MLB Trading day, so here’s my quick breakdown from deadline day:
Tigers acquire David Price in three-team deal with Mariners (who receive Austin Jackson) and Rays (who receive Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin, and Willy Adames)
I love these three team deals in major league baseball--they are far too infrequent. Good pickup by the Tigers, obviously. With great starting pitching to begin with, adding Price makes the Tigers the favorites to represent the A.L. in the World Series this fall. Price is a legitimate ace and the Tigers can afford to lock him up this offseason. The Rays get a middle infielder and a cheaper starter in Smyly who they control for four years. The Mariners upgrade with Jackson for Franklin. But the Tigers are the big winners.
Marlins and Astros agree to six-player swap, with Miami receiving Jarred Cosart, Enrique Hernandez, and Austin Wates in exchange for Colin Moran, Jake Marisnick, Francis Martes, and a 2015 compensation draft pick.
The trading of compensation picks is new, and I think it is fantastic. Cosart is the centerpiece of the trade and is 24 and has pitched fairly well for the Astros to date. Miami gives up Marisnick who is 23 and has speed and power potential in centerfield. Moran is 21 and a top prospect at third base.
Braves acquire James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio from Cubs in exchange for Victor Caratini and cash
Caratini is decent prospect at catcher but only 20 and in single-A. Bonifacio is a journeyman but fills a need in Atlanta down the stretch. Russell is just a lefty reliever. Braves may have sacrificed too much. Nice move by Theo Epstein grabbing Caratini.
Yankees acquire Martin Prado from Diamondbacks in exchange for Peter O’Brien
The Yankees seem to believe they can still make the playoffs. Maybe they can. But they are not winning any World Series’ anytime soon. Prado cash for Arizona and O’Brien is a slugging prospect. Prado is good, but not great. He can help immediately in right field--and New York can afford him--but he cost them one of their few top hitting prospects. To upgrade over Ichiro Suzuki, though, is necessary.
Yankees acquire Stephen Drew from Red Sox in exchange for Kelly Johnson and cash
At least this deal was trash-for-trash. Both are terrible hitters this year but Drew will be playing out of position as the Yankees are trying to win now while handcuffing the team by playing defensive liability Derek Jeter at shortstop every night. It would be a shock for Johnson to get a single at bat in Boston.
Nationals acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from Indians in exchange for Zach Walters
Nice grab by the Nationals getting a legitimate middle infielder to help staunch the loss of Ryan Zimmerman’s bat. Washington is losing ground to Atlanta and this deal helps right now. Cabrera is a rental for now, but Washington could use their negotiating window after the season to lock him up. Cleveland has Francisco Lindor ready to step in at shortstop next year. Walters is a decent prospect who needs a bit more seasoning but has potential to be a regular with some pop. Cleveland already is rebuilding having dealt Justin Masterson already, so getting anything for Cabrera is a win.
Orioles acquire Andrew Miller from Red Sox in exchange for Eduardo Rodriguez
The Orioles paid a steep price for a power lefty arm in the bullpen. Rodriguez is a top pitching prospect at double-A and is only 21 and is a hard-throwing lefty starter. BaseballProspectus.com says this about Rodriguez:
The Venezuelan lefty has a good feel for pitching, with a smooth arm action and a quick delivery to home. His fastball generally sits in the 91-93 velocity band, although he can gas it up to 94-95 in short spurts. The fastball does not have a ton of movement, but there is mild arm-side run and some life. His slider is more of the sweeping variety and not a true strikeout offering, but he shows command and enough tilt for it to play solid-average at the major-league level. His changeup has really been the enigma this season, as at times he has not been able to consistently feel the pitch. It can be too firm, and when the change is coming in at 84-86 it does not provide the differential necessary to offset the fastball. The overall arsenal is good, but it is not the great that many evaluators look for in a top prospect.
All in all, he is still a prospect worth trading for with Miller a free agent at the end of the year. He needs work and the Red Sox have been boasting about their investments in minor league coaches and developers of the pitching staff for years and now is the time to back their talk.
Mariners acquire Chris Denorfia from Padres in exchange for Abraham Almonte and Stephen Kohlscheen
Poor Seattle Mariners fans: no Matt Kemp but they get... Chris Denorfia. Ugh. Denorfia has...well no power and not much speed. But replacing Endy Chavez is a win right there. Almontes is a failed prospect and Kohlscheen is...well, he is very tall.
