Every MLB Team’s Biggest Midseason Need
Every MLB Team's Biggest Midseason Need
The 2013 MLB season is only passing the 50-game mark over the next week but it's never too early for looking ahead at what June and July may behold. Teams are already beginning to recognize serious — and unexpected — weaknesses while several franchises are getting a better idea about whether they are indeed contenders this season.
It will be interesting to see how each team's biggest weakness or need manifests itself as the summer pushes on and the trade deadline passes. A ton can certainly happen between now and the end of July, and the next nine weeks or so should play a huge role.
As August, September and October hit, we'll all find out which needs turned out to be crushing for contenders and which were just fine in going on unaddressed. Sometimes weaknesses gradually shift into strengths and sometimes they bite you hard in an elimination game.
For now in May, these team needs create fodder for both trades and benching. The gears have already begun turning on who will become buyers and sellers in Major League Baseball from here on out; success or lack thereof for squads from Houston to Boston are already positioning what kinds of dealers each team will be as the trade deadline approaches in a couple months.
The 30 major-league teams are now reaching the 50-game mark and it's hard to believe the spring portion of this baseball season is already soon coming to a close. Every team need that lingers into summer only magnifies. The following are the biggest needs for each MLB team.
Utility infielder: Skipper Davey Johnson could use an additional quality bat doubling as a utility infielder, especially with the struggles of second baseman Danny Espinoza.
Leftie relief pitching: The Braves caught a couple really bad breaks with Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters having their 2013 campaigns doomed to Tommy John surgery.
New York Mets
Relief pitching: The Mets recently signed erstwhile major-league closer David Ardsma — released by the team across town — but he will go to the Triple-A affiliate for at least now.
Roy Halladay at the top of his game: With the veteran pitcher already on the wrong side of his 35th birthday, there's reason for skepticism that we'll see the formerly great pitcher returning to his earlier form in 2013.
St. Louis Cardinals
Starting pitching: With Jaime Garcia facing potential season-ending surgery and Jake Westbrook hitting the disabled list, the Cards will likely be counting on their farm system a fair amount this year.
Star bat outside of Andrew McCutchen: The Pirates might be another dynamic, consistent bat away from snapping their decades-long postseason drought.
Yovani Gallardo return to form: The Brew crew have lacked ace-quality pitching out of the head of their rotation, as Gallardo has lost three straight and his 4.50 ERA is roughly a run higher than each of the past four seasons.
Affective windup adjustment for the ace: Jonny Cueto just returned after a month off with a back injury, and is now reportedly considering windup adjustments. Uh-oh.
Center fielder: The position has remained a giant question mark from winter into spring, and now there are murmurs that the club could go after Jacoby Ellsbury.
Relief pitching: Arizona possesses good personnel in this area but is just getting hammered by injuries to the bullpen this year, most notably to closer J.J. Putz.
San Diego Padres
Staring pitching: Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard have just not gotten it done as the 1-2 punch for the Padres, and many were skeptical that they would in the first place.
San Francisco Giants
Power bat: San Fran right now could certainly use the type of power Melky Cabrera gave them before last year's suspension and ultimately departure.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Healthy Hanley: The Dodgers look to be pulling a 2012 Marlins as the spending spree is looking disastrous thus far, but perhaps Hanley Ramirez eventually returning healthy and at his peak could inject life into L.A.
Starting pitching: Challenging Jeff Francis in the starting rotation could be necessary if his struggles continue, especially now with him on the disabled list.
Boston Red Sox
Closer: A catcher prospect might be interesting for the future, but Joel Hanrahan's season ending makes closer the absolute top priority in the coming months.
New York Yankees
Find right lineup for when ailing vets return: Of course the Yankees' need involves an embarrassment of riches as a Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells have earned their playing time.
DH: The designated hitter spot has turned out surprisingly poor production for the O's as the platoon headed by Nolan Reimold continues to struggle.
Toronto Blue Jays
Starting pitching: The signings of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle shown to be far from elixir for the Blue Jays' starting pitching rotation.
Tampa Bay Rays
Power bat along with Evan Longoria: Skipper Joe Maddon can get his teams to manufacture runs quite well, but an added threat along with Longoria would be nice.
Chicago White Sox
Filling the void of A.J. Pierzysnki: Perhaps Tyler Flowers is set to become the next powerful White Sox hitter from the catcher position, but until then the 2012 Silver Slugger winner's bat will be missed.
Someone who can make batters miss: Not only do the Twins rank last in the majors in strikeouts, but they do so by a margin of 48 Ks.
Kansas City Royals
Second base: KC has verged on platoon status recently with Elliot Johnson and slumping Chris Getz, but finding one steady option at 2B sounds more ideal.
Relief pitching: Detroit possesses an absurdly filthy starting rotation but the bullpen has held them down to a pedestrian 12th in the majors in ERA overall.
Starting pitching: Cleveland's given some nifty boosts to the starting rotation like reanimating Scott Kazmir's career, but some back-end help could come up crucial this summer.
Fill Josh Hamilton's void: Or at least some of it — Left fielder David Murphy has struggled mightily in taking over thus far in batting a starting lineup-low .225.
Shortstop: Mariners fans are clamoring for Nick Franklin to be called up from Triple-A to take over a shortstop position that's providing little offensive production.
Starting pitching: Once you get past No. 1 and 2 in this starting pitching rotation it gets rough with Bartolo Colon and Co.
Starting pitching: Facing similar rotational issues to the A's without the redeeming qualities almost anywhere else.
Los Angeles Angels
Starting pitching: Jered Weaver recently hit the disabled list while Joe Blanton is enduring some brutal fortune season.
Better management: The kind that doesn't spend wildly in free agency before subsequently gutting the roster beyond remote appearance of a major-league baseball cub.