With the MLB trade deadline quickly approaching I asked each of our site leads to give me their thoughts on what the team they cover should do. Should they buy, sell, or stand pat? Who should they target or look to move? As always, our writers were free to answer in whatever fashion they felt appropriate.
The responses that follow (after the jump) are from our Lead Writers in the NL West.
The question for the Arizona Diamondbacks should be more like what shouldn’t they do? They need change and lots of it. The managerial change two weeks ago obviously showed that wasn’t the area that needed the most attention. The Dbacks are in a position to be sellers. Problem is, does anyone want a Dback on their team? Mark Reynolds is hitting .212. Most of the bullpen has an ERA over 7.00, including a few over 9.00. The team’s most valuable commodity is Dan Haren and his ERA is well over 4.00.
I think they still will get offers for Reynolds despite all the stikeouts. He has power. Haren still has a lot to offer but I find it highly unlikely he will move given his contract. Adam LaRoche, Kelly Johnson, and Edwin Jackson are all candidates, in my opinion, to be moved before July 31st. It will be a huge surprise not to see any movement at all.
As the trade deadline approaches, the Rockies could use a couple additions to make a playoff run this fall. Another starter and a power bat would help the Rox down the stretch and make this a dangerous team in October. I don’t expect the Rockies to make any big moves at the deadline; I believe that they’ll rely on Tulowitzki’s return and improved production from the starting rotation to make a run at the postseason. I’ll address two possible areas for improving the roster and offer my thoughts as to who the Rockies should consider pursuing.
While Ubaldo Jiminez is having a Cy Young caliber season and Jason Hammel is pitching well, the rest of the Rox rotation has struggled this year. Aaron Cook pitched well in his last outing against the Reds, and there is hope that he’ll turn the corner after a disappointing first half. Jorge de la Rosa and Jeff Francis have not met expectations this year, and both might be candidates to leave the rotation if their production doesn’t improve quickly. In a perfect world, the Rox would be able to add Roy Oswalt. Oswalt and Jimenez would give the Rox a 1-2 punch that could lead the team on a deep playoff run. Oswalt would also be able to provide some veteran leadership and postseason experience. The Rox could also get Carlos Zambrano for cheap if they are willing to deal with his contract and baggage. A change of scenery could be what Big Z needs to get his career back on track. If he found a way to return form and avoid any meltdowns, Zambrano could help the Rox make a playoff push. A trade for Oswalt would likely cost the Rox too many prospects plus he has a full no-trade clause. Zambrano still has a hefty contract and more issues than National Geographic. So both of these acquisitions are probably wishful thinking. A middle of the rotation innings eater like Jeremy Guthrie, Brett Myers, or Anibal Sanchez might be more realistic.
The Rox could also use a power bat, the only problem is finding a position for any new acquisition. Outfield is a possibility, but first base is more likely. The Rox haven’t had consistent production out of the first base position all year. Giambi and Helton are not likely to be able to play every day, Brad Eldred probably isn’t a long term solution, and the Brad Hawpe experiment at first is only one game old. Ty Wigginton would help in the power department and provide defensive flexibility as he can play first, second, or third. Wigginton would be a more useful addition than an outfielder for his defensive abilities. The Rox could pursue a power hitting outfielder like Adam Dunn, who could also fill in at first. Other names on the wish list could include Josh Willingham or Cody Ross. The Rox could also try to swing a blockbuster deal with the Astros for Carlos Lee and Oswalt, or with the Cubs for Zambrano and Derrick Lee. Neither of these are likely, as the Rockies would have to clean out the farm system to make either deal.
The Dodgers have skidded to five straight losses coming off the All-Star break and have fallen to fourth place in the NL West. Nonetheless, they still sit a mere 2.5 games back of wild-card leader Cincinnati. While the team is very talented, it might be time for management to step up and show the players that it is doing its job as well. Despite limited financial resources, the Dodgers MUST be creative.
There are a couple of obvious weaknesses on this Blue Crew team. The first issue is the lack of innings thrown by the starting rotation. Clayton Kershaw is on pace to get to 200 innings but his workload will be closely monitored in the second half and the rest of the starting pitchers are mainly 5-6 inning guys. The second problem is the lack of power, especially at the corner infield spots. With that said, it’s time to put on the GM hat!!
Analysis: This is quite the haul to give up, one might be thinking. DeWitt has shown signs of handling the bat, but the power is not close to Uggla’s. Jansen is the biggest prize in a deal; a recently converted reliever who can reach triple digits with the fastball and Martin is a former 1st round pick with lots of upside. Florida is extremely picky when it comes to making trades, so I am well-aware that a low-ball offer won’t get a deal done. Getting Florida to pay his 2010 salary will be the biggest challenge.
