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Bernie On The Scene: What Should They Do - AL?

Bernie Pleskoff

Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.

Last week, I shared my opinion of the needs of each National League club heading to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

This week I take a look at the needs of American League teams.

Of course, these are just my opinion. You have your own thoughts and none of our ideas matter. What counts? How each club evaluates their own needs and what they can do to fill them.


What They Need: At least one starter, a closer, outfield depth.

What They Have To Offer: OF Nate McLouth, OF Nolan Reimold, P Brian Matusz, INF Jonathan Schoop+, OF Xavier Avery+, OF L.J. Hoes+,

I think the Orioles would like to find one more offensive outfielder to protect Adam Jones and Chris Davis. I'm not sure Nolan Reimold fits that bill. While McLouth is helpful, he may be good to use in a trade along with another player or prospect like Avery, Hoes or Schoop. Henry Urrutia might fit the bill as another hitter, but he's still raw.

For me, the biggest need is a closer. I think the club has lost faith in Jim Johnson. There is little depth beyond Darren O'Day. Matusz, a lefty, could help fetch a player of value.

Many fans want the club to give the closer's role to Tommy Hunter. For now, however, Jim Johnson retains his position. But the team may hunt down a new face for the ninth inning.


What They Need: a starting pitcher, a bullpen setup man or closer.

What They Have To Offer: OF Daniel Nava, 1B/OF Mike Carp, OF Jonny Gomes, SS Jose Iglesias, P Andrew Bailey, OF Ryan Kalish (hurt), 3B Will Middlebrooks+, INF Brock Holt+, P Alfredo Aceves+, OF Bryce Brentz+, OF Mitch Meier+

I think the Red Sox would like one more proven starter to fortify the rotation. The return of injured Clay Buchholz will help, but they still seem a pitcher light to me. Maybe that's Rubby De La Rosa. They have outfield depth throughout the organization. While they couldn't trade more than one of their outfielders, perhaps Carp or Nava along with another player would fetch something solid. I think Iglesias is expendable due to the emergence of Xander Bogaerts. I don't think Bailey has much value remaining, but he might help a team in need of bullpen help. The Red Sox have enough arms without him. Alfredo Acives is a good pitcher, but along with his arm comes his attitude issues. Bryce Brentz may have some appeal to the right club.


What They Need: a shortstop, a third baseman, perhaps a second baseman, a first baseman, two outfielders, two starting pitchers.

What They Have To Offer: C Austin Romine, P Boone Logan, P Joba Chamberlain, P Preston Claiborne, P Adam Warren, P Phil Hughes, P Ivan Nova, P Dellin Betances+, P Manny Banuelos+, OF Curtis Granderson, 3B Josh Bell+, OF Mason Williams+, OF Slade Heathcott+, OF Thomas Neal+, OF Melky Mesa+, OF Ramon Flores+, P Vidal Nuno+, P Nik Turley,+ P Mark Montgomery+, OF Tyler Austin+, OF/3B Ronnier Mustelier+

The Yankees have to make major changes in their infield. They have unmet needs at both corners, shortstop and perhaps even second base if Robbie Cano leaves - which is always possible. The Yankees are loaded with mediocre pitching and outfield prospects that may be better than most clubs mediocre pitching and outfield prospects. Bottom line? The prospects really are mediocre. However, bundling a bunch of them together in a package to fetch one quality player and a pitcher might be worthwhile for both teams. They are a team in need and a team to watch.

Derek Jeter can no longer be trusted to play regularly at shortstop. While I've always liked Eduardo Nunez, he isn't an everyday player. Third base is a black hole and A-Rod isn't able to play there regularly anymore. First base is up for grabs with Mark Teixeira out for the season after wrist surgery. If nothing else, they have to find a suitable second half backup for Lyle Overbay (which may have happened with the addition Travis Ishikawa). The outfield needs an infusion of youth and power. They have a long list of prospects, but who knows if any can stick. Zoilo Almonte has never projected to play as well as he has so far.


What They Need: a designated hitter, a fourth outfielder, an organizational catcher.

What They Have To Offer: INF/OF Ryan Roberts, SS/2B Tim Beckham+, OF Jason Bourgeois+, OF Brandon Guyer+, OF Mikie Mahtook+. P Jake Odorizzi+, P Taylor Guerrieri+,

As much as we all love the Rays' organization, there really isn't that much depth any longer. Most of their top prospects from recent years have graduated. The team is fairly well set with their young players and stars like Evan Longoria and David Price - if they can afford to keep him financially. But they could use another bat in the lineup to take the place of a slow starting Luke Scott.

I would be reluctant to move Guerrieri, but he may have much more value than Odorizzi. Mahtook might interest some club as well.


