Gerrit Cole is in his third season with the Yankees.

Who needs what? Contenders need to fix these problem areas at MLB trade deadline

Just a few more days until it gets down to the dirty details of separating Major League Baseball’s aspiring contenders from needs.

Simply put: every team wants Juan Soto. Not everyone needs him.

So, while perhaps the most lucrative piece on the business market in decades is the face of everyone but the Washington Nationals, who are intent on doing the dirty work for up-and-coming owners, the reality is that no one has unlimited potential capital, nor The flawless roster turns the calendar like October. That’s why a Soto deal may be more likely to happen in the winter, which would leave two full seasons for an acquiring team to enjoy the skills of the game’s prime hitter.

trade deadline: Nine Deals That Make Sense, Blockbuster or Otherwise

The Yankees attack first: AL East leader KC. take off the outfielder in the trade with

But now, with only a few days left from Tuesday’s trading deadline? There are a bunch of teams with legitimate World Series aspirations, and flaws that leave them less than championship caliber. Let’s break down the biggest needs here:

Gerrit Cole is in his third season with the Yankees.

Gerrit Cole is in his third season with the Yankees.

Yankees: Starting Pitcher

We’ll start by mastering the clear, a requirement that became more apparent after the acquisition of Andrew Benintendi, ensuring this squad’s left-handed punch would not rely on a viable Joey Gallo. Now, with a two-point division lead in hand, the question becomes, “How can we win the World Series?”

And a question that had many possible answers at the beginning of the year has reared its head again: “Who is our Game 2 starter?”

With Gerrit Cole again delivering a season that can be called an ace even if shy by Cy Young Award standards, the Yankees know who will go on to win 11 wins and their first championship since 2009. Yet while they still have won two-thirds of their games, a recent skid in which they have lost 10 of their last 16 has only ignited the uneasy feeling that either of Nestor Cortés, Jordan Montgomery or Jameson Talon has. With one starting Game 2 (and, potentially, Game One). 6).

Cortés remains brilliant, pitching an All-Star for 2.48 ERAs, but in 101 innings, he is already close to last year’s 108-innings mark between majors and minors. While a large divisional lead ensures they can limit Cortés’ remaining workload, he will still be in unknown waters. Montgomery (4.26 ERA in July) and Tallon (5.04 after six innings on Thursday) have been embarrassed by the authenticity of the top-rotation, while Luis Severino remains on the injured list and Domingo German is an emergency-only option.

Finding one of their better prospects to acquire Reds’ Luis Castillo should come with little hesitation, especially since Castillo comes with another year of club control.

And there is a good chance that the Yankees could face this crisis in 2023 as well.

Dodgers: High-Leverage Reliever

Craig Kimbrel is in his first year with the Dodgers.

Craig Kimbrel is in his first year with the Dodgers.

The machine never breaks. LA will miss Walker Buehler for four months and lose almost an entire bullpen due to injuries at various points including Daniel Hudson (torn ACL), Blake Trainen (shoulder), Tommy Kahnley (forearm) and bruised Greatroll (shoulder). Gave. Closer Craig Kimbrel has been an experience. Yet under Evan Phillips, the second innings bullpen has been equally effective and the club is playing around .700 balls.

With the playoffs nearing, and Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Tony Gonsolin all provoking different questions about how deep they can stay in October’s matchup, why not make the Bullpen of Death, Part III?

This equation may be partially filled by Dustin May, the 100 mph thrower starter who started out as a reliever and could serve a useful playoff pit stop in the bullpen after Tommy John came back from surgery. But flooding the zone with more swing-and-miss people could give manager Dave Roberts a more consistent outlook in October.

With two months for the Dodgers to get your hands on them — imagine getting in touch with Tanner Scott, David Bedner or even Matt Moore’s own pitching lab — the LA high-end five-inning start Can create a punitive formula and then play a matchup game way in November.

Rays: Power Bat

It’s easy to write off a wild-card expectation field, but despite the inherent pitfalls, some are better off going forward. With Shane McClanahan and Corey Kluber, the Rays can punch through a wild card series and still have a fighting chance in a Division Series.

