As the trade deadline approaches, every contending team needs something. Even the best teams in baseball have glaring needs to fill. Even the clubs that just improved greatly still need some quick fixes. The beauty of deadline deals are that the little moves are always the ones that matter the most. That little bench guy who comes up with a big hit, that defensive sub that saves a game, and that no-name reliever that works out of a bases loaded/no out jam in Game 7. July 31st is the day when every club labels themselves, takes a risk, and either pushes the button or lets his team be for the stretch run. These are the top 10 moves that would make sense and help a team trying to claw their way to October glory.
10. Brewers Trade For Chad Bradford- The magic that the Orioles had for the first half of the season appears to have faded away. Which means that they should start unloading the veteran pieces now before they completely fall apart. The bullpen has a couple of seasoned guys that many teams would enjoy having. Danys Baez, Jamie Walker, and George Sherrill being among them. But the most attractive to teams would be Chad Bradford. Danys Baez has never been able to put it together in his career, Jamie Walker has been overworked the past few years, and George Sherrill has fallen back to earth hard since his surprising start (6 blown saves this year). The Brewers still need a bullpen arm or 2 in the worst possible way. Salomon Torres has been a pleasant discovery as closer thus far (2.83 ERA, 15 Saves) but other than that the bullpen has been one step away from a mess. Eric Gagne is terrible, Guillermo Mota would be a good pitcher if steroids were still legal, and David Riske hasn't done much. Bradford would give the bullpen a killer lefty/righty pitching combo between Brain Shouse (who's been fantastic) and obviously Bradford. He also has the experience and stuff to set up and spot close.
9. Red Sox Trade For Yorvit Torrealba- Jason Varitek and Kevin Cash, the two Red Sox catchers, are batting a combined .231 with 9 homeruns and 39 RBIs. While it's not a huge deal, the catching position has become almost an automatic out in the batting line-up. I know Kevin Cash is a far better hitter than Doug Mirabelli was but that isn't saying much at all. And Varitek, lets face it, can't hit anymore. He either gets behind or underneath everything, causing weak ground balls and lazy pop ups. The Rockies have been wanting to trade Yorvit and dump his contract. Yorvit hasn't been an All-Star this year by any means (.251, 4 homeruns, 23 RBIs) but he'd increase the production at C and create more flexibility. I know Yorvit is signed through 2009 for $3.5 million and that would create more traffic at the backstop position. But the Red Sox have to start looking for new catches, because Varitek shouldn't be here much longer. He's mighty close to the finish line.
8. Diamondbacks Sign Kenny Lofton- The Diamondbacks have a team batting AVG of .246. They need an adrenaline shot of either speed or power. Barry Bonds has been thrown around in the media but I doubt the D-Backs would get him because that would make no sense whatsoever. He's a DH now for one thing and I wouldn't want him around my young team. I'm not saying he'd permanently alter their sense of baseball, but he's not exactly the best "wise vet" to have around. I'd just sign Kenny Lofton, who still has the speed and spunk to make a difference in a line-up. The reason why he hasn't been signed yet is because he's been asking for a little too much (around $6 million, which is a tad much) but Arizona knows they need a jolt of something badly. He'll add an experienced view to the team who can be somewhat of the table setter for this young group. There's no question that they need an outfielder now that Eric Byrnes could be out for the whole year. He's usually the one that provides the spark for this team on the field. He isn't as fun as Eric and doesn't have as much pop, but he'll do.
7. Dodgers Trade For David Eckstein- Speaking of speed and spunk, meet Mr. Eckstein. The Dodgers need a lot of things (they're 2 games under .500...yet 1 game behind in the division. That NL West is dynamite) but they need some consistency on the hitting side of the game. The Dodgers are just a weird mix of guys. They have some promising young faces (Matt Kemp, Russell Martin), hard throwers (Brad Penny, Jonathan Broxton) and old players past their prime (Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent). Yet once again they're right in this race. One random hot streak could easily put them over the top for the whole year. One thing they need is a shortstop. Nomar Garciaparra is in the twilight of his bizarre career and does anyone how Angel Berroa is still in the majors? David Eckstein is a consistent, pesky little player who is a pain to opposing pitchers and rarely strikes out. He's a proven winner (2 WS rings; with Angels and Cardinals) and you know Joe Torre would love him. As for the Blue Jays, they never needed Eckstein in the first place.
6. Yankees Trade For Damaso Marte- The Yankees have been drooling over this guy ever since they trading him to the Pirates when he was in Double A for Enrique Wilson. While Enrique Wilson was a solid little bench guy with the Yankees (and one of the few players on the team to absolutely kill Pedro Martinez when he was a Red Sox) the Yankees have really wanted Marte back for quite some time now. Lefties have a career BA of .197 against him. The only lefty the Yanks have had this season is Billy Traber and lefties are raking him at a .360 clip. The Yankees haven't had a great lefty specialist since Mike Stanton. Not only that but Marte can also set up if asked. Getting Marte solves the major problem in what has been a surprisingly effect bullpen. Other lefties may be out there for cheaper prices, but the Yankees need someone nasty. He'll give Ortiz a much tougher at-bat than Mike Myers, I know that.
