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MLB Trade Deadline: Every Team's Biggest Need Post-Trade Deadline

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2011

MLB Trade Deadline: Every Team's Biggest Need Post-Trade Deadline

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    The trade deadline has come and gone, but that does not mean that the rumor mill has come to a complete stop.

    No, there is still another month before the waiver deadline passes, and there will no doubt be at least a handful of significant moves still made between now and September 1st.

    For contenders, this part of the season is the last chance to bolster your roster before the playoff run, but for a team out of contention, it is a chance to assess some your organization and give some young players a chance to audition for a role on the team next season.

    So here is a look at each team's biggest need post-trade deadline, whether it is acquiring a player off waivers, getting production from a certain player or giving a prospect some at bats.

Arizona Diamondbacks: A Stephen Drew Replacement

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    While the Diamondbacks did not pull off any headline grabbing moves at the deadline, they made a few nice trades to shore up their pitching staff, adding stater Jason Marquis and reliever Brad Ziegler.

    It cost them first baseman Juan Miranda, but Paul Goldschmidt (.306 BA, 30 HR, 94 RBI at Double-A) should have no problem filling that void, which makes the Diamondbacks biggest issue finding a replacement for Stephen Drew.

    Drew is out for the season with a fractured right ankle, and while Willie Bloomquist (.280 BA, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 11 SB) has played well this season in a utility role, that is the role he is best suited in. Having him in the lineup not only minimizes his value, but weakens the team's bench as well.

Atlanta Braves: Continued Dominance from Their Young Bullpen

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    The Braves addressed their most glaring need at the deadline when they acquired Astros center fielder Michael Bourn.

    Not only does he provide them with an upgrade offensively over Nate McLouth, and give the team a bona fide lead-off hitter, but he is also among the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball.

    With the outfield bolstered, the team has not obvious holes, and should be in a good position to make a run at the NL Wild Card at the very least.

    One thing they will need if for their young bullpen trio of Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, and Eric O'Flaherty to continue to dominate at the end of games, as the three have combined for a 1.41 ERA over 165.2 innings, while posting a 10.6 K/9 mark.

Baltimore Orioles: Positive Signs from Brian Matusz

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    For the past several seasons, the Orioles have been playing the waiting game while their pitching-rich farm system developed into a big league rotation. Heading the list of young hurlers was the fourth pick in the 2008 draft, left-hander Brian Matusz.

    He earned a call-up in his first pro season, starting eight games in 2009 and going 5-2 with a 4.63 ERA. He improved on those numbers in his first full season last year, going 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA and finishing fifth in AL Rookie of the Year voting.

    However, he has struggled mightily this season, missing time due to injury and pitching poorly when healthy with a 8.77 ERA over six starts.

    Currently pitching at Triple-A, a return to the big leagues in the second half with good results could go a long way towards easing the worries of Orioles fans, as the 24-year-old Matusz profiled as their ace of the future.

Boston Red Sox: A Solid Third Starter to Emerge

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    The Red Sox were the odds on favorite to win the American League going into the season, and while they currently have the best record in the league, it has not come easily for them as injuries have been an issue all season long.

    Most recently, starter Clay Buchholz hit the disabled list and is expected to be out the remainder of the season. That led to the Red Sox trading for Mariners starter Erik Bedard in an effort to add some depth to the back end of the rotation.

    Josh Beckett (9-4, 2.17 ERA) and Jon Lester (11-4, 3.17 ERA) have both been great, but come playoff time the Red Sox will need a third starter to emerge for the postseason rotation if they hope to make a legitimate title push.

    Someone from the group of John Lackey (9-8, 6.23 ERA), Tim Wakefield (6-4, 5.06 ERA), Andrew Miller (4-1, 5.36 ERA), and Bedard (4-7, 3.45 ERA) will need to fill that role, and time will tell if the Red Sox make another move at the waiver deadline to address the problem.

Chicago Cubs: A Waiver Claim on One or More of Their Massive Contracts

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    The 2011 season has been an ugly one for the Chicago Cubs, and they did little at the deadline that makes things look any brighter for the future.

    While it remained a long shot, the team was hopeful they would find a taker for Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, or Aramis Ramirez in order to take some of the strain off of what has become a bloated payroll.

    Instead, all they were able to do was pedal the expiring contract of Kosuke Fukudome to the Indians for a pair of low-level prospects.

