Tuesday, August 2, 2016

This Week In The Show 8.2.16: MLB Trade Deadline Wrap-Up

Now The Race Is On!
By Alex Hale, @ThatCLESportGuy

As the clock passed 4pm Monday afternoon, it signaled the end of what turned out to be one of the best trade deadlines in recent history.  It was full of blockbusters and a lot of controversy.  Unlike previous years deadlines with a lot of anti-climatic movement at the deadline, the rumors that were swirling before the deadline gave us a lot of fun and now it’s time find out who the big winners and losers were.  Now let’s be honest in a few years, this could all look different about who won and lost at the deadline.  But in terms of right now for quite a few teams, the future looks bright and for some others, lost opportunity.


New York Yankees- For the 1st time since 1989, the Yankees went into full blown rebuild mode and they came out as huge winners at the deadline.  It started with the trade of Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs as the Yankees acquired SS Glyber Torres along with other prospects including OF Billy McKinney.  Then in a shocker, the Yankees acquired OF Clint Frazier and SP Justus Sheffield along with 2 other prospects in exchange for RP Andrew Miller.  Then before the deadline buzzer Monday traded Carlos Beltran to the Rangers in a deal centered around former Top 5 draft pick SP Dillon Tate.  The Yankees made a bold move to rebuild and Brian Cashman did an outstanding job getting great value in every trade he made.  More importantly, most of the prospects they got could help the Yankees in the next 2 years to start a quick turnaround in the Bronx.

Texas Rangers- The Rangers really went for it at the deadline, starting by acquiring OF Carlos Beltran from the Yankees, giving up SP Dillon Tate and then following that up with a bombshell, acquiring C Jonathan Lucroy and RP Jeremy Jeffress from the Brewers giving up a package centered around SP Luis Ortiz and OF Lewis Brinson.  Immediately the Rangers have fortified their lineup to be a scary one from 1 through 9.  Adding Jeffress gives them another strong reliever for a bullpen that needed another arm in there.  The only downside was not acquiring a SP, while the Rangers do have Cole Hamels and potentially Yu Darvish leading the rotation in the playoffs, after them, they really are lacking there.  That could be a problem down the stretch.

Chicago Cubs- The Cubs looked to make big changes in their bullpen and really did an outstanding job by first acquiring RP Mike Montgomery from the Mariners, an effective lefty reliever for them in the 7th/8th innings.  Then the Cubs made their big blockbuster trade by acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees.  While the Cubs have Hector Rendon as their closer, Joe Maddon will have more of a “spot closer” role for both and choose who to close by who is hitting in the 9th.  Then to top everything, the Cubs got sidearm specialist Joe Smith from the Angels to give them a completely different look in the bullpen which really makes their bullpen one of the more intriguing bullpen in terms of depth and styles to choose from.

Milwaukee Brewers- For a team that was one of the bigger sellers, they made out pretty well.  While their original deal with the Indians had a solid return for Jonathan Lucroy, they made out better with Texas getting Luis Ortiz and Lewis Brinson, who are ranked #2 and #3 in Texas’ farm system respectively.  While they probably should’ve gotten Joey Gallo, they still got a good haul for Jeremy Jeffress and Jonathan Lucroy.  They also moved RP Will Smith to the Giants and acquired the Giants 2015 1st Round draft pick SP Phil Pickford and C Andrew Susac, a great replacement for losing Jonathan Lucroy.  They’re laying a good foundation for the future and the next step will probably be trading Ryan Braun in the offseason.

Honorable Mention- Washington Nationals, Oakland A’s


Miami Marlins- You talk about the most dysfunctional franchise in all of sports, the Marlins gotta rank up there with another disastrous trade deadline.  Their big move was acquiring from San Diego centered around SPs Andrew Cashner and Collin Rea, but Rea hurt himself in his first start with the Marlins and before Monday’s deadline, was traded back to San Diego for one of the prospects the Marlins originally dealt.  Once again the Marlins showing their continued dysfunction and why they are a joke of an organization.  Cashier was a solid upgrade, but not one worth trading multiple top prospects for, including their 2015 1st Round pick 1B Josh Naylor.  Marlins better make the playoffs or else changes in player personnel might be needed in the offseason.

Boston Red Sox- Quite possibly the biggest loser at the deadline, the Red Sox made numerous small moves to help fortify the team, then traded Anderson Espinoza to San Diego for Drew Pomeranz, who is struggling with his new team.  The Red Sox continued to scour the pitching market, then centered in on White Sox ace Chris Sale.  The White Sox asking price was way too high and the Red Sox seemingly continued to try to land him until the end of the deadline.  That backfired on them as they walked away with no other trades after the Pomeranz one.  The Red Sox seemingly valued their top prospects very highly and wouldn’t budge on them to blow away the White Sox to make a deal.  Their consistent activity on Chris Sale cost them big down the stretch at the deadline and might be a big difference on where they end up at the end of the year.

