The trade deadline is upon us, and it’s already shaping up as one of the more active and interesting ones in recent memory. I thought it might be fun to track what’s happening around the league over the last couple of hours before the 4pm drop-dead time hits, with some regular updates and personal opinion on what’s happening or not happening.
Here it goes, starting with the two major deals that have already been completed (as of 2pm EST). A big tip of the cap to MLBTradeRumors.com (as if they needed more traffic today), which is my primary source for transaction news.
Lester to Oakland
Oakland gets John Lester and Johnny Gomes. Boston gets Yoenis Cespedes and a draft pick.
Yet again, Billy Beane makes a major play to put the A’s in even better position to win their first championship of his tenure. Obviously it’s a bit shocking that he sent Cespedes, one of the seemingly core players of this year’s team, out in the deal. But Lester is a true ace, and he’s joining an already stacked rotation. Gomes has enough value as a filler piece that he’s worthwhile as well. For the Red Sox, Cespedes helps to fill a Massachusetts Bay-sized hole in their outfield for next year.
As I’ve looked around at some of the reaction, one of the key aspects of this deal that I haven’t seen mentioned is how it frees up playing time for Steven Vogt. Now, that might not seem all that important to those who don’t obsessively follow every player in the majors, but Vogt has quietly put together an OPS+ of 155 so far this year (albeit in just 160 PAs). It might turn out that a Vogt-Gomes platoon in left field is actually more productive than Cespedes on his own. We’ll see.
Boston gets a ‘B’. I think they should have gotten a longer term piece for Lester than a guy who’s contract is up after 2015, but Cespedes should help them with a quick return to contention next year.
Oakland gets an ‘A’. Hey, if you’re going for it, go for it. There’s no use holding a stacked hand if you’re not going to push all of your chips into the middle of the table. Also, with the nearly concurrent Milone-for-Fuld trade, Beane further shored up his outfield.
Lackey to St. Louis
Cardinals get Jon Lackey, pitching prospect Corey Littrell and cash. Boston gets Allen Craig and Joe Kelly.
Once again, Boston’s front office makes a deal that should help them with a quick turnaround for 2015. Craig has struggled to an OPS+ of just 78 this year, and has about $27 million guaranteed left on his contract, but he strikes me as the kind of player who can thrive in Boston, especially if he learns to utilize the Green Monster. Kelly is a decent back-end starter option who gives the Red Sox some added pitching depth.
Lackey, meanwhile, is exactly what the Cardinals needed – a virtual guarantee to go out and throw six or seven solid inning every time out. The trade also serves to clear up an outfield logjam in the system.
Like pretty much every deal I’ve seen over the past few weeks, this one seems like a true win-win for both sides. Both St. Louis and Boston get an ‘A’.
Parra to Milwaukee
Brewers get Gerardo Parra. Diamondbacks get outfield prospect Mitch Haniger and pitching prospect Anthony Banda.
Um, who really cares? I mean, I guess Parra’s helpful. And Haniger is an older prospect who wasn’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball in Double-A, so they didn’t give up all that much. Arizona gets out from under Parra’s salary… Whatevs.
Names on the block as of this writing (2pm EST)
According to MLBTradeRumors, David Price, Alex Rios, Andrew Miller, Marlon Byrd, Jason Hammel, and Emilio Bonifacio are all drawing heavy interest.
Rays, please don’t trade David Price. You have a shot to come back and take that pitifully weak division. It would be one of the great baseball stories in recent memory. Go for it. Hold on to Price… Unless, of course, the Dodgers make you a Don Corleone offer.
More to come as the day progresses…
Hometown team update
Apparently the Tigers are heavily involved on both Price and Miller. Miller, I get. But I don’t see how the Tigers have both the necessary prospects it would take to make a Price deal possible or the financial flexibility. But what do I know?
Man, $5 pizzas that taste like cardboard must be a really good business plan.
Where to, David Price? (2:15pm EST)
if the Rays do trade Price, I’d like to see the Pirates be the winner of that sweepstakes. They have the need for him, the prospects to make a deal happen, and, considering their high attendance and well below average payroll, I would hope the financial wherewithal to make it happen.
Mariners get Denorfia (2:20pm EST)
Gotta love the Mariners. Have an unbalanced lineup of weak left-handed hitters? OK, just add a weak right-handed hitter. (Wiping hands) Problems solved.
And now for something completely different (2:30pm EST)
The XTreme Eating Survey was released today (no, I’d never heard of it either), and it points to The Cheesecake Factory as being the most unhealthy chain restaurant. Now, I’ve never eaten at a Cheesecake Factory, but from what I’ve heard this “news” comes as no shock.
What did come as a shock, however, was that another restaurant chain I’ve never set foot it, nor hear of, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, made the list. Why is this surprising, you ask (or don’t ask), if I’ve never even heard of the place? It’s that a place with the name “BJ’s” has managed to grow into a 148-store outlet. Do you think a lot of their first-time clientele went in mistakenly, thinking the place delivered on its name? And, how many calories are there in a BJ Special?
