The Crazy 2014 MLB Trade Deadline

I have never understood why people like rollercoasters. I am sure that while they provide thrills and surprises, they make my stomach toss and turn like one of those crab boats you see on ‘Deadliest Catch’. I really can’t stomach them. I bring this up (not literally..) because the 2014 MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline has come and gone, and let me tell you, it was busy, it was exciting, and it was one of the busiest rollercoaster rides in recent memory. I will bring you all up to date on what happened, and perhaps provide my own opinions. You are all free to agree or disagree. That is the beauty of baseball! Here we go…
Tigers get David Price(OF) from the Rays. Rays get Drew Smyly(P), Nick Franklin(IF), and Willy Adames(SS). Mariners get Austin Jackson(OF)—This was a three-team blockbuster trade that addresses the desire of the Tigers in regard to them getting another frontline starter for their pennant run. David Price was one of the big prizes at the deadline, and he is regarded as one of the best pitchers in baseball I believe that the groundwork for Price’s exit from Tampa was actually laid last year when James Shields left Tampa for Kansas City. That was my first hint that the Rays might be getting ready to shake things up. The Rays, even though they are playing much better as of late, realized that they are probably not going anywhere this year. The Rays got a few pieces, and the Mariners got Austin Jackson, who is a very good OF and will be great for the Mariners.
Red Sox get Yeones Cespedes(OF). A’s get Jon Lester(P) and Johnny Gomes(OF)—The second huge deal of the day. It seems that Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland A’s really likes Red Sox Players. Let’s look at how many ex-Sox now play in Oakland. There is Jon Lester, Johnny Gomes, Jed Lowrie, Nick Punto, Coco Crisp, and Josh Reddick. At one point, Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry offered the Boston GM job to Billy Beane, and he turned it down. Is there a connection? I don’t know, but the two teams seem to do a lot of business. Oh, the trade…Jon Lester was set to become a free agent at the end of this season, and Boston probably had very little chance of resigning him, unless Lester would give the Sox a HUGE hometown discount. The Sox had to make a move on Lester, or they would have run the risk of him just simply walking away in free agency, with the Sox getting nothing for him. Johnny Gomes is a terrific character guy, but truthfully he has forgotten how to be an outfielder, and his bat isn’t strong enough to be a full-time DH. The result of the trade is this…The Red Sox get an All-Star OF who has won the last two Home Run Derby’s at the MLB Mid-Summer Classic. He is going to make the Green Monster cry in Fenway Park. He has an absolute cannon for an arm and is only going to get better. Just picture this…Pedroia, Cespedes, Ortiz, and Napoli as your 2-3-4-5 hitters. The A’s get one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball with Jon Lester. No losers here. There is a rumor swirling around that the goodbye hug Lester received from John Henry was more of a ‘see you soon’ than it was a goodbye. The rumor is that Henry may have said to Lester ‘Go to Oakland for a few months. We will get another huge bat and when the season is over, we will give you whatever you want to come back to Boston.’ It is almost logical, and it will be interesting to see what develops. It is a known fact that Lester did not want to be traded, and he wanted to stay in Boston for the remainder of his career.
The A’s get Sam Fuld(OF), the Twins get Tommy Milone(P)—Tommy Milone had been pitching very well. In fact, he was 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA over his last 11 starts, but when the A’s acquired Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs, Milone was sent down to AAA Sacramento. At that point, he asked for a trade. He got one, to Minnesota. Sam Fuld is a player that I have always liked. He is gritty and is a very lunch pail kind of player. Milone will get to showcase his talents at Target Field in Minnesota, and he should do well.
The Cardinals get John Lackey(P) and Corey Littrell (P), the Red Sox get Joe Kelly(P) and Allen Craig(OF)—Another step in the Red Sox dismantling the 2013 World Series winning team that is in last place in 2014. Ben Cherington (GM-Boston) knew that this was a necessary retooling. John Lackey, due to an arm injury that caused him to miss the entire 2012 season, had a clause in his contract that would have had him making only $500K for next season, and for a #3 starter, that is pretty tempting for any team. The Cardinals have long coveted Lackey, and the price of Joe Kelly and Allen Craig didn’t seem to be too steep of a price for the Cardinals. I think that both teams got what they wanted. I can’t wait to see Allen Craig hit in Fenway Park…
Brewers get Gerardo Parra(OF), D’Backs get Mitch Haniga(OF) and Anthony Banda(P). Good trade for the Brewers. Parra is a solid player and the D’Backs get some good pieces for the future.
Nationals get Asdrubal Cabrerra(SS), Indians get Zach Walters(SS). I did not see this coming. What can I say about Cabrerra that has not already been said? He is/was a spectacular defensive player. He is/was one of the most exciting shortstops I have ever seen…period. He is not quite that player anymore, and he really has no bat to speak of. Walters may be in the next wave of really exciting young infielders. He has 18 HR’s between the Majors and AAA Syracuse this year.
Mariners get Chris Denofria(OF), Padres get Abraham Almonte(OF) and Stephen Kohlscheen(P)—The best piece of this trade is Almonte. He is a pretty neat player.
Orioles get Andrew Miller(P), Red Sox get Eduardo Rodriguez(OF)-Miller is a very tall reliever with some control issues. That said, it was partially due to his control issues that he was effective. I have watched him pitch, and every time he came in I had to check my blood pressure. A change of scenery was probably needed for him.
Yankees get Stephen Drew(SS) Red Sox get Kelly Johnson(3B)—These intense rivals very rarely do business, so when they do…well, let’s just say that it is a surprise. When the Sox signed Drew a few months in to the season after he turned town a qualifying offer of $14M, I didn’t think he would ever make it back to Fenway Park unless he bought a ticket. However, the Boston 3B/SS issues caused them to reconsider, and they signed him to a pro-rated $10M deal. Drew is excellent fielder, but he simply couldn’t find his groove at the plate. His BA was abysmal. The Sox have Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogearts, so Drew became expendable. Also, with Kelly Johnson coming over, Drew became really expendable.
Yankees get Martin Prado(IF), D’Backs get Peter O’Brien(C) and a PTBNL or cash—Prado has been around quite a long time. He is solid and dependable, plus with Kelly Johnson now playing in Boston, the deal makes sense. As far as O’Brien goes, catchers are a rare commodity, and teams usually hang on to good ones. O’Brien may be a good backstop down the road.
Braves get Emilio Binafacio(IF) and James Russell(P), Cubs get Victor Caratini(C)– Bonafacio is the name piece in this deal. Caratini to the Cubs? Who did he piss off? There were thoughts that down the road, he would be the next Brian McCann for the Braves.
Marlins get Jared Cosart(P), Austin Wates(OF), and Enrique Hernandez(IF), Astros get Jake Marisnick(P), Frances Martes(P), and Colin Moran(3B)–Cosart was turning out to be one of the best pitchers on a very young Astros staff. He was probably the best part of a trade of minor pieces.
And I have to include this…A’s get Jeff Samardzija(P) and Jason Hammel(P), Cubs get Addison Russell(SS), Billy McKinney(OF), Dan Straily(P), and a PTBNL. Even though this was not a deadline deal, it is important, because it showed everyone that the A’s were in it to win it. They fired the first shots in the deadline wars. Both of these pitchers are MLB established starters, and they make the A’s very serious contenders for the AL pennant.
I may have missed a few pre-deadline deals, but these are the major ones. Surprises? Perhaps. The Red Sox were by far the most active and the Mets did nothing. After spending a little time looking at the new rosters of the teams that made moves at the deadline, I believe, along with most everyone else that analyzes this stuff, that the Tigers and the A’s are the favorites to play for the AL pennant. Their pitching is downright scary. Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez, Porcello, and now you add Price. Shudder…The A’s made moves that will have them running away with the otherwise weak AL West.

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