Category Archives: Pittsburgh Pirates

Top 5 surprisingly good teams in the MLB this season

5. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays won 90 games last season, so their success this season shouldn’t really be considered much of a surprise. However, some people thought that the Rays would fall off this season and they didn’t really expect them to compete on the same level as the Yankees and Red Sox. That being said, the Rays have consistently been a top 5 team in the MLB this season and they have surprisingly led the AL East for the large portion of the first two months of the season. We’ll see if the Rays can continue to get solid production in their lineup from players like Brandon Lowe and Yandy Diaz. However, the Rays have the pitching to be able to sustain this type of success, although it is somewhat surprising that they have been this good to begin the season.

4. San Diego Padres

The Padres showed that they were trying to compete right away when they signed Manny Machado to a massive contract in free agency this offseason. Machado hasn’t had a huge impact on the Padres lineup this season, but other players like Eric Hosmer, Fernando Tatis, and Franmil Reyes have stepped up to help make the Padres offense decent. However, the pitching for the Padres was the biggest concern coming into this season. That being said, Chris Paddack has become the ace of the Padres this season and he is in early consideration to win the rookie of the year award. Also, Matt Strahm has pitched very well this season and he has established himself at the top of the Padres rotation. The rest of the rotation hasn’t been very good, but it is a good sign that the Padres seemingly have two good starters that they can really rely on. It might not be enough for the Padres to make the playoffs, but it is remarkable that the Padres are even in the playoff conversation at this point in the season.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates

The NL Central is very competitive this season as expected, but not many people thought that the Pirates would be right in the thick of the playoff picture. 1st baseman Josh Bell is a big reason for the Pirates success as he looks like a legitimate NL MVP candidate at this point in the season. Also, veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera has revived his career and provided a terrific boost to the Pirates offense. The rest of the Pirates lineup hasn’t been very consistent, but the pitching is certainly carrying the load for the team. Jordan Lyles is pitching at an all-star caliber level right now and that is something that I never thought I would ever be saying. Joe Musgrove, Trevor Williams, and Jameson Taillon have been good in the starting rotation as well. If Chris Archer can return to his prior form then the Pirates could have a case that they have the best overall rotation in the NL. The Pirates bullpen was already expected to be good this season, but they have far exceeded expectations with Felipe Vazquez, Francisco Liriano, and Kyle Crick. Pittsburgh needs some more players in their lineup to step up, but if the Pirates continue pitching like they have this season then they could be in the thick of the playoff race in September.

2. Texas Rangers

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Rangers, but their offense has absolutely exploded to make their team more competitive than people expected. Elvis Andrus, Logan Forsythe, and Hunter Pence have had a terrific start to the season and far exceeded anyone’s expectations. Meanwhile, Joey Gallo finally has a respectable batting average and he has become a very surprising AL MVP candidate. The Rangers lineup is extremely deep and they can hang in the playoff conversation if they keep performing at their current level. Mike Minor has been terrific this year as he has become the ace of the Rangers starting rotation as he is playing at an all-star level. However, the issue is that the rest of the Rangers rotation has been absolutely awful this season. If the Rangers can get somebody in the rotation to step up and play better then it could make the Rangers even more of a playoff contender this season. The Rangers likely won’t catch up to the Astros in the AL West, but Texas is surprisingly in the thick of the wild card race two months into the season.

  1. Minnesota Twins

Pretty much everyone expected the Twins to be better than they were last season and some people thought that they would compete with Cleveland for the AL Central title this season. However, not many people predicted that the Twins would be arguably the best team in the MLB at this point in the season. Minnesota is not only in the thick of the playoff race, but they are completely running away with the AL Central division as they are currently 7 games up on the Indians for 1st place. Minnesota’s success can be attributed to an improved offense led by Jorge Polanco and several different players that are putting up big power numbers. The Twins bullpen might be the most surprising as it has been much better than pretty much everyone expected heading into this season. Also, Jake Odorizzi, Jose Berrios, and Martin Perez have established themselves as a terrific trio of starting pitchers this season. We’ll see if the Twins can maintain their current pace, but they have been successful in every area this season while turning themselves into possible world series contenders in 2019.

