Monday, July 18, 2016

This Week In The Show 7.18.16: MLB Trade Deadline Preview

By Alex Hale, @ThatCLESportGuy

With the Mid-Summer Classic now past us, the Baseball season now heads into the 2nd Half with quite a few races up for grabs with teams looking to improve.  Teams will be looking to upgrade their teams for the final months of the season by the end of the month at the Trading Deadline.  Fans have been used to in the past having an idea of which teams would be, “buyers” or “sellers” but in an era of having 2 Wild Card teams teams normally don’t have any idea of what their plans are until the last moment.  Unlike previous years though, there seems to be a good number of teams that seem to have their plans made for the deadline and are going through with putting those plans into motion.  With that said this is going to be my MLB Trade Deadline Preview, I’ll be doing a separate Indians deadline preview early next week.

But first let’s quickly mark off one pitcher now off the market

Boston Red Sox acquire SP Drew Pomeranz from San Diego Padres in exchange for SP Anderson Espinoza

Analysis- I LOVE this trade for San Diego.  Boston seems to once again betting on a pitcher finally, “figuring it out” and willing to trade a prized prospect.  They traded Yoenis Cespedes in 2014 offseason for Rick Porcello and that hasn’t worked out the way they hoped.  Pomeranz is in the midst of a breakout season, but remember he was pitching in Petco Park, a very pitcher friendly ballpark.  He now goes to Fenway Park where the ball can fly out of the park.  Pomeranz still struggles with giving up fly balls and playing in Boston might hurt everything he’s been working on in San Diego.  San Diego gets the 18 year old fireballer Anderson Espinoza, one of Boston’s top prospects and Baseball America’s #15 Prospect in Baseball.  While Espinoza is having an average season Low-A Greenville, he’s young and has a ton of potential.  I don’t get why Boston didn’t just make a package with Espinoza for a more proven pitcher like Braves SP Teheran.  I’d give Boston a B- grade and San Diego an A for the deal.

Anyways let’s get into the Trade Deadline Preview.


Houston Astros- I wanted to lead with the Indians here but at the last minute after they announced the signing of Cuban sensation 3B Yulieski Gurriel as this puts the Astros are my most intriguing buyer.  The Astros are finally playing the way they should’ve been all year and are poised to make a lot of noise in the 2nd Half.  Gurriel is a Major League ready talent that will be up in the Majors in probably a few weeks.  What makes them interesting is SS prospect Alex Bregman has been tearing up the Minors and is ready to debut at any time now.  Bregman has been rumored that he would move to 3B with Correa at SS.  But the catch is Gurriel is primarily a 3B, now while the Astros have said they won’t move Bregman I’m not buying that one bit.  If an ace pitcher becomes available, why shouldn’t they add a real ace since defending Cy Young winner Dallas Kuechel has struggled all season.  While the Astros have other prospects worth dealing, Bregman can land them their ace, you know…Chris Sale would fit in perfectly in Houston.

Cleveland Indians- The Indians stand in first place in the AL Central and quite a few national writers are starting to prep for a Fall Classic in Cleveland.  The Indians offense has come alive and shown consistency through the first half.  We all know the Indians strength in their Starting Rotation, but it seems the Indians have a major problem in the bullpen.  Cody Allen seems to be okay as the team’s closer, but the Indians need a lefty arm in there that can work in the 8th to setup for Allen.  It seems the Indians are really scouring all options for the bullpen and at least monitoring the hitters on the market to maybe find another bat to put them over the top.

Miami Marlins- Don Mattingly has done an outstanding job in his first year really putting together a very formidable team in the AL East that has them right with the defending NL Champion New York Mets fighting for 2nd behind the Nationals.  They added All-Star RP Fernando Rodney to their bullpen to create a great back end of the bullpen of Rodney and fellow All-Star RP AJ Ramos.  While the Marlins offense and bullpen are pretty much set for a playoff run, they need another arm behind ace Jose Fernandez.  Wei-Yin Chen was expected to be that #2 guy, but hasn’t lived up to his contract.  If they really want to compete with the Mets and Nationals in their division, they must acquire another front of the rotation starter.

Baltimore Orioles- We all know the Orioles have one of the better lineups in the American League and with the emergence of Mark Trumbo to go with Manny Machado, their lineup seems as dangerous as ever.  Not to mention they still got a great bullpen led by Zach Britton, the Orioles should be able to sustain their success in the 2nd Half.  With all that said, the Orioles starting rotation is average to say the least.  Outside of Chris Tillman, the Orioles don’t have a real reliable option in the rotation.  If the Orioles want to continue to hold off Boston and Toronto, they must find another arm to go in their rotation by the deadline.

New York Mets- The defending National League Champions are in quite the interesting spot here.  They already lost 3B David Wright and now have lost SP Matt Harvey for the year.  Coming into the year, it was thought that the Mets rotation and bullpen would carry them to the NL East crown.  Instead it’s been injuries and lack of help behind OF Yoenis Cespedes that is holding them down.  Cespedes has followed up hist 2015 run in the Big Apple with another monster year, yet the Mets need more.  Neil Walker has been a solid addition, yet no David Murphy.  Outside of those two, the Mets next 2 most reliable hitters are James Loney and Asdrubal Cabrera.  Mike Conforto hasn’t lived up to the hype, Lucas Duda has been injured, and Travis D’Arnold is proving to be a mediocre hitting catcher.  The Mets should look to upgrade their Outfield and add another bat to help out Yoenis in the 2nd Half.

