Reactions to the Trade Deadline
Now that the dust has REALLY settled (couldn’t be so sure with only one deadline this year), we can finally take a look at what all went down on July 31st (and a few goings on in the preceding weeks). Basically what I’m trying to say is trades happened, and they happened fast, so let’s put on our thinking caps and expertly analyze some of them. Since I have some dignity, I will be going in strict chronological order.
Sorry for the delayed post here, I ran down a bit of a rabbit hole with all the trades that flew around and had to end up cutting the article back to just the really significant trades.
Baltimore Orioles trade RHP Andrew Cashner and cash to Boston Red Sox for CF Elio Prado and SS Noelberth Romero
So what to make of this trade, the first domino to fall in July? Well the Red Sox beat the Yankees at their own game by acquiring a decent starter at the Deadline a la Brian Cashman. We all know Boston’s staff has been shaky A LOT this year; heck, with even league-average pitching their scorching offense would easily have them in a Postseason spot right now. Cashner is a solid guy who can eat some innings and hopefully provide some stability to the rotation, and they gave up two middling prospects, so this was definitely a nice get for the Beantown Boys.
Kansas City Royals trade C Martin Maldonado to Chicago Cubs for LHP Mike Montgomery.
Just wait … not time to talk about this yet….
Kansas City Royals trade LHP Jake Diekman to Oakland Athletics for Dairon Blanco and Ismael Aquino
Wait, this looks familiar…oh yeah, that KC-Oakland trade that involved Homer Bailey took place just two weeks earlier. Obviously these guys were in cahoots...anyways, the A’s, as we said, needed pitching help, and that includes their bullpen which has surprisingly struggled this year. Diekman is a solid reliever who can rack up some K’s, though his ERA is a little high this year due to some walk issues (which have always been part of the Jake Diekman package). Nonetheless, he perfectly fits into the power bullpen housed by the A’s, and for two low-ball prospects this is a good deal for Oakland.
Toronto Blue Jays trade RHP Marcus Stroman and cash to New York Mets for LHP Anthony Kay and RHP Simeon Woods Richardson
I’d put the facepalm emoji in here if it weren’t HIGHLY unprofessional...At first, it seemed Stroman was a consolation prize, acquired to soften the blow of losing Zach Wheeler and/or Noah Syndergaard (both of whom were seen as near locks to be moved at the deadline). However, the reasoning behind the trade has shifted to “the Mets will open 2020 with the best rotation in baseball!” Oh gosh...I’ve heard that before (though with a different year attached of course). For years and years and years, pundits have been predicting the Mets’ rotation to be AMAZING, DAZZLING, SO FULL OF TALENT AND READY TO DOMINATE, CARRYING THE METS TO THE POSTSEASON AND BEYOND! But wait a second...that’s never happened before. Sure, they did make it to the World Series in 2015, but even that was when Bartolo Colon led the team in innings-pitched and Zach Wheeler was in the midst of a three-year injury hiatus. The Mets can keep hoping their staff will materialize as planned, but I just don’t see it happening, making this trade rather silly and pointless. Who knows, maybe they just wanted to take Stroman off the market so no one else (cough cough Yankees) could get him. Oh yeah and they traded two pretty good pitching prospects for him, so Toronto got a nice return though they probably could’ve gotten a third prospect. Oh well.
Texas Rangers trade RHP Chris Martin to Atlanta Braves for LHP Kolby Allard; San Francisco Giants trade RHP Mark Melancon to Atlanta Braves for RHP Dan Winkler and RHP Tristan Beck; Detroit Tigers trade RHP Shane Greene to Atlanta Braves for LHP Joey Wentz and LF Travis Demeritte
I know, a lot to take in at once, but these trades might as well have been connected because they all occurred very close to each other and for the same purpose. Atlanta’s bullpen has been a weak spot for an otherwise strong team this year, so they went out and plucked two good (and one okay) relievers off the market to instantly bolster the pen. Melancon is definitely not the force he used to be with the Pirates, but Greene is putting together a career year and same goes for Martin. Atlanta gave up some decent pieces in these trades, but nothing crazy and nothing they can’t live without, so this trio of trades totally tacks onto their bullpen. With a great young offense, the bullpen was Atlanta’s only real area of concern, and with these trades they hope to make a deep Postseason push.
Arizona Diamondbacks trade RHP Zack Greinke and cash to Houston Astros for RHP Corbin Martin, RHP J.B. Bukauskas, 3B Joshua Rojas and LF Seth Beer
Here it is, the one you’ve all been waiting for. Safe to say no one saw this coming for a variety of reasons: for starters, Greinke is owed about $1.5 billion over the next few years, and almost everyone in the baseball industry would’ve told you that contract was very prohibitive when it came to trade talks. Secondly, Astros GM Jeff Lunhow is famous not only for obtaining excellent prospects but being very reluctant to trade them. Heck, it took him almost two years to finally trade Derek Fisher! (which we’ll get into later). But, Houston pulled of the biggest trade of the deadline, and it makes their rotation very very scary (especially to a guy rooting for another AL West squad). Sure, they gave up a haul, but Greinke is under control through 2021 and is an ageless wonder in this increasingly youth-oriented league, so you’d have to say this trade was worth it for both sides.
