On July 24th, four of MLB Pro’s six division leaders had a division lead of five or fewer games. In the American League, seven teams were in strong position to be playoff teams, while in the National League that number was likely just five.
Piecing everything together the week that followed was about finding the right move to position a team better either for this season or the future. Many expected the trade deadline to be quiet, but like many years prior, a flurry of activity came in the end. Some moves were expected, others most certainly were not. Here’s a look back at what transpired during trade deadline week and the takes anonymous insiders had on it all.
The D-Backs made five July trades, a pair of which came in the final week. A key focus was improving a bullpen that ranks 11th in the National League. Arizona has won five straight and leads the West by four games. With an offense that is as good as any in the National League, improvements in the bullpen could go a long way to winning more than just the division in 2020.
“The Diamondbacks had solid deals leading up to the deadline, and the four relievers they added will all benefit their team a ton this season, and years to come.”
“Boomer Potts is not a ‘WOW’ piece on paper, but he is EXACTLY what this team needed. Also, I love Matt Manning, while it cost them a quality prospect in Bo Bauer, this is a young team that can win now, Manning helps that and is just 22.”
A year ago the Braves made the shocking decision to move on from Armando Cabanas signaling that it was time to rebuild in Atlanta. The 2020 on-field struggles have seemed to hit a nerve with the front-office as the team has busy with moves all season long. The biggest move for Atlanta at the deadline came in form of acquiring Taylor Sparks from Oakland.
Traded 24-year-old starting pitcher James Tate, 26-year-old center fielder Byron Buxton and 23-year-old minor league reliever James Serrano to the Oakland Athletics, getting 27-year-old third baseman Taylor Sparks and 25-year-old starting pitcher Tracy Mass in return.Atlanta/Oakland Trade
“Tate could’ve been the star of their staff, and Serrano is a nice reliever, but getting back Sparks should net a massive haul whenever they flip him in the future or not.”
“Tracy Mass has potential to be as good as anyone else in their rotation.”
The Braves were busy, doing more than just acquiring Sparks. They were able to flip John Butler for Ronald Stanton in a “sell low, buy low” trade. Butler had been a 4.53 ERA pitcher at AAA over 33 starts.
There were mixed feelings amongst insiders on the Matt Manning for Bo Bauer trade when looking at things through the perspective of the Braves.
On the one hand an insider felt, “acquiring a middle-infield prospect for a bullpen prospect is something you should do 10 times out of ten.” While another insider viewed it a bit more pessimistically suggesting, that the Braves, “better really hope Manning’s future is in the bullpen and not the rotation. Electric arm throughout the minors, if he blossoms into a starter, getting a non-power hitting prospect for him will not have been anywhere enough.”
The Braves made a pair of trades, that garnered the same type of comment from multiple insiders. The first was the trade of Xavier Noonan to Detroit. Multiple people suggested that, “getting anything for clubhouse cancer Xavier Noonan was a big success.” The other trade was the Braves moving Wendell Ayers to Colorado, a move that many felt, “was made without any direction in mind. Not only did they give up a quality MLB outfielder, but they included a pair of prospects as well.”
The Orioles missed trading Anthony Rizzo by mere minutes at the deadline, but they did accomplish some things. On July 23rd, the Orioles traded Steve White to the Dodgers that netted several prospects back to the Orioles. White, the veteran knuckleballer had been rumored to be a piece that many teams had been after all season long.
One insider described the White trade as, “a huge steal”, with, “Pilkington having the potential to become a special pitcher.”
Another insider agreed suggesting that, “Sims is another solid potential depth pitcher in the minors, and Patrick Belfour is a lock to make the majors with his defense alone. He keeps producing with his bat at each level, he could be a player that just keeps getting better.“
Elsewhere, analysts felt that, “being able to trade Marcus Stroman and get quality prospects back was a boom for the Orioles.”
The one trade that drew some head-scratching from some insiders was the Krishawn Holley trade with Colorado. Many felt that Holley deserved, “a really big return and this was not that.”
Jim Munroe has terrific minor-league stuff, but average major league stuff. One insider suggested that his past big-league experience shows, “what he is and it’s far from a head-lining piece for an elite reliever like Holley.“
The rebuilding Red Sox were relatively quiet, but made moves that made sense. The most important trade is one that will go largely untalked about, that being shedding the potential 2021 salary of Daniel Hudson in a trade for prospect Jonathan Erceg.
