National League East – 2011 Trade Deadline Buyers & Sellers

With the 2011 MLB trade deadline just a little more than a month away, it’s time for teams to now decide whether they are going to be buyers sellers or watchers as the season progresses.  Some teams are just one good move away from distancing themselves from the rest of the division and reaching the playoffs, other teams are looking to unload salary in exchange for draft picks and begin the retooling process, while the last set of teams are content with what they have (either for better or worse).  Wherever your team falls, we will find them and offer up a few good suggestions as the 2011 MLB trade deadline approaches.

National League East

Philadelphia Phillies

  • First Place, NL East
  • Playoff Chances: High
  • Strengths: Pitching
  • Weaknesses: Offense

The Phillies will make the playoffs this year, most likely as NL East champions.  How far they go in the playoffs, however will depend on their ability to put up a little bit of offense to complement their stellar pitching.  Nothing’s moving in an infield that features Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, which means that the most likely boost for this offense will come from the outfield.  Plenty of teams will be looking to unload some OF talent and if the Phils can snag someone, they will greatly increase their chances of reaching the World Series.

Atlanta Braves

  • Second Place, NL East
  • Playoff Chances: Moderately High
  • Strengths: Pitching
  • Weaknesses: Offense

The Atlanta Braves are in a similar position as the Phillies.  They have dominant pitching and a great record, but their offense has been largely non-existent.  The Braves really need a new center fielder if they want to make a playoff push this year.  Overall, the pieces are there, they have just been underperforming this season.  Jason Heyward isn’t having nearly the year he did in ’10 and Dan Uggla is hitting sub-.200. Uggla and Heyward will likely turn things around, but the sooner the better for this team.  I see the Braves being definite buyers come the trade deadline.

Washington Nationals

  • Third Place, NL East
  • Playoff Chances: Moderately Low
  • Strengths: Pitching
  • Weaknesses: Offense

I didn’t realize until now, just how dismal the offense is in the NL East.  Not sure if it’s because of the great pitching in the division or if the great pitching is because of the terrible offense.  Either way, the Nationals are in a tough spot as it’s unlikely they will be buyers when the 2011 trade deadline comes around, but they won’t exactly be sellers either.  Jayson Werth is their biggest contract, financially speaking, and while his numbers this year haven’t lived up to the numbers on his paycheck, it is unlikely that the Nationals will try to dump him unless they get an offer that is just too amazing to pass up.  Their roster is relatively young, with the exception of Cora and Hairston, which means that this team could be in a good position to compete next year if they keep the roster they have.

New York Mets

  • Fourth Place, NL East
  • Playoff Chances: Low
  • Strengths: Offense
  • Weakness: Pitching

The New York Mets are probably one of the teams who will be looking to dump salary at the trade deadline.  Their offense is listed as a strength, but primarily because they aren’t as bad at getting on base as the rest of the teams in their division.  The pitching, on the other hand, is dismal.  They are ranked 19th or lower in every major team pitching stat, yet still have a record hovering around .500.  The New York Mets have five players on their roster that make more than 11k/year which includes David Wright who is on the DL.  With Reyes’ contract up at the end of the year, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to deal him to a contender for some draft picks and salary relief, instead of getting in a bidding war to re-sign him once the season is over.  Reyes is having a good year and could be just what a team on the verge of making the playoffs needs to put them over the top.  Look for the Mets to be sellers, big time, at this year’s trade deadline.

Florida Marlins

  • Last Place, NL East
  • Playoff Chances: Low
  • Strengths: None
  • Weaknesses: Pitching, Offense

This team went from being one of the hottest at the start of the season, to being one of the coldest in the past few weeks.  The Marlins are notorious for getting rid of players and rebuilding, which makes them likely sellers at this year’s trade deadline.  They are unlikely to trade away Hanley Ramirez who is the face of the franchise, or up and coming Mike Stanton, but with Josh Johnson out for the year, the fish have likely given up on the 2011 season and they have some decent players at key positions.  You won’t see any big names come off the Marlins’ shelf, but expect them to be involved in some smaller trades or three-way deals.