By Ron Johnson
MLB Trade Deadline
With the MLB Trade Deadline just a few short weeks away, any team vying for adding their names to Octoberfest is looking to make some massive moves in order to either keep their standing in the playoff hunt or climb out the basement and get in the conversation. But who is willing to give up their kingdom for a horse that will get them back in the saddle again?
Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays have found a winning formula in some way or fashion. They have managed to keep themselves in the hunt for the AL Wild Card (where they currently sit second), but like every team in the league, they don’t just want to settle. According to sources, the rotation of the Blue Jays should be a top priority for them as depth tends to be an issue for them.
Once they get the rotation nailed down, their next target is to get some help on the offensive side as a right handed bat could be in their favor. The biggest issue with the Jays at this moment is actually their biggest advantage at the trade deadline. They are not in a hurry to fill these gaps, but they are aware that these gaps will eventually need to be filled.
Boston Red Sox
Do you remember when the Boston Red Sox were the most intimidating franchise in the AL? Do you remember when it seemed like every year, they were in the thick of the playoff picture? Don’t worry. Pepperidge Farm remembers. But those days look to be heading to oblivion as Boston finds itself in the basement of the AL East along with the Yankees, three games out of third place, but still in the AL Wild Card Race.
No, we couldn’t make this up if we tried. The Red Sox should find themselves in both buy and sell mode as the deadline looms over their heads if they want to improve their standing in the division and the wild card. With almost every team, starting pitching seems to be an issue that is not going to solve itself unless it needs to. If the Sox can right the ship and get back to their winning ways by the end of July, we should only see a few knocks from Boston come August 1st.
New York Yankees
Posting a 4-6 record in their last 10, the Yankees are not in panic mode…yet. The best case scenario for the Yankees is they still have a chance at Shohei Ohtani (who many believe will NOT be in a Dodgers uniform anytime soon), but the Yankees will need to play smarter and limit the mistakes that have plagued them up to this point. They are in the AL East basement with a winning record.
That’s how intense and wild the division seems to be at this point. It is not time for the Yanks to bet the farm on a late postseason push, but they know that they will need some fierce throwers on the mound if they want to prevent a one and done in the postseason. But again, the Yankees are still in the playoff picture even though they are tied for last in the division with Boston. But the question is now when will these Yankees become ‘Savages in the Box’ again?
Kansas City Royals
The Royals have no chance to make the playoffs this year…unless they go on one of the longest and best winning streaks in MLB history. But since that is next to nil of happening, they would be just as comfortable with just finishing the season with a decent mark. With Aroldis Chapman bound for Texas, the Royal could be looking at Scott Barlow among other relievers.
The Royals have a roster of young talent that need a chance to find the sweet spot on their own, and while KC is looking to get their magic back, it may take a while to get there. The Royals know what needs to be done as far the roster goes, but they will have to be willing to give a little to get a little.
Oakland Athletics…or Vegas A’s????
Oakland has been in panic mode for a good while lately. While the playoffs are not in their future, getting players with potential to teams with the same are in their crystal ball. This may not be a Moneyball type of situation, but it does appear that the A’s need help at almost every category.
With their Vegas deal possibly blowing up in their faces, the A’s need a win in something. I’m almost sure the last thing Vegas wants is to get another lousy team from Oakland that can’t bring them a postseason AND a championship. The Raiders and A’s can thank the Golden Knights for raising the bar to a respectable mark.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
As we discussed over the weekend, the Angels are trying their hardest to keep their hybrid known as Shohei rather than entertaining ideas of trading off a fan favorite. As stated by everyone, Ohtani is going to be the hottest commodity in the Angels’ arsenal if they are looking to improve.
Depending on which version of the Angels shows up the next few weeks will depend on the level of necessity and urgency the Angels will have for giving up Ohtani at the trade deadline. But even if they choose not to deal Ohtani, this is the last year of his deal, and all signs point to Ohtani not resigning with the Angels. With only a few months left in the season, the Angels may play it safe and let Ohtani just walk away at the end of the season rather than trade him now and not really get anything for him that can utilized right now.
New York Mets
To put it mildly, the Mets have failed expectations once again, but that is not the worst part of them. While they are timid about trading away any top prospects, they may need to. While there are those that the Mets should not sell as much as possible to get themselves back in playoff contention, they are currently sitting fourth in the NL East (18.5 out of first at press time) and have a realistic chance to turn it around.
They got the talent to make a serious run for a Wild Card spot, but it will not be enough to take down the Braves from atop the division. In fairness though, they are not in as bad a shape as the…
St. Louis Cardinals
Before the season even began, the Cardinals were touted as the team to beat in the NL Central. So far, every single team in the division (yes, even the Cubs) have taken the Redbirds down. For St. Louis, they need help with pitching and hitting badly. While aces like Jordan Hicks and Jordan Montgomery may be on the trade block, do not expect the Cardinals to move Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado or any of their big bats at trade deadline. St. Louis still feels like they can win with the roster they have, but sitting almost 12 games out of first will not help their cause unless they start winning.
Now bear in mind, the Cardinals are still one of the most dangerous teams to play down the stretch as they have proven with magical runs that have propelled them to playoff contention. Erasing that 13 game deficit and getting back to .500 would be a great start for them to right the ship.
In games they have lost, they have not been good in the closing department, the bats tend to not wake up until it is too late and worst of all, there are people thinking they should put Goldy, both Nolans and even Jordan Walker on the trade block. I think they should do what they do best: Minimize the losses and start that magical fall run a little earlier than September when the season is coming to a close.
The Rockies used to be a force to be reckoned with in the NL West. The team has not played to its fullest potential so far this season. Sitting at 36-58, Colorado needs some major plastic surgery to remove, tuck and modify some parts in order to make itself a threat to the West again. The Rockies Bullpen may be a good selling point for a lot of teams that need bullpen help like the Yankees and Cardinals, but like other teams, it becomes a question of what are the Rockies willing to give up to get out of the basement of their division.
Their position players (Profar, Cron and Grichuck) need to wake up themselves and their bats if the Rockies are going to look at playing past September, and the trade deadline may be the ticket that can make them a reputable team once again. Beating the Yankees is a good start to things falling into place, but they have to find that consistency and capitalize on it while the iron is hot.