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Pirates sign Lyles to a 1-year deal

The Pittsburgh Pirates added to their pitching depth as they signed veteran Jordan Lyles to a 1-year/$2.05 million contract. Lyles spent most of last season in the bullpen as he went 3-4 with a 4.11 ERA in 35 combined appearances for the Padres and Brewers. However, Lyles has been a starting pitcher for most of his career and the Pirates are hoping that he can compete for a rotation spot in 2019. The Pirates have a void in their rotation after they traded away Ivan Nova earlier this offseason, but they are hoping that Lyles can take over that role at the back end of the rotation. Even if Lyles doesn’t win a spot in the rotation the Pirates could still use him as depth in their bullpen. The 5.28 career ERA suggests that Lyles might not perform well in Pittsburgh. However, it is a low-cost move for the Pirates and he will help to provide some necessary pitching depth.

Grade: C+

Pirates trade Nova to the White Sox

The Pittsburgh Steelers continued their annual offseason tradition of trading veteran players as they sent starting pitcher Ivan Nova to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for right-handed pitcher Yordi Rosario and international signing bonus pool money.

 

White Sox analysis/grade:

Ivan Nova has mostly been an average pitcher during his career and that is proven by his 4.26 career ERA in the MLB. However, Nova at least is a consistent starting pitcher that can help to provide quality depth to just about any starting rotation. Nova won’t be expected to slot in at the top of the starting rotation for the White Sox. However, the White Sox have some talented young pitchers like Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito that could use some guidance from a quality veteran pitcher like Nova. He was just average for the Pirates last season as he went 9-9 with a 4.19 ERA. However, Nova provides some much needed stability to the White Sox rotation and he is the type of player that can help the team win right now. Also, the White Sox didn’t give up much in this deal, so it is a rather low-risk move for the team. Nova provides quality depth for the White Sox and this is the type of move that signals the White Sox are ready to go all-in for a playoff spot in 2019.

Grade: B+

 

Pirates grade/analysis:

This is a typical move by the Pirates since they are always looking to cut payroll in whatever way they can. Nova would have made around $9 million during the 2019 season, so it makes sense for the Pirates to clear that salary especially since Nova is considered just an average starting pitcher. This move certainly creates a void in the Pirates rotation, but it is possible that they could add a low-cost veteran pitcher in free agency in order to add some more depth. Trading away Nova was clearly a cost-cutting move and it makes some sense, but they are also receiving a intriguing prospect in return. Yordi Rosario is a right-handed pitcher who will only be 20 years old by the start of the 2019 season and he has a very electric arm. Rosario certainly isn’t a highly rated prospect, but he has performed well in the minor leagues so far as he has a 3.43 career ERA. Rosario will likely start the 2019 season in low-A for the Pirates, but the team is hoping that he can continue to develop into a good relief pitcher. The Pirates should have gotten more in return for Nova especially since it hurts the team’s 2019 playoff aspirations. That being said, it is hard to blame the Pirates for making this trade since it sheds some salary that they can use to improve their team in free agency. Nova was a good starting pitcher for Pittsburgh, but the Pirates did the right thing by moving on.

Grade: B-

Pirates sign Chisenhall to a 1-year deal

The Pittsburgh Pirates renewed their annual free agent bargain hunting on Tuesday as they signed veteran outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall to a 1-year contract. Chisenhall gives the Pirates some much needed outfield depth especially with Gregory Polanco likely to begin the 2019 season on the disabled list after shoulder surgery. Chisenhall will likely start in right field to begin 2019 while Polanco is out and then Chisenhall will probably be the team’s 4th outfielder. Chisenhall has spent all 8 MLB seasons with Cleveland and he has mostly been a rotational player rather than a regular starter. That being said, Chisenhall is a rather consistent and reliable player as he typically gets on base routinely as proven by his respectable .268 career batting average. Chisenhall also provides some defensive versatility for the Pirates as he is capable of filling in at 1st or 3rd base as needed. Chisenhall is basically the definition of an average player as his career-high in home runs in a season was only 13. However, the Pirates know that they are getting a dependable player that can provide quality outfield depth especially while Polanco is sidelined. Don’t expect the Pirates to be very active in free agency this offseason because they basically never are, but this is still a solid bargain move that helps the Pirates in 2019.