    The waiver deadline is still a month away, so there is still hope that the Cubs will be able to move one of their overpaid players. If they can, the deadline will not have been a complete wash at least.

Chicago White Sox: Anything from Alex Rios and Adam Dunn

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    The White Sox were a trendy pick to win the AL Central at the beginning of the season, and despite the fact that they are under .500 with a record of 52-55, they are just 4.5 games out of first place in what is a wide open AL Central.

    The team pulled the trigger on a deal to shore up their bullpen, dealing Edwin Jackson and acquiring Jason Frasor in a three-team deal with the Cardinals and Blue Jays. That puts leaves the pitching staff looking solid top-to-bottom, but the lineup is a different story.

    The two most obvious holes are center fielder Alex Rios (.207 BA, 24 RBI) and DH Adam Dunn (.162 BA, 38 RBI), as those two were expected to be key run producers in the middle of the order.

    Considering their contracts, the team is more or less stuck with Rios ($12.5 million) and Dunn ($12 million), so if they want to make a push for the postseason, a little production from those two would go a long way.

Cincinnati Reds: Dontrelle Willis to Become the No. 3 Starter

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    The Reds are once again in the thick of things in the NL Central, although they have fallen back since the second half began and currently sit 7.5 games behind the first place Brewers.

    They failed to make a splash at the deadline, and they could definitely have used some starting pitching as their rotation is deep but not particularly good after Johnny Cuteo and Mike Leake.

    With Edinson Volquez currently pitching at Triple-A, and Bronson Arroyo (5.45 ERA), Homer Bailey (4.68 ERA), and Travis Wood (5.11 ERA), the rotation has been a disappointment to say the least. That is except for the renaissance of Dontrelle Willis.

    Signed to a minor league deal before the season, Willis pitched his way into the big league rotation with a 2.63 ERA over 13 starts and 75.1 innings at Triple-A, and he has built off that success with a 3.52 ERA in four starts in Cincinnati. If he can continue to pitch well, that would be a big step towards the Reds rotation matching up with other NL Central contenders.

Cleveland Indians: Claim Aramis Ramirez off of Waivers

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    The Indians very easily could have sat back and been content with their performance this season, continuing to build for the future. Instead they went all-in and dealt two of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball in Alex White and Drew Pomeranz to the Rockies for Ubaldo Jimenez.

    Trouble is, generally teams that are all-in do not have a combined .247 batting average, while ranking just eighth in runs scored in the American League. The point being, the Indians need to add a bat, and the best option may be Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez.

    Top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall has been manning the position since being called up to replace the under performing Jack Hannahan, but he has not been much better with a .222 average and just four RBI over 72 at bats. At just 22, it is not fair to expect him to be able to put up stellar numbers in the thick of a playoff race.

    Ramirez on the other hand, is having a bounce back season after battling injuries the past few seasons, and with a line of .286 BA, 19 HR, 63 RBI it is clear that he would give the Tribe a big boost offensively. He has a no trade clause, but a chance to play games that matter could be enough to convince him otherwise.

Colorado Rockies: Patience

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    The Rockies pulled the trigger on the deadlines biggest move, dealing ace Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians for a bounty of young talent. Now, the team will need to be patient as they transition into the next era of Rockies baseball.

    With Jimenez gone, starter Aaron Cook a free agent at season's end, and the Todd Helton era wrapping up, the Rockies are clearly not the team they were when the made it to the World Series in 2007.

    The Rockies team of the future is in place, with an offense led by Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, and a starting rotation featuring Jhoulys Chacin and a pair of pitchers from the Jimenez deal in Alex White and Drew Pomeranz.

    It may mean taking a step back in 2012, but the Rockies have the pieces to once again be on top of the NL West in the very near future, and they would be wise to hold the chips they have and let it play out, because on paper they could be a formidable team in the not too distant future.

Detroit Tigers: Another Reliable Bullpen Arm

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    While the Indians clearly made the biggest splash of anyone in the AL Central, the Tigers were active as well at the trade deadline, first adding third baseman Wilson Betemit from the Royals, then picking up starter Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley from the Mariners for a handful of prospects including third baseman Francisco Martinez.

    In those deals, the team filled their biggest offensive hole, switching Betemit out for the surprisingly bad Brandon Inge (.177 BA, 17 RBI) and also shored up their rotation by adding Fister who has been terrific despite his 3-12 record, posting a 3.33 ERA in 21 starts with the Mariners.

