Who knew that July could hold one of the most intriguing events in all of baseball? The 48 hours before the non-waiver trade deadline is such a swirl of reported trades, rumors, and frantic GMs, it’s enough to interest even the most casual fan. This is when every General Manager in baseball uses all the minutes on his phone, scouts are traveling from city to city watching rival teams’ prospects, and when no player on any given team can feel a sense of job security. The fact is, the future of every franchise is invariably changed within these 48 hours, and who are the lucky guys that makes these decisions? Yep, it’s the General Managers of baseball. Humans, who, if anything, can tend to be a bit unpredictable.
Cardinals Acquire Justin Masterson from the Indians, Send James Ramsey to Cleveland
Since the Walt Jocketty and John Mozeliak regime, the Cardinals have established themselves as very conservative strategists in the trade market, but this year has been different. Ever since pitching become a need, the Cardinals have been linked to the Rays’ David Price and Boston’s Jon Lester, but given Mozeliak’s conservative ways, a Bartolo Colon or perhaps a guy like San Diego’s Ian Kennedy was the much more likely option. Instead, Mozeliak grabbed Masterson, who sports a 5.51 ERA and an astronomical 1.65 WHIP in 98 painful innings. What was he thinking, right? On the bright side, Masterson does give the Cardinals more depth in the rotation, an arm that is accustomed to pitching out of the bullpen if necessary, all for relatively little cost. Stuff wise, Masterson is a ground-ball machine, who should benefit from a great infield defense like St. Louis’s playing behind him. Overall, this is a really nice fit.
Oakland A’s Acquire Pitcher Jon Lester and Outfielder Jonny Gomes from Boston in Exchange for Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes
Wow. Has Billy Beane officially gone off the deep end? Actually no. The A’s did just acquire two solid starters from Chicago, but after yesterdays implosion from Jason Hammel it became pretty evident that Oakland could use another starter. Jesse Chavez has good numbers, but in a must-win situation I wouldn’t feel confident throwing him out there. With Lester, Samardzija, Kazmir, Gray, and Hammel/Chavez, the A’s instantly have the best rotation in baseball (if they didn’t already) and should be a handful for the teams they face in the playoffs. Forget about Hudson/Mulder/Zito from 2002, this A’s team might be the best in team history. They did lose Cespedes, but other than the occasional lightning rod throws and the annual home run derby title, he should not be considered a star. Jonny Gomes is a suitable replacement; he gets on base, and is a proven winner.
Giants Acquire Jake Peavy from Boston
Jake Peavy: Perennially mediocre, injury-prone, overpaid, overrated pitcher. With a 1-10 record.
Cardinals Trade Allen Craig and Joe Kelly to Boston for Pitcher John Lackey
This trade might challenge this Lester deal as the wildest, most unexpected deal on deadline day. Normally you see the buyer giving up prospects in return for major league ready players, but in this deal Boston was able to pry away two major league players, one very accomplished in his own right. It was only a year ago that Allen Craig was driving in runs for the Cardinals at a monumental rate, and people (including John Mozeliak) were calling him a cornerstone piece of this franchise. He was drafted and developed by the Cardinals, practically won the 2011 World Series (with some help from David Freese), and we have him to thank for being able to forget about Albert Pujols. Sentiment aside, Craig simply wasn’t hitting enough this year to justify sitting Oscar Taveras, so a trade makes sense for us and for Craig, who should benefit from having a change of scenery. Kelly, however, is a bit more of a head-scratcher. His numbers aren’t too great on the surface- a 4.37 ERA in 37 innings- but he has been hurt by two very bad starts that somewhat skewed his ERA. He endured a hamstring injury and was out for two months, and he has struggled to regain his command since coming off the DL. When healthy, there’s no doubting that Kelly is a huge asset. He slid in and out of the Cardinals rotation last season, posting a miniscule 2.69 ERA in 124 innings, and helped keep the Cardinals afloat in the NL Central race in late August win his stellar pitching. Best of all, Kelly could not become a free agent until 2019.
We’ll see how things play out, but Mozeliak is putting himself in a position to regret this trade for a long time.
In a Three-team Trade, Detroit Acquires Ace David Price From Tampa Bay for Nick Franklin and Drew Smyly, Austin Jackson to Seattle
A couple thoughts:
1. This doesn’t make a lot of sense for Tampa Bay. If I’m a Rays fan, I’m upset that we gave up on a year that had so much promise and with the returns on Price. They shouldn’t gotten more than Smyly and Franklin.
2. This trade doesn’t improve the Tigers that much. Sure, it’s nice to have the title “best rotation in the history of mankind” in your back pocket, but come on. Before the deal, the Tigers had Rick Porcello in the 4th slot in the rotation, and because of the trade, Porcello would potentially be the odd man out if the Tigers made the playoffs and went with a 4 man rotation, which happens a lot. Porcello has 12 wins and a 3.24 ERA. Again, sure they have Price, but people need to stop gushing about the Tigers.
3. Seattle, not Detroit, wins this trade. Austin Jackson should help them out, and they gave up very little in return. Franklin has huge upside, but was essentially blocked on the depth chart by Brad Miller and some guy named Cano.
Other Interesting Deals…
1. Stephen Drew to Yankees for Kelly Johnson
2. Martin Prado to Yankees for prospects
3. Asdrubal Cabrera to Nationals for Zach Walters
4. Gerardo Parra to Brewers for prospects
5. Jarred Cosart to Marlins for prospects
And the Big Winner is……
Twins Acquire P Tommy Milone from A’s for Sam Fuld
Earlier this year, the A’s designated Sam Fuld for assignment. A few months later, they’re trading an extremely successful pitcher to get him back. Granted, the A’s didn’t have much of a choice here, given that Milone requested a trade, but it’s funny how these things work out sometimes. For Minnesota, however, great, great deal. Best of the day.
The Big Loser is……..
The Whole Philadelphia Phillies Organization
For not being able to deal a single player this deadline. Do they really think they can compete, or does having Rollins, Utley, Lee, Howard, and Byrd on the same roster make GM Ruben Amaro feel young?