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Breaking Down All 30 MLB Teams' Trade Shopping List at Midseason

Matthew SmithCorrespondent IIIJune 26, 2014

Breaking Down All 30 MLB Teams' Trade Shopping List at Midseason

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    Jeff Samardzija is at the top of many shopping lists as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
    Jeff Samardzija is at the top of many shopping lists as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Six weeks until the MLB July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Six weeks for teams to get their shopping lists in order.

    That's not a lot of time.

    What would each team's shopping list look like, though? What areas do clubs that will be unloading talent need to address? Conversely, is there more than one area that a contending team needs to shore up in order to make a deep run in the postseason?

    The answers to these questions and many more (not really) await in the following slides.

    In an effort for succinctness, we will keep the shopping lists to a minimum. Yes, it's true that some MLB rosters have several areas that need attention, but we will focus on two areas per team

    To be clear, there will be no trade proposals. The point here is to look at what areas each general manager will want to address at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. 

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    RICK SCUTERI/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    In a season largely bereft of success, the Arizona Diamondbacks have a chance to do some good things in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. That is, of course, if general manager Kevin Towers is proactive with his pitching staff and minor league prospects, binging back players to fill several holes on the roster.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Pitching

    This isn’t a make-or-break area for the Diamondbacks. After all, they have Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley stashed away in the minor leagues. But with potentially 40 percent of the pitching staff on the trading block, an arm or two in return wouldn’t hurt.

    Trading one of the many middle infielders in the system may be the best avenue to acquire a pitcher with legitimate upside. 

     

    Outfield

    A.J. Pollock can play center field with the best of them. Left fielder Mark Trumbo likely won’t have long enough to prove his value as a trade chip when he returns from a stress fracture in his left foot and has two more seasons of arbitration eligibility. The rest of the outfield is a different story altogether.

    Cody Ross—currently playing left in Trumbo’s absence—cashed in on a nice 2012 season, signing a three-year, $26 million deal in advance of the 2013 season, but he is best used as the reserve outfielder, not as a starter. And while Gerardo Parra is a nice player, the club could use someone with the ability to drive the ball a bit better.

Atlanta Braves

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    Currently in the middle of a dog fight in the NL East, the Atlanta Braves have a few different things on their shopping list. It will be critical that general manager Frank Wren shores up the right areas as they make a push to the postseason.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Production in Center Field

    There is no question the Braves need to improve an offense that ranks 14th in the National League in runs scored and 10th in slugging percentage. And given the recent ascension of Tommy La Stella to the 25-man roster, the greatest hole is in center field, where B.J. Upton has a .203/.272/.337 slash line in 276 at-bats.

     

    Bullpen

    First off, manager Fredi Gonzalez’s bullpen is quite talented. Led by Craig Kimbrel, Shae Simmons and Anthony Varvaro, the team is capable of locking down the seventh, eighth and ninth innings any given night.

    Unfortunately, they bullpen is overworked and running out of steam. David O’Brien from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution went so far as to say that the unit “isn’t good enough to carry the Braves.” To be sure, it’s not all on the bullpen, but O’Brien is right. An upgrade is in order.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    The Baltimore Orioles are an intriguing team. On offense, they rank near the top of the American League in several categories, including home runs, batting average and slugging percentage. From a pitching perspective, they are a middling unit, but they have received boosts from Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman.

    Add it all up, and the Orioles are in second place in the AL East, 2.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays. And you can bet general manager Dan Duquette is going to try and change a few things before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Pitching

    When Gausman—who was recently optioned to Triple-A but is expected back to start on Friday—is the only starting pitcher with a FIP below 3.50, there are issues. True, Bud Norris has been rather good this season and Wei-Yin Chen has strung together a series of nice outings in the past, but the rest of the rotation has underperformed all year.

    Expect Duquette to add a starter in a short amount of time. With a solid(ish) bullpen, the rotation seems to be the biggest area of need.

     

    Infield/Outfield Depth

    Steve Pearce is a fine utility player from an offensive standpoint, but he is limited in what he does defensively. Ryan Flaherty, on the other hand, can play almost anywhere on the field but is not very effective with a bat in his hands.

    It would be wise to try and find a player who is more balanced. Simply put, the Orioles aren’t really in a position where they can give away at-bats or sacrifice defense at any given time. Each game is critical, and improving depth may be the key.

    Catcher is another position that is on the list here, but it may be too much to ask for Duquette to trade for another backstop after acquiring Nick Hundley earlier in the season.

