Category Archives: Miami Marlins

Biggest weakness for every MLB team

Arizona Diamondbacks – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

The Diamondbacks were decent at the catcher position last season, but they let starter Chris Iannetta leave in free agency. However, the Diamondbacks are seriously struggling at the catcher position in 2018. Jeff Mathis is a good defensive catcher, yet he is only hitting .182 with no home runs this season. The Diamondbacks also have Alex Avila at the position and he has been even worse while batting .148 this season. It is hard to find good offensive catchers these days, but Arizona needs much better production than what they are getting right now.

Atlanta Braves – Biggest Weakness: Bullpen

The Braves have a really good starting rotation, but issues arise when they have had to call upon their bullpen this season. Arodys Vizcaino has been terrific as the team’s closer, but the rest of the bullpen has been very inconsistent. Shane Carle, A.J. Minter, and Dan Winkler have been good at times. However, none of those guys have been the reliable relief pitchers that Atlanta needs. If Atlanta is going to make the playoffs this year, then they need to find some better late-inning options in the bullpen.

Baltimore Orioles – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitching

Baltimore has been terrible in many different aspects, but starting pitching stands out as being the worst of it all. Dylan Bundy has been the best starter for the Orioles, but even he only has an average 4.08 ERA this season. Kevin Gausman has been decent as well with a 4.11 ERA, but he has been inconsistent as well. The rest of the rotation though has been completely awful as the offseason free agent signings of Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb have just made the rotation worse. Also, Daniel Hess and Chris Tillman both have absolutely terrible ERA’s as well. Baltimore has had terrible starting pitching for years, yet it might actually be worse than ever this season.

Boston Red Sox – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Sandy Leon performed well offensively in 2017, but he has regressed so far this season as he has become the weakness of the Red Sox lineup. Leon still hasn’t been terrible, yet he is only averaging .252 with 4 home runs in 2018. Meanwhile, Christian Vazquez has been even worse offensively for Boston. Vazquez is hitting .213 with 3 home runs in 2018 despite getting even more at-bats than Leon. Boston has enough in their lineup to make up for the lack of production at the catcher position, although they will need more if the Red Sox really want to reach their full potential.

Chicago Cubs – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitching

Jon Lester has been outstanding for the Cubs this year as he has a 2.45 ERA. However, the rest of the starting rotation for Chicago hasn’t been nearly as good. Mike Montgomery has been decent as a 5th starter for the Cubs, but they need much more from the other pitchers. Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, Tyler Chatwood, and Yu Darvish have all underachieved this season. The Cubs are still a probable playoff team, but if the Cubs want to make a deep playoff run then they’ll need much more from their starting pitching.

Chicago White Sox – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitching

Reynaldo Lopez has been the lone bright spot in the White Sox starting rotation as leads the White Sox starters with a 3.77 ERA. However, the rest of the White Sox starting pitchers have been disastrous to say the least. James Shields, Dylan Covey, Lucas Giolito, and Carson Fulmer all have been really awful. Giolito and Fulmer are still big parts of the rotation for the future, yet Chicago needs much better starting pitching if they ever want to be relevant again.

Cincinnati Reds – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitching

Tyler Mahle has been outstanding with a 3.66 ERA this season and Matt Harvey has been good for the Reds as well with a 3.79 ERA in 11 starts for the team. However, the rest of the rotation hasn’t been good at all. Sal Romano, Luis Castillo, and Homer Bailey all have an ERA 5.28 or less this season. The good news is that the Reds have a very good offense, but they will need much better starting pitching if they want to compete anytime soon.

Cleveland Indians – Biggest Weakness: Center Field

Bradley Zimmer and Greg Allen have both split time in center field for Cleveland this season, but the issue is that neither of them have been productive offensively. Zimmer is hitting only .226 with 2 home runs this season. However, Greg Allen has been even worse as he is a .208 hitter with just 1 home run. Cleveland might need to consider adding a center fielder at the trade deadline since they are getting terrible production from the position right now.

Colorado Rockies – Biggest Weakness: Bullpen

Colorado made some major changes to their bullpen this past offseason, but it has only seemingly made that unit even worse than last season. Adam Ottavino has been terrific and Scott Oberg has been good as well, but the rest of the bullpen has been terrible. Wade Davis was supposed to be an elite closer for the Rockies, but he instead has a mediocre 4.04 ERA this season. Also, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, Chris Rusin, and Mike Dunn have all been awful this season. The Rockies have some proven relief pitchers, yet for whatever reason they just haven’t been able to produce this season.

Detroit Tigers – Biggest Weakness: Designated Hitter

Victor Martinez has had a terrific career, but at this point he is nothing more than a mentor for the young players on the Tigers team as he finishes out his likely final MLB season. Martinez certainly isn’t the player that he once was as he is currently 39 years old and he hasn’t been a good hitter at all. Martinez is hitting .240 with just 4 home runs for Detroit this season despite making $18 million in salary. Those aren’t great stats especially for a designated hitter that is supposed to help carry the Tigers offense.

