Crash Course: Rumors, Trades from Tuesday-Wednesday

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Christmas in July is in full swing for rumor hounds, as there have already been a ton of rather large swaps over the past few weeks. Since my recap on Monday, we have seen Zach Britton traded to the Yankees, Seunghwan Oh traded to Colorado, Matt Andriese sent to Arizona and Nathan Eovaldi traded to the Red Sox. Be sure to check out the Zach Britton analysis done in a tag-team effort by fellow Baseball Esssential correspondent Brendan Smith and I as well as Jason Kelly‘s wonderful piece on the Eovaldi deal.

My Take on the Eovaldi Deal

Personally, I believe the Red Sox got taken to the cleaners in this deal. Don’t get me wrong, Eovaldi was my favorite rental player on the market, and I was hoping that the Phillies made the move to acquire him, but Jalen Beeks is a very promising, young and major league ready starting pitcher. While Eovaldi has performed admirably on such an inexpensive deal since returning from Tommy John surgery, at the end of the day, he is still a rental starter with a 4.26 ERA over 57 innings. Now, I have heard the “one bad start” narrative with Eovaldi a lot, but of his ten starts, only five of them have been quality starts (at least six innings with three or fewer runs allowed).

The Rays turned an expiring contract into a kid who very well could be their number three for the next six years. Despite a pair of forgettable major league appearances, the 24-year-old holds a 2.89 ERA over 87.1 innings pitched in Triple-A Pawtucket, while walking just 2.6/9 and striking out 12.1. While the Rays should allow him to finish off the season in Triple-A, as a September call-up, he makes a ton of sense. I could very easily see him claiming a spot out of the opening day rotation in 2019.

I’m not a huge fan of paying out of the nose for rental players unless you are a great team with blocked prospects to spare, but the Red Sox do not have prospects to spare. While I understand the idea that prospects are “prospects”, teams need to have kids ready to take over for departing or injured players. With Drew Pomeranz on his way out, and Rick Porcello and Chris Sale each with a single year of control remaining, the Sox need some guys who will be able to come in an fill those holes. While the Sox have a few guys left, namely Darwinzon Hernandez, Mike Shawaryn, Jay Groome and Bryan Mata, they only have Eduardo Rodriguez guaranteed a rotation spot beyond 2019, with David Price likely to occupy one as well. While the Sox obviously have money, they will need more than one of them to work out, as I would expect the majority of their available funds will be allocated toward the young offensive core, Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, not to mention the money owed to Price and Dustin Pedroia, as well as whatever fortifications will be need to be made for the bullpen.

Speaking of the Red Sox bullpen, they apparently tried to get Drew Steckenrider, but were told Jay Groome nor Michael Chavis would get a deal done in a 1-for-1 swap.

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Philly Rumors

  • The Phillies have been connected to essentially every big trade chip on the market, but haven’t come out successful just yet. Personally, I believe that it is a good thing for them. The difference between the Phillies and a team like the Yankees or Astros is that the Phillies aren’t a finished product yet. They may be playing well, but Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford, Maikel Franco and Nick Williams have all struggled to an extent this year. Before the Phillies start trading off prospects to get expensive rentals, they should have contingency plans in mind in case any of these kids don’t work out in the long-term. If they would like to upgrade via trade, they should take the route that they took in the golden days of Phillies baseball: trade for controlled players. Between 2008-2012, the Phillies did not trade for one rental mid-season. While Cliff Lee was only in Philly for the second half of 2009, he had an additional season of team control.
  • If they are going to shoot for a rental, however, pick up an inexpensive veteran type player who can serve as both a player and a leader. I have seen reports linking them to Curtis Granderson and Adam Jones, both of which make a ton of sense, as they have been in the post season before, and are noted clubhouse guys.

Toronto’s Mini-Fire Sale

  • The Jays have been working on deals to ship off their impending free agents over the past few days to avoid having to deal with them at the eleventh hour. I wish I had that work ethic in high school.
  • It seems as though J.A. Happ will be the next person traded, as the Cubs and Yankees have been connected heavily. I would expect to see John Axford moved as well, and wouldn’t be completely shocked to see Yangervis Solarte hit the door soon after.

Detroit’s Dead Deadline

Minor Moves

  • The Indians brought in Johnny Field on a waiver claim from the Rays. This is a very good strategic move for the Tribe, as it gives them a bit more leverage in outfield talks. “We have Field who we could use instead of giving up that much to get (insert outfielder here).” For that purpose it isn’t a bad move, but this shouldn’t discourage them from looking for further improvements, which I doubt it will.
  • The Rangers claimed Chris Rowley off of waivers from Toronto on Monday, which was a bit shocking. Rowley is a Quad-A pitcher who has always posted solid bottom line numbers, but was much older than his competition and struggled with his peripherals. He doesn’t seem to be anything more than an optionable depth arm. The Rangers would have been better grabbing Ryan Merritt.
  • Ty Kelly, Randall Delgado, Josh Smoker, and Taylor Motter also all hit DFA Limbo over the past few days. I don’t see much in any of them, as Motter and Kelly have never shown any offensive ability, regardless of versatility, Smoker has rough control and has never found major league success despite closing in on 30 quickly. As for Delgado, he won’t be claimed due to the money on his contract.
  • The White Sox signed minor league starter Asher Wojciechowski to add some minor league depth for after they trade James Shields and call a prospect up.He will eat innings in Charlotte. The Reds did the same with infielder Taylor Featherston.
  • The Mariners brought in Justin Grimm as some stretch run insurance. It was a minor league deal, therefore I would doubt he sees any major league time.

Parting Shot

  • It was reported that the Pirates are interested in acquiring Keone Kela from the Rangers. This would be one of the worst things that they could do. First of all, they would need to pay out of the nose to get him, as he’s a controllable, young and high upside reliever. Secondly, if they do decide to sell off more pieces, bringing in a second great reliever could hurt their leverage in trading Felipe Vazquez. This move has the potential to be regrettable if made.
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