Crash Course: Round-Up for July 10 and 11

The MLB Trade Deadline is like a puzzle with 1,000,000 pieces spread out over the Twitter-sphere. While it is easy to find the pieces, finding places that piece the puzzle together is nearly impossible, especially taking into account trolls, misinformation and the rapid change that comes with the season.

While I love doing the weekly round-up posts, they become difficult at this time of the year, as information is flying across our phones all day and changing numerous times over the course of the week, which makes it difficult to decipher which facts are still in play, and which have been ruled out. While I can’t give you all 1,000,000 pieces to the puzzle, or even 1,000 quite frankly, hopefully, I can offer some clarification to an exceptionally cloudy market.

Trade Rumors

Manny Machado News

  • In an update regarding Manny Machado, the Yankees have apparently made an intriguing offer to the Orioles, that does not include Justus Sheffield. The Orioles are still reportedly on the hunt for young pitching.
    • Personally, I don’t love the fit. The Yankees already have major league infielders, who would be starting on at least half of other teams, in Triple-A. Theoretically, this could assist them in trading from their surplus to get a starter, but I don’t see why they couldn’t just do that already. I think people forget that Brandon Drury is a reasonably solid major league third baseman with plenty of room to improve at 25, and could be a nice chip in helping acquire a starter.
      While I expect regression from Miguel Andujar based on a lack of plate discipline, there’s no point in trading a 23-year-old kid with an .810 OPS and six years of team control.
      They don’t need an ace, they just need a back of the rotation stabilizer like a J.A. Happ or Cole Hamels type.
    • Interesting suggestion:
      Drury and Trevor Stephan for Hamels and cash?
      Obviously mock trades are never going to be perfect, but you have to figure Drury is a good fit for Texas, as he gives them depth which could be important after a potential Elvis Andrus or Adrian Beltre deal. I would rather have Drury than Hanser Alberto or Cliff Pennington.
  • As of Wednesday evening, the Yankees, Brewers and Dodgers are the three most aggressive teams with the Phillies and the Diamondbacks keeping in touch.

The Austin Jackson Deal and Fallout

  • The Giants already made a salary dumping move by trading Austin Jackson and Cory Gearrin to the Rangers along with Jason Bahr and they may not be done. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Sam Dyson and Derek Holland could be on the block as well. The difference is, however, the Giants might actually be able to get something more than a roster spot and salary relief back for either of those two.
    • Dyson has been worth 0.2 fWAR and 0.4 bWAR, while posting a 3.27 ERA over 41.1 innings pitched, which is a pretty significant workload for a reliever at the halfway point. A reasonable comparison could be the Joe Smith trade from last season that got the Jays Thomas Pannone and Samad Taylor in exchange for a reliever who posted 0.5 wins above replacement making $5 million.
    • Holland has been surprisingly solid this season, posting a 0.2 bWAR and a 0.7 fWAR for the Giants while posting a 4.35 ERA in 93 innings as a starter making just $1,750,000. While he’s not landing any top prospects, I could see a return comparable to the Wade Miley for Ariel Miranda deal from 2016, based on Hollands durability and low salary. He’s not a postseason starter, but with the way he has pitched this year, I would feel comfortable putting him out there to pitch the sixth and the seventh in relief.
  • While the Rangers had intended on finding a trade partner for Jackson, they were forced to designate him for assignment on Wednesday.
    • At this point, I would doubt that they find a taker unless they eat a significant amount of money. Otherwise, some team is going to be getting quite the bargain, as they can sign Jackson for the league minimum for the remainder of this season as well as for 2019.  Signing Jackson would make sense for the Royals, as he could eat up some at bats, serve as some veteran leadership on the bench, and potentially become a nice trade chip, as even slightly above replacement level outfielder and post season experience carries some value when the financial price tag is the pro-rated version of the league minimum.

Miscellaneous Trade Notes

  • The Dodgers are obviously expected to be active. They are looking at pieces for their infield and for their bullpen, with pretty much any solid infielder on a selling team cited as a possibility from Brian Dozier, Scooter Gennett, Eduardo Escobar, and obviously Manny Machado.
  • Their main connection with the bullpen has been with the Marlins on guys like Kyle Barraclough and Adam Conley, although they are not alone in their interest. The fish have set an exceptionally high asking price on their relievers.
  • The Dodgers main competitor in the Machado sweepstakes, the Brewers, have also been connected to the pair of aforementioned Twins’ infielders.
  • The Yankees have remained connected on J.A. Happ and Cole Hamels citing them as their top “realistic” possibilities.
  • Despite surprisingly solid results this season, the Rays still intend to sell off their one year guys such as Nathan Eovaldi, Adeiny Hechavarria and Wilson Ramos. Matt Andriese is another guy who has drawn some interest, and is controlled through 2021.
  • Purely opinion, but the Marlins and the Astros would be perfect trade partners. The Astros have holes behind the plate, with Evan Gattis and Brian McCann possibly leaving in free agency, and could use some bullpen help after sending the next UFC World Champion Ken Giles down to Triple-A, while possessing a very deep farm system, and an otherwise loaded 25-man roster. Meanwhile, Miami has an all-star catcher in J.T. Realmuto and a collection of very solid bullpen arms.
    • I’ve heard a lot about Max Stassi, which is certainly a valid argument, but people should definitely expect regression, as his BABip is relatively high (.340) compared to his .253 batting average, and he has a 30.1% strikeout percentage. I believe Stassi is a very good to plus back-up, but on a world series competitor, he probably shouldn’t be starting.