One insider made this straight to the point comment on the trade, “it’s nearly impossible to shed ‘a bad contract’ of an aging veteran in MLB Pro and not only did they do that, but the got a prospect. Hats off to the Red Sox.”
The Sox traded a free-agent to be in Brandon Creath for an older Tyler Clippard, who is signed 5.1 million in 2021, and a pair of prospects. Some question whether Clippard could be placed on waivers with the hope another team claims here in August. Others feel as though he could be a 2021 deadline trade chip with another good season next year. The trade though boils down to this, “Creath had struggled all season long, so they added a little salary next season and a pair of quality young players.”
The White Sox have been busy all season long. In what many viewed as a rebuilding year, the White Sox have positioned themselves as a real threat to make the playoffs. While they have made several trades throughout the year that have undoubtedly worked in their favor, the deadline brought mixed feelings from league scouts and insiders.
One insider had to this to say on the trade of Craig Kimbrel, “trading Craig Kimbrel for the package they got has me unsure of the purpose of the trade. Hartgraves is an overhyped former catching prospect who has proven to be a first basemen without the true bat of a first basemen. Kimbrel’s struggles in Chicago really came from just a handful of games. I think this was an over reaction.”
Additionally several insiders felt that even if the best trade package from the Blue Jays, trading a piece like Kimbrel to another American League contender in a season in which the White Sox are contending to be a playoff threat was a move that might have been best not made.
An under the radar trade that brought mixed feelings amongst those throughout the league was the trade of Michael Fulmer to the Yankees. One insider described it as, “questionable, with the Sox moving a pitcher with tons of upside, flexibility, and team control for nothing more than a defensive specialist [albeit a wizard at that] who will struggle to find playing time.”
That same trade was described quite differently by another source who said, “an injured Fulmer who has only shown more struggles than success at the MLB level netting a piece that could benefit the White Sox late in games defensively was a perfect move.”
The most impactful two things the White Sox did at the deadline were the decision not to move Kyle Cody and to steal Tanner Scheppers from Miami. One source described that trade as, “an unbelievable boom for the White Sox. Jose Fernandez had been ‘on the block’ 100 times in July and had seemingly no interest from anyone. To grab a high-quality reliever for that was an utter steal.”
The Cubs entered the deadline with a poor roster and with their high-salaried duo of Bumgarner and Sandoval as nearly impossible to move assets.
When asked about the Cubs at the deadline, one source described it as this, “Jabs was able to trade guys an aging Casey Mulligan and an average at best Julio Tehran and turn that into intriguing minor-leaguers Sam Bordner, Kelly Koch and Robert Dominguez. Being able to acquire Julio Urias was a fantastic move.”
With the mid-July change to the front-office, the Reds entered the deadline as a team many were unsure what to expect of. They ultimately made just one move, trading Michael Wacha to Toronto.
Traded 29-year-old starting pitcher Michael Wacha to the Toronto Blue Jays, getting 33-year-old starting pitcher Juan Nicasio, 22-year-old minor league shortstop Nolan Jones, 20-year-old minor league third baseman Luis Garcia and 21-year-old minor league left fielder Erik Hooper in return.Cincinnati/Toronto Trade
Nicasio can be a successful pitcher in the National League, but one scout wondered, “will that matter if he’s on an innings limit to avoid his 2022 vesting option?”
At the same time, another league insider felt that the trade was, “a good decision by the Reds. Prior to 2020, Wacha had been wildly inconsistent. Trading him for and getting a pair of quality prospects back made a lot of sense.”
The Rod Swift injury on July 12th changed the fortunes and plans for the Indians season. With Swift out likely for the season, the Indians needed another arm to slot behind Stephen Strasburg. They found that arm in the form of Josh Tomlin. One source described the move as, “a solid addition as adding another starting pitcher can never hurt for a contender, especially one with an ERA+ of 112. They gave up an interesting mid-20’s arm in Dave Hughes, but it was well worth it to add Tomlin”
The Indians made headlines minutes before the deadline with their trade of Michael Pineda to the Yankees. Cleveland added Tommy Joseph who was described as, “a huge add, even with Chris Betts behind the plate” and Jeffrey Macintosh who is, “better for the Indians now & over the next few years than Todd Howard.”
