Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trade Market: Buyers N.L.

With the MLB trade deadline 10 days away, now is a good time to look and see who might be buying and selling at the deadline. Here are the N.L. teams that should be looking to 'buy' come July 31st.

San Francisco Giants: The Giants have an impressive 50-42 record, that would put them within 5 games in any other division (they'd even be in first place in the A.L. Central), but in the N.L. West they are 8.5 games back. Though it will be tough for San Francisco to catch the Dodgers out West, the Giants should look to 'buy' to secure the Wild Card. They already have a top end pitching rotation led by two aces (Lincecum and Cain) and a quality bullpen. What the Giants need is a playoff caliber offense. Only Pablo Sandoval (3B/1B) is a true offensive threat on this team. Guys like Benji Molina (C), Aaron Rowand (CF), Edgar Renteria (SS), and Randy Winn (OF), are no longer the productive hitters they once were. The Giants need to get better production from 2B, 1B, and at least one of their corner spots. San Francisco should be looking for at least two bats if they hope to advance far into October.

Top targets: Freddy Sanchez (2B), Aubrey Huff (1B), Nick Johnson (1B), Luke Scott (OF), Jeremy Hermida (OF), Josh Willingham (OF), Adam LaRoche (1B)

Analysis: The Giants need to make a move soon. They have eight other teams within six games of the Wild Card. They need to separate themselves from the pack and make it a 2 or 3 team race. Given their lack of offensive talent at least two additions should be made. The Giants don't have any real help on the way in the minors (for this season), so the bats will need to come via trade. With a young core, the Giants should focus on guys that are under team control for multiple years. Scott and Willingham should be their most attractive targets. Given the need at 1B as well, trading with the O's or Nats could potentially give the Giants two power bats in one deal.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves are very similar to the Giants as to their strengths and needs. Atlanta is set when it comes to their pitching staff, but their offense needs a boost. They aren't as bad off as the Giants, as they have 3 quality offensive pieces in Chipper Jones (3B), Yunel Escobar (SS), and Brian McCann (C). Atlanta needs better production from their entire outfield and 1B positions if they hope to contend with the Phillies and Dodgers. The Braves have already added two outfielders through trades (Nate McLouth and Ryan Church). McLouth has been solid for them and can handle the CF position for the rest of the season (though his defense leaves something to be desired). Church has been good so far, but his track record suggests that he's a platoon player rather than a starter.

Targets: Scott, Willingham, Hermida, Adam Dunn (OF/1B)

Analysis: The Braves seem to be one bat away from being a legitimate contender this season. Since they won't have much in the way of money to play around with next off season, they should focus on players under contract. Willingham and Scott would make the most sense. Dunn offers the most power of any player on the market. Even though Dunn will make $12 million next year he'd still come cheaper than what Matt Holliday or Jason Bay would cost on the Free agent market next winter. Without any additional moves, I think the Braves will slip behind Marlins and Mets and finish 4th in the N.L. East.

Other teams that need to buy:

Philadelphia Phillies: It seems strange that a team that's won 9 straight and is in first place needs to buy, but the Phillies should be looking to add for another title run. Their bullpen is a house of cards right now. Lidge has imploded this year, and Madson isn't as dominate as he was last season. Another reliable late inning arm could be the difference between a 1st round exit and another title. If Pedro falters, an additional starter down the stretch could work as well (Halladay anyone).

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies are a tough team to figure out. Are they a legit contender or just on an impressive hot streak. Their pitching is good and their offense has been great. While, the bullpen could use another arm or two its not their biggest weakness. The biggest area of concern for Colorado is their defense. The problem is that some of their biggest offenders (Hawpe, Helton, Folwer) are also their best hitters. You can't really try to tinker too much with the defense this late in the season, a middle relief arm is probably the best the Rockies can do at this point.

Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers already have made one move with the addition of Felipe Lopez over the weekend. Now the 'Crew need to add some pitching to get into October. Another SP as well as a couple relievers are on the wish list.


  1. The problem for the Braves is they don't have anything to offer anyone really. Also, I want to see these stats that show McLouth isn't a good defensive player. When you watch Braves games, he runs down everything in the gaps and is always there to back up the left or right fielder. The eye test says he gets to the ball, and he's got a Gold Glove.

  2. Actually the Braves still have a pretty deep system even after moving some pieces for McLouth. Obviously Heyward and Hanson are untouchable, but I think guys like Freeman, Medlen ect. could headline a deal (though for Scott you might need both). The Braves have a lot of minor league pitching depth. Not much that will help them this year, but the pieces needed to make a move.

    As for McLouth, every advanced metric, FanGraphs UZR, John Dewan's +/- system, Hardball times RZR have all put him as bad to down right awful. Especially last year in his "gold glove" year. Now in McLouth's defense his numbers are better this year (though still below average). For as good of a run producer he is at the plate, he'll give up some of those runs in the field.

  3. Okay, his UZR is terrible, but I really don't see the Braves making any more moves. Frank Wren has stated he feels good about the team's chemistry, and the feeling that most Braves fans have is that the front office is kind of waiting to see how Kelly Johnson does down in AAA, and he's actually our biggest trade asset. I expect they want to hang onto Medlen and Heyward a little longer.