What They Need: an outfielder, a second baseman, a third baseman.

What They Have To Offer: OF Melky Cabrera (hurt), 3B Brett Lawrie (hurt) 3B Maicer Izturis, INF/OF Mark DeRosa,

The Blue Jays have a number of quality players currently disabled. They include Cabrera, Lawrie, Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek, Sergio Santos, Drew Hutchison, and J.A. Happ. They don't need pitching unless Morrow can't return. I'm still not sure about Lawrie's future in Toronto. Is he the third baseman of the future of a flash in the pan?

After a slow start, the big bats are waking up. If that continues and the pitching settles in, the Blue Jays will be set for a while. Keep your eye on pitcher Dustin McGowan. If he continues to pitch well following almost two years being hurt, he will be a big help.


What They Need: a third baseman, a second baseman, an outfielder, two starting pitchers, a left-handed reliever.

What They Have To Offer: OF Alex Rios, SS Alexi Ramirez, INF Jeff Keppinger, 2B Gordon Beckham, P Jose Quintana, P Dylan Axelrod, P John Danks, P Hector Santiago, P Gavin Floyd, P Jake Peavy, P (hurt) P Jesse Crain (hurt) P David Purcey, OF Jordan Danks+, OF Jared Mitchell+

If he is to be believed, general manager Rick Hahn has indicated there are few, if any, untouchable White Sox players. That means the young pitchers currently in the rotation are available. But there isn't much available in the farm system. If they are rebuilding (again) it will require pitching. Jake Peavy has value, even though he's hurt now. So is Jesse Crain, a pitcher with value.

It's time for the White Sox to turn the middle infield over to Angel Sanchez and Carlos Sanchez. That would be a definite re-build. Alexi Ramirez has great worth to a club in need of a shortstop.

I'm not sure there is much value in any of the available White Sox players. Their 2014 club may not look much different than the 2013 edition. Time will tell. If it's going to happen, July and the offseason provide the opportunities to clean house.


What They Need: a starting pitcher, a closer, two left-handed relievers, organizational first baseman.

What They Have To Offer: SS Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B/OF Ryan Raburn, C Lou Marson

I actually think the best trade chip for Cleveland is Trevor Bauer. But I think his value has slipped badly and I'm not sure they will join the D-Backs in giving up on him too soon. If they trade Cabrera, the new shortstop will be Juan Diaz, helped by Mike Aviles until Francisco Lindor is ready by late 2014 at the earliest.

I see no way the Indians stay in the race until September without pitching fortification - both in the rotation and particularly in the bullpen. It's time to move Cabrera for a pitcher.


What They Need: a closer, an outfielder.

What They Have To Offer: OF Andy Dirks, P Drew Smyly, P Phil Coke, C Bryan Holaday+

Perhaps the outfielder they need is in the system in the form of Avisail Garcia. He really isn't ready for a full-time role. They need a closer and have needed one all season. They really don't have much to fetch a quality pitcher or position player unless they want to dip in to the core of the club. Coke might be enticing. They could move Jose Alvarez to the bullpen, as he throws strikes.

If the team can answer the closer question they will be set for a run to the World Series. I think that's all they need. Perhaps Smyly could bring that arm.


What They Need: a second baseman, an outfielder, a starting pitcher or two.

What They Have To Offer: 3B Mike Moustakas, OF David Lough, P Wade Davis, P Luke Hochevar, 2B Chris Getz+, INF Irving Falu+, SS/2B Christian Colon+, SS Orlando Calixte+, P Danny Duffy+, P Chris Dwyer+, P Kelvin Hererra+

The Royals have to bite the bullet and consider what they might get for Mike Moustakas. They can take the same approach they took with Wil Myers. It's time they realized that Moustakas is not they player they thought he would become. He's still only 24. I think he has outstanding trade value and that's the direction I'd look. Move him now if you can. Rarely have such highly touted prospects done so little. I can't name one of their highly prized prospect pitchers that have been a success. Make them available and change the franchise. The best arms belong to Aaron Crow and Kelvin Harrera. Teams would pay for them. There are so many needs that the Royals have to deal in numbers.


What They Need: starting pitching, relief pitching, a true right fielder, organizational infield depth.

What They Have To Offer: OF Josh Willingham (hurt), OF Darin Mastorianni (hurt), INF/OF Chris Colabello+, P Vance Worley+

Clearly, the future of the club rests with Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. But they aren't ready. The team has to address very poor pitching in both the rotation and the pen. They can live with everything else. Trading Willingham may help. Chris Colabello might be able to bring a piece to help.

