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Trade Deadline matchmaking: 7 teams' needs

July 27, 2018

People moving out, people moving in and suddenly, this non-waiver Trade Deadline thing is spectacularly entertaining. At least a dozen teams still have work to do, which should make the next five days before the Deadline as entertaining as the last five have been.Let's take a swipe at helping things

People moving out, people moving in and suddenly, this non-waiver Trade Deadline thing is spectacularly entertaining. At least a dozen teams still have work to do, which should make the next five days before the Deadline as entertaining as the last five have been.
Let's take a swipe at helping things along because, let's face it, there's nothing your friendly local general manager appreciates more than well-meaning advice.
Here's some matchmaking for seven teams:
Need: Reliever
Number: 4.83 ERA for Cubs starters this month, which puts stress on the bullpen. Only the Brewers have used their relievers more among 15 National League teams in July.
Suggestion: Orioles right-hander Brad Brach
The Cubs do not have a ton of Minor League depth and they didn't acquire Orioles closer Zach Britton. The trade for Cole Hamels will weaken the system even more, and injuries to right-hander Yu Darvish and closer Brandon Morrow upped the urgency of shoring up the staff.
Need: Reliever, left fielder/designated hitter/first baseman
Number: Astros left fielders are 22nd in the Majors in OPS (.698) and tied for 25th in home runs (eight).
Suggestion: Marlins left fielder Derek Dietrich
Welcome home, Derek. OK, not quite. He was a third-round pick of the Astros in the 2007 Draft, during a summer in which they did not sign three of their top seven picks, including outfielder Brett Eibner and pitcher Chad Bettis. Dietrich's .352 on-base percentage and 33 extra-base hits makes him especially appealing. Astros rookies Derek Fisher and Kyle Tucker haven't taken advantage of their opportunities in left, and veteran Marwin Gonzalez is hitting just .235. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has also inquired about White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.

Number: 3.88 team ERA since All-Star break (small sample alert).
Suggestion: Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler and Marlins right-hander Kyle Barraclough
Acquiring All-Star shortstop Manny Machado reinforced that the Dodgers are solid NL West favorites. But what they really need -- and this was true before they acquired Machado -- is a couple of pitchers. First, they haven't been able to replace right-hander Brandon Morrow (who signed with the Cubs) as the bridge to closer Kenley Jansen. Second, the rotation could use another arm, as rookie Walker Buehler appears to have hit a wall.
Number: Atlanta starters have a 6.14 ERA since the All-Star break.
Suggestion: Rays right-hander Chris Archer
The Braves are one of the few teams with enough farm-system depth to acquire this 29-year-old right-hander signed for three more years at a relatively reasonable $27 million. Yes, Atlanta needs bullpen help, too, even after bringing Jonny Venters back to his original club in a deal with the Rays. But Archer is the kind of impact player who could change the look of an NL East race that may come down to which team -- Philadelphia or Atlanta -- does the best job at the Trade Deadline. This has not been Archer's best season, but he's the best player available.

Offense, particularly in the middle infield
Number: The Phillies' 3.60 team ERA this month is second best in the NL. Their bullpen's 2.32 ERA is No. 1.
Suggestion: Mets second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias
Sure, why not? Let's think big. Iglesias would be a huge upgrade for a defense that needs one. Cabrera would provide some of the offense the Phillies need. All that said, their season could still hinge on center fielder Odubel Herrera and first baseman Carlos Santana playing better. Another bullpen arm wouldn't hurt, but first things first.
Middle infield, rotation
Number: They are averaging 4.43 runs per game since the All-Star break, good for middle of the pack in the Majors.
Suggestion: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy and utility man Whit Merrifield
GM David Stearns has steadfastly refused to make a trade that would greatly weaken his farm system. On the other hand, his team has a solid chance to make its first postseason appearance since 2011 with some upgrades. The Royals are noncommittal on whether or not they'll trade Duffy and Merrifield. Stearns has stockpiled the prospects to make this happen, and neither Duffy or Merrifield is a rental, which would ease the burden of trading someone like second baseman Keston Hiura, Milwaukee's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline.
Need: Outfield offense
Number: 17 runs since the All-Star break, fewest in MLB.
Suggestion: White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia
Garcia has gotten hot the last three weeks, looking more like the guy who made the 2017 AL All-Star team. The White Sox began this season thinking he'd be a foundational piece, and he still could be that. But White Sox GM Rick Hahn surely would consider a package of prospects. For the Mariners, Garcia would be that middle-of-the-order threat that might get them back on track offensively.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.