Boston Red Sox

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has a tough balancing act in front of him. On one had, he has the best overall pitching staff in the AL East. As a matter of fact, it is the best unit in all of baseball if pitcher’s WAR is used, per FanGraphs

    On offense, the Red Sox are all over the place. Some games, they remind everyone of the team that won the 2013 World Series. In other contests, they look like they are new to the sport.

    It will be up to Cherington to find a way to improve both groups without leveraging too much talent from the minor leagues.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Pitching

    Like other teams, the Red Sox need starting pitching. Led by Jon Lester and John Lackey, the rotation has been, at best, disappointing. And if the Red Sox want to catch the rest of the division or make a run at the wild card, improving the group that takes the ball every fifth day is critical.

    There are options in-house, of course, but Cherington may opt to go with a veteran arm that has a proven track record and solid peripherals.

     

    Outfield

    Brock Holt has been moved to right field, which gives the Red Sox exactly one outfielder who is playing remotely good baseball. Don’t take that the wrong way—Holt is playing very well, it’s just that he’s alone.

    Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t ready to hit in the big leagues, Jonny Gomes is struggling mightily and Daniel Nava is doing worse. It’s a bad situation. The good news here is that Cherington has ample talent in the minor leagues to acquire a difference-maker.

    It must be noted that Shane Victorino could rejoin the club as early as this weekend, but before he went down, he had a .276 on-base percentage and was slugging a meager .352. Here’s to hoping he impacts the lineup in a positive way.

Chicago Cubs

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    J Pat Carter/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    The Chicago Cubs are once again in a position where they will be selling. There are two questions, though.

    First, how many players will general manager Jed Hoyer move? And when will the action get started?

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Pitching

    Considering that the Cubs traded their top two pitchers last season and could end up doing the same thing this year, it will be imperative that they get at least two legitimate mound prospects in return.

    Yes, Jake Arrieta is dealing this season, and C.J. Edwards should be ready to go next year, but after that the choices are slim. Kyle Hendricks is at Triple-A and could end up being a fair starter, but with positional talent in the minor leagues way ahead of the pitching, Hoyer will look for as many hurlers as possible.

     

    Catcher

    This is a position of need that is not unique to the Cubs. That said, they are one of only a handful of teams that don’t have a catcher among their top 20 prospects as put forth by MLB.com.

    Now, they did take a catcher with the fourth pick of this year’s MLB first-year player draft, but Kyle Schwarber is likely going to end up as a corner outfielder because of the fear that catching will impact his ability to hit, via CSN Chicago’s Tony Andracki.

Chicago White Sox

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    The Chicago White Sox made a little noise early on this season, but they have quickly found their way back to the AL Central cellar.

    It’s not all bad, though. There are reasons for excitement on the South Side, such as Jose Abreu, Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and the return of Avasail Garcia next year. General manager Rick Hahn still has quite a bit of work to do, however.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Rotation

    Right now, the starting rotation consists of left-handers Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. The rest of the the group is not very good. Sure, John Danks went on a nice little run for six or seven starts, but his low ground-ball rate and seeming inability to strike a hitter out finally caught up to him.

    There isn’t a lot of help in the minor leagues, either. Yes, Triple-A right-hander Erik Johnson is an option, but he was demoted in April, and the White Sox still feel like Hector Noesi offers them a better chance to win. 

    Whatever Hahn does at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline must include grabbing the best starting pitchers he can. To be sure, the bullpen has been an unmitigated disaster this season, but the rotation needs more attention right now.

     

    Outfield

    There was a time when the White Sox farm system boasted four outfield prospects with immense potential in Courtney Hawkins, Trayce Thompson, Jared Mitchell and Keenyn Walker. Those were the days.

    It is such a thin position at all levels that they are giving former infielder Marcus Semien playing time to increase his value on the roster and provide depth in case one of the guys on the 25-man roster suffers an injury.

    It will be on Hahn’s clock that the outfield is reborn. After all, he is the one who acquired both Eaton and Garcia. He needs to finish what he started.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Al Behrman/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyers

     

    Overview

    The Cincinnati Reds entered play on Wednesday in fourth place in the NL Central but right in the middle of the wild-card race with a 38-37 record. It is a fairly good spot to be in considering that after a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 27, they were six games under .500 and looked directionless.

    Moving forward, it is up to general manager Walt Jocketty to shore up a few areas in particular.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Shortstop

    Shortstop has been a position that's haunted the Reds for some time now, and it doesn’t look like any help will be coming from the minor leagues.

