From the Windup is Matt Snyder's extended look at some aspect of America's pastime each Thursday.
With the recent news that Mark DeRosa is on the trade block and the White Sox have possibly landed Jake Peavy, junkies of major league baseball trade rumors got an early glimpse at what promises to be a very interesting July. It's far to0 early to know exactly who will be in the market for what -- or who can afford to take on temporary payroll in this economy -- but it's certainly fun to speculate. Let's do it.
Here's a very quick-hit and mostly speculative look at the teams who may be looking to play the role of buyer a month from now and where they'll need to improve:
[Huge Ed. Note: Jake Peavy has to agree to his trade to the White Sox, so, since this piece was entirely written before the rumor even broke, we'll leave him in -- just in case he rejects the deal]
Toronto Blue Jays -- They are in a very good position to upgrade by dealing pitching. Once Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum and Jesse Litsch get healthy, the Jays will have an absolute litany of young starting pitching -- something always greatly craved on the trade market. They could use an upgrade at first base over Lyle Overbay (Todd Helton and Nick Johnson could work -- as would Adrian Gonzalez?!?) should they be inclined to deal.
Boston Red Sox -- They have another month, but if David Ortiz doesn't start producing they might want a big bat. Matt Holliday could be a fit if he starts hitting with more authority. (Cough, Adrian Gonzalez, cough)
New York Yankees -- The bridge to Mariano Rivera hasn't been sturdy, so they might have to look for setup help. Otherwise, the Bombers appear to be on the right track with the return of A-Rod along with Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia heating up. Add in a return of the old Chien-Ming Wang, and they probably have everything else in house.
Tampa Bay Rays -- They probably have to stand pat due to many circumstances, but dealing Jeff Niemann -- once David Price comes up -- for some late bullpen help would work.
Detroit Tigers -- They're in an interesting situation. They have a few really bad contracts (Nate Robertson and possibly Magglio Ordonez), and they are pretty deep across the diamond. Maybe they can move Ordonez's contract for some back-end bullpen help and outfield depth? They also might have to find an option to replace Armando Galarraga eventually, should they get serious about 2009.
Kansas City Royals -- The offense just isn't cutting it, and they can't rely on Alex Gordon's return to give a huge spike since he still hasn't shown the ability to star in the bigs. They do have a lot of guys who should be hitting better, but it couldn't hurt to upgrade offensively at shortstop (Orlando Cabrera?) or grab a big bat like Aubrey Huff.
Minnesota Twins -- Their starting pitching has been just dreadful (think they'd take back that Matt Garza for Delmon Young swap?). Still, most of their arms are young and I can't see them making much of an effort for a rental. If they have to wait until next year to contend, they will.
Chicago White Sox -- This is the least predictable team out there. You could actually argue they should be sellers (Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye) and start building around the youth (Carlos Quentin, John Danks, Josh Fields, Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham). General manager Kenny Williams has been trying to toe the line of rebuilding while still staying competitive for the past year and a half, and it might be time to just commit. We'll see how they fare in the next month. [and, of course, I wrote this last night -- and today they may have landed Peavy. As I said, unpredictable as all get-out]
Texas Rangers -- Look for the Rangers to drive hard after Ben Sheets once he proves he's healthy, and that's probably the only move they'll make. They are set up awfully well to continue to grow while staying in the race this year. There's no reason to mortgage any future -- and it's very bright -- for a short-term rental.
Los Angeles Angels -- Getting back John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Kelvim Escobar and Vladimir Guerrero at different times under various circumstances is going to be like landing a monster trade package for nothing. If they need an offensive boost they could always try Brandon Wood at third and Chone Figgins back at second. They should challenge Texas without having to make a deal.
Philadelphia Phillies -- They could use another solid bat off the bench, but the starting offense is freaking loaded. The problem that could arise is in the starting rotation. Will they kick the tires on Erik Bedard or Cliff Lee? Maybe they try to call the Blue Jays about one of their overabundance?
