Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Batting Around: Which contender needed to do more at the MLB trade deadline?

Batting Around: Which contender needed to do more at the MLB trade deadline?

Some teams in the hunt dramatically improved their rosters, others stayed relatively quiet

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Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we debated the biggest name to move at the trade deadline (other than Juan Soto). This week we’re going to look at contenders who need to do more at the deadline.

Which contender needed to do more at the trade deadline?

R.J. Anderson: I’ll say the Guardians. I understand not going all-in, and I understand not wanting to erase playing time from some of their interesting youngsters. I also don’t think the chance to win a division or make the playoffs should be taken for granted, however, and I find it hard to believe that they couldn’t find an upgrade over, say, Bryan Shaw. (I’ll note that Cleveland has a good front office, and this take could very well age horribly once Ian Hamilton comes up and serves as a massive upgrade over Shaw; so it goes.)

Mike Axisa: Yeah, I’m saying the Guardians too. On deadline day they were one game behind the Twins in a winnable AL Central, and they ranked 15th in runs scored per game and 14th in runs allowed per game. Surely there were ways to improve the roster for the final two months without mortgaging the future and blowing up payroll. To make matters worse, Minnesota added three pretty good pitchers (Jorge López, Michael Fulmer, Tyler Mahle) to separate itself from Cleveland a bit. ZiPS projections say no team improved their postseason odds at the deadline more than Twins, and that’s bad news for the Guardians. The White Sox and Brewers deserve an honorable mention.

Dayn Perry: I’ll say White Sox. They have a real shot at flipping the script on what has been a very disappointing season thus far, but they didn’t help themselves leading up to the deadline. They badly needed a lefty outfield bat who can at least man both corners, and ideally they also would’ve found a platoon partner for Josh Harrison at second base. Instead, all they did was add a lefty reliever in Jake Diekman. The first-place Twins, meanwhile, actually moved the needle with their deadline.    

Matt Snyder: I’ll go with the Mets. It’s time to drop the hammer here and instead they were careful with prospects. They barely have a lead over the defending champion Braves and there were weak spots. They could have been more aggressive in shoring up the bridge to closer Edwin Diaz with more setup men than Mychal Givens — whose Mets debut was a disaster — and catcher remains a big question mark while All-Star Willson Contreras didn’t even get traded. Some reports indicated they were gun-shy on dealing prospects for rentals after last season, but Max Scherzer is 37 years old and who knows how long Jacob deGrom‘s arm will hold up. The Mets haven’t won the World Series since 1986 and they have a collection of talent that could get it done again. Why they didn’t go absolutely full throttle to load the roster before the deadline is beyond my comprehension. 

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