    However, even with the addition of Pauley (2.15 ERA, 54.1 IP), the Tigers bullpen is suspect at best. They have a top tier closer in Jose Valverde, but big free agent acquisition Joaquin Benoit has not been nearly as good as he was last season, with a 4.03 ERA this year compared to 1.34 last season.

    Ryan Perry could provide a lift when he is called up from Triple-A, and Al Alburquerque has been good when healthy, but look for the Tigers to try to add another veteran arm before the August waiver deadline passes.

Florida Marlins: Something to Look Forward to in 2012

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    After a promising 80-82 finish last season, the Marlins seemed poised to play over .500 baseball this season, and while it remains a possibility as they sit at 54-55, the season as a whole has not marked an improvement of any sort over 2010.

    The team has a pair of good starting pitchers in Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco, and one of the best in the game in ace Josh Johnson who, unfortunately has missed most of the season with a shoulder injury. Beyond that, however, their pitching is unimpressive.

    Their lineup is led by emerging stars Gaby Sanchez and Mike Stanton, as Hanley Ramirez has suffered through the worst season of his career. The Marlins have some pieces, but they are still a long ways from contention.

    With a new stadium set to open next season, the team will look to do whatever they can to pack their new park after suffering through years of empty stands. Whether it is a 600-foot home run by Stanton, a perfect game in his return from Johnson, or anything in between, the team needs something to get its fan base fired up for the 2012 season.

Houston Astros: A New Face of the Franchise

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    With the team changing hands and new owner Jim Crane set to take the reigns at season's end, the Astros are also heading in a new direction on the field as they dealt outfielders Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence at the deadline, two players who were the face of the franchise.

    The Pence trade landed the team top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart and first baseman Jonathan Singleton, two players who could be a big part of the Astros future, but are both still at least a year away.

    With the two outfielders gone, and pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers potential waiver candidates, the team could be among the worst in recent memory in 2012, lacking any real identity from a player stand point.

    So who will be the face of the Astros in the near future? Young starter Jordan Lyles has shown a lot of promise, and outfielder Jason Bourgeois has swiped 22 bases while hitting .343 in limited action. Time will tell if these players break through, but 2012 could be a long season or the Astros.

Kansas City Royals: Experience

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    The youth movement has begun in Kansas City, as the Royals have given rookies 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Mike Moustakas, SP Dan Duffy, RP Tim Collins, RP Aaron Crow significant playing time already this season.

    While those players will continue to see significant time, look for more prospects to make an appearance in the not-too-distant future. The biggest thing now will be time, as the Royals look to get as much experience for their youngsters as possible.

    Second baseman Johnny Giavotella could be the next in line for a call-up, as he has torn up Triple-A pitching this season to the tune of .339/.391/.482, although the team has said it also likes incumbent second baseman Chris Getz.

    Another name that should be in Kansas City soon is Lorenzo Cain, who came over in the Zack Greinke deal. He is hitting .319/.389/.522 and at 25 years old he is as big league ready as he ever will be. With a weak stock of outfielders, he should play into their plans for next season.

Los Angeles Dodgers: A Buyer for the Team

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    The Dodgers are among the most revered teams in all of baseball, as they have as much tradition and history as any team in the league. However, the Dodgers 2011 season will not be one looked back on kindly in the annals of Dodgers history.

    After dragging the team through messy divorce proceedings, owner Frank McCourt has run the team into the ground, bottoming out when he the team filed for bankruptcy in late-June. Yet still, through all of this, McCourt has balked at selling the team.

    With up-and-coming superstars Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Clayton Kershaw and a handful of other talented players, the Dodgers could be right in the thick of things in the NL West, if only they had some financial freedom to make trades and sign free agents.

    If the team is not sold before the start of next season, things are only going to get worse before they get better, as players will likely start to jump ship and ask out of what was once a storied franchise.

Los Angeles Angels: A Bat for Their Bench

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    While the Rangers made a splash at the deadline, the Angels were quiet and that has pushed the Rangers into the role of favorites in the AL West. It is not as though the Angels were without needs either, as they currently sit at 11th in the American League in runs scored and could use an offensive boost.

    Their biggest holes offensively are at catcher, and in the corner outfield spots where overpaid veterans Vernon Wells (.212 BA) and Torii Hunter (.232 BA) have struggled.

