Dan's Dugout: Mets, Jays, Dodgers made out like Bandits • Latino Sports

Baseball

Dan’s Dugout: Mets, Jays, Dodgers made out like Bandits

on

Now that the trading frenzy has subsided, the races for postseason berths has been radically altered.

Suddenly, the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets have moved from pretenders to contenders. And the Los Angeles Dodgers have put some daylight between themselves and the hard-charging San Francisco Giants.

David Price is on the move again, this time to Toronto

David Price is on the move again, this time to Toronto

Thinking they can regroup in time to wrest the AL East title from the grasp of the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays brought several All-Stars home from the trade market. Toronto not only acquired Troy Tulowitzki from Colorado but also added crack southpaw starter David Price from Detroit. But that wasn’t all: they grabbed fleet Philadelphia outfielder Ben Revere to replace Jose Reyes (traded to the Rockies) as their leadoff man and bolstered their bullpen with righthanders Mark Lowe (from Seattle) and LaTroy Hawkins (from Colorado). Amazingly, Reyes was the only major-leaguer who left in all those swaps.

All five National League East clubs were active, although only the Mets and front-running Washington Nationals were buyers rather than builders.

Yoenis Cespedes has found a new home in Flushing

Yoenis Cespedes has found a new home in Flushing

Rejecting rumors that they wouldn’t spend to improve, the denizens of Flushing found a slugger in Yoenis Cespedes (Tigers), veteran infield help in Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson (Braves), and a solid set-up man in former Washington bullpen hand Tyler Clippard (A’s). It hardly matters that they lost Carlos Gomez, whom they targeted before he was shipper to the Astros by the Brewers, and Jenrry Mejia, a late-inning reliever now banned for 162 games because of a second positive drug test.

Washington, beleaguered by bullpen problems, bolstered that department by landing Jonathan Papelbon from Philadelphia. But they’ll face a serious challenge from the rejuvenated Mets, who had scored the least runs in the league before landing Cespedes for a couple of minor-leaguers.

The Phillies also unloaded the huge salary of star southpaw Cole Hamels, who went to Texas with reliever

Cole Hamels starts a new life in Texas

Cole Hamels starts a new life in Texas

Jack Diekman, and Revere, who netted a pair of minor-league pitchers from the Jays.

Like the Phils, the Marlins cut cost by casting off pitchers Mat Latos (to the Dodgers), Dan Haren (to the Cubs), and Steve Cishek (to St. Louis), while keeping jack-of-all-trades Martin Prado for a possible waiver deal this month.

The Atlanta Braves surprised by sending their top lefty starter (Alex Wood), top closer (Jim Johnson), and top prospect (Jose Peraza) to the Dodgers in a 13-player deal that also involved the Marlins. The Braves, who also sent pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Luis Avilan to Los Angeles, got back only unproven but highly-paid Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, injured lefty reliever Paco Rodriguez, minor-leaguer Zach Bird, and a future draft choice. Rumor has it the Dodgers also threw in a tuna fish sandwich on rye with a side of cole slaw.

Alex Wood gives the Dodgers a young, quality lefthander

Alex Wood gives the Dodgers a young, quality lefthander

Worried that their rotation was thin behind Cy Young contenders Zach Grienke and Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers added two quality starters in Latos and Wood while beefing up their pen with Johnson and Avilan. Wood and Avilan throw lefthanded.

Up the coast, the Giants snagged Cincinnati starter Mike Leake for two prospects but otherwise stood still. Neither Arizona nor San Diego did anything of consequence, although the Padres were connected to multiple rumors regarding a potential housecleaning.

San Francisco made a pitch for Hamels but the lefty attracted a better off from the Texas Rangers, an under-.500 team with eyes on a wild-card berth. Hamels and Diekman brought Philadelphia six men in return, including lefthander Matt Harrison and top catching prospect Jorge Alfaro.

Philadelphia hopes to move Aaron Harang and Jeff Francoeur via waivers and perhaps Chase Utley as well — if he waives his no-trade clause.

In the American League East, the front-running Yankees made a strong bid for San Diego closer Craig

Craig Kimbrel wasn't traded after all

Craig Kimbrel wasn’t traded after all

Kimbrel but didn’t offer enough to satisfy the Padres since the pitcher still has four years remaining on his current contract. Badly needing front-line pitching, the Yanks added only Seattle utilityman Dustin Ackley — a move that elicited yawns among Yankee fans.

Neither Boston, marooned in the cellar, nor Tampa Bay, where cost is a issue, made many moves. The Sox, needing pitching, instead unloaded salary by sending Shane Victorino to the Angels. The Rays also dealt with Anaheim, sending outfielder David DeJesus to the Big A, and shipped reliever Kevin Jepsen to Minnesota for two prospects.

