Primed For The Deadline: AL Needs and Wants

Baseball publishers from around the network got together to kick around some potential scenarios for the teams that they cover. Here's what they came up with when they looked into the trade deadline crystal ball.

Baltimore Orioles
By Michael Hollman

Buyer, seller or undecided: Seller. The Orioles look destined for a tenth losing season in a row. With Andy MacPhail now at the helm, all indications are that fans will have to endure yet another rebuilding process.

What the Orioles want: Position players. The Orioles have pitching depth in the minor leagues but only a few position players that look like potential regulars. While the big league pitching has finally come around, their offense has been disappointing. With several contracts set to come off the books in 2009, it's imperative that they have a few young guys to turn to.

What the Orioles have to offer: Middling veterans. With Miguel Tejada on the Disabled List, the Orioles have few impact players to deal. Peter Angelos has already nixed deals for Brian Roberts and Erik Bedard and Jeremy Guthrie are under club control for a while, so any trades made are unlikely to be for premium prospects. Players like Steve Trachsel or Corey Patterson could net a small return. Even pitchers Daniel Cabrera or Chris Ray, who both have enormous ceilings despite their mixed results, could be on the table.

Boston Red Sox
By Jerry Beach

Buyer, seller or undecided: Buying all the way. Despite their gaudy lead in the AL East, the Red Sox have cooled considerably lately (19-21 in their last 40 games through Wednesday) and need to shore up some areas in order to compete for the AL pennant.

What the Red Sox want: What everyone else wants: Pitching. Julian Tavarez stamped his ticket out of the rotation over his last five starts, during which he went 0-4 and failed to last six innings once. And erstwhile veteran Tim Wakefield is 6-6 with a 6.48 ERA in his last 12 starts. Closer Jonathan Papelbon and set-up man Hideki Okajima have been brilliant, but the Sox have yet to find a reliable right-handed reliever to work in front of the dominant duo. The Sox could also use another bat, but the only players with value are their hottest hitters: Mike Lowell and Coco Crisp. Moving them might not be the best idea, chemistry-wise.

The Sox are hopeful the answers to their pitching needs can come from within. Curt Schilling, on the DL since June 22 with right shoulder tendonitis, is expected to provide a nice symbolic boost by returning July 31 or Aug. 1. Homegrown left-hander Kason Gabbard was brilliant in a three-hit shutout July 16 and will likely stay in the rotation at Tavarez' expense. Reliever Manny Delcarmen has allowed only two runs while whiffing 15 in 13 2/3 innings over the last month and might finally be harnessing his outstanding stuff.

Boston Red Sox' prospect Jacoby Ellsbury won't be going anywhere, so there's no sense asking about him or Clay Buchholz.
What the Red Sox have to offer: Don't even ask about Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Sox aren't moving the top two prospects in the chain and will likely promote both to the big league club Sept. 1. Nor is Jon Lester likely to be dealt. But the Sox have several major league-ready players at Triple-A who could help another team immediately, including outfielders Brandon Moss and David Murphy and pitchers David Pauley and Devern Hansack. A team with patience and a gambler's streak could take a chance on reliever Craig Hansen, a former first-round draft pick with a high-90s fastball who has been completely lost for the last year.

Chicago White Sox
By Keith Glab

Buyer, seller or undecided: Big time seller, particularly after having signed Mark Buehrle to a long-term deal.

What the White Sox want: GM Kenny Williams wants young pitching and nothing else, even though there is a much greater dearth of hitting prospects in the organization. Williams believes that if he has enough arms, he can use that surplus to acquire more sticks.

What the White Sox have to offer: Because of Williams' views on pitching, he is asking an awful lot for Jon Garland and Jose Contreras. Both pitchers have reasonable contracts by today's market standards. Williams will probably get his asking price, too, because there is so little pitching available right now.

The Sox will also dangle Tadahito Iguchi and Jermaine Dye to anyone who's interested, as they will both become free agents at season's end. The Padres and Mets in particular both covet Dye despite his poor showing in the first half.

Cleveland Indians
By Chuck Murr

Buyer, seller or undecided: Heading to the trading deadline, the Cleveland Indians are eager to improve their bullpen, possibly add a veteran bat, and are in buying mode.

Cleveland Indians GM Mark Shapiro doesn't figure to stand still as the trade deadline approaches. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
What the Indians want: General manager Mark Shapiro will make moves to bolster the club, which is battling Detroit for supremacy in the AL Central and in position to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2001. But he will not break the bank by taking on outrageous contracts nor mortgage the future by trading away the organization's top prospects.

What the Indians have to offer: Teams inquiring about right-hander Adam Miller, lefty Chuck Lofgren or shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera won't get far in discussions about those minor-leaguers unless they are willing to significantly overpay with talent.

Cleveland does have players to part with, though injuries to minor-league pitchers Brian Slocum, J.D. Martin and Tony Sipp have detracted from their marketability.

It is doubtful Cleveland would break up its core group of big-league players, but could deal one of its two young outfielders with similar skill sets in right-handers Franklin Gutierrez and Ben Francisco or two veteran left-handed outfielders in David Dellucci and Trot Nixon.

A club looking for a veteran presence could get either of the two lefties, though Dellucci is sidelined until August after hamstring surgery. Gutierrez or Francisco provide an option for a club seeking some speed and defense in return for a bullpen part.

Opening day third baseman Andy Marte or possibly left-hander Jeremy Sowers, both back at Triple-A Buffalo, could be available. Former first-round picks Brad Snyder and Trevor Crowe along with minor-league veteran Jon Van Every are minor-league outfielders who could be part of a package.

