Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal: A Rundown of the 2016 Trade Deadline

Well, Place to Be Nation, the MLB non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone. Did your team make any major additions? What players will lift their teams into the playoffs? What teams will benefit most from prospect-laden hauls?

Here we will briefly examine each trade during the month of July, with a short commentary on each move.

Note: Due to the sheer number of players involved, I am going to forgo the hyperlinks just this once.

Who did what during MLB's annual trade frenzy?
Who did what during MLB’s annual trade frenzy?

July 7: Boston Red Sox acquire INF Aaron Hill & cash from Milwaukee Brewers for two minor leaguers.

Analysis: A nice under-the-radar depth move from the Sox, providing some insurance for 2B Dustin Pedroia and 3B Travis Shaw.

July 8: Red Sox acquire INF Michael Martinez from Cleveland Indians for cash.

Analysis: Another Dombrowski depth move, as Martinez can play both infield and outfield.*

*As of Wednesday a.m., the Sox designated Martinez for assignment to make room on their roster for top prospect Andrew Benintedni. C’est la vie.

July 9: Red Sox acquire RHRP Brad Ziegler from Arizona Diamondbacks for two minor leaguers.

Analysis: Big Dave’s third trade in as many days, this was a great pickup in the present, as both closer Craig Kimbrel, and his initial replacement, Koji Uehera, are on the DL. When those two return, Ziegler provides nice right-side depth for the Sox’ pen.

July 14: Red Sox acquire  LHSP Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres for minor league RHP prospect Anderson Espinoza.

Analysis: Ol’ Double-D skipped a few days, but he still came away with a nice addition to the Boston staff, slotting Pomeranz in back of David Price and Rick Porcello, giving the Sox a good 1-2-3 down the stretch and (perhaps) into October.

Red Sox bigwig Dave Dombrowski made several big moves to keep the Sox in contention.
Red Sox bigwig Dave Dombrowski made several big moves to keep the Sox in contention.

July 20: Chicago Cubs acquire LHRP Mike Montgomery from the Seattle Mariners for two minor leaguers.

Analysis: A four-player deal in sum, Montgomery should help stabilize a Cubs’ bullpen that is really the team’s lone weak spot, 12th in the Majors with a 3.62 ERA.

July 25: Cubs acquire LHRP Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees for RHP Adam Warren, minor league SS prospect Gleyber Torres, and two other minor leaguers.

Analysis: Not content to rest on the add of Montgomery, the Cubbies nabbed a new closer in the screaming southpaw Chapman, further deepening their relief corps. Meanwhile, the Yankees began their tear-down by adding a prodigal arm in Warren, and a top-shelf prospect in Torres, plus a couple of decent lottery tickets as well.

Is Chapman a butthole? Yes. Can he help the Cubs win? Yes. Is that really what matters? Up to you.
Is Chapman a butthole? Yes. Can he help the Cubs win? Yes. Is that really what matters? Up to you.

July 26: Toronto Blue Jays acquire Melvin Upton, Jr. from the San Diego Padres from minor league RHP prospect Hansel Rodriguez.

Analysis: A pure salary dump for the Padres, Upton Jr. provides nice depth this year for the Jays, and some outfield insurance if Jose Bautista departs as a free agent this fall.

July 26: Blue Jays acquire RHRP Joaquin Benoit from the San Diego Padres for RHRP Drew Storen.

Analysis: A change-of-scenery deal for two struggling relievers on near-identical contracts.

July 27: Texas Rangers acquire RHSP Lucas Harrell and LHRP Dario Alvarez from the Atlanta Braves for minor league INF Travis Demeritte.

Analysis: Harrell’s a band-aid for an ailing Rangers’ staff, while Alvarez could be a sneaky-good weapon out of the pen. Toss Demeritte on Atlanta’s prospect heap.

July 28: San Francisco Giants acquire INF Eduardo Nunez from the Minnesota Twins for LHP prospect Adalberto Mejia.

Analysis: Nunez’s career year is rewarded with a trade to a contender, where he will provide depth all around the infield for the G-Men.

July 29: Miami Marlins acquire RHSP Andrew Cashner, RHSP Colin Rea, minor leaguer, and cash from the San Diego Padres for RHRP Carter Capps (injured), RHSP Jarred Cosart, minor league 1B Josh Naylor, and RHP prospect Jose Castillo.

Analysis: This interesting deal was altered just a bit as Rea left his Marlins’ debut this weekend with elbow soreness after just a few innings. Citing damaged goods, the Fish sent Rea back to the Padres, who returned Castillo to Miami. Short-term, Miami is looking for Cashner to help stabilize the rotation a bit behind Jose Fernandez, while the Pads added a body in Cosart to slot into the rotation, a decent looking prospect in Naylor, and a reliever to flip next time he’s healthy in Capps.

