Saturday, July 19, 2008

Teams That Should Hold; Teams That Should Raise

As promised, here's my list of teams that should hold their fire on clearing their shelves or be serious buyers as the deadline approaches:
  • Tampa Bay Rays:
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They don't really need much of anything save for a power bat to DH and there's been talk that Ken Griffey Jr would like to go to Tampa, but they should focus on the Reds other available veteran, Adam Dunn.
  • Boston Red Sox:
The Red Sox don't really need much of anything except for maybe some bullpen augmentation, but one thing to keep an eye on is Matt Holliday. The newest flap with Manny Ramirez tips the teetering scales of his
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contract option from fait accompli early in the season to unlikely now. (It might go back-and-forth four or five more times during the next four months.) The Red Sox have the prospects to get Holliday
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(presumably it would cost Jacoby Ellsbury and lots of young pitching), but with the Manny-money coming off the books, they'd keep Holliday and the target presented by the Green Monster would counteract the criticism of Holliday that he can't hit as well on the road as he does in Colorado. Once David Ortiz returns, J.D. Drew could play center and Holliday right. It would also send Manny into a frenzy to hit and behave himself.
  • New York Yankees:
With both Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy getting hurt and falling on their faces, it's amazing that the Yankees are in the position they're in and still within striking distance of a playoff spot. (Where'd they be without the stunningly resurgent Mike Mussina?) Their lineup will score enough runs, but they need a lefty in the bullpen and a starting pitcher. There was talk about
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Bronson Arroyo that his supporters abandoned after he allowed ten runs in one inning against the Blue Jays on June 24th, but that kind of an outing falls more on the manager than it does on the pitcher; Arroyo shouldn't have been left out there long enough to allow ten runs. He's pitched well enough this year and the Yankees can't go on with Darrell Rasner in the rotation for the rest of the season. Arroyo probably wouldn't cost that much either and the Yankees have to prospects to get a bigger name if they wanted.
  • Chicago White Sox:
The White Sox are pretty well set as they are. They could find a bat in case Carlos Quentin comes down to earth; perhaps bringing Ray Durham back to provide protection at second base and in center field would be a good idea.
  • Minnesota Twins:
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The Twins play their cards close to the vest, but sometimes jump in on big names to see what they'll cost and what the risk/reward will be. There's been talk about Adrian Beltre who would be a solid, reasonably priced acquisition. Their pitching improvement will likely come from the promotion of Francisco Liriano for the stretch run.
  • Detroit Tigers:
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They've gutted their system for veterans in the past few years; they'll have to hope help in the rotation and bullpen comes from Dontrelle Willis and Joel Zumaya.
  • Kansas City Royals:
I'm not suggesting they should stand pat----if they get lucrative offers for the likes of Brian Bannister, they should jump at the chance----but there are many good things happening under the Dayton Moore/Trey Hillman regime and if they make some smart under-the-radar acquisitions after this season, they could be 2009's version of the Twins and leap into contention. For all the criticism directed at Jose Guillen, he's trying to teach the
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young players to be serious, intense and try to win; it's no coincidence that the Mariners have collapsed and been essentially leaderless since Guillen left. (Guillen would've gotten into Les Miserables, Erik Bedard's face very early in the season.) Alex Gordon and Luke Hochevar are gaining valuable experience this year and may need guys like Mark Grudzielanek, Gil Meche and Guillen to lean on next season if they're going to take the next step. A major sell-off would hinder the team's development.
  • Los Angeles Angels:
They need a power bat badly and Adam Dunn is the guy.
  • Oakland Athletics:
I don't think anyone can truly speculate with any degree of credibility as to what Billy Beane is going to do, so why even try? I think he's going to trade Huston Street for prospects and perhaps Bobby Crosby as well.
  • Texas Rangers:
The Rangers need some young pitching and if they can get similar packages (with arms
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instead of bats) as they got last year for Eric Gagne and Mark Teixeira, then by all means should they trade Vicente Padilla and Kevin Millwood. There has been discussion of whether Milton Bradley might be made available, but Bradley plays (and behaves) at his best for Ron Washington and if they intend to keep Washington, they should keep Bradley. There are some pieces to move like Frank Catalanotto, but a thorough housecleaning is unnecessary. Tom Hicks, for all the legitimate criticism he attracts, is willing to spend money, so the Rangers could be contenders next year.