    On the season, the combination of Zack Cozart and Ramon Santiago has produced a .235/.276/.310 slash line with 18 RBI and 45 strikeouts in 281 at-bats. Granted, Cozart is responsible for most of the misery, but the larger point is that the Reds don’t have anyone capable of putting up respectable offensive numbers.

     

    Bullpen

    The bullpen has been a sore spot for the Reds all season, but the troubles were highlighted in a 14-9 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on June 20. During the game, four relievers combined to give up nine runs in the final three innings, turning what was a 9-5 lead into a devastating defeat.

    Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman have generally been on point. In fact, they’ve been fantastic, save for a few outings. It is the rest of the relief corps has struggled.

    Jocketty needs to bring in another bridge reliever to maintain the leads a very good rotation hands the bullpen.

Cleveland Indians

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyers

     

    Overview

    Cleveland Indians general manager Chris Antonetti doesn’t need to do a whole lot on offense. Sure, there are always opportunities, but his club ranks toward the top of the American League in on-base percentage and runs scored and is doing a nice job in situational hitting.

    It is the rest of the roster that needs some attention.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Bullpen

    For the most part, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen and Scott Atchison have been quite good for the Indians. Getting to them has been a problem, and as a result of middle reliever struggles, each has had to log quite a few innings this season.

    Now Carlos Carrasco and Marc Rzepczynski have been good enough at times to carry the weight, but they are not enough. Vinnie Pestano, who was recently recalled from Columbus, will be given an opportunity to assume some of the burden, but even if he proves capable, Antonetti needs at least one more arm.

     

    Starting Pitching

    The Indians rotation is all over the place. At one end of the spectrum is Corey Kluber, who is one of the better right-handers in the American League. On the other end, Justin Masterson can’t seem to string together back-to-back solid outings and is walking almost five batters every nine innings.

    To be sure, the return of Zach McAllister, which was pushed back due to weather and upcoming off-days, should help, but if the Indians are going to close the gap in the wild-card race and the AL Central, another starter is a must-get.

Colorado Rockies

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    After a surprising start to the 2014 season, the Colorado Rockies have quickly cooled off and are now in danger of falling into last place in the NL West. It will be up to general manager Dan O’Dowd to find a way to complement his exceptional offense with enough pitching to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in 2015.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Rotation

    The Rockies have had 11 different starting pitchers take the mound this season. Now, some of that is due to injury, of course, but even when healthy, they have not performed well at all.

    The Rockies do have Jon Gray and Eddie Butler at Double-A, so there is a nice foundation in place. If this season has taught us anything, though, it’s that the more quality arms the rotation has the better off the club will be.

     

    Back End of the Bullpen

    With a trade of LaTroy Hawkins a distinct possibility and few options to take his place, getting a power arm back in a trade for one of their many offensive weapons is a must. It would be a must regardless, but Hawkins’ situation amplifies the need here.

    Right-hander Tommy Kahnle is an option, but he has been so effective in his role that O’Dowd would be wise to keep him there and find another guy to close out games.

Detroit Tigers

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    The Detroit Tigers are a flawed team, yet they find themselves on top of the AL Central thanks to a potent offense that includes Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Ian Kinsler. And I would be remiss if I didn’t note a starting rotation that can be dominant. Sure, Justin Verlander has had his struggles, but as a group, the rotation is quite good.

    The bottom line is that this squad has a hard time catching and throwing the baseball at times. It will be on general manager Dave Dombrowski to find a way to correct each issue.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Bullpen

    Going into action on Wednesday, the Tigers bullpen was tied with the Houston Astros for the worst ERA in MLB and was alone in last with a .272 batting average against, per splits over at ESPN.com.

    It's been a team effort too. Outside of Joba Chamberlain and Al Alburquerque, the rest of the group has struggled to keep runners off base. As MLB.com’s Jason Beck recently noted, the Tigers will look to a few prospects to shore up this group, but Dombrowski should be looking diligently for a left-handed reliever or a closer.

     

    Shortstop

    Since going 3-for-4 against the Minnesota Twins on June 14, Eugenio Suarez has a .179/.207/.214 slash line with eight strikeouts in 31 plate appearances. So much for his hot start, huh?  Andrew Romine hasn’t been much better, making the need to upgrade at the position a necessity. It has been as bad as the numbers indicate.

    Simply put, giving at-bats away in the postseason isn’t an option. Dombrowski must address the situation. 