Athletics acquire Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes, and cash from Red Sox in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes and a 2015 compensation draft pick
I cannot believe Lester was traded by the Red Sox. Everything that was right about the franchise was summed up in this kid. Only 30, he is a legitimate ace in the postseason, a durable, tough kid who is a lefty and throws 95 MPH and battles on the mound...exactly what the A’s needed. This is their year and they are grabbing it. Cespedes is a power hitter who has only a year left on his contract but a much better pickup rather than trading for Matt Kemp. Cespedes is 28 but has superb power, winning the last two Home Run Derbies. If the Sox made up their mind to trade Lester, then at least there is a player that can help immediately coming back in the trade. Still, it just seems strange with Lester no longer in Boston.
Cardinals acquire John Lackey and Corey Littrell from Red Sox in exchange for Joe Kelly and Allen Craig
The Lackey move is strange. He is on the books for the major league minimum after an odd clause of his contract kicked in (extended for a year at MLB minimum if Tommy John surgery). Lackey is never going to pitch for that amount of money. Of course, St. Louis can extend him easily and he steps in as a veteran with postseason success who can strikeout guys and give a team a lot of quality innings. Kelly is 26 and a legitimate starting pitcher. He can be a rotation piece for years to come. I love Allen Craig. The Cardinals have Oscar Taveras who needs to play everyday (where do they get all these prospects!) and will not miss him. But he has legit Fenway power and is signed long-term at a reasonable price. Stick him in left field, and the team is set with 20-30 home runs and 30-40 doubles and a professional bat through 2018.
Brewers acquire Gerardo Parra from Diamondbacks in exchange for Mitch Haniger and Anthony Banda
Go Brewers. A Gold-Glove outfielder to backup at all three spots is a solid player for the roster. Haniger is a double-A mid-level prospect and Banda is 20 and in single-A. Arizona stockpiles some kids while Milwaukee should get a good pickup to help try to hold off the Cardinals and Pirates in the NL Central.
Twins acquire Tommy Milone from Athletics in exchange for Sam Fuld
Oakland grabbed Fuld, who they waived earlier this year, to add to the outfield depth. Milone is the winner of the deal as the lefty goes from 7th or 8th starter in Oakland to a regular front-line starter in Minnesota getting the ball every five days from here on out.
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Ravens fourth-round draft pick defensive end Brent Urban tore his ACL. He was expected to be a part of the line rotation and now is out for the year. Last week cornerback Aaron Ross tore his Achilles during the conditioning test and was lost for the season. Ross was expected to be the third cornerback in Baltimore and the Ravens now have lost two valuable depth players so far this offseason.
Colts guard Donald Thomas--who missed 14 games last year after tearing a biceps tendon and right quadriceps re-tore it at camp and is out for the season. He was signed to a four-year $14 million contract from New England two years ago and now is likely done in Indy. The Colts also lost running back Vick Ballard who tore his Achilles earlier. It is sink-or-swim with running back Trent Richardson. The Colts had better hope he was worth the first round draft pick! Defensive lineman Fili Moala tore his ACL earlier at OTAs. Seriously, that is bad luck already in Indy.
The 49ers planned to have running back Frank Gore split time with Kendall Hunter this season. Put those plans on hold. Hunter tore his ACL and Gore’s fantasy football value just jumped as he will again be expected to lug the ball 250 or so times in 2014.
The Cowboys’ second-round draft pick defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence--who was to replace DeMarcus Ware-- is now out for two to three months with a broken foot. He misses valuable learning time and even if he returns will take time to get up to speed during the season. Dallas now turns to...ugh, Jeremy Mincey. Wow, quite the step down from Ware.
The World Champs were not safe from the injury bug this week. Tight end Anthony McCoy--who missed all of last year with a torn Achilles in training camp-- tore his Achilles in training camp on his other foot. Ouch. McCoy was a backup role but depth behind Zach Miller would have been nice. Maybe this works out for Jermichael Finley and he goes to Seattle.
On Thursday, Kansas City Chiefs star safety Eric Berry was carted off the field. Fortunately, it was not serious. It blew up social media for a bit, but fortunately it seems to be a minor injury and nothing serious. The Chiefs definitely dodged a bullet yesterday.
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A WEEK OF VACATION AND A RAISE:
Must be nice to be Marshawn Lynch. $1.5 million raise and no fines for sitting at home. NIce deal if you can get it.
Kansas City added former Patriots safety Steve Gregory to compete at safety next to Eric Berry. Gregory should compete with Husain Abdullah for the starting job and gets a chance after sitting on the sidelines all offseason. Gregory is a decent free safety who struggled playing near the line of scrimmage. If anything, it at least helps their depth.
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Alright, time to call it a day. Have a great weekend, all! Preseason football starts next week!!!