Biggest needs for teams in the hunt as trade deadline nears
As Saturday's non-waiver trade deadline draws closer, it's time to shift attention from the supply side of the market (focused on which players are available) to the demand side by looking at some of the biggest holes on contending teams and how they might be able to fill them. Teams don't necessarily need to add extremely productive -- and thus costly -- players to improve, but can often achieve similar gains at a fraction of the price by replacing extremely unproductive players, sometimes with as little as a league-average arm or bat.
NOTE: sOPS+ adjusts OPS to the standard of the position, with 100 as average; VORP is Value Over Replacement Player, a measurement that calculates a player's production relative to a replacement-level player at his position.
Though trading the organization's top hitting prospect within the division may hurt in the long run, sending Smoak to Seattle for
Only three National League teams have scored fewer runs per game than the Mets this year. Even the Padres have slipped past them of late. With
Yes, Pierre leads the majors in stolen bases, but even with those 35 steals factored in (as well as his American League-leading 12 times caught stealing), he has been the worst left fielder in all of baseball according to VORP, costing the White Sox a full win relative to the production they could have received from a replacement-level player. Fangraphs' WAR, which factors in Pierre's highly-rated defense, ranks him 20th among starting left fielders and 46th with non-starters factored in. Yet, Pierre not only continues to start, he and his .320 on-base percentage have led off 92 of the White Sox's 97 games. That's pure obstinacy on the part of
Getting Dan Haren was a nice upgrade for the Angels, but because they sent
When the Yankees moved Chamberlain back to the bullpen, he was supposed to return to being the dominant set-up man he was in late 2007 and early 2008. Instead, he has brought the inconsistency he showed in the rotation to the 'pen, helping to make the eighth the most problematic inning for the Yankees other than the sixth (when starters typically start to tire and relief pitchers frequently become involved). With Robertson and Park also struggling and