New York Mets -- It's all about first base right now with Carlos Delgado being injured. Reports indicate their wish list contains Johnson, Huff and DeRosa. If they don't make a quick-fix deal before July, they should consider throwing a ton of prospects to the Padres for Gonzalez. There's no indication the Padres would consider dealing Gonzalez, but why not just try to blow them away with prospects? Can you imagine that lineup with Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Gonzalez for the foreseeable future?
Atlanta Braves -- Offense has been a serious issue thus far. Between their current rotation, Tommy Hanson, Kris Medlen, and the injured Tom Glavine and Tim Hudson, the Braves have plenty of starting pitching. Perhaps they can use some of this to put a legitimate power hitter at first base or replace Jeff Francoeur in right field (Holliday, Huff or Garrett Atkins could be considered. Also, why not inquire with the White Sox about Dye?). A true closer couldn't hurt either. Of course, if they fall far behind the Mets and Phillies there's no reason to give away a huge package like they did for Teixeira.
Milwaukee Brewers -- It's hard to imagine Braden Looper and Dave Bush -- or even Jeff Suppan -- continuing to pitch like this. The Brewers offense is loaded and they are still prospect rich with position players. Do they make a run at Bedard or Lee? Neither are the '09 version of Sabathia, but they don't need near as big a shot in the arm this time around.
Chicago Cubs -- Everything is contingent on the sale of the team right now. Should it be completed sometime in early July and the new ownership group (the Ricketts family) allow an expanded payroll, expect the Cubs to be very active. They could look to upgrade at second base with the way Mike Fontenot has struggled, and the bullpen would work much better with a better closer than Kevin Gregg -- while still allowing Carlos Marmol to stay in his "put out the fire" role. Dare I dream they find a way to bring DeRosa and Kerry Wood back (hey, don't dismiss sentiment)? Finally, you can bet they'll be in on the Peavy sweepstakes, should he reject the deal to the South Side. In fact, they'll be the front-runner should the ownership situation get sorted out.
St. Louis Cardinals -- Aside from Albert Pujols, their infield is a mess. They do have good depth, just no real solid everyday starters. As they wait on Brett Wallace to take over third base next season, do they pull the trigger on a rental with an expiring contract like Adrian Beltre or DeRosa (or both)? Perhaps they give Atkins a change of scenery?
Cincinnati Reds -- This is moot if Joey Votto continues to have issues with dizziness. They can't stay competitive without him. With him, they are still missing a big bopper, and left field is a good place to put one. Do they dare deal with Billy Beane and throw Holliday in left? If the White Sox give up on Dye, he'd fit as well.
Houston Astros -- Make no mistake about it, this team will not be in the race. However, their owner, Drayton McLane, has a history of being delusional when it comes to his team's chances at a postseason run. Should they continue to hang close to .500, don't be surprised if they buy an overpriced veteran or two. When it happens, please laugh along with me. They are going to be flat-out embarrassing come 2011 and 2012 because of how they've bled their farm system dry in the name of staying average.
Los Angeles Dodgers -- They probably don't want to count on Eric Milton, Eric Stults, Jeff Weaver or Jason Schmidt for the five spot in the starting rotation. It's doubtful they'd be able to land Peavy from a division foe (again, if he rejects the deal to the White Sox), but what about Lee or Bedard? Jarrod Washburn could work, but they'd probably be better served to just stick with Stults at this point. [whispering] Manny's gonna be a huge offensive upgrade in July, again.
San Francisco Giants -- If they want to hang close to the Dodgers or wild card, they'll need more offense -- namely power. Their best power hitter is their catcher. You can't contend that way. They need it in the corner outfield spots, but could use an offensive-oriented upgrade at second base as well. DeRosa would work, as he could be plugged pretty much anywhere, but that probably still wouldn't be enough. If Holliday, Ordonez or Dye become available, though, it would be a nice fit. There would be questions with adding payroll here, too.
So, let's have a little fun. In the comments section, what do you want your favorite team to do this year? Do any of the above options excite you or make you worried?