With the MLB Trade Deadline done and dusted, it’s now time to get flowing on all the post-deadline content. With so much activity in the final few hours, there are plenty of teams that will feel really pleased by what they were able to accomplish. The inactivity of others may have left some with a few concerns about their future postseason hopes. There are always a number of winners & losers at the deadline, so let’s see who were able to get the best and worst out of the market.
Winner – Texas Rangers
Added: C Jonathan Lucroy (Brewers), OF/DH Carlos Beltran (Yankees), RHP Jeremy Jeffress (Brewers), RHP Lucas Harrell (Braves), LHP Dario Alvarez (Braves)
Lost: INF Travis Demeritte (Braves), OF Lewis Brinson (Brewers), RHP Luis Ortiz (Brewers), RHP Dillon Tate (Yankees), RHP Eric Swanson (Yankees), RHP Nick Green (Yankees)
The Texas Rangers have to be one of the biggest winners to come out of the trade deadline, filling just about all of their needs with some really talented players as well. They are now right in the hunt to win a third World Series championship in the last seven years.
After Jonathan Lucroy vetoed a deal that would have seen him go to Cleveland, Texas pounced and bolstered one of their biggest issues by adding a catcher. A two-time All-Star, Lucroy is hitting .299 with 13 home runs and an even 50 RBIs on the season.
So far in 2016, Rangers catchers had hit a combined .231 while ranking seventh in the American League. It’s always hard to get much offensive production out of a defense-first position, but Lucroy is certainly an exception to that and was the best catcher available. His bat alone could easily sure up Texas’s postseason chances, but no of course there was more.
In the same trade that sent Lucroy out of Milwaukee, the Rangers also picked up right-hander Jeremy Jeffress. A man who has evolved into one of the game’s best relievers, Jeffress has picked up 27 saves so far in 2016 after only having one in each of his previous six seasons. In 44 2/3 innings, the 28-year-old has a 2.22 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 11 walks. He is on track to throw the highest number of innings in his career and has allowed the fewest home runs per nine of his career.
Despite having a number of established relievers like Sam Dyson, Keone Kela and Jake Diekman, the Rangers bullpen has the highest ERA in the AL at 4.78. They do however lead the league with 36 saves and are second with 24 victories.
Carlos Beltran is the third big piece who is now going to Texas after the Yankees continued their fire-sale of players. The 39-year-old has hit .304/.344/.546 with 22 long balls, 21 doubles and 64 RBIs this year to rank as New York’s best overall hitter.
Though Beltran loves to play the field whenever he has an opportunity, it’s unlikely Texas will play him in right field as much as the Yankees did. With Ian Desmond and Nomar Mazara both healthy, and Shin-Soo Choo expected to return from injury shortly the Rangers are set with their outfield.That means Beltran will be almost their full-time DH as Prince Fielder has been sidelined by a neck injury. The veteran is going to be an important piece of the puzzle in the coming months as he has a .322 batting average in the postseason.
The biggest loss out of all this will be the Rangers farm system, who have lost two of their top three prospects according to MLB.com’s rankings. That also doesn’t include Tate, who was the fourth overall pick and first pitcher selected in the 2015 draft.
The only real issue for Texas coming out of the trade deadline is their lack of depth in the starting rotation, though let’s not forget that with Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels pitching well the Rangers can still present plenty of challenges. When you look at the lineup, it’s hard to find any holes now that they have added both Lucroy and Beltran. Already leading the AL West by six games, it’s going to be hard for anyone to catch Texas down the stretch.
Loser – Miami Marlins
Added: RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Tayron Guerrero
Lost: 1B Josh Naylor, RHP Carter Capps, RHP Jared Cosart
Starting pitching had always been Miami’s biggest focus, but after Wei-Yin Chen landed on the disabled list last week it became even more of an issue. The Marlins were able to bring in Andrew Cashner from San Diego, but perhaps the biggest thing is who isn’t on the list of players that they added.
In the same deal with the Padres Miami had also acquired LHP Colin Rea, but after injuring his elbow during his first start with his team team the Marlins immediately traded Rea back to San Diego after feeling they had been traded damaged goods.
Miami’s starting rotation currently ranks sixth in the National League with a 4.09 ERA, but their lack of depth in that department could come back to haunt them in the final few months. Pitching was about the team’s only area of need with their lineup comprising five players who are hitting at least .295. The rotation now consists of Jose Fernandez, Adam Conley, Cashner and Tom Koehler, with a minor league arm likely to be called up to fill the fifth spot.
They had hoped to bring in Jeremy Hellickson from the Phillies or Clay Buccholz from Boston, but neither of those two guys were dealt at the deadline. Currently holding the second Wild Card spot and sitting four games out in the NL East, Miami will have to look at other options to bolster their starting rotation. Trades in August don’t usually get completed, but perhaps this is one case where their need may be so great that they look at getting something done.
