2018 Trade Deadline – The Anonymous Takes

GM’s Behind Closed Doors

By: Eve Simon

The 2018 MLB Pro trade deadline passed by this past week and in attempt to get reactions on what transpired, I have asked for the opinions of league insiders and members of organizations across the league to give their anonymous take on the trade deadline.

Here are the results:

(On Tampa Bay acquiring Stephen Strasburg)

-“Any trade to get the greatest pitcher in the history of the league has to be considered a win.. except for this one.”
-“While I can almost guarantee that Strasburg does resign with the Rays, they’re still getting a 30 year old who has not thrown a pitch in close to 2 months, and won’t even begin a throwing program for another 7 months.”
-“When it comes to MLB Pro free-agency, anything is possible. We’ve seen players go unsigned for long periods and we’ve seen guys get huge asking prices met. Strasburg was likely going to have many suitors in the off-season, this allows Tampa Bay to meet his asking price without having to worry about other teams, brilliant move!”
-“Risky? Yes, absolutely. At the same time though, an opportunity to pair Strasburg with Giolito, Zach Potter, Brett Marshall could give the Rays an elite rotation in 2019.”

(On Detroit’s decision to move Strasburg)

-“The Tigers were in a no-win position and found a way to still get some interesting pieces in return for Strasburg. While far from stars, Buxton and Campos can become contributors on a rebuilding Tigers team.”
-“The injury to Strasburg really limited the Tigers, I wonder if going the qualifying offer route might have been a stronger option for Detroit.”

(On the Blue Jays making a deal for a pitcher after the injury to David Price)

-“Landon Leach for Phil Hughes is an interesting move for the Blue Jays. It’s all going to come down to if Hughes can pitch in Toronto. He didn’t fare well there earlier this season, and Leach is a very good prospect to give up to obtain a guy with a 4+ ERA.”
-“The David Price injury threw a wrench in the Blue Jays plans, faced with adversity, Phil Hughes is well worth the risk at the back-end of their rotation.”
-“Can’t fault a team for trying to solve a problem, but I question reaching for Phil Hughes rather than promoting Kyle Zimmer from within the organization.”

(On the Atlanta/Boston trade of Trevor Bauer for prospects)

-“What the Red Sox did to the Braves for Bauer was criminal. Three plus-plus prospects and one very good prospect in exchange for a guy who’s always had the stuff, but never been able to put it together with a career ERA over 5.”
-“Well, the Red Sox said hello to the rest of the AL East as they’ll now sport a killer 1-2-3 in the rotation as they pick up some great young SP prospects. Meanwhile, the Braves traded 4 prospects in the top 135 for 1.5 years of a SP with a 5.50 ERA who has only had 1 season with an ERA below 4. Despite that, he’s shown the stuff to be an ace. Playing for a winner now should certainly help his morale, and maybe a move down south and some comfort food will help as well.”
-“After a rough week approaching the deadline, the Braves needed to make a move. Sure Bauer has an ERA of 5.50, but his FIP is .382 and opponents have had a BABIP of .380, going to a new home could be exactly what Bauer needs to turn into the front-line starter he has the potential to be.”
-“Atlanta makes two moves where they moved an older player for a prospect/younger player (despite being in a playoff position) and seemed to be building for the future, then traded three top pitching prospects for a piece for now. They seemed to have a plan and then abandoned it.”

(On Armando Cabanas nearly being traded)

-“I was told there were multiple serious offers. I think we were much closer to seeing a trade of Cabanas go down than anyone would have guessed a week ago.”
-“I would bet good money that Cabanas is not a Brave in 2019. The Braves are always looking for and willing to make a big move. For Armando, the Braves can get back upwards of five top 100 prospects and a ML player. I’d be surprised if he did a star for star trade though, as no one can match up evenly with Cabanas except for Mazara.”
-“Not sure how seriously their offer was considered, but as the Brewers were trading pieces away, I was told they made a serious run at Cabanas. Reportedly were willing to part with the likes of Chris Burnett, Juan Sanchez, and others.”

(On Arinori Arai being traded again)

-“It’s crazy just how far Arai has fallen since his days in New York. Modest return in exchange for what used to be the best shortstop in the American League.”
-“An offensive weapon, but more a DH now. A poor defender going to a team that ranks in the bottom half defensively in the National League.”
-“The Arai return for Tampa Bay was very weak, I would have topped it.”
-“This is the type of move that should allow the Reds to stay ahead of everyone else within the division.”

(On Kansas City’s moves at the deadline)

-“Overall, Kanas City seemed to have no plan at all and would make one move, realize there was a surplus or a whole, then make a reactionary move. This resulted in too many moves and maybe not the best outcome at the end.”
-“Amazing job by KC to get a difference maker [Chris Fletcher] into their lineup.”
-“The Royals traded for a 29 yr old closer whose career ERA is 4.00 and a 31 yr old 3B batting below .200. Sure just last year Mateo was a 3.7 WAR player, and scouts rave about McCully, but neither have shown the ability to produce on the field this season. In return, the Royals gave up a 3B that was producing way better than Mateo and is just 25. On top of that, they gave up their 2nd & 5th round picks from this draft, 2 guys that were highly rated SP.”

(On the Angels & Rays trade of Jordan Walden)

-“Again, you trade for an injured pitcher who could be a FA at the end of the season. The only way you keep him is if you offer him a contract before you see his ratings post-injury. Yeah, Walden is the best closer in the league, but that’s taking a massive chance on a player.”
-“The Angels have long been known to covet their bullpen, yet here they were giving away Walden. Had the Angels extended him at market value they would have had Walden at $5 million next season. Trading him next year without impending free-agency, without injury questions, and their return would have no questions asked been better.”
-“While most of the American League contenders have made moves to get better over the past month, the Angels made two trades and brought in zero big-league contributors. This is the type of move that stirs big questions with the fan base and local media.”
-“Already having Aumont, was there a need for Walden? And the worst part is they gave up one of their better SP prospects to get Walden too.”

(On the Indians trade of Xander Bogaerts)

-“Perhaps the greatest value acquisition at the deadline. While Bogaerts is a contributor, he’s far from a player to build around. To get Lutz and Applewhite back was tremendous work and a move that will only help the Indians rebuild process.”

(Deadline winners and losers)

-“Tampa Bay was the biggest winner, while they are not in contention this season, they positioned themselves to be among the AL favorites in 2019.”
-“With the division wide-open, I was surprised to see the Cardinals as quiet as they were. Really the whole division for that matter. While the Reds brought in Arai, they gave up Hellweg for a piece that will not help them this year. Did anyone want to go out and win the division?”
-“Not sure why the Padres didn’t do anything at the deadline. With Cesar Hernandez their starting 3B, that seems like a gaping hole in the lineup that wasn’t addressed.”
-“Instead of trying to add prospects, the Angels should have been focused on adding a starting pitcher to fix the 4-5 spot of their rotation.”
-“While the Twins were quiet, the Royals were busy. I’m not sure if it all works out, but the Royals are all-in. I give that organization a ton of credit for taking the chances they did.”
-“Biggest winner? The Baltimore Orioles. Best team coming into the deadline, best team leaving the deadline. I’m not sure the gap was closed much either.”


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