Saturday, August 1, 2015

MLB Trade Deadline Recap and Thoughts

Hey guys, Drew back here! The trade deadline has once again come and gone, and despite a surprisingly quiet final day, the past week has been complete and utter mayhem across Major League Baseball. Over 30 trades were made, sending players and prospects all over the country to places we couldn't even fathom. The only team that didn't make a move was the Arizona Diamondbacks, who flirted with making a trade for Reds closer Aroldis Chapman all week but couldn't get anything done.

So, with all this, I'm going to jump in my mini Time Machine and take you back a little over a week ago, where July's big moves began to take place. Along the way, I'll offer my thoughts on the most impactful acquisitions and where I feel like some teams went wrong.

July 23rd

1. Pittsburgh Pirates acquire Aramis Ramirez and cash from the Milwaukee Brewers for prospect Yhonathan Barrios.

2. Houston Astros acquire Scott Kazmir from the Oakland Athletics for prospects Daniel Mengden and Jacob Nottingham.

Houston, we have a problem. The Astros are leading the AL West in shocking fashion thus far into the season by 2 games over the Angels, and with their addition of the Texas native southpaw, they only got better. Kazmir has not allowed a run yet over his first 14 2/3 IP in his new digs, and is ready to build on what has been a remarkable career turn around.

July 24th

3. New York Mets acquire Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and cash from the Los Angeles Dodgers for prospects John Gant and Rob Whalen.

4. St. Louis Cardinals acquire Steve Cishek from the Miami Marlins for prospect Kyle Barraclough.

Cishek could use a change of scenery after collapsing early on in 2015, and might be a rebound candidate in the 2nd half with the great pitching personnel St. Louis provides.

5. Los Angeles Angels acquire Conor Gillaspie from the Chicago White Sox for cash.

July 26th

6. Kansas City Royals acquire Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds for prospects Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed.

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This could be the biggest game changer of all deadline moves this year. Last season, the Royals' pitching got by with their incredible bullpen, but their starting pitching wasn't close to as dangerous. With James Shields gone and Yordano Ventura struggling immensely in his sophomore season, it was critical for last year's pennant winners to add someone of Cueto's caliber for a postseason run. The righty is set to become a free agent after the year concludes, and it seems hard to believe that Kansas City will hold onto him for years to come. But, if he helps to bring a World Series title home to Kansas City, this trade could never look bad on their part.

This reminds me of the Brewers move in 2008, bringing CC Sabathia in for a rental run. Sabathia pitched phenomenally, not only bolstering his contract value (that the Yankees are now suffering through) but leading them further into the playoffs than expected. This is a win-win-win. A win for the Royals, gaining an ace. A win for the Reds, gaining some solid pitching prospects knowing they won't be able to resign their ace next year. And, a win for Cueto, who, with a big second half, could end up with a huge reward this offseason.

Cueto gave up 3 runs on 7 hits over 6 innings in his Royals debut against the Blue Jays last night.

July 27th

7. Los Angeles Angels acquire Shane Victorino and cash from the Boston Red Sox for Josh Rutledge.

8. New York Mets acquire Tyler Clippard and cash from the Oakland Athletics for prospect Casey Meisner.

Clippard should become an important piece of the back end of the Mets bullpen, and is next in line for the closer role if Jeurys Familia continues to struggle. He has become one of the more dependable relievers in the game in recent years and will most likely lower the risk of manager Terry Collins having a heart attack mid-game.

July 28th

9. Los Angeles Angels acquire David Murphy and cash from the Cleveland Indians for prospect Eric Stamets.

10. Los Angeles Angels acquire David DeJesus from the Tampa Bay Rays for prospect Eduar Lopez.

Over a two day span, the Angels added 3 decent outfielders in Victorino, Murphy, and DeJesus. You can't help but wonder what their thought process was behind this. Matt Joyce has been offensive in left field, batting .178 at the moment, and maybe their hope is that either one of the 3 new players will be good enough to sustain a starting role.

