Contender Marketplace Part 12 NL West



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.  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.
With Eric Byrnes having an awful season (.209, 6 HR) they need a proven hitter in their line-up.  The D’Backs still have a fairly deep farm system and could use those resources to snag Jason Bay or Raul Ibanez who could be available.  They acquired Tony Clark on July 17th in the hopes of improving the 5th worst offense in MLB (.249 BA).  The D’Backs have the 11th best pitching staff in MLB (3.92 ERA) so their pitching needs a lift.  Hard throwing super prospect, Max Scherzer could be the answer.

 You can’t rule out the Dodgers making the play-offs as they have an exceptional manager in Joe Torre.  The loss of Saito for 6 weeks creates a need in the bullpen, in addition to their need for more thunder in their line-up.  Could they go after Houston Street?  Take a gamble on bringing back Eric Gagne?  They also need help at shortstop and have inquired on Jack Wilson.  David Eckstein could also make a lot of sense.  Their starting pitching is solid.

–The Soxman
Los Angeles Dodgers 
Even though the Dodgers are the real Los Angeles baseball team, they play more like a team that would call Irvine or Fullerton home (without the metal bats… of course). Yet somehow, in the NL West that sloppy kind of baseball is good enough to put a team into contention to win the worst division in the history of baseball. The Dodgers have spent foolishly, been bitten by the injury bug and put a lot of stock into unproven prospects and still have been able to get close to .500. They also have been mentioned as possible suitors for just about every trading block player in all of baseball because they have so many gaping holes to fill. The injury to Rafael Furcal was and has been debilitating to the Dodger offense that is so bad that manager Joe Torre falls asleep before the games even start. The good news for the fans in Chavez Ravine is that the Dodgers have the ability to make moves. Blake DeWitt and Andy LaRoche are both young prospects that could be moved for a big name player (Mark Teixeira, Paul Konerko, Orlando Cabrera or Adrian Beltre). With Russell Martin’s ability to move out and play third, it opens up options for potential lineup shuffles if the opportunity presents itself. The other good news is that the pitching staff could be getting a boost with the return of Brad Penny and Jason Schmidt. Ideally, the Dodgers want to add a bat (or two) to the top and/or middle of the lineup and if they want to be serious about making the play-offs they should make the move. However, if the Dodgers’ front office is full of realists, they might want to plan more for next season and just hope that the team can suck a little bit less than Arizona and sneak into the post-season.

Arizona Diamondbacks –
For as hot as this team started and for as bad as the NL West is, the D’Backs should have been able to put it in neutral and coast to the play-offs. Instead, Bob Melvin’s team shifted a bit too aggressively and found themselves in reverse for the better part of May and June. Now, instead of just maintaining a comfortable division lead over the rest of the NL West crap heap, they are actually in a tight (below .500) race with the Dodgers. Everything the D’Backs started the season with has done a complete 180. The consistent quality starts and clutch hitting is gone, replaced by a lack of run support and a bullpen that blows leads more often than they poop. They have already made one move to address the latter by acquiring Jon Rauch from the Nationals (no word on how often he poops) but a veteran bat in the lineup (someone that can play more than once a week like newly acquired Tony Clark) could be very beneficial to these “Baby ‘Backs.”  With Eric Byrnes lost for the season, the Diamondbacks have only one starting position player with more than 5 years experience of being an every day player at the Major League level (Orlando Hudson). The Diamondbacks may be able to turn some of the youth on their roster or in their farm system into a regular 1st basemen or outfielder that can be realistically expected to hit in clutch situations. 
–Peter Christian

I saw a documentary on baseball’s Golden Age, I think it was “When it was a game II” or something, and they talked about the old Pacific Coast League that thrived in the time when MLB had not expanded west of St. Louis. It was a AAA affiliated league that had a major league following and made major league money, but still had minor league talent. This NL West is the 1940s Pacific Coast League.
–Paul M. Banks

7/17- Red Sox
7/18- Yankees
7/19- Rays
7/20- White Sox
7/21- Twins
7/22- Tigers
7/25- A’s, Rangers
7/26- Phillies, Mets, Marlins
7/27- Cubs
7/28-Brewers, Cardinals
7/29- Dodgers, Diamondbacks

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  1. Cano's Cards says

    .500 or better wins the West which leads to a first round playoff sweep from the Cubs or Crew

  2. Peter Christian says

    If I were the Cubs or Crew I would be a bit leery heading into a short play-off series with either the Dodgers or D’backs. Webb, Haren and Johnson or Penny, Billingsly, and Schmidt could pick off a superior team with strong outings. As we saw last week, even the mighty Cubs can get shut down against an inferior team with good pitching.

  3. paulmbanks says

    Thast true those Marlins are plucky. And the Cubs offense hasn’t been as mighty as it was in the first two months of the year

  4. or as we’ve seen, the Cubs can beat CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets on back-to-back nights…

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