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National League Post-Deadline Preview

National League Post-Deadline Preview

National League Post-Deadline Preview

This Ain't a Scene, It's An Arms Race (Part Two)


NL Central:

This year, the Pirates feel right.  They picked up Wandy Rodriguez from Houston, Andrew McCutchen is playing like a MVP, the bullpen has been pieced together nicely, and Starling Marte is on the roster.  They take on the Reds and the Cardinals for the NL Central title.  

The Reds are in first on strength of their pitching staff.  Aroldis Chapman is a bona fide closer and Johnny Cueto is quietly having a great season.  So great that I am going to toss the phrase "Cy Young" out there.  If he keeps this up and his Reds win the NL Central, he should win the National League Cy Young.  

The Birds can hit like there is no tomorrow.  Lance Lynn has been outstanding in the rotation this year.  The Birds, however, need to make a move for an arm.  Here's what they had last season that they do not have today.  A Colby Rasmus-esque position player who is expendable and that they could dangle around the trade market to get the relief pitching that wins championships.  Believe me, if the Cardinals do not win a World Series without that trade, Scrabble, Octavio Dotel and Edwin Jackson were the secret sauce.  Currently, their bullpen is nothing after Jason Motte.


The Birds have to dangle something valuable to get arms.  Or else they will be the 2006 White Sox.  A defending champ that finishes third behind two better teams while boasting a great lineup and a popular third baseman who just so happens to be a World Series hero.  Tyler Greene can play the role of Brian Anderson.  One thing that does swing in their favor, though, is having the best run differential in baseball.


Eyes will also be on the shores of Lake Michigan north of Madison Street in Chicago.  The Cubs and the Brewers are arms dealers in the Midwest.  Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Zack Grienke and Randy Wolf.  They will all change colors in the next week, I would imagine.  Welcome to Grienke-Mania.  The White Sox, Rangers, Dodgers, Angels and Braves are the most likely suitors for Grienke.  I've heard the Red Sox thrown into those rumors, but my advice to the Red Sox remains the same.  Sell.  
Milwaukee is brewing up a fire sale.  


Projected Finish
1. Pirates
2. Reds
3. Cardinals
4. Cubs
5. Brewers
6. Astros


NL East:


It seems so long ago was the day the Mets were taking headlines from the struggling Yankees.  Now the Mets are more than 10 games out of first.  Props to the Metropolitans for making R.A. Dickey's knuckleball a "thing."  He now replaces Tim Wakefield as Major League Baseball's Flagship knuckleballer.  Now the Mets are between buying and selling.  They will sell something by the deadline


Miami has already sold and Philadelphia is coming to grips with their role as losers this season.  After moving Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante, which netted them a great return, the Marlins could be looking to move several players.  Among said players are Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Carlos Lee, Gaby Sanchez and Heath Bell.  After watching The Franchise, I've grown fond of Heath throughout his trying season.  I'm sure given an opportunity in the second half, Bell will be a solid setup guy.  I would say the Yankees would pick him up, but Rafael Soriano is setting the league on fire.  


Philly may just be stubborn and eat this season up and make no deadline moves.  I have a feeling they will move Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino and/or Hunter Pence.  The Phillies have depleted their farm system in their attempt to build a dynasty.  They need to get some of it back.


All I can say about the Braves is that they are going to make a move.  Washington's kids are going to face adversity this season.  I believe that the guys in D.C. have the intestinal fortitude to win their division though.  Remember that the Nats are the best in the National League, but they can easily slip and fall in this league.


Projected Finish


1. Nationals
2. Braves (Wild Card)
3. Phillies
4. Mets
5. Marlins



NL West: 


Arizona has been identified as sellers.    6.5 Games out as of Friday morning and the best run differential in their division.  Sellers.  Ryan Roberts has been moved.  Justin Upton rumors have swirled.  My advice is that if you guys want to sell, go for it.  Keep Miguel Montero, Justin Upton, Paul Goldschmidt, Gerardo Parra, Trevor Cahill, David Hernandez, Wade Miley and Ian Kennedy together in Phoenix.  Dangle J.J. Putz, Jason Kubel and Aaron Hill on the trade market and try to build up your farm system.


Plan B is to find viable replacements for Stephen Drew and Chris Young, man up as a team and make a run at the playoffs.  Perhaps making a move for an arm, seeing that it is now officially open season on starting pitchers.

If Arizona wants to make a move, they must act quickly.  They are in Cleveland's situation.  However, instead of adding marginal talent, they have subtracted marginal talent.  As far as I know, the Dodgers are not content with merely acquiring Randy Choate and Hanley Ramirez.  They will make another move and so will the Giants.

Speaking of LA and San Francisco, the bitter rivals will play this weekend by the Bay.  The Giants are probably the only team who do not need to make a move for an arm to make the postseason.  In fact, if Tim Lincecum can return to form down the stretch, that will be the equivalent of making a move for an arm.  Having a solid core in the lineup consisting of Melky Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey to complement baseball's best bullpen of the last few seasons makes San Francisco the most complete team in California.


As for the Dodgers, their lineup can carry them if they can get it together.  Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez have the potential to get hot and carry this team down the stretch.  I have a feeling that LA will make one more move.


Projected Finish:


1. Giants
2. Dodgers
3. Diamondbacks
4. Padres
5. Rockies


In conclusion, this next week is an arms race.  There are currently 19 teams that are contending by my count.  10 of them will make the playoffs.  Where certain players, particularly starting pitchers, are moved will decide who makes it to October.

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By Dailyshootout
Sunday, 5 Aug 2012

 

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Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals

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