Top Trade Deadline Target for Each MLB Team
Top Trade Deadline Targets For Each MLB Team
The dog-days of summer are setting in for Major League Baseball, which means that teams are going to need to persevere and manage their rosters effectively if they want to remain in contention to make it to the postseason and still be playing when October rolls around.
However, one of the other aspects of the dog-days and one of the key things about managing a roster correctly is making the right moves at the MLB Trade Deadline.
The current rules in the big leagues say that non-waiver trades, meaning the traditional, straight-up trades, that most people are familiar with, can be made up until 4 p.m. EST on July 31. After that, waiver trades, meaning more complicated trades where a player must pass through waivers before he can be traded, can be made up until 11:59 p.m. EST on Aug. 31.
When people are talking about the trade deadline, though, they are mostly speaking about non-waiver trades as those are the more common and the ones that normally contain the biggest names.
One of the interesting things about the 2013 MLB season thus far is the parity in almost every division across the league. Excluding the seven teams leading their respective divisions (the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals are tied in the NL Central), 10 of the remaining 23 teams are within six games of the lead in their division and 16 of the 23 are within 10 games of the lead in their division.
Though some teams may be somewhat far out of the playoff picture, there are a ton of teams that are a couple of moves away from being right back in the race. Given that, it seems like this trade deadline is going to be one full of moves and teams trying to address areas of weakness. In an ideal world, here are the players at the top of the list for each MLB team as trade targets.
Arizona Diamondbacks - Jeff Samardzija, Chicago Cubs Starter
Currently sitting atop the tight race in the NL West, the Arizona Diamondbacks are a team that’s expected to be serious buyers at the deadline. They have struggled with their consistency and will be looking to make moves to give themselves a firm hold on the top spot in the division.
Though Patrick Corbin has been one of the most surprising success stories as a starting pitcher in the big leagues this season, the rest of their rotation has struggled. Arizona starters currently have just a 4.08 combined ERA, good for only 19th in the majors.
Considering their need in their rotation, the D’Backs would love to be able to land Chicago Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija has just a 5-8 record through 18 starts, but his other numbers have been solid. He has a 3.54 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP and has a solid 9.28 strikeouts per nine innings rate. Put on a quality club like Arizona, Samardzija would give their rotation a real boost.
Atlanta Braves – Jesse Crain, Chicago White Sox Reliever
The Atlanta Braves are another team in the lead in their division that is trying to maintain that lead. The Braves got off to an incredibly hot start, but have mellowed out somewhat since. They are still one of the best teams in the bigs, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t still use a little help.
If the Braves choose to make a move, it will likely be to go after some middle relief help for their bullpen. The Braves have the best ERA in the league for relievers, but they haven’t been able to sort out a consistent order of command in their bullpen. Bringing in a quality reliever to help them do that.
Looking at teams who might be selling, the Braves would love to be able to land Chicago White Sox right-hander Jesse Crain. Though Crain just went to the DL for a shoulder strain, he’s been solid all season. Including a streak of 29 scoreless appearances this year, Crain has a 0.74 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, 19 holds and 46 strikeouts in 38 appearances. Crain, if he returns to health, would be a great addition to solidify things surely in the Braves’ bullpen.
Baltimore Orioles – Kendrys Morales, Seattle Mariners DH
The Baltimore Orioles have proved that their success last season wasn’t a fluke and look poised to make another run at the playoffs. Playing in the tough AL East, though, they are currently tied for second in the division and will be looking to buy at the trade deadline.
The O’s already addressed one big need by adding Scott Feldman from the Cubs, a solid pickup to help bolster their rotation. If Baltimore looks to make another move, it will likely be to sure up their inconsistent production from the DH slot in their lineup, as their designated hitters are currently hitting just .174 this season.
Kendrys Morales of the Seattle Mariners should be near the top, if not alone at the top, of their list. Morales is hitting .272 with a .770 OPS, 11 home runs and 48 RBIs this season. He hasn’t been great, but he’s likely to be available and will give the Orioles more consistent production from the DH position than they have been getting this season.
Boston Red Sox – Steve Cishek, Miami Marlins Reliever
The Boston Red Sox have bounced back tremendously from their 2012 fiasco of a season and currently sit atop the AL East. The Red Sox have enjoyed a solid year from their starters and their bats have been arguably the best in the league this season.
The Red Sox bullpen has been another story, though. With injuries to Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey giving home runs in save opportunities up like candy on Halloween, their closer position has been shaky. The rest of their bullpen has been inconsistent as well as they rank just 22nd in the MLB in ERA for relievers at 4.12.