Houston Astros

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    Steve Nesius/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow is a man on a mission to finish what he started. And what he needs to acquire at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline can be targeted to two areas.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    This is an area where the Astros are set up fairly well, but they could use another piece or two. At the major league level, Dallas Keuchel, Jarred Cosart and Collin McHugh are doing very well. In the minor leagues, Mark Appel, Mike Foltynewicz and Nick Tropeano are all at least a year away.

    Besides, a team can never have too much pitching, and given the depth around the farm system at the other positions, a left-handed starter would seem to be a wise decision.

     

    Bullpen

    Headlined by Chad Qualls, the Astros bullpen will likely look quite a bit different in a matter of weeks if a few of the parts are traded away as expected. And while there are options in the minor leagues to fill out the roster, more would be better.

    Eventually, it will get to the point that signing a reliever during the offseason will be a major acquisition, not a way to fill out the roster with capable talent. In other words, there needs to be enough going on in-house to make a difference, and right now, the Astros are close, but Luhnow needs a couple of extra arms.

Kansas City Royals

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    Paul Beaty/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    Dayton Moore went for it all two winters ago when he traded a number of prospects, including Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi, for James Shields and Wade Davis. While the move didn’t pay off last year, the Kansas City Royals sure are playing better baseball lately.

    As a result, they will be adding talent at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Outfield Depth

    Outside of Alex Gordon, the outfield is anything but set following the injury to Nori Aoki. As MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel noted, while “the Royals’ center and right field mix includes Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and Justin Maxwell, the nature of the blend is uncertain.” And even before Aoki went down, the production simply wasn’t there.

    The Royals need consistency and power in the outfield. Grabbing a big bat that can play right field will likely help the club out considerably.

     

    Third Base

    The struggles of Mike Moustakas are well-documented. So far this season, he has compiled a .174/.242/.359 slash line with eight home runs and 28 RBI. He has also been sent down to Triple-A in the misguided hope that it would somehow get him back on track.

    Frankly, even an average third baseman would be an immense upgrade over Moustakas. Sure, he plays the field at a high level, but the Royals need to generate runs as well as catch the ball, and given the defensive prowess of some of Moustakas' teammates, Moore would be wise to look for a bit more offensively at the position.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has a very specific wish list as he prepares his team to make a run at the Oakland A’s. Per ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden on Twitter:

    Jerry DiPoto told us they need LH reliever and possible closer from outside the organization between now and trade deadline. XM 89/Sirius209

    — JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) June 24, 2014

    So much for speculation, huh?

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Left-Handed Reliever

    This is a no-brainer considering that Hector Santiago and C.J. Wilson are the only two left-handers on the roster. There are plenty of options available on the trade market, so this will likely be the first area Dipoto addresses.

     

    Closer

    At closer, the Angels are without answers. Ernesto Frieri lost the role, not just once but twice. Joe Smith couldn’t hold on to it when it was given to him the first time manager Mike Scioscia took it away from Frieri, but he got it back again.

    Most recently, Kevin Jepsen was given a chance versus the Texas Ranger to save a game when Smith's neck stiffened up. Unfortunately, he gave up a solo home run to Shin-Soo Choo that tied the game. 

    Like we said, no answers. It is on Dipoto to find a solution since he doesn’t have a lockdown option on the active roster or in the minor leagues. If the Angels are going overtake the A’s, every lead must be protected.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Don Boomer/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has built a monster. Simply put, the 25-man roster he has assembled is one of the best in baseball.

    Unfortunately, the Dodgers still trail the San Francisco Giants by three games in the NL West entering play on Wednesday. There are a couple of reasons for that, of course, including the play of the Giants, so expect Colletti to be active this season on the trade front.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Bullpen

    Chris Perez (0-3, 5.40 ERA) and Brian Wilson (0-2, 5.19 ERA) have performed terribly to this point of the season. Sure, they have had good outings, but more often than not, they have not delivered when it matters most.

    That makes adding an arm at the top of Colletti’s list. There are options in the minor leagues, but the Dodgers would probably be best served with a playoff-tested veteran. Yes, any addition will impact payroll, but that will be of little concern if it makes them a better team

     

    Starting Rotation

    This would be a luxury addition to the roster. The simple fact is that the Dodgers would be fine keeping the rotation intact the rest of the season, but Colletti has ample prospects and available veterans to make a move if he wants to.

