MLB Free Agency: Each Team's Top Target to Fill Holes Left After the Deadline
The 2011 MLB trade deadline is officially past us, but that doesn’t mean that teams are done dealing.
The Aug. 31 waiver deadline should feature a flurry of movement of players that weren’t traded at the non-waiver deadline, including names like Wandy Rodriguez, Aramis Ramirez and Livan Rodriguez.
For teams not still contending for a playoff spot, the final two months should offer an opportunity to see how some of the top prospects in baseball fair in their first taste of the big leagues.
Here’s a look at what each team in baseball still needs to do between now and the end of the season.
Dmitriy Ioselevich is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for all your MLB news and updates.
The Diamondbacks didn’t just stand back and watch as their chief rival in the division, the San Francisco Giants, upgraded their greatest weakness.
Arizona was active at the deadline as well, acquiring starter Jason Marquis and reliever Brad Ziegler in two separate deals.
The Diamondbacks are still just one game back in the NL West, but they’ll rely on a rotation of Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Marquis for the stretch run instead of calling up top prospects Jarrod Parker, Pat Corbin, Wade Miley and Tyler Scraggs.
Arizona could still use an upgrade at first base and may look at the recently released Lyle Overbay or Chicago’s Carlos Pena.
The Braves hit a home run with the Michael Bourn trade and now boast one of the most complete teams in baseball, assuming catcher Brian McCann comes back healthy.
The pitching staff has a 3.22 ERA, and first baseman Freddie Freeman has blossomed into a legitimate slugger to complement Chipper Jones and McCann.
The Braves would love to get more out of their middle infield combo of Dan Uggla (.699 OPS) and Alex Gonzalez (.598 OPS) and may look at Florida’s Omar Infante, a player that Atlanta targeted at the deadline.
The Orioles cashed in their best trade chip, Koji Uehara, for two young, up-and-coming players in first baseman Chris Davis and righty Tommy Hunter. They also got a solid prospect for first baseman Derrek Lee but may not be dealing just yet.
Some scouts are surprised Baltimore didn’t try to move Jeremy Guthrie, and he may be a candidate for an August trade along with relievers Kevin Gregg, Jim Johnson and Mike Gonzalez.
Mark Reynolds and Vladimir Guerrero may also be moved in the right deal, especially considering the Orioles are going no where this season.
Boston Red Sox
With Clay Buchholz likely out for the remainder of the regular season, the Red Sox are left scrambling for starting pitching.
They acquired lefty Erik Bedard in a trade with the Seattle Mariners and also have righty Kevin Millwood as a fallback option in the minors.
The Red Sox don’t have many needs as a club assuming that everyone continues to perform at their current levels.
One player to keep an eye on is right fielder Josh Reddick, who was practically handed the starting job with less than 50 games of big league experience. We may not have seen the last of JD Drew.
The Cubs had as many as a dozen players they could have moved but for some reason only ended up trading Kosuke Fukudome. Unless the Cubs think they can overcome a 15.5-game deficit in the NL Central, chances are they’ll be more active at the trade deadline.
Carlos Pena, Marlon Byrd and Jeff Baker should all generate some interest, although the Cubs seem to want to keep Pena around for at least this season.
It will be more interesting to see what happens when players like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano clear waivers, both of whom are considered next to impossible to move.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox turned third baseman Mark Teahan and starter Edwin Jackson into reliever Jason Frasor (huh?) yet were unable to move slugger Carlos Quentin or reliever Matt Thornton. It’s a puzzling approach for a team that had many moveable pieces.
The White Sox are likely done for now and should focus on seeing what top prospect Dayan Viciendo can do at the big league level.
The Reds pursuit of ace Ubaldo Jiminez ended in disappointment as GM Walt Jocketty refused to part with any of his top young players.
The Reds have since dropped to fourth in the NL Central standings and don’t appear to have the firepower to make a run this year.
The good news for Cincinnati is that most of the roster will be back for 2012 along with the addition of prospects Yonder Alonso and Delvin Mesoraco. The next two months may be a good time to see what the kids can do.
