WHAT EACH PLAYOFF CONTENDING TEAM NEEDS TO DO TO HAVE A BETTER CHANCE AT WINNING THE WORLD SERIES
NEW YORK YANKEES
The Bronx Bombers need health and that’s the most important thing. The returns of James Paxton, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Aaron Hicks and Didi Gregorius should be enough to give them the best chance possible at winning the World Series.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Tampa could use another top of the rotation starter, especially with inning limits affecting breakout starter Tyler Glasnow and health typically keeping Charlie Morton from pitching too many himself. Madison Bumgarner would be one such starter, another one could be Mike Minor. They could also sign Dallas Keuchel. Another top of the rotation starter and more consistency from their lineup, could give them their best chance at winning a World Series since 2008.
BOSTON RED SOX
Assuming they still have a chance, they need to get a top of the rotation starter and bullpen help. I’m not sure if I buy them at this point, as their pitching just doesn’t look good this year.
A top of the rotation arm such as Bumgarner or Keuchel would probably secure the division for them. If they can also add another shutdown reliever for the bullpen, that would give them a legitimate shot at their first pennant since 1991. Let’s not forget that Miguel Sano is on the way back too, and if he can improve on his recent production, that could be key in turning them into a team contending for the World Series.
Cleveland badly need hitting help and that’s on top of them badly needing Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger to return as soon as possible. They also need Jose Ramirez to return to his pre-2018 second half form. What hitters could they acquire? Can they acquire Jose Abreu from their division rivals the Chicago White Sox? Unfortunately for them, it’s hard to find a good hitter that could turn the tide available by trade this year. Their best bet may be working the waiver wire and hoping for a breakout.
The 2017 World Champions look good enough to win it all again this year. I’m not even sure where they really need the help. A reunion with Keuchel might push them over the top, another solid bullpen arm as well, but they’re currently the favorites in the American League as it is.
It feels weird to put them here, but they’re playoff contenders. They need quite a bit to be honest and not I’m not sure that it makes sense for them to add veterans by trading from their still weak farm. Signing Keuchel and Kimbrel would help a lot, but I doubt that that’s what they’re going to do.
In a direct opposite of last season, it’s their pitching that is the issue this time. Ideally for them, Aaron Nola bounces back to last season’s form and Jerad Eickhoff, Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez stay consistent and dependable, or even turn into top of the rotation starters themselves. If they stop pitching as effectively as they are now, they could sign Keuchel. In fact, signing both Keuchel and Kimbrel is probably the best solution for them.
NEW YORK METS
They need to stay healthy and for their players to live up to expectations. They could also use bullpen help, but considering the state of their farm, it seems like a questionable thing for them to do. Signing Kimbrel seems like the best option, but they almost certainly won’t do it.
Bullpen help. Bullpen help. Bullpen help. Bullpen help. Bullpen help. Did I mention bullpen help? The fact that they don’t sign Kimbrel or contact San Francisco and acquire Will Smith and Tony Watson. The team is still probably a year from being real contenders, but at least acquiring someone is necessary, especially since unexpected injuries to contending teams could always give them an unexpected window of opportunity.
I don’t think that they have much of a chance at this point, and predicted it before the season started. That said, bullpen help would definitely be a step in the right direction. Otherwise, they just need to hope that their hitters can start doing better.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
They could use… you guessed it: bullpen help. Signing Kimbrel and Keuchel would probably clinch them the division. Acquiring Bumgarner could also help them, as they could use a surefire ace atop the rotation.
They need rotation help and a lot of it. Signing Keuchel AND acquiring Bumgarner could be exactly what they need, but even adding one of them is already a big step forward. They could also use Kimbrel and bullpen help in general. I just don’t see them going far without an improved pitching staff.
Tom Rickettsial needs to stop being cheap and to sign Kimbrel. That along with another bullpen upgrade, could push them over the top in a close division race and then continue to pay dividends in the playoffs.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
The annual division winners look like they’re on the way to winning it once again. Their biggest area of need is their bullpen and it’s time to replace Kenley Jansen at closer, but they almost certainly won’t do that. Still, acquiring bullpen help is a necessity. The problem is that they won’t sign Kimbrel and trading with San Francisco May be tricky.
I doubt that they’ll still be in playoff contention by the trading deadline, but if they are, they need to add another big bat. The best available one is going to be Abreu, but they don’t have a spot for him and might not want to trade from their farm.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
They need an inning eating top of the rotation starter, as their young arms are on inning limits. Keuchel fits that profile and should be signed. They could also look to trade for Bumgarner, though that would be an in-division trade. Bumgarner and Keuchel however would give them a legitimate shot at winning the division and being competitive in the playoffs.
They need rotation help, but that’s going to be difficult with the “Coors effect”, as who knows whether anyone such as Keuchel would do well there. Their best bet is probably to just hope for a turnaround.