Houston Astros – Biggest Weakness: Bullpen

The Astros are a world series contender once again this season, but they certainly don’t have a bullpen worthy of that distinction. Ken Giles was supposed to be the closer this season, but he has been awful with a 4.11 ERA. Will Harris is another late-inning option for the Astros that has really struggled this year as well. Joe Smith has been the worst of all with a 4.70 ERA in 2018 for Houston. Hector Rondon, Tony Sipp, and Chris Devenski have been the reliable relief pitchers for the Astros. However, that isn’t exactly an inspiring group of relievers especially for a team that could make a deep playoff run. Either way, Houston needs to make it their priority to find some much better late-inning bullpen options at the trade deadline.

Kansas City Royals – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitcher

It’s never a good sign when a pitcher that has been in the bullpen for most of his career is the best starting pitcher that the team has. However, that is the case with the Royals as Brad Keller has basically been the ace of the Royals rotation with a 2.82 ERA in 7 starts this year. Veteran Pitchers Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, and Jason Hammel were supposed to carry the starting rotation for Kansas City this season. However, all three of those guys have an ERA of 4.89 or lower. Meanwhile, Jakob Junis had a terrific start to the season, but he has been absolutely recently. The Royals need to find some better young starting pitchers or else their rotation might be bad for awhile.

Los Angeles Angels – Biggest Weakness: 2nd Base

Ian Kinsler was acquired by the Angels in order to be a major upgrade at the 2nd base position, but he has performed probably even worse than what the team had before. Kinsler has dealt with some injuries this year and that might be a contributing factor to his poor performance, but there is no excusing his .213 batting average. Kinsler has been a major weakness in the Angels lineup and he is holding them back from reaching their full potential.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Biggest Weakness: 2nd Base

The 2nd base position has been somewhat of revolving door as they really haven’t had a clear starter at the position. Logan Forsythe has been the starter for most of the season at 2nd base, although he has been absolutely awful offensively. Forsythe is hitting only .199 this season with just 2 home runs for the Dodgers. Veteran 2nd baseman Chase Utley hasn’t been much better as he is only hitting .227 with 1 home run this year. Either way, the 2nd base position has been a major weakness for the Dodgers and it is something that needs to be fixed soon.

Miami Marlins – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitching

Miami hasn’t really had a clear ace of their starting rotation since the death of Jose Fernandez and they still don’t have one. Jose Urena has been the best Marlins starter this season, although he only has an average 4.13 ERA. Caleb Smith has been decent as well, but the rest of the rotation hasn’t been good at all. Dan Straily has really underachieved this season as he was supposed to be the ace of the rotation. Also, Trevor Richards and Wei-Yin Chen have been absolutely awful this season. Miami has some decent players in their lineup, but they need to find some better starting pitchers soon.

Milwaukee Brewers – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

The Brewers have used four different catchers this season, but the problem is that none of them have been good. Manny Pina has seen the most action at catcher for the Brewers, yet he is hitting just .227 with 16 RBI’s in 2018. Also, backup catcher Erik Kratz has been even worse with a .210 batting average and 6 RBI’s. Milwaukee has a good lineup otherwise, but they need to find some help at the catcher position if they want to make a deep playoff run.

Minnesota Twins – Biggest Weakness: Designated Hitter

Minnesota added Logan Morrison this offseason as they were hoping to add some power to their lineup. Morrison has accomplished that to some extent as he has hit 10 home runs this year, but the issue is that he hasn’t hit much of anything else. Morrison is batting just .193 for Minnesota this season and that just isn’t good enough. The designated hitter position is supposed to have a player that is a good hitter, but Morrison hasn’t lived up to expectations for the Twins.

New York Mets – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

The New York Mets had a big void at the catcher position which is why they acquired Devin Mesoraco early in the year from the Cincinnati Reds. However, Mesoraco hasn’t exactly been the solution at catcher as he is hitting just .232 with 18 RBI’s this season. Also, his backup Kevin Plawecki has been even worse as he is hitting .217 with just one home run for the Mets this year. The Mets have struggled mightily offensively this season and the catcher position has been a major source of those issues.

New York Yankees – Biggest Weakness: 1st Base

1st Base has been a revolving door for the Yankees this season as they have started a few different players at the position. They started out with Tyler Austin at 1st base, although he hit just .223 before being demoted to Triple-A. Meanwhile, Greg Bird has provided some power with 6 home runs, but he is only hitting .207 this year. The Yankees have even put Neil Walker at 1st base a lot and that has been disastrous as he is only hitting .197 with 2 home runs this season. The rest of the Yankees lineup is really good, but they need to find somebody that can produce more at 1st base.

Oakland Athletics – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Jonathan Lucroy was once an all-star caliber catcher in the MLB, but he hasn’t really been an average catcher for the Athletics this season. Lucroy is hitting just .245 with 1 home run for Oakland in 2018. His backup Josh Phegley has been worse as he is batting just .219 with 2 home runs for the Athletics this year. Oakland really needs to find a new starting catcher because the position has just not been good this season.

