Hello again gentlemen.
††††††††† Well, I didnít really intend to write again this week, but with the all-star break going on I thought Iíd find articles on the internet that would outline each MLB teamís outlook for the second half.† I thought maybe Iíd see some rumors on which teams were buyers and which were sellers, and what they might be looking for.† I found bits and pieces, but nothing comprehensive.† So, what the hell, Iíll make my own.
††††††††† Iíll go through each division team by team and see who should be doing what, and what has to happen for them to advance.† It may suck, and Iím sure Burnie will tell me Iím full of sh*t (and I wouldnít have it any other way), but this home run derby is off to a slow start, so Iím going to give it a shot.† One quick qualifier, I did not include many relievers in the predictions and we all know that the relievers are going to make up a good chunk of the moves. †Yes, the Oriole review will be longer than other teams, but that is where my allegiances lie, and its fun to have them being in the mix.
East: The East is just not itís normal self.† The Yanks canít keep Cano?† The Sox are signing 1 and 2 year contracts, and the Jays have money to spend?†† The Rays are being themselves and just waiting to unload the next stud for prospects and the Orioles might actually have the best balance in the division.†
Pick:† Iíll bite.† Iím a homer and I will go with the Oís to win the division and be the only rep in the playoffs.
The Oís reside in first place by 5 in the loss column.† With pitching sort of dominating things, the Oís are winning with offense and by offense I mean the long ball.† The lineup can hold its own, although, it would be nice to get some offense out of the catcher or 2b position.† The starting pitchers are good, but an ace would put them solidly in the mix.† Bundy, Schoop, and M. Wright, for Cliff Lee and Utley?† Donít you have to go for it?† It is more likely that the light workloads of Gausman and Bundy to this point turn them into pitching depth down the stretch.† If you canít get Utley, look at A. Hill, Beckham, or anybody not named Flaherty.
Toronto is another team that is doing it with sticks, but they need the health of Encarnacion and Lind to remain a team that rakes.† They need top of the rotation help as well, but there is not a lot out there.† Hammels can turn down a bunch of locations, and I think heís out.† They probably have to look to a team that is selling high. †Koehler is having a pretty nice season in Miami.† I really have no clue.
The Yanks have lost 4 of the original 5 starters, so that has to be considered a need.† As much as I enjoy seeing these guys down, they still scare me.† They will make a couple of deals for guys who get ďtransformedĒ by putting on the pinstripes.† They wonít go quietly in Jeterís swan song and McCann and Beltran will likely lead the charge since they have been quiet to this point.† Watch for Bartolo Colon to take the subway to the Bronx.† Is Jeterís replacement on the roster or in the system?
The BoSox have the best starters, or at least the best potential starters in the division.† Even down by 9 or 10 games, I donít think they are backing up, but I donít think they look to add either.†† Victorino could add a top of the order bat and the new catcher in town, Vazquez, could pull a Bogarts, and infuse some life into the team.† Peavy may go, but they might look for major league talent, rather than prospects. Starting pitching is on the deep side, so they could look at an OFíer.
Tampa Bay is not done either.† The big prize in Price is not going at the deadline unless they are wowed.† Remember, they were down about this amount with a month to go a couple of years ago.† They pulled that one out on that crazy last night of the season.† They seldom add, so I donít see that, but if they had a rough two weeks after the break, you could see guys like Zobrist, Joyce, and S. Rodriguez on the move.† If they remain in it, then they hope Myers returns as a middle of the order force.
Central: It is shaping up as a two team race, with the Tigers being a prohibitive favorite to shrug off the Royals.† The Royals will keep it close, but Scherzer and Verlander will be better come money time.† The Indians and White Sox have nice pieces, but also have holes.† The Sox look more likely to make changes.† I see the Twins as so bad that they should consider moving Mauer.
Pick: Tigers will pull away late and the Royals will battle Seattle for the last spot in the playoffs.
The Tigers would be the co-favorites to go to the World Series right now, but they have a wart.† There is nothing more demoralizing than losing a game late, and this version of Nathan is not as good as past versions.† Papelbon and Street are the two most prominent names.† Papelbon will cost money, Street would cost a prospect.† How about an old fashion trade of depth?† If the Tigers are like me, they are still wondering if Austin Jackson is going to realize his potential.† Send him to the Mariners for Wilhemsen and mid-level prospect.
The Royals are finally doing what has been expected of them for a few years now.† So what do they need and what do they have to offer?† They need power, but who are you going to replace?† My guess is Aoki, if they can find a taker.† They should make a run at Byrd and offer Aoki and a sweetener.† They may have to eventually take a big swing if they want to catch the Motor City Kitties.
The Indians are not as buried as some teams, but I think they are still in chase mode and would be wise to stand pat, and maybe even sell.† If Lindor is what they expect, then Cabrera is expendable.† The Pirates have put themselves back in the race and could use an upgrade over Mercer at SS.† The Pirates have cranked out OFís lately and they have another one on the horizon named Josh Bell.† Send Cabrera to the Pirates for Bell and Mercer.