Houston Astros trade RF Derek Fisher to Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Aaron Sanchez, LF Cal Stevenson and RHP Joe Biagini
Here it is; the inevitable departure of Derek Fisher. He will be missed...but the Astros get two more pitchers in this trade to help their staff make another World Series push. Sanchez has all the talent in the world but has failed to live up to it for most of his career, while Biagini is a veteran guy who can pitch out of the bullpen or as a starter. It’s hard to find a weakness on this Houston team now…
Detroit Tigers trade RF Nicholas Castellanos to Chicago Cubs for RHP Alex Lange and RHP Paul Richan
This trade is kind of random, but I had to throw it in here simply because Castellanos might have been the best (or at least most consistent) bat moved at the deadline. Haters will point to his subpar defense as reason to diminish his value, but you could definitely hid him at a corner in the outfield and let his bat do the talking. Will he shake up the Cubs and get them out of their mediocre rut of late? Remains to be seen.
Washington Nationals trade LHP Aaron Fletcher, RHP Elvis Alvarado and LHP Taylor Guilbeau to Seattle Mariners for RHP Hunter Strickland and LHP Roenis Elias
The names here at not significant, but the move is. The Nationals’ bullpen, as has been well-chronicled, owns the worst ERA of any pen in Major League Baseball (yes, even worse than their Beltway rivals the Orioles). For a team on the cusp of a Postseason spot, this just wont do, and GM Mike Rizzo finally pulled the trigger and got some relief help. Neither Elias nor Strickland are very notable, and neither are having great seasons, but they can’t be worse than what Washington has now so this trade should definitely help.
Houston Astros trade CF Tony Kemp to Chicago Cubs for Martin Maldonado
Remember the beginning of the article? Yeah, well Maldonado is back on the Astros after making a stop in Kansas City then a layover in Chicago. I just put this in because I thought it was funny (oh yeah, and the Astros needed a catcher).
Cincinnati Reds trade RHP Tanner Roark to Oakland Athletics for OF Jameson Hannah
Though they have one of baseball’s best and most exciting offenses, the A’s rotation has been spotty this year, and both injuries and a suspension have weakened it even further. Roark comes in as one of the most consistent, reliable pitchers over the past half decade; he owns a career record of 71-61, a career ERA of 3.65, and he’s never been on the disabled list (I know what it’s called now and I refuse to acknowledge that name because it’s weird). Hannah was Oakland’s top-rated outfield prospect, but they have two other outfielders in their top 15 prospects and they are solid on the grass in the Majors, so Hannah is expendable.
Cincinnati Reds trade CF Taylor Trammell to San Diego Padres; San Diego Padres trade RF Franmil Reyes, LHP Logan Allen and 3B Victor Nova to Cleveland Indians; Cincinnati Reds trade LHP Scott Mossand and RF Yasiel Puig to Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Indians trade RHP Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati Reds
Yes, this was actually all part of one trade. I know, crazy, right? Because of the three-team and seven-player nature of this deal, I’m inclined to break my analysis of this trade up by team. Let’s start with Bauer’s new home.
Cincinnati: As far as Cincy is concerned, this trade was Yasiel Puig and Taylor Trammell for Bauer. That’s a pretty nifty deal, considering Bauer will be with the team through next year while Puig is set to hit the open market (and he almost certainly would not have returned to the Reds). Trammell is an exciting, potential five-tool athlete who is ranked as the MLB’s 30th-best prospect, and he fits just about what’d you expect a club to have to give up for a great pitcher like Bauer.
San Diego: On the Padres’ side of things, the deal broke down as Franmil Reyes, LHP Logan Allen and 3B Victor Nova for Trammell. However, Reyes was really the only significant part of the deal for San Diego. Despite his great production (27 HR, .536 SLG for the Padres), Reyes was a liability on defense and only added to a VERY crowded outfield situation in SD. To make matters worse for Reyes, the Padres also have a guy named Hunter Renfroe who profiles as almost the same exact player at the same position, except he plays slightly better defense. Not a good fit for Franmil. Still, this trade doesn’t make sense to me, as the Padres attempted to declutter their outfield by...acquiring a top outfield prospect? I still don’t see how Trammell fits in San Diego unless they are willing to give up on current center fielder Manuel Margot (who was their top prospect forever), but even then I consider this trade sort of a loss.
Cleveland: And now to Cleveland, who in the end decided to let go of Bauer and his impending payday (which was the driving force behind this trade). That temper tantrum in KC was probably the deciding blow...so, for the Indians, they give up Bauer for Puig, Reyes, and Allen (on the Major League level). I’d have to say, this is a nice trade for the Tribe. They desperately, and I mean DESPERATELY needed outfielders who could hit, and they get two of them in this one trade. They have the pitching to sustain the loss of Bauer, and Allen (who is only a rookie) could develop into a rotation piece for them in the future. I hate to say it, but good job Cleveland.
So that does it; some of the more somewhat significant trades that went down in July. How will they workout for the clubs involved? Only time (and maybe a future blog post) will tell...