Philadelphia Phillies – Biggest Weakness: Shortstop

Scott Kingery was an elite prospect coming into this season for Philadelphia and there were high expectations for him as the starting shortstop. However, Kingery has failed to live up to expectations as he is hitting just .229 with 4 home runs this season. Pedro Florimon has been better in his limited time at shortstop as he is batting .263 with 2 home runs this year. The Phillies have been rumored to be interested in Manny Machado and they could really use him at this point because they are really struggling at shortstop.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Biggest Weakness: Shortstop

Jordy Mercer is just an average shortstop and he probably always will be, but he especially hasn’t provided much offense this season. Mercer is hitting just .242 with 5 home runs for Pittsburgh as he has basically been the everyday player at that position. The Pirates need to finally find an upgrade at the position because Mercer isn’t worthy of being their starting shortstop.

San Diego Padres – Biggest Weakness: Shortstop

Freddy Galvis is certainly known for his defense and that is probably the only reason that he remains a starting shortstop at the MLB level. However, he has been a liability offensively for the Padres this season as he is batting just .234 with 4 home runs. Galvis makes the Padres a better team defensively, although the team needs to find a shortstop that can provide much more on offense.

San Francisco Giants – Biggest Weakness: Left Field

Hunter Pence was once an all-star caliber player, but his performance has really dropped off this season. He is hitting just .208 with no home runs in 2018 for the Giants as he has been a major liability in their offense. Gregor Blanco has also seen some time in left field for the Giants, but he hasn’t been much better as he is hitting just .242 with 1 home run. The Giants need to find more production from that position especially if they want to remain in the playoff race.

Seattle Mariners – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Mike Zunino has spent quite a bit of time on the disabled list this season, but he hasn’t even been productive when he has been healthy. Zunino has provided great power as proven by his 12 home runs, but the problem is that he doesn’t do much else on offense. Zunino strikes out way too much and he is only hitting .189 so far this year for the Mariners. David Freitas and Chris Herrmann are the other catchers on the roster right now, but they haven’t been any better. Freitas is hitting just .194 with no home runs while Herrmann is batting .222 with 1 home run this year. The Mariners have a good lineup otherwise, yet the catcher position could hold them back if they make the playoffs.

St. Louis Cardinals – Biggest Weakness: 2nd Base

Kolten Wong has basically been the everyday starter at 2nd base, but he hasn’t exactly proved that he is deserving of being the starter. Wong is hitting just .221 with 7 home runs for the Cardinals this season as he has been the weakest part of their lineup. The Cardinals need to find an upgrade at that position especially if they want to compete with the Brewers and Cubs in the NL central.

Tampa Bay Rays – Biggest Weakness: Right Field

Carlos Gomez was once a terrific starter at the MLB level and that is the main reason the Rays signed him to see if he can provide that type of play to the team. However, it hasn’t quite worked out that way so far as he is batting just .206 with 7 home runs this year. Gomez has been the everyday starter in right field, but the Rays need to find an upgrade at that position since it is holding the lineup back.

Texas Rangers – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Robinson Chirinos has basically been the everyday catcher for the Rangers this season and he has provided some good power with 11 home runs. However, he has struggled to make contact as proven by his .204 batting average this year. The Rangers have been so bad at the position that they have utility infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa as the backup catcher. Texas needs to find an upgrade at the position because that duo just doesn’t provide the offense necessary to help out their lineup.

Toronto Blue Jays – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Russell Martin was once an all-star catcher, but he has not been good the past couple of seasons for the Blue Jays. He still provides some power as he has 6 home runs this season, but he is only hitting .173 so far in 2018. Backup catcher Luke Maile has been better, although he is still only hitting .234 with 3 home runs. Russell Martin isn’t the player that he once was and it is about time for Toronto to find an upgrade at the position.

Washington Nationals – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Matt Wieters wasn’t performing well as the starting catcher for the Nationals as he was hitting just .232 for the team before getting injured. His injury just weakened what was an already bad group of catchers. Pedro Severino has seen the most playing time since the injury, although he has been awful as he is batting just .171 with 2 home runs. Backup catcher Spencer Kieboom has been somewhat better, yet he is still only hitting .222 with no home runs. Washington is likely in the market for a catcher at the trade deadline and they really need to find at least an average catcher to help improve their lineup.

Advertisements

Best trade asset for each potential seller teams at the MLB trade deadline

Baltimore Orioles – Manny Machado – Shortstop

This one is really easy because Machado is by far the best player on the Orioles and he is also the most likely player to be traded since his contract expires after this season. Machado is still really young as he is only about to turn 26 years old and that means it will take a huge haul to acquire Machado from the Orioles. It is somewhat unlikely that the Orioles will be able to re-sign Machado since it would take a huge contract offer to be able to do so. However, the Orioles could get some elite prospects in return if they do decide to trade Machado before the deadline.

