MLB Trade Deadline Passes with Minimal Action
2019 marked the first time since MLB removed the August waiver trade period, meaning teams would be operating with July 31st as the hard-line to getting a deal done. And in turn, it was expected to make this time of year a more exciting one.
Suffice to say it was quiet, save for the announcement that Zack Greinke was going to the Houston Astros and that Trevor Bauer was part of a three-team blockbuster move.
A lot of the other big names such as Madison Bumgarner, Felipe Vázquez, Noah Syndergaard, Robbie Ray, Will Smith, Brad Hand, and Ken Giles stayed put, while Marcus Stroman went from one bad team to another. Even Bauer went to a non-contender, which takes a bit of the excitement out of his trade.
Here is a look at how all three of Southern California’s baseball teams fared over the past 24 hours.
Incoming: Max Stassi, C
Departing: Rainier Rivas, OF, Raider Uceta, OF
Whether it be the lack of options, the tremendous amount of teams looking for the same thing, or both (thus a potential high acquisition cost), the Angels failed to address their most pressing need: pitching. And it makes sense. There were no one or two pitchers that could turn this team from a wild-card contender into a World Series one, so there wasn’t a need to overpay and lose valuable assets.
Instead, they settled for light-hitting catcher Max Stassi from their division rivals, the Houston Astros, in exchange for two teenage outfielders who aren’t in the organization’s Top 30 Prospect Rankings.
The 28-year-old has not seen too much time this season, collecting just 98 plate appearances and 219 innings behind the plate, and his .167/.235/.211 line shows he’s not a threat with a bat. But he is a reliable defensive catcher with excellent framing skills and a healthy body. And because of this, any offense you get from him is a bonus.
The one thing he does have going for him at the plate, though, is his excellent 50% hard-hit rate (34.4% is the MLB average), per Statcast. This helps explain why his Expected Batting Average and Slugging Percentage are higher than what he actually has- albeit they’re still not impressive.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Incoming: Jedd Gyorko, IF, Adam Kolarek, LHP, Cash Considerations, International Cap Space
Departing: Tony Cingrani, LHP, Jeffrey Abreu, RHP, Niko Hulsizer, OF, Rocky Gale, C, Brock Stewart, RHP
The Dodgers entered this last week before the MLB Trade Deadline with not many glaring holes to fill. The only problem they had to address was getting help in the bullpen, hence the negotiations for Shane Greene and Felipe Vázquez. They ended up making three different trades, but none brought in the quality reliever, or two, that Los Angeles was speculated to get.
Jedd Gyorko is a veteran power-hitting infielder with 25-30 homer potential and defensive versatility that fits the mold of the types of players the Dodgers seem to bring in every year. The ironic part is that he was brought in as insurance for the Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernández, and David Freese injuries while he himself is still on the IL as of now- albeit not for long.
He’s only accumulated 62 plate appearances this year in which he’s hit .196/.274/.304 with two homers. Per FanGraphs, he has a healthy 45.2% hard-hit rate, combined with a .225 BABIP which means he’s due for better luck with the Dodgers. He’s making $13 million in 2019, with a $13 million club option for 2020 or $1 million buyout.
But it’s Adam Kolarek from the Tampa Bay Rays who most eyes will be on. He’s the reliever the Dodger front office brought in, but not who fans and people around the league expected because of his unimpressive 3.95 ERA, 4.54 FIP, and 1.223 WHIP in 43.1 innings. And his below-average strikeout rate and mediocre walk rate aren’t all too promising either.
But he has a 2.40 ERA in his last 15 innings (although ERA isn’t the be all end all for relievers), and has been particularly tough on lefties, holding them to a measly .531 OPS and .232 wOBA with his funky southpaw delivery. And his walk rate drops to an excellent 2.5% against left-handed hitters.
Also, while Kolarek’s low strikeout numbers aren’t what you want, the lefty makes up for it by keeping the ball down (64.3% groundball rate). In a sense, he acts as a replacement for Scott Alexander, as he recovers from an injury.
San Diego Padres
Incoming: Taylor Trammell, OF
Departing: Franmil Reyes, OF, Logan Allen, LHP, Victor Nova, IF/OF
The Padres took part in one of the two blockbuster trades to shake MLB this year, as they helped send ace Trevor Bauer from the Cleveland Indians to the Cincinnati Red in a three-team deal. And in turn, San Diego sent a power-hitting corner outfielder and left-handed rookie pitcher to Cleveland for a top prospect from Cincinnati.
The loss of Franmil Reyes hurts because he was a 24-year-old corner outfielder with power and team control through 2024. And in 2019 he already has 27 home runs in 99 games. However, Reyes was surplus because had the same makeup as Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe at the plate- high power, low on-base, lots of strikeouts- but just younger and with below-average defense.
Besides, many projected him as a DH down-the-line because of his fielding ability, which is why moving him from the National League is an easier pill to swallow for San Diego. And losing Logan Allen isn’t all too big of a deal in the bigger picture either.
Yes, he was MLB Pipeline’s 98th-ranked prospect, but the lefty is projected as a fourth or fifth starter at the MLB level and isn’t as highly regarded as the rest of the tremendous young pitching depth in the organization.
After allowing two runs in 13 innings to start his MLB career, the season has gone as bad as it could. Allen’s allowed 17 runs in his last 12.1 innings, shooting up his ERA and WHIP to an ugly 6.75 and 1.78.
He’s also had problems with missing bats and allowing walks. It’s always good when a hitter has a 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but when a pitcher is doing that, there’s something drastically wrong. The rookie has walked a horrid 11% of hitters while striking out just 11.9% (25% is roughly average).
And in return, A.J. Preller picked up outfield prospect Taylor Trammell, who is experiencing a down year at the plate in 2019. But he’s MLB Pipeline’s 30th-ranked prospect and in ESPN’s Keith Law’s top 20.
Trammell has the high-end potential that makes the deal worth the risk. He profiles as a much-needed long-term left-handed bat in the lineup with quality centerfield defense. Besides, the prospect depth the Padres have built up will help soften the blow if his bat never meets expectations.
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Featured Image via Flickr/Marshall Dunlap