Old School – Analyzing the MLB Trade Deadline (National League)

With the MLB trade deadline fastly approaching (July 31, 4 p.m. EST), I thought it would be a good time to take a look at every team in baseball and see if they should be buyers or sellers and figure out what each team should do. Today, we’re going with the National League. We will take a look at the American League tomorrow.

Arizona Diamondbacks (49-48) 3rd NL West, 4.0 games back of a Wild Card spot

Mode: Rational

What should they do?

Stay rational. The Diamondbacks are a year removed from winning the NL West with a young, talented core of players. They are in decent position to make a run at the Wild Card and should not be looking to trade 24-year-old outfielder Justin Upton, just because he’s having a down year, which has been rumored.

Atlanta Braves (53-44) 2nd NL East, 2nd NL Wild Card

Mode: Go for Broke

What should they do?

Chipper Jones is in his last season in his legendary Braves career, center fielder Michael Borne is in his last year of his contract and will probably command more money than they can spend next season, and perennial All-Star catcher Brian McCann has a team option for next season. Those are all pretty big pieces that will/could be gone next season, so they need to win now. The Braves need a solid arm to add to their disappointing rotation, and after Ryan Dempster exercised his no-trade clause, they should try to get a guy like Zack Grienke or Matt Garza.

Chicago Cubs (40-56) 5th NL Central, 12.5 games back of a Wild Card spot

Mode: Sellers

What should they do?

The Cubs need to sell off any of their veterans. They are trying to with Ryan Dempster, but he seems deadset on getting dealt to the Dodgers, even though the Cubs preferred a trade they worked out with Atlanta, which he declined. It also means they probably can’t get as much back from the Dodgers now that they know they are the only suitors. Matt Garza should also be available, and if any team is desperate, the Cubs would love to move Alfonso Soriano and his hefty contract.

Cincinnati Reds (57-40) 1st NL Central

Mode: Keep Winning

What should they do?

The Reds are sitting in a good position, first in the NL Central. I’m not sure what move they should make. The bullpen is anchored by flamethrower Aroldis Chapman, the offense led by Joey Votto, and their pitching rotation has done quite well this season. Jonny Cueto is looking like an ace (12-5, 2.23 ERA), and Homer Bailey and Bronson Arroyo are also pitching pretty well with ERA’s under 4. If they just keep doing what they are doing, they have no reason to think they won’t be in the playoffs.

Colorado Rockies (36-60) Last NL West, 16.5 games back of a Wild Card spot

Mode: Back to the Future

What should they do?

The Rockies should go back in time to the day they traded Ubaldo Jimenez around last year’s trade deadline. It was then that they decided that clubhouse chemistry was the most important way to build a ball club. They took that mentality into the offseason and promptly built one of the worst teams in the big leagues. We are far away from having another Rocktober.

Houston Astros (34-64) Last NL Central, 19.5 games back of a Wild Card spot

Mode: Daydream

What should they do?

The Astros should daydream about the days of Bagwell, Biggio and Bell, because they are a long way off from competing. The Astros have already traded off every available veteran. Carlos Lee went to the Marlins, Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates, Brett Myers to the White Sox and J.A. Happ to the Blue Jays. At least they can look forward to next season when they will compete in the American League, which should at least bring in new opponents for the fans to see beat their beloved team.

Los Angeles Dodgers (53-45) 2nd NL West, 0.5 games back of a Wild Card spot

Mode: Showtime

What should they do?

Magic Johnson is now an owner of the Dodgers, and the new regime seems pretty determined on competing and doing it now. Los Angeles has battled some injuries to their main offensive players in Andre Eithier and Matt Kemp, so the trade to get Hanley Ramirez will really help their tea score runs. The Dodgers are also the favorites to land Ryan Dempster, since it’s the only team he really wants to play for.

Miami Marlins (45-52) 4th NL East, 9.5 games back of a Wild Card spot

Mode: Fire Sale

What should they do?