All right, enough of my sophomoric humor. Back to baseball…
Did anybody see Sharknado 2 last night? I’m sans TV right now at the homestead. Would love to hear some reviews. Or, really, anything in this echo chamber we call the Internet. Anyone want to post some comments? They can be about the trade deadline, fast food chains, Sharknado 2. Anything, really.
Asdrubal to the Nationals. Andrew Miller to the O’s (3:05pm EST)
Well, here are two names that have been floating around for a couple of weeks. Not sure yet what the Indians and Red Sox, respectively, will be getting for their departing free agents-to-be, but both of these deals make a great deal of sense for the receiving teams. Assuming neither of them gave up an uber-prospect in the deal (e.g., Dylan Bundy for the Orioles or Lucas Giolito for the Nationals), these seem like great fits.
In the wake of the Ryan Zimmerman injury, the Nats needed a second baseman (with Rendon now able to stay at third base permanently), which is where, I assume, they’ll play Cabrera. And with a mediocre Brian Matusz serving as the O’s only lefty setup man, Miller fills a big hole.
As for the sellers, neither player was going to be a part of their team next year (unless the Red Sox were planning to re-sign Miller, which they can still do), so why not get what you can for them. The Indians, who may still hold hopes of contending for a Wild Card spot this year, can pretty easily replace Cabrera with more playing time for Mike Aviles, or, if they want to get really exciting, by calling up top shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor from Triple-A.
3:10pm EST: The O’s are sending out pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, who was highly thought of going into this year, but who has struggled to an ERA of nearly 5 at Double-A. Granted, he’s done that at the relatively young age of 21.
The Nationals are moving Zack Walters, a 24-year-old utility infielder who has managed to hold his own at the plate in just 43 major league PAs this year.
All in all, these seem like solid deals yet again. Maybe MLB GMs have wised up. Looks like both sides of each deal so far today have gotten a fair shake.
So, Jeter is a DH now? (3:50pm EST)
The Yankees just got Stephen Drew from the Red Sox for, I can only assume, a box full of Beanie Babies (hey, they’re collector’s items). I guess this means Jeter is now the Yankees semi-full-time DH now? Not really sure. I know the Yankees needed/desperately wanted to do something, and it looks like a Marlon Byrd or Alex Rios deal is off the table, but I don’t quite see how Drew fits in. Dude’s got a .176/.255.328 triple slash line going right now.
Holy sh** (4:10pm EST)
I went in to today not expecting the Tigers to do much of anything on the trade front. Maybe a relief pitcher if they could find the room for one. But instead they’ve gone out and gotten David Freakin’ Price, with Austin Jackson being one of the pieces headed out of town. At least, according to the latest reports.
This is, obviously beyond huge. And you have to assume that Trader Dave Dombrowski felt some added pressure when the A’s added John Lester to their already impressive Jeff Smardzija haul. The only thing to say here is “Wow”, or “Holy Fuckin’ Cow”.
I love being a Tigers fan. I’ll post another update as soon as the full details of the deal are made available.
Right now, it looks like all the Tigers gave up for Price was Jackson and Smyly. If that’s true, then I might need to go out tonight to celebrate. Hell, pretty much no matter what they gave up, I’m going to need to go out for a drink tonight to celebrate. This trade will probably require it’s own post. Long live, Dave Dombrowski!
Prado, Cosart, Suzuki (4:20pm EST)
The last flurry of deals are being announced as the deadline passes. The Yanks added yet again to their infield depth by getting Martin Prado from the D’backs. Considering that I had read Arizona wasn’t really interested in dealing the versatile Prado, I assume the Yankees are both taking on a decent chunk (if not all) of what’s left on his rather sizable contract and giving up at least one worthwhile prospect.
The Marlins gave up quite a haul – highly rated prospects Colin Moran and Jake Marisnik, along with a draft pick – for Jared Cosart and 22-year-old utility man Enrique Hernandez. Don’t know how much I like this one for the Marlins, unless they were really down on Moran, who I thought was pretty much untouchable for them. Cosart is a decent starter who is only 24 and isn’t arbitration-eligible until after next year, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy you give up two highly regarded prospects for.
The Twins, meanwhile, signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to a two-year extension. Seems like a good deal all around.
Cubs unload last couple of remaining veteran trade pieces (4:30pm EST)
The Cubs have apparently sent Bonifacio and lefty reliever James Russell to the Braves. Those two were bound to be traded at some point, with the Cubs having young, ready replacements for each already in the majors or ready to be called up from Triple-A. I assume they got something decent from the Braves, but not too much.
For the Braves, this deal fills out a couple of holes they had at the bottom of their roster. For the Cubs, well, the rebuilding plan continues. Next year should be an interesting one on the Northside. I could see the 2015 Cubs battling for a .500 record.
All right, we’re at 2,000 words. That’s probably more than enough. For this post, at least. I’ll probably monopolize B&C today by posting twice more – one with trade deadline grades for all 30 teams and another dedicated to the David Price trade. I’m sure all three people who have read this can’t wait for more.
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