The 2013 Trade Deadline for Major League Baseball has come and gone. Teams saw this as their chance to improve their team, either now (as buyers) or in the future (as sellers). Now that the trades have been made, here are my picks for the biggest winners and losers from the trades that were made.
The Orioles looked to strengthen their bullpen and accomplished just that. Baltimore acquired pitchers Bud Norris, Scott Feldman, and Francisco Rodriguez through trades before the deadline. All three of these players are solid pitchers; Norris was the Astros’ best pitcher, Feldman has provided some solid innings for Baltimore this past month, and Rodriguez is one of the top relievers in the game.
There’s some criticism being directed towards the Orioles trades, saying Baltimore didn’t get any offensive players. For example, no one was signed on as a designated hitter. The thing is, though, Baltimore is statistically a very solid hitting team. ESPN’s stats list the ballclub as first in slugging percentage, sixth in batting average, and fourth in on-base percentage. Pitching, however, has been a different story. ESPN ranks all the Oriole’s pitching stats as worse than the twentieth-best in the league. Clearly, pitching is what needed to be addressed, and pitching was exactly what Baltimore strengthened.
The Dodgers acquired Ricky Nolasco from Miami. One of the things about this deal I like from the Dodgers is that they made this deal early (July 6th). I like this for a couple of reasons. First of all, the early move has given LA more opportunity to use Nolasco; it has given him more of a chance to make an impact on the overall success of the team. Had they waited, the positive things Nolasco is doing would have had to wait.
The second thing I like about the early move is that other teams could have used Nolasco. Making the deal early got him off the market while other teams were still trying to figure out what they wanted or were waiting so see if they really needed certain players.
Besides acquiring a pitcher a lot of teams would have liked to have, this deal was a success for the Dodgers because the price was right for Nolasco. LA gave the Miami Marlins three mid-level prospects in exchange for a solid starting pitcher. The reason the Dodgers got such a good deal? Miami simply didn’t want to keep Nolasco on their payroll—another reason why I like the early trade.
This may seem like a surprise choice since the Cubs were sellers, giving away players like Garza and Soriano, but it’s what the club got in return that makes them winners. In fact, Chicago got four players from Texas in return for Garza.
This year was different from many others. Fewer trades were made and fewer teams were selling. The few that were could ask high prices for the players at stake since the players often had many potential suitors.
There has been some criticism that the prospects Chicago got aren’t all that great. Well, they are what they are, prospects. True, some are better than others, but Chicago was able to pick up a lot of young talent from all their trades, which means it’s very likely a good number of them will work out and be very good players. They are also much cheaper than the likes of Garza and Soriano, so that’s a victory in of itself.
San Francisco Giants
You might be asking “why,” but I thought San Francisco didn’t make any trades for the trade deadline this year. Exactly. The Giants were once thought to be contenders, once again, for a shot at the World Series. Right now fans are just hoping San Francisco doesn’t finish dead last in their division.
It has not been certain as to what is causing the Giants’ woes this year. The team didn’t make any major chances to its lineup from their World Series-winning run in 2012, so it’s not like they don’t have good players. For whatever reason, though, the Giants have struggled to win consistently. Some people, including me, thought San Francisco would turn its season around and have a shot at winning the NL West. Others, who were most likely right, thought this just wasn’t San Francisco’s year.
If you were hoping for a mid-season turnaround, then clearly buying would have seemed like the right move. If you wanted to retool for next year, selling made the most sense. But the Giants did neither. It’s as if the team has given up on this year and isn’t doing anything to help for years to come.
The Phillies were another team to come out as a loser due to inactivity during the trade deadline. Unlike the Giants, Philadelphia was clearly a team that should have sold for their mid-season trades. They are 15.5 games out of first place (in third) and only .5 games ahead of the fourth-place Mets.
Philadelphia has a lot of players who would be in high demand for other teams around the league, including Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, and Michael Young among others. That’s right, the Phillies had a lot of players who could have been traded in order to gain a number of high-level prospects. I mean, Michael Young even had a number of teams who were quite interested in him, such as the Rangers, Red Sox, and Yankees. Such demand easily would have lead to a high asking price. Take a look at the everything the Chicago Cubs got for their players. Philadelphia could have gotten that and maybe more.
Texas made it very clear their organization was going to be buying for the trade deadline. There were tons of rumors, some of which were more than just rumors, that Texas was looking at a ton of different players, looking to make them additions to the team. Afterall, Texas is only 3.5 games behind the first-place Oakland Athletics.
But Texas didn’t get all it were looking for. The Rangers were looking for an outfielder—players like Alfonso Soriano or Alex Rios—and missed the boat on them. Matt Garza was a key addition to the rotation, there’s no doubt about that, but an argument can definitely be made that the price was too high. Texas gave up four good prospects to the Cubs.
There’s another area where Texas missed the boat. Outfielder Nelson Cruz may be facing a 50-game suspension for PED use. With the high probability of such a pending suspension, picking up an outfielder who could step in for Cruz would have been a wise decision indeed. The options were there too, but Texas didn’t land another outfielder. If Cruz gets suspended, this will hurt Texas a lot more than it would have if the team had simply traded for another outfielder.