Rumor has it that the Pale Hose would move Beckham and maybe Ramirez, but not Quintana.† I suppose that they would take prospects, and most likely pitching help.† Iíd see if I could get an arm from the Giants organization.† They are looking pretty weak at 2nd, and will need everything they can muster to hang with the Dodgers.† The outfield could be crowded next year when Garcia gets back, so I would also listen to offers for DeAza and Tank.
The Twins have some nice pieces in the minors, but I donít think they have anyone that is untouchable.† Iíd even move Mauer for the right package. Some teams might still want him to do some catching and he may return to form doing it.† I think they could find a way to get him to the Dodgers to split time with Ellis, but would probably have to find a third party to get a top flight pitching prospect or two.
West:† I guess I was sleeping on Seattle.† We knew they were spending, but it didnít look like enough early on.† They still will have a hard time overtaking the Angels or Aís, but I think they will sneak into the playoffs.† The Astroís and Rangers are sucking for different reasons, but will both just gulp it down this year and hope for better next year.
Pick: Status quo prevails with The Aís, Angels and Mariners all making the playoffs.
The Aís already made a splash by acquiring the Cub starters, but the Angels are keeping the pressure on and not winning the division puts you in crap shoot mode.† I think they have a wealth of arms in the minors, or recovering from injury, that many teams might covet.† I think they would love a guy like Zobrist, so they could do even more mixing and matching.† Speaking of that, does anyone else remember a team thriving with a three headed catcher?
The Angels need another arm in the rotation, and they would gladly move Smith back to the set-up role if they could acquire a closer.† Money is no object, so they can take a bad contract and not have to give up that much as far as prospects.† Burnett qualifies, but I think heíd retire before moving that far from home.† How about going after a starter that has been sent to the pen in Marco Estrada?† The gopher ball has been his biggest blemish, but the Angels, Aís and Mariners all play in big parks, which might serve him well.†
The Mariners are getting help from an unlikely source in Chris Young.† With young help on the way in Walker and Paxton, they will be as good 1 thru 5 as anyone.† They need a guy to make pitchers pitch to Cano.† Those guys are not usually available, but the Mís could make a run at an upgrade anywhere but 2nd, 3rd and catcher.† I bet Edgar Martinez could still rap a few doubles out there, but you could get a poor manís version with the Padres being more than willing to part with Quentin.†
Houston has actually moved out of the cellar and may stay there.† The youth infusion is getting the familiar results in excitement and growing pains.† Altuve is always on in front of Springer, Singleton and Carter, so there is always a shot at a crooked number, and an even more likely shot at a strikeout.† I donít see a need for a move, but they may take a look at DeShields in the second half.† He and Altuve would wreak havoc at the top of the order.
Ouch is the best word to describe the Rangers.† In other sports, teams would be getting guys off the street to fill rosters if they had this many injuries.† It is hard to tell what you have, when you never get to see it. Iíd listen to offers for Rios.† His .305 is pretty empty with only 4 dingers and his 16 steals looks good, but heís been caught 8 times.† If you really, really, wanted to restock, you could shop Beltre.† He would move to the top of many teams list if he became available.
East:† I think is the Natís to lose, but the Braves will make them earn it, which might actually help them in the end.† The Braves need to make more contact to realize their full potential.† I have no idea what the Phillies and Mets may look like after the deadline, but I donít expect much improvement.† The Marlins are hoarding their money for the next time they decide to compete.
Pick: Nats by a couple over the Braves, with both advancing to the playoffs.
The Nats are percentage points ahead and have the best looking team in the divisionÖ on paper.† Anyone who has seen Zimmerman throw recently knows that it may be hard for him to stay there all year.† Espinosa gives them depth in case they have to play Rendon there. †They would love to move McLouthís two year contract, and would take a bag of balls to do it.† They need the Phenom to wake up if they want to combat the teams out west.
The Braves are right there as well.† It looks like they have to find a home for Uggla, even if LaStella is not the answer. †The injuries have eliminated wiggle room in the rotation and pen, so depth would work.† I donít think they are buyers, so maybe they look up Capuano or another starter/reliever type off the scrap heap and hope for the best.† Chris Johnsonís season last year is looking like an aberration.
The Mets are a surprising third, and Collins is managing for his job, but they are sellers.† Colon will go and I believe EY and Dice-K may as well.† They could just get marginal prospects for them separately, but if they packaged them both, they might get something useful.† Most likely the biggest news will be the Syndergaard watch and whether Harvey gets to see the hill near the end of the season.†
Miami will listen to good offers for Stanton, but I donít think he goes.† They are sellers and they should probably sell high on McGehee.† Heíd be a good bat off the bench for contender and might be better than anything the Yankees have trotted out to third this year.† The Yanks have 5 catchers on the 40 man roster, so pick one.