Chicago White Sox – Jose Abreu – 1st baseman

Jose Abreu is by far the best available trade bait that the White Sox have as he is one of the players at 1st base in the MLB. However, the question will be whether the White Sox are in a rush to trade him. He is under contract through the 2019 season, so theoretically the White Sox could stay patient and wait for the right deal to take place. Abreu is 31 years old and doesn’t appear to be too much part of the White Sox future. However, the White Sox might not trade him at the deadline since they really have until the 2019 trade deadline to make a decision.

Cincinnati Reds – Raisel Iglesias – Relief Pitcher

Raisel Iglesias has quietly become one of the top closers in the entire MLB and there aren’t many closers available via trade this season. There will certainly be many contending teams that acquire about Iglesias, but the Reds do have the ability to wait for the right deal to come around. Iglesias is under contract through the 2020 season and he is only due $5 million each season, so the Reds don’t have to rush to trade him. Iglesias might not get traded very soon because the asking price will probably be too steep for many teams. However, if a team offers some top prospects then that could be enough to get a deal done.

Detroit Tigers – Nick Castellanos – Right Fielder

The Tigers have a couple of pieces that are more likely to be traded like Francisco Liriano and Matthew Boyd. However, the player that could get the most in return is probably right fielder Nick Castellanos. He is under contract at a cheap price through the 2020 season which means the Tigers could decide to keep him. Also, he is only 26 years old, so he could still be a key part of their future when the team can contend again. The Tigers need to decide soon whether Castellanos is going to be a key part of their future or if he is a player that they can trade while his value is still high. Castellanos could be traded soon, but in all likelihood it will come at a later point.

Kansas City Royals – Mike Moustakas – 3rd Baseman

Mike Moustakas is one of the few reliable players in the Royals lineup, but the problem is that Moustakas is going to be a free agent once again after this season. Kansas City almost lost Moustakas in free agency for nothing this past offseason before he decided to re-sign on a relatively cheap deal. There is no doubt that Moustakas could help a playoff contender this season, but the problem is there isn’t much of a market for starting 3rd basemen right now. The Royals probably wouldn’t get a top prospect in return especially since Moustakas will probably just be a rental player for a playoff team. However, it would be shocking if the Royals don’t trade him by the deadline since they will likely lose him for nothing if they don’t.

Miami Marlins – J.T. Realmuto – Catcher

It is really tough to find all-star caliber catchers available for trade and the Marlins are very fortunate to have one that they are willing to trade. J.T. Realmuto is one of the top catchers in the MLB and he is arguably the best offensive catcher in the MLB. There are plenty of MLB teams that have a bad need for a catcher and Realmuto would be a major upgrade for many teams at that position. He is still under team control through the 2020 season, so the Marlins don’t have to rush to trade him this season. If they decide to trade him, then they could get some really good prospects in return since there is a shortage of really good catchers in the MLB. The Marlins should just wait for the right deal, but don’t be surprised if they charge a steep price for Realmuto.

New York Mets – Jacob DeGrom – Starting Pitcher

Jacob DeGrom is one of the elite starting pitchers in the MLB and he is still under team control at a cheap price through the 2020 season. The Mets could very well decide to keep him as he is an extremely valuable piece of their team. However, DeGrom’s value is probably as high as it will ever be and the Mets could get at least two elite prospects in return for him. It is unlikely that New York will trade him before the deadline unless the team receives an offer that blows them away. However, it would make sense for the Mets to trade him soon in order to replenish their farm system.

Oakland Athletics – Jed Lowrie – 2nd Baseman

Perhaps no player has had their trade value increase this season more than Oakland 2nd baseman Jed Lowrie. He has always been an above average player, but this season he has taken his game to an all-star caliber level. Also, he probably isn’t part of the Athletics future since he is 34 years old. The Athletics would be very wise to trade him before the deadline while his value is still high especially since Oakland might lose him for nothing after this season in free agency. The Athletics could probably get a top prospect in return for Lowrie, but that might not be the case since he will likely just be a rental for a playoff contender.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Josh Harrison – 2nd Baseman

It is kind of surprising that the Pirates haven’t traded Harrison by now considering that rumors have been swirling around him for awhile. Harrison is still under two more years of team control, but the question is whether the Pirates really want to keep him around for that long. Harrison probably won’t bring back too big of a haul, but he is still valuable considering that he can play several positions as a utility player. The Pirates could stay patient and wait for the right trade, although it seems as if Pittsburgh is willing to trade him very soon.

San Diego Padres – Brad Hand – Relief Pitcher

Not many teams even wanted to sign Brad Hand not too long ago as he was claimed off of waivers by the Padres just two years ago. However, San Diego has completely revived Hand’s career and now he has become one of the best closers in the MLB. Hand is under contract with the Padres through the 2021 season, so the team is in absolutely no rush to trade him. It would likely take a big trade package consisting of top prospects for the Padres to even consider trading Hand. However, there is no questioning that there will be many teams interested in acquiring Hand since there aren’t many elite closers available on the trade market.