Grade: B+

Biggest need for every MLB team this offseason

Arizona Diamondbacks – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

The Diamondbacks had a decent starting rotation in 2018 as Zack Greinke was very good as he usually is. Patrick Corbin was terrific in 2018 as well as he had a 3.15 ERA for the Diamondbacks. However, the Diamondbacks head into the offseason with major questions with their starting rotation. The biggest question mark is whether Patrick Corbin will re-sign with the team and it seems increasingly unlikely that he will return in 2019. That would leave with the Diamondbacks rotation with a major void that will be really difficult to fill. It is also very possible that the Diamondbacks could decide to move Zack Greinke since he has a big contract and he is getting older. Clay Buchholz was a pleasant surprise with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts, but the Diamondbacks can’t expect him to have that type of production again even if they decide to re-sign him. Robbie Ray provides some hope for the pitching staff, but he struggled at times this past season. Taijuan Walker could be back from Tommy John surgery at some point in 2019, but the Diamondbacks shouldn’t count on any contributions from him. Arizona’s rotation will look a lot different next season and they need to do something in free agency to address it in order to remain competitive.

Atlanta Braves – Biggest Need: Catcher

The Atlanta Braves received decent production from Kurt Suzuki at the catcher position last season as he hit .271 with 12 home runs. However, Suzuki is 35 years old and he is a free agent this offseason. The Braves would ideally like an upgrade over Suzuki anyways and it is extremely likely that they try to find a new starter at the catcher position this offseason. The catcher market in free agency provides the Braves with some good options like Wilson Ramos and Yasmani Grandal if they are willing to spend that kind of money on a catcher. However, it seems more likely that the Braves will tap into the trade market to find their new catcher. J.T. Realmuto is certainly the best option available, but it would likely take at least a couple of top prospects in order to get the deal done. The Braves have some options to find a new catcher, but it will be interesting to see how they address that position.

Baltimore Orioles – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

The Orioles have big needs at just about every position, but the glaring weakness continues to be their starting pitching. They tried to address the problem last offseason by signing veteran pitchers Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner in free agency, but those players just ended up making the rotation worse. Baltimore could see if those guys improve in 2019 or they could just decide to cut their losses and replace them. Dylan Bundy was supposed to be the ace of the Orioles rotation, but it appears that he isn’t the answer either as he had a disastrous 5.45 ERA last season. It is highly unlikely that the Orioles get a top-tier starting pitcher this offseason, but they need to sign several starting pitchers to try and at least make their starting rotation acceptable.

Boston Red Sox – Biggest Need: 2nd Base

Boston’s main weakness was at 2nd base this season mainly because starter Dustin Pedroia couldn’t stay healthy as he only played in 3 games. The Red Sox tried to fix the problem by trading for Ian Kinsler, but that didn’t really work out very well. Kinsler is a free agent after this season and the Red Sox certainly have no intention of bringing him back. That leaves Pedroia as the starter heading into 2019, but he has struggled to stay healthy over the past couple of seasons. That being said, Pedroia is 35 years old and he likely is just an average starter at best at this point in his career. Pedroia might still have some solid production left in his career, but it might be time for the Red Sox to move on from Pedroia and find an upgrade at 2nd base.

Chicago Cubs – Biggest Need: Shortstop

Addison Russell was once a hyped prospect, but he has failed to live up to the hype as he is just an average starting shortstop. Russell is a terrific defensive player, but he just hasn’t provided the Cubs with much of anything on offense. Russell was already in danger of losing his job in 2019 due to his lack of offensive production, but it seems even more likely now due to his character concerns. Russell will miss the start of the season because of a domestic violence issue and there is a chance that the Cubs could just decide to get rid of him altogether. Either way, the Cubs need to do something to address the shortstop position and it is somewhat likely that they could do so by going after a top player like Manny Machado. There is a good chance that the Cubs could land Machado and it would be a major upgrade at the shortstop position even when Russell returns.

Chicago White Sox – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

Reynaldo Lopez and Carlos Rodon look like good young starting pitchers as they led the White Sox rotation last season. The White Sox also remain hopeful that talented prospects Michael Kopech and Lucas Giolito can live up to the hype and help make the White Sox rotation stronger. Either way, the White Sox need to find at least one veteran starting pitcher to help improve the rotation and make the White Sox a contender in 2019. The White Sox could be big spenders this offseason and they have many areas to improve, but the continued growth of their young starting pitchers should be the number one priority.