Indians brass were said to be not too happy with how their deadline worked out. One source was happy with the acquisition of Joseph, saying he will, “back-up Betts and be the future DH as Espinoza won’t be resigned barring a drastic drop in contract demands, but it wasn’t their most pressing concern.”
The team was said to be very interested in acquiring middle-infield help, but they swung and missed on Gustavo Lopez and instead watched the likes of John Ballard and Juan Hidalgo get moved. One source described this inability to land a bat as, “crazy and disappointing.”
The one thing Cleveland needs to hope for is that Michael Pineda does not opt-out of his contract following the 2021 season, otherwise the money Cleveland thought they saved by trading him goes out the window as they continue to pay Joseph through 2024 or 2025.
The Rockies were a team that made what felt like fifty different moves. While many felt as if the Rockies came out on top, one common viewpoint amongst insiders was concern about all the moves fitting in. One NL insider felt that, “they are playing the dangerous game of potentially messing with team chemistry. On paper, turning Orlando Garcia and a bevy of okay (at best) prospects into Jud Graham, John Ballard, Vinnie Pestano and Brock Young all works, but will it play that way on the field?”
(On the Wendell Ayers acquisition)
“Ayers was a terrific addition to their outfield, and they gave up very little to land him. Diaz has no defensive home & Story has never played to his ability.”
“Wendell Ayers will be hitting leadoff for the Rockies for the next 5-10 years (or until Eddie trades him in December), adding him to the top of the lineup adds a guy who will get on base, cause pitchers lose focus to the likes of Winter and McKinley, while also providing good defense. To get Ayers and a pair of prospects for the price they did was highway robbery.”
(On the decision to trade Phil Hughes and bring in Felix Hernandez)
“Phil Hughes may have been excess, but he brought back little while the cost of Felix was too high. Jack Bowins is an average prospect, but at just 18, his future is far down the road.”
“A struggling Felix Hernandez at the cost of actual prospects made little sense. Hernandez was the type of pitcher that should have been given away for nothing, not the likes of Cecil Black and Tom Lavine.”
(On Krishawn Holley)
“Holley was a great pickup, and while Waldichuk is a decent prospect, it was low cost, since Holley takes Munroe’s spot, and Guy has never been close to fulfilling potential.”
(On the trade of Orlando Garcia)
“Orlando Garcia has not been great this year, and is not the same pitcher as before, likely just a middle reliever now. So turning him and a minor league signing into John Ballard, who should hit in Coors, Brock Young who will join the bullpen and Yadier Alvarez, who could pan out to be okay was quite impressive.”
(On the Jud Graham trade)
“A quality bottom of the rotation piece for a low cost of four below-average minor-leaguers was another steal for the Rockies.”
“Love the move of Graham, they bring back a pitcher that has had past success in Colorado with the Rockies. Quality, quality depth that could be very important in the playoffs.”
(On the trade of Scouting Director of Bill Schmidt)
“Trading a scouting director for a player who has all four limbs was a win of a trade.”
The Tigers had a mix of “good” and “bad’ moves at the deadline.
Starting with the “bad”, many question the decision to trade for the likes of Isacco Sico and Xavier Noonan.
One source described Sico as, “a 28 year-old third basemen who needs to truly play first. He lacks a big big time bat though and is already headed for his first year of arbitration. Far from a long-term upgrade.”
While many scout view Xavier Noonan as a talented bat, others describe him as, “someone who is as bad of a clubhouse caner as Miguel Velazquez. The difference being, Noonan’s bat is nowhere near that of Velazquez.”
The general consensus among outsiders was that the Tigers were in fact attempting to add pieces that could help with the stated goal of competing in the coming years. The problem is, many question this strategy for a team that many described as, “a team that is destined to pick in the top 3 in each of the next few seasons.”
The one area that no ones doubt the Tigers had success in was the trade of Jordan Lyles. The disdain that grew in both directions between the player and organization grew past the point of no return. With that and the contract of Lyles being known, being able to acquire ANYTHING would have been a steal, but they somehow found a way to turn that into Jose Abreu and Israel Cruz. Then being able to flip Abreu & his entire contract for a Victor Robles and Harlan Carter helped the Tigers a ton financially.
While the Astros were rumored to have had many major league pieces on the block, the organization ultimately decided to not sell, but instead to buy. In the final hours of the deadline, the Astros found a way to land Jose Abreu for Robles and Harlan Carter.