It's evident that Chris Parmelee isn't the best outfielder and they could use another bat. I'd like to see what the organization could do if they had some solid pitching and one special bat. I also wonder if Joe Mauer will wear out behind the plate. I think they have to give him some rest from that role.


What They Need: an outfielder, a first baseman, a third baseman, a shortstop, two starting pitchers, two bullpen arms, at least.

What They Have To Offer: P Bud Norris, P Lucas Harrell, P Jordan Lyles, P Erik Bedard, P Dallas Keuchel, P Jose Veras, OF Justin Maxwell (hurt), OF Robbie Grossman+

The Astros need pitching and they need some of the outfielders to catch fire. Once George Springer and Jonathan Singleton graduate to the major leagues, they'll be better off offensively. But they won't compete in the American League West until they can pitch, and that hasn't happened yet. I really don't think they have any pieces to trade other than their current starting rotation. Norris has value. Harrell may one day develop into a reliable back of the rotation starter.


What They Need: a closer, bullpen help, two staring pitchers, a bat for the bench, organizational depth at the corner infield positions.

What They Have To Offer: P Joe Blanton, P Jerome Williams, OF Peter Burjos, 1B C.J. Cron+, OF Travis Witherspoon+, OF Kole Calhoun+

The Angels have experienced a perfect storm of ineffective offense, ineffective pitching and injuries. They are beginning to return to form now, but it may be too little, too late. Albert Pujols has been a disaster, as has Josh Hamilton. Pujols is hurt. Hamilton is starting to come around.

The pitching has been rocked by injuries to Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson. Ryan Madson is still not back from Tommy John surgery.

They can now try to trade a fringe pitcher like Williams or Blanton in a package to get a more reliable starter. They would have to give up a top prospect like Cron and maybe Bourjos in any package to get a good return. However, Bourjos is hurt now and that will have an impact on his value.


What They Need: another major bat in the lineup, a backup first baseman, a left-handed reliever, an organizational starter.

What They Have To Offer: OF Chris Young, OF Seth Smith, 1B Daric Barton+, INF Jemile Weeks+, INF Andy Parrino+, OF Michael Taylor+

Oakland has a way of hanging in pennant races with good young pitching and timely hitting. Yoeinis Cespedes hasn't caught fire. It will help when he does. Grant Green now takes over at second base - at least in a platoon situation.

The Athletics would benefit by another bat. That might be available to them in their own organization with outfielder Michael Choice. Michael Taylor might be used to bring some help, but they'll make a move or two. They always do. Usually, it's for a player nobody has heard of.


What They Need: two outfielders, two starters, one bullpen arm.

What They Have To Offer: SS Brendan Ryan, OF Michael Saunders, OF Jason Bay, OF Endy Chavez, P Joe Saunders, P Aaron Harang, P Jeremy Bonderman, C/1B Jesus Montero+, SS Carlos Triunfel+, INF Robert Andino+, OF Carlos Peguero+, P Hector Noesi+, P Erasmo Ramirez+

It's about time for the Mariners to become a factor. They have promoted players like Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin and Brad Miller and they are now turning a corner. It's time for Brendan Ryan to find a new home. His defense offers value. If they trade him, Carlos Triunfel is available to step in to the backup role behind Miller at shortstop. Outfield offense is another issue. Nothing they have tried has really worked - other than senior citizen Raul Ibanez. Where would they be without him?

The club is frustrated with Jesus Montero. They may be able to move him in a package deal to bring more offense.

We are approaching the time when pitchers Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker will be finishing their development. I have concerns about Paxton. I do think Hultzen and Walker will help.


What They Need: a first baseman, an outfielder, a starting pitcher, a reliever, one big bat.

What They Have To Offer: P Jason Frasor, P Josh Lindblom, OF David Murphy, 1B Chris McGuiness+, INF/OF Mike Olt+, INF/OF Leury Garcia+, P Neil Ramirez+ 3B Joey Gallo+

The Rangers have faced the injury bug and have been able to keep in the race. They are currently without pitchers Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Nick Tepesch, Matt Harrison and Michael Kirkman. Not many teams could survive that. Getting Joakim Soria into the bullpen helps ease the sting. Ogando isn't far off.

Even with the pitching woes getting lots of attention, the team just isn't scoring runs. They have lost some offense from last season, and they can use a big bat somewhere in the lineup. Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre are doing their parts, but another big gun is needed. What does it tell us when they bring in Manny Ramirez and sign him to a minor league contract? They need help.

The team will take on a totally different look and feel when the pitchers return. Then perhaps they can get away with low scoring games.


In my next article I'll bring some of my thoughts from the MLB Futures Game. I'll also be attending the Triple-A All-Star Game in Reno.

Follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff from the Futures Game as well as the Triple-A All-Star Game next week.