With the Miami Marlins likely to continue selling, Steve Cishek may be available. If so, Boston will likely jump at the opportunity to make a deal for him. After struggling mightily to start the year, Cishek has settled into a groove, posting a 0.75 ERA in June and saving nine of his 10 opportunities. The Red Sox may not use him as a closer as they say they are trying to work with Bailey to get him back in that role, but Cishek could be a valuable addition to Boston’s bullpen.
Chicago Cubs – Any High Level Prospects
Though we are just a little over midway through the season, the Chicago Cubs are all but out of the race in the NL Central as they are 14.5 games out of the top spot at 38-48. Most people expect the Cubs to be sellers more than buyers at the deadline.
Given the Cubs situation right now, they are a team in need of young talent that they can build around and they have some guys already on their roster that can help them land some of those pieces.
What the Cubs need to do at the deadline is make sure that they land high level prospects if they choose to deal players like Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro. Those are guys that contenders will likely be looking to trade for and Chicago needs to make sure they get the right deals done if they do sell.
Chicago White Sox – Outfield Prospects
The Chicago White Sox are another team likely to be selling at the trade deadline. They are currently in last place in the AL Central at 34-51 and will likely be looking more long term at the trade deadline than looking to trade for immediate health.
Alex Rios has been productive in the outfield for the White Sox, but he’s being talked about as someone who Chicago may be willing to deal. The rest of their outfield has been somewhat inconsistent or doesn’t seem like a long-term solution.
Given that, the White Sox need to look to unload some of the players on their roster to contenders who have quality outfield prospects. The White Sox don’t have the pieces in place to build a contender, so they should start at the trade deadline in adding some of those pieces for their future.
Cincinnati Reds – Kevin Gregg, Chicago Cubs Reliever
The Cincinnati Reds have been one of the best teams in the majors this season as they have one of the best starting rotations in the league and have the big bats that have been providing great run support. However, this definitely isn’t a team without faults.
Outside of Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati’s bullpen has been shaky at best. They’ve suffered through injuries to key guys, tried to shuffle starters in there to get big outs and so on. Needless to say, they could use some help in their bullpen.
Though the Cubs are in the division with the Reds, Chicago is expected to be selling at the deadline. The Reds have to have their eye on Kevin Gregg. In 31 appearances Gregg has a 1.78 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He’s been solid for the Cubs all year. The asking price for Gregg will be high, but the interest on the Reds’ end has to be high as well.
Cleveland Indians – Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs Starter
The Cleveland Indians are one of the most surprising teams in baseball this season and are on the verge of being real contenders in the AL Central and overall. Currently just 2.5 games out of the division lead, the Indians will be looking to improve where they need it.
Where the Indians need to be much better going forward is in their rotation. Beyond Justin Masterson, Cleveland really hasn’t had any starters that have proved to be reliable. That’s why their starters have just a 4.62 combined ERA, the 23rd ranked ERA for starting pitching in the league.
Once again, a Cubs player should be on a team’s radar. With the Cubs selling, Matt Garza is likely their most valuable trade chip. The Indians will likely have to cough up a great deal to get Garza, who has a 3.45 ERA and 1.12 WHIP this season. However, if Cleveland thinks they can make a run this season, Garza should be the guy they go after.
Colorado Rockies – Bud Norris, Houston Astros Starter
Though the Colorado Rockies are five games below .500 right now, they are just 5.5 games back from the division lead in the NL West. With Troy Tulowitzki returning from the DL in the near future, it’s not far-fetched to believe that the Rockies will be looking to bring in some help at the deadline.
One of the things that would greatly benefit the Rockies would be adding another quality starter to their rotation. They have enjoyed solid seasons from some young guys, but the bottom of their rotation has been sub-par and the Roy Oswalt experiment hasn’t exactly been fruitful.
Starting pitching is pretty available on the trading block and Houston Astros hurler Bud Norris is one of the most coveted arms out there. Norris has a 3.37 ERA and 1.37 WHIP this season and has been consistently solid. Cliff Lee might be the best pitcher on the market, but that’s probably too much salary for the Rockies to take on. Norris is the better option for them.
Detroit Tigers – Kevin Gregg, Chicago Cubs Reliever
Kevin Gregg is likely going to be the top at a lot of teams’ lists at the deadline because he’s such a versatile reliever. The Detroit Tigers are no exception to coveting what Gregg would offer to them.
The Tigers, with one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball, don’t have too many needs at the plate. Their pitching staff has also been solid as well. If there’s one area they could look to add to at the deadline, it would be at the back-end of their bullpen, though.