11. Washington Nationals acquire Jonathan Papelbon and cash from the Philadelphia Phillies for prospect Nick Pavetta.

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Oh, it's so nice not having to hear Papelbon complain any longer. The All Star closer is one of my least favorite players in baseball, however, I must give credit where credit is due. Despite crotch grabbing, a bad temper, and not being afraid of saying what's on his mind (a scary thought), Pap is has been one of the top closers over the past decade. Drew Storen got the raw end of this deal, losing his closer role despite saving 29 of 31 games with a miniscule 1.64 ERA (sorry to all of you Storen fantasy owners out there). Papelbon wouldn't take the deal unless he knew he would have the closer role, and sure enough, the man got his way.

A critical part of why the Nationals most likely made this move was because of Papelbon's excellent postseason reputation. He has allowed 3 runs over 27 innings pitched in October, pitching to a 1.00 ERA and has had the honor of closing out a World Series victory in his past. Storen, meanwhile, in 5.1 IP, has allowed 5 runs, and was known for blowing a key save in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS against the Cardinals that sent his Nationals home for the winter. Experience is behind this move, and it should be interesting to see how Papelbon will perform when the Nats need him most.

12. Kansas City Royals acquire Ben Zobrist and cash from the Oakland Athletics for prospects Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea. 

Ben Zobrist is an extremely nice fit in Kansas City. While I disagree with Brian Kenny and the folks at MLB Network who view him as one of the biggest star players in recent memory (I don't care how high his WAR is), he is a consistent, versatile option that will come in handy in the postseason. It's difficult to say anything bad about the guy today, since he has two home runs against the Blue Jays right now and is making the right kind of impact on a fantastic fanbase that will be fully supportive of him in no time. And, if Kansas City does decide to bring him back next year, he'll have an almost guaranteed chance of starting in the All Star Game!

I am seeing several people online debating whether the Royals gave up too much young talent for these players they may not necessarily need to make the postseason. It appears as though they would have already run away with the AL Central title without Cueto and Zobrist, but I think having these players will be a decision they will not regret. As much as I want to see my Yankees make the World Series this year, their biggest challenge would've been Kansas City before the moves and even more-so now. GM Dayton Moore and Manager Ned Yost are back for blood, and are poised to come home with the World Series trophy this season. For their sakes, let's hope Madison Bumgarner isn't on the mound again.

13. Toronto Blue Jays acquire Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins from the Colorado Rockies for Jose Reyes and prospects Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman, and Jesus Tinoco.

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While the Johnny Cueto move was probably the most important for any of this year's contending teams, this move was clearly the most fun. Tulowitzki would have never admitted it, but he was unhappy as ever in Colorado. Heck, last year he even was spotted at a Yankees game on an off day. He didn't see this move to Toronto coming, and Canada was exactly where he dreamed of heading off to, but I have a feeling he's going to grow to love playing at Rogers Centre in the most dangerous right handed lineup the game has to offer.

At the moment, I was confused as to why the Blue Jays would make this move when their clear objective at the deadline was to add a top notch starting pitcher. Also, Tulo has had bad hamstring and leg history, and the turf in Toronto may not be helpful to the length of his career. Plus, moving a still more than capable offensive cog in Jose Reyes, while declining defensively and still as big of an injury threat as anyone, didn't click for me. Reyes is a switch hitter who was supposed to and has gotten on base for their big bats to drive him in. Tulowitzki is not an ideal leadoff hitter, but later on we'll see how Toronto overcame this deficit.

There were rumors surrounding Reyes being moved from Colorado following the deal, but it appears that he will be staying put at Coors Field for now. On an interesting and strange side note, I lucked out with my main fantasy team this year and had Tulowitzki and Reyes as my 2B and middle infield positions. It was bizarre that they were flipped for each other!

July 29th

14. Cleveland Indians acquire prospect Jayson Aquino from the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash.

New York Mets (almost) acquire Carlos Gomez from the Milwaukee Brewers. More on that one later.