A PTB exclusive pic* of Marlins' owner Jeffrey Loria reacting to Colin Rea's injury. (*Not really.)
A PTB exclusive pic* of Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria reacting to Colin Rea’s injury. (*Not really.)

July 30: Washington Nationals acquire RHRP Mark Melancon and cash from the Pittsburgh Pirates for LHRP Felipe Rivero and LHP prospect Taylor Hearn.

Analysis: The Bucs moved an asset they had no shot to retain in impending free agent Melancon to a team that desperately needed a late-inning arm. In return, the Pirates nabbed two very interesting and talented young arms. While Washington is going for it in 2016, the Bucs are looking at a 2017 run. Somewhere, Jonathan Papelbon sulks.

Is that ... is that a denim blazer? Mark Melancon, the newest Nat, shows off his style.
Is that … is that a denim blazer? Mark Melancon, the newest Nat, shows off his style.

July 30: Kansas City Royals acquire OF Billy Burns from the Oakland A’s for OF Brett Eibner.

Analysis: This deal means nothing in the 2016 playoff chase, but Eibner’s an interesting bat, so he’ll probably get a fair amount of time in the Green N Gold. Also, color me shocked that the Oakland braintrust didn’t trade any of the relievers (John Axford, Ryan Madson, Marc Rzepczynski) or 3B Danny Valencia. Those are tailor-made trade candidates. 

July 30: Atlanta Braves acquire OF Matt Kemp and cash from the San Diego Padres for OF Hector Olivera.

Analysis: Kemp has one tool left in his right-handed power, so the Braves took it just to be rid of all-around mess Olivera, who is still serving his 82-game domestic violence suspension. He’ll be cut by San Diego once his suspension is up. Lord knows if another team gives him a shot.

Pictured: Everyone's reaction to the Matt Kemp/Hector Olivera trade.
Pictured: Everyone’s reaction to the Matt Kemp/Hector Olivera trade.

July 31: Cleveland Indians acquire LHRP Andrew Miller from the New York Yankees for four minor leaguers, including OF prospect Clint Frazier, and LHP prospect Justus Sheffield.

Analysis: The Yankees moved two-thirds of their bullpen monster and this is arguably the better deal. New York’s system got a ton of talent here, as both Frazier and Sheffield profile as solid Major Leaguers in the not-too-distant-future. Cleveland, meanwhile, sees a chance to put some distance between themselves and deadline-dormant, but red-hot Detroit Tigers and goes for it.

Do not be fooled: This Georgia huckleberry (Clint Frazier) is a very good ballplayer.
Do not be fooled: This Georgia huckleberry (Clint Frazier) is a very good ballplayer.

July 31: New York Yankees acquire RHRP Tyler Clippard from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a minor leaguer.

Analysis: An arm for the Yanks to either spin through waivers later, or to replace some of Chapman and Miller’s innings in front of new closer Dellin Betances.

July 31: St. Louis Cardinals acquire LHRP Zach Duke from the Chicago White Sox for a minor leaguer.

Analysis: Duke gives the Redbirds another solid lefty in the bullpen, alongside Kevin Siegrist. It’s the Cardinals, so look for Duke to go 10-0 down the stretch with 400 strikeouts in 50 innings. Or something like that.

July 31: Baltimore Orioles acquire LHSP Wade Miley from the Seattle Mariners for a minor leaguer.

Analysis: Rotation depth behind Chris Tillman, and, um, uh, yeah…those guys. Seriously, though, the O’s needed at least one starter to keep pace in the AL East. The reality is, they likely need more than that. The Birds will probably keep looking throughout the August waiver period, too.

August 1: Red Sox acquire LHRP Fernando Abad from the Minnesota Twins for RHRP Pat Light.

Analysis: Abad helps the Sox bullpen this year; Light could do the same for the Twins next.

August 1: Los Angeles Dodgers acquire LHSP Rich Hill and OF Josh Reddick for three minor leaguers, none of which are Julio Urias.

Analysis: Billy Beane/David Forst did well to move the injured (blister) 36-year-old Hill and pending free agent Reddick for three live arms from LA’s deep farm. For LA, Hill (when he heals up) provides a nice insurance policy if Clayton Kershaw misses the rest of the year with back surgery. If Kershaw and Hill are both healthy, it’s a nice 1-2 punch atop the Dodger rotation. Reddick instantly becomes the Dodgers’ 2nd-best outfielder behind phenom Joc Pederson.

This trade is Michelle Tanner approved. Despite the fact that her father, Danny, is an avowed Giants fan.
This trade is Michelle Tanner approved. Despite the fact that her father, Danny, is an avowed Giants fan.

August 1: Cleveland Indians acquire OF Brandon Guyer from Tampa Bay Rays for two minor leaguers.

