Need a hand? One quick fix for every team

May 17th, 2022

Lots of teams have lots of holes. That’s the nature of baseball: If every team were perfect, these games wouldn’t be much fun to watch, would they?

But some holes are easier to fix than others. Thus, we take a look at one quick fix for every MLB team. These might not cure everything. They might not even come close. But you know: It’s a start.


Blue Jays: Get through this “little phase”

That’s what Alek Manoah, who has been the MVP of this team so far, called it when he described how sloppy the team has been on defense and inconsistent it has been on offense lately. This was thought by many to be a World Series-favorite team. Instead, the Blue Jays been outscored by their opponents, in a division that provides zero slack.

Orioles: Call up Adley Rutschman

Yes, yes, it’s probably going to happen soon, and we’re all tired of waiting for it. But if you’re looking for a quick, dramatic upgrade, well, the two current Orioles catchers (Robinson Chirinos and Anthony Bemboom) are batting .134 and .133, respectively. Rutschman is hitting, uh, better than that in the Minors.

Rays: Get some outfield help

Randy Arozarena is hitting .227 with one homer; Kevin Kiermaier has a .236 OBP; Manny Margot is now hurt; Josh Lowe is back in the Minors. The Rays have some big problems in their outfield right now.

Red Sox: Hope these guys start hitting, or trade the ones who can

I don’t mean to be flip about this, but the Red Sox were supposed to be one of the best hitting teams in baseball. Instead they’re one of the worst, thanks to the struggles of Bobby Dalbec, Trevor Story, Alex Verdugo, Kiké Hernández, Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Arroyo … wow, there really are a lot. If the Sox can’t figure out an extension with Xander Bogaerts, one of the few guys who is hitting, do they have to consider cutting bait on this season and restarting the timeline?

Yankees: Start calling the Cubs

The pitching has been incredible, and the hitting has been solid top to bottom -- it’s all landing right in Yankees land. But if this is going to be the year they floor it, and it sort of looks like it has to be now, a catcher who can hit would come in very handy. They’ve done plenty of big trades with the Cubs before: Willson Contreras is right there, Yanks.


Guardians: Remind your rotation that the season has begun

We all assumed that the Guardians would have terrific starting pitching, as always, and struggle on offense, as always. Well, the offense has been more than enough to make them a contender; they would have won several AL Centrals with this offense in the past. The problem is that rotation, which isn’t even striking guys out: The starter with the highest strikeout rate, Aaron Civale, has a 9.85 ERA. The pitching is supposed to carry this team. Right now, it’s dragging it down.

Royals: Give it all over to the kids

The wheels are already starting to fall off in Kansas City; they just fired hitting coach Terry Bradshaw after a rough start by the offense. It’s probably time to start giving all of Carlos Santana’s at-bats to Nick Pratto, to get MJ Melendez in the lineup every day one way or another and, hey, have you seen what Vinnie Pasquantino is doing in Omaha? The future has to be better than the present. Let’s make it start right now.

Tigers: Readjust those expectations

The preseason projections were always lower on the Tigers than everyone else, if just for this season; it simply seemed like too much of a jump to contend this year. They were right, it appears! The Tigers still have enough talent, both on the team and in the system, to make a run at .500. If they can get close, that’s a step forward … and then the leap can be next year.

Twins: Find themselves their Daniel Vogelbach

Luis Arraez is currently their first baseman with Miguel Sanó down (and maybe out), but keeping him at first seems a waste. Finding a big-hitting first baseman/DH sort who can’t do much of anything else is one of the simpler things in baseball to do … and might just be the OBP bat this team needs most.

White Sox: Keep everyone calm

Look, a lot of people thought the White Sox would run away with this division. I sure did. But for all the panic so far -- well-deserved panic -- this team is still in second place, in striking distance of the Twins and within one game of the Wild Card. Their run differential (minus-30) argues differently, as does their lineup performance and, in many ways, their bullpen and rotation. But here they still are. They just have to keep their heads above water until their reinforcements return. So far they are, in fact, doing just that.


Angels: Start signing middling starters who will eat innings, just in case

The rotation has been a revelation for the Angels so far, and it’s tempting just to keep the party going. But these are unreliable arms for a reason: One or two (or more!) of these guys are going to miss time at some point. The Angels can’t be caught unaware. J.A. Happ is still hanging around; so’s Brett Anderson. Tell those guys to keep their arms loose, and to stay by the phone.

Astros: Get those Triple-A starters stretched out

Speaking of teams with potential innings shortages, for as well as the Astros are going so far, three of their five starters aren’t going more than 5 1/3 innings a game. (Two aren’t even hitting five; why do you think Justin Verlander is being pushed so hard? Well, other than the fact that he’s immortal.) Anyway, things are rolling for the Astros, but they could be in danger of running out of innings. Just fortify yourselves more than the Angels. Heck, call Happ and Anderson before they do!

Athletics: Trade Paul Blackburn

The right-hander has been surprisingly stellar (1.67 ERA in seven starts), exactly the sort of player peddling his valuable wares for a franchise that doesn’t particularly need him right now. Every contender needs starting pitching. Blackburn’s 28. Let’s not get cute here. (And don’t be afraid to trade within the division either.)