Important Roster Moves

Enyel De Los Santos Arrives, Trevor Plouffe Returns

  • Trevor Plouffe is back in the majors with the Phillies, and Hoby Milner was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. As a Phillies fan, it’s obviously tough to see Milner go, as I fully anticipate somebody claiming him, as he’s a lefty with minor league options and success in the minors. He looks like a guy who has the potential to be a valuable mainstay middle relief lefty in the long-run. Personally, I don’t see why they didn’t just recall Mitch Walding, and kept Milner in the fold for the time being. Plouffe had been hitting well in Triple-A (.240/.260/.480), but had also struck out in 25% of his plate appearances. It will be interesting to see if the substantially improved walk rate carries over into the majors, as he has always been known for struggling with his on base percentage.
  • While we’re talking Phillies, Enyel De Los Santos made his major league debut and threw a quality start win against the Mets. He went 6.1 innings, allowed three runs and struck out six
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Another Angels Down

  • Garrett Richards has become the latest Angel to be diagnosed with damage to his right elbow in what is being considered a UCL injury. While it is unknown whether he will need Tommy John surgery at this point, it is certainly a tough blow to an already badly bruised Angels’ roster. This is awful timing for everybody, as the Angels are barely clinging onto wild card contention and Richards is slated to become a free agent at season’s end.
    • The first takeaway from this is that the Angels’ brass seriously needs to reevaluate certain things that these coaches and trainers are having their players do. Elbow injuries have become commonplace in Anaheim, which not only results in the loss of games, but lost revenue and the potential loss of appeal for free agents.
    • The lost revenue is rather self explanatory. If the team’s best pitchers are down with injury, they don’t win as many games. Fewer wins, and fewer fan favorite starters taking the mound every five days equals fewer ticket sales, less revenue in parking, food and basics such as utilities for the stadium.
    • The loss of potential free agent opportunity, however, is the big one. If I’m a pitcher with high status on the free agent market, I would certainly think twice about signing with the Angels. When this many guys go down to Tommy John, it must go further than bad luck.

Dodgers Claim Zac Rosscup

  • The Dodgers claimed Zac Rosscup off of waivers from the Colorado Rockies and designated Edward Paredes for assignment to make room on the roster.
    • This is how the Dodgers operate, which is partially why they are so successful. They grab a ton of players who are available for nothing, and hope for the best. While it’s obviously not going to work every time, this buy-low strategy is how they got their hands on Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Andrew Toles, Daniel Hudson, Matt Kemp and Erik Goeddel.
    • Looking at this deal specifically, Rosscup is an out of options 30-year old lefty who is under control through arbitration through 2021. While there are a lot of holes in his game, including issues with fly balls, and home runs, his peripheral statistics suggest that he could be a very solid middle reliever.
    • I have included my projection for him in this table.
      Year Weight Team G GS IP HR/9 BB/9 K/9 GB FB LOB BABIP ERA FIP
      2012 5.00% Cubs (AA) 11 1 22.1 0.4 7.66 11.69 42 48 0.675 0.265 4.84 3.82
      2013 5.00% Cubs (AA) 37 0 43.1 0.42 3.95 13.71 42 38.6 0.805 0.322 2.49 1.78
      2013 10.00% Cubs 10 0 6.2 1.35 9.45 9.45 12.5 68.8 1 0.133 1.35 6.05
      2014 10.00% Cubs (AAA) 29 0 30 0 4.5 11.4 26.2 56.9 0.788 0.265 2.1 2.67
      2014 10.00% Cubs 18 0 13.1 1.35 8.1 14.18 28.1 46.9 0.517 0.387 9.45 4.63
      2015 5.00% Cubs (AAA) 11 0 11.1 0.79 3.18 15.88 30.4 60.9 0.517 0.318 4.76 2.54
      2015 25.00% Cubs 33 0 26.2 1.69 4.39 9.79 35.6 39.7 0.813 0.296 4.39 4.86
      2017 5.00% Rockies (AAA) 12 0 12.2 0.71 2.84 10.66 35.5 41.9 0.849 0.233 2.13 3.33
      2017 10.00% Cubs (AAA) 17 1 27.2 0.98 2.6 12.69 36.7 46.7 0.821 0.305 2.6 3.4
      2017 10.00% 2 Teams 10 0 7.2 2.35 0 11.74 33.3 47.6 0.807 0.35 4.7 3.94
      2018 5.00% Rockies (AAA) 10 0 8.1 0 3.24 9.72 45 40 0.714 0.191 1.08 2.7
      Proj. 21 0 20 1.14 4.61 11.48 32.33 48.09 0.77 0.284 3.92
    • As for Parades, he’s a 31-year old lefty with a very live fastball, but absolutely no control. He posted a BB/9 of 7.5 in Triple-A this season. I fully expect him to clear waivers and bounce around based on his fastball.