Tampa Bay Rays – Wilson Ramos – Catcher

Wilson Ramos has become an all-star level catcher in the MLB as he provides rare offensive abilities for someone of his position. However, the Rays will likely have to trade him away before the deadline considering that he is a free agent after this season. The Rays also appear to like Jesus Sucre to replace Ramos as their catcher of the future, so it appears that a trade involving Ramos could be imminent. The good news is that several teams have a major need for a good starting catcher and it helps that Ramos is basically an all-star player at that position. Tampa Bay does lose some value since Ramos is likely going to be just a rental for a playoff contender, yet they could still get some good prospects in return.

Texas Rangers – Adrian Beltre – 3rd Baseman

Adrian Beltre is really old at 39 years old, yet he continues to play at a really high level despite his age. Beltre is going to be a free agent after this season and it is sort of unlikely that Texas is willing to re-sign him considering his age. However, Beltre still has some good trade value and the Rangers could get a couple of solid prospects back in return.

Toronto Blue Jays – J.A. Happ – Starting Pitcher

It would be kind of shocking if the Blue Jays don’t trade away Happ before the deadline since he is 35 years old and he is scheduled to be a free agent after the season. The good news is that there are plenty of teams that are already reportedly interested in Happ. He has had a terrific 2018 season and he could provide some solid depth to basically any playoff contender’s starting rotation. He is likely just a rental player for a contender and that will likely diminish his trade value, yet the Blue Jays could still get a lot in return for him.

3 Teams that will be worse in 2018

3. Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays looked like they wanted to be a competitive team in the AL, but then they traded franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria and everything changed. However, the Rays weren’t done there as they also let go of Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi, Logan Morrison, Steve Cishek, Steven Souza Jr., and Alex Cobb. That is a long list of quality veteran players that they will be missing in 2018. That leaves Chris Archer, Kevin Kiermaier, and Alex Colome as the only really reliable veteran players on their roster. The Tampa Bay Rays team will look a lot different in 2018 especially with the inexperienced players that they will rely upon to be starters like Mallex Smith, Daniel Robertson, and Matt Duffy. Tampa Bay should still have a good starting rotation, although they will struggle mightily to score runs after all of the key players that they decided to get rid of.

2. Miami Marlins

Miami had an elite outfield with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna, but that was before they traded them all this offseason. However, the Marlins now have a very crappy outfield at least for the 2018 season as they will be relying upon Derek Dietrich, Lewis Brinson, and Braxton Lee as their starters. Brinson is a good prospect, but who knows what he will provide as a starter for the Marlins in 2018. Miami still has J.T. Realmuto, Starlin Castro, and Justin Bour to lead their lineup so all isn’t lost. However, Miami has a bad bullpen and a bad starting rotation, so they no longer have the dynamic lineup to make up for their pitching flaws. Miami has some reasons for optimism with the young prospects that they now have, although 2018 likely isn’t going to be a very fun season for Marlins fans.

1. Kansas City Royals

Kansas City had a very rough offseason with losing Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Mike Moustakas among other key players. The Royals are basically now only left with Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, and Whit Merrifield to anchor their lineup in 2018. Kansas City already kind of struggled to score runs, but now it could be a really big struggle. Also, Kansas City lost many key members of their bullpen including Joakim Soria, Scott Alexander, and Ryan Buchter. The bullpen was a strength for the Royals not too long ago, but now it appears that it will be a major issue. Kansas City also doesn’t have a reliable starting rotation except for Danny Duffy who is the clear ace for the Royals. The Royals don’t have much hope in any aspect of their roster and it could be a tough rebuilding year for Kansas City.

2018 NL East Predictions

  1. Washington Nationals

The Nationals are definitely the team to beat in the NL East and there isn’t really a team that will likely compete with them in 2018. Washington has a terrific lineup led by Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmermann, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, and Trea Turner. Also, having a healthy Adam Eaton for the 2018 season makes this lineup even better. It is very difficult to find a weakness in their lineup as they have very dangerous hitters from top to bottom. Washington also has a very good starting rotation especially with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez. It will be key that those 3 pitchers stay healthy because they have struggled with injuries in recent seasons. Washington also has a very good bullpen with Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler as solid late-inning options. Overall, it is very difficult to find any weakness on this roster and they are not only the favorites to win the NL East, but they are legitimate world series contenders as well.

2. New York Mets

The Mets should certainly be a playoff contender if all goes well in 2018 and they might even provide some competition to the Nationals in the division. New York has arguably the best starting rotation in the MLB with Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Jason Vargas. However, the issue for the Mets is that their starting pitchers have really struggled to stay healthy. If the Mets pitchers can stay healthy for the most part in 2018 then they will clearly carry the team. The Mets also have a decent lineup led by very good outfielders Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and Michael Conforto. New York also added 3rd baseman Todd Frazier this offseason to provide even more depth to their lineup. It is unknown what they will get from the other starters like Asdrubal Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez. However, if the Mets lineup can be above average then the Mets could be a very good team. New York’s bullpen also has the potential to be good as Jeurys Familia, Anthony Swarzak, and A.J. Ramos are all good late-inning options. However, the team needs to find a more reliable closer than they had last season and hopefully Familia can improve in that role in 2018. New York still has a few weaknesses that will hold them back, but if their starting rotation can just stay healthy and their lineup can be average then this could be a playoff team.

3. Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia had a very disappointing 2017 season, but they made several key additions that should help them to at least be a respectable team in 2018. Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams are two solid outfielders that provide some power in the Phillies lineup and they should only get better in 2018. Also, the team signed veteran 1st baseman Carlos Santana this offseason and he will provide a big power bat in the middle of their lineup for sure. However, Philadelphia needs more production from other players in their lineup like Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, and Cesar Hernandez. The Phillies have the potential to be a good hitting team, but it is unknown what type of production that their young players can provide. However, Philadelphia clearly needs some starting pitching help. Aaron Nola is the clear ace for the Phillies rotation, but besides him the rotation is very inconsistent. The key for the Phillies pitching staff will be whether Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez can improve from their poor 2017 seasons. If Eickhoff and Velasquez can return to form in 2018 then the Phillies could have a decent starting rotation. However, Philadelphia still needs to find some better 4th or 5th starters as they are relying on unproven players Nick Pivetta and Ben Lively to fill those roles. Philadelphia did improve their bullpen this offseason though as they signed Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek to be reliable setup options for quality closer Hector Neris. Philadelphia is a team that has high potential for the 2018 season, but they could also be a very bad team in 2018. The Phillies need their young players to step up and if they do so then the Phillies could possibly be a playoff contender.

4. Atlanta Braves

Atlanta is a similar team to the Phillies because they are still in a rebuild mode, although the Braves still could be a team that surprises some people this season. Freddie Freeman is an elite player that will carry the Braves offense once again in 2018. However, the rest of the lineup isn’t too much of a threat. Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte should continue to be productive players, although neither provides much power as they only combined for 19 home runs last season. However, if the Braves want to be successful offensively they will need more production out of young infielders Dansby Swanson, Johan Camargo, and Ozzie Albies. Atlanta’s lineup has tons of potential with the young players that they have, although don’t expect much production out of it in 2018 besides Freeman. The Braves starting rotation doesn’t appear to be very good heading into the 2018 season. Julio Teheran is the only good starting pitcher that the team really has and even he didn’t have a very good 2017 season. Atlanta is hoping that Teheran can bounce back and be the ace that he has been for most of his career. The Braves also have Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb as a couple of inconsistent young starting pitchers. Both of those guys have tremendous potential, although they haven’t proven that they can be consistent starters at the MLB level. Atlanta will likely struggle quite a bit with their starting pitching and that will hold them back from being a competitive team. The Braves bullpen should be good this season as they have talented young closer Arodys Vizcaino leading the way. However, the depth behind him is kind of concerning as Jose Ramirez and A.J. Minter are the next best options and both of them are kind of unproven. Overall, Atlanta is a team that has some talented young players, but unless those players make significant improvements in 2018 then this team probably won’t be very competitive.

5. Miami Marlins

New owner Derek Jeter came in this offseason and basically made the Marlins a Triple-A team for the 2018 season as he traded away basically every quality player that the team had. The Marlins had a great outfield with Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich. However, Jeter decided to significantly cut payroll and he traded all three of those players away. The Marlins did get some good prospects back in those deals by acquiring Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, and Isan Diaz., yet that won’t help the Marlins be competitive in 2018. Brinson could win a starting job for the Marlins in 2018, but the other two guys will likely be starting in the minor leagues. Miami still has some good players in their lineup with J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour, and Starlin Castro. However, the rest of the lineup is just filled with very unproven players or players like Cameron Maybin and Derek Dietrich that are just temporary starters. The Marlins won’t score many runs this season especially if they trade away Realmuto which they are highly likely to do. Meanwhile, the Marlins rotation have a couple of good starting pitchers with Dan Straily and Jose Urena. However, the rest of the rotation is not very good and they will be relying on unproven starting pitchers to make their rotation effective. The Marlins bullpen could be decent, but they will need closer Brad Ziegler and setup man Junichi Tazawa to improve tremendously in 2018 because they both weren’t good last season. Overall, Miami is arguably the worst team in the MLB heading into the 2018 season and they basically will be lucky if they are even a respectable team.

Yankees acquire Stanton from the Marlins

The New York Yankees made the biggest move of this offseason as they acquired star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and cash in exchange for 2nd baseman Starlin Castro, right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman, and shortstop Jose Devers.

