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July 15, 2010

Mid-season Prescriptions

AL Central

by John Perrotto

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White Sox

The White Sox have ridden a great wave of momentum into first place by winning 25 of their last 30 games to go from 9 ½ games out on June 9 to a half-game ahead. Nevertheless, they could use another big bat, particularly from the left side, as they are averaging 4.52 runs a game. A left-handed power hitter would fit nicely and the White Sox have been linked to the Nationals' Adam Dunn and Astros' Lance Berkman for weeks. However, with right-hander Jake Peavy out for the season because of a torn late muscle, the White Sox could add another starter and instead and try to ride a strong rotation to the division title. The Astros' Roy Oswalt would fit nicely (and maybe the always-surprising Kenny Williams could get both him and Berkman in a blockbuster) and Cubs left-hander Ted Lilly or Diamondbacks right-hander Dan Haren would also fill the void nicely.

Tigers

The Tigers have been one of the game's overachieving teams as manager Jim Leyland has banded together a group of aging veterans and interesting kids into a contender. However, the Tigers are eighth in the league in runs allowed with an average of 4.53 per game and really need to find some help for All-Star closer Jose Valverde in the bullpen. There are a number of reliever who are potentially available in trades and any of them would be an upgrade, including the Mariners' David Aardsma and Brandon League, the Royals' Kyle Farnsworth, the Pirates' Octavio Dotel and the Brewers' Todd Coffey. A middle infield of shortstop Ramon Santiago and second baseman Carlos Guillen really isn't cutting it and the Tigers could use an upgrade like Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew and second baseman Kelly Johnson or the Cubs' Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot.

Twins

The Twins opened the season with a franchise-record payroll of $97 million and they may have to spend even more to repeat as division champions as they have gone from 4 ½ games ahead on June 11 to 3 ½ games behind. Though the Twins are fifth in the league with 4.23 runs allowed a game, they really could use a frontline starting pitcher who can stop losing streaks and be a workhorse. Oswalt and Haren would fit the bill and the Twins have a deep enough farm system to make that happen with catcher Wilson Ramos coveted by many clubs despite having a sub-par year in Triple-A. Outfielder Delmon Young, who seems ready to emerge as a star, could also be used as bait. At the very worst, the Twins could use a veteran for the middle of the rotation, someone like Lilly or the Athletics' Ben Sheets.

Royals

The Royals have certainly played better since Ned Yost replaced Trey Hillman as manager in May but the worst thing they could do is became enamored with the idea of trying to finish .500 for just the second time in 18 years. They are 39-49 and a longshot to get to breakeven. The Royals are considered to have the best farm system in the game—high-A first baseman Eric Hosmer had four hits in the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at Anaheim—and they should only be thinking of adding to it at the trade deadline by dealing veterans for prospects. Farnsworth, infielder Mike Aviles, right fielder David DeJesus and designated hitter Jose Guillen are all drawing some level of trade interest and the Royals should move them all if they can get decent deals.

Indians

The Indians are in the midst of a major rebuilding process after trading Cy Young winners CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee at the last two deadlines. Anything the Indians do now to slow their youth movement would be counterproductive as catcher Carlos Santana looks like a future superstar and first baseman Matt LaPorta, center fielder Michael Brantley and closer-in-waiting Chris Perez all have promise. Right-hander Jake Westbrook should be worth something to a contender and reports that the Indians want to hang on to him are puzzling. Closer Kerry Wood could help a contender in a set-up role. The Indians should also consider the possibility of dealing All-Star right-hander Fausto Carmona as the time seems right to sell high on the sinkerballer, especially if they can get multiple prospects back in a trade.

A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider Insider.

John Perrotto is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

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