On Saturday, after the non-waiver baseball trade waiver has come and gone, attention will be focused on the teams that have made moves to improve themselves. Discussion will focus on revised odds to win the World Series, and who is best positioned to make a run. However, the trade deadline sellers are not all the same. Losing key players by definition should decrease a squads likelihood of winning, but look carefully at each team. There will be squads that become great plays as they rise to +150 or +200 in the coming weeks.
Oakland – Billy Beane has a knack for adding and subtracting at the same time. That may not appear to be the case after dealing Scott Kazmir, Ben Zobrist and Tyler Clippard for lowerlevel pitching prospects. But don’t assume a Triple-A prospect isn’t ticketed for the A’s roster this season. Not only that, but Kazmir is likely to be replaced by a capable big league starter, either Drew Pomeranz or Barry Zito. A month from now Sean Doolittle could be back to replace Clippard. The A’s are well positioned to remain competitive, and their run differential indicates they’ll be a decent play for the majority of the season.
Cincinnati – The loss of Johnny Cueto leaves a hole in the Reds rotation and it is unclear what they will do to fill it. It is not impossible Cincinnati can be competitive, but further trades, of players like Mike Leake, Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman or Todd Frazier would be a big blows. Before trading Cueto Cincinnati’s team ERA was the sixth worst in MLB. They are average offensively. What the Reds can not afford – to still be relevant to gamblers – is the loss of any key bats.
Milwaukee – Losing Aramis Ramirez is not a big deal. Dealing Carlos Gomez and Adam Lind would have a significant impact. The Brewers are an OK offensive team, and Ramirez was a fairly small piece to that puzzle. The cumulative effect of dealing three offensive starters however would be an issue. Closer Francisco Rodriguez could go too, but seemingly Will Smith or Jeremy Jeffress could hold down that role just fine.
Chicago White Sox – If Jeff Samardzija is traded, it won’t be a big deal. He isn’t having a great year, and veteran Brad Penny is lurking at Triple-A Charlotte with decent numbers. Penny is 37 years old and is in no way a piece to the long-term puzzle, but he can fill the space for a short period of time. Besides Jose Abreu and David Robertson, Chicago really doesn’t have anyone that if they get traded would be a huge detriment to the team winning or losing.
Detroit – Make no mistake about it, if David Price is traded, it will make a big impact on the Tigers. Not only is Price an ace in his prime, but psychologically, for a team that is a perennial contender, to wave the white flag, would be debilitating. At that point, why rush back Miguel Cabrera? Yoenis Cespedes would be a much smaller loss, but any signal that the Tigers are calling it a season very well may lead to an ugly final couple of months.
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “00063398”) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)