 

Marlins analysis/grade:

This trade shows that the Marlins new ownership led by Derek Jeter is committed to beginning a major rebuild in 2018. Giancarlo Stanton has become an unquestioned top 5 player in the MLB as he puts up ridiculous stats every season, although it hasn’t helped Miami reach the playoffs. Stanton had a whopping 59 home runs and 132 RBI’s for the Marlins last season and he was recently named the national league MVP for his efforts in 2017. This move for the Marlins is part of an effort to cut their payroll and this move certainly helps the Marlins do so as the Yankees now will pay $265 million of the $295 million left on Stanton’s contract. The Marlins will also be getting 3 decent players in exchange for Stanton. Starlin Castro is the only player that the Marlins are receiving that has any experience in the MLB. However, Castro is a very good player as proven by his 4 all-star appearances and he is still performing well as he hit .300 with 16 home runs for the Yankees last season. Castro will replace the recently traded Dee Gordon at 2nd base for the Marlins and I actually believe that Castro is an upgrade over Gordon. Castro won’t make the Marlins a playoff team next season or anything, but he will at least make them a more respectable team without Stanton. The other key player that the Marlins received in this deal is right-handed pitching prospect Jorge Guzman. He struggled early on in his minor league career, yet he bounced back last season with a 5-3 record and a 2.30 ERA in Class A. Guzman has tremendous potential mostly because he has an outstanding power arm as he has the ability to surpass 100 MPH with his fastball. Guzman has the potential to become an ace for Miami in a few years and he now becomes the top prospect in a Miami farm system that needed some better talent. Finally, the Marlins acquired infield prospect Jose Devers in this deal as well. Devers is known for speed as he stole 16 bases during his first minor league season in 2017. He also is a good fielder, but the area where he struggles the most is offensively. Devers only hit .245 with 1 home run and 16 RBI’s in 53 minor league games in rookie ball, so those numbers aren’t very promising considering the low level that he was playing at last year. If Devers can ever find some offensive ability then maybe he could be a major league player one day, but he is still definitely a very raw prospect. This trade just isn’t great from the Marlins perspective as they didn’t get enough in return for Stanton who is one of the elite players in the MLB. It makes sense that the Marlins would want to lower their payroll, but they should be getting more in return for a player as talented as Stanton. The Marlins new ownership clearly wants to go in a new direction, but this probably isn’t a direction that will benefit them much.

Grade: D

 

New York Yankees analysis/grade:

The New York Yankees are officially back to being the dynasty that they have been for most of their existence. New York already had a good offense last season led by AL rookie of the year and AL MVP finalist Aaron Judge. However, the addition of Giancarlo Stanton gives the Yankees an elite lineup with now two of the elite power hitters in the game. There will certainly be plenty of home runs hit next season for the Yankees as Judge and Stanton had 111 home runs combined just last year. The Yankees still have a need for some pitching help this offseason, but they just boosted their world series chances with this trade. The Yankees did give up promising young pitching prospect Jorge Guzman, but overall they didn’t have to trade away much in order to acquire Stanton. New York did also give up starting 2nd baseman Starlin Castro who had a good season in 2017. However, they will do just fine at that position with Ronald Torreyes as the starter in the short-term. The Yankees are now set up to have one of the best lineups in the MLB for years to come and they acquired an MVP award winner without having to give up much for him. This is a big trade for the Yankees and it is a trade that they clearly won.

Grade: A+

giancarlo stanton

Marlins trade A.J. Ramos to the Mets

The Miami Marlins continued to sell off key bullpen pieces as they dealt closer A.J. Ramos to the New York Mets in exchange for minor league prospects Merandy Gonzalez and Ricardo Cespedes.

 

Marlins analysis/grade:

A.J. Ramos was just having an average season for the Marlins as their closer, yet the Marlins still got a good return for him as they are getting two quality prospects from the Mets. The main prospect that the Marlins are getting in this deal is 21-year old right-handed starting pitcher Merandy Gonzalez who was the 9th ranked prospect in the Mets farm system. Gonzalez has been outstanding this season in the minor leagues as he is 12-3 with a 1.78 ERA. He is still a few years from reaching the MLB level since he is only in Class A advanced right now, but he has the potential to be a very good starting pitcher for the Marlins. The other prospect that the Marlins received in this trade is 19-year old outfielder Ricardo Cespedes who was the 22nd ranked Mets prospect. Cespedes hasn’t been very productive in the minor leagues as he only has 2 home runs and a .271 average in 4 seasons. Cespedes is a very raw prospect at this point as he still needs to develop some more power or he needs to at least start hitting for a better average. Cespedes does have a strong arm, but that is about the only above average skill that he has at this point. Cespedes is talented, but he just hasn’t developed most of his skills yet and it is unknown whether he ever will. The Marlins did well with this trade as they are getting 2 quality prospects for a relief pitcher that has been average this season. Miami needs some more starting pitching badly and Merandy Gonzalez sure looks like he can be an impact player for the Marlins in a few years.

