Peter Christian & Soxman break down what each MLB contender needs to make the play-offs
Trade Rumors begin to heat up as the MLB trade deadline approaches.Â The deadline is 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 31. Until then teams may trade players freely without having to go through the waiver process.
The Phillies addressed their biggest need by trading for Joe Blanton on July 17th.Â Are they done picking up starting pitching?Â They have also scouted Matt Cain, AJ Burnett, and Derek Lowe.
The Mets are suddenly very much alive in the NL East.Â They are also believed to be involved in the Freddy Garcia sweepstakes.Â They have also been strongly linked to AJ Burnett in recent weeks.Â Iâ€™ve heard rumors of a trade involving Matt Holliday, Willy Taveras, and Brian Fuentes for Fernando Martinez, and Carlos Beltran, but I donâ€™t believe it.Â Martinez could make a big-impact if ready, and the Mets could turn to a cheaper option such as Xavier Nady or Raul Ibanez.Â
How could a team that loses their best hitter and franchise player compete?Â The Marlins are doing itâ€¦And are quickly earning my respect as the â€œTwinsâ€ of NL.Â Perhaps they should change their name from the Marlins to the Piranhas.Â Looking to add speed to compliment their abundance of power, they have inquired with the Rockies about Willy Taveras and Scott Podsednik.Â They also need help at catcher and are said to have inquired on Ivan Rodriguez and David Ross of the Reds.Â Is a return by Miguel Olivo another possibility?Â Â Â
NL East â€“
Philadelphia Phillies â€“
I picked the Phillies to win the World Series back in April and back in April they made me look like a genius (Iâ€™m going to ignore my Mariners and Blue Jays picks). To this point the Phils have been the front runner but a recent hot streak by the Mets coupled with the pesky Marlins hanging around have made the NL East a three team race. Philadelphia gave up their top prospect in Adrian Cardenas along with two other minor leaguers to land Joe Blanton to help the rotation which is probably the only area that could use some solid improvement. Pat Gillick is a seasoned GM and can play the deadline game with the best of them. Last seasonâ€™s under the radar move to land Kyle Lohse turned out to be a fantastic one as he was a key cog in the teamâ€™s play-off run. A similar move will need to be made this season as both Brett Myers and Adam Eaton have been largely ineffective in the rotation. The biggest problem with the Phillies is that they already gave up their biggest bargaining chip to get Blanton. If things stand pat, the Phillies will rely on either Myers or Eaton to step back into the rotation to help down the stretch.
New York Mets â€“
What a difference a month makes. On June 17th, the Mets had just fired Willie Randolph and were struggling to get above .500. Now the Mets are fresh off a 10 game winning streak and back in the NL East race. If the Mets plan on staying in the race they need Johan Santana to be his usual 2nd half dominant self, they need solid production out of their stars (David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran) and they need players like Ryan Church and Luis Castillo to get healthy. The resurgence of the Mets has taken the pressure off of GM Omar Minaya for now but donâ€™t expect him to make any desperation moves like the Victor Zambrano move a few years ago by his predecessor Jim Duquette. Plus, the bulk of the Mets pieces were moved in the Johan Santana trade (with the exception of Fernando Martinez, who is said to be untouchable). The Mets may be best suited in trading one or more of their veterans to another contending team to get some bullpen help and potentially a guy who can step in to close if Billy Wagnerâ€™s arm issues continue to be a problem (i.e. Brian Fuentes).
Florida Marlins â€“
Soxman has it right, the Marlins are more of a piranhas type team than even the Twins are this year. The clutch hitting they have gotten from up and down their lineup is staggering. Especially once you consider how unknown the bulk of the team is. The Marlins have lost more starting players in the last 5 years than any other team in the majors (I might have made that up, but it looks good on paper) and yet they continue to overachieve. Their infield may be one of the most unexpected powerhouses of the last decade (84 HR from the infielders) and the starting pitching has been extremely good. However, if this team is going to compete into late September for a play-off spot, they have holes that need to be filled. They could use another starter, an extra arm in the bullpen and a veteran presence off the bench, preferably someone who can play outfield. Since the Marlins have lost so much they also have a very good crop of young players and prospects. While it is unlikely the Marlins would be able to take on any big contract type players, ownership has shown some commitment to this team by giving Hanley Ramirez the largest contract in Marlins history. A player like Josh Willingham or Cody Ross might be dealt in order to allow Luis Gonzalez to take on a bigger leadership role from the lineup rather than the bench while also netting another pitcher to bolster the staff. While other teams may salivate and offer up the farm, Cameron Maybin is no where near the table.
7/17- Red Sox
7/20- White Sox
7/25- Aâ€™s, Rangers
7/26- Phillies, Mets, Marlins
7/29- Dodgers, Diamondbacks