One league insider described the addition as, “perhaps the final piece of the Astros build-up that pushes them over the top and into the playoffs potentially this season, but more likely next.”
With Abreu, “the Astros have a lineup that is as good as any. 1 through 9 are all dangerous bats, they have a ton of power and can give opponents fits anywhere.”
While the Astros did trade Angels and Mariners killer Pat Crosby, they netted a high-end prospect in Jasson Dominguez who down the road could be another impact bat for the team.
The Royals continue to rebuild and traded away some high-cost outfielders. The first being Jason Heyward in early July for Jack White. The Royals retained 80% of Heyward’s salary a move that had some wondering if, “they should have let the season play out and offer Heyward a qualifying offer. With the new rules, they could have gotten a younger, draft prospect that potentially compared favorably to Jack White.”
Trading John Ballard was a perfect move as he did not fit with their long-term vision while Antonio Morales, is a, “solid 3B for their future.”
Don Adams has struggled throughout his career despite having the makeup of a quality pitcher. The Royals seemingly, “gave up on him and his cheap, team control, for next to nothing.”
Injuries have defined the Angels season. While the organization found a way to succeed despite the injuries for the first few months of the season, recent injuries to Ryan Copeland and Anthony Kerr have sent the team into a tailspin. Since the All-Star break, the Angels are 5-12 and suddenly in a fight to make the playoffs.
They came out of the deadline a better team, but will it matter?
One source described the Angels as a team that, “showed they are afraid of their situation, and also a team that realized they simply cannot compete with the top squads this year.”
It was another season in which the Angels did not move high-end prospects. An insider felt that, “they have two elite prospects in Morejon and Hennessey, and could have gone out & gotten any pitcher they wanted, but instead they sat on their hands, and while Lamb and Matz are solid additions, they are nowhere close to the help the Angels need.”
This team could see a massive overhaul next season, but Morejon & Hennessey sticking around will be good for them, but you can likely write them out of the top group of World Series contenders for this season
The 2020 season has not gone the way the Dodgers had envisioned. Stuck in a position where a rebuild made no sense, but buying a ton did not either. The Dodgers took the deadline as a way to “retool” and focus on the near future.
The biggest trade on paper was that of Jon Lester to Toronto. A trade that landed the Dodgers Cole Wilcox, a pitcher that, “is a quality prospect and a future big-leaguer.” That said, the other pieces of Casey Queener and Cedric Flowers have minimal value and Chris Farrell has already found himself on waivers.
The other aspect of that trade was the retention on Lester’s contract. A number that was described as being, “too-high for the return they got.”
Another insider felt that, “the Dodgers were fortunate to get anything for Lester as it seemed certain his no-trade clause was not going to be waived.”
Many scouts feel Juan Costello has upside and that Casey Mulligan can help in 2021, but the moving of Julio Urias, “was another move at the deadline that I simply do not understand.”
The Marlins made several moves at the deadline, but did they get better for the future?
Tanner Scheppers has been a quality reliever over the past three seasons, yet all they got in return was a struggling Jorge Fernandez who seemingly had no value and a nothing prospect in Arnold Flores. With plenty of playoff teams needing a reliever, “the Marlins had a chance to ask for a solid return and instead got next to nothing for Scheppers.“
This trend of trading quality and successful relievers for low return continued with the trade of Vinnie Pestano to Colorado, especially when one considers that the Marlins retained 50% of Pestano’s 2021 salary. At that cost, Miami, “should have either kept Pestano or asked for different players.”
Juan Francisco traded to Oakland to free up playing time for Pavin Smith. In order to do so though, Miami needed to retain all of Francisco’s remaining salary through 2021. A league insider described this as, “a move in which I like Ed Petty, but question the need to cave when it came to retaining the entire remaining contract.”
The Marlins made the decision to trade John Lamb a year before his final year of team control. They might have been able to get more, but were able to add what a source described as, “Swaggerty, a very solid OF prospect, relying heavily on solid defense and Alex Calipari a solid, but far from difference-making prospect.”
The rebuilding Brewers did not have any team meet the demands for Brett Lawrie. Instead of selling pieces, the team went on to buy a pair of relievers.
The first being Jonathan Arias from Colorado in a deal that sent Scott Elbert and four minor-leaguers to Colorado. Arias is, “a good pitcher, but a 32 and a half year-old making the salary he does is a weird acquisition for a team like the Brewers.”