5. Cubs Sign Freddy Garcia- Chicago should already be the favorite to win the NL Pennant, but they still could use 1 more hurler to fall back on. Garcia is said to be near 100% healthy and it wouldn't cost the Cubs anything but a few cool million. Garcia was a complete bust last year with the Phillies; posting a 5.90 ERA and then getting sidelined. But this is a guy who's pitched in the AL for most of his career and has a career ERA of 4.07. He's a very respectable pitcher who'll give you innings and would surly work in the back of the rotation. By signing Garcia the Cubs, if they wanted to go this route, could quickly trade Jason Marquis (6-5, 4.44) to dump his contract somewhere on a team that needs pitching. Signing Garcia creates more flexibility for a club that's trying desperately to win now.
4. Rays Trade For Huston Street and Matt Murton- Here's a crazy one that would blow the doors off the hinges. The Rays are obviously trying to win now and have been named as the front-runner for Brian Fuentes. But this move would not only improve both offense (which has been hard to come by for the Rays recently) and pitching, but you'll get 2 young guys who also could be the future. The Rays have the prospects to get this done (David Price wouldn't be one of them) and the A's have shown they will ship big players for the right price. The Rays need a real closer when Percival is out or just in case he losses his magic down the stretch. Street is having an off year (4.07, 17 saves, 4 blown saves) but he's been a border-line great closer when healthy thus far in his career. The Rays need to get hitting and Murton fit's the bill well. A right-handed power hitting outfielder who's still fresh.
3. Phillies Trade For Erik Bedard- Bedard is currently on the DL, is a soft pitcher, and has never thrown a full season. Yet at the same time he strikes out a ton, when healthy can be dominant, and won't cost as much as what the Mariners gave up for him. It would be wise for the M's to trade him since the franchise has to start rebuilding and dumping the abysmal starting rotation needs to happen soon; even if they won't get much for past-their-primers like Miguel Batista and Jarrod Washburn. And don't even get me started on Carlos Silva; who they're basically stuck with. Anyway, the Phillies need starting pitching badly. They can hit, but as we've seen the past couple weeks that when the batting line-up goes cold, they have very little pitching to fall back on. Bedard has been better than 3 Phillies starters (the ancient Jamie Moyer, the up and down Kyle Kendrick, and everyone's favorite: Adam Eaton). A 1-2 punch of Hamels (9-6, 3.15) and Bedard (6-4, 3.67) looks very good on paper in a mediocre division.
2. Cardinals Trade For A.J. Burnett- The Brewers landed C.C. Sabathia. The Cubs hooked Rich Harden. While A.J. isn't a shark like the first two, he's still a big fish. Burnett, after getting off to a horrible start, has improved greatly this season. The Cardinals somehow have the 2nd best record in the NL with a patchwork rotation including Kyle Lohse ( 11-2, 3.39- That's right. Kyle Lohse has 11 wins. I swear Dave Duncan has to be a wizard or something), Brandon Looper (9-7, 4.25), Todd Wellemeyer ( 7-4, 4.04), and Joel Pineiro (3-4, 4.52). Once again, Dave Duncan is a mad man when it comes to fixing pitchers who couldn't succeed anywhere as good or good at all. Burnett will improve upon having Duncan as a pitching coach. He's 100% healthy this season and he'll give 100% effort because of his contract situation. The Cards can actually make the playoffs and they should go for it. As for the Blue Jays, they're morons if they don't trade A.J. now.
1. Mets Trade For Jason Bay and Sign Richie Sexson- The Mets are white hot right now. They've won 9 straight, the pitching has been completely unbreakable, and the clutch hits keep on coming. This was the way this team was expected to play throughout the year. Even though they got a break now, to keep this hot streak rolling would be to get 2 hitters who add a different dimension to your offense. First, Jason Bay.
Jason Bay- The Pirates would like to trade him for the right price. Bay seems like a Met to me and would fit perfectly in LF. For once thing, Moises Alou is done for the season and probably his career and Ryan Church may be a ways to coming back after two concussions. The Mets still have a gapping hole at the corner OF spots (Mets OF besides of Beltran and the injured Alou and Church are batting .230 combined with 8 homeruns and 42 RBIs) . Bay fills up that whole for the next few seasons and supplies power and good D. He's 30 years old and still in his peak years. There are cheaper options out there, particularly Juan Rivera, but he's not a difference-maker. A line-up with an inconsistent Reyes, an old Delgado, and sometimes the all-or-nothing nature of Beltran needs a consistent force with David Wright. Bay gives that to them.
Richie Sexson- I know Sexson is a .230 hitter at the most right now. I know he strikes out a ton and the Mets already have a 1st basemen. But Richie gives the Mets for flexibility. Carlos Delgado has started to heat up very slowly, getting his AVG up to .248. But Richie gives this team more for bit spots. He hits lefties well so in a big game against a Cole Hamels or C.C. Sabathia, you stick him in the line-up. Another thing is he plays way better defense than Delgado can ever dream. Sometimes it seems like Delgado is a manikin out there; just doesn't want to get his uniform dirty. Sexson is very tall and has great range out in the field. In the late innings of a big game, stick him in there.
Well, that's all. I'll put the over/under of any of these actually happening at 3. I'll say under. Goodbye.