Photo Credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images – NY Post
Despite a plethora of teams searching for pitching help, the July 31st non-waiver wasn’t spectacular or insane…it was just meh. There were no mega deals, and no real surprises that came out of left field; but there was a series of solid moves that don’t seem to be too outrageous.
A year ago, New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman was in charge of a firesale as his team rapidly fell out of the playoff hunt; fast forward to 2017, Cashman was extremely active on the trade market to strengthen his roster for the final two months. The Yankees traded for starters Sonny Gray and Jamie Garcia to improve an injured starting staff, while giving up pitchers that were several years away from the big show at best. New York was very active in the pitching market heading into the deadline, and Cashman came away with two of the league’s better starters as result.
While New York pulled in a lot of talent, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to its farm system in the next few years. Cashman traded away a lot of the talent that he had brought into the system over the last couple of years. It was a series of aggressive moves that are designed to strengthen the team’s current core for a deep playoff run.
New York Yankees: By the deadline, the Yankees brought in a bunch of pitchers because they were in a position to meet the market demand; very few teams completely remade their bullpen and starting staff in the manor that New York did by the deadline. But these additions came at a steep cost, including talented starter Zack Littell — who was striking out 8 batters per nine innings in triple-A Tampa. Cashman’s move’s were designed to help the team win big over the next three to four years, but leave major question marks moving forward.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Los Angeles used some of its deep farm in order to strengthen its pitching staff by adding Yu Darvish (SP), Tony Watson (RP), and Tony Cingrani (RP) to its major league roster. While these moves cost the Dodgers some prospects, the biggest name being Willie Calhoun, they didn’t really gut the team’s farm system; which means that they’ll have options going into the September call-ups, which can help prevent their roster from tiring out heading into the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Rays: Tampa, like most teams on this list, needed pitching help. Which means that the Rays acquired reliever Steve Cishek from Seattle and Dan Jennings from the White Sox, both are expected make an immediate impact on their bullpen. The Rays’ most surprising, and expensive move (prospect wise) was the decision to acquire Lucas Duda from New York; which only cost them a a mid-level relief prospect. It was a solid trade deadline the Rays’ bullpen that much deeper, and their line-up a little longer.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubs made the first, and probably only, big transaction by bringing in Jose Quintana from their cross-town rivals for four prospects; but they also made a couple of moves at the deadline to lengthen their line-up and bullpen. Chicago brought in reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila from detroit for a couple of infield prospects. This move didn’t cost a lot in terms of prospects, but will allow manager Joe Madon some more flexibility in his day-to-day management of the roster.
Seattle Mariners: While Seattle didn’t make any moves on July 31st, the M’s did lose minor leaguer Tyler Smith to waivers, general manager Jerry Dipoto made several measured moves to improve his team’s pitching staff for the next few years. The Mariners brought in reliever David Phelps (for four prospects), long arm Erasmo Ramirez (for Cishek), and talented lefty Marco Gonzales (for Tyler O’Neil). These moves brought in a series of young, cost controlled, arms that will be with the organization for the next several years; and that was clearly the goal.
Boston Red Sox: Despite real needs in their bullpen, the Redsox were only able to get one major league reliever…and that was Addison Reed from the Mets, which cost them four prospects. Boston’s lack of activity on the trade market — while the Yankees overhauled their pitching staff — leaves them in extremely tough position in the AL East.
Houston Astros: Houston may have the best record in the American League, but there are still some serious questions about the depth of the Astros starting staff and bullpen; unfortunately, all they were able to get out of the trading deadline was Fancisco Liriano. While Liriano is a solid addition, just adding one relief pitcher to the roster isn’t going to help Houston make a deep playoff run.