Detroit Tigers
By Paul Wezner

Buyer, seller or undecided: Buyer

What the Tigers want: The Tigers are mainly going to be focused on bolstering their bullpen, especially with the status of both Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya uncertain. The Tigers also could potentially look for an upgrade in left field or at first base, but the priority will be the ‘pen.

What the Tigers have to offer: The Tigers have a number of arms at the Double-A and Triple-A level that might not necessarily yet be big league ready, but are definitely big league arms. Virgil Vasquez, Eulogio de la Cruz, Jordan Tata, Dallas Trahern and Jair Jurrjens are just a few of the names that will be discussed.

Kansas City Royals
By Dave Sanford

Buyer, seller, or undecided: Seller. Though the Royals have played solid baseball for the last two months, they dug an enormous hole with a horrid April, and contention this season is not in the cards. The Royals should look to move some of their veteran players in exchange for prospects as the deadline approaches.

What the Royals want: General Manager Dayton Moore spent the first year of his tenure stockpiling as much young pitching as he could get his hands on, and that will likely remain the focus of any trades this summer. With the struggles of Ryan Shealy, the Royals have also exposed a hole at first base that they may try to fill via trade. Additionally, Mark Grudzielanek is 37-years old, and the Royals have little depth in the upper minors at second base.

Would the Kansas City Royals consider dealing young outfielder David DeJesus?
What the Royals have to offer: It would probably be easier to list the players who the Royals would not consider trading. Indeed, there are likely few untouchables on the Royals' roster not named Gordon or Butler, as Moore has made clear that he will consider any trade that makes the team better. Most likely to be dealt are Octavio Dotel and Reggie Sanders. Dotel is attracting interest from a number of clubs, and Sanders could be a decent right handed bat off the bench for a contending club, provided he proves over the next two weeks that he's fully recovered from an early season hamstring injury. Emil Brown could also be an option for a team looking for a right handed bat. On the mound, the Royals were ready to send Leo Nunez to the A's for Milton Bradley until that trade fell through, and the emergence of lefties John Bale and Neal Musser could also make Jimmy Gobble available. Finally, if the Royals are looking to acquire a high impact prospect, they could feasibly trade either David DeJesus or Zack Greinke, although the club is not actively shopping either player.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
By Denis Savage

Buyer, seller or undecided: Buyer. The rotation is a major concern, despite the team's dominance in the division. They are not willing to mortgage the future to get any piece of the puzzle. With so many injuries this season, the Angels have utilized many of the young pieces stranded in Triple-A and many have proved they can hold down the fort for short spells with long term gain in the future.

What the Angels want: Pitchers – preferably starters. Two of the starting five has been trouble spots. They hope Bartolo Colon finds his rhythm but there are concerns that he will never be the same pitcher prior to injury. The relief corps could also use a boost but it will be on the bargain bin that the team looks for value.

Of course, there is always the chance they go after the likes of Teixeira, but general manager Bill Stoneman has been loathe to pay the price in the past and may pass this time with a comfortable lead.

What the Angels have to offer: The ineffectiveness of Ervin Santana landed him in Triple-A and he can be had in a package deal for a veteran starter. He still has loads of talent but stopped listening to the advice of the pitching staff – especially with Bud Black gone. Prospect Jose Arredondo hit the doghouse earlier this season and could be had – he has immense talent that could be harnessed into something special.

Oakland A's
By Melissa Lockard

Buyer, seller or undecided: Sellers. The A's will try to remain competitive while trading away players who are not a part of the team's 2008 plans; however, with Seattle and Los Angeles playing well, it will be an uphill battle for the A's to compete. Most of their trades will be with an eye for 2008.

What the A's want: The A's will be looking for young major league talent or major league-ready minor league talent to help them in a few key areas: bullpen, back of the rotation and on offense.

What the A's have to offer: Jason Kendall is already gone. The following players are likely to be available, as well: Mike Piazza, Joe Kennedy, Esteban Loaiza (if he can get back on the mound fast enough), Kiko Calero, Dan Johnson and Bobby Kielty.

Texas Rangers
By John Vittas

Buyer, seller or undecided: Although the general consensus amongst fans and media alike is that the Rangers will go into the trade deadline as sellers, nobody within the organization is ready to officially say it. The club is coming off a stretch of inspired play that has seen them post the third best record in baseball since June 13th and, for what it's worth, is filled with momentum coming into the second half of the season.

What the Rangers want: With the trade of Mark Teixeira likely looming on the horizon, the Rangers will be searching for a first base ready prospect to fill the void left by his probable departure. And pitching, as always, is an area of concern for the ballclub. During this recent stretch of good baseball, the starting rotation has performed better than it had earlier in the season, but the team earned run average remains high at 5.08, the second worst in the American League.

What the Rangers have to offer: Aside from the aforementioned Teixeira, the back end of the bullpen tandem of Akinori Otsuka and Eric Gagne have been involved in an endless amount of trade rumors. But with the team performing better, the Rangers may find themselves thinking twice about dealing one of the most successful set-up man/closer combos in baseball. There's also a fair amount of veteran leadership elsewhere on the team in guys like Kevin Millwood or a resurgent Sammy Sosa that could be dealt for younger prospects.

Recently, interest in Kenny Lofton has heated up as well. With Marlon Byrd staying hot, the belief is Texas is ready to try the nearly 30-year old in centerfield, which would make the 40-year old Lofton expendable.

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