July 30th

15. Toronto Blue Jays acquire David Price from the Detroit Tigers for prospects Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labourt.

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This was the move I was terrified of seeing after the Blue Jays added Tulowitzki. No GM in baseball would have been done after not addressing the main focus at the deadline, and I knew either Hamels or Price had a great chance of being the next to travel across the border. Price is possibly my favorite pitcher in the game at the moment (always subject to change), and he appears to be an excellent addition to a team with playoff desires. He will not only eat innings, but he will eat them better than a majority of pitchers in the American League. Toronto has not made the playoffs since their World Series victory in 1993, and a Wild Card spot looks promising after these two moves.

But after losing Jose Reyes in the Tulowitzki trade, what is their plan for the top of the lineup? Read on. And, what if this year doesn't go as planned for GM Alex Anthopoulos? Price becomes a free agent after this year, and Daniel Norris has the potential of becoming a fantastic pitcher within the next couple of seasons. I understand attempting to win while Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are towards the end of their prime, but within these two moves alone they lost a majority of their top prospects. It will be interesting to see if they will be able to add Price next year, who, along with Cueto, could seek a contract totaling over $200 million.

16. Houston Astros acquire Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, and a pick in the International Pool from the Milwaukee Brewers for prospects Josh Hader, Adrian Houser, Brett Phillips, and Domingo Santana.

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So, does Carlos Gomez actually have a bad hip or not? I mentioned when recapping the previous day that the Mets came very close to adding their former center fielder and now All Star in exchange for Zach Wheeler and Wilmer Flores (who has since become a fan favorite after hitting a walkoff home run in his "return" to the Mets). It turns out the Mets decided against the trade at the last minute because they were afraid of a hip injury that came up in a medical report. Gomez has not produced at the same level as he did in 2014 for the Brewers, so a hidden injury could have been kept under wraps, though he has denied any sort of health issue.

I thought Gomez would be a great fit for the Mets, but it appears that he'll fit even better patrolling center field in Houston. The Astros were able to add Scott Kazmir and Gomez for a slew of prospects, bettering their chances of not only making the playoffs but making a run for the World Series. The scariest thing about this team is that they are just getting started.

Love him or hate him, Carlos Gomez has played his entire career with his heart on his sleeve. His Brewers teammates and coaching staff loved his compassion and spoke of him much more highly than you would expect of a player whose tirades and fights on the field have made him a tough character to like. A player of his caliber can be a make or break addition to a team, and the Astros were right to have taken this risk.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates acquire Joakim Soria from the Detroit Tigers for prospect JaCoby Jones.

18. Chicago White Sox acquire Justin Sellers from the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash or a PTBNL.

19. Three Team Deal between Dodgers, Marlins, and Braves.
Dodgers acquire Mat Latos, Michael Morse, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, Jose Peraza, Bronson Arroyo, and cash
Marlins acquire prospects Victor Araujo, Jeff Brigham, Kevin Guzman
Braves acquire Hector Olivera, Paco Rodriguez, and prospect Zach Bird.

This was a weird trade, but after a few days of negotiating, it finally came to be. The Dodgers appear to be the heavy winners on paper, but it appears that the other two teams accomplished their goals of clearing some salary while gaining some young players. GM John Hart of the Braves has done a nice job reloading the Braves organization for the debut of their new stadium, set to arrive in 2017. Hector Olivera is a highly regarded Cuban prospect, and could have the most upside of anyone in this deal.

As for right now, Los Angeles stocked up on starting pitchers to fill out the back end of their rotation. Following the dynamic duo of Kershaw and Greinke, they will now have Brett Anderson, Mat Latos, and Alex Wood round things out. Latos is my personal favorite talent-wise of the three, but all five pitchers are more than capable of helping them down the stretch.

20. New York Yankees acquire Dustin Ackley from the Seattle Mariners for prospects Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez.

