National League Post-Deadline Preview
National League Post-Deadline Preview
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 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.
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.
2. Braves (Wild Card)
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.
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.
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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