Miami Marlins

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    J Pat Carter/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    The Miami Marlins are a team on the rise in the NL East. If general manager Dan Jennings can find a way to improve a couple of key areas, they could end up shocking the baseball world and make it to the postseason.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Bullpen

    Jeff Baker, Ed Lucas and Justin Bour are all fine for what they are being asked to do, but it is no secret that the infield offers little in the way of power outside of first baseman Garrett Jones. If Jennings can find a way to bring in a reserve infielder with more pop, he would give manager Mike Redmond another option late in games that could prove quite valuable as the calendar turns to August and September.

     

    Starting Rotation

    After Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez and Tom Koehler, the starting rotation gets a little iffy. Sure, Andrew Heaney has pitched well outside of his last outing, but a veteran arm would be a huge roster upgrade.

    Expect Jennings to leverage some of his talent in the minor leagues to upgrade the rotation. He will only need to add a mid-level starter, so the cost shouldn’t be prohibitive.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    Currently tied with the Oakland A’s for the most wins in MLB, the Milwaukee Brewers are perhaps two players away from having a complete team.

    As such, it will be incumbent upon general manager Doug Melvin to be very smart in what pieces he tries to add in the coming weeks. One reason for that is that the Brewers don’t have the deepest farm system. But if Melvin is selective enough, he has the pieces to make his club better.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Rotation

    Led by Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Yovani Gallardo and Wily Peralta, the Brewers have a very good starting rotation. It could be exceptional if they could find a way to make Marco Estrada stop giving up home runs. Because of Estrada’s struggles, however, Melvin will look to add another starter.

     

    Right-Handed Reliever

    The Brewers have two of the better left-handed relievers in MLB in Will Smith and Zach Duke. They also have a few solid right-handers in the bullpen, including closer Francisco Rodriguez.

    There are holes, however. Brandon Kintzler, for example, has a fine 3.49 ERA, but his FIP comes in at an inflated 4.86 and his 1.482 WHIP leaves much to be desired.

    The return of Tom Gorzelanny helped quite a bit, but Melvin will want to add one final piece to give manager Ron Roenicke the ability to play the matchups if the Brewers make it to the postseason.

Minnesota Twins

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    The Minnesota Twins have had a reasonably successful season so far, but general manager Terry Ryan’s team is still a long way off from being the type of team that can contend on an annual basis.

    Never one who is afraid to make a trade, Ryan will no doubt be quite busy as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Bullpen

    Six of the relievers on the 25-man roster are at least 30 years of age or older. That may make them valuable trade pieces, but it's hardly a reason to be excited for the future.

    There are a few guys in the minors who could be ready to go right now should one of the current hurlers get moved but not enough to overhaul what has arguably become the most important part of the team’s success.

     

    Starting Rotation

    Phil Hughes and Kyle Gibson have been a surprises this season, but after them, the starting rotation has been underwhelming. Triple-A right-handers Alex Meyer and Trevor May appear to be ready to contribute, but it will take more than them to pull the rotation out of the morass next year.

    Another thing to consider is that, given payroll limitations, Ryan is going to want to beef up his staff with prospects rather than high-priced free agents for the time being.

New York Mets

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    Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    With Zach Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Noah Syndergaard in line for next season’s rotation, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has his club set up for success on the mound.

    Getting ready for next year at the plate is likely what Alderson will spend the bulk of his time concentrating on over the next six weeks.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Shortstop

    Shortstop has been a problem area for the Mets both this season and last season. For various reasons, Ruben Tejada just isn’t getting the job done. And it doesn’t look like Wilmer Flores is the guy everyone hoped he would be as he rose through the minor leagues. In fact, Mike Vorkunov of The Star-Ledger reports that Flores was demoted to Triple-A on Wednesday, so there is even more reason to find another shortstop.

    With offense at a premium in the NL East, Alderson will have to look for a player who is ready to contribute in the major leagues now and is under team control for the next couple of seasons.

     

    First Base

    Lucas Duda isn’t a bad first baseman by any stretch. He just isn’t the answer, and the top prospect in the system, Dominic Smith, is at Single-A, likely a few years away from making an impact. So if Alderson can use his farm system to acquire a first baseman ready to contribute, he will help the team’s chances in 2015 immensely.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that each of the other positions, excluding shortstop, either has a prospect ready to make the leap or a veteran under contract for the next couple of seasons in place. That makes these two positions the only ones Alderson should address regardless.