    They also have a horrible bench, and while Maicer Izturis (.275 BA, 27 RBI) has been good, the trio of Russell Branyan (.160 BA), Andrew Romine (.143 BA), and Bobby Wilson (.170) are just plain terrible.

    Look for the Angels to make a claim on an outfielder that can provide some offense, someone like the Athletics Josh Willingham or Rays Johnny Damon.

Milwaukee Brewers: Zack Greinke to Pitch Like an Ace

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    The Brewers shocked everyone this past off season when, instead of dealing slugger Prince Fielder as many thought they would, they instead went out and acquired starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to make a run at winning it all this season.

    While the Brewers have played well, currently 3.5 games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central, they did not get what they expected out of 2009 AL Cy Young winner Greinke.

    With a 5.45 ERA at the All-Star break, he was far from the ace of the staff that they thought he would be, and frankly that they need him to be if they hope to contend for a title.

    However, something seems to have clicked recently, as he has a 1.73 ERA over his last five starts, as he has dropped his season ERA from 5.66 to 4.41 over that stretch. If he can continue to dominate, the Brewers could make some noise in October with the trio of Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, and Shaun Marcum taking the hill in Milwaukee.

Minnesota Twins: Re-Sign Michael Cuddyer and/or Jason Kubel

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    The Twins poor record has been countered by an incredibly weak AL Central, as they are 50-58 but just seven games out of first place in the division. That left them teetering on the line between buyer and seller at the deadline, and in the end they did nothing.

    Big picture, it seems unlikely that the Twins will pass the White Sox, Indians, and Tigers to claim the AL Central crown, and that was the case two days ago when they chose not to move some pieces that would have netted a significant return.

    The most attractive pieces they had were free agent to be outfielders Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, both of whom have been solid this season as they play for their next deal.

    Because the Twins decided to hold onto them, despite the fact that they were a long shot contender at best, the goal now becomes to re-sign them. While Cuddyer profiles as a Type-A free agent, the Twins are built to contend now, and would be better off holding onto the versatile outfielder.

New York Mets: Finish Strong, Convince Jose Reyes to Re-Sign

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    The trade deadline came and went, and the Mets fire sale that was the talk of baseball for months never happened. Francisco Rodriguez is now a Brewers, and Carlos Beltran was moved, as expected. In fact, the Giants gave up top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to get him, but that was the beginning and the end of the Mets moves.

    Most notably still wearing a Mets uniform in August is shortstop Jose Reyes, who was all but a sure thing to be moved until he put together a first half that put him in talks for NL MVP. That was enough for the Mets to hold onto the speedster and hope they can re-sign him.

    That said, with the return of prospects the team could have gotten for Reyes, they had better make sure they do everything in their power to make sure he comes back, or the team just made a horrible mistake.

    This coming off season will go a long way towards determining the Mets future, as they have a ton of money coming off the books and will be serious players for not only Reyes, but at least one more big name free agent. Either way, priority number one, two, and three needs to be bringing back Reyes, and a strong finish certainly won't hurt the Mets case.

New York Yankees: Claim Someone...Anyone off Waivers

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    If you had told a Yankees fan that the trade deadline would come and go without the Yankees so much as picking up a Lance Berkman, they would have laughed in your face, yet here we are in August with a Yankees team identical to the one that entered July.

    While the team could make a splash simply by calling up top prospects Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos, I would be shocked if they did not pick up someone before the waiver deadline passes.

    The Yankees have always had a place for veteran sluggers looking for one last hurrah, and Jim Thome certainly fits that bill. He would be the most likely hitter for the team to pick up, but a starting pitcher has to be the biggest need.

    Perhaps the much talked about Wandy Rodriguez deal will still happen before all is said and done, or the Yankees will change their tune on Cubs hurler Carlos Zambrano. Either way, look for the Yankees to bolster their roster in one way or another before September rolls around.

Oakland Athletics: Get Chris Carter Some ABs

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    The Athletics were expected to be far bigger sellers at the deadline, with outfielders Josh Willingham and Coco Crisp all but sure things to be moved. Instead, they remain largely the same team, a roster long on pitching and short on hitting.

    In fact, short on hitting does not do justice to just how inept the A's are offensively at the moment, as the days of Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, and others are a distant memory.

    As though a .246 team average was not bad enough, the most alarming statistic is the 64 home runs they have hit total on the year. Willingham has 15 of those 64, and he is really the only legitimate offensive player on the entire roster.

