This last week in MLB transactions was probably it’s most busy week ever. The sheer volume of trades and acquisitions of all sorts was quite overwhelming. If you were lost in the shuffle of trade deadline week, here’s your primer with analysis and details of all major MLB deadline trades. Get ready, it’ll be a doozy.
July 23: Astros acquire LHP Scott Kazmir from Athletics for 2 Prospects
The Astros kicked off deadline week a bit early when they acquired lefty Scott Kazmir from the Athletics in exchange for 2 young prospects. The prospects are good-but-not-great kids with some potential, a decent return for the rental lefty. Kazmir Is having an outstanding season, one that he cannot possibly keep maintaining, but is a key piece for this surprising Astros team that desperately needed a veteran starting pitcher. They got their man with Scott Kazmir. A win for both sides.
July 24: Mets acquire 3B Juan Uribe and UTIL Kelly Johnson from Braves for 2 Prospects
On the eve of July 23, the Mets lineup was embarrassingly bad. Ruben Tejada, an extremely light hitter, was batting 2nd at shortstop, Wilmer Flores was batting third with a .249 AVG, John Mayberry Jr. was cleaning up despite hitting just .165 with no power, and the bottom of the lineup was an unmitigated disaster. The following day, the Mets corrected this issue by adding Uribe from the Braves to play a steady third base along with providing a plus hitting presence, and Johnson to play first, second, third, or left field. The price was 2 young pitchers, but no top prospects were shed in a good deal for all.
July 26: Royals acquire RHP Johnny Cueto from Reds for 3 Prospects
The Royals were thought to be the class of the American League before this trade, but were a bit weak in terms of starting pitching. They found a remedy in the best starting pitcher available on the market. Cueto instantly becomes the Royals’ ace, and makes them true favorites in the AL. The price was fair, but perhaps a bit underwhelming. The Reds acquired 3 young pitchers, but only 1 was thought to be a true top 10 prospect. I’d give an advantage to the Royals in this trade, as they now have their horse that can lead them to the Promised Land.
July 28: Blue Jays acquire SS Troy Tulowitzki from Rockies for SS Jose Reyes and 3 Prospects
This trade was completely unforeseen by any stretch of imagination. The Blue Jays, though, proved this deadline that they are truly going for it all. A swap of shortstops and prospects led to the Jays getting the best shortstop in the game. Tulowitzki is a game changer by himself, and when you factor in the presence of RF Jose Bautista, 3B Josh Donaldson, and DH Edwin Encarnacion, the Blue Jays have the most imposing lineup in baseball. The price was steep, though. There was no reason for the Jays, already the best offensive team in baseball, to ship their prospects to the Rockies for a shortstop when they already had a capable one in Reyes. These prospects would’ve been better off being traded to a team for an ace starting pitcher or two. The Jays would ultimately be able to pull another rabbit out of their hat when they acquired David Price later, but also totally emptied their prospect core while settling for only one pitcher. I’m going to boldly call this trade an advantage for the Rockies. They got some really talented young pitchers, and rid themselves of Tulowitzki’s contract.
July 28: Royals acquire UTIL Ben Zobrist from Athletics for 2 Prospects
The Royals completely solidified their status as World Series favorites with the acquisition of Ben Zobrist. Zobrist will primarily play second base and bat 7th, but can play literally any other position at a high level for the Royals. This versatility is very important on a team like the Royals, who play with a short bench in order to have a deeper bullpen. The A’s got two talented young pitchers, one of which is already with the club (Aaron Brooks). This is a win for both sides.
July 29: Rangers acquire LHP Cole Hamels and LHP Jake Diekman from Phillies for LHP Matt Harrison and 5 Prospects (!)
After years of speculation, the Phillies have finally traded Cole Hamels. The Rangers and Phillies worked on this trade for 6 month before finally pulling it off last week. While Hamels isn’t going to a 2015 contender, he is going to a ballclub that can contend in the coming years. The Rangers flat-out killed their farm system in this trade, but it was worth it in their eyes for the services of Hamels. It’s a bit too early to say who won this trade; how the prospects pan out will determine the winner.
July 30: Blue Jays acquire LHP David Price from Tigers for 3 Prospects
After the Tulowitzki trade, the Jays had one more trick up their sleeve before deadline day. The Jays haven’t made the playoffs since 1993, a streak that looks to be broken this year. The Jays traded top-20 MLB prospect Daniel Norris and 2 others pitchers to get Price. The Jays needed a guy like Price badly, and had to give up the whole prospect core to do it. Again, it’s too early to determine the winner of this trade, especially with Price a free agent to be, but early advantage goes to the Tigers. They got some stud prospects in return for an impending free agent they weren’t likely to re-sign.
July 30: 3-Team Trade: Dodgers acquire RHP Mat Latos, LHP Alex Wood, RHP Jim Johnson, LHP Luis Avilan, and Prospect 2B Jose Peraza, Braves acquire Prospect INF Hector Olivera, LHP Paco Rodriguez, Prospect, Draft Pick, Marlins acquire 3 Prospects
This whopper of a 3-team trade bolstered the Dodgers roster from top to bottom. The bullpen, a pronounced weak spot, has been revamped with the acquisitions of Johnson and Avilan, and the rotation, an injury-stricken mess, patched with Latos and Wood. The Dodgers now have a pitching staff that lines up equally as well as their powerful lineup, proving that they won’t go down easily in the playoffs this year. They also acquired top Braves prospect Jose Peraza. Unfortunately, this cost the Dodgers multiple prospects of their own, including prized infielder Hector Olivera. As for the Braves and Marlins, this trade was all about stocking up on young kids and selling veterans. In that regard, they did extremely well.
July 30: Astros acquire CF Carlos Gomez and RHP Mike Fiers from Brewers for 4 Prospects
If the Kazmir trade wasn’t a reminder that the Astros were going all-in this year, this trade proved it. Gomez is a former MVP runner-up that is a big boost for the potent Astros’ offense, and Fiers is a very good 4th starter with club control for years to come. In terms of prospects given up, this trade did cost a lot, but the Astros have prospects to burn. This trade was a great deal for both ballclubs.
July 31: Giants acquire RHP Mike Leake from Reds for 2 Prospects
The Giants needed rotation help for sure, and they got a helpful Band-Aid in Leake. Leake is a perfect fit for the Giants, who now boast ex-starters Tim Hudson, Ryan Vogelsong, and possibly Tim Lincecum in their bullpen. Needless to say, the Giants immensely helped their pitching corps with this trade. The same cannot be said for their prospect corps. One of the two prospects given up, RHP Keury Mella, is a true headliner. Mella was a steep price to pay for Leake, a number 3 starter, but a necessary evil in today’s MLB. Right now, this trade is even for both clubs, but in time may prove to be a win for the Reds.
July 31: Mets acquire LF Yoenis Cespedes from Tigers for 2 Prospects
This is the final big trade that occurred on deadline day, and it was quite a deal. The Mets badly needed more offense, and they nabbed Cespedes with 3 minutes to go until the deadline. Cespedes can bat 3rd and play left field for the Mets, a spot that was previously Michael Cuddyer’s before he got injured. Cespedes is overrated by many, but is having a big year in 2015 as a free agent to be. The Mets didn’t part with too much in the prospect department, so this is a Mets win.
This year’s deadline saw many teams, including the Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Astros, continue to add on mega pieces at the expense of their future. This will prove helpful right now, but in the long haul could really end up being a costly decision. Few MLB players were traded for each other this year, as more prospects changed teams than ever before. This is risky, but led for one of the most memorable deadline weeks in the MLB’s recent history.