August 1st, 2014
I’m exhausted. After yesterday’s non-stop non-waiver trade deadline ended I was kind of dizzy. I’ve been around for lots and lots of trade deadlines, but this one was amazing.
So many times the anticipation of the final hours far exceeds the reality. It often reminds me of the years when my neighbor set off firecrackers on the 4th of July—lots of excitement before the event and then…duds! Not yesterday. There was sizzle and very little fizzle. Unless your club sat on the sidelines and watched. Is there anything worse? “Hey, didn’t we get invited to the party?” I’ve been there…waiting and waiting for your team to make a trade and then… nothing.
Here are some of my thoughts about the deals that went down. I will skip much of the obvious and try to put my own spin on things:
David Price to the Tigers-I think the Tigers brass felt the heat of ownership in the past month or so. Mr. Ilitch was born in 1929. He’s one of the great owners in sports. He wants to win. Now. Dave Dombrowski is one of the fine general managers in the game. He wants to help deliver that winner. After his attempt to shore up a leaky bullpen with the acquisition of Joakim Soria he won the David Price sweepstakes. Frankly, the price wasn’t that steep. Keep your eye on shortstop Willy Adames. He may be the key to what the Rays were all about. For me, he’s more than a “throw in.” Only 18, he has gap power and patience at the plate beyond his years. From the Dominican, Adames can also play third base. The Tigers rotation is now even more lethal–they swapped Drew Smyly for David Price. Smyly will likely come up big for the Rays in the future, as he’s still ironing out some kinks. The Mariners came away with a nice bat and a fine glove in Austin Jackson-giving up a nice bat in infielder Nick Franklin. Nice deal for everyone. But I think the Rays “settled” at the end and may have been offered even more earlier in the entire process, prior to being under the gun late in the day. We’ll never know. But they probably got more yesterday than had they waited until the off season.
Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox and Jon Lester and Jon Gomes to the Athletics- I’m not ready to declare the Athletics the World Champions. I admire the intestinal fortitude of Billy Beane. However, what if they lay an egg? No more Cespedes to break up a game and Lester can fly the coop as a “free” agent. I think Cespedes is a game changing bat. I don’t think you’ll trip over that type of player walking around your garden. They’re as rare as vegetables on my dinner plate. Think of the damage he can do in Fenway. I’m sure the Red Sox are thinking of that and sleeping peacefully. Lester’s usually good. But I’ve seen Lester bad. Cespedes can be bad three times a week and be good three times a week and really, really help the Red Sox. If Lester is bad once a week for the Athletics—watch out. Lester has gone more to the curveball as opposed to the cutter. That’s good. His new park is huge and very pitcher friendly. That’s good. Lots of good. But remember—one bad start or two in the next two months and it’ll really hurt.
John Lackey and lefty Corey Littrell to the Cardinals for Joe Kelly and Allen Craig-This one is a bit risky for the Red Sox. Who is Allen Craig? Is he the old Allen Craig or the newer model? Can he use the Green Monstah to his advantage? If yes, he and Cespedes will help in the middle of the order, no doubt about it. But who pitches for the Red Sox? They’ll figure it out. Lackey could be the guy that puts the Cardinals back in the postseason. He’s a winner. He’s a tough cookie who pitches and doesn’t just throw. He’s perfect to pair with Adam Wainwright and the rest of the rotation. Great trade for St. Louis and maybe for Boston, but I’m less inclined to like their end of this one. Kelly has been sporadic, but he’s still got upside and he could make this deal really work for Boston.
Martin Prado to the Yankees for catcher Peter O’Brien. I saw O’Brien at the Futures Game. This guy has powwwwwer. And quick hands through the ball. He has to learn the mechanics of catching and the Dbacks are sending Bill Plummer to work with him. But Prado wasn’t helping in Arizona. They Yankees are picking up his tab. It’s a great move for Arizona. I’ve heard New York will be playing Prado in right field. I think he’s adequate at third base-I’ve never seen him in right. I’ve seen him in left. He’s adequate at third base. I do think Prado will take some balls into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium as his swing is geared that way—and slower than it’s been in the past. It turns out the Dbacks traded Justin Upton and Chris Johnson for Peter O’Brien, Randall Delgado and Nick Ahmed.
Gerardo Parra to the Brewers for Mitch Haniger and lefty pitcher Anthony Banda- I think Parra will help the Crew because they have few left-handed hitters. He has lost a step or two of speed, has declined at the plate and isn’t the same player he was. But he will help the Brewers as a solid outfielder. Haniger has some power. I can’t wait to see him hit in Chase Field. I really liked him in the Fall League. He’ll surprise some people. Banda is supposedly a projectable lefty mid-rotation starter. I haven’t scouted him. I think the Dbacks will be very happy with this deal, but I don’t think the trade puts the Brewers over the top in the Central. But it may help.
