Home > MLB > Trade Deadline 2011: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

Trade Deadline 2011: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

4:20 – RED SOX GET: LHP Erik Bedard, RHP Josh Fields
MARINERS GET: OFs Trayvon Robinson and Chih-Hsien Chiang
DODGERS GET: C Tim Federowicz, RHPs Juan Rodriguez and Stephen Fife

(S) Right now, it’s not certain which minor leaguers are going where, but things look clear enough to weigh in. The biggest piece for 2011 is Bedard, who will immediately provide a better option than Andrew Miller for the Boston rotation. Robinson is a fourth outfielder with speed, but struggles with strikeouts. Chiang has broken out at AA Portland this year, but is no longer a second baseman, and corner outfield status makes his bat a lot more expendable. Rodriguez is a relief prospect who, at 22, is still in A-ball; Fife is organizational fodder. Federowicz is a scout-respected defensive catcher, which is a euphemism for “he will never ever be able to hit.”

All in all, it looks about as expected: the Red Sox gave up some decent prospects to get some upside for the back of the rotation, while Theo Epstein and Jack Zduriencik teamed up to swindle Ned Colletti out of AAA asset Trayvon Robinson for negligible prospects.

(G) The two names out of this trade that anyone will hear from again are Bedard and Robinson. The rest is gambles that won’t work out and guys who are nothing right now and won’t be getting better. A healthy Bedard, I think, becomes the Red Sox’ third-best starter right now, which is as much a statement on the quality of the Sox’ rotation as it is Bedard’s talent. Much like the Harden deal, Boston can afford to take things very easily with him and ease him back into regular work; if the lead over the Rays expands, I wouldn’t even be shocked to see them go with a six-man rotation for a while, just to minimize the stress placed on Bedard’s fragile shoulder.

Speaking of Bedard and fragile, people will make a big deal out of his mental makeup, but I think it’ll be overblown. He’s a good pitcher who needs to stay healthy; it’s not like he’s Milton Bradley.

(S) I knew Chiang and Federowicz, but I remembered why Fife’s name is familiar: He, like the others, was going to be gone soon anyway. Even for the most prospect-loving fan, that has to put a better spin on this deal

3:55 – PIRATES GET: OF Ryan Ludwick

(S) As usual with unnamed players, it’s tough to fully gauge the quality of this deal. It’s a marginal improvement on Matt Diaz, and presumably will have the sort of cost that’s acceptable for a Pirates club that wants to stay in the race, but is unlikely to actually win anything.

3:55 (G) We’re just moments away from the official deadline, though as always there will be deals coming out after the 4:00 deadline. Right now, the news is as much about what ISN’T happening as what is: The Astros aren’t trading anyone, Brandon League isn’t moving, that sort of thing. Ryan Ludwick to the Pirates looks done though, which is something.

3:36 (G) Suddenly everything’s gone quiet. Is there one more big move coming? There has to be, right? …right?

2:56 (S) MLB Network Radio claims that Justice has reversed his report, though no tweets yet negating his claim that Rodriguez was Cleveland-bound. This is the most off-and-on trade deadline I’ve experienced.

(G) Jayson Stark is saying that, if Wandy moves, it will be to Toronto. Because what this deadline needs is MORE moves that make the Blue Jays annoying to deal with this year and positively scary in 2012 and beyond.

2:48 (S) Whoa. I’m really eating crow for saying the Indians didn’t care to get better – Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice is reporting that the Astros are close to dealing Wandy Rodriguez to Cleveland. I can’t imagine the prospect cost will be high; Rodriguez has an expensive player option for 2014 if he is traded, and Cleveland is always claiming to have no money.

(G) I am Chris Antonetti. Give me your starters. All of them. Now. … Unless Toronto gets him first, as Drew Silva is saying. This is insanity. I love this deadline.

2:32 – RANGERS GET: RHP Mike Adams
PADRES GET: LHP Robert Erlin and RHP Joe Wieland

(S) My opinion only gets better for the Rangers. Adams is better than the briefly reported Heath Bell, and will be under team control beyond 2011. Erlin and Wieland are nice prospects, but still a long way away from the majors; a pair of lotto tickets for a cost-controlled and elite reliever is beyond a fair price. Already a very strong contender, the Rangers have shortened the game for their starters, and it’s tough not to see them as a favorite in the postseason.