The Marlins spent a lot of money in the offseason in anticipation of competing in the NL East, but it just hasn’t worked out. They’ve already traded Hanley Ramirez, and could get some good prospects back by dealing Josh Johnson. Closer Heath Bell has been so awful (6 blown saves), he’s no longer the closer, so if anyone wants to take a chance on him, the Marlins will gladly send him packing.

New York Mets (47-50) 3rd NL East, 6 games back of a Wild Card spot

Mode: Find Pitching

What should they do?

If the Mets want to make a run at the Wild Card, they could use a closer. Frank Francisco and Bobby Parnelln have both been slated as closers and neither has seen success. In addition, Johan Santana was just added to the DL and will miss a few starts. The Mets have only won one game since the All-Star break. They shouldn’t waste any prospects on a season that is fading fast, so I think they should take a chance on a few guys who are currently sitting at home, like closer Brad Lidge, and super-veteran Jamie Moyer to plug into their rotation.

Philadelphia Phillies (44-54) Last NL East, 9.5 games back of a Wild Card spot

Mode: Rehab

What should they do?

Get healthy and look to the next season. This year has been a disaster, and it’s because of major injuries to major players. Guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee just need to finish this season strong, finish healthy, and get ready to be a contender again next season.

Pittsburgh Pirates (54-42) 2nd NL East, 1st NL Wild Card

Mode: Swashbuckling

What should they do?

The Pirates are where they aren’t supposed to be, competing for a division title. They haven’t won in 19 seasons, and that streak will be put to rest. They just traded for the Astros Wandy Rodriguez and should give their rotation another veteran presence to go with AJ Burnett. The Pirates are dangerous with the team they have now. They shouldn’t sacrifice any future talent considering this organization should compete for division titles for the foreseeable future.

San Diego Padres (41-58) 4th NL West, 13 games back of a Wild Card spot

Mode: Development

What should they do?

The Padres locked up one of their only trade pieces in Carlos Quentin to a long-term extension, and are reportedly doing the same with Huston Street. San Diego needs to keep playing the young guys and hope they develop and get better. Third baseman Chase Headley might be available, but he gives quality production at a decent price, so they will need some decent prospects back in a deal for him.

San Francisco Giants (55-42) 1st NL West

Mode: Find an Offense

What should they do?

Los Gigantes don’t win with a ton of offense. It’s all about pitching and defense, but if they can find another bat to add to their offense, it would be a welcome sight for Giants fans. I wonder if they could pry Todd Helton off the Rockies hands. He’s always been a Rockie and it would be weird to see him go, but considering Ichiro just left the Mariners for the Yankees, you never know. Helton is scheduled to come off of the DL right before the trade deadline.

St. Louis Cardinals (51-46) 3rd NL Central, 2 games back of a Wild Card spot

Mode: Go for Broke

What should they do?

The Cardinals have a bunch of veterans in the core of their lineup, Carlos Beltran, Rafael Furcal, Matt Holliday, and Lance Berkman, so they are definitely in a buyers position. The Redbirds are really missing Chris Carpenter in their rotation this season, so if they could make a good offer to the Marlins for Josh Johnson, that theat could help them make another great stretch run at the postseason.

Washington Nationals (57-39) 1st NL East

Mode: Waiting on Rizzo

What should they do?

Could you imagine the Chicago Bulls playing next season with Derrick Rose after his knee injury in the regular season, yet forcing him to sit in the playoffs for fear of losing him for future years? I couldn’t either, but that is what the Nationals say they will do with Stephen Strasburg. The GM of the team, Mike Rizzo, will apparently shut him down at a predetermined number of innings pitched (reportedly around 160 IP), and Strasburg will not pitch the rest of the season. My advice? Play the kid! Who knows what the future holds?!? He could get hurt carrying a rack of meat up the stairs like Clint Barmes did one season. He could also blow out his arm on the 14th pitch of the 159th inning. Play him! Try to win a World Series in a year you are a contender. Look at the Phillies this season, you never know when it will all fall apart!