Gregg would obviously fit the bill as arguably the best closer on the market. If they landed Gregg, they could move him to the closer role and put Joaquin Benoit back into his eighth inning role, which rumors have speculated Detroit wants to do. If the Tigers do make a move, expect Gregg to be a guy they heavily go after.
Houston Astros – Prospects for the Future
The Houston Astros are the worst team in baseball right now. That’s obviously a pretty good indicator that the Astros won’t be looking to acquire any big-name guys at the deadline and will likely be one of the teams looking to sell some of their talent to get players to help their future.
With back-to-back number one draft picks Mark Appel and Carlos Correa in their system as quality prospects for their future, the Astros really need to look to add more players of a relatively high-caliber to their system.
With guys like Bud Norris, Jose Veras and basically their whole big league roster up for grabs at the deadline, the Astros simply need to make sure they get a good return for what they give up.
Kansas City Royals – Nate Schierholtz, Chicago Cubs OF
One team that’s still in the hunt in their division, but is doing it quietly, is the Kansas City Royals. At 41-44, they are just six games behind the Tigers in the AL Central and could easily get hot and be right in the mix at the top.
Ervin Santana and James Shields have been solid additions to the Royals pitching staff this season, but they haven’t been getting the support they need at the plate this season. The Royals rank 24th in the league in team OPS at .691 and 22nd in runs scored with 345.
Given their lack of offense, the Royals need to add a bat, preferably in their outfield. Nate Schierholtz of the Cubs should be the bat their going after. Schierholtz is having a big year for the Cubs. In 245 at-bats he’s hitting .273 with a .834 OPS while hitting 11 home runs, 19 doubles and three triples while driving in and scoring 34 runs. He’s a bat that could really give the Royals a needed boost.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Staying Put
The Los Angeles Angels have easily been the most disappointing team in baseball this year, currently sitting two games below .500. However, with a lineup featuring a slew of big bats like Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick, it’s hard to not see this team turning it around.
There has been a lot of discussion about what the Angels should do at the deadline. The Angels have been linked to Yovani Gallardo in rumors, but he’s not the answer to their issues.
In actuality, the Angels’ best bet at the trade deadline is just to stay put and get what they have performing at their peak level. If everyone on the Angels’ roster is playing to their potential, their one of the best teams in baseball. If they can pick it up defensively and get some of their big hitters out of slumps, the Angels should be able to get back in the hunt without making any deals.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Chase Headley, San Diego Padres 3B
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a team that has come on recently and has put them in serious contention in the NL West. Even with Superman Yasiel Puig in the lineup, though, the Dodgers could still use a boost and the deadline is a good place to start.
One of the Dodgers’ biggest problem areas this season is with their production at third base. Juan Uribe, Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston Jr. and a few others at third have combined to hit just .236 with a .648 OPS and adding only five home runs, 26 runs and 34 RBIs. They could definitely use a boost at that position.
San Diego Padres third basemen Chase Headley should be at the top of their list. After a huge 31-homer season last year, Headley’s value and production has dropped. However, there’s no denying his talent at the plate and, if put in the Dodgers’ lineup, it’s not hard to imagine Headley stepping it back up closer to his production from last season.
Miami Marlins – Anyone With Long-Term Value
The better question for the Miami Marlins when it comes to needs is what don’t they need. The Marlins are one of the most miserable franchises not just in baseball, but in all of professional sports.
The Marlins are expected to be heavy sellers and have already made a deal that sent Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers. Pretty much everyone on their roster is subject to being traded at the deadline this season.
Given their likely rampant selling, Miami has to make sure that they are landing players and prospects with long-term value. This is a team that needs to massively overhaul their roster and rebuild. For them to have any kind of success in the future, they have to get prospects who could develop into studs.
Milwaukee Brewers – Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks Starter
It’s hard to tell what the Milwaukee Brewers are going to do at the deadline, meaning that it’s hard to tell if they are going to be buyers or sellers. Sitting in the seller of the NL Central, it’s hard to imagine them buying too heavily.
Brewers’ starter Yovani Gallardo is a player that Milwaukee is reportedly shopping and has been linked to several teams who need immediate pitching help. Given that, the Brewers should look to get return for Gallardo that will help their future.
Gallardo has been linked to Arizona who just happens to have 21-year-old starter Tyler Skaggs on their roster, someone who they might be willing to give up in a Gallardo trade. In four starts this year for Arizona, Skaggs has a 3.65 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Considering his performance and young age, Skaggs is a guy who the Brewers should be demanding if they deal Gallardo.
Minnesota Twins – Quality Prospects for Already Solid Farm System
The Minnesota Twins clearly aren’t going anywhere with their roster as it is currently constructed. They have some quality players, but are most likely going to be sellers at the deadline, potentially sending away guys like Justin Morneau and Glen Perkins.