New York Yankees

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    When aren’t the New York Yankees in a position where they are actively looking to add talent before the July 31 deadline? This season will prove to be especially tricky for general manager Brian Cashman, however, given his limited resources in the minor leagues and the areas in which his team needs help.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Rotation

    The Yankees need at least one starter to go with CC Sabathia (when he returns), Chase Whitely and Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka is the only one who is putting up quality numbers, and it is costing the team wins.

    Here is where the problem rests for Cashman: In order to impact the group sufficiently, he will need to add a front-line starter, and those cost quite a bit more than what the Yankees have in their farm system. Cashman may have to include a player from the 25-man roster to make any major deal go down.

     

    Designated Hitter

    Different teams use their designated hitter in different ways. Some prefer a guy who gets on base, while other managers want a slugger who does nothing but mash baseballs. The Yankees have neither.

    It would seem that Cashman could grab a slugger in the final year of his contract for a reasonable price. He would likely have to part with some depth on the infield in order to do so, but the increase in run production would pay off in the long run.

Oakland A's

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    Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane isn’t normally one to make a splashy move at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. It’s just not his style.

    This season needs to be different. He needs to go out and grab a few players to put his team over the top so that it can finally make it to the World Series after coming so close the last two years

     

    Major Areas of Need

    A Fifth Starter

    It is no secret the A’s need another arm in the rotation. After all, Beane didn’t acquire Brad Mills for $1 because he was set in the rotation. He did it because Drew Pomeranz broke his hand punching a chair.

     

    Middle Infield

    On the season, the second basemen on the A’s have put together a .221/.295/.262 slash line. The shortstops, meanwhile, have a .218/.322/.330 slash.

    Now, the A’s have been able to overcome the shortcomings at both positions thanks to their pitching staff and guys like Derek Norris, Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Josh Donaldson. But the lack of production up the middle will come back to haunt Beane in the postseason if he doesn’t address it now.

    And it’s not like he needs to make a play for a guy like Hanley Ramirez. A simple upgrade will do the trick given how bad it has been at the two positions.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. needs to make up his mind and start selling players as soon as possible to maximize the return and set his club up to be a legitimate contender.

    From the Sporting News' Ryan Fagan:

    At some point, the Phillies will have to retool. There are too many veterans being paid above their production level, and not nearly enough young stars ready to take their place. Most Phillies fans hoped 2014 would be that year, so the rebuilding process could begin.

    That still might happen, of course, but now it might not, either. 

    I will operate under the assumption that Amaro Jr. will make the smart play and sell at the deadline.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting pitching

    Cliff Lee is aging fast, Cole Hamels is primed to be traded and A.J. Burnett is a free agent at the end of the season. As Amaro Jr. looks down the road, he needs to recognize that there isn’t much in the system to replace them.

    That may sound defeatist, but with Jess Biddle and Severino Gonzalez both struggling in the minor leagues, Amaro Jr. can’t count on those guys to help the Phillies. He must bring in some more talent.

     

    Bullpen

    There is always room for more arms in the bullpen. Even more so if guys like Mike Adams (currently on the disabled list) and Jonathan Papelbon are moved.

    Even if those two aren’t traded, the depth in the minor leagues is a bit questionable. How aggressive Amaro Jr. is in adding relievers will depend on how proactive he is on the trade market, leveraging the talent on his active roster into an appropriate prospect haul.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    David Banks/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    The Pittsburgh Pirates received a huge infusion of energy and talent when Gregory Polanco was promoted from Triple-A. It is now up to general manger Neal Huntington to add to an already formidable offense and shore up a suspect pitching staff.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Shortstop

    A case can be made that third base is also an area that needs to be addressed, but the production there is much better than it is at shortstop.

    Everyday shortstop Jordy Mercer, for example, is slashing out at .230/.263/.352, and he has only drawn eight walks all season. Clint Barnes has been a bit better from a statistical perspective, but almost 20 percent of his hits came during a four-hit performance June 19 vs. the Cincinnati Reds.

     

    Starting Pitcher

    Make no mistake, the starting rotation has had a hard time all season finding any consistency. Injuries had something to do with that, but the Pirates don’t have that one guy they can count on each time out.

    Gerrit Cole is good, no doubt, and when he returns from the disabled list, it will be a nice boost. But outside of Cole, Charlie Morton and Edinson Volquez, there isn’t much to be excited about. Another arm is needed.

San Diego Padres

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    With the recent firing of Josh Byrnes, the San Diego Padres signaled to everyone in MLB that they are willing to make a deal.

