2012 MLB trade deadline: Buyers, sellers

Cole HamelsWith the Major League Baseball trade deadline quickly approaching GMs around the league are scrambling to better position their team for success through the barrage of deals that inevitably takes place right up to the eleventh hour. For some clubs the quest is to secure the missing piece that can elevate them from a solid frontrunner to a championship contender while others on the flip side of the coin who are going nowhere will look to invest in their future by unloading current talent in exchange for a wealth of prospects. This week we’ll take a look at teams who are likely to be involved on both sides of the equation, buyers first.

Baltimore Orioles

At 46-42 and in the midst of their best season in recent memory the Orioles are currently holding on to the final AL Wild Card spot by the slimmest of margins, 0.5 games over a trio of challengers in Detroit, Oakland, and Tampa Bay. With overtaking the Yankees for the division title looking to be an unlikely scenario, the O’s chance to make their first playoff appearance since 1997 hinges on distancing themselves from the Wild Card pack, a task that just became more difficult with the news that pitcher Jason Hammel will miss at least three weeks after undergoing knee surgery to remove loose cartilage.1 Aside from Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen the O’s rotation has struggled mightily this season, so adding a proven arm would help the Birds greatly. ESPN’s Jayson Stark recently reported via Twitter that Baltimore is eyeing Mariners ace Jason Vargas as their top candidate to bolster the rotation. With leadoff hitter Nolan Reimold a victim of the injury bug as well and out for the season, Baltimore could also benefit from adding a solid top-of-the-lineup bat, as they have yet to find someone to fill Reimold’s shoes with any consistency. Making a move on either front will require Baltimore to part with multiple prospects but as a franchise that has been through more than its share of dark days recently expect the Orioles to be serious bidders in hopes of keeping their playoff aspirations in flight.   Read More…

Pittsburgh Pirates: Looking to keep division-leading ship afloat

2012 pittsburgh pirates

To say that the past nineteen baseball seasons have been a disappointment for a city that boasts the sporting tradition that Pittsburgh does is about as much of an understatement as saying that Terry Bradshaw was just another quarterback or Mario Lemieux just a decent hockey player.  The summer months in the Steel City have hummed to a familiar cadence over the past two decades; fans root for the Penguins as deep as they go in the Stanley Cup playoffs and then start counting the days until Steelers camp opens up.  This year though the Pirates lead the NL Central by a game over Cincinnati at the All Star Break and have given fans reason to believe that the once-proud franchise’s run of futility will finally come to an end.  If the Bucs continue their winning ways it’s not unthinkable that the only meaningful games in town this fall won’t be played across the street at Heinz Field, but also at PNC Park, which has proven to be the toughest place for opposing teams to win in the Majors thus far.  Read more here…