The second half is underway, and with every team presenting itself with a unique mission, the rest of the season should play out in a very fun and interesting manner. Whether it’s teams making the additions to compete in 2014, or teams that are looking toward 2015 and beyond, the second half of 2014 is vital multilaterally.
Let’s take stock of where each club will focus their second half on:
Baltimore Orioles (54-44): Add Bullpen Depth
For what has long been an issue in Baltimore, pitching continues to be the problem. With a team that has a young hitting core that is in a position to do very well come October, adding some more relief arms certainly couldn’t hurt a rising team.
New York Yankees (50-48): Add Pitching
The Yankees are in danger of missing the playoffs for two straight years since 1992-93, which means going all out is necessary to try and make it to the fall. The Yankees must take significant steps to improve their patchwork rotation, or else baseball in October is nothing but an illusion for Yanks fans this year.
Toronto Blue Jays (51-49): Take Advantage of their farm
With one of the better farm systems in baseball and with a team that is in the playoff hunt, the Jays have the arsenal to be able to make substantial trades involving purely prospects. This should be able to help them address their most apparent needs, mostly another starting pitcher.
Boston Red Sox (47-52): Never Say Die
With a team that has established a reputation to make the improbable probably, the Red Sox can still not give up on this season. This means pulling all strings to try and maneuver their way back into the playoff race, which isn’t out of the question, with a great mix of up and coming stars and veterans.
Tampa Bay Rays (47-53): Decide on David Price
With the trade deadline approaching, Price appears to be the biggest prize of all trade chips this season. Yet with the Rays not too far out of the playoff race, and with this year most likely being an anomaly in the grand scheme of things, it may be in the Rays’ best interest to keep their ace for at least one more season.
Detroit Tigers (55-41): Add Bullpen Depth
Just as it was a problem with the O’s, the only thing that is seeming to be holding the Tigers back from winning games is a rough bullpen. The Tigers have plenty of options, and can utilize some mid level prospects to get a reliable late inning reliever in return.
Cleveland Indians (50-49): Buy and Don’t Look Back
The Indians are in a tough position, being 6.5 games out of first place. But with a team that just made the playoffs last season, it would be in the Tribe’s best interest to address their weaknesses and pursue a playoff berth, just as they did successfully in 2013.
Kansas City Royals (48-50): Strive to Get Hot
After a great few months for the Royals, they now sit two games under .500 and 4.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. The Royals should still look to buy and go for a playoff spot, but it shouldn’t be so aggressive, as the time is running out to get hot enough to get back in the conversation.
Chicago White Sox (48-52): Trade Alexei Ramirez
With an extremely weak farm system, trading their only substantial trade chip can add one or two mid level/high ceiling prospects that can revamp the ChiSox’ chances at competing for a playoff berth within the next few years.
Minnesota Twins (45-53): Get Healthy in the Minors
With the Twins having a collection of elite, high ceiling prospects, getting top pieces such as Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano healthy for a long period of time could put the Twins in a competitive situation by late 2015-2016. On the big league level, there is not much the Twins can do right now to alter their future.
Oakland Athletics (61-37): Don’t Stop
The A’s have been the hottest team in baseball the entire year, and have seemed to survive the league-wide parity that has been affecting the rest of the league. The A’s have to play the way they are now, quite simply, and worry about surviving in the postseason when the time comes.
Los Angeles Angels (59-39): Make a big Deadline move
Not anything too specific that the Angels must address, but they should be interested in the likes of David Price and several other minor trade chips. With the A’s already making the largest splash, the Angels, who are still very much in the divisional race, must do the same.
Seattle Mariners (53-46): Acquire Overlooked Trade Chips
The Mariners aren’t in the position to acquire someone big at the deadline, but several lower level trade chips can be huge for the M’s, and perhaps a look at Kurt Suzuki, Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano can make a substantial difference for the M’s in the stretch run.
Houston Astros (41-58): Find out who Jonathan Singleton is
With one of the Astros’ biggest prospects struggling at the big league level, it is vital that Singleton gets ample playing time throughout the second half to see how he fits in with the rest of the emerging farm system, as there isn’t much to work for other than that at the big league level.
Texas Rangers (40-59): Sell Everything
The Rangers are loaded with plenty of trade chips that can make huge differences in pennant races, therefore outside of Yu Darvish, there aren’t any long term staples holding Texas back from making big moves to facilitate the next generation of Rangers.