MLB Trade Deadline Winners and Losers
The MLB Trade Deadline passed today at 3pm CST and there was a fury up moves made right up to the last minute. During this week’s podcast we will go a little more in-depth but I want to take a look at the winners and losers of the deadline.
NEW YORK YANKEES
The Yankees went into the deadline as big bullpen sellers and man did they get a return for their pieces. Miller, Chapman and Beltran helped to restock an average-at-best farm system with fresh talent to the tune of 9(!!) new prospects. The Yankees and Brian Cashman did what they had to do and bought the rest of Beltran’s contract to ensure better prospects came back from Texas. He received a huge return for fireballer Aroldis Chapman to the tune of a top 30 overall prospect and Miller netted the Yanks Cleveland’s top prospect as well. Big day for New York.
Every year when the trade deadline rolls around there is talk about how teams should love that they have a GM that will “go for it” or isn’t afraid to empty the cupboard to win now. This year that was Texas, GM Jon Daniels went for it acquiring Carlos Beltran, Jonathon Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress. Solid bullpen arm, great hitting catcher on a team friendly deal and a savvy veteran who can DH. Not much more needs to be said, the Rangers are going for it, they could have used another arm I think but right now they are the team to beat in the American League
Ah, the Cubs. So much speculation and rumors surrounded my beloved Cubbies and in the end they bolstered the worst part of their team with pitchers from the right and left side. Not much needs to be said about Chapman, they paid a big price, but they can afford it with all the talent they have in the farm system as well as at the Major League level. Chapman has already shown how valuable he is in his first week as a Cub. They also traded for Joe Smith from LA, Smith has shown moments of brilliance but has struggled with injuries this season. Despite his side-arm release he has struggled against right-handed hitters, hopefully a change of scenery will do him some good. The last player picked up was Mike Montgomery, he has had a very rocky start to his Cubs’ career but has some time to work out the kinks before it matters.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
We all knew the Dodgers were going to be buyers, but we didn’t know who. There was speculation about a possible Puig for Sale trade, Matt Moore’s name was thrown around, etc. In the end the Dodgers added a solid outfield bat in Josh Reddick, a good left-handed starter with Rich Hill and bullpen depth with Jesse Chavez. Reddick adds another solid bat from the left side that can complement their current line-up well, he needs to find his groove after spending most of the year on the DL but is a great pick-up for LA. The biggest move was adding Rich Hill, the Dodgers have been absolutely decimated with injuries this year, especially their pitching staff. If Rich Hill can keep up his performance this is a huge win for LA, Hill has looked fantastic posting a 9-3 record with a 2.25 ERA. The Dodgers need to hope the injury bug leaves town and that they added enough pitching to get them past San Francisco.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
They were probably the most talked about team at the deadline and the White Sox did nothing. They had plenty of pitching talent to move and a few intriguing bats, but Rick Hahn and company decided to hold steady. You can’t blame the team for not moving a guy like Sale or Quintana especially if the prospects weren’t right, but from all indications, it seems like the Sox front office had received absolutely massive offers for Sale especially and simply said no. I think the White Sox have the talent to compete, but they also have an empty farm system. This move seems to indicate that they are going for it next year in what could be a wide-open AL Central. But we’ve seen this episode before, the Sox decide against selling and end up out of contention come mid-August wishing they had replenished the farm system.
The Stros, as of today, are 6 back of the Rangers in the AL West and watched as their division leader was aggressive and made a bevy of moves to improve their roster. The West is out of the question, time to turn their attention to the Wild Card where they are 2.5 GB of Boston. Boston is starting to play well and Toronto is a solid team, the Astros desperately needed pitching to at least give themselves a chance to contend and didn’t budge today. Really tough pill to swallow if you’re a fan in Houston, they have to hope that Keuchel finds his form again and that Correa and Altuve continue to tear it up.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
When I had started writing this post the Rays looked to be keeping Matt Moore despite a huge buyers market for pitchers. About 15 minutes ago I was alerted that Moore is on the move to San Francisco for a big return of Matt Duffy, Lucius Fox (aka Morgan Freeman in Batman) and Michael Santos. That officially moves Tampa out of the “Losers” column and into the “Didn’t Do Enough” column. The Moore trade was a good start, but Odorizzi could have yielded another big return to help replenish this team.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Kansas City is a very confusing team. They are 6 games under .500, 12 behind Cleveland in the Central and don’t sell. Edinson Volquez is a nice piece that could have really helped out a few teams like the Dodgers or Astros. Instead, they sit tight, with a very similar roster to last season’s World Series team and flounder in a decent AL Central. Why wouldn’t you look to make a few moves with guys like Volquez on the roster that are expendable? Barring a major turnaround in August and September this team is absolutely done. There is no shame in acknowledging that and looking to make a few moves to get better for the future.
Didn’t Do Enough
NEW YORK METS
Two years in-a-row the Mets bring the drama to the trade deadline, last year it was Wilmer Flores crying like a baby while playing the field thinking he was traded. This year, it is a Jay Bruce trade that was reported about around 12pm CST and didn’t get completed until around 2:40pm due to pending physicals. Literally only the Mets could do this. Fans were so excited for the deal to get done and get Nimmo out of town and all-of-a-sudden he fails a physical and they have to give up more, classic. The deal was still a beneficial one for both sides, Cincy gets prospects and NYM gets a left-handed outfield bat. The problem, the Mets needed more, Lucroy would have been a really nice addition, their pitching is phenomenal, everyone knows that but the lineup leaves much to be desired. Also, as of 4:10pm CST Juan Uribe is still not a Met, Sandy is really dropping the ball here.
So Cleveland landing in this column really isn’t their fault but the fact remains they didn’t do enough. They took a great first step in landing the top reliever in the game in Andrew Miller, but needed to complement it with a bat and unfortunately for them Lucroy refused the trade to Cleveland from Milwaukee (I wonder why…). Miller is a fantastic addition, should help them seal up the AL Central pretty easily, but damn did they need a Lucroy-esque bat, whether it was him or Reddick or someone to add a little pop to that lineup. They did enough to ensure the Central but they are still behind the Rangers in the AL.
That’s right, the 37-68 Atlanta Braves did not do enough. Next season, they move to the Suburbs and open a brand-new, state-of-the-art stadium. The Braves really haven’t been competitive since the Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward days and could really use a few big names to draw fans to the stadium. They made a nice step in the right direction picking up Matt Kemp. Kemp is certainly not the player he used to be, but the guy can put fans in the seats and if he can even bring back half of what he had in his last season in LA, that alone would be fireworks for Atlanta. I was a firm believer that the Braves were going to make a move for Lucroy, they desperately need a catcher and the price tag wasn’t too high for them to conceivably make the move. A huge coup going into an incredibly important season, from a business perspective, would have been adding Lucroy and Kemp. They have some good young players with Tehran and Freeman but needed to add a veteran presence to help attract other players in Free Agency.