The MLB All Star Game and festivities are finished which only means one thing: it’s time for the hot stove to be turned all the way up. In 1986, Major League baseball changed the non-waiver trade deadline from June 15th to July 31st (unless July 31st falls on a Sunday which this year it actually does making the deadline August 1st) and since then we have seen our fair share of trades. We have seen deals that did not amount to much at all, but we have also seen plenty of franchise altering trades occurring minutes before the deadline as well as during the weeks leading up to it.
In 2000, the last place Phillies decided to start rebuilding and dealt All-World pitcher Curt Schilling to the upstart Diamondbacks for a group of young players. A year later, Schilling helped carry Arizona to a World Series title while the group of players the Phillies got in return did not pan out too well, the trade did jump start the rebuilding efforts that eventually lead to a World Series title of their own in 2008.
In 2013, the Orioles were determined to make the postseason for a second consecutive season and traded inconsistent young starter Jake Arrieta to the last place Chicago Cubs for veteran starter Scott Feldman. Feldman made 15 mediocre starts (4.27 ERA in those starts) for Baltimore before leaving in free agency as the Orioles fell short of the playoffs and are still in desperate need of starting rotation help. Arrieta went on to win the N.L. Cy Young in 2015 and lead the Cubs back to the postseason.
These are just two instances where a team takes a big gamble in an attempt at a championship with polar opposite results. Just like the 2000 Diamondbacks and the 2013 Orioles, every team that finds themselves in playoff contention at the 2016 trade deadline will have to answer one question: “is it worth sacrificing some of our potential future success for a better chance at immediate success?” Just last season, the Royals dealt three young pitching prospects for Reds ace Johnny Cueto and went on to win the World Series and the Nationals, in an attempt at a playoff push, traded for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon who would end up getting in a fist fight with the team’s best player Bryce Harper as the Nationals failed to make the playoffs.
Which franchise’s future will be forever changed this trade deadline? With big names like Ryan Braun, Aroldis Chapman, Carlos Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig all rumored to be on the trade block, here are some trades we would like to see happen before the August 1st deadline:
Braves trade Julio Teheran to the Rangers
This is a deal that makes a lot of sense for both sides. The Braves are in the middle of a massive rebuild. Even though Teheran is only 25 years old and under contract until at least 2019 (Atlanta has a team option for 2020), there is a chance the Braves are not ready to contend until the last year or two of Teheran’s contract. Atlanta could get top dollar for him if they were to trade him now. On the flip side, the Texas Rangers have the best record in the American League at the break despite their pitching rotation being a mess. Outside of Cole Hamels, who they dealt three top 100 prospects for at last season’s trade deadline, they have been abysmal. Even after last year’s deal, Texas still has the third best rated farm system in all of baseball (based on MLB.com’s rankings). A deal centered around slugger Joey Gallo (9th on MLB’s top 100 prospect list) or outfielder Lewis Brinson (16th on the top 100 list) would be a potential win/win for both sides.
Rockies trade Carlos Gonzalez to the Dodgers for Yasiel Puig
Colorado showed at last year’s trade deadline they are not afraid to trade a perennial All-Star (Troy Tulowitzki) for a player whose name might be bigger than their actual production (Jose Reyes) all while eating money in the process. The relationship between Dodgers management and Yasiel Puig has been as public and as erratic as a Taylor Swift relationship with a tell-all book playing the role of a breakup song. In this trade scenario, Gonzalez finally gets a chance to play for a winning team while Puig gets a fresh start with a small media market, a team with very little year to year expectations, and a home field that is the best hitters park in all of baseball.
Padres trade Drew Pomeranz to the Orioles
Similar to the Texas Rangers, the Baltimore Orioles sit at the top of their division at the break despite having their starting rotation being a disaster outside of Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman. The difference between the Rangers and Orioles is that Baltimore has the 27th ranked farm system in all of baseball. Baltimore got into this situation after several years of trading away young players (Arrieta, Eduardo Rodriguez, Zach Davies) for two month rentals (Feldman, Andrew Miller, Gerardo Parra) and giving away draft picks in compensation for below average starters Ubaldo Jimenez and Yovani Gallardo. I am on board with the Birds making another deadline deal because Pomeranz fills a huge need for the Orioles AND he is actually under team control beyond this season (eligible for free agency after the 2018 season) unlike the players acquired at the deadline each of the last three seasons. With All-Star’s Matt Wieters and Mark Trumbo free agents at the end of the season, Baltimore’s window is now and the front office should let San Diego have their pick of what is left of a bare farm system to get this deal done.
Yankees trade Andrew Miller to the Cubs
The Cubs were on a historic pace to start this season and have finally started coming back to Earth, going 2-8 over their last ten games. That stretch includes four-game and five-game losing streaks. The Cubs will be fine at the end of the day and were bound to hit some kind of rough patch after their torrid start. This team doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses and holes to fill, but one thing they should consider is making the backend of their bullpen unhittable. We’ve seen it with the Royals the past two years and we’ve seen several other teams try to follow suit with putting all of their focus on the backend of the bullpen. Trading for a shutdown guy like Andrew Miller can provide that unhittable backend of the bullpen that can push a team over the hump and get them to the Fall Classic. Hector Rondon has been solid this year posting an ERA of 1.72, but he has four blown saves. Travis Wood has outperformed his expectations and helped provide stability to this Cubs bullpen by posting an ERA of 2.97, but this bullpen is missing that shutdown guy to get them to the 9th for Rondon. That guy needs to be Andrew Miller.
Brewers trade Jonathan Lucroy to the Indians
Since June 17th, The Land saw their championship drought end when the Cavaliers won the NBA Championship over the “MVP” and they also saw their baseball team take over the top of the AL Central. The Indians look poised to win their first division title since 2007. Their offense ranks in the top six in the AL in most major offensive categories, but they have a major hole in the offense coming from the catcher’s position. Yan Gomes has played in 68 games for them and is hitting an awful .166. Their backup, Chris Gimenez, has played in 33 games and is hitting slightly higher at .185. The Indians need a major upgrade here and that upgrade should be NL All-Star Jonathan Lucroy. His slash line through the first half of the season is .304/.361/.491, which is more than double both Gomes and Gimenez. The Indians would more than likely have to give up one or two of their current top-100 prospects for Lucroy. He does have a player option for 2017 making him slightly more than a rental for the Indians, but this gives them an immediate help as they make their push for the postseason.
Brewers also trade Ryan Braun to the Giants
This year happens to be 2016 and an even year, which means that the San Francisco Giants will be your World Series Champions come October. I don’t know how Bochy does it, but even years belong to him and the Giants. Here we are at the break and guess what, the Giants have the best record in all of baseball and hold a 6.5 game lead over the Dodgers. The Giants lost a valuable part of their team when one of their leaders, Hunter Pence, went down in early June. He is set to be sidelined for at least two months with a hamstring injury. His absence leaves a hole in the Giants outfield. Ryan Braun should be the guy to fill this void and help preserve the NL West lead as they head for the postseason. Braun is slashing an impressive .312/.367/.514 this season. He would also provide an upgrade defensively over Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco. The Giants farm system is not deep by any means, but giving up a top prospect helps this team separate themselves from the rest of the league this year and further as he is under team control until 2020 with a player/team option in 2021.
Other pitchers to keep an eye on at the deadline:
Andrew Cashner, San Diego
Jeanmar Gomez, Philadelphia
Jeremy Helickson, Philadelphia
Rich Hill, Oakland
Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh
Ryan Madson, Oakland
Jake McGee, Colorado
Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay
Erasmo Ramirez, Tampa Bay
Ervin Santana, Minnesota
Hector Santiago, L.A. Angels
Will Smith, Milwaukee
Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta
Other hitters to keep an eye on at the deadline:
Erick Aybar, Atlanta
Jay Bruce, Cincinnati
Rusney Castillo, Boston
David Freese, Pittsburgh
Matt Kemp, San Diego
Logan Morrison, Tampa Bay
Steve Pearce, Tampa Bay
Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati
Trevor Plouffe, Minnesota
Josh Reddick, Oakland
Jonathan Singleton, Houston
Jorge Soler, Chicago Cubs
Melvin Upton Jr. San Diego
Scott Van Slyke, L.A. Dodgers
-Randy Haines & Sean Demetrakis
Photo credit: fantasy411.mlblogs.com
Statistics courtesy of baseballreference.com