  • Philadelphia Phillies:
They made their move with Joe Blanton. Even with the speculation that Adam Eaton will be bumped from the rotation in favor of Blanton and Brett Myers, if Tom Gordon is out for an extended period, I think Myers is going to be setting up for closer Brad Lidge before the season's over.
  • New York Mets:
They need a bat that can play a corner outfield spot and hit with some pop. If the Orioles start selling, they have four names that would cost an assorted level of prospects. Aubrey
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Huff, Melvin Mora, Kevin Millar and Jay Payton would each fill the bill to varying degrees; Casey Blake is a guy I like from the Indians. The uncertainty of Pedro Martinez might make the Mets a player for a guy like Miguel Batista who can start if necessary and is also willing to pitch out of the bullpen. Orlando Hernandez, if he can ever stay healthy for more than a week at a time, might be their late season mound acquisition from within the organization.
  • Florida Marlins:
Why mess around with what works? They're inexpensive and are playing well. If anything they should add a reasonably priced veteran or two to see if they can steal the Wild Card or division and once that organization gets into the post-season, they know how to win.
  • Chicago Cubs:
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They've made their big move with Rich Harden, now they just have to hold their breath and
hope that he doesn't get hurt. They might be able to use a guy like Miguel Batista who can start or relieve and is the type of guy Lou Piniella would love, but other than that, they're pretty well set to make the playoffs; once there, it's all going to come down to Kerry Wood and if he can close games in pressure situations.
  • Milwaukee Brewers:
The move for C.C. Sabathia was made to go for it right now with him and Ben Sheets to see if they can win it right now and take the draft picks when both leave as free agents after the season. They could use some bullpen help and they have the prospects to get Huston Street if they truly decide to throw everything into the pot. Street would be expensive because he's not a free agent until after 2011, but he's a bullpen guy the Brewers need.
  • St. Louis Cardinals:
They need pitching and are reluctant to spend money to get it from outside the organization. If they're waiting for Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright to come back, it's a big risk to take if they want to stay in contention.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates:
It sounds as if they're being unreasonable in their demands for the likes of Xavier Nady,
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Jason Bay and Damaso Marte in the hopes that some desperate team will panic and meet the asking price. They can pull this until late July and see what happens, but if they want to move the players, they're going to have to lower their prices. They're not really under any pressure to move the players right now, so they may just hang onto them and see if they can finish over .500.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks:
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They brought Tony Clark back because he's so well-respected, but they could use a corner
outfield bat to replace the injured Eric Byrnes and they need some help in the starting rotation and perhaps some bullpen help. They could bring Batista back as a starter/reliever and have the prospects to make a bigger, bolder move for someone like Street. They could roll the dice on A.J. Burnett, but that's a big risk.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Dodgers needs would be served if their pitchers----Brad Penny, Jason Schmidt----get healthy and contribute something. Their injuries to other players like Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre (and now Takashi Saito is on the DL until late August with an elbow strain) and lack of production by the likes of
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Andruw Jones is preventing the Dodgers from taking control of the division. There are several things they could do. They could go for Bobby Crosby from the Athletics to play shortstop, or they could do something innovative like move Russell Martin to shortstop for the rest of the season (he can play it) and get an available catcher like Ramon Hernandez or Gerald Laird when he comes off the DL.
*Are you aware that Russell Martin's full name is: Russell Nathan Coltrane Jeanson Martin?
  • Colorado Rockies:
With their record of 41-57, I'd ordinarily say that they should start clearing out the house and they're going to trade Brian Fuentes, but after last season's blazing hot streak to make it all the way to the World Series and the woeful state of the NL West, they have an argument to hold their fire and see what happens. GM Dan O'Dowd would trade Matt Holliday if he's bowled over by a package, but the Rockies may be adding as they simultaneously subtract impending free agents like Fuentes. Lightning could strike twice, as unlikely as that circumstance seems. They need starting pitching very badly.

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