    Meanwhile, down on the Triple-A roster is the team's top hitting prospect first baseman Chris Carter. He got a brief 10 game call-up earlier this season, but hit just .133 in 30 at bats. Still, the 6-4, 245 pound slugger deserves a shot at some regular at bats at this point in the season, and a chance to prove his 30-HR potential is legit.

Philadelphia Phillies: Stay Healthy

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    Already holders of the best record in baseball, the Phillies certainly could have stayed pat at the deadline. Instead, they dealt two of their top prospects for Astros' right fielder Hunter Pence, looting the Astros roster for the second time in as many years.

    With the best pitching staff in baseball, even with Roy Oswalt on the disabled list, as deep a lineup as there is in all of baseball, and a bullpen that is finally getting healthy, the Phillies have all the pieces in place.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise has been rookie pitcher Vance Worley, who has gone 7-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 12 starts and allowed the team to not miss a beat with Oswalt on the shelf.

    The team looks great right now, and barring an injury to one of its key players, anything short of the World Series will be both a surprise and a disappointment.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The 2010 Pedro Alvarez to Show Up

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    No question, the Pirates have been the story of the 2011 season, and while they have fallen back a bit in the NL Central, they are still right in the thick of things, just six games behind the Brewers.

    The team was active at the deadline, picking up veteran bats Derek Lee and Ryan Ludwick, both of which were solid moves that addressed a need. However, getting third baseman Pedro Alvarez back to his 2010 level of production would be the biggest pick up of all for the Brewers.

    Alvarez was expected to be the Pirates top run producer this season after hitting .256 BA, 16 HR, 64 RBI in just 347 at bats as a rookie last season.

    Instead, however, he opened the season hitting just .208 in the season's first 36 games. He was then sidelined with an injury, and sent to Triple-A once he was healthy to figure out his swing. He is back in the starting lineup now, but is hitting just .182 in eight games since the All-Star break. If he can somehow snap out of it, the Pirates could really make some noise.

San Diego Padres: Playing Time for the Young Talent

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    The Royals have been commended for their youth movement this season, but it is much easier to commit to an infusion of young talent when you have the best minor league system in all of baseball.

    After trading Adrian Gonzalez in the off season, then dealing Mike Adams and Ryan Ludwick at the deadline, the Padres have acquired a wealth of young talent, and now they need to begin to clear the way at the big league level and give way to some of the young players.

    The breakout player of the year for the Padres has been Jesus Guzman, as he has hit .341 BA, 4 HR, 22 RBI. However, he is 27 years old, and is currently taking at bats from Anthony Rizzo who is the future at first base and in the middle of the order for the Padres.

    The Padres have a mix of young and veteran talent that would be nice if they were competing. However, with them firmly out of the race, it is time to get the youngsters some at bats.

San Francisco Giants: A Catcher?

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    The Giants picked up the prize of the trade market, landing right fielder Carlos Beltran from the Mets for top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. However, the team did not address its need behind the plate, and that is something that could be done in the weeks to come.

    Since Buster Posey went down with a broken ankle May 25th, the Giants have relied on the tandem of Eli Whiteside (.215 BA, 13 RBI) and Chris Stewart (.215 BA, 4 RBI), and they simply are not getting the job done.

    The catching market is admittedly weak, but someone like Ivan Rodriguez or Chris Ianetta would be a solid pickup if those two clear waivers.

    Bruce Bochy has praised the way that Whiteside and Stewart handle the pitching staff, which is the Giants greatest asset, so maybe the team will stick with the light-hitting duo. Think of them as a two-headed Brad Ausmus, only without the years of experience and clutch hitting.

Seattle Mariners: A Fresh Start

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    It is hard to believe that the Mariners were favorites to win the AL West just last season, when the landed Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins in the off season. Now here we are under two seasons later, and they are squarely in the argument for worst team in the league.

    As a unit, they are hitting a miserable .227 and they have scored just 357 runs on the season, both worst in the American League. With starters Figgins (.188), Franklin Gutierrez (.195), Miguel Olivo (.220), and Justin Smoak (.222) all struggling to hit their weight, it is clear that the team needs to clean house. Even Ichiro is having a bad season, hitting a career-low .266.

    There are bright spots, however, with Felix Hernandez and rookie Michael Pineda set to anchor the rotation for the next decade, and top prospect Dustin Ackley showing why he was worth the number two pick.

