Home > MLB > Trade Deadline 2011: The moves that have happened so far

Trade Deadline 2011: The moves that have happened so far

Welcome, once again, to the semi-annual reminder that this blog is operational! Last year, Space and I co-blogged the MLB trading deadline, which saw a lot of teams make some marginal moves to improve themselves. It also saw the Red Sox do (what at the time appeared to be) absolutely nothing of consequence, leading me to negatively compare Theo Epstein to Dayton Moore.

It wasn’t a proud moment.

Hopefully this year, with the Red Sox almost certainly playoff-bound and the Royals not possessing as many attractive trade targets, we won’t see a repeat. Let’s begin with a recap of the important moves made so far…

NATIONALS GET: OF Jonny Gomes
REDS GET: OF Bill Rhinehart, LHP Chris Manno

(G): Wait, didn’t I say important moves? I only bring this up to ask a question: What’s with the Nationals? Do they think they can compete next year? (And if so, why add Jonny Gomes, who’s a free agent after the season?) Even if you assume that Strasburg comes back healthy that still leaves them three or four arms and three or four bats short of contending in the mildly treacherous NL East.

(S): I have to think this was done with the intention of flipping Gomes – probably even with a specific destination in mind. He’s a useful enough platoon player, but Rhinehart has shown impressive power at AA, while Manno’s walks are down from last season without a decline in his strikeouts. Neither is “top prospect” material, but each is better than the supplemental draft pick the Nationals hope to get if they keep Gomes and offer him arbitration. This is the sort of move that makes me like the Reds, despite the continued presence of Dusty Baker.

BLUE JAYS GET: OF Colby Rasmus, 3B Mark Teahen, RPs Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, PJ Walters
WHITE SOX GET: RP Jason Frasor, SP Zach Stewart
CARDINALS GET: SP Edwin Jackson, OF Corey Patterson, RPs Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, three PTBNL/cash

(G): Phew, that was a long one. Anyway, while this was technically two separate two-team deals, it’s best to look at it as a threeway. And while there are a lot of big names here, I see two clear facts emerging from this deal: The Cardinals got a bunch of crap for Colby Rasmus, and the White Sox got a little less crap for Edwin Jackson.

The Rasmus move “makes sense” for the Cardinals in that he had run afoul of Tony La Russa, and they made the perfectly logical decision that keeping their drunk-driving, overmanaging senile person was more important than hanging onto the young, talented outfielder who had offended him. But for the White Sox…why? Jackson’s a free agent at the end of the year, yes, but in a market where Doug Fister is suddenly a prized commodity, you’d think that Kenny Williams could have done better.

(S): My immediate reaction, past “oh my god, TLR is costing the Cardinals so much here,” was that the White Sox got nothing for Jackson. That’s not entirely true – they got the privilege of not paying another cent to Mark Teahen, who will make $5.5 million in 2012 despite being, by Fangraphs’ metrics, four years removed from replacement level value. That said, the Cardinals DID pick up a very strong #3 starter, mitigating the cost of La Russa’s folly.

GIANTS GET: OF Carlos Beltran
METS GET: SP Zach Wheeler

(G): Way back to last year, I was calling for the Red Sox to get Carlos Beltran. That didn’t happen, sadly, and ultimately the Mets sent him to San Francisco in exchange for the Giants’ top pitching prospect. A lot of people are saying that Brian Sabean overpaid for Beltran, whose contract forbids the Giants from offering arbitration at the end of the season, but I see this as a win-win. The Giants get an impact bat to add to their anemic lineup, and the Mets get a lottery ticket that might just pay off by the time they’re ready to compete again. This is the kind of trade that should happen at the deadline.

(S): Right now, it’s primarily the subjective art of scouting that says Wheeler represents an overpayment for Beltran; his numbers, thus far, have not been that impressive.  Regardless, I’m not impressed; a young lotto ticket of a prospect has only brought in a position player who can represent one, maybe two wins for the Giants in the regular season, and who isn’t going to make them an offensive juggernaut in the playoffs. It’s not like San Francisco was really going to improve their pitching, but I’m still lukewarm on this deal as an overrated improvement at the cost of an overrated prospect.

INDIANS GET: OF Kosuke Fukudome, cash
CUBS GET: OF Abner Abreu, RP Carlton Smith

(G): A very solid move for Cleveland. It’s not the huge splash that some may have wanted, but the Indians had a clear need for production from their outfield, and Fukudome fills that. The Cubs were even kind enough to throw in some money, making the deal even more attractive from their perspective. For Chicago, it’s tough to say they got robbed here, because Fukudome’s value was always lower than I thought it should have been, and I guess they get credit for getting two lottery tickets instead of one. Still, this shouldn’t do anything to change the fact that Jim Hendry needs to go.

(S): Calling Abreu and Smith lottery tickets is where my esteemed co-blogger and I differ on prospects; there are minor leaguers with strong numbers or “tools” or “stuff,” and there are run-of-the-mill minor leaguers. In Abreu’s fifth professional season, he’s sporting a sub-.300 OBP in the Carolina league; Smith’s strikeout rate has exploded this year, but his track record says he’s not going to keep it up. At best, he’s a middle reliever. While this isn’t the sort of move that will make a big difference in Cleveland having a shot at the postseason, it’s an unequivocal win for the Tribe.

