The Chicago White Sox made the first splash before the trade deadline by acquiring James Shields from the San Diego Padres. The move makes sense for both sides. The struggling Padres were able to free up around $27 million off the books, allowing them some flexibility to start a much needed rebuild. The White Sox added another battle-tested arm to an already dominant pitching staff. The addition of Shields to the Sox rotation gives them a dangerous 1-2-3 with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. Shields may have been the first big name to move, but he certainly isn’t going to be the last. So it begs the question, who else will be dealt at the deadline?
# 1 Jered Weaver
The Los Angeles Angels have been incredibly mediocre the past few years, even with arguably the best player in the league, Mike Trout on their roster. As it stands today, the Angels are 4 games below .500 and 8 games back of the first place, Texas Rangers. Even with Weaver’s diminishing talent, he would be extremely useful on a contending team. The 33 year old righty has struggled this year, compiling a 5-4 record and an ERA of 5.18. Weaver can eat innings and would make a solid 3 or 4 in almost any rotation. Trading the former 20 game winner would make sense for the Angels. In 2016, Weaver will be a free agent. Seeing that they are out of contention, it would be smart to deal him, in order to get some much needed youth.
There are a few teams that may be interested in acquiring the 3-time All Star. One team that I can see possibly taking a risk on Weaver is the Boston Red Sox. At this point, the Red Sox need arms. Joe Kelly has been optioned to Triple A and Clay Buchholz has been sent to the bullpen, leaving the rotation with many question marks. Acquiring Weaver should not be the answer to all their problems, but would be a good start to giving the rotation some depth.
The Baltimore Orioles may also be a good fit for Weaver. Baltimore’s pitching rotation is filled with no-names with ERA’s up the wazoo. Adding Weaver to the roster would once again give the Orioles depth in the rotation as well as give them a semblance of a good pitcher. Weaver is also a good veteran presence in the clubhouse. Seeing that the Orioles have one of the youngest teams in the league, adding a strong veteran may go a long way.
#2 Ryan Braun
The power-hitting Ryan Braun is definitely going to be dominating the trade rumors, approaching the deadline. The Brewers are on the cusp of becoming competitive but do not stand a chance at this point to their division foes, the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, and Pittsburgh Pirates. Braun is 32 and his numbers have started to slip, but is still extremely productive and would be a great addition to any contending team’s middle of the order. The former MVP, signed a 5-year extension worth $105 million, which may not be very appealing to other teams. Braun is hitting .337 and has belted 9 homeruns this season. Adding Braun to your lineup could catapult any team to World Series contenders.
So who would be willing to put the money on the table for Braun? Looking around the league, there are two teams that I think could use his bat. The St. Louis Cardinals would be a great fit for Braun. I know what you’re thinking, “There is no way the Brewers would trade Braun to one of their division rivals.” I realize this, but the Cardinals may be willing to give up a lot to acquire a bat like Braun’s. The Cards are in dire need of a slugger in the middle of their lineup. Inserting Braun into the 3 or 4 spot makes the Cardinals one of the better teams in the league. Braun followed by Matt Holliday is a deadly combination of power and skill.
The other team that would be a good fit for the 6-time All Star is the Kansas City Royals. Alex Gordon was recently sent to the 15-day disabled list with a broken bone in his wrist and Mike Moustakas has torn his ACL and will be out the remaining of the year. The Royals need a bat in their lineup in order to keep pace with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. Braun would be a great addition and would fill in for Gordon as he recovers from his injury. An outfield that consists of a healthy Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, and Braun would be one of the best outfields in the game.
#3 Aroldis Chapman/ Andrew Miller
The New York Yankees are slowly becoming the butts of the A.L. East. They currently are 4 games below .500 and sit 6.5 games back of the Red Sox for first place in the division. The only bright spot for them is their outstanding bullpen, consisting of Chapman, Miller, and Dellin Betances. As the Yanks fall out of contention, trading one of these pieces of the bullpen may be a good decision. Teams would be willing to give up an arm and a leg for either Chapman or Miller. I don’t throw Betances in the mix because I believe he would be untouchable from the Yankees point of view. Acquiring Miller or Chapman gives you a stud closer or setup man and makes your bullpen 10 times better.
Almost every team should be foaming at the mouth to acquire either one of these pitchers. The team that I believe may be able to pull off the deal would be the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs need a solid left-handed relief pitcher and have plenty of resources to be able to acquire either Miller or Chapman. If Theo Epstein is able to pull this move out of his ass, then we should just give the World Series title to the Cubs. This would put them over the top and easily make them favorites to win it all.
The Texas Rangers are in dire need of a bullpen arm as well. Recently they have been short on arms, which is not a good sign so early into the season. Adding either Miller or Chapman would take away many of Texas’ bullpen problems. It’s tough to tell if the Yanks would be willing to part ways with their three-headed monster, but they would surely gain from trading one of their pieces.
So there it is everybody! Keep an eye on these players. I’m almost certain that you will hear these names pop up in rumors. It will be very interesting to see what moves will be made and what teams will rank supreme at the deadline. Maybe it will even be your own favorite team?