitching staff altogether.
Still, Hernandez needs to find a way out of his funk, because when he does, it will be a huge shot in the arm for a team that is currently one game away from first place.
Everyone said the offseason deal the Angels extended to Wells was crazy, and more people said his magical 2010 season was a one hit wonder.
Well(s), it’s either truth or not.
The Angels are going to have to get Wells back on track if they are to contend this year and maintain a healthy team moral.
Having the 2010 version of wells would be a huge shot in the arm for several reasons, mostly, so that the team doesn’t look like the fool, and Wells himself doesn’t have to deal with the fluke tag which is a terrible mental issue to deal with.
Wells is currently hitting just .208 with seven homeruns and 20 RBI.