Furthermore the trade was described as, “a move that made little sense on all accounts. The Brewers moved a pitcher in Joan Adon who has the potential to be a future version of Arias. The need to retain 50% of Elbert’s contract in 2021 was another move, even while not too costly financially, that made little sense.
The trade for Michael Hicks is a buy for next year. Getting a pitcher like Hicks with plus stuff and control, at that age and salary is a good move. But one insider felt, “the cost was far too much.” Going on to say that, “Colton Hock could be a MLB contributing bullpen arm next season, Max Flora despite his AAA struggles is still an attractive prospect, and while there’s a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the injured Doug Sanchez, to include him here was an overpay.”
The Minnesota Twins trade deadline was much like their season, quiet.
After months of wondering when it would happen, the team finally moved Miguel Sano. In doing so, they were able to move on from the contract of Julio Figueroa and bring back, “a near clone in Sano with Franmil Reyes, a player who has the power of Sano, while being a better defender and under team control.”
While the trade did cost the Twins young Brock Young, one insider felt that, “being able to add both John Bauer and Jimmy Bannatyne was a terrific decision.”
While the trade with New York made sense in the eyes of many, there were also a few decision out of Minnesota that left Twins fans unsure and league insiders quite confused. To begin, the team traded Bill Sheehan, a powerful relief prospect to the Dodgers for Marc Rzepczynski, an injured pitcher who is a potential free-agent to be as he will not his his vesting option. A move that some described as, “a move that felt as if Ayden made for Rocky. Trading anything for an aging, free-agent to be like Rzepczynski made no sense.”
While that trade left many with a bad taste in their mouth, the biggest question mark came in acquiring a new scouting director for Andres Gimenez. One insider had this to say, “there were plenty of quality of scouts out there waiting for a call. Minnesota deciding to give up an asset, a quality prospect in Gimenez, made no sense.” Throw in the timing of grabbing a scout at this point in the season, it was a move that many in Minnesota will question.
Finally, some wonder about the decision not to trade Dave WIlson and Daniel Fields. Will both be offered qualifying offers at the end of the season? Were offers on both that bad that they simply had no choice but to not trade them?
What just happened in New York?!! The Yankees made move after move after move. Each one seemingly more surprising than the lost. While all together these moves could make sense if the Yankees make the playoffs, there are plenty of concerns about them as well.
For starters, on paper, the addition of Jordan Lyles could work for New York. The defensive struggles in Detroit did Lyles no favors and he could see a huge improvement in New York. That said the consensus was that, “the price the Yankees paid was crazy, the Yankees needed to find a way to keep Abreu in that trade with where Lyles’ value was.”
One American League insider felt that too much attention was being paid to the Yankees future noting that their timeline is now and in that, “the Yanks are taking a lot of shit for the moves they made, and maybe they sent out a couple players they shouldn’t have (Bannatyne or any relief pitcher really), but they have a really fun lineup and an underrated rotation. If that team gels, the Yanks could get back in the race.”
In trading the likes of Bannatyne and Wayne Powers, the Yankees needed to replace their innings. They did so with Steve Graham and Brian Matusz. The new pair were described by one scout as, “acquiring Steve Graham and Brian Matusz for the bullpen was a waste of time. They are not good.”
All told, one league insider wonders if the Yankees, “have a plan or direction for the team or if all these moves were made on a whim.”
The Kyle Radatz injury just days before the trade deadline set the Mets front-office into a frenzy. Radataz was having perhaps the best season ever of any MLB Pro reliever. A dominant force in the 9th inning, Radatz was an end-of-game weapon that was destined to play a pivotal role in the playoffs.
His injury made the Mets deadline decision of making no trades a gigantic surprise. One source described the Mets as a team that, “needed to get a reliever and didn’t. If they blow any saves in the playoffs, or have a poor outing, this will be brought up.”
One source described the Mets decision to not make a move as, “a product of some unrealistic asking prices.”
A Mets insider suggested that the Mets discussions with upwards of eight teams at the deadline. While they wanted to add a pitcher, they are confident in the ability of Andres Munoz. The process was described as, “tiresome, but we’re content with our Plan B.”