Cincinnati Reds – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

The Reds have one of the best offenses in the MLB and they have a decent bullpen as well. However, the starting pitching remains the main issue that keeps the Reds from being playoff contenders. They were counting on veterans Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani to lead the rotation last season, but both had an absolutely disastrous 2018 season. Cincinnati has some talented young starting pitchers led by Luis Castillo, but they all suffered some growing pains as expected. The Reds are hoping that their young starters like Castillo can continue to improve in 2019. However, the Reds need to either sign a solid veteran pitcher in free agency or make a trade to improve their rotation. If the Reds can find a couple of good starting pitchers then it is possible that they could be playoff contenders in 2019.

Cleveland Indians – Biggest Need: Center Field

Cleveland had hopes that Bradley Zimmer could finally live up to the hype and take over the everyday role in center field, but that unfortunately never happened. They struggled to find anybody to take over that role and they ended up shifting Jason Kipnis to center field. Kipnis has been an infielder for basically his entire career and he was never meant to be anything more than a temporary solution at the position. The good news is that Cleveland could address the free agency with solid veterans like Adam Jones or A.J. Pollock. However, Cleveland just needs to do something in order to upgrade that position because it is really holding the team back.

Colorado Rockies – Biggest Need: Relief Pitching

The Rockies spent tons of money last offseason to try and improve their bullpen, but they didn’t see any results at all. Bryan Shaw, Chris Rusin, and Jake McGee all had big bullpen roles last season, but they all had an absolutely horrible season. Even closer Wade Davis who was known as one of the top closers in the game struggled with consistency. Adam Ottavino and Scott Oberg pitched very well for the Rockies, but they didn’t get much help from the rest of the bullpen. It is possible that the bullpen gets even worse next season especially if Adam Ottavino departs in free agency. Either way, the Rockies need to upgrade their bullpen in a major way this offseason. It is unlikely that they spend tons of money to upgrade the bullpen like they did last year, but they need to add a couple of reliable bullpen pieces in order to get better in that area.

Detroit Tigers – Biggest Need: Shortstop

Detroit has already made it known that last year’s starting shortstop Jose Iglesias won’t be retained for the 2019 season. However, that leaves a major void for the Tigers at shortstop that they must fill this offseason. The Tigers likely won’t spend much in free agency on a shortstop and they’ll likely just add a veteran shortstop on a short-term deal. That being said, the market for shortstops is once again slim this offseason. However, there are some decent temporary options at shortstop for the Tigers as Freddy Galvis, Alcides Escobar, and Adeiny Hechavarria are all free agents. Those guys are good defenders, but they don’t provide much on offense. Detroit needs a shortstop that can fill that role temporarily and it is very likely that they sign a player like Galvis for that role.

Houston Astros – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

The Astros head into a very interesting offseason mostly because they have a few key free agents that they need to decide whether to re-sign or not. However, starting pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton might be the most important players for them to re-sign. Houston has Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander as two terrific options at the top of their rotation. However, if they fail to re-sign Morton and Keuchel this offseason then they would have 3 rotation spots to fill especially with Lance McCullers out for the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. It is very possible that the Astros won’t be able to re-sign Morton or Keuchel, so it needs to be a priority to try and find a top level starting pitcher like Patrick Corbin, J.A. Happ, or Nathan Eovaldi. Either way, the Astros will be searching to find at least a couple of new starting pitchers this offseason.

Kansas City Royals – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

Kansas City is in the midst of a full-scale rebuild so they have needs at several positions, but the biggest problem that they had last season was their starting pitching. Danny Duffy was supposed to be the ace of the rotation, yet he had an awful 2018 season as he had a 4.88 ERA. The Royals need him to bounce back in 2019 and they need their younger pitchers like Jakob Junis to continue to improve. Brad Keller was a pleasant surprise for the Royals last season as he became the Royals best starter, but we’ll see if he can continue his success in 2019. Either way, the Royals rotation needs to add a couple of quality veteran pitchers to try and solidify their starting rotation this offseason. They certainly won’t sign a top-level starting pitcher in free agency, but they need to findĀ  at least someone on a short-term deal that can help their rotation out in 2019.

