Well the MLB trade deadline passed yesterday, and it is the first year that baseball is actually REALLY going to have a deadline. In years past, this day would come and we’d give everyone a couple weeks to settle into their new jobs and then BAM! All those teams that were foolish enough to think they had a shot at a playoff spot would have another chance to trade away players with expiring contracts for younger talent for the future. This year, however, baseball firmly set a trade deadline and got rid of the August waiver trades in hopes that teams would be more active to secure their rosters for the final 2 months of games. Well teams were definitely more active, as hundreds of players actually switched teams if you count all the minor transactions as well, but for the most part the trade deadline lacked any major moves until the final few minutes before the 4 pm Eastern time cutoff was up.
In this piece I’m going to talk about what I considered to be the 5 biggest and most surprising moves of the year’s MLB Trade Deadline.
- Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros – As if the Astros weren’t good enough already, they went out and virtually got a guy who I thought wasn’t going to be traded because of his hefty contract and no trade clause. But with all the success that Houston has had in a rapidly growing market, Houston is one of the few teams that could have gotten away with this deal. This deal was actually pretty good though for both sides. There are only three pitchers in the MLB right now that have 140+ innings pitched, a sub 3 ERA, and a 1.00 or lower whip and those pitchers are Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke. Now all three of these pitchers are on the same team making for a deadly 1-2-3 punch at the top of the rotation. It just so happens that most pitchers get statistically better once they move to Houston since the Astros have undoubtedly the best analytical department in all of baseball right now. The D-Backs on the other hand get Seth Beer (HOU #3 prospect), who I think will be a solid MLB offensive player, J.B. Bukauskas (#4 prospect), who I think is an underrated pitching prospect (could be a solid mid-rotation guy), Corbin Martin (#5 prospect) who just recently got Tommy John surgery but showed some flashes of a mid-rotation guy if he can be more accurate, and infielder Josh Rojas (#22) who I don’t know much about at this time but throw-in players shouldn’t be overlooked. I mean the Marlins threw in players like Chris Paddock, Luis Castillo, and Domingo German inn trades and look at what those guys became…man the Marlins suck.
- Marlins trade Zach Gallen to the D-Backs for Jazz Chisholm – Speaking of the Marlins let’s highlight a trade that probably flew under most people’s radars but when I saw it my mouth literally dropped…
The Marlins have been pretty much the laughing stock of the MLB ever since Jeter took over and it’s pretty evident that he doesn’t really know what he’s doing. Since he’s taken over, he’s fired nearly everyone in office including some Hall of Fame baseball legends like Andre Dawson, demanded changes to some of their minor league affiliates traditions, and made some of the worst trades in the last decade. So I briefly mentioned that the Marlins traded away Chris Paddock, Luis Castillo, and Domingo German in recent years and all of those guys are pitching like aces this years and will probably be anchors in their rotations for the years to come. Granted they were throw in chips so they are always a gamble at the time, but when you gamble away three future aces there is something clearly wrong with your scouting department. They also traded away Giancarlo Stanton right after he won an MVP for players I can’t even recall now. They traded Christian Yelich who looks like he might win 2 MVPs back to back and the highlight they got in return was Lewis Brinson who hasn’t planned out at all and is still currently in Triple-A….again, and they traded away Marcell Ozuna who is still very productive for the Cardinals when healthy. One of the highlights they got in that trade was Zach Gallen. Now if you ask some of my friends and my little brother, they think Zach Gallen is a future ace that might win a Cy Young. While his uber dominant minor league numbers support this claim (and they are gaudy trust me), I just don’t see a Cy Young. But I do see a great and reliable pitcher for years to come. He’s not particularly dominant, but he has 4 above average pitches that he locates really well and he pitchers intelligently. So, I definitely see a guy who can give you 200+ innings with a 3.2-3.6 ERA, which in today’s age in baseball is really damn good. Jazz Chisholm on the other hand is in Double-A and is only hitting .204/.305/.427 which is pretty shitty. The defense is supposed to be amazing and there some pop here since there’s a .427 slugging percentage, but I don’t think this trade makes any logical sense for the Marlins since Gallen was a great piece to have. Fans are going to regret this trade over the years, but at least the trade involving Trevor Richards was much better for the organization and made sense.
3. Chicago Cubs trade for Nicholas Castellanos – There are few trades that made perfect sense going into the deadline, and most of the ones that made sense, or people speculated on actually happened. But then there’s this one which was rumored on for days before the deadline but didn’t actually come into fruition minutes before the deadline. The Cubs are absolutely booty against left-handed pitching this year and have only gotten worse since the beginning of the summer. To put things into context league average wRC+ (weighted runs created plus. Don’t worry if you don’t really know what this is cause I’m still making sense of it myself. Just know that I’m going o give you the league average number.) is 100 wRC+. The Cubs currently have a 92wRC+, but only an 82wRC+ since June 1st…so yeah, we’re pretty ass lately. Castellanos has always crushed lefties in his career and this year is no different with a .347/.415/.611 slash line against lefties which is phenomenal, so great move Cubbies and it only cost us low level pitching prospects that haven’t really planned out for us. We also got Tony Kemp who can be a decent role player and has playoff/World Series experience so that’s a plus.
4. Phillies trade Pirates for OF Corey Dickerson – I actually really like this move cause the Phillies have a pretty good lineup that has been hurting since Andrew McCutchen went down for the year with an injury. Jay Bruce was helping a lot in the power department, but also went down (although there is a chance for him to come back this year). Now add Corey who has traditionally been an above average offensive player throughout his career and is currently slashing .315/.373/.551 this season. Granted he has been hurt most of the year, so he only has 142 plate appearances, but still he’s traditionally been good so those numbers aren’t just going to plummet, and Philly is perfect for a lefty-bat, which he happens to be. Oh, and he won a gold glove last year so he’s not a huge liability out there either.
5. The Brave trade for a whole new bullpen – Ok, they didn’t actually trade for a completely new bullpen. But, it is does have a very fresh look and is a lot more formidable than it was a week ago. The Braves are good and their pitching staff (actually their team in general) is pretty young. When it comes to playoffs though, that leads to inexperience and the playoffs are a different monster than the regular season so to be able to shorten the game for their young pitchers is extremely valuable and they added vets with experience. They added Shane Greene (previous closer of the Tigers), Mark Melancon (previously dominant closer for Pirates/Giants, now a set-up guy), and Chris Martin (underrated groundball specialist reliever). This has been a team that has had its share of bullpen struggles this year and didn’t have a clear closer. While they may not have an elite, upper-echelon, closer, they have their go-to guy now.
So that’s my top-5 most impactful trades. There were other good ones like the three-team trade between the Reds, Padres, and Indians involving Trevor Bauer. I think the Indians did a great job in their return with that one. Who know what the hell the Mets are doing? They bought Marcus Stroman and didn’t trade Thor, Zach Wheeler, or Edwin Diaz and apparently were going to listen to offers on them. They’re delusional if they think they actually have a shot of making the playoffs this year, but whatever we need more teams to laugh at other than the Marlins.
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