When asked about the asking price, the insider simply suggested that at one point the Mets were asked to give up Munoz, Nick Lodolo and another prospect and it was at that point the Mets realized that, “a trade was not going to be the answer. Forfeiting multiple key pieces for the future was simply not a move the organization was ready to make.”
The Oakland A’s were busy under their new first front-office. A team that was looking to jumpstart their competitiveness with the ultra-talented AL West.
The A’s made a pair of moves that many insiders applauded. First, even by needing to pay the remainder of Joe Mauer’s 2020 salary, to land a quality prospect in Ismael Mena and to free the team of its 2021 obligation to Mauer, the trade was described by many as a, “big win for Oakland.”
Similarly, Felix Hernandez seemed to days away from being released. The experiment in Oakland was not working. The veteran was going to be gone at the end of the season. In being able to land three pieces including the talented Tom Lavine and Cecil Black was one of the best deals at the deadline.
The trade with Pittsburgh was described by a couple of league insiders as, “one that didn’t make much sense for Oakland” and as one that, “simply was not needed.”
The A’s brought in a pair of veterans in Juan Francisco and Zack Greinke at the deadline. Greinke was brought over in exchange for a piece from the Pittsburgh trade. Oakland gets two and a half years of Greinke, but at 20 million in 2021 and 13.5 million in 2022, is the cost worth it for a guy approaching 37 years old?
One league source added, “the all-in pitching approach did not work with the last regime. I’m not sure adding Greinke at that cost is worth the risk. He’s better than someone like Felix was, but he’s older, and costs more as well. Their focus should have been getting younger. They are extremely misguided if they think this roster can compete in the AL West next season.”
Juan Francisco costs the A’s nothing financially with Miami retaining his salary, but Ed Petty was a decent prospect to pay. The former first-round pick might not be what he once was, but is Juan Francisco a difference maker on this team?
The biggest move made at the deadline by Oakland came in the form of trading Taylor Sparks and Tracy Mass to Atlanta. Sparks had been a hot ticket that many had been after. He’s grown into a consistent performer with the bat and as such, multiple insiders felt that the return, “could have been much more substantial.” One source described the Sparks trade as, “rushed” with the belief being that there could have been more in the offseason.
It was rumored that the A’s turned down an offer which included Kyle Cody earlier in the deadline week.
The hope is that James Tate becomes a superstar. Tate’s fastball/changeup combo give hope to that possibility. One league insider suggested that, “Tate has the stuff, he just needs help behind him. He has yet to pitch in front of a quality defense. Something that Oakland as of now, does not have.”
The part of that trade that perhaps did not get enough attention was the inclusion of Tracy Mass. An average to above-average starter, Mass has been tremendous in 21 2/3 innings of relief, striking out 23 and walking just 4 while posting an ERA of 1.25. In trading Mass with Sparks, James Serrano could be thrust into a big-league role this season.
The final piece of that trade was Byron Buxton. Elite speed and a plus defender, the only question is his consistency with his bat. One scout had this to say about Buxton, “I like Buxton, but can he ever hit in the 1 or 2 spot with his inability to draw walks? If not, his value at the bottom of the order is much lower, only decreasing the return of the package for Sparks and Mass.”
The Phillies have been in a weird position much of the season. Mat Latos and much of the team has struggled to stay healthy, they are 9th in runs scored in the NL and 11th in runs allowed, yet they are six and a half games out of the playoffs.
The team ultimately decided to make a few moves. They traded AAA catcher Daulton Varsho to Atlanta for Braves All-Star Mac Davis. Davis just turned 30 and has shown an ability to be dominant against righties. One source described this as a, “win-win trade. The Phillies needed bullpen arms for the future, Davis is that. Varsho is decent, but his future was blocked, especially with fellow AAA catcher J.J. Schwarz.”
The Phillies other move brought in a mixed reaction. The Phillies traded former All-Star and Gold Glove winner Juan Hidalgo to Texas for a pair of prospects. Hidalgo had taken multiple trips to the injured list, playing in just 88 games with the Phillies. While his average was down, his on-base percentage remained productive. In trading Hidalgo, the Phillies acquired prospect Hans Crouse and minor-leaguer Kevin Flemer.
One league insider felt that, “paying Hidalgo a huge arbitration number for next season would have made no sense. Being able to land a pitcher with Crouse’s stuff, as well as as a dynamic bullpen arm in Flemer was a perfect move for the Phillies.”