Los Angeles Angels – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

The Angels have an offense that can compete at a high level, but the consistency of the team’s pitching continues to hold them back. They once again struggled mightily with injuries to their starting rotation as players like Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs once again couldn’t stay healthy. Richards is a free agent this offseason and it is unlikely that the Angels retain him due to his lengthy injury history. Shohei Ohtani also won’t pitch in 2019 after he just had Tommy John surgery. That leaves the Angels with a couple of major voids to fill in a starting rotation that already was just average at best. The Angels need to find a couple of starting pitchers in free agency to try and give some more stability to their rotation.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Biggest Need: Relief Pitching

The Dodgers used Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen extensively in the postseason because those were about the only two relief pitchers that they could rely on. However, that ended up being their downfall because the teams that they faced in the playoffs had much more depth in their bullpen. If the Dodgers want to make a deep playoff run again then they’ll need to at least find a good 7th inning option that will take some of the pressure off of Baez and Jansen. If the Dodgers can add some more depth to their bullpen then it will allow them to be more competitive if they reach the playoffs once again in 2019.

Miami Marlins – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

The Marlins have a couple of good starting pitchers with Jose Urena and Dan Straily. Neither are elite starting pitchers, but they at least provide some stability to the Marlins starting rotation. However, the rest of the starting rotation needs some help for sure. Wei-Yin Chen was completely unreliable in 2018 and they also couldn’t rely on consistency from younger starters like Caleb Smith and Trevor Richards. Miami likely won’t spend big to get a starting pitcher in free agency, but they need to find a veteran that can help provide some depth to their rotation.

Milwaukee Brewers – Biggest Need: Catcher

The combination of Erik Kratz and Manny Pina didn’t do much during the regular season, but they did contribute to the Brewers success in the 2018 playoffs. However, Kratz is 38 years old and the Brewers need to find an upgrade over him either way. Meanwhile, Pina is a good backup catcher for the Brewers, but he isn’t the long-term starter at catcher. The good news is that the catcher market in free agency gives the Brewers several good options. It is unlikely that they spend big money on a catcher like Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos. However, they could go after a lower-cost starter like Kurt Suzuki, Jonathan Lucroy, Brian McCann, or Matt Wieters. There are plenty of options at catcher for Milwaukee, but they need to do something to improve that position.

Minnesota Twins – Biggest Need: 1st Baseman

Minnesota has had the privilege of having Joe Mauer be their everyday 1st baseman for the past few years. However, the Twins now must find a replacement at 1st base after he decided to retire this offseason. The bad news though is that the Twins don’t really have a player on their roster that can fill that everyday role. They will likely use free agency to fill that major void, but the issue is that it is a a very weak group of 1st baseman. Steve Pearce, Matt Adams, Lucas Duda, and Mark Reynolds are about the only options for the Twins at that position and none of them are exactly inspiring options. The Twins could decide to trade for a 1st baseman and that is likely the better route to take, but they need to do something because they don’t have anybody that can fill the void at 1st base right now.

New York Mets – Biggest Need: Catcher

The good news for the Mets is that they have one of the best starting rotations in the MLB right now. However, the bad news is that they probably have the worst offense in the entire MLB as well. They have needs to fill at several positions and they need key players like Todd Frazier and Michael Conforto to produce more consistently. That being said, the biggest need for the Mets continues to be at the catcher position. They tried to address the issue by acquiring Devin Mesoraco from the Reds early in the 2018 season, but that trade didn’t work out. Now Mesoraco is set to become a free agent this offseason and the team has basically nothing left at the catcher position. Either way, the Mets need an upgrade over Mesoraco at catcher and it is likely that they will go all-in on finding a good starting catcher this offseason. It is very possible that they spend big to sign a catcher like Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos in free agency. However, they also have expressed tons of interest in trading for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. It will take a big risk either way to find a good starting catcher, but it is a risk that they must take in order to improve their team.

New York Yankees – Biggest Need: 1st Baseman

The New York Yankees are pretty much a complete team and they especially don’t need to improve their offense much. However, 1st base continues to be the position that holds their lineup back from reaching its full potential. The Yankees had hope that Greg Bird would live up to the hype and become their everyday 1st baseman. Sure, he has shown tremendous power with his bat, but he just hasn’t been able to produce consistently on offense. Luke Voit came in and did a very good job at 1st base, but he didn’t do much in the playoffs and he isn’t the long-term answer at 1st base. The Yankees don’t have any better options in free agency, but they could look to address their need at 1st base via a trade. The Yankees already are rumored to be intrerested in Paul Goldschmidt if the Diamondbacks decide to trade him and that would make the Yankees offense perhaps the best of any team in MLB history. Either way, they need to find a long-term solution at 1st base because Greg Bird and Luke Voit just aren’t the answer.