Winner – Matt Moore
Going from a seller to a contender is often a great thing for any player, because now they have the opportunity to fight for a postseason spot and maybe even a World Series ring. For Matt Moore, being traded from the second-worst team in the AL to the second-best team in the NL is even better because he now has the opportunity to pitch for the San Francisco Giants.
In Tampa Bay, Moore was one of the most important pitchers on the roster. However with San Francisco, he gets to pitch in a rotation alongside Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Jake Peavy.
So far in 2016, Moore has gone 7-7 with a 4.08 ERA in 21 starts and 130 innings. He has allowed a career-high 20 home runs, but he does have the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio of his six seasons. The 27-year-old has allowed at least four runs in eight of his starts, and in all but three of those he hasn’t made it out of the sixth inning.
With team options for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons, Moore may find himself in the Giants rotation for years to come if his brief two-month audition is a good one. He now finds himself in a much better position, and the Giants themselves look as good a bet as any to win the National League if they can keep everyone healthy.
Loser – Chris Sale
It’s hard to quite know how a player feels during the trade deadline when they’re often spoken about as being a potential trade candidate, but eventually remain with the same organisation. White Sox starter Chris Sale is one of those guys in 2016, but it always felt as though he was a long shot to be dealt.
An All-Star in five consecutive seasons dating back to 2012, Sale has won the most games of any starter in the game with 14 and holds a 3.17 ERA in 139 innings. His strikeout rate is down from last season while Sale is also walking more batters, but he is allowing fewer hits which is leading to a decreased WHIP. Signed to a very team-friendly five-year, $32.5 million contract, Sale would become a free agent at the end of next season if Chicago chose not to pick up his team options for 2018 and 2019. In reality though they’d be crazy to let him run when he only turns 29 in 2018.
At the start of the year it seemed as though the Sox might be genuine contenders for at worst the AL Central crown, but now they are 10.5 back of Cleveland in the division and are really in a state of limbo. Sale isn’t going to win a World Series championship this year and unless things start to change it seems a ring won’t be in his future any time soon.
If Sale had been traded to a team like Texas (who were one of the teams looking to acquire the lefty) then he may have had a shot to add a World Series championship to his five All-Star nominations. That however looks quite unlikely at least for the rest of this season, if not until his tenure ends with the White Sox after the 2019 campaign.
Winner – Los Angeles Dodgers
Added: OF Josh Reddick (Athletics), RHP Jesse Chavez (Blue Jays), RHP Josh Fields (Astros), LHP Rich Hill (Athletics)
Lost: 1B Yordan Alvarez (Astros), RHP Mike Bolsinger (Blue Jays), RHP Grant Holmes (Athletics), RHP Frankie Montas (Athletics), RHP Jharel Cotton (Athletics)
The Dodgers probably won’t get a ton of credit for what they did at the trade deadline, but they certainly deserve some. LA brought in one potential front-of-the-rotation starter (Hill) and one depth arm (Chavez) to fill a big hole in their rotation. Hill has been a breakout star with Oakland at the ripe old age of 36. In 14 starts, he’s 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA. He is still dominating with the strikeout, averaging 10.7 punchouts per nin innings in comparison to 3.3 walks per nine.
Hill will become a free agent at seasons end but is making a case to be signed to a two or even three year deal in 2017. He could really build a lot of value by performing on the big stage of Los Angeles, with the Dodgers in contention to return to the postseason for a fourth consecutive year.
Chavez was acquired by Toronto in a deal with the Athletics during the offseason and made 39 appearances (all in relief) with the Jays. He held a 4.57 ERA across 41.1 innings, but is only two years removed from an 8-8, 3.45 ERA effort in 21 starts during the 2013 season. He’ll probably be sent down to the minors and serve as a depth arm, but he could certainly get plenty of usage.
The Josh Reddick trade was a bit of a surprise. Never did I expect to see the Dodgers trading for an outfielder just years after they had Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke and Tony Gwynn competing for starts. Once Joc Pederson came up, it seemed as though they had their outfield set for the next decade. Just goes to show how quickly things can change.
Reddick has been an All-Star worthy player these past two years, hitting .280 with 28 homers, 36 doubles and 108 RBIs since start of 2015. A free agent at the end of the season, the 29-year-old Reddick will likely be the Dodgers everyday right fielder now that Puig is either set to be traded or sent down to the minor leagues.
Winner – New York Yankees
Arguably the best winner of the trade deadline is the New York Yankees, who traded away three of their best players to get back a TON of prospects in return. They’re worth a much deeper look though, so come back in the next couple of days to see what I make of their recent moves.