    With Figgins, Gutierrez, and Olivo set to make over $19 million combined next season, the team would welcome anyone willing to take them off their hands, and if not they should look to pawn them, along with a handful of other players, off on the first taker this off season and start over from the ground up

St. Louis Cardinals: Avoid the Injury Bug

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    The Cardinals made a splash at the deadline, parting ways with disgruntled young center fielder Colby Rasmus, and picking up starter Edwin Jackson, relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski, and outfielder Corey Patterson in the deal. They also added shortstop Rafael Furcal in a separate deal.

    The two deals addressed the team's biggest needs in a middle infield upgrade, extra starter, and bullpen depth, and has left them squarely in the hunt for the NL Central crown in what is shaping up as a two-horse race between the Cards and Brewers.

    The team has dealt with perhaps more injuries than anyone this season, losing ace Adam Wainwright in spring training, and sluggers Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday for extended time in the first half.

    Despite those issues, the team has remained at or near the top of the division, and if they can stay healthy, along with the addition of these new players, they could run away with the division in the coming weeks.

Tampa Bay Rays: Decide on Starting Rotation for 2012

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    There are certain problems in baseball that teams love to having, and too many starting pitchers sits right atop that list. That is the position that the Rays find themselves in moving forward, and despite a 56-51 record they are all but out of the playoff hunt.

    That should mean giving a number of young starters a look for 2012. As of now, the trio of James Shiels, David Price, and Jeremy Hellickson appear to be locks, but beyond that is anyone's guess.

    Incumbents Wade Davis (8-7, 4.62 ERA) and Jeff Niemann (5-4, 3.51 ERA) have been solid, but they will be pushed by rookie Alex Cobb (3-1, 2.79 ERA) and prospects Alex Torres (7-6, 3.04 ERA at Triple-A).

    Also look for Jake McGee's role to be established, as he started 19 games at Double-A after losing out on the closer's job in spring training and is once again pitching out of the 'pen in Tampa Bay.

Texas Rangers: Dominance from the Bullpen

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    The Rangers picked up arguably the two best setup men on the market at the deadline in the Orioles Koji Uehara and the Padres Mike Adams, and they paid a steep price to get them.

    Add those two to a bullpen that already featured Neftali Feliz, Darren Oliver, and Mark Lowe, and you have one of the best relief corps in all of baseball.

    On the other side of things, the rotation does not have a Cliff Lee this season to lean on in the postseason. That is not to take away from the what C.J. Wilson and Alexi Ogando have done, but the rotation is simply not as good as it was a year ago.

    Because of that fact, and how much the Rangers gave up at the deadline, expect the Rangers to go to the bullpen at the first sign of trouble from here on out, as they certainly have the horses to close out a game if those five guys keep up their current level of play.

Toronto Blue Jays: Promote Brett Lawrie

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    The Blue Jays raised a few eyebrows when they dealt starter Shaun Marcum to the Brewers in the off season in return for infield prospect Brett Lawrie.

    However, the 21-year-old Lawrie has done his part to make the team forget about Marcum, hitting .346 BA, 18 HR, 61 RBI, 12 SB at Triple-A.

    It remains to be seen where he will play in the big leagues, as he has played third base this season after manning second base with the Brewers. The presence of Jose Bautista at third base and impending free agency of second baseman Aaron Hill could mean a switch back for Lawrie.

    Regardless, he has earned a call-up, and the team would be wise to give him a good long look, as he could very well be the man to replace Hill at second base.

Washington Nationals: Claim B.J. Upton off of Waivers

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    It is no secret that the Nationals have been searching for their center fielder of the future, as they have Jayson Werth locked up for the foreseeable future and Bryce Harper on the way to man the other corner outfield spot.

    After kicking the tires on Colby Rasmus and B.J. Upton, among others, at the deadline, the team did not pull the trigger on a deal. Instead they chose to hold onto relievers Tyler Clippard, Ross Detwiler, and Drew Storen as any deal would have likely included one of them to begin with.

    With Rasmus was dealt to the Blue Jays, Upton remains on the market, and after having a bit more time to think things over, the Nationals could claim him off of waivers if that opportunity presents itself.

    Picking up Upton would be just another step in the right direction for a Nationals team that looks to be committed to winning and ready to deal and spend to do so.

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