There were others though that point to the team control of Hidalgo and wonder if this move was needed to be made or if the Phillies would have been better off waiting a year.
The Pirates were in a tough position at the deadline. Their success this season has been by surprise. As such, for a team looking to continue to retool, trading big prospects for a run this season was a tough decision that the team decided not to make.
The Pirates did make a pair of moves. They traded Charles Tilson for, “basically nothing” and then moved Alfredo Perez and Francisco Gonzalez for, “a box of solid prospects.”
One scout described the moves as, “no big losses, and a few solid pickups. But they could’ve likely bought low on some pitching additions, especially looking at the deals other teams made.”
One player I remain surprised Pittsburgh was not more serious about bringing in was Anthony Rizzo. A player that could have been an upgrade over current starter Tyler Moore.
The Pirates were a bit handcuffed by the depth in the system. Teams were simply going to be asking for too much for what was out there. While the Pirates in the long run will have likely made the right decision not to buy anything, it could end up costing them a playoff spot in 2020.
The Padres decided to remain relatively quiet at the deadline.
One source suggested that, “I believe they spurned numerous runs at Andrelton Simmons. The question becomes does he re-sign?”
After going 98-64 last season, the defending National League West champion Giants are arguably the most disappointing team in 2020. The off-season loss of Tim Lincecum gave some notice that a step back was to come, but injuries have rattled the Giants. The Giants join the Cardinals as the only two teams to have lost more than 500 days of action to the injured list.
After a terrific first two seasons in San Francisco, Pasqualino Carosi struggled much of the year. At one point the asking price on Carosi was, “an arm and a leg” early in the season, yet he was ultimately just moved for Gary Matthews III, a prospect that that one scout described as, “intriguing, but I’m not sure if that’s because of his talent of because of his last name. The kid knows how to play the game, I just don’t know if he has the same future ahead of him as those in family had before him.”
Moving Greinke was an interesting decision. On one hand, they were able to add a prospect that multiple insiders suggested, “has the potential to be the Giants starting second basemen next season.” The Giants needed to introduce some younger talent and Gonzalez is just that.
At the same time, moving Greinke is almost an acceptance that the the playoffs even next season might be further away than Giants might hope.
Multiple insiders think this off-season will be vital to the Giants long term goals. A team that will need to look really hard at a total rebuild while some players maintain having positive value.
The price was right on Don Adams, but is it the right pitcher? While one insider suggests that Adams will, “be a great RP for them” other scouts feel as though, “the last season and a half should be enough on tape to show many who Don Adams exactly is, a below-average bullpen arm.”
Similarly, the Mariners added Al Alburquerque. While the cost was extremely low, beyond a depth arm, there is of little value here.
A team that wanted to make a splash in the bullpen, had the chance to do so with some of the prospects they had available. Ultimately, they decided that prospects in the field and rotation far outweigh the cost of adding a bullpen arm.
One insider warns Mariner fans about the possibility for disaster in that, “they are an injury or two away from it [their bullpen] being a major weakness and something that could cost them a World Series title.”
One league source described the situation in Seattle as a team that, “didn’t need to do much, but the chance to get creative. I think they are far and away the team to beat in the American League, but I would have loved to have seen do something with the guys they had on the block and made that move that truly would have signaled the end of the Angels both in 2020 and the years to come.”
The Cardinals lone deadline move came a week before the deadline in a trade that was on, then off, then on, then off, then on again.
By bringing in Anthony Rendon, the Cardinals were betting on a player that has shown tremendous strides this year compared to the year prior. Even with a poor month or two, the Cardinals saw a player with a bat and glove that in some ways was missing from the loss of Evan Longoria this past off-season.
In limited action with St. Louis so far, Rendon is 12-for-39 with 7 RBI’s in 11 games. His .308 average and .364 on-base percentage is exactly what the team was hoping for.
As far as the price the Cardinals paid, one scout described it as, “cheap, very cheap for his production.”
Other scouts viewed the trade differently, believing that Alek Thomas is a future big-leaguer and that Chris Schoeneborn has not shown what he is capable of quite yet.
After the off-season “sell off” the Rays rebuild continued at the deadline.
The Rays traded Lewis Brinson for Jon Payton, a player multiple scouts described as, “a surprise power bat acquisition considering all they moved was Brinson.”
