With the All-Star game now over it’s time to take a look at some second half baseball predictions. I plan to offer five predictions, some crazier than others. If one things for sure more than the race for the playoffs will be intense as over half the league has a chance at a postseason run.
1. The Red Sox Will Make The Playoffs
As crazy as it is to say I believe the last place Red Sox will find a way to squeeze themselves into the playoffs. Whether is by winning a competitive AL East or grabbing up the last wild card spot I believe Boston is playoff bound. The Red Sox are 42-47 and just 6.5 games out of first. Boston could realistically be one pitcher away from making a serious playoff run.
The Sox have been in search of young pitching who would remain under team control in the future. With the emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez and recent call up of Brian Johnson, Boston could be a team that takes off in the second half. Boston has been on a tear as of late after struggling early in the season.
Boston’s offense has also taken off. Hanley Ramirez is on pace for a career high in home runs hitting 19 in the first half. David Ortiz is also coming back to life after struggling early in the year. Ken Rosenthal foolishly suggested dumping Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez but that was obviously never in the cards. Sandoval’s bat will also likely heat up as well as he is a clutch hitter when the competition heats up. The real question is whether Boston can add an impact player during the trade deadline?
2. The Philadelphia Phillies Will Trade Cole Hamels
I’m still dumbfounded to see Hamels in a Phillies uniform. General Manager Ruben Amaro has simply been to greedy in prior trade talks. The first step to fixing the Phillies would be by firing Amaro but trading Hamels is a close second.
The Following From My 5 Ways To Fix The Phillies Article:
Hamels could have been a Dodger last July if Amaro would have been more reasonable during last year’s trade deadline. Philadelphia could have had one of the Dodgers top three prospects (Corey Saeger, Julio Urias, Joc Pederson), when Amaro asked for all three LA completely ended trade talks. All three players are likely off the table a year later.
LA, Boston, New York, Houston, Chicago, and Texas have all been mentioned as possible landing spots. If I were in charge I would be doing everything in my power to convince Boston or Chicago to take him. The Red Sox have a pair of Dominican Phenoms in Rafael Devers and Manuel Margot who look like future stars in the league. The Cubs on the other hand have the deepest farm system in baseball packed with future all-stars. If a trade was constructed with any of the other teams above it has potential to be another trade that failed to bring back potential busts.
With Hamels being 31 years old his trade value will only continue to decrease. Add to the fact the Phillies may need to eat some of his hefty contract in order to bring in a solid prospect. If Hamels is not traded by the trade deadline I will lose all hope for the Phillies organization. My prediction is Hamels is ultimately shipped to the Red Sox but I believe he needs to remain in the National League in order to stay effective.
3. The New York Mets Will Pull Off A Major Trade
The New York Mets are 2 games out of first place in the NL East with a record of 47-42. It’s no secret the Mets have some of the most talented pitchers in baseball but in order to reach the postseason I believe the team needs to add a bat, maybe two. Let’s take a look at some possible targets the Mets could pursue.
Troy Tulowitzki could be a potential game changer for the Mets. Tulo is hitting .313 this season and could be the answer replacing the current revolving infield. The one problem with acquiring Tulo is his hefty contract that the Mets may not be able to carry. If the Mets can convince Colorado to eat some of his $118 million contract Tulowtizki could be a Met.
Aramis Ramirez and or Jean Segura could give the Mets a huge lift especially with the uncertainty of David Wright’s health. Wright has not played since April so Ramirez could make a replacement at the hot corner if Wright fails to return to the team. Segura could be another option as he could be a fall back option if the Rockies asking price is to high on Tulo. Even a player like Jason Kipnis or Paul Goldschmidt could be had if the Mets were willing to give up some of their talented prospects.
There are a number of options the team could go with in terms of trading for hitting, but the real question is what do the Mets have to give up? The Mets do have plenty of young talent to give up. Michael Conforto, Gavin Checchini, Dilson Herrera, and Kevin Plewecki are options when it comes to position players.
The Mets could also delve into their deep pitching staff to find power bats. Noah Syndergaard is probably deemed untouchable but Stephen Matz, Zack Wheeler, Rafeal Montero, and Jonathan Niese can probably be had if the price is right. If the Mets can find a way to add offense New York could be a scary team could playoff team.
4. The Reds Will Be The Most Active Sellers
Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, and Brandon Phillips could potentially be moved prior to the trade deadline. Everyone on the Reds roster could be moved except for home run derby champ Todd Frazier. Cincinnati was hesitant to move any before hosting the all-star events but now it appears the Reds are ready to clean house.
Johnny Cueto will almost certainly be dealt as his contract is set to expire after the end of the season. With the Reds sitting 15.5 games behind there is no reason to keep Cueto since his contract will expire anyway. With the Pirates, Cubs, and Cardinals in the division the Reds are in serious need of a rebuild to catch up with the other dominant teams in the division.
5. The St. Louis Cardinals Will Win The World Series
The Cardinals have constantly been the best baseball team this year. Having said that I have never been more clueless in picking a winner as there is more parity in baseball then I can ever remember. There are 10-15 teams that have a legit chance to win it all. The upcoming trade deadline could alter my prediction but as it stands now I believe St. Louis has all the necessary elements to bring the crown to St. Louis. Mike Matheny’s brilliant managing combined with an awesome pitching staff and timely hitting make the Cards my pick.