Dan's Dugout: Rangers Reap Rewards on Deadline Day • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Rangers Reap Rewards on Deadline Day


Nothing like waiting til the last minute.

With the clock ticking down to 4 pm Eastern on August 1, a record 18 deals had been consummated.

The reason is obvious: with 10 of the 30 teams able to qualify for the postseason, everybody thinks they can get there.

For the second straight year, the Texas Rangers seem to be a lock.

Cole Hamels went from the Phils to the Rangers last year. Credit: Bill Menzel

Cole Hamels went from the Phils to the Rangers last year.
Credit: Bill Menzel

Last year, they landed lefthander Cole Hamels immediately after he had pitched a no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies.

This year, the haul included switch-hitting outfielder Carlos Beltran and catcher Jonathan Lucroy, a pair of sluggers who will make the formidable Texas lineup even tougher. The Lucroy deal also turned Milwaukee closer Jeremy Jeffress into a Ranger reliever.

Beltran, whose contract expires after this season, was the latest in an unexpected salary purge by the New York Yankees, a team better known as a buyer than a seller.

Realizing that age was making his club’s future cloudy, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman rebuilt his farm system in a matter of days. Prior to dealing Beltran, he sent two-thirds of his vaunted bullpen packing. But the trades of Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs and Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians netted eight solid prospects, some of them certain to help the Yankees stay alive in a tough American League East title chase.

NL RBI leader Jay Bruce is now a member of the Mets.

NL RBI leader Jay Bruce is now a member of the Mets.

The other New York team, the Mets, chose the other route. They added Jay Bruce, a hot commodity, from the Cincinnati Reds and reacquired lefthanded starter Jon Niese, whom they sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Neil Walker last winter.

Bruce leads the NL in runs batted in and will slot neatly into the New York lineup behind Yoenis Cespedes, last year’s trade deadline acquisition. Although they are battling injuries that have sidelined Lucas Duda, David Wright, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Juan Lagares simultaneously, the Mets have hopes of catching the Miami Marlins in the wild-card chase.

It doesn’t count as a trade but getting Dee Gordon back after an 80-game suspension might be the best addition to any team. Miami’s fleet second baseman, who led the National League in batting and stolen bases last summer, will reach base often ahead of revitalized slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Adding to the pennant race fever in Florida is the acquisition of solid starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, who had to shave his beard to conform with the rules of Miami manager Don Mattingly.

The first-place Washington Nationals, who fortified their bullpen July 30 by adding closer Mark Melancon from Pittsburgh, might be out of reach.

In the NL West, both the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers loaded up with new players at

Mark Melancon improves the Washington bullpen

Mark Melancon improves the Washington bullpen

the last minute. The Giants, who have won the World Series in each of the last three even-numbered years, landed lefthanded pitchers Matt Moore, a starter from Tampa Bay, and Will Smith, a reliever from Milwaukee, plus third baseman Eduardo Nunez from Minnesota. Down the coast, the Dodgers were delighted to pluck pitcher Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick from the Oakland A’s and Jesse Chavez from the Toronto Blue Jays.

In addition to the market frenzy on the final day, several significant swaps were completed over the preceding week. Chapman, who threw a pitch timed at 105.1 mph this season, could be the missing link for the Cubs in their quest to end a world championship drought that has lasted 108 years. Miller, another lefthanded strikeout machine, could catapult Cleveland into its first World Series since 1995.

The Toronto Blue Jays, jockeying for American League Beast of the East with the Baltimore Orioles, gets a boost from Melvin Upton, Jr., who resurrected his reputation in San Diego, and pitchers Francisco Liriano, Scott Feldman, and Joaquin Benoit — helping both the rotation and relief corps.

Baltimore countered by obtaining Wade Miley, an underperforming lefty starter, from Seattle. It probably won’t be enough to fend off the Toronto and Boston hitting machines.

With an eye toward the future, some bad teams made good moves. Matt Kemp gives the Atlanta Braves

Matt Kemp brings his righthanded power to Atlanta

Matt Kemp brings his righthanded power to Atlanta

the righthanded slugger they have lacked since trading Evan Gattis to Houston. And the Minnesota Twins took advantage of the Los Angeles Angels, acquiring Hector Santiago for Ricky Nolasco in a trade of pitchers.

Little moves might have bad impacts. Under-performing Yankees starter Ivan Nova should prosper in Pittsburgh, where there’s less pressure. Submarining reliever Joe Smith, acquired from the Angels, will be a perfect set-up man for the flamethrowing Chapman in the Cubs bullpen. Zach Duke, now with the St. Louis Cardinals, add another lefty arm to their pen.

But wait, there’s more: Tyler Clippard, another set-up guy, adds veteran presence to a Yankees relief corps that has a brand new look. Lefthander Fernando Abad will work well in front of righthanded Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. In Texas, starter Lucas Harrell and lefty reliever Dario Alvarez, acquired from Atlanta for a slugging infield prospect, have already made an impact.

Although the trade deadline has passed, trading is not finished. Teams now must scour the waiver wire to complete transactions before September 1, when 25-man rosters are frozen. Some very big deals have happened in August, including the blockbuster that sent Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett, and outfielder Carl Crawford from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 25, 2012.

Brian McCann could still move in a waiver trade

Brian McCann could still move in a waiver trade

Yankees catcher Brian McCann, pushed by blue-chip prospect Gary Sanchez, was almost sent back to the Braves over the weekend and might still move — if waivers can be secured. Atlanta has a bevvy of pitching prospects the Yankees covet.

Other players rumored to be on the trading bloc could also move in waiver deals. Disgruntled Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, arguably the best pitcher in the American League, might be one of them. So might closer Wade Davis of the Kansas City Royals, a team that has dropped out of sight after consecutive World Series appearances.

Like the Royals, the Detroit Tigers were conspicous by their absence at the trading table. Their silence brightens the smile on the face of Cleveland manager Terry Francona — even though his team failed to solve its catching problems when Lucroy used his no-trade clause to veto a proposed swap.

One guy not smiling after the traders left the table is Yasiel Puig. The enigmatic Cuban import, whom the Dodgers tried to trade, had no takers and wound up in the minor leagues instead.




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.

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