Best MLB Trade Deadline Targets

As we fast approach the All-Star game in Major League Baseball, it does also means that we are closing in on the trade deadline of August 1. Most teams will look to solidify their pitching, or their lineup for a deep post-season run.

Of course, others may have an aspiration of chasing down a Wild Card spot or perhaps just want to free up payroll before the off-season. Therefore, we will now look at players and teams looking to make those last minute deals before their rosters are locked for the remainder of the year.

The first and second men to watch for on the trading block are Will Smith and CC Sabathia. While Smith has missed the first two months of the season, he is sitting on a 2.70 ERA from last season and an average of 13 strikeouts per nine innings. This factor could make him a valuable asset to a team looking to fill gaps in the bullpen.

For the Yankees, who have had their share of rotational issues, may seek to trade and build a core of younger players, or free up room within the salary cap for off-season. Either way, CC Sabathia could see himself on the trading block, as the 35 year old, who has had a tough time lately, should be a valuable commodity on the trading block for any team. In both of these instances, I would see the Texas Rangers as the team of interest, as they are trying to improve to have a shot at the World Series title.

For the Indians, whose rotation seems to be playing well, it’s all about offense. I’ll look for them to make a couple of moves to add beef to their batting lineup.

The Angels Kole Calhoun may find himself on the block. Calhoun, who has had descent plate appearances, however, whose contract will be entering arbitration next season; for these reasons could find himself shopped around. I’m picturing him not having to make a lot of travel plans though as the Dodgers would be his likely destination.  LA is still trying to catch the Giants, and while that may not happen, a post-season match up may still, as the Dodgers are top of the Wild Card race.

Finally, another player to find his way to the trading block is Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers. Lucroy has had descent plate appearances and is a very solid option at catcher. In addition, Lucroy has an attractive $5 million dollar contract that can up his overall value to a new team. A possible team of interest for Lucroy is the Houston Astros. The Astros are currently looking to be a Wild Card contender, and have a strong farm system of pitching. However, would be looking to solidify a young core in other fielding positions to match the rotation.

Biggest Surprises and Disappointments for the 2016 MLB Season

This has been a great Major League Baseball season so far, with some pleasant surprises for teams like Cleveland and Miami. These two teams were projected to finish out of contention by most baseball pundits, but they have proved the experts wrong so far.

There is a half season remaining so a lot is going to happen, but the Cleveland Indians have just ended a fourteen game winning streak and people are starting to realize they are for real. They are currently leading the American League Central by six games and they look like a team of destiny. With the veteran leadership of players like Rajai Davis, who hit for the cycle recently, they just might be there at the end and continue the recent jubilation started by the Cavaliers in the city of Cleveland.

The Baltimore Orioles are not as much of a surprise, but the fact that they are fifteen games over .500 at this point of the season is an accomplishment. They lead the American League East by four games with great pitching, timely hitting and solid defense. Pedro Alvarez has added some necessary power and seasoned professionals like Chris Davis and Manny Machado make the Orioles a probable contender in September.

In the National League, the Miami Marlins have managed to make themselves relevant in the strong National League East. With Washington and the Mets being the favorites in the division, Miami is challenging for a playoff spot. Giancarlo Stanton has become a star after surviving a near career ending injury when he was hit in the face with the baseball during a game against the Brewers in 2014. He has come back in amazing fashion and is leading the Marlins into the second half of the season.

The disappointments of the 2016 baseball season are teams that usually find themselves near the top of their divisions, but this year have fallen on difficult times. The Atlanta Braves have a rich baseball tradition with great players from the past like Hank Aaron and Chipper Jones. Pitching has always been their strength but so far this year that hasn’t been the case. The Braves are in last place in their division having won only twenty-eight games and are over twenty games out of first.

The Los Angeles Angels have to be considered a disappointment up to this point of the 2016 season. With a powerful roster including Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, many people are surprised at their mediocre record so far. They are eighteen and a half games out of first place in an impressive division that is going to be difficult to catch up to. But with imposing pitchers like 6’7″ Jered Weaver and veteran Huston Street, the Angels could put a good second half together and make some noise before it’s all said and done.

The Minnesota Twins are often one of the top teams in the American League, but this year they are mired in last place in their division. Joe Mauer and company have a long way to go to work themselves back into the picture, although it looks bleak for this year.

These are just a few of Major League Baseball’s biggest surprises and disappointments of the 2016 season. There’s still time for teams to improve, but the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians look to be the major contenders. It should be an exciting finish to this already entertaining 2016 Major League Baseball season.