Coming into this season, the Baseball Prospectus ranked the Twins’ farm system the fourth best in the league. Given the fact that they already have a deep farm system, they should look to add even more depth. Not only will that allow them to acquire prospects who could be a part of their future, but it will also give Minnesota more chips to trade with in future deals. It’s not a sexy move, but the Twins need to keep adding prospects to their system.
New York Mets – Kelvin Herrera, Kansas City Royals Reliever
The New York Mets aren’t going to be big buyers at the deadline because, as they sit 11.5 games out of the lead in the NL East right now, their chances of making the playoffs are closer to none than they are to slim.
Given that, the Mets should be looking to target young players that will be valuable for them in the future and do so by looking to deal with teams that have needs that they can feel. One such team is the Kansas City Royals, who could use outfield production from a guy like Marlon Byrd.
One interesting prospect the Royals could send in return is Kelvin Herrera. In 76 appearances last season he posted a 2.35 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He has struggled this season, though, and been sent to Triple-A. However, he’s been solid in Triple-A and it’s hard to imagine him struggling too terribly when he returns to the majors. The Mets could use a solid reliever like Herrera in their system.
New York Yankees – Michael Young, Philadelphia Phillies 3B
The New York Yankees have managed to find success this season and stay in the race in the AL East despite being absolutely devastated by injuries and floating out a lot of relatively ineffective players in their lineup.
One of the positions that has been hit the most with injuries has been their corner infield positions with Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis and Alex Rodriguez all missing significant amounts of time. That’s obviously a place where they could use some consistency.
With the Philadelphia Phillies likely selling at the deadline, the Yankees should look to pick up the veteran Michael Young. The 36-year-old third baseman has been the picture of consistency over his career in terms of average and getting on base. A .301 career hitter, he’s still hitting at .284 this season. New York could desperately use a consistent hitter like that at the corner.
Oakland Athletics – Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds Starter
The Oakland Athletics are one of the league’s biggest surprises this season as they’ve come out of relatively nowhere and have the lead in the AL West and hold one of the best records in the majors at 52-37. They’ve been quite solid.
Their offense has been inconsistent, but there’s no denying it’s firepower either. However, their starting rotation’s inconsistency has been a bigger problem. Given that, the A’s should look to go after Reds starter Bronson Arroyo to solidify their rotation.
Arroyo has a 3.55 ERA this years and a solid 1.17 WHIP as well. Though the Reds are likely to be more buyers than sellers at the deadline, Arroyo is in the last year of his deal with Cincy and the reds may look to deal him to pick up some assets for the future.
Philadelphia Phillies – Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox OF
The Philadelphia Phillies are another major league team that no one really knows if they are going to be buyers or sellers at the deadline. They are three games under .500, but are also still in striking distance as they sit just 7.5 games out of the division lead in the NL East.
If the Phillies do try to make a run in the division and be buyers at the deadline, though, they will likely look to add some solid production to their outfield, particularly in right field where Delmon Young has hit .274, but hasn’t done much else. Moreover, Young is terrible in the field.
That’s why the Phillies should go after Alex Rios of the White Sox. Rios is hitting .268 this season with a .757 OPS and has 11 home runs, 45 runs scored, 38 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. Rios is much better in the field than Young and is more of a threat at the plate. If possible, Philadelphia would be in good shape if they could land Rios in a deal.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins OF
The NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to avoid making the same mistakes that they did last season when they were near the top of the division, but faltered after making some shaky moves at the deadline and failed to make the postseason.
One of the things the Pirates need to do is to add another bat, preferably in right field or at first base to solidify the position of Garrett Jones who has logged times at both this season.
Given the market for hitters nearing the deadline, the Pirates should look to make arguably the biggest move out there by trying to land Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. Stanton is one of the most dangerous power hitters in the game when healthy. If the Pirates can work out a deal for the slugger, their lineup may be good enough to legitimately carry them to the World Series.
San Diego Padres – Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs Starter
Yet another suitor in what appears to be the Matt Garza sweepstakes and the Cubs garage sale is the San Diego Padres. Though the Padres are in last in the NL West and nine games below .500, they are still just 7.5 games out of the lead and could relatively easily make a run to the top of the division.
The Padres top two targets at the deadline, as they are in desperate need of pitching, were Garza and Ricky Nolasco. With Nolasco off the market, though, the Padres will likely be looking to make a serious run at Garza.
The biggest reason they need a pitcher of that caliber is because they don’t need just a solid pitcher; they need a pitcher they can put at the top of their rotation. Given the market, expect the Padres to go all out for Garza.