I was intrigued by the Yankees' plan for this year's deadline. GM Brian Cashman made it clear that he wasn't willing to move any of these four prospects: Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Jorge Mateo. I certainly agreed on the first two, and while it would be convenient to have the latter two players as well, I wouldn't have been too upset to see them moved for assets they could use right now. Heck, they are in first place, but with the Blue Jays now breathing down their neck, you would think they would push for a little extra.

After flirting with every possible pitcher, starter or reliever, they ultimately only ended up moving two prospects for Dustin Ackley. Ackley was a highly regarded prospect several years ago who never really worked out in Seattle. About the only awesome thing about him was his beard, which of course now ceases to exist thanks to the Steinbrenner way. I can't say there's a whole lot I'm looking forward to with this move.

21. St. Louis Cardinals acquire Brandon Moss from the Cleveland Indians for prospect Rob Kaminsky.

I had to double take when I saw this trade. I'm no prospect connoisseur, but when I saw "Cardinals top prospect Rob Kaminsky" involved in a straight up trade for a struggling Brandon Moss, I was confused. This may end up being the worst trade of the entire deadline, unless St. Louis knows more about their prospect than we do.

22. Pittsburgh Pirates acquire Joe Blanton from the Kansas City Royals for cash.

July 31st

23. San Francisco Giants acquire Mike Leake from the Cincinnati Reds for prospects Adam Duvall and Keury Mella.

Mike Leake was the most underrated starter on the market, and the Bay Area welcomed him in for a couple of prospects. I love that despite winning 3 of the past 5 World Series', the Giants aren't letting this even numbered season go to waste. Leake is 9-5 in 2015 with a 3.56 ERA, and has been particularly hot this summer. He is a rental, but even for a few months he appears to be worth the small haul.

24. Baltimore Orioles acquire Gerardo Parra from the Milwaukee Brewers for prospect Zach Davies.

The Orioles found themselves a leadoff hitter having the best season of his career. Parra is batting .328 this year with 9 home runs and 9 stolen bases. This allows Buck Showalter to move Manny Machado down the batting order, where he will drive more runs in for a team that is in need of an extra offensive boost.

25. St. Louis Cardinals acquire Jonathan Broxton and cash from the Milwaukee Brewers for prospect Malik Collymore.

26. Texas Rangers acquire Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, and cash from the Philadelphia Phillies for Matt Harrison and prospects Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, and Jake Thompson.

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Who is the idiot for waiting so long now? GM Ruben Amaro may have taken absolutely forever to deal his ace and officially begin Philadelphia's rebuilding process, but he got back six players in return for him! Four of the Rangers prospects were part of their top 10 best prospects, and the biggest name in the deal outside of Hamels is catching prospect Jorge Alfaro. A scout told ESPN's Jayson Stark last week that Alfaro reminded him of a bigger Pudge Rodriguez, which is about the highest praise you could receive as a young catcher. The Phillies now have a lot to look forward to, but will miss Hamels, who has been a part of their organization since he was first drafted in 2002.

It will be an uphill battle for the Rangers to make the playoffs, currently 7 games out of first place in the AL West and 3 games out of a Wild Card spot. With Hamels, however, there may be a sliver of hope that they can make that late season run. Up until his recent no-hitter, Hamels has struggled in 2015 more than usual, but a lot of that could have been attributed to being miserable in Philadelphia.

The best part about this deal for Texas is that he is far from a rental. Not only will they have their lefty for the remainder of 2015, but they will also have him for 4 additional years for a little over $90 million dollars. For a pitcher of his caliber, they are getting a bargain. Next season, their rotation will begin with Hamels and recovering Yu Darvish, and it will be hard-pressed to find a better one-two punch in the American League.

27. Minnesota Twins acquire Kevin Jepsen from the Tampa Bay Rays for prospects Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia.

28. Oakland Athletics acquire Felix Doubront from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash.

29. Toronto Blue Jays acquire Ben Revere and cash from the Philadelphia Phillies for prospects Alberto Tirado and Jimmy Cordero.