Analysis: Carmona’s 123 IP would be a huge boost to the Dodgers rotation, and severely reduce the workload of our outstanding bullpen. His sinker-ball style would be well-suited to Dodgers stadium and the lack of a DH would make him even more effective. Kershaw currently leads the team with 116 IP, so it doesn’t take much to understand the impact of adding a guy who will eat more innings for your team than anyone else.
The Padres are in a unique situation among MLB teams. They’re in the driver’s seat in the NL West and stand a good chance of making it to October baseball, yet they’re a young team with eyes on the future and don’t want to give away core pieces of a potentially dominant team in the middle part of this decade.
The solution to this paradox is to subtract veteran parts the Padres don’t need while adding veteran parts they do need. Namely, this means dealing closer Heath Bell for a good hitter. The Padres don’t need Bell, as they boast a tremendously deep bullpen that stays deep in the upper minors. They do need a bat, however. Particularly a shortstop or second baseman. Dealing Bell and a couple of decent prospects to the Phillies for Jayson Werth would make a world of sense.
The team should hold on to Adrian Gonzalez until the season ends. They should also hold on to all of their top prospects. The Padres could deal minor league relievers like Craig Italiano or Aaron Poreda to supplement a deal, as the bullpen is an area of tremendous strength. The Padres have plenty of great relievers as it is; what they need is offense, as they’re currently sporting a .312 wOBA as a team. That ranks them 26th in the majors and right ahead of the lowly Orioles.
Trading a valuable short-term player they don’t really need (Bell) and some valuable prospects they don’t really need for some talent they do need (offense) makes a ton of sense for San Diego.
With the National League West division race so tight between four teams, it seems as if the the team who doesn’t make a move (or makes the incorrect one) will be left in the dust. Many rumors have the Giants sending young pitching phenom Madison Bumgarner or effectively wild Jonathan Sanchez to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Corey Hart, but that price is way too costly for the Giants. The Giants need to make two moves…both of which I’ll touch on below.
The first move the Giants need to make is to trade for Cubs 1B Derrek Lee and Cubs SS Ryan Theriot. This fixes two problems at a relatively cheap price tag. The Giants lack team speed beyond OF Andres Torres so adding Theriot will give the Giants a bit more speed on the basepaths and fix the rotating door at SS between Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria. Lee, a California native, has expressed a desire to return to the Golden State and is a free agent at season end, which *should* lower his price tag for the Giants. It adds a much needed right handed power bat to the impotent Giants lineup along with adding protection for Pablo Sandoval and Aubrey Huff.
The second move the Giants need to embark on is a trade with the Kansas City Royals. Most rumor mills have the Giants (among many other teams) in the market for Royals OF David DeJesus. While I’d love to have the 30-year old DeJesus, Kansas City will be looking for a sizable return and he has a $6 million team option on his contract for 2011. He’d be quite expensive and the Giants really don’t need to pay that price when the Royals have 34-year old Jose Guillen available as well. With Aubrey Huff entrenched in left field and Andres Torres in center, the Giants need another power bat and somebody to man right field. There would be some concern about the spacious right field at AT&T Park and Guillen’s ability to play outfield, but let us not forget it was just a short time ago that Guillen was widely regarded as one of the premier outfield arms in the game and at worst, an adequate fielder. Combine those two factors with his current .278/15/54 offensive numbers and you’ve got a much improved Giants lineup that doesn’t break the bank for the Giants minor league system.
Seems like a much improved lineup over the one the Giants currently trot out nightly.
Topics: Aaron Cook, Aaron Poreda, Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, Adrian Gonzalez, Allen Webster, Andres Torres, Anibal Sanchez, Arizona Diamondbacks, Aubrey Huff, Blake DeWitt, Brad Eldred, Brad Hawpe, Brett Myers, Carlos Lee, Carlos Zambrano, Chris Withrow, Clayton Kershaw, Cody Ross, Colorado Rockies, Craig Italiano, Dan Haren, Dan Uggla, David DeJesus, Derrek Lee, Edgar Renteria, Edwin Jackson, Ethan Martin, Fausto Carmona, Heath Bell, Jason Hammel, Jayson Werth, Jeff Francis, Jeremy Guthrie, Jonathan Sanchez, Jorge De La Rosa, Jose Guillen, Josh Willingham, Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Kenley Jansen, LA Dodgers, Madison Bumgarner, Mark Reynolds, Pablo Sandoval, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Theriot, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Trayvon Robinson, Ty Wigginton