A six-part series that will cover every team in the majors, What You'll See at the Trading Deadline is a blog worked on by FanNation users Dudeman, Gu3, and thehemogoblin. This blog will be released Monday through Saturday, with each blog covering a certain division. Day three covers the AL West.
Wednesday, July 2nd: AL West
Thursday, July 3rd: NL East
Friday, July 4th: NL Central
Saturday, July 5th: NL West
Los Angeles Angels
Dudeman's Take: I consider the Angels as the best balanced team in MLB. They have the pitching, they have a pretty good lineup, and a great bullpen. This team doesn't have many weaknesses on the pitching side. John Lackey is a great ace, Joe Saunders is underrated, Ervin Santana has emerged and K-rod looks unstoppable. The offense could use a slugger so don't be surprised if the Angels go after Dye or if they inquire about Prince Fielder. That could be the final piece to the puzzle for the Angels, who have a comfortable division lead, and one of the best records in the majors. They could possibly be the next team to win the World Series.
Gu3's Take: The Los Angeles can be and is viewed by many as the best team in the American League and could very well represent them in the World Series. However, they need to be able to contend with the powerhouse that is the Boston Red Sox. That one extra ace or power bat in the Angels line-up could provide them with a needed boost to face the Sox. As i said earlier, Thome, Konerko, or Dye could very well be on the market. They can use either of these players to play as a DH and platoon at a position. Or, they could decide to go the pitching route by going after Sabathia, Burnett, or Bedard. Either way they do, they have the pieces to make the move.
Hemo's Take: The Anaheim Angels (as a god-fearing Mariners fan, I have to refer to them that way) are already cruising through the AL West en route to yet another playoff berth, barring a catastrophic collapse a la 1995. Flush with quality position players at every position save catcher and a pitching staff whose worst starter is Jered Weaver and has quality relievers top to bottom, the Angels are in a position where if they don't acquire any players, they still match up favorably to any team in baseball. Some power from third base could be used, but that may disturb the offensive chemistry that the Angels have built.
Dudeman's Take: The A's are on the road to being a good team in the future, but they could still use a couple good, young pitchers. Don't expect them to relax when the deadline comes around. Remember, they are run by Billy Beane, and we all know how active he is every year around the trade deadline. They won't have enough to make a bid for C.C. Sabathia, but they may go for pitchers that are reliable and don't have high price tags. They will be very active at the trading deadline.
Gu3's Take: The Oakland Athletics are hot, but only right now. This isnt going to last very long. They dont have the superstar they need to be able to make the playoffs. A very unsteady infield is a huge part of these problems. Eric Chavez had some minor league send downs this year, Mark Ellis isnt a hitter who can stay hot for a long time, Crosby was thought to be the next Tejada but he wasnt, and Daric Barton... is... who? They also dont have a starting pitching staff. When your ace is Joe Blanton, you dont expect to go far. The A's are relatively young, but they have dead weight. Sell it while they can.
Hemo's Take: The Oakland Athletics are always players at the trade deadline whether buying or selling, and 2008 will be no exception for GM Billy Beane. However, Beane is in a less common setting at this time of the year for him (albeit he's a seller a lot during the offseason), and he could be looking to dispatch Joe Blanton, Justin Duchscherer, Alan Embree (always coveted left-handed relievers), Keith Foulke, Chad Gaudin, Eric Chavez, Mark Ellis, Mike Sweeney and Frank Thomas should all be available for reasonable prices. Even enigma supreme and former top prospect Rich Harden could be had for a team looking to take a chance on an injury-prone yet talented starter. It should be quite a busy July in Oakland.
Dudeman's Take: Can anyone tell me the biggest disappointment in MLB this season? If you said the Mariners, you are 100% correct. The Mariners were supposed to be contenders for the AL West title and the AL Wildcard. That's out of the picture right now, as the Mariners are a horrible 28-50 and are a horrendous 20 games out of both the AL West title and AL Wildcard. They have a bad offense and their pitching is inconsistent except for King Felix. Expect this team to shop Erik Bedard and go after young bats. They will be very busy this trade deadline.
Gu3's Take: What does 28-50 get you? Well, it gets YOU nothing; but it gets others far. The Mariners are a very talented team that couldnt get it done. They have the best pure hitter in the MLB in Ichiro, a good young strikeout pitcher in Erik Bedard, a good hitting outfielder in Ibanez, a young, powerhitting third baseman in Beltre, and key players that can help any other team in Cairo, Johjima, Sexson, Bloomquist, and Betancourt. I can see Cairo being traded back to the Yankees or Red Sox to help then in the infield. Also, other players can be traded to contenders for younger players. Bedard is a hot deal right now and he could possibly be going to Tampa, Chicago, or Boston.
Hemo's incredibly depressed Take: The Seattle Mariners went from American League contenders to Major League cellar-dwellers in just one disastrous month of April. Having already fired GM Bill Bavasi and manager John McLaren, one can assume that every player on that roster except Ichiro, Brandon Morrow and Jeff Clement is for sale, and on the cheap as well. The Mariners better hope that someone decides to take some of their contracts off of their hands, if nothing else, to clear space for minor leaguers to get their crack at the big show.
Dudeman's Take: The Rangers have the AL MVP as of right now in the suprising Josh Hamilton. He leads the AL in homers and RBIs. He's 2/3 of the way to the Triple Crown, but no worries, the AL leader in batting average is also on this team - Milton Bradley. What kills this team is their pitching...their terrible, terrible pitching. This team will not contend for ANYTHING if their pitching continues to flat out suck liike it has. They need to go after a few pitchers to try and make a run for the AL Wildcard. I think it's to late for them to win it, but they can set themselves up for a great run deep into the postseason only if their offense shows up next year like it has this year and they have decent pitching.
Gu3's Take: The Texas Rangers have seen some of the best breakout players of the year. Josh Hamilton has played amazing and given the Rangers a head start. However, I do not expect this to stay the same. Kinsler is also hot and he may coast off a little, but he will still hit. They wont win the division or the wild card, but they may finish over .500. Keep your key players here. Upgrade for the future. You need pitching, get some of that.
Hemo's Take: Concluding our segment for the AL, the Texas Rangers are a team with one of the most successful offenses in the majors, and a pitching staff that is one of the worst in the majors. They're going to face a crossroads that many other teams are facing: do they sell off their hitting talent for more pitching, or do they keep their hitting and try the free agent market? You know just as well as I do that we don't know what they will do until they get there.