(G) The Rangers seemed Hell-bent on adding a reliever, and they did it twice. Adams’ former teammate Heath Bell was (and remains) the biggest name on the relief pitching market, but Adams is just as good if not better, not to mention cheaper. He and Koji Uehara join Neftali Feliz in forming a very formidable back of the bullpen, and I have to join with Space in saying that they seem poised to make a run at the pennant. Good for Jon Daniels. See problem, fix problem. That’s what contending teams should do.

1:47 (G) Chris Iannetta was initially in the lineup for the Rockies today; he has since been scratched. The Pirates and Blue Jays are known to be after him, but there aren’t that many teams that couldn’t make room for a catcher with a league-average bat and a $3.55 million commitment for 2012. If the Blue Jays add him, on top of what they’ve already done and what they have to play with this offseason…yikes.

1:21 (S) Rockies look like they’re in full fire sale mode, with Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart rumored to be on the way out. After giving up Jimenez for a bargain price, it’s hard to be surprised, but this may be the most inexplicable long-term white flag I’ve ever seen. You have to wonder how Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez feel about signing to stick around.

(G) Signing to stick around for the rest of their natural lives. Both of these guys will be on the team in 2017, when Tulo is old and slow and CarGo is only truly a threat when facing a righthanded pitcher in Coors.

Actually, one of those has already happened.

1:02 – DIAMONDBACKS GET: RHP Dolph Brad Ziegler
ATHLETICS GET: It is a mystery

(G) Turns out they get LHP Jordan Norberto and 1B Brandon Allen. Mystery solved
Norberto’s a reliever who has 22 BB in 20 MLB innings this year and never showed decent control in the minors, but the real prize is Allen. He’s a 25-year-old first baseman who has hit well in very limited MLB playing time and also done well in the minors, although it should be noted that it’s in the PCL. Even though Ziegler is under team control through 2013, his price is only going to go up thanks to arbitration. I have to think that this trade comes back to bite the Diamondbacks.

(S) Well, despite the Rich Harden trade falling through, Billy Beane got his first base prospect, and Allen is a nice improvement from Lars Anderson. While I am skeptical about his PCL-aided numbers, Allen is a hefty price for a non-elite relief pitcher. I can’t see how Ziegler, along with Jason Marquis, substantially increases the Diamondbacks’ chances of catching San Francisco.

12:24 (S) Heard on MLB Network Radio: “The Cubs could deal Garza… I think that’s what the Red Sox are doing next.” There’s plenty of reason to fear Garza’s improved strikeout rate this year is a product of moving to the National League, but this would certainly be better for Boston than any Ubaldo alternative that has been rumored.

(G) Even if it’s the AL version of Matt Garza, that guy’s a pretty good pitcher. The Kalish/Doubront swap could have legs after all!

12:24 (G) A question, to pass some time while we wait for the deadline moves: What’s the deal with Wandy Rodriguez? He’s pitched to a sub-4 FIP, xFIP and SIERA for each of the last four seasons, and he’s under contract through 2013 at what I consider to be a reasonable rate. He’s not a massive bargain, but everything I’m hearing is that the Astros are going to have to eat money if they want to move him at all. I get that he’s 32, and that his best years might be behind him, but even so he’s by no means a bad pitcher or a bad contract. What am I missing?

(S) Rodriguez’s 2014 option of $13 million becomes a player option if he is traded; that contract starts to look pretty darned risky as his strikeout rate is already in decline. He’s the sort of guy New York (or Boston) can afford to take on, but represents a pretty iffy desperation move in my mind.

11:17 (S) The cost of Rafael Furcal: AA outfielder Alex Castellanos. The 24-year-old hasn’t done much in the past, but is slugging .562 in 354 at-bats for Springfield this year. The obvious explanation is a friendly home ballpark, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Dodgers got a semi-decent lottery ticket of a prospect for an injury risk with a $12 million option. It’s a worthwhile gamble for the Cards, though.

(S) Is it really? Furcal looks positively awful since coming back, to the point where I think it would have been better for them to go after Jamey Carroll, who is 37 years old and looks like an alien.

10:05 (G) Remember that whole “Ed Wade, competent GM” thing? Yeah, never mind. In addition to sending money to the Braves, the Astros are receiving Jordan Schafer (garbage; he’s like Michael Bourn if he never got good), Brett Oberholtzer (a fine but not overwhelming pitching prospect who’s minorly struggling in AA), Paul Clemens (who took four years to break out of A-ball after swinging back and forth between starting and relieving) and Juan Abreu (a 26-year-old reliever who’s been in Atlanta’s system since 2005 and is just now getting his first taste of AAA, and who has never walked less than 4.4 batters per nine innings in any sample at any level, ever).