The Phils are talked about pretty regularly as sellers and I think they would like to move some guys that may be hard to move.† The big N would be a great candidate to send away, but his contract (and more recently his ability) makes him a tough sell.† I think he is under contract through 2016, so he has about 60 million reasons to stay put.† I see one team with the need and the funds, and that would be the Mariners.† They could get him for next to nothing if they soaked up the lionís share of the contract.† Rollins would go to a contender if offered as well.† Someone will also take a shot on Papelbon.
Central: This will be the best division to watch for the remainder of the season.† MLB could get another photo finish here.† Losses to key components are keeping some teams from their full potential.† Molina is a huge loss, as are Phillips and Votto.† I thought they would both represent the central, but now I think it is a true race.† The Cubs can pull out the annual slogan of ďWait til next yearĒ.
Picks: The division turns ordinary and only the winner of the division advances.† Give me the Buckos this year.† (If Cole is not out long)
The Brewers lead the way, but are nearly swooning.† I think they are happy enough with Gennet that they would send Weeks if they could.† Weeks has been better this year and there are teams with needs at the position.† His contract expires at the end of the year, so it could be a true loaner.†† I have mentioned the Giants as a team in need of a 2b, so maybe Weeks is the guy.† The rotation has to stay on track to keep the Brewers atop the division.
The Cards have to figure out how to weather the loss of Yaddy.† They have lost a lot of their pitching depth, so they donít have those chips stashed.† Maybe they can do a three way with the Dodgers and Twins.† Twins send Mauer to the Dodgers.† Dodgers send A.J. Ellis to Cards, Twins get Garcia from the Cards and Zach Lee and VanSlyke from the Dodgers.
The Reds are tough to get a grasp on.† They make bad teams look good and good teams look bat at times.† So, do they choose to look for rentals for Phillips and Votto during their injuries?† My guess is no.† I donít think they are deep enough to sell either, so I think they cross their fingers on their studs returning in time.
The Pirates have worked their way back in this thing and they got Liriano back just before the all-star break.† They got a sniff of the playoffs last year and I have a feeling they make a plunge.† They should add A. Cabrera or A. Ramirez to play SS.† It is out there to be had, so make the big move.
The Cubs have already sold, so we can safely say that they could deal again.† Guys with value include Coghlan, Barney, Valbuena and Villanueva for depth.† Dealing Castro would make sense, since they have two of the top 4 rated SSís in the minors now.† But, he got paid, so he is not easy to deal.† Would he go play third for the Yanks until next year?† It would take a top pitching prospect, or a pitcher under team control for a few years to get the talks started.
West: You can say Dodgers and Giants every year and have an 80% or better chance of being right in the division.† The Giants usually make an under the radar move that works out.
Pick: The Dodgers win it, and the Giants play the Braves in the play in game.
The Dodgers are loaded, but can they resist doing anything with the Giants hot on their tail?† I mentioned them in a deal that might improve their catching, but they also get mentioned in Price rumors.† If they are truly going to be the west coast Yankees, they will move the top two guys in Seeger and Pederson to make it happen.
I mentioned earlier that the Giants might look for an upgrade at 2b.† They could likely get a good one by dealing Escobar who made an appearance in the Futures Game.† They mostly just need for Cain to be the guy he had been from 2007 to 2012.† If they get in, they become dangerous in a short series.
The Dads are out of it and people are asking about Kennedy and Street.† Street will likely go, but I think they hold on to Kennedy unless someone makes them an offer they canít refuse.† Headly has also been mentioned, along with Quentin, but they are not doing much to make themselves wanted.† A team could take a shot on them with hopes that a better park and the prospect of competing for a title would motivate them.
Colorado will get offers for DeLarosa, but I think he is reasonably priced and has proved he can pitch in the thin air.† Hawkins might bring the best haul for a team in need.† Throwing Tuloís name out there would get hits from nearly everyone, but it would take a lot.† They will sell something, but after the ownerís comments the other day, it would be a pretty dumb time to purge too much.
I wish better for Kurt Gibson, but I am afraid he is not long for this team.† If they are sellers, who are they selling?† Well, Hill played well for the better half of two years after arriving in AZ.† I think I would play it up that a change of scenery helped his career and try to ship him.† I think the Oís would listen? †Cody Ross has been on some winning teams and might lend some leadership to a team trying to get there with a young roster.
That is all I can come up with for now.† We know some teams are going to give Soriano and Pierzynski a call, but both would need nearly a perfect fit.† I am really curious to see who is going to make up all the set up trades at the deadline.† I hope you enjoyed my boredom, so for Wil, this is Cross signing out.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Schmidt Conference
Canaan Polar Bears:
Cleveland Hit Men:
Kalamazoo Black Knights:
Sparrow Lake Stallions:
Gulf Breeze Aardvarks:
Magic City Maulers:
North York Warthogs:
Three Mile Island Tigers:
Green Mountain Canucks:
New England Elite:
Muncie Black Wolf:
East York 66erís:
York First Capitols: