As I’ve said, a Real Trade Deadline is pretty cool! Teams had to commit one way or the other on what final acquisitions they wanted to make from now until October quite early, and you could tell based on the last hour yesterday that some flinched, and others just went ahead and pulled a lot of triggers. We’re going to break down some of the winners today, looking at who made some successful deals as they stock up for the postseason and beyond.
The Braves needed help in the bullpen as they look to hold the division rather firmly, so they did just that, acquiring Shane Greene from the Tigers, Chris Martin from the Rangers, and Mark Melancon from the Giants.
Greene is the biggie, as he’s allowed just five earned runs over 38 innings. Yes, he’s had stinkers in both 2018 and 2016 ERA-wise, but the peripherals are looking good, putting up FIP- of 86 or lower in three of the last four years. The home run is going to be his issue, but the odds are still in favor of him being above league-average.
With Martin it’s banking on recent history, but his nearly ten-to-one strikeout to walk ratio speaks for itself. Melancon has actually had ERA-’s of 83 and 82 the past two seasons, respectively, so it’s yet another case of bulking up on depth. All in all, Atlanta built a bullpen you would love to have in a five-game set, and this was a team that sorely needed it.
The Reds will admittedly not be in the postseason come October, and it’s very possible the same can be said for 2020. Yet there’s just something in the age of tanking that feels oddly refreshing to see a mediocre team acquire a star despite the prescribed paths that are now laid out for teams. Bauer could be worth something like 5-6 wins for the Reds until he’s a free agent, and the pieces they jettisoned were not going to really matter for 2020 anyway.
Scooter Gennett will be a free agent, as will Tanner Roark and Yasiel Puig. Taylor Trammel was a large price to pay, for sure, but consider the rest of their core: Nick Senzel, Luis Castillo, Joey Votto, Derek Deitrich, Eugenio Suarez, and Sonny Gray, in addition to Bauer, is more than enough to keep them among the NL Central fold.
New York Mets (??)
The thing with the Mets’ trade deadline is that it’s not only what they did do, it’s what they didn’t do. They traded for Marcus Stroman, giving up two of their better pitching prospects but still giving up a lesser haul than, say, the Yankees or Astros would have. They did not choose to trade Noah Syndergaard, which would have largely broken apart the starting pitching core the team still relies on.
Was not dealing Zack Wheeler ideal? Probably not, given he will walk away and command a solid salary even giving his history, but mostly because of how thin the field will be. They must feel confident they can extend him, or that getting the compensation pick is equally valuable alongside keeping him and giving them a chance for a wild card. It’s remote, but they have at least given themselves a small shot this year and next, which is saying a lot for a very dysfunctional club.
Houston F’n Astros
We thought we were going to get a “normal” trade deadline at least by this new one’s standards, with relievers and the like swapped between contenders, and it’s not like we haven’t seen a few weird deals already. Yet Houston has a way of blowing other clubs out of the water, and this deadline was no exception, as they acquired Zack Greinke for four of their top prospects, including Seth Beer, JB Bukauskas, and Corbin Martin. The honorable mention of the deadline here is obviously Arizona, who scoop up all of these players who could contribute before Greinke’s deal even expires.
For Houston, they create a super-rotation of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Greinke, one that could absolutely decimate a lineup in a short series. That’s not a guarantee, obviously, as the 2011 Phillies will always remind us, but it certainly can’t hurt! This is a team with a historically good core right now, and they made sure to make upgrades right now. They followed the textbook example of how to improve at the trade deadline, and that’s why they handily won it.