I mentioned earlier that the Braves have a lot of very good prospects. This…is not them. This is a pile of complementary parts awaiting a centerpiece that isn’t coming. Brilliant move by Atlanta.

(S) Wow, that’s a surprisingly weak return for Bourn considering the cost of Hunter Pence (though Bourn is a year closer to free agency). Oberholtzer is the only guy who looks like he could be a decent major leaguer, and that includes my assessment of present major leaguer Jordan Schafer. Braves finally found an outfielder at the cost of one low-payout lotto ticket; tip of the hat to them.

9:55 (G) Ubaldo Jimenez is taking a physical in Arizona today. If he passes, his deal to Cleveland is done. If he doesn’t, we’ll suddenly know why the Rockies were so keen to move their ace.

9:50 – BRAVES GET: OF Michael Bourn
ASTROS GET: “Four minor leaguers”

(G) If you’re like me and don’t keep regular tabs on the center fielders of crappy NL Central teams, it may surprise you to learn that Michael Bourn has developed into a legitimately excellent player. Always known for blazing speed and excellent defense, Bourn has added a more-than-competent bat over the last few years. While his career-high slugging percentage this year is aided by an unsustainably high BABIP, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Bourn provides league-average offense to go with the aforementioned superb speed and defense in center field.

While it’s obviously a boon to Atlanta to add a player of Bourn’s caliber, it’s hard to say just how great this deal is for the Braves until we know who the minor leaguers going to Houston are. Atlanta has a very deep and talented system; if names like Brandon Beachy and Julio Teheran turn up in the Astros’ haul, this deal will take on a whole new face. And we’ll have to start wondering which competent GM usurped Ed Wade’s identity.

9:20 Heyyyy, everybody! Today’s the big day! We’re just a scant few hours from the non-waiver trade deadline, and the rumors are picking up once again. Yesterday was perhaps the craziest non-deadline trading day that I can remember, and while it seems unlikely that today can live up to it, I’m sure there will be enough to keep us busy right through the 4:00 deadline. If you’re just joining us, do make sure to check out all of yesterday’s action, and then strap yourself in for today’s excitement!

(G) The Twins and Nationals appear to be on the verge of a deal that would send Denard Span to Washington in exchange for Drew Storen, among others. While this trade looks better on the surface for Minnesota than the last time they acquired the Nationals’ closer, I still think Washington emerges as the clear winner here.

Span has never fit in in Minnesota, owing largely to the fact that he is good at baseball. He knows the strike zone well and has the temerity to not swing at balls that don’t come into it, meaning that he gets on base via the base on balls way more often than the folks up north would like. Couple that with his typically exceptional defense, and Span’s a guy you could see getting regular playing time for a legitimate contender–again, not the sort of player they cultivate in Minnesota.

(S) This move makes no sense to me. I do like Storen, but the Twins are hardly ready to move one of their corner outfielders into center, and Ben Revere is clearly not the answer. No one’s banging down the door from the minors, either – Joe Benson looks nice enough, but he hasn’t even been pushed past AA yet. It’s a bit odd for the Nationals as well – the urgent decision to go after center fielders precedes any chance of contending. Even so, it looks like quite a nice pickup for Washington.

  1. David
    July 31, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    Weirdest thing about the Span for Storen thing is that it seems to indicate that the Twins are happy with Ben Revere, who by all objective measures fits in somewhere between Willy Taveras and Juan Pierre on the grand continuum of punchless center fielders with great speed. (Incidentally, the guy on the far end of that continuum would appear to be, you guessed it, Michael Bourn, and yes, the Braves should be thrilled with getting him for a bag of balls).

    • July 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      “Ben Revere … by all objective measures fits in somewhere between Willy Taveras and Juan Pierre on the grand continuum of punchless center fielders with great speed.”

      In other words he is the quintessential Minnesota Twin.

      • David
        July 31, 2011 at 1:40 PM

        Heh, that occurred to me too, but Revere isn’t even hitting for average, so it’s hard to see what they’re so excited about.

        Re: the Ziegler trade, it’s worth pointing out that the D’Backs have Paul Goldschmidt raking in AA… he looks like a better 1B prospect than Allen. So it looks to me like they dealt from a position of strength to shore up a glaring weakness. Nothing wrong with that.

        The A’s first base situation is awfully strange… what the hell has happened to Barton and Carter this year? Allen’s a decent get, fine value for a reliever, but nothing exciting.

  1. August 26, 2011 at 4:57 PM

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