Asdrubal Cabrera to the Nationals for Zach Walters. I really like Walters. He has some pop in his bat (switch hitter) and can play shortstop and second base. He’s a good fielder and is almost Major League ready. Cabrera is in his walk year. His game has declined for two consecutive years. I think he’ll be playing 2B in Washington. That’s good, because his range had slipped in Cleveland. He’s a streaky hitter. The Nats have to hope he finds his stroke. If not, it isn’t pretty to watch. Cabrera’ slip is showing.
Red Sox trade Andrew Miller to the Orioles for Eduardo Rodriguez- Well, one of the future starters for the Red Sox could very well be Rodriguez. He has an outstanding arm but hasn’t put the command and control together yet. He’s a lefty and he was probably the best lefty in the Orioles system. I think he could give up some bombs off the Monstah, but he’ll be fine. Miller has begun to find command and control and was probably the biggest prize of the available left-handed relievers. He will really help the Orioles. I like the deal for both clubs. But I think the O’s still need to go get a starter.
Tommy Milone goes to Minnesota for Sam Fuld- The Athletics bring back Fuld in a deal that will set up a future platoon with Jonny Gomes in left field. Fuld will play center until Craig Gentry returns from injury. I love Fuld. He gets his uniform dirty and his on-base percentage is always off the charts (.370) for a man of such slight build at 5-foot-10, 175-pounds. He’s a winner. Milone wanted out of Oakland and got his wish. The Twins get a legitimate lefty starter, and one that can be there a long time.
Padres trade Chris Denorfia to Seattle for switch-hitting OF Abraham Almonte and RHP Stephen Kohischeen- I’m a huge Denorfia fan. He’s a superb 4th outfielder. He can hit, hit with some pop and play solid defense. If needed, he can fill in for a long period of time as opposed to just being a guy off the bench. The Mariners upgraded with both Austin Jackson and Denorfia. I don’t know what more Almonte brings than Denorfia. More speed and youth probably. Almonte can fly. Kohischeen is a righty reliever. I haven’t seen him.
Stephen Drew goes to the Yankees for…Kelly Johnson-Are you kidding me? That was a steal for the Yankees, I believe. Drew was beyond rusty for Boston. I think he adds to the Yanks infield depth with a bat that will play well in Yankee Stadium. But be aware that he isn’t a pull hitter. I’ve seen him hit tons of fly balls to the left/center warning track. That may frustrate some fans if he still does that. I do think he’s an upgrade over Kelly Johnson. Can he play 2B? Can he play 3B? Derek Jeter plays shortstop, right?
Drew’s value will be greater next year if he stays with the Yankees.
Emilio Bonifacio and lefty James Russell go to the Braves for catcher Victor Caratini? Remember the name Victor Caratini. He’s a line-drive switch-hitter with a background as a 3B-catcher. He has some pop in his bat. He’s a work in progress behind the plate. But if he can hit, as many think he will, the Cubs may have a future catcher for two players that didn’t have long-term roles with the big league team.
Jarred Cosart, Enrique Hernandez and Austin Wates go to Miami for OF Jake Marisnick, 3B Colin Moran and RHP Francis Martes-Didn’t the Astros just trade for Cosart recently, or am I dreaming? He was coming along very nicely as a member of their rotation. What am I missing here? Hernandez is a plus player as well. What am I missing here? Or did I say that already? Marisnick has shown me a slow bat every time I’ve seen him play. And that’s a lot. Moran was a first round draft pick, but I didn’t see much from him last fall, at all. I think the Astros will have to be patient with him. Especially with any potential power he may have. Patient? I love this deal for the Marlins. They just keep adding good pitching in every deal they make.
Remember-teams can still make deals, but waivers have to be acquired on the player. I look for some expensive players like Alex Rios to change teams. So, if your team was on the sidelines yesterday and this past month, they may awaken and want to rearrange some deck chairs. Just hope they aren’t like my neighbor and start shooting off some duds.
Some of the deadline deals may come out as flat as my three day old soda pop sitting on the kitchen counter without a lid. There is no guarantee in a trade. But this year, more Major League players were moved. Fewer prospects were included in the blockbusters. That was exciting. There are teams that are shouting we want to win NOW. We love that-as long as it’s our team doing the shouting.
Thanks for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. Your support is always appreciated.
That’s it. I’m done.