    And while the farm system is ranked No. 11 by Baseball Prospectus, there are two areas that stand out as definitive needs.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    Never mind what the Padres have in the majors since there is a good chance that 40 percent of the starting rotation could be traded, leaving only one guy with any value. Instead, let’s focus on the minors.

    The No. 2 prospect in the system, left-hander Max Fried, hasn’t pitched this season after going through flexor-mass soreness earlier this year. Case Kelly (No. 4) is on a rehab assignment, Burch Smith (No. 8) is on the disabled list and Joe Wieland (No. 10) is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. See a problem?

    It will be on whoever is making the decisions now to add rotation depth.

     

    First Base

    Most every team could use a little depth at first base. For the Padres, it may be a necessity depending on how Alex Dickerson responds to surgery to remove a cyst from his left heel.

    He should be fine, of course, but if not, the club would be left without a legitimate prospect at the position. And in case you were wondering, it is probably safe to close the book on Yonder Alonso.

San Francisco Giants

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    The San Francisco Giants were riding high a few weeks ago as the undisputed kings of MLB. Nowadays, they are still regarded as a fantastic team, but one that is susceptible to bad play.

    General manager Brian Sabean is a shrewd talent evaluator, so the fanbase can expect him to reach out to his counterparts across the league in an effort to improve the product on the field.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Second Base

    This is a to-be-determined need. After all, the Giants just called up Joe Panik from the minor leagues. If he can prove himself up to the task, second base is a non-issue.

    If, however, Panik isn’t the answer, Sabean will have to get another player at the position. Brandon Hicks and Co. aren't capable of delivering the type of production the Giants need. An upgrade is definitely in order.

     

    Starting Pitcher

    Three starters—Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain—have an ERA above 4.00, and of those three, only Vogelsong has a FIP under 4.00. That is a sure sign that another starter is needed. Yes, Lincecum tossed the second no-hitter of his career against the Padres Wednesday, but that doesn't mean he is back.

    There are options in the minor leagues, including Kyle Crick and Edwin Escobar, but adding a veteran arm is a more appropriate path to take here. It could be the move that makes the difference between going to the World Series and bowing out in the National League Championship Series.

Seattle Mariners

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    Ed Zurga/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    The Seattle Mariners will be buyers at the non-waiver trade deadline. What general manager Jack Zduriencik ends up going after is unknown.

    True, there are distinct needs at several positions, but another starter wouldn’t hurt the Mariners' chances.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Offense

    The Mariners are downright bad at the plate. Going into action on Wednesday, they ranked last in on-base percentage, last in OPS and very near the bottom in batting average, hits and walks drawn.

    If Zduriencik is going to add a bat, there are three positions—shortstop, designated hitter and first base—where he should concentrate his efforts. The problems offensively are so great, though, that if he addressed any position, except for second base, he will be doing manager Lloyd McClendon a favor.

     

    Starting Pitcher

    Yes, the starting rotation is in fair shape, but it could be better.

    Consider that while four of the starters have an ERA under 3.75, only two of them—Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma—have a FIP below that same number. Chris Young, for example, has a 3.23 ERA but an inflated 5.12 FIP. That is a big discrepancy that could end up coming back to haunt the Mariners as the season unfolds.

    The Mariners don’t have to grab a front-line starter right now. It wouldn’t hurt, of course, but a solid back-of-the-rotation guy would be just fine.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    The St. Louis Cardinals have one of the deepest systems in the National League. It is even more apparent after Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia were place on the disabled list with separate shoulder injuries.

    It will be up to general manager John Mozeliak to utilize that depth to improve the club in two areas.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Second Base

    Led by Kolten Wong (currently on the disabled list) and Mark Ellis, four different second basemen have combined to put together a .206/.278/.262 slash line with nine doubles and 27 RBI in 286 at-bats.

    For those of you keeping score at home, that’s not good.

    And just like the situation with the Giants, any postseason success will depend on fielding a complete lineup. Ensuring there isn’t a gaping hole at second will be the first order of business for Mozeliak.

     

    Starting Rotation

    To be sure, the Cardinals don’t need to add a starting pitcher just because Wacha and Garcia went down. Nor do they need another rotation piece because one of them is pitching poorly.

    Rather, adding an arm to an otherwise formidable bunch makes the Cardinals a deeper, more talented team. True, they may already have enough ammunition to catch the Brewers in the NL Central as it is, but another weapon surely wouldn’t hurt their chances.