The Baltimore Orioles, on the other hand, hope to defend their AL East title by adding leadoff man Gerardo Parra, obtained from Milwaukee, and backup outfielder Junior Lake from the Cubs. Parra, owner of a powerful outfield throwing arm, was targeted by several teams. The Birds parted with pitcher Tommy Hunter to land Lake but otherwise used only minor-leaguers in their transactions.

Johnny Cueto moves from sagging Cincinnati to soaring Kansas City

Johnny Cueto moves from sagging Cincinnati to soaring Kansas City

Among Central Division teams, the Kansas City Royals were aggressive and successful, landing a big fish in Cincinnati ace Johnny Cueto and then acquiring versatile Ben Zobrist from Oakland. The two vets cost five prospects, including promising lefty Brandon Finnegan.

Cleveland resisted a clamor for Carlos Carrasco, holding onto the promising starter, but sent slugger Brandon Moss to St. Louis for promising prospect Rob Kaminsky, a Jersey boy. They also unloaded salary by sending David Murphy to the Angels and lefthanded reliever Marc Rzepczynski to San Diego, both for prospects.

As for the Twins, a team with designs on duplicating the run of the 2014 Royals, they bolstered their bullpen by sending prospects to the Rays for Jepsen. The Chicago White Sox, who really needed to shake up their roster, were even more silent than that.

And surprise, surprise: Detroit’s Dave Dombrowski cashed in his chips, sending Price to Toronto, Cespedes to the Mets, and closer Joakim Soria to Pittsburgh. That was a shocker for a team that was only a couple of games under .500.

In the American League West, the Texas Rangers made the biggest splash by hooking Hamels, who threw a no-hitter for the Phillies in his final National League start. Landing the lefthanded Hamels allowed the team to include Matt Harrison in the trade, which also netted the Phillies five prospects.

Since Texas stood under .500 at the time the deal was announced, the Rangers might have been looking beyond 2015. The Houston Astros, on the other hand, were definitely in it to win it at the deadline.

Seeking a worst-to-first season, the ‘stros got starters Scott Kazmir (from the A’s) and Mike Fiers (from the Brewers) and an All-Star centerfielder in Gomez, a five-tools player. Those three vets cost only six prospects, who may or may not become productive major-leaguers.

Carlos Gomez has been dealt from the Brewers to the Astros. Photo by Frankhyatt.com

Carlos Gomez has been dealt from the Brewers to the Astros.
Photo by Frankhyatt.com

The Angels addressed their outfield, adding Shane Victorino (from the Red Sox), David DeJesus (from the Rays), and David Murphy (from the Indians), sacrificing mostly minor-league talent in return.

Seattle and Oakland, pre-season picks for the AL West title, marked the deadline for dealing for the future. The M’s sent J.A. Happ to Pittsburgh, Mark Lowe to Toronto, and Dustin Ackley to the Yankees, opening up a roster spot for top prospect Ketel Marte. The A’s were just as good at salary-shedding, moving Zobrist (to KC), Clippard (to the Mets), Kazmir (to Houston), and Ryan Cook (to Boston) but landing only lefthander Felix Doubront (from Toronto) and a slew of minor-leaguers.

The team with the best record, the St. Louis Cardinals, helped their pen by adding former closers Jonathan Broxton from Milwaukee and Steve Cishek from Miami. The Cards also filled the hole created by Matt Holliday’s second trip to the DL be securing Cleveland outfielder Brandon Moss, who can also play first base. The Cards parted only with prospects.

Aramis Ramirez moves from Milwaukee to Pittsburgh Frankhyatt.com photo

Aramis Ramirez moves from Milwaukee to Pittsburgh Frankhyatt.com photo

Both the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates, possible opponents in the NL’s wild-card playoff, were active. Headed to Wrigley are durable starter Dan Haren and reliever Tommy Hunter, while the Bucs got third baseman Aramis Ramirez (from Milwaukee), first baseman Michael Morse (from the Dodgers) and pitchers J.A. Happ, a lefthanded starter from Seattle, and relievers Joe Blanton (from KC) and Joakim Soria (from Detroit). Again, the cost was prospects.

With the cellar in their sights, Cincinnati and Milwaukee were sellers. The Reds dealt Johnny Cueto (to KC) and Mike Leake (to San Francisco) for five prospects, while the Brewers unloaded Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Gomez, Gerardo Parra, Aramis Ramirez, Mike Fiers, and Jonathan Broxton in the biggest wholesale sell-off by any major-league club.

In retrospect, the most amazing thing about the trading deadline is the names of players on the block but not dealt: Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce (Reds), Craig Kimbrel and Justin Upton (Padres), Cameron Maybin (Braves), Adam Lind (Brewers), Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies), and Chase Utley (Phillies), among others. Because of their high salaries, some are expected to clear waivers this month and go elsewhere before the end-of-the-month cutoff date that freezes rosters for the postseason. Players acquired in September are ineligible to play for their new teams once the season ends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

Recommended for you