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Max Rosenfeld

Pieces That Could Help Top Contenders: Ryan Braun And More

Even the best Major League clubs have their flaws. With a good chunk of the season behind us, it’s time for General Managers to start thinking about how they can address their needs and continue to make a push towards the postseason. It’s early to make definitive predictions on where certain pieces may end up, but below are some suggested fits that may aid contending teams in their chase for a pennant.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Ryan Braun

Braun is a name that has been tossed around for the Dodgers since last season. The outfielder does not come without baggage- he is still widely recognized as a PED abuser who slandered the name of an innocent tester. But Braun is one of the top outfielders in the game and fills a hole for Los Angeles.

The Dodgers are known as a team that struggles against left handed pitching, and Braun would certainly help that cause. Braun is currently batting .287/.374/.574 with 7 home runs and 18 RBIs for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers were expected to move some of their top pieces at the deadline, but given that Milwaukee is just a half game out of first place in the National League Central, it may be cause to reconsider. The Brewers will still likely move Braun by the trade deadline and the Dodgers are surely the destination that makes the most sense.

New York Yankees: Jose Quintana

Like Braun to Los Angeles, Quintana is a player that has been linked to New York since before the season began. Quintana’s 4.38 ERA is the highest of his career but a change of scenery would likely help the southpaw return to form. Quintana would make perfect sense for the Yankees, in light of their starting pitching struggles, especially Masahiro Tanaka.

The question for Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman is how deep into the farm he is willing to dip in order to get a pitcher like Quintana. With prospects like Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Blake Rutherford, Jorge Mateo, and Gleyber Torres, the Yankees have one of the best groups of minor league players in the game.

Will Cashman move one or more of these prospects for Quintana? If New York remains in the playoff picture I firmly expect him to.

Washington Nationals: David Robertson

Robertson makes perfect sense for the Nationals. Washington is in desperate need of quality relievers- it is their one true hole. The Nationals have the best lineup in baseball and a lethal rotation but their bullpen has struggled mightily.

Robertson’s Chicago White Sox are three games under .500 and will not be in contention come the trade deadline. In dealing Chris Sale to Boston, the White Sox accumulated some considerable minor league talent. Trading Robertson could also warrant a nice package.

Roberston currently holds a 3.21 ERA in 14.0 innings pitched. Although he would be a huge help to the Nationals, Washington could also benefit from adding even more bullpen help. Names such as Alex Colome of the Tampa Bay Rays and Kelvin Herrera of the Kansas City Royals also come to mind. If the Nationals can bolster their bullpen, they are the obvious favorite to go to the World Series.

Chicago Cubs: Jason Vargas

Nobody expected the defending champions to be in third place in the middle of May, but here the Cubs are. There’s no need to tamper with the starting lineup and the bullpen has been mostly effective, but disappointing performances out of starting pitchers such as Jake Arrieta and John Lackey have hampered Chicago. Arrieta owns a 5.44 ERA while Lackey has a 4.37 ERA.

Vargas has surprisingly been one of the best starting pitchers in the American League. Vargas has a stunning 1.01 ERA in 44.2 innings pitched for the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals will likely be looking to deal their top players at the deadline in order to rebuild, and Vargas’ impressive play will bring back a nice haul from a contending team. The Cubs are ripe with talented position players and should have no problem dealing one for starting pitching.

Could Kyle Schwarber be a Royal come season’s end?

Colorado Rockies: Sonny Gray

If the Rockies are truly all in on the 2017 season, they need to go get themselves a quality starting pitcher. There is no need to deal their top prospects for a bona fide ace such Yu Darvish or Jose Quintana, but a quality veteran like Gray would go a long way.

The Rockies are currently relying on three rookie starting pitchers to get the job done, a daunting task for a team that is hoping to make a postseason run. Colorado is in first place in the National League West, ahead of the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks, and can hold onto that spot if they play their cards right.

Gray has a 3.78 ERA in 3 games started for the Oakland Athletics, who will most likely be willing to trade him in order to accelerate their rebuild.

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Max is a student at Saint Joseph's University where he is a Communication Studies major. He is a contributing writer for Baseknock MLB and the host of the Payoff Pitch Podcast, which airs every Tuesday morning.

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