The Indians, unlike the Reds, pulled the trigger on a Jiminez deal and are serious about contending this year. Second baseman Jason Kipnis and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall look like the real deal, so the Indians might have all the requisite pieces to make a playoff run.
Cleveland should be able to stay pat at the waiver trade deadline and await the return of outfielders Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo.
The Rockies shocked the baseball world by actually trading Jiminez, but just because the best pitcher in franchise history is wearing a different uniform doesn’t mean that the Rockies are rebuilding.
The Colorado core of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez is one of the best in baseball, and the haul from the Jiminez trade could give the Rockies two front-line starters.
This is a team to watch out for in 2012 and 2013, especially if they can get anything for Jason Giambi and Chris Iannetta.
The Tigers upgraded their rotation by acquiring Doug Fister, but it doesn’t look like that’ll be enough to get past the Indians.
Detroit GM Dave Dumbrowski is reluctant to give up either Rick Porcello or Max Scherzer, and without at least, one finding a playoff tested starter will be difficult.
The Tigers still need to replace Brandon Inge and may opt for a cheaper option like Aramis Ramirez or Mark Reynolds at the hot corner. An additional reliever wouldn’t hurt either.
Florida Marlins: Omar Infante
The Marlins decided to keep all of their young pitchers and walked away from the deadline with absolutely nothing. However, that doesn’t mean that they failed. Florida still has tons of talent and a new ballpark for 2012 that should help generate revenue.
The Marlins could still make some moves before the end of August, but they seem inclined on keeping infielders Omar Infante and Greg Dobbs.
The Astros dealt their two cornerstone players in Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn yet held on to starters Wandy Rodriguez and Bretty Myers for some strange reason.
Houston GM Ed Wade won’t get better offers for either pitcher in August but may still be motivated, or impressed, enough to make a deal.
Carlos Lee may also be an interesting trade candidate if anyone dares to touch his contract.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals only managed to find suitors for infielders Mike Aviles and Wilson Betemit, but the real story in Kansas City is all of the young talent.
Eric Hosmer has been in huge in his first taste of major league action, and Mike Moustakas looks like a franchise third baseman.
The Royals objective at this point is to get these kids as much playing time as possible, and they may move one or more of Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen and Kyle Davis to help make that happen.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Angels were one of the biggest losers of the deadline because they didn’t do anything. This was not a team without holes, and the one-game deficit in the AL West is only going to grow larger as the Rangers look poised to repeat as division champions.
They could still try to go after Aramis Ramirez, but the odds of that being the difference are pretty minimal. The Angels might instead want to make sure Mike Trout develops well at the major league level.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are still mired in an ownership scandal, and on the surface, it looks like Frank McCourt’s presence prevented Los Angeles from executing moves at the deadline.
The Dodgers shipped Rafael Furcal to the Cardinals and picked up a few average prospects from the Red Sox in return for one of their best.
The Dodgers didn’t get the deal they wanted for Hiroki Kuroda and will now likely have to watch him walk away as a free agent.
If there’s one redeeming quality to this franchise it’s that Matt Kemp has a chance to win MVP and Clayton Kershaw has a chance to win the Cy Young.
The Brewers seem to have done everything they can for the stretch run, partly because they don’t have any more valuable players to trade.
They added Zack Greinke and Shawn Marcum in the offseason and then Francisco Rodriguez early last month.
Milwaukee could still use an infield upgrade (ugh, Yuniesky Betancourt), but the focus should be on staying healthy and getting the rotation in line.
The Twins are now eight games back in the AL Central and questions over why they didn’t do anything at the deadline continue to circulate.
Michael Cuddyer would’ve fetched a hefty price, and relievers Matt Capps and Joe Nathan both had some value.
Minnesota could still conceivably move guys like Jim Thome, Jason Kubel and Kevin Slowey, but it’s probably too late to salvage anything from this season.
New York Mets
The Mets got the prospect they wanted in Zack Wheeler and added a couple of other decent prospects in the Francisco Rodriguez trade.