Oakland Athletics – Biggest Need: Catcher

Bruce Maxwell was supposed to take over the starting role at catcher for the Athletics, but it appears that will never happen. Jonathan Lucroy was the Athletics main catcher and he did a good job defensively, but he surprisingly struggled offensively as he only hit for a .241 average with 4 home runs. Lucroy is a free agent this offseason and the Athletics should definitely explore options to upgrade at the position. The Athletics could bring back Lucroy at a low cost or they could decide to spend more money and get a better catcher. It isn’t typical of Oakland to be aggressive spenders in free agency, but this might be the offseason that they need to do that in order to improve at the catcher position.

Philadelphia Phillies – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

The Philadelphia Phillies received a terrific performance from young starting pitcher Aaron Nola who became the Phillies undisputed ace last season with an impressive 2.37 ERA. Jake Arrieta also had a decent season with a 3.96 ERA, but beyond those two pitchers the Phillies starting rotation was really inconsistent. The return of Jerad Eickhoff next season should give the Phillies rotation some much needed depth. However, the other two spots in the rotation are completely up in the air. They could just have Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, and Vince Velasquez compete for the final two spots. That being said, it is probably just best if the Phillies add at least one veteran starting pitcher to help add some more depth in order to solidify the Phillies rotation. Philadelphia likely won’t be in the market for a top starting pitcher, although they must do something in order to improve the back end of their starting rotation.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Biggest Need: Shortstop

The Pirates middle infield is likely going to look a lot different next season with 2nd baseman Josh Harrison and shortstop Jordy Mercer both likely to depart in free agency. However, the biggest concern is the void that Pittsburgh currently has at shortstop especially if Mercer leaves in free agency. Mercer was just an average shortstop at best and it shouldn’t be too difficult to replace him, but the problem is that they don’t really have a plan to do so. The Pirates could dig into the rather weak shortstop market in free agency with players like Freddy Galvis and Alcides Escobar available likely at a low cost. However, none of the free agent options for the Pirates are necessarily upgrades over what the Pirates had with Mercer. Maybe the Pirates can address the need via a trade, but that seems highly unlikely at this point. The Pirates don’t have many good options to fill the shortstop void and it might be best if they just bring back Mercer on a short-term deal.

San Diego Padres – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

The Padres let go of a couple of good starting pitchers from the 2017 season as they traded away Trevor Cahill and let Jhoulys Chacin leave in free agency. Those turned out to be really bad decisions for the Padres as their starting rotation was an absolute disaster in 2018. Joey Lucchesi was clearly the team’s best starting pitcher last season and he struggled with consistency as he had a 4.08 ERA. The other pitchers including Eric Lauer, Tyson Ross, and Clayton Richard were even more inconsistent. The only real lock to make the starting rotation in 2019 is Lucchesi, but the rest of the starting rotation is completely up in the air. Either way, San Diego needs to sign a few veteran starting pitchers in free agency to finally help improve their starting rotation. If they fail to accomplish that this offseason then it will hold the Padres back from being a competitive team once again.

San Francisco Giants – Biggest Need: Right Fielder

The San Francisco Giants was absolutely terrible last season and the main issue was that their entire outfield wasn’t good at all. Andrew McCutchen was brought in to improve their lineup and he was arguably their best offensive player, but he still failed to live up to the hype before being traded during the season. However, after he was traded then it left the Giants with a major void at each of the outfield positions. Right Field is a particular area of need because they have absolutely nobody to fill that role right now. Hunter Pence had a terrible 2018 season and it is almost certain that the Giants will let him depart in free agency. Gorkys Hernandez could fill the void, but he will most likely start in left field for the Giants. Either way, the Giants desperately need to find a new starting right fielder this offseason. Maybe they make a push to sign a mid-range starter in right field like Carlos Gonzalez or Nick Markakis. However, it isn’t out of the question that they make a bigger splash at the position by trying to acquire an elite player like Bryce Harper. Adding him would not only fill the void in right field, but it would instantly make a huge difference in a rather weak Giants lineup. Either way, the Giants need some more power in their lineup and they certainly need to find a new everyday player in right field.