    Expect Mozeliak to get a clear assessment of the injured pitchers' health before making any decision regarding a trade.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Brian Blanco/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    The Tampa Bay Rays are in an unusual position. That is to say that general manager Andrew Freidman isn’t used to selling off pieces during the season.

    That is the position he finds himself in this season, however, thanks to a rash of injuries and poor performances.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Infield

    True, the Rays have second baseman Ben Zobrist, who has played above his pay grade for several seasons. He won't be on the team forever, though. And at shortstop, Yunel Escobar has been a relative disappointment since signing a three-year, $15 million contract before the 2013 season.

    In the minor leagues, there are a few middle infielders in their top 20, according to MLB.com, but none of them are overly exciting. That is, unless you consider slick-fielding, no-hitting Hak-Ju Lee to be an intriguing prospect.

    If Friedman can land a prospect ready to impact the 25-man roster by trading one of his many assets, he should jump on it.

     

    Outfield

    Yes, the Rays have Wil Myers, Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce. And yes, they are all fine baseball players. As we’ve seen this season, though, they have glaring holes in their games.

    Another thing to consider is that Joyce is a free agent after next year and Jennings the season after. Now, the Rays have a couple of nice prospects in the minors, but grabbing an exceptional prospect from another organization would go a long way toward securing the future.

Texas Rangers

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Seller

     

    Overview

    What a disappointing season for the Texas Rangers. Not that the record is indicative of anything more than a series of devastating injuries to almost every position group.

    General manager Jon Daniels has to play the cards he’s dealt, though, and that means being a seller in July for the first time in quite a while.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Bullpen

    The Rangers are in the fortunate position of having two prospects, Roman Mendez and Wilmer Font, in the minor leagues who are ready to step into the bullpen at a moment’s notice. That doesn’t mean Daniels shouldn't look to add to the talent pool, though.

    There are two more things to consider here. First, Daniels may end up trading a couple of relievers if he decides to empty the coffers, and replenishing the ranks will be needed. Second, in the AL West, a solid bullpen can mean the difference between contention and being an afterthought.

     

    Starting Rotation

    With the minors stocked with position talent, Daniels would be wise to focus on acquiring a starting pitcher or two. As it stands, Yu Darvish is the unquestioned ace, and Martin Perez should be back to full strength at some point next season, but the rest of the staff is a question mark.

    As with the relief corps, there are a couple of prospects waiting on the farm, but loading up on pitching is always a good idea. Expect Daniels to be a busy man in the coming weeks.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Buyer

     

    Overview

    Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos waited patiently for this scenario. See, the success the club is finding this season was supposed to transpire last year. Unfortunately, poor performance, injury and bad luck conspired to make 2013 a very forgettable year.

    The 2014 campaign has been a different animal, and Anthopoulos now has some work to do to improve a roster that entered play Wednesday in first place in the AL East.  

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    The Blue Jays rotation is a mixed bag.

    On one hand, Mark Buehrle and Drew Hutchison are pitching admirably, and in five starts, rookie Marcus Stroman is 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA and a .246 batting average against. On the other hand, R.A. Dickey has a 1.398 WHIP and a 4.54 FIP, and J.A. Happ is is pitching to the tune of a 1.640 WHIP and a 4.89 FIP.

    Now, if the Blue Jays want to make this run a deep one, Anthopoulos will have to add another starter. Grabbing a No. 1 would be nice, but he will probably end up grabbing a middle-of-the-rotation arm given his self-imposed limitations regarding prospect availability.

     

    Second Base

    Problems at second base seem to be a common problem on contending teams, and the Blue Jays are no different. Heck, if it weren’t for Brett Lawrie getting some playing time there, the unit’s .236/.299/.367 slash line would be worse than it is.

    It seems as though this position has been a thorn in Anthopoulos' side for the past few seasons. It is time to finally do something about it.

Washington Nationals

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    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Status at Trade Deadline: Neither 

     

    Overview

    The Washington Nationals have two choices at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

    First, they could unload someone like Danny Espinosa or Ross Detwiler for a couple of prospects, but the depth the two players provide could come in handy later on this season. Second, they could do nothing.

    I’m thinking they do the latter.

    There is a third option, of course. General manager Mike Rizzo could wait until after July 31 to see how the division is shaking out and how well his roster is performing before making the above-mentioned players available for a potential waiver trade.

     

    Major Areas of Need

    None

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all general, split and advanced statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate as of game time on Wednesday, June 25. Transaction, injury, prospect and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was taken from Cot’s Contracts.

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