PHILLIES GET: OF Hunter Pence, $2m
ASTROS GET: 1B Jonathan Singleton, SP Jarred Cosart, SP Josh Zeid, PTBNL

(G): I’ve gone back and forth on this trade since it was made yesterday. On the one hand, I generally believe that contending teams should be applauded for going all-in when they have a chance to win a ring, especially with a team like Philadelphia where their window to compete is closing quickly. On the other hand, Hunter Pence is not exactly great, and this deal is made even less palatable by the fact that the Phillies are sending Domonic Brown to the minors rather than cutting ties with Raul Ibanez.

This should be classified as a justifiable overpay for a guy who will be part of the Phillies push for a pennant not only this year but next, but instead it seems like Ruben Amaro decided he absolutely had to get better, even if it was only a marginal improvement that came at too high a cost. If he was going to trade his top prospects, why not use them to get Beltran instead?

(S): That about says it all – this is a fair enough trade in a vacuum, but Ruben Amaro still found a way to make it foolish. Ibanez, not Brown, is the worst outfield liability for the Phils, and while he didn’t really overpay for Pence, he DID buy high on a non-elite talent. It’ll help the team this year, but as noted, Amaro’s mistakes are starting to catch up to him.

TIGERS GET: SP Doug Fister, RP David Pauley
MARINERS GET: 3B Francisco Martinez, OF Casper Wells, SP Charlie Furbush

(G): Pretty good trade for both sides, I think. Fister is by no means stellar, and moving to any park that isn’t Safeco (even the pitcher-friendly Comerica) will hurt him, but he’s not a case of “definitely smoke and mirrors” like the last lefthanded Mariners pitcher the Tigers picked up at the deadline. The prospects the Mariners got are similarly non-stellar, but Furbush pitched well as a starter in the minors before being used as a reliever in the bigs this year, and Martinez is at least young enough to partially excuse the fact that he hasn’t figured out how to hit AA pitching.

The real question, at least in my mind, is whether or not this takes the Tigers out of the running for Ubaldo Jimenez. It shouldn’t, because Ubaldo is awesome, but teams are typically silly about things like this.

(S): I disagree about the Mariners’ return being non-stellar – Wells has already seen some success in the bigs, and his minor league numbers paint him as a solid 4th outfielder at worst. Furbush’s strikeout/walk rates in the minors suggest a lot more success than he’s had in limited duty in Detroit this year. Those two, plus a lottery ticket in Martinez, are a nice return for a low-strikeout pitcher who isn’t adept at inducing ground balls plus a reliever.

BREWERS GET: UT Jerry Hairston
NATIONALS GET: OF Erik Komatsu

(S): This one flies under the radar, but I think it’s the sort of trade Washington should be focusing on instead of Jonny Gomes or delusions of contending in 2012. The Brewers needed a 3B and a SS, and while Hairston can play those positions… well, he can’t play them well, nor can he do very much at the plate. Komatsu, on the other hand, is old for AA, but showing tremendous discipline and decent doubles power. He doesn’t look like a star by any means, but there’s plenty of value to a cheap talent who gets on base. Giving that away for Jerry Hairston… well, I guess it’s no surprise for a team that gave Yuniesky Betancourt a starting job.

(G): When Rickie Weeks went down the Brewers’ infield needs went from desperate to even more desperate. Hairston’s a decent enough fit for the short term, but do they really think he’s going to fix the problem enough to make a playoff push?

RED SOX GET: SS Mike Aviles
ROYALS GET: IF Yamaico Navarro, RHP Kendal Volz

(S): And I get a handful of dandruff from scratching my head too hard at this. Volz is a low-odds lotto ticket and Navarro has been anything but useful for the Sox this year, but the latter had done fine at AAA Pawtucket and looked like solid minor league insurance. Aviles, who will get salary arbitration this winter, is an unremarkable defender with a forgettable bat. He’s not a detriment, but he certainly doesn’t seem like any meaningful improvement for the Sox. I suspect that he’s intended to be included in another deal before the deadline, or he represents a cautious move by the Sox in fear that Jed Lowrie is due for more time on the DL. The former would make this deal hard to judge on its own merits; the latter would make it decent insurance for Marco Scutaro, as Aviles would be more palatable than Navarro as an everyday shortstop.

(G): I think the latter option there is the one that makes the most sense. Scutaro dealt with injury troubles at the end of last season and has been bothered by a bad shoulder all year; if he was to go down again, Aviles would at least be less than cover-your-eyes awful in his stead. For that matter, Aviles is also a better option for 2012 than Jose Iglesias, although if it comes to that I might have to find something tall to jump off of.

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  1. Suege
    July 30, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Agree on most of this, but I thought that there would’ve been a bigger bounty for Beltran, especially compared to what pence drew. Mets need a lot of help soon, and Fred isn’t able to buy them out right now.

    • July 30, 2011 at 3:51 PM

      Bear in mind that Beltran cannot be offered arbitration and is a true rental with no draft compensation, while Pence will be under Philly control for a few years.

  2. July 30, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    The Beltran trade came before the Pence trade, and it’s hard to say that the Mets got less than they could have given that the general reaction was that the Giants overpaid. They could have lessened the risk somewhat by getting a greater number of players, perhaps, but none of them would have projected as highly as Wheeler.

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