Honorable Mention- Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals


San Diego Padres- As evidenced by the Drew Pomeranz trade, the fire sale is already underway.  While Pomeranz was one of their more intriguing players on the block, the Padres have numerous others that teams might be interested in.  Wil Myers has been rumored, but for now SD has no intention of trading him.  Melvin Upton is quietly having a great year, but the Padres might need to throw in cash to get a team to trade for him.  Matt Kemp is always an intriguing name, but his contract and his mediocre play make it hard for me to imagine a team trading for Kemp.  Andrew Cashner might have some value, but his decline has hurt the value he had a year ago.  Derek Norris is an intriguing trade option for teams looking for an upgrade at Catcher.

Minnesota Twins- I admit, I never expected the Twins, who took a huge step forward last year to take as huge of a step back this year.  Now the Twins are the worst team in the AL and fighting the Reds and Braves for the worst record in Baseball.  What makes the Twins so intriguing as a seller is that they don’t offer much to begin with as a seller.  While Eduardo Nunez is having a career year, most buyers don’t need an IF like Nunez.  The Twins could put up Kurt Suzuki and Trevor Plouffe, they don’t have a lot of value to begin with.  On the pitching side, it’s just as bad.  Ricky Nolasco has a big contract and really isn’t a great pitcher to begin with.  Ervin Santana may be the Twins best asset.  While he has a big contract, there are teams that will make a good offer to get a veteran starter like Santana to stabilize their rotations for the playoffs.  The Twins can try to be sellers, but reality is there’s not much to sell.

Atlanta Braves- Since April, we’ve known the Braves were going to be sellers at the Trade Deadline, but the question is who is on the market from the Braves?  A month ago it seemed to be a sure thing that SP Julio Teheran would be dealt, but now the Braves seem to be hesitant and have moved other starters like SP Bud Norris instead.  I think after the Pomeranz deal, Teheran staying in Atlanta seems to look better now.  After Teheran, the Braves have hard throwing CP Arodys Vizcaino that could intrigue teams looking for a young reliever.  As for the offensive side, as much as teams may want 1B Freddie Freeman, the Braves won’t deal him.  They still have OF Nick Markakis that could really benefit a team looking for a consistent bat and a great defensive outfielder.  There also have been rumblings of C Tyler Flowers getting moved as well.  Expect the Braves to be active at the deadline.

Cincinnati Reds- Quite possibly the most intriguing team at the Trading Deadline.  The Reds are obviously going to start the rebuilding process here at the deadline, but the question is how much are they going to, “blow it up”?  All talks about the Reds starts with OF Jay Bruce who is having one of his better years.  Teams have already talked to the Reds regarding Bruce and people forget that the Reds did have a deal done with Toronto in Spring Training.  I would expect Bruce dealt by the deadline.  Teams might call on veteran Brandon Phillips, but it looks like the buyers on the market are already set in the middle infield.  Adam Duvall is having a breakout year and teams might be calling, but I doubt he’s moved.  The big question is if someone calls on team icon Joey Votto, do the Reds listen?  My prediction, the Reds will listen on the Votto and don’t rule out maybe a Boston or New York Mets work out a deal.

Honorable Mention- Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s

On The Edge

New York Yankees- The struggle for power of the Yankees is real folks.  GM Brian Cashman sees that the Yankees need to rebuild by trading away one or two of their relievers for prospects in a market where everyone will want their relievers.  Unfortunately Hal Steinbrenner is in his way.  The Yankees will probably play out the week and make their decision then on whether to buy or sell at the deadline.  With Carlos Beltran to go with their relievers, the Yankees have pieces teams could be interested in. 

Colorado Rockies- Surprisingly the Rockies are sitting in 3rd Place in the NL West and 7GB in the NL Wild Card.  Like usual, the Rockies calling card is their stellar offense and their pitching needs help.  I don’t think the Rockies will be buyers, but if they start the 2nd Half strong, they won’t be sellers at the deadline.  Obviously if a Carlos Gonzalez was on the trade market, it would make things very interesting, but Rockies know they can always trade him in the offseason.

Pittsburgh Pirates- The Pirates are very intriguing as they are right in the Wild Card race.  The Pirates are in my opinion at a point where they must retool instead of contend.  I’m not saying rebuild, but because their prized young arms are finally arriving in Pittsburgh.  The Pirates have some nice young players to be excited about but I’d consider some form of retooling the roster that makes the Pirates even better in 2017.

Kansas City Royals- The defending World Champions have had quite the interesting first half.  They’ve suffered through injuries to key players and having to call up unknown players to replace the shoes of key players.  While the Royals sit in 4th in the AL Central, the Royals still think they can make a run.  They really need starting pitching help, but it might cost the rest of the farm system they haven’t traded over the past few years to get that.  The question is will Kansas City mortgage the rest of their future to try to overcome a big deficit in the AL Central?

Honorable Mention- Seattle Mariners

While I know we covered a lot in there, since the introduction of the Wild Card Game and adding a 2nd Wild Card team, teams have proven at the deadline to be indecisive.  Only the teams truly out in front of everyone and those clearly out of it really make deals.  I would expect things to really pick up over the next week as teams start to figure out where they stand and decide what they want to do.  I hope this gives Baseball fans a wide perspective of what to expect at the deadline.  I’ll follow this up in the next few days with my Cleveland Indians Trade Deadline Preview and before the Trade Deadline passes I’ll give you guys the 5 trades I want to see happen.  This is possibly my favorite time of the Baseball season as we finally will start to see which teams are going to make a run for their chance to win the Fall Classic later this year and I’m excited to see what the next few weeks bring us that shape up the hunt for October.

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