The mixed feelings about the Rendon trade included the thought that keeping him through the start of next season could have landed a bigger package as the drop off in salary going into next season is substantial.
An insider described the acquisition of Spencer Brasch as “interesting” but with the general feeling being they could have gotten more for Steven Matz.
Lastly, the Michael Hicks haul was described as something that multiple insiders felt was, “good, but not great.” Others felt that Tampa stole the spotlight in that deal with, “Hock being someone ready for the bigs and adding the prospects of Flora and Sanchez was well worth moving HIcks.”
The Rays being able to move Goldschmidt and Cespedes for anything after each was sitting on the free-agent pile for as long as they did was another, “steal for Tampa.”
(On Tampa as a whole)
“Tampa continues to do one of the best rebuilding jobs in a long time, turning guys who were literally left waiting on the FA pile (Cespedes, Goldschmidt) or salary dumps (Matz) into assets.”
Texas made the moves a team in its position needed to make. They have a chance to chase down a playoff spot and the moves they made suggest they are ready to do just that.
Phil Hughes was a needed piece and the cost of Jack Bowins was not too much. The ability to add Gabriel Guerrero was a further improvement to the rotation.
One insider suggested that the moves to the rotation could be interesting in another way, going on to say, “the biggest benefit that these new starters add is the ability to throw Reginald McMillian to the bullpen with the hope his stuff plays better there.”
Guerrero and Stroman cost the Rangers numerous prospects, but it was an area of need. Some question though the decision not to land bullpen help beyond Daniel Hudson and Julio Tehran.
The Juan Hidalgo acquisition was described as, “a very nice grab, but it does not come without risk as they gave up a pitcher in Hans Crouse who has immense upside if he can harness his control.”
All told, the Rangers deadline was mostly described as, “a successful push to making the Rangers a playoff team.”
It was not long ago that the Toronto Blue Jays spoke about a desire to rebuild their farm system. While they did, anyone who took that as a long-term approach was fooled when the Jays traded the likes of NOlan Jones, Luis Garcia, and Cole Wilcox at the deadline.
Rumors swirled heavily that the Jays were offering Wilcox, Jones, and Mackenzie Gore in a package with the hopes of landing a big time pitcher. Turned away by multiple teams, the Jays shifted their focus elsewhere. Michael Wacha was brought in at a reasonable price (thankful in part to the inclusion of Juan Nicasio’s salary) and has had mixed results so far.
One source described Wacha as, “a big risk. Success is there now, but has there been enough in the past to trust him in meaningful games?”
The Jays went on a long way to helping put that question to bed when they managed to acquire Jon Lester on deadline day. Just days earlier, it was suggested that Lester had blocked a trade to Toronto, but on deadline day his mind was swayed. The ability to go from Chris Farrell to Jon Lester was described as, “a big time upgrade. The type of move that solidifies the Jays as Seattle’s only real threat in the American League.”
The final move was the addition of Craig Kimbrel to an already crowded and talented bullpen. Kimbrel came over in a deal that was described as, “an unbelievable value” and “Mitch doing Mitch things. Hartgraves was someone portrayed as a player with real value, something I do not believe he has.”
The only concern some had about the Jays was team chemistry and role usage in the bullpen. One source described it as, “an interesting case study in bullpen management. I think it can work in the regular season, but to me, they better be ready to define roles in the playoffs.”
After a surprising NL East title in 2020, the Nats have taken a step back this year. The struggles of Ed Palmer and the countless injuries to the pitching staff have decimated the Nationals. Now six and a half games out of the playoffs, their lone deadline deal was trading away Jud Graham and his three and a half years of team control to the Rockies for an underwhelming package of players..
One source described the trade as, “highly questionable” with the return being, “not nearly enough for a pitcher like Jud Graham.”
Another source felt that, “look at the likes of the Michael Hicks return, the Felix Hernandez trade, even Zack Greinke, all things considering, Graham needed to bring Washington much more than he did.”
One source had a different take at least on the package that Washington received nothing that, “Drake Fellows does have potential. While I tend to agree with others on the package as a whole, but my opinion of Fellows is much higher than others. I like Washington being able to grab him.”
One insider had a scathing analysis of the Nats deadline describing it as, “a failure. They should have taken a clear stance as to whether they were going to be buyers or sellers, but didn’t. They also made a trade (Jud Graham) that is going to set them back a couple years with how bad it was.”