Ben Revere was the final piece necessary to complete the Blue Jays puzzle. After losing their lead off hitter in Jose Reyes and creating some confusion regarding their very right handed heavy lineup, it was critical for them to find someone capable of starting a rally. Also, Bautista, Encarnacion, and Tulowitzki can all hold their own defensively, but they needed a Ben Revere to balance out all of their strength. He is one of the better contact/speed hitters in baseball, batting .298 this year with 24 steals.

30. Toronto Blue Jays acquire Mark Lowe from the Seattle Mariners for prospects Nick Wells, Jacob Brentz, and Rob Rasmussen.

31. Chicago Cubs acquire Tommy Hunter from the Baltimore Orioles for Junior Lake.

32. Chicago Cubs acquire Dan Haren from the Miami Marlins for prospects Ivan Pineyro and Elliot Soto.

33. Boston Red Sox acquire Ryan Cook from the Oakland Athletics for cash or a PTBNL.

34. San Diego Padres acquire Mark Rzepcynski from the Cleveland Indians for Abraham Almonte.

35. Texas Rangers acquire Sam Dyson from the Miami Marlins for prospect Thomas Telis and Cody Ege.

36. Pittsburgh Pirates acquire J.A. Happ from the Seattle Mariners for prospect Adrian Sampson.

37. New York Mets acquire Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers for prospects Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa.

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As the clock struck 4:00, the final major deal of the deadline was revealed: The Mets, who earlier escaped from trading for Carlos Gomez, went and grabbed a different bat. Two time Home Run Derby champion and All Star caliber outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was the final rental player moved. This will now be Cespedes' fourth team in 2 years, and there have been rumbles in the past that he isn't the best teammate. However, coming from his background, I can easily envision having a difficult time fitting into any big league locker room.

The Mets may have surrendered a bit much for a rental, as Fulmer has been regarded to be a good right handed pitching prospect. They have plenty of pitching in my eyes, and being able to add an impact bat as big as Cespedes' without surrendering any of Harvey/deGrom/Syndergaard/Matz is an impressive feat. He may not save all of their hitting woes, but he can't hurt, can he?

After reviewing all of the deadline, here are my biggest winners and losers:

Toronto Blue Jays - Now a big time contender for a Wild Card spot and could possibly chase the Yankees down and out from the AL East if they don't play their cards right. And if they make the postseason, watch out for their new ace.

Houston Astros - Kazmir and Gomez made a good team even better. They have a young enough team where they can afford to surrender good prospects and still have a bright future.

Kansas City Royals - The American League's best team now has a bonafide ace. There is nothing scarier than that.

Jonathan Papelbon - He couldn't have possibly asked for a better situation to move into from a team he seemed to hate playing for.

Philadelphia Phillies - This year may end as a disaster, but it will soon be sunny in Philadelphia once more.

Wilmer Flores - Because, c'mon man. We live for moments like this.

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San Diego Padres - Yesterday's biggest storyline was where current Padres Justin Upton, James Shields, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, and Craig Kimbrel could go. Their offseason strategy has been a failure thus far, as Fangraphs currently gives them a 4% chance of making the playoffs. Four percent is apparently enough for GM AJ Preller to continue to hold on, as he kept all of his players in hopes that they can make a run this year. Power to you, AJ, but good luck with that.

New York Yankees - It isn't necessarily anyone's fault, as they did try to make a move with a majority of the big names. In nontypical Yankee fashion, they couldn't pull through with anyone but Dustin Ackley. Craig Kimbrel appeared to be close to coming to New York to make the nastiest bullpen combination of this era, but Preller's decision to keep things the way they are kept that from happening. After the Blue Jays did everything they did, Cashman may regret not pushing a little harder for top pitchers, considering how much of a revelation Teixeira and A-Rod have been for what could be the final time.

There you have it everyone. I hope you enjoyed my full recap of this year's Trade Deadline, and I would love to hear all of your opinions in the comments below!

See Ya!

1 comment:

  1. Nice recap. I'm, for one, confused with the Ackley move. Oh well.


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