Seattle Mariners – Biggest Need: Catcher

The Mariners made the first big move of the MLB offseason by trading away starting catcher Mike Zunino. However, the problem is that the Mariners don’t have a catcher that is able to replace him. David Freitas is the best catcher that the Mariners have right now, but he isn’t even a very good backup. The Mariners desperately need to find a new starting catcher this offseason and the good news is that it is a strong market for catchers in free agency. It is unlikely that they try to sign a top catcher like Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos since the team is clearly trying to shed payroll this offseason. That being said, there should be some decent low-cost options like Jonathan Lucroy or Kurt Suzuki that the Mariners could sign on a short-term deal. Either way, the Mariners at least need to do something to fill the void left by Zunino’s departure.

St. Louis Cardinals – Biggest Need: Closer

The Cardinals bullpen started off the 2018 season well especially since Bud Norris performed well in the closer’s role. However, Norris’ performance faded later on in the season and the rest of the bullpen didn’t fare well either as pretty much every relief pitcher struggled with consistency. It is a problem that the Cardinals must address this offseason as they especially need to find a reliable closer that can shut down games and help them reach the playoffs once again. The good news for St. Louis is that there are plenty of good closers available in free agency. Craig Kimbrel is obviously the best closer on the market, but it would take tons of money to sign him. It is more likely that the Cardinals try to sign a mid-range closer like Cody Allen, Kelvin Herrera, Jeurys Familia, or Sergio Romo. Either way, Bud Norris proved that he wasn’t the right guy in the 9th inning and now the Cardinals badly need a closer to help solidify their bullpen that needs some serious improvement.

Tampa Bay Rays – Biggest Need: Relief Pitching

Jose Alvarado quietly became an elite setup man for the Rays as he had a 2.39 ERA in 70 appearances. Alvarado figures to play a major role in the Rays bullpen next season and it is very possible that he could take over the closer’s role as well. However, the rest of the bullpen needs some serious help. Closer Sergio Romo is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason and it seems somewhat unlikely that he’ll be retained. Ryne Stanek and Chaz Roe provide some solid bullpen depth, but the Rays need to find some better late-inning options. The Rays need to find a mid-range relief pitcher in free agency that can help solidify their bullpen in the late innings.

Texas Rangers – Biggest Need: Starting Pitching

The Texas Rangers added some veteran starting pitchers last offseason in hopes that they could piece together a decent starting rotation. However, things didn’t work out quite as planned as veteran pitchers Mike Minor, Yovani Gallardo, Bartolo Colon, Doug Fister, Martin Perez, and Matt Moore all struggled tremendously. Another big problem is that all of those pitchers except for Mike Minor are scheduled to be free agents this offseason. Minor is a lock to make the Rangers rotation since he was their best starting pitcher last season, but there is a major void with the other 4 spots in the rotation. It will be tough for the Rangers to adequately fill all 4 spots, yet they need to do something to fix their starting rotation which was completely awful last season.

Toronto Blue Jays – Biggest Need: Relief Pitching

The Blue Jays weakened their bullpen considerably when they traded away Roberto Osuna and Seunghwan Oh during the 2018 season. However, the Blue Jays bullpen could get even worse this offseason with Tyler Clippard and Aaron Loup becoming free agents. They still have Ken Giles and Ryan Tepera in their bullpen, but that’s about all that they have. The Blue Jays badly need to find another late-inning option and they just need to add much more depth to their bullpen in general.

Washington Nationals – Biggest Need: 2nd Baseman

The Nationals have some huge decisions to make this offseason especially with star player Bryce Harper becoming a free agent. However, the biggest area of weakness for the Nationals is at 2nd base. Washington traded away Daniel Murphy during the season and that created a big void at 2nd base. Wilmer Difo isn’t a bad backup, but he has already proven that he shouldn’t be relied upon to be the starter at 2nd base. There are some intriguing options in free agency that the Nationals should consider. Jed Lowrie and DJ LeMahieu seem like the best options for the Nationals as they would provide an instant upgrade at 2nd base. However, there are also a couple of intriguing lower-cost options available like Josh Harrison and Brian Dozier. Washington has a chance to find a good starter at 2nd base this offseason and an upgrade over Wilmer Difo would be very beneficial.

 

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.

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.