Detroit Tigers- Only 4.5 GB of the Indians and 1 GB of the Wild Card, I’m stunned the Tigers did nothing.  While the Tigers have an offense that’s coming alive and JD Martinez returning just around the corner, I thought the Tigers would go after a SP.  Nothing really materialized and the Tigers didn’t make any deal.  While the Tigers have Michael Fulmer and Justin Verlander, they really needed to find an upgrade for the middle/back end of the rotation.  I felt that Phillies SP Jeremy Hellickson made perfect sense, but obviously a deal couldn’t be reached.  Not making a deal for another starter might come back to bite them.

Los Angeles Angels/Minnesota Twins- I’m talking about in this area the confusing trade made at the last moments before the deadline.  The Angels traded struggling SP Hector Santiago, who actually was drawing interest from multiple teams including Texas and instead flipped him to Minnesota for SPs Ricky Nolasco and Alex Meyer.  What were these teams thinking?  I mean it’s great for Twins to get rid of Nolasco’s contract, but Meyer is an intriguing arm who just hasn’t figured it out yet.  The Twins might be looking towards 2017 with this move but the trade for both teams is extremely confusing and is an F for both teams.

Honorable Mention- Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros

Hard to Grade

Cleveland Indians- Yes, the Cleveland Indians vastly improved their back end of the bullpen by adding Andrew Miller.  But let’s remind ourselves the Indians traded OF Clint Frazier to get him.  Frazier will be a star in NYY and fans will one day complain about this deal, but the Indians decided to contend right now so to a degree, I understand it.  But the Jonathan Lucroy debacle makes their deadline hard to grade.  Honestly I have no idea how this went down and maybe we won’t ever know, but to lose him and watch him go to Texas while not upgrading the Catcher is a bit of a question mark.  Indians could’ve used another bat and were in on Carlos Beltran and losing out to the Rangers.
  The Indians eventually settled on Rays OF Brandon Guyer, who mashes lefty pitching.  The Indians used this opportunity to finally DFA Juan Uribe and move Jose Ramirez to 3B for what looks to be an every day role.  The Indians do have Brantley returning, but he’s an unknown still coming back from his shoulder injury.  I expect Indians to be active in August Waiver Trade Deadline to find another bat and probably then I’ll feel much better with the Indians activity.

Arizona Diamondbacks- So the most active team at the Winter Meetings goes quiet at the deadline, especially a team that has played not up to expectations.  They sent down SP Shelby Miller, didn’t move him and also couldn’t move Daniel Hudson even though there was plenty of interest.  They moved Tyler Clippard to the Yankees for a minor leaguer which that even confused me.  They’ve continued to struggle this year in almost every aspect with the exception of Paul Goldschmidt.  There really seems to be no direction with this franchise and it leaves a lot of questions to be answered down the line.

Los Angeles Dodgers- Ok I love the fact that they added Rich Hill, although he’s injured and they didn’t trade their top prospects.  But what I didn’t understand is adding Josh Reddick to create a serious log jam in the OF, leaving Yasiel Puig as the odd man out.  Reddick may be an upgrade compared to Puig, but the presence of Puig and his unpredictable attitude could be toxic to the clubhouse.  The Dodgers at the same time to create this log jam paid a pretty good price to get Hill and Reddick, again this is an upgrade that on the field is great, but off the field could be a disaster.  Don’t be stunned if Puig is put up on August Waivers.

Honorable Mention- San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves

Now remember these are initial reactions and all of these will probably change in time.  There were some very good trades that under the radar will be steals of the future and I’ll go over those here in the coming days.  While the Trade Deadline has passed, we now look toward the August Waiver Trading Deadline.  In a simplified explanation, teams must put a player through waivers, then they must clear waivers in order for them to be traded.  We’ve seen trades like the monster trade of Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers and for Indians fans, the trade that brought back Jim Thome.  I would expect with some teams not as active at the deadline, there will be activity before that deadline passes as well.  But for now, we’re now into the last 2 months of this 6 month marathon.  It’s not time for the teams that made the investment to win now, to take the next step and start to position themselves as a team for a long postseason run.  Races are far from over and because of the deadline, some division races could either change in the coming weeks or a team can start to run away.  Only time will tell, but as for the trading deadline that now has passed, for the first time in a few years, it didn’t disappoint.

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