I was lucky this year that the Major League Baseball trade deadline came on Monday. This way I have had a few days to mull over which team did what, and who went where. I present to you 3 Up and 3 Down, the MLB Trade Deadline edition.
New York Yankees/Brian Cashman – “Cash” has been the Yankees General Manager since 1998, and his 19 year run at the helm is beyond impressive. His teams have won six pennants and four championships, so he has spent most trade deadline days supplementing his roster with reinforcements. Brian Cashman and the Yankees raising the white flag? Not a chance! It is just not how the Bombers do business, or is it? Following a lost weekend in Tampa, where the Yanks were swept by the lowly Rays, Cashman seized his opportunity to restock a farm system that was lacking in real star power. On the heels of moving closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for, among others, consensus top 25 shortstop prospect, Gleyber Torres, he rolled up his sleeves. Andrew Miller was traded to the Cleveland Indians, and in return he cashed in a great package of prospects, highlighted by hard hitting outfielder, Clint Frazier, and left handed pitcher, Justus Sheffield (Garry Sheffield’s nephew). Then he took advantage of the Texas Rangers need for a bat by spinning 39 year-old Carlos Beltran into 22 year-old Dillon Tate, a right handed pitcher who was the #4 pick in the 2014 draft. In a little over a week, the Yankees farm system, which already housed Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, Gary Sanchez (now in the bigs), and James Kaprielian, went from middle of the pack league wide, to top 5 in the sport. Brian Cashman’s decision to “take it down to the wood”, was the right one because his 2016 Bombers were not going to win the World Series. Now he has a stable of young talent and a ton of money coming off the books in the next two years, so watch out!
Texas Rangers – In search of the franchise’s first ever World Series championship, Rangers GM, Jon Daniels went “all in” at the deadline. He was able to take advantage of all-star catcher, Jonathan Lucroy’s decision to nix his trade to the Cleveland Indians, by bringing him and his Milwaukee Brewers teammate, closer Jeremy Jeffress (27-28 in saves) to Arlington. To get a .300 hitting catcher and a capable late inning reliever in one transaction, is nice work. Daniels was not done though, as mentioned earlier, Carlos Beltran was added to an already formidable lineup. Remember folks, in game 6 of the 2011 Fall Classic, the Rangers had two-run leads in both the ninth and tenth innings and were one strike away from that elusive title! So, I am calling this aggressive approach, Texas (No) Hold’ em!
Washington Nationals – Let’s face it, pretty much anyone not named Jonathan Papelbon closing games for the Nats is an upgrade. So, Washington swung a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates for all-star closer, Mark Melancon, and they didn’t have to deal one of there top prospects in the process. This transaction may have just “saved” the Nationals chances of playing October baseball games.
Yasiel Puig – My how the mighty have fallen. This man-child burst on the scene, looking and playing like the next Bo Jackson. Yet, after two very good seasons, Puig has steadily regressed at the plate. Making things worse is he has shown absolutely no appetite for fixing his approach. On top of his offensive struggles, is the fact that he is not well liked in his own clubhouse. That a still just 25 year-old player with Puig’s skill set is put on the trading block, and NO ONE bites, tells you all you need to know about his reputation. So, unable to trade him, the Dodgers opted for plan B, and demoted him to triple A Oklahoma City. Can this kid put the necessary work in to regain his career? Keep your eye on this sitchy, I don’t think we have heard the last of it.
Boston Red Sox – Okay, it’s still way too early to truly know just how Dave Dombrowski’s moves here will work out, but let’s just say the initial results have not been good. He got a jump on everyone by trading for San Diego Padres all-star lefty Drew Pomeranz during the break. To pry him away from paradise, Boston sent San Diego an 18 year-old right handed pitcher who has drawn comparisons to, wait for it, PEDRO MARTINEZ! Anderson Espinoza, is around the same size as Petey, already throws the ball 100 MPH, and boasts an above average change-up. He was the #3 prospect in the Sox loaded system, which is good for #15 overall. Through his first three starts for the Sawx, Pomeranz is 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA. This coming from someone who had a 2.47 ERA pitching for the Pads. Is he built for the pressure cooker that is Boston, and just how will he handle the Blue Jays and Orioles down the stretch? Not to be outdone, lefty specialist, Fernando Abad, who was acquired on Monday, made A-BAD pitch to Robinson Cano in his first appearance Tuesday night in Seattle. After fooling Cano with two nasty breaking balls, he left one over the middle of the plate, and Robbie did what he is paid to do, hit it a loooong way. The home run turned a 4-2 lead into a 5-4 loss. I hope you know something I don’t Mr. Dombrowski!
Scott Feldman – This guy had a deadline day for the ages. Feldman woke up Monday as a relief pitcher for the Houston Astros, but by the 4 PM deadline, had been dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays. So, the right handed relief pitcher said goodbye to his teammates, gathered his gear and headed off to his new team. Well, he didn’t have to go far, because his new team was in the visitors clubhouse at Houston’s Minute Maid Park (Toronto had just arrived for a three game series). You can probably guess where this story is going, but I will cut to the chase for you: despite pitching 2 innings the day before (for the Astros), Feldman was summoned for his new team to pitch the bottom of the 14th inning against his old team. Unfortunately, he gave up a leadoff single to Jose Altuve, and then Carlos Correa sent everyone home with a walk-off double. The only good news for Feldman following the game was that despite being on the visiting team, he still got to sleep in his own bed.
Thanks for reading, see you next week!