Happy trade season! July is one of the best times of the year to be a baseball fan. It combines all of the news, rumors, and intrigue of the offseason, but at a faster pace. Furthermore, this all happens while real, live baseball games take place, which of course does not happen in the winter.
Not too much has happened yet this year, but there’s plenty of excitement to come. Naturally, we’ll have you covered here at Beyond the Box Score for all the reactions and analysis as the trades come in. In the meantime, let’s take a look back at some of the big moves from last year.
Before the All-Star Break
June 26: Miami sends Adeiny Hechavarria to Tampa Bay for prospects. The Rays acquire a slick fielding, light hitting shortstop. Hechavarria will be a free agent next year, but he’s been a starter ever since the trade. The Marlins received Braxton Lee- a promising outfield prospect that’s seen a little action in the majors this year.
July 2: Chicago Cubs send Miguel Montero to Toronto for PTBNL or cash. This didn’t work out too well for the Blue Jays. Montero had a .805 OPS before the trade but just .489 after.
Middle of July
July 13: Chicago White Sox send Jose Quintana to Chicago Cubs for prospects, including Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease. Here’s the first blockbuster of the summer. Quintana is a solid #2 starter on a team-friendly contract through 2020. However, the White Sox received an enviable return of prospects. Baseball Prospectus ranked Jimenez the #4 overall prospect in baseball on their recently released Top 50 Midseason Propsects, while Cease placed #30.
July 16: Oakland sends Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington for Blake Treinan and prospects. Doolittle and Treinan are both All-Star closers for their new teams. Madson has shown his age this year, but Luzardo looks promising as a pitching prospect.
July 18: Detroit sends J.D. Martinez to Arizona for prospects. Martinez was the biggest rental acquisition of the deadline. He somehow improved his excellent .630 SLG before the trade to a ridiculous .741 in Arizona. The Tigers received an underwhelming return of three fringe infield prospects.
July 19: Chicago White Sox send Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees for Tyler Clippard and prospects. This was a huge boost down the stretch for the Yankees. Frazier provided power at the hot corner as a rental. Robertson and Kahnle bolstered an already-outstanding bullpen. OF Blake Rutherford and SP Ian Clarkin headlined the return for Chicago. Rutherford has played well in the minors while Clarkin has struggled.
July 21: St. Louis sends Marco Gonzales to Seattle for Tyler O’Neil. Gonzales is one of Seattle’s two best starters this year. O’Neill crushed the PCL for a few months before getting called up to the majors, though he’s on the DL at present.
July 30: Texas sends Jonathan Lucroy to Colorado for PTBNL. Lucroy struggled in Texas but rebounded substantially in the thin air of Colorado. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough to get the Rockies to the postseason.
July 30: Chicago Cubs send Jeimer Candelario and prospects to Detroit for Alex Avila and Justin Wilson. Avila and Wilson both slumped on the North Side. Avila’s power dissipated and Wilson lost the strike zone completely. Candelario shows promise as a young 3B for the Tigers.
July 31: Oakland sends Sonny Gray to New York Yankees for prospects. Gray pitched well during the final two months for the Yankees, but he faltered in the playoffs and has been mostly awful this year. Oakland received Dustin Fowler, who’s shown flashes of potential in the majors, Jorge Mateo, who isn’t hitting much in Triple-A, and James Kaprielian, who’s been injured since 2016.
July 31: Texas sends Yu Darvish to Los Angeles Dodgers for prospects. This was the biggest deal of the trade season, and it came in just barely ahead of the 4:00 EST deadline. (Actually it was announced shortly after the proverbial closing bell.) Darvish bolstered the Dodgers rotation down the stretch, and helped lead them to the an NL championship. The Astros blew him up in the World Series though, and he’s been injured for most of 2018 after signing with the Cubs. Willie Calhoun went to Texas in return, and looks to be gifted enough of a hitting prospect to overcome his inability to play any defensive position.
Naturally, there were plenty of other deals of lesser note along the way. There were also a few other trades in August of players who cleared waivers—most notably Justin Verlander. Nevertheless, this recap should give a decent blueprint for what to expect over the coming weeks.
Daniel R. Epstein is an elementary special education teacher and president of the Somerset County Education Association. In addition to BtBS, he writes at www.OffTheBenchBaseball.com. Tweets @depstein1983