Dan's Dugout: Rich Get Richer at Trade Deadine • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Rich Get Richer at Trade Deadine

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For New Yorkers who root for both baseball teams, the passing of the trade deadline brought good news and bad news.

The Yankees, engaged in their usual fight for American League East supremacy, came out smelling like roses – not to mention thieves for plucking pitchers from divisional rivals.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jacob deGrom remains a Met.
Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports

On the other hand, the Mets may have made a major mistake by not moving at least one of their star pitchers, Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, for a much-needed package of reinforcements.

The Yankees, five games behind the Red Sox as the calendar turned to August, bolstered a beleaguered pitching staff by adding J.A. Happ from Toronto, Lance Lynn from Minnesota, and Zach Britton from Baltimore.

Anxious to avoiod the one-and-down wild-card game, the Yanks also made serious bids for Chris Archer, who went to Pittsburgh in a surprise swap; Brad Hand, the All-Star lefthanded reliever who went from San Diego to Cleveland; and deGrom, whose trade within the city would have created a torrent of tabloid headlines underlining the disparity between the teams.

In its trade deadline special Tuesday, ESPN’s three anaalysts all cited the Mets as the biggest loser of the day. The team proved them right that night by absorbing a 25-4 whopping in Washington. It was the worst defeat in the history of a club that has had many, including a 120-loss campaign in 1962, its first year of existence.

While the Nationals enjoyed their lopsided win, they passed the deadline in relative silence, holding onto slumping slugger Bryce Harper instead of swapping him for a package of prospects. Harper can be a free agent this fall, meaning the Nats could lose him for nothing.

Home Run Derby champion Bryce Harper is still in Washington.

Among the prospective free agents who found new addresses in July were Manny Machado, Wilson Ramos, Cole Hamels, Mike Moustakas, Ian Kinsler, Jeurys Familia, and Britton,

Although a myriad of transactions were completed, virtually all involved swaps of veterans for prospects. And almost all of the contenders beefed up their rosters for the stretch drive.

In the National League, for example, the West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers landed the prize of the trade market in Machado but also added another slugging infielder in Brian Dozier, whom they have been after for several seasons.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, dreaming of defeating the Dodgers for the division crown, beefed up their bullpen with Brad Ziegler and Jake Diekman and their infield with Eduardo Escobar.

Mike Moustakas moved to Milwaukee in a surprise swap

In the NL Central, Milwaukee failed to acquire the pitching it sought, except for reliever Joakim Soria, but compensated by acquiring Moustakas to play third and Jonathan Schoop to play second. Both hit more than 30 home runs in the American League last year. Milwaukee has rebounded from a pre-All-Star Game skid to close the NL Central gap on the Cubs.

Chicago, aiming to recapture its 2016 world championship, got Hamels to fill the void created by the injured Yu Darvish, whom they landed last year at the same time. They also traded for swingman Jesse Chavez and Washington reliever Brandon Kintzler, a 2017 All-Star.

St. Louis not only fired manager Mike Matheny but traded centerfielder Tommy Pham for kids in a sure sign that management is ready to rebuild the disappointing veteran-heavy team.

In the East, the Phils imported Wilson Ramos, a 2018 American League All-Star, to bring a veteran presence behind the plate, hard-hitting second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, and lefthanded pitcher Aaron Loup.

The Atlanta Braves, trailing by a half-game, added pitching too: starter Kevin Gausman and relievers Jonny Venters, Darren O’Day, and Brad Brach. But their biggest move was the unexpected acquisition of righthanded slugger Adam Duvall, who can slot into the lineup beteen lefty-hitting All-Stars Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. He’s also insurance against Markakis testing free agency this winter.

Nick Markakis can be a free agent this fall
Credit: Topps Company

With 10 playoff spots at stake, sitting still was not a wise decision for contenders, pretenders, or clubs that would like to join the party in 2019 and beyond.

The Seattle Mariners, one of two teams never to win a pennant, and Oakland Athletics, a surprisingly solid squad this year, both made noise in the market. The M’s got outfielder Cameron Maybin and pitchers Adam Warren, Zach Duke, and Sam Tuivallala, while the A’s acquired Familia.

Both retain faint hopes of catching the World Champion Houston Astros in the AL West. The only other close race in the Junior Circuit is the annual Battle of Boston. The Red Sox answered the Yankees by getting one All-Star second baseman (Kinsler) to replace another (the injured Dustin Pedroia) and obtaining hard-throwing starter Nathan Eovaldi, a former Yankee that the club wanted back.

In the NL, races are tight in all three divisions but especially in the West, where one game separated the top three teams as August began. A recent hot streak by the Colorado Rockies made the Dodgers and Diamondbacks look over their shoulders – and trade with impunity.

Waiver trades can still be made until August 31 but can also be blocked by divisional rivals.

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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