This year’s trade deadline brought about plenty of the usual reactions; pins and needles, chewing your fingernails, and mashing the refresh button on your twitter feed. Down to a two team race separated by a game or two, the National League West has all the earmarks of a nail-biter.
Leading up to the deadline, we were told that the Dodgers were looking to make bold, sweeping moves, instead of the ‘under the radar’ moves they’ve made in the recent past. Fans got excited and dreamt about all the big names that could be sporting Dodger blue by week’s end. Names like Archer, Bruce, Sale and Lucroy were repeatedly mentioned, as if their repetition would increase the odds of landing them.
The fickle dance that is asset management is what makes the deadline such a rollercoaster; you don’t want to mortgage your entire farm system on one or two guys. Therein is the catch; the delicate balance between keeping your young talent to stay competitive, while giving the guys at the major league level the help they need to push them over the hump and make a serious post-season run.
Coming into the deadline, the Dodgers were comin in hot; conversely, the Giants lost something like 90 of their last 91 games, and their lead was down to 1 or 2 games. This meant that the two teams were not only battling it out for the NL West, but more than likely in on some of the same free agents as well.
First up was the Dodgers biggest move to date; OF Josh Reddick and SP Rich Hill for Grant Holmes, Frankie Montas and Jharel Cotton. Let’s look at our new sparkly players first:
Rich Hill, Starting Pitcher:
Rich Hill is a starting pitcher, and a lefty. And, in true Dodger form, was on the DL when acquired. Fortunately, the injury is just a blister, and he’s slated to start this sunday versus the Red Sox, and David Price. Evidently, Rich gets around. He has pitched for the A’s, Cubs, Orioles, Red Sox, Indians, Angels, Yankees, Nationals and Cardinals. Although his overall numbers don’t fly off the screen, he threw for a 1.67 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 over his last five starts. Promising!
Josh Reddick, Outfielder:
Josh Reddick is the kind of ballplayer you want on your club. All his teammates love him. He gives nothing short of 110% on the field, and his play backs that up. His triple slash looks like:
To the untrained eye: he can rake. A very good fielder as well, and an outfield of Josh Reddick, Joc Pederson, and Yasiel Puig could be the best defensive outfield in baseball, and we all know how highly the front office regards defense. (yes, I’m aware Yasiel was sent down; I believe he will be back, and thus the projection)
Now, we cannot talk about who we got without touching on who we gave up. For Josh and Rich, we sent Frankie Montas, Grant Holmes and Jharel Cotton. Now, even if you casually follow baseball, chances are you’ve heard the names Julio Urias and Jose De Leon, two gems of the Dodgers farm system. Neither were included in this deal, but right behind those two, many felt, was Grant Holmes. A 20yr old phenom, averaging 8.5k’s per 9 innings pitched, all signs point to big league level stuff. Frankie Montas is a top 100 prospect, who has suffered 2 separate rib injuries, can also bring it. Jharel Cotton was a throw in from all accounts, and won’t be missed all that much.
The Dodgers also got some help in the bullpen, where we acquired Jesse Chavez from Toronto for Mike Bolsinger, and Josh Fields from the Astros for Yordan Alvarez. Bolsinger had 21 starts for the Dodgers, going 6-6 with an 3.62 ERA. Jesse Chavez is a local kid who grew up in Fontana, went to Riverside Community College, and grew up a Dodgers fan. Jesse got a rough start in Colorado, throwing 30 pitches in 1 inning, giving up 2ER on 3 hits, but that’s in Coors field, where numbers are bloated. Josh Fields was promptly sent to AAA Oklahoma City, and rumor has it, he’ll get called up before the rosters expand.
The Giants did not go quiet into that good night, either. A few days before the deadline, they traded pitching prospect Adalberto Mejia to the Twins for all star 3b Eduardo Nunez. Matt Duffy has been on the DL with an achilles strain (as someone who just tore his, I know that pain). Landing an all star 3b for a single AAA arm was a coup for sure, but Giants fans were left wondering what happens when Duffy comes back.
About that….later that afternoon, the Giants traded third baseman Matt Duffy to the Tampa Bay Rays for lefty Matt Moore. The Rays have arms that everyone wants; Archer, Odorizzi, Moore. The Giants traded their rookie of the year candidate (2nd to the Cubs Kris Bryant) for the starting pitcher they needed. Jeff Samardzija has basically been Jeff Samardzija, and that translates to ‘lackluster’. Matt Cain started 1-5, was on the DL for 60 days, but he’s recently shown signs of his old self, which is trouble for anyone outside of San Francisco. Mad Bum is mad bum, the second best pitcher in the National League west, but the Giants felt they needed starting pitching help, and they filled that need for sure.
San Francisco also traded back-up catcher Andrew Susac and a prospect, righty Phil Bickford, to the Milwaukee Brewers for reliever Will Smith. The prospect, Bickford, was a top 100 prospect in 2016, and Andrew Susac will probably be the everyday catcher for the Brewers now that they traded Jonathan Lucroy to the Rangers. Will Smith is closer material, and, even an alien would see that his knee injury in June was the only thing keeping him from closing for the Brew crew.
So who did our infinitely wise twitter followers think won the trade deadline war? You see, I told you they were wise!
POLL: Who had a better #MLBTradeDeadline? Tweet us your thoughts!
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) August 4, 2016
Rome wasn’t built in a day. The dust from the deadline moves hasn’t settled yet, so it’s hard to definitively say who won the trade deadline; Did I want the Dodgers to get another arm like Chris Archer? Yes. Was I disappointed that the Giants got Matt Moore? Yep. But, did we trade anyone named Urias, De Leon, Verdugo or Bellinger? Nope. The Giants moved their stud 3b in a move that quite frankly shocked many Giants fans and even some players. Ironically, the standings reflect not only how many games separate these two teams, but can also be used as a barometer for how close their respective trade deadlines were; while the Giants got the starter they coveted, it cost them their stud third baseman and a clubhouse leader.
While the Dodgers didn’t really live up to the ‘game changing’ approach we heard about prior to the deadline, they did get better, without giving up a few of their prized assets. Thus, they get the nod as far as which team fared better at the deadline.