San Francisco Giants – Bud Norris, Houston Astros Starter
What was supposed to be one of the strengths of the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, their starting pitching, has turned out to be one of their biggest weaknesses. The Giants are still very much in the race in the NL West, but they need to solidify their starting pitching.
Right now, San Francisco starters have the 23rd ranked ERA in the league at just 4.61. From Matt Cain to Tim Lincecum to Ryan Vogelsong, the Giants have really struggled to get consistency from their rotation.
Given that, the Giants will likely be pursuing Bud Norris of the Astros. Norris may not be the best pitcher available, but San Francisco doesn’t need that nor do they want to pay for that. Norris can come in and consistently produce in the middle of their rotation, which would be a huge plus.
Seattle Mariners – High Level Outfield Prospects
The Seattle Mariners will likely be selling at the trade deadline as they are currently 12.5 games out of the lead in the AL West. However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be looking to land some pieces that will help the franchise in the future.
Though the Mariners have a number of good pitching prospects and solid prospects like Nick Franklin in the middle infield. However, their outfield prospects don’t exactly show the same kind of promise.
Considering the Mariners can offer DH help with both Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez, Seattle could theoretically land some mid-level to high outfield prospects. If they do indeed sell, that needs to be their asking price.
St. Louis Cardinals – Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies Reliever
The St. Louis Cardinals are in a tight race atop the NL Central with the Pirates and will definitely be looking to do whatever they can at the deadline to improve their squad so that they are able to keep up and make it to the postseason.
The Cardinals really need some pitching. Though they have a few elite starters, they could use some help at the bottom of their rotation. Their biggest need, though, is in their bullpen which has had to deal with too many injuries.
Edward Mujica has settled in as a better than average closer for St. Louis, but the Cardinals should still look to nab Jonathan Papelbon at the deadline. Papelbon hasn’t been great this season with a 2.41 ERA, but does have 23 saves and a solid 0.75 WHIP. Getting Papelbon would allow the Cardinals a ton of flexibility with above average pitchers at the end of games.
Tampa Bay Rays – Staying Put
The Tampa Bay Rays have become known around the league as a team that tends to stay relatively quiet around the deadline. According to all indications thus far, things shouldn’t change for the Rays at the 2013 deadline.
The Rays have come on as of late and are currently tied for second in the AL East. They are also still dealing with some slumping starting pitching and injuries to key guys like Alex Cobb. Once those guys get healthy and out of their slumps, this Rays team is going to be in the mix in the division. Making a move at the deadline would likely just foul things up.
Texas Rangers – Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers Starter
The Texas Rangers are just a half-game back in the AL West and are expected to stay there as the season goes on. They have big bats and two elite starting pitchers in Yu Darvish and Derek Holland.
However, one of the Rangers’ problems this season has been the bottom of their rotation and how they tend to eat up their bullpen with an inability to go late in games on a relatively consistent basis. Given that, the Rangers are going to be in the market for mid-level starter.
Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers is likely to be their guy. Gallardo has been inconsistent as well this season, but there’s no doubt he has the ability to be a guy who can solidify the middle of a rotation, especially with the run support Texas can provide. Gallardo would likely give the Rangers a good push to the top of the division.
Toronto Blue Jays – Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies 2B
The Toronto Blue Jays did a lot of wheeling and dealing this off-season, particularly in the deal that landed them Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson. There’s no question that the Jays have a ton of talent, but as they sit in last in the AL East, they still have some kinks to work out.
Toronto has a real need in the middle infield, particularly at second base. They need someone who can come in and get on base and help produce runs for a team that really needs to score.
Lucky for them, they will have the opportunity to go after Chase Utley of the Phillies. Utley is in his mid-30s and has had injury issues, but there’s no doubt that Utley can still be an integral part of a lineup. The Jays will surely be going after him, the question is if they will be able to pay the price to nab him.
Washington Nationals – Oliver Perez, Seattle Mariners Reliever
The Washington Nationals could definitely use a big bat to help keep them on their current upward trajectory, but that’s probably not their biggest need when it comes to moves that will put them in contention in the NL East.
One of the things that is noticeable about the bullpen of the Nationals is their lack of quality lefties. They have a slew of above-average right-handed relievers, but when it comes to left-handers, they don’t have anyone they can reliably go to.
That’s why the Nats will likely have Mariners lefty Oliver Perez on their radar. In 35 appearances Perez has a 1.39 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP and has 46 Ks in just 32.1 innings pitched. Perez would give them a real threat in the bullpen and a lefty to help solidify their pitching late in games.