Grade: A

 

New York Mets analysis/grade:

I’m not quite sure what the logic of making this trade is for the Mets since they have been trying to trade away all of their veteran relief pitchers, but now they are adding one in exchange for two quality prospects. A.J. Ramos is under team control for the 2018 season, so he isn’t just a rental player for the Mets. However, the Mets probably won’t make the playoffs next season either and they could have just kept their own closer Addison Reed for next season rather than giving up prospects to acquire an average closer. Ramos has a 3.63 ERA and 20 saves this season which is decent, but he’s not a better option than Reed or other bullpen options that the team already has. The Mets have been trying to trade away their veteran players this season in order to acquire more prospects. However, this trade just sends the Mets in the completely opposite direction since they are now acquiring a veteran player and giving up too much in return. This trade doesn’t help the Mets immediately and it certainly doesn’t help the team for the future since they are giving up their 9th and 22nd ranked prospects. The Mets shouldn’t have made this trade as it doesn’t help them in any way and they will probably begin to regret it very soon.

Grade: F

a.j. ramos

David Phelps traded to the Mariners

The Miami Marlins traded relief pitcher David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor league prospects Brayan Hernandez, Brandon Miller, Pablo Lopez, and Lukas Schiraldi.

 

Mariners analysis/grade:

The Seattle Mariners have been looking to improve their bullpen as they look to make the playoffs this season for the first time since 2001. That is why the Mariners decided to trade for Marlins relief pitcher David Phelps on Thursday. Phelps was a starting pitcher and relief pitcher for the first 4 seasons of his career, but he struggled as a starter and he became a full-time relief pitcher in 2016. Phelps had an outstanding first season as a full-time relief pitcher that season as he had a 2.28 ERA. However, Phelps hasn’t been nearly as good this season for the Marlins as he has a 3.45 ERA. This acquisition does help the Mariners bullpen for the rest of this season and next season as well as he is under contract through 2018. Phelps is a good middle relief pitcher, but I’m just not sure that he will make much of an impact for the Mariners. Also, they certainly need other missing pieces like a catcher and some better relief pitchers in order to better compete for a playoff spot. Phelps shouldn’t be used as a late-inning option, but he is a good pitcher to use in the 6th or 7th inning. The problem with this trade for Seattle is that they gave up 4 young prospects in this deal which is too much to give up for a middle relief pitcher especially one that hasn’t been very consistent. Seattle even gave up their 6th, 16th, and 22nd ranked prospects in this deal which is way too much. Nobody knows if those prospects will ever be good MLB players, but it is still too much potential to give up for a relief pitcher that likely won’t make much of a difference. This trade might help the Mariners bullpen slightly this season and in 2018, but the risk of this trade just isn’t worth the reward for Seattle.

Grade: C-

 

Marlins analysis/grade:

This is an outstanding trade for the Marlins as they are receiving 4 young prospects for a decent relief pitcher that was inconsistent during his time with the team. The biggest prize that the Marlins received in this trade is 19-year old outfielder Brayan Hernandez who was the 6th best prospect in the Mariners minor league system according to MLB.com. Hernandez has been inconsistent so far in his minor league career as he hit .281 in rookie ball in 2016. However, he hasn’t has much success in 28 games at Class A this season as he is only hitting .252 with 2 home runs. Hernandez will probably never be a decent power hitter, but the hope is that he can improve his average and be more of a line-drive hitter. Hernandez has good speed as he has 35 career stolen bases, but that won’t mean much unless he can continue to improve his offensive abilities. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a starter at the MLB level and he needs much more time to develop, but he has the potential to be a decent bench player one day. The Marlins also received right-handed starting pitcher prospect Brandon Miller who was the 16th best prospect in the Mariners farm system. Miller has been good in his 2 minor league seasons as he is 13-6 with a 3.32 ERA and he has the potential to make it to the majors in a few seasons if he can stay consistent. Miller has the potential to compete for the final spot in an MLB starting rotation at some point, but if that doesn’t work out then he could be a good long relief or middle relief pitcher. Miami also received right-handed starting pitcher Pablo Lopez who was the 22nd ranked prospect in the Mariners farm system. Lopez was outstanding in his first 3 minor league seasons as he had an ERA of 2.57, 3.13, and 2.13 in those seasons. However, Lopez has not been good in Class A advanced this season as he is 5-8 with a 5.04 ERA. Lopez is striking out a lot of batters this year, but he is also allowing tons of hits which explains his mediocre ERA. This season might just be a bump in the road for Lopez, but he will likely get back on track soon because he is still a good pitching prospect. Finally, the Marlins acquired 23-year old right-handed starting pitcher Lukas Schiraldi who was a 15th round pick by Seattle in 2014. Schiraldi isn’t a ranked prospect and he doesn’t have much potential. However, if he can turn around his minor league career then maybe he could be a decent depth relief pitcher for the Mariners. Schiraldi is 13-23 with a 4.65 ERA in his minor league career, so the Marlins are just hoping that somehow something will click and he will become a decent pitcher one day. He doesn’t have much of a chance of making it to the MLB, but possibly a change of organizations will help Schiraldi improve. Either way, this trade is a very big return for the Marlins as they now have 3 decent young prospects to work with for an average middle relief pitcher that was inconsistent at times.

Grade: A

david phelps