Three Contenders That Need To Make A Deal At The Deadline
The trade deadline in any major sport is one of the most exciting parts of the season. Yet baseball’s deadline always seems to have an extra element of excitement to it. Some of the most iconic deals in the sport’s history have been made in the waning minutes before the deadline strikes. In 2015, the Mets traded for Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes would end up having a historic second half of the season, and propel the Mets to their first World Series appearance in over a decade. So let’s look at three contending teams who need to make a trade in order to keep their World Series aspirations alive.
Boston Red Sox- Starting Pitching
After a slow start to the season, the Boston Red Sox are looking like the contenders that everyone thought they would be. They’re in line for the second wild-card spot, (and only one game behind the Blue Jays for the first), and the offense is finally coming around. But as has been the case with past Red Sox teams, the pitching is what needs to be addressed.
Chris Sale should return before the season is over, assuming he doesn’t have any setbacks in his rehab. Nick Pivetta is having a career-best season, and they are getting serviceable outings from arms like Michael Wacha and Josh Winckowski. But the rotation needs serious help if they want to hoist another World Series trophy. They could target Frankie Montas from the Athletics, or one of the Reds’ quality arms in Tyler Mahle or Luis Castillo. Any deal for a quality arm is going to hit the farm system hard. However, the Red Sox need to improve the rotation if they’re going to remain competitive.
Cleveland Guardians- Quality Offensive Piece
The Guardians have defied expectations this season. Cleveland was expected to be non-competitive in the AL Central. Instead, behind the strength of great pitching from both the starting rotation and bullpen, the Guardians are only three games out of first place. However, there is an obvious hole in the roster that needs to be addressed. If the Guardians are going to have any hope of not only making the postseason, but being competitive in the playoffs, they need to acquire a high-quality bat.
Cleveland ranks 20th in runs scored, 21st in OBP, and 28th in home runs. They need a wrecking ball who can provide some stable production in the middle of the order. There are a couple options to select from. Josh Bell of the Nationals is having a great year, and he provides pop from both sides of the plate as a switch hitter. The Cubs’ catcher Wilson Contreras would not only provide offensive firepower, but would shore up the ever-shifting catching situation that Cleveland has. They could also make an in-division trade and get Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi. He is having a great season, and would also provide much needed stability in the outfield. Any one of these hitters would be a big boost for Cleveland. And if they are aggressive at the deadline, they have a real shot at winning a soft division.
New York Mets- Bullpen Arms
If the Mets made zero moves at the trade deadline, they would still be considered among the leading contenders to win the World Series. Even with Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Tylor Megill on the injured list, New York still owns the best record in the NL, and they’re on top of the NL East. Their offense is among the top of the league in several key categories including runs scored, batting average, and batting average with runners in scoring position. However, if the Amazins’ want to be legitimate World Series contenders, they need to retool the bullpen in a major way at the deadline.
The Mets have some decent pieces in the ‘pen. Edwin Diaz has been arguably the best closer in baseball, and they have the 13th best bullpen ERA in baseball. But what they lack are multiple arms who can get important outs in high-leverage situations. Pitchers like Seth Lugo, Joely
Rodriguez, and Adam Ottavino have proven unreliable. So who can they go and get at the deadline? Cionel Perez of the Orioles has a 1.52 ERA in 23.2 innings pitched. David Robertson of the Cubs is a battle-tested veteran who also has sparkling stats this year. And David Bednar of the Pirates has emerged as a breakout reliever, and will almost certainly be dealt to a contender at the deadline. The difference between other contenders and the Mets, is that they can’t solve their bullpen issue with a silver bullet. They need to make multiple trades in order to have a World Series-worthy bullpen.