Mariners: Get Kyle Lewis back ASAP

You know Jarred Kelenic was struggling because the Mariners sent him down despite Kyle Lewis not being finished with his rehab assignment. Lewis has a 1.010 OPS in 26 plate appearances at Triple-A, and the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year can hopefully fill the void soon.

Rangers: Someone to remind Marcus Semien that he is Marcus Semien

It is downright surreal to see Semien hitting .157 with no homers, after hitting 45 dingers (not a typo) last year. It’s not even that small of a sample size anymore: He leads the team in plate appearances! How can this be happening?


Braves: Go looking for outfielders again

That’s what got the Braves their World Series, after all: Finding outfielders who were underperforming but could come in and fill obvious holes. Considering how much Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall are struggling, the holes are still there. And with Ronald Acuña Jr. dealing with a groin injury as he works his way back from right knee surgery that ended his 2021 campaign, depth is crucial.

Marlins: Find some optimism

I think you can make an argument the Marlins are the second-best team in the NL East right now. They’re well-rounded, they have a positive run differential, their team strength (their rotation) isn’t even at peak capacity and they have a legitimate superstar brewing in Jazz Chisholm Jr. The offense could use a tweak or two, but this looks like a potential second half (or even second quarter) surprise if you ask me.

Mets: A bench bat, or maybe even two

For all the surface talent the Mets have, they’re dangerously thin both in the lineup and the pitching staff, and the first injury (well, not counting the Jacob deGrom one) has hit with Tylor Megill’s biceps tendinitis. There isn’t much beyond the starters here. The Mets’ hot start has had more health than the Mets usually have (outside deGrom, again). That will inevitably change.

Nationals: Call Juan Soto’s agent

And tell him it will get better, it will be better than this, and work on that contract extension.

Phillies: Find a center fielder

It doesn’t matter if they can hit. It’s perfectly fine if they can’t! This team has sluggers; it can use a reliable guy in center to cover that ground.


Brewers: Go easy on Josh Hader, Brad Boxberger and Devin Williams while you can
The first two relievers have been dominant as always; Williams is still figuring his way back. Either way, the Brewers’ offense isn’t going to hit like this all year. When that turns, you’ll need every inning you can get out of those guys.

Cardinals: Consider giving Tyler O’Neill the Paul DeJong treatment
Maybe it’s his contentious arbitration battle, maybe it’s his timing being off, maybe it’s just a slump, but O’Neill -- thought by some to be a potential stealth MVP candidate in the offseason -- is in a bad way right now. He had a .912 OPS last year; it’s down to .561 this season. The Cardinals have Juan Yepez to fill his spot for now. O’Neill needs to feel like he is a crusher again. A month in Triple-A Memphis might just do the trick. He was the star of the 17-game win streak last year. They will need that O’Neill in September again.

Cubs: Move on from the Frank Schwindel experiment
Schwindel was a fun story last year, but at a .252 OBP with two homers pace so far, the Cubs don’t have much use for a nearly-30-year-old journeyman at first base. Put Alfonso Rivas out there every day for now and see what you’ve got.

Pirates: Start shopping José Quintana
This is the Quintana (2.19 ERA) the Cubs thought they were getting when they traded Eloy Jiménez for him in 2017. It’s not going to get any better than this, and the Pirates don’t need him for anything other than trade bait. Start calling up those AL West teams, and quickly.

Reds: Don’t ever let Hunter Greene throw that many pitches again
I loved watching him toss seven-plus innings of a no-hitter as much as anyone. But Reds fans’ greatest hope for the future is Greene being their ace for a long time to come. Let’s not take that from them too, OK?


D-backs: Stop using Mark Melancon as your closer

The 0-5, 8.49 ERA is bad enough. But come on, it’s 2022 -- who needs a closer anyway! Just use Joe Mantiply whenever you need him and let Melancon mop up.

Dodgers: Go grab a handful of starters, wherever you can get them

If you wanted to find a problem with the Dodgers before the season started, that’s where you’d find it: You’d wonder if they had enough starters. With Clayton Kershaw now hurt (which really can’t be that much of a surprise), that might be coming to a head already. The Dodgers are still great. But that rotation is looking sort of thin right now, no?

Giants: Give Brandon Crawford some more days off

For a team that platoons and uses as many different lineups as the Giants do, Crawford has been the one guy you can usually count on being in there every day. But it does kind of look like he’s wearing down a bit. His numbers are lower than they’ve ever been, and he’s well into his mid-30s.

Padres: Find a way to give Trent Grisham a break

Grisham looked like a star at one point, and he’s still just 25 years old: He could be that guy again. But a reset might be in order with him hitting .152 overall and .080 against lefties. Perhaps a platoon is in order here?

Rockies: Get Kris Bryant back

Well, duh, right? He was their big offseason acquisition, but he’s been out for a couple of weeks with back woes. He’s supposed to return later this week, and Rockies fans are still awaiting Bryant’s first homer in purple and black.