And they’re one of the rare contenders who probably needs a more aggressive boost than a second hand.

Wanderer Franco Hammett will return from surgery, but Kevin Kirmayer and Mike Zunino are out for years, Manuel Margot is out at least one more month with a patella injury and Harold Ramirez is also out on shelter. Meanwhile, hitters named Razz have slugged only 10 homers, which is just over five teams in the Majors. Outfielder Brett Phillips has .480 OPS while rookie Josh Lowe is unproven.

It’s time for some cheap sock, whether it’s from old friend Avicel Garcia, intra-division option Trey Mancini or a similar big leaguer-for-big-ligier swap with another mid-lead contender.

Phillies: someone who catches the ball

Hey, if you’re serious about winning it all, you’ve got to at least pay the fleeting tribute to keeping the other team off the board, shutting it down when you have the leadership, the flexibility.

Again, that didn’t stop the Phillies from rolling out a slow-pitch softball squad, and they’re still in contention.

You have to admire the commitment to the bit. The Phillies rank last in the Major in defensive runs saved (-19). He is last in FanGraph’s overall defensive rating (-19.7) and above average (-28) and his shortstop is ranked 27th in overall defense. And they will enter Friday’s game tied for the final wild card.

Relief could come next month if Bryce Harper recovers from a broken thumb and is ready to play in the right field despite a damaged ligament in his elbow. But there is no guarantee about whether Didi Gregorius and Bryson Stott shortstop simply play the position efficiently. Better to grab a Michael A. Taylor or even an Andrew Velazquez, to make sure the season doesn’t ride on a fun, late hop.

Mariners: Starting Pitcher

Julio Rodriguez is the favorite for AL Rookie of the Year.

Julio Rodriguez is the favorite for AL Rookie of the Year.

They are among the better candidates to land Soto, with a business-happy GM, a hungry fan, lots of potential and the delicious concept of Soto and Julio Rodriguez batting 1-2, or 2-3, or 3-4. , or whatever, for the next two to 15 years.

But while Seattle has a real shot this year, your chances of going through a round or two are probably better than a lottery ticket winning the Soto Sweepstakes. Unfortunately for them, their two young starting pitchers, Logan Gilbert and George Kirby, would run into (or so are believed to be) innings bans down the stretch and possibly in the postseason.

Kirby has already exceeded his career high of 96 innings and has been sent to an AAA Tacoma class once to manage his workload. Gilbert, possibly their best starter pitcher, is just 12 innings shy of his career high and figures to hit the industry standard “danger zone” sometime in September.

So, why not improve the rotation and ease the burden on the youth all at once? This acquisition could be in the form of a seasoned innings consumer like Cole Irwin or Jordan Lyles, or a big swing for the fences at Tyler Mahle, Frankie Montas or the iconic Castillo. All of these could return in 2024 and create healthy postseason depth.

That extra hand could make the difference between having the thinnest margin, or hosting a best-of-three wild card round in the Pacific Northwest.

Guardian: a sign of life

The franchise is well on Cleveland receiving a hard-hitting, All-Star appearance in second baseman Andres Jiménez in exchange for shortstop Francisco Lindor, even though it took a year for all parties (including replacement shortstop Amade Rosario) to adjust to the new league. Are.

Now, show the fans you care a little bit.

The Guardians have been a good story this year, especially with another MVP-caliber season from Jose Ramirez, the rise of rookie outfielder Steven Kwan and the recent promotion (and immediate excellence) of outfielder Nolan Jones. Cleveland is two games out of the first and 2 1/2 games out of the wild-card race, which has a secret weapon for the latter race: the AL Central Residency.

So why not swing for future gains a bit bigger than those beginning to buy? How about watching the Mets and the others beat Wilson Contreras to take a big swing and upgrade the position to a terrific offensive catch?

It’s been an ugly few years for fans to see beloved players like Lindor, Carlos Carrasco and Michael Brantley go elsewhere. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Guardians rank next-to-last in the AL in attendance. There’s no better way to rebrand than by offering hope.

This article was originally published in USA Today: MLB Rumors, Trade Deadline: The Biggest Needs of Top Teams in Baseball

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