- Scott Spratt, Baseball Info Solutions
With the All-Star break behind us, the MLB trade deadline is fast approaching. The Athletics already kicked off this exciting period with their blockbuster trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but there are myriad ways contending teams can help themselves, even if they cannot pull off deals quite as big as Oakland's.
One strong option is to address defensive weaknesses, which can often be done inexpensively compared to the headline hitter and pitcher trades but can also have dramatic results. In particular, five contenders have obvious holes they could fix to improve their odds to make a deep run into October.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Center field
The Dodgers are in a strange position in that they may already have too many outfielders but still need another one. Yasiel Puig has become one of the best players in baseball, so he will remain a fixture in right field. That leaves three players making at least $15 million this season -- Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier -- fighting over two outfield spots. For a team as wealthy as the Dodgers, the money may not be a concern. What is a concern is that none of the three players can play an effective center field.
Scott Spratt provides defensive pickups that would bolster contenders going forward. One possibility is the Los Angeles Dodgers trading for Gerardo Parra.