The White Sox Swap One Veteran Reliever for Another

  • Speaking of big fastballs, Bruce Rondon got the boot from Chicago after posting an 8.49 ERA over 29.2 innings pitched with an 8.2 BB/9. While there is reason to believe he could improve, based on his 3.70 FIP, the control obviously a huge issue. Jeanmar Gomez, who has been great in Triple-A, will be his replacement. Gomez posted a 2.02 ERA over 40 innings of relief in Charlotte.

Minor League Notes

Major League Caliber Minor League Notes

  • A few notable names hit the open market on Wednesday, as the Indians designated Marc Rzepczynski for assignment to make room for Tyler Olson, The Twins released Cameron Rupp from Triple-A and Fernando Salas cleared waivers and elected free agency from the Diamondbacks.
    • Scrabble didn’t really have much or an opportunity with the Indians, and was expendable, as the Mariners are paying his salary. I wouldn’t expect much from him this season, as his control has simply been gone all year, including during his brief stint with Triple-A Columbus.
    • Rupp can also consider 2018 to be a lost year. After a somewhat surprising release from the Phillies, he latched on with his hometown Rangers, and after being released from there, landed in Minnesota. Overall, he’s hitting .226/.318/.446 with 11 homers in Triple-A, which is definitely not helping his case to return to the majors.
    • Salas was designated for assignment last week to make room on the roster for Randall Delgado after he posted a 4.50 ERA over 40 innings. He’ll latch on with somebody else soon, as he has proven to be a durable league average reliever.

Detroit Makes a Mistake

  • Somebody needs to give Mark Montgomery an opportunity soon. While he’s 28-years old now, he has never been given a shot at the major leagues despite finishing with an ERA over 3.00 once at any level with a sample size over ten innings (3.38 ERA over 40 innings in Triple-A Scranton, as a 22-year old). I could see Montgomery making an impact immediately if given an opportunity. I see no good reason that he was released by the Tigers when they have Drew VerHagen and Daniel Stumpf currently posting exceptionally poor numbers in relief, while their trio of first call taxi guys: Artie Lewicki, Zac Reininger and Warwick Saupold haven’t been great either. They had nothing to lose in calling him up, but now he’s somebody else’s gem to discover.  If you haven’t checked out my projection for Montgomery, take a look.

Releasing Injured Prospects

  • Over the past few months, I have been noticing a lot of solid minor leaguers being released and then re-signed as alternatives for DFA’s. While I had trouble understanding the moves at first, I recently learned that it is a new caveat in the DFA system. If a minor league player is on the disabled list, and designated for assignment, they need to be activated or released, and cannot simply be sent outright and stay on the disabled list. That explains the situations with Rafael Bautista and Felix Jorge, and presumably Troy Scribner and Shawn Morimando, who have yet to be re-signed.
    • Relating to the topic, the Mets released prospect Marcos Molina to make room on the 40-man roster for Matt den Dekker. Molina was rated by as the Mets’ 8th overall prospect prior to the season, following a successful return (statistically) from his 2016 Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, the diminished velocity and lack of luster on his once plus slider seems to have caught up with him. While I don’t expect anybody other than the Mets to sign him, as there really aren’t a ton of outside-the-box moves made in response to these 40-man clearings, it would be interesting to see somebody like the Orioles or Royals give him a major league contract and place him on the 60-day disabled list until season’s end. His new team could have him report to a team facility to work on rediscovering his slider. He still has a minor league option remaining for the 2019 season and has enough talent where it could be worth it for a team with nothing to lose.

Other Notable Minor Moves

  • The Angels released former top prospect Rymer Liriano from Triple-A after he had hit .268/.343/.523 with six stolen bases and 16 home runs with a 31.2% strikeout rate. Somebody seems bound to give him a shot, as he was just selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star game, and has always had tools. It’s not clear, at the moment, how the Angels intend on using the roster spot in Salt Lake.
  • The Rays released righty pitching prospect Alexis Tapia after he had posted a 4.19 ERA over 19.1 innings. Initially acquired in the Kevin Jepsen deal alongside Chih-Wei Hu, Tapia has struggled with injuries a lot since the 2016 season, pitching a total of 36 innings. Seeing as how he was signed in 2013, he counted against the limit for players over the service time limit in Class A Advanced, and the Rays didn’t want to use a Double-A roster spot on him. I’d be interested in seeing how the 22-year old would do in one inning relief stints. There isn’t a ton of information out there on him, but he has shown solid control in the past.
  • Side-armer Ben Rowen retired, according to the Atlantic League transaction page.

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