This offseason would have been more memorably if GM Sandy Alderson had decided Jose Reyes should play elsewhere, but it’s hard to fault him for wanting to keep his best player.
The Mets are likely done dealing and can only look forward to trying not to finish dead last in the NL East.
New York Yankees
The Yankees stayed uncharacteristically quiet at the deadline by not making a single move despite a rotation that prominently features Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon.
The return of Phillip Hughes and a promotion for Jesus Montero should help, but the Yankees are not in as good of a position as their chief division rival. GM Brian Cashman will be held responsible.
The A’s are another team that had a boatload of moveable players, but the only one that ultimately ended up being traded was reliever Brad Ziegler.
The trio of Coco Crisp, David DeJesus and Josh Willingham are still in Oakland, and GM Billy Beane must have something up his sleeve for August.
The Phillies got their man in Hunter Pence and are the unanimous favorites to represent the National League in the World Series, with or without Roy Oswalt.
They may still want a reliever or a bat, but those players will likely have to come internally as the Phillies are running out of players to trade. Not sure what the future holds for Domonic Brown.
For the first time in almost two decades, the Pirates were actually buyers at the deadline! They walked away with outfielder Ryan Ludwick and first baseman Derrek Lee, adding some much needed power to the lineup.
The rotation is still a weak spot and the Pirates have lost their last six, so it doesn’t look like 2011 will be their year. However, this is definitely a positive sign for the future.
San Diego Padres
The Padres fooled everyone by trading Mike Adams instead of Heath Bell, but the return from Adams and Ryan Ludwick should make GM Jed Hoyer feel good about what he accomplished at the deadline.
There’s little else on the San Diego roster of value, so this is probably it for 2011.
San Franciso Giants
The Giants paid a steep price to get Carlos Beltran, but it’ll be worth it if they can get back to the World Series. The acquisition of Orlando Cabrera should also help an infield that has been decimated by injuries.
San Francisco is still looking for a catcher to replace Buster Posey and may try to get someone like Ramon Hernandez if he clears through waivers.
The Mariners turned two effective, yet mediocre, starters into a collection of impressive prospects that should help the club for 2012 and beyond.
The big question in Seattle is what will the Mariners do with Ichiro entering the final year of his contract?
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals set out to improve either their rotation or the bullpen at the deadline, and they ended up doing both.
They may have overpaid for Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepcynski and Octavio Dotel, but the additions should help them close the gap with the Brewers.
GM John Mozeliak would still like to add another reliever and may have his eyes on lefty Arthur Rhodes, who was released by the Texas Rangers earlier this week.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays didn’t get an offer they wanted for B.J. Upton and are now faced with a near insurmountable deficit in the AL East. There’s likely no way they claw back from 11 games down, but the 2011 season isn’t lost just yet.
The Rays still have Desmond Jennings and Brandon Guyer, two players that could help make Tampa Bay fans forget about the duo of Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford (both of whom ironically later played for the Red Sox).
The rest of this summer is all about developing young talent.
The Rangers pushed all in with their acquisitions of Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, two players that make a decent bullpen into a very good one.
The Rangers seem done for now, although they’ll look for any excuse to get David Murphy out of the starting lineup.
Toronto Blue Jays
GM Alex Anthopoulos deserves a plague in his honor for how he turned a handful of middle relievers into a potential superstar centefielder, and he nearly pulled off a deal for Ubaldo Jiminez too.
The Blue Jays won’t contend this year but they are committed to adding pieces for a 2012 run. Toronto has checked in on Wandy Rodriguez and Chris Iannetta and may rekindle those talks in August.
The Blue Jays also need some relievers to replace the ones they traded.
The Nationals huffed and puffed for most of July and ended up with just a handful of boring prospects, while B.J. Upton and Denard Span remained in their respective homes.
GM Mike Rizzo could still move Livan Hernandez and Todd Coffey once they go through waivers, but a major trade will have to wait until the offseason.
In other news, Stephen Strasburg will make his first rehab appearance on Sunday.