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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Gaping Holes

It's already been a blockbuster trade season, with Aces C. C. Sabathia and Rich Harden joining NL Central contenders Milwaukee and Chicago respectively, but the deadline is still three weeks away.  It isn't quite clear exactly who is on the market yet, but here are a couple teams that have postseason aspirations who have obvious needs.

Detroit Tigers - Starting Pitching

The Tigers have clawed their way back to .500 going into the All-Star break, clearly still in contention for both the Wild Card and the AL Central crowd, although they will have to play very, very well in the second half.  Their vaunted offense is starting to click and the return of Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya may solve their bullpen woes, but Detroit will have to improve their rotation to have any chance of sniffing the postseason.  It looks as though Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman are done for the year.  Justin Verlander has turned his season around recently, winning his last three decisions and lowering his ERA in six consecutive starts.  Armando Galarraga (7-2, 3.27) has been a nice surprise, but, as a rookie, he shouldn't be counted on for quality innings down the stretch.  Kenny Rogers and Nate Robertson can no longer be counted on as better than .500 pitchers or even innings eaters.  So, the Tigers need at least a #2 quality guy, and now it can't be C. C. Sabathia or Rich Harden.  Expect Detroit to pursue Joe Blanton, Aaron Cook, and possibly even Cliff Lee, whose value has never been higher and is signed through 2010.  The Indians could expect a Dan Haren-esque package in return.

New York Mets - Catcher, Left Field, Right Field, & Bullpen...Whew!!!

Obviously, it is unlikely that the Mets are going to pick up four impact players prior to the deadline, but if they are going to make a serious run at the playoffs, they need to compensate for some of the offense they have lost due to injuries (Moises Alou, Ryan Church, Luis Castillo) and lack of productivity (Brian Schneider, Carlos Delgado, Aaron Heilman).

The good news for the Mets is that despite the soap opera surrounding the unconscionable firing of Willie Randolph, they are only two games back of the equally inconsistent Phillies and Jose Reyes is in the midst of one of his prolonged hot streaks.  Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and Johan Santana all have reputations for second-half dominance, so the Mets may only need one or two spare parts.  However, I can't see them opening the World Series with Endy Chavez and Fernando Tatis starting in the outfield.

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