It's still early - probably too early to draw definite conclusions about teams' strengths and weaknesses - but let's take a look at some clubs that could look to improve in certain areas. This is purely speculative, and remember - these weaknesses could become strengths in a matter of weeks.
- Nationals right fielders are hitting .159/.276/.327 this year. No one player is to blame, as Willie Harris, Roger Bernadina, Cristian Guzman, Justin Maxwell, Mike Morse and Willy Taveras have all spent time in right this season. None of those players has hit more than three homers, but Jim Riggleman recently told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he has confidence in Harris and Bernadina because of their defense.
- Possible solutions: Jose Guillen could become available, though the Royals say they don't expect to make moves soon. Free agents Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield would likely bring more power than the Nats' current mix.
- The Cubs have used six right-handers in relief this year and only one - Carlos Marmol - has an ERA below 6.00. Now ERA can be deceiving, but Marmol and Carlos Zambrano are the only Cubs relievers who have struck out more batters than they have walked (Marmol by a wide margin, as he has an astounding 18.4 K/9 rate).
- Possible solutions: As Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports, the Cubs could call on Triple A right-handers Jay Jackson and Casey Coleman. The Cubs could also look to the free agent market; is Juan Cruz worth a flier? Alternatively, GM Jim Hendry could call up the Mariners or D'Backs, two teams with all-right-handed bullpens.
- The Mariners appear fine without a left-handed reliever, but the D'Backs, who don't have a left-handed pitcher on their active roster, have allowed a .294/.356/.496 line against lefty batters this year. The D'Backs have a bullpen ERA of 7.09, so righties are hitting them, too.
- Possible solutions: The D'Backs could pursue a trade for a left-hander, but GM Josh Byrnes told Nick Piecoro that he would prefer to be patient. There isn't much available on the free agent market, other than Eddie Guardado. The D'Backs could call on Jordan Norberto, who was in the majors earlier in the year, or Zach Kroenke, also at Triple A. Baseball America placed the two pitchers 29th and 30th respectively when ranking top D'Backs prospects before the season.