Fantasy MLB: Handling the Trade Deadline

CineSport—As the MLB trading deadline approaches, which hitters, starters and relievers will likely be on the move? CineSport's Tara Petrolino turns to Sporting News' Matt Lutovsky for his thoughts.

With the trade deadline a little over a month away, MLB teams must answer that crucial midsummer question: are we buyers or sellers?

Sure, teams like the Yankees and Cubs know where they stand on baseball’s proverbial totem pole, but what about teams that have decent records yet find themselves on the bottom of the division and conversely, teams that have sub .500 records, but are still within striking distance of a playoff spot.

In the American League, the Tigers sit at 35-37, but find themselves just behind the White Sox and Indians in the Central Division standings. With the addition of Prince Fielder in the offseason, their lineup is not where their problems lie, especially with the return of centerfielder Austin Jackson and catcher Alex Avila from injuries.

Where they do need help is with their pitching staff. After their ace, Justin Verlander, the rotation takes a major nosedive. Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello both have the potential to become solid starters in their careers, but if Detroit wants to win now, then they will need to find outside help.

The starting pitchers most likely to be traded before the trade deadline are Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza, both of the Cubs.

It is very possible that Dempster could find himself in Detroit within the next month. The struggling Cubs are looking for pieces for the future rather than the present, but the Tigers’ Delmon Young is expendable and the Cubs would love a power bat in their lineup.

With Dempster plugged into the pitching staff, the Tigers would feature strong #1 and #2 starters and could make a move in a wide open division.

In the National League, the Cardinals boast a 35-35 record, but trail both the Reds and Pirates in the NL Central.

Aside from Lance Lynn and Kyle Lohse, their starting pitching has left a lot to be desired this season. With Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia both out until at least the All-Star break they could definitely use some help to bolster the rotation.

Though Dempster and Garza are on the trading block, it seems unlikely that the Cubs would help out a team in their division, especially the Cardinals.

More likely would be a trade for the Phillies’ Cole Hamels. With free agency looming for Hamels after the season and no signs of life for his team this season, the Phillies may cut their losses and try to pull off a deal similar to the Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee trades, but in reverse.

While the Cardinals would love to put Hamels atop their rotation, they will have to fight off plenty of other teams around the league, as Hamels is the premier trade target at this year’s deadline.

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