Analysis: Guyer, who can play all three outfield spots, provides low-cost depth for the Tribe. He should provide a nice stick against lefties; he’s currently rapping southpaws at a .344/.488/.594 clip. He’s useless against righties, though (.196/.277/.324).

August 1: San Francisco Giants acquire LHRP Will Smith from the Milwaukee Brewers for minor leaguer RHP Phil Bickford and C Andrew Susac.

Analysis: Maybe the steal of the deadline, as the Brewers get a starting catcher and a solid pitching prospect for a good-but-not-great lefty bullpen arm.

Pictured: Brewers GM David Stearns after hanging up with the Giants' front office.
Pictured: Brewers GM David Stearns after hanging up with the Giants’ front office.

August 1: Texas Rangers acquire OF/DH Carlos Beltran from the New York Yankees for three minor league pitchers.

Analysis: Beltran, 39, completes New York’s tear down, as the slugger moves to a great hitters’ park and a contender. He helps Texas supplant injuries to Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo and lengthens the lineup considerably. The Yanks get some scratch-off arms, adding to already deep farm system.

August 1: Toronto Blue Jays acquire RHSP Scott Feldman from the Houston Astros for a minor leaguer.

Analysis: Feldman either adds an arm to the Jays’ rotation or depth to the pen. Either way, he’s having a good year and should help the Toronto staff.

August 1: Toronto Blue Jays acquire RHSP Mike Bolsinger from the Los Angeles Dodgers for RHP Jesse Chavez and cash.

Analysis: Chavez is easily replaced by Feldman, while Bolsinger and his 6.83 ERA provide the Jays with another arm to slot into the back of their rotation. More insurance on the upcoming move of starter Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen. It seems all of the Jays’ deals were centered around that idea.

August 1: Toronto Blue Jays acquire LHSP Francisco Liriano from the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHSP Drew Hutchison, minor league OF prospect Harold Ramirez, and a PTBNL.

Analysis: The Jays’ third “Musical Chairs” deal for their rotation. Hutchison was a bust for Toronto, so the Bucs shed Liriano’s salary and add a 25-year-old pitcher and a 21-year-old hitting .306/.354/.401 in Double-A. A fair move on both ends.

The Toronto Blue Jays' theory on starting pitching.
The Toronto Blue Jays’ theory on starting pitching.

August 1: New York Mets acquire OF Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds for INF prospect Dilson Herrera and LHP prospect Max Wotell.

Analysis: I guess Bruce provides some protection if Yoenis Cespedes bolts after the season, but it’s a mystery to me how Bruce truly fits into this outfield mix. And what does this say about the Mets’ confidence in second-year bat Michael Conforto? Reds got a possible second baseman of the future in Herrera and a passable, but very young, arm in Wotell.

August 1: Texas Rangers acquire C Jonathan Lucroy, RHRP Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers for two prospects and a PTBNL.

Analysis: Texas wins big here, nabbing the biggest prize out there in Lucroy, a good pen arm in Jeffress, and they did not even have to surrender their best young players (Joey Gallo, Jurickson Profar) to do it. Milwaukee gets a couple good prospects in OF Lewis Brinson and RHP Luis Ortiz, so the Brew Crew’s farm system continues to improve. Still, considering what little Houston did, coupled with Texas adding Lucroy, Beltran, and Jeffress, count the Rangers among the big winners.

More like "A Winner Is They". Cos, see, the Rangers is a plural noun, and, uh ... yeah.
More like “A Winner Is They”. Cos, see, the Rangers is a plural noun, and, uh … yeah.

August 1: Minnesota Twins acquire LHSP Hector Santiago from the Anaheim Angels for RHSP Ricky Nolasco, RHRP Alex Meyer, and cash.

Analysis: And the WTF trade deadline award goes to … this total f@#$ing mystery.

August 1: Chicago Cubs acquire RHRP Joe Smith from the Anaheim Angels for a minor leaguer.

Analysis: Pass.

August 1: Pittsburgh Pirates acquire RHSP Ivan Nova from the New York Yankees for two PTBNLs.

Analysis: I dunno, maybe pitching coach Ray Searage can fix Nova. Blech.

August 1: San Francisco Giants acquire LHSP Matt Moore from the Tampa Bay Rays for 3B Matt Duffy and 2 minor leaguers.

Analysis: A nice rotation add for the G-Men, as Moore slots in and should enjoy pitching for a bonafide contender in a gorgeous pitcher’s park.

August 1: Baltimore Orioles acquire UTIL Steve Pearce from the Tampa Bay Rays for a minor leaguer.

Analysis: Hello, old friend. Welcome back! A nice bench piece for the contending O’s.

August 1: New York Mets acquire LHSP Jon Niese from the Pittsburgh Pirates for LHRP Antonio Bastardo.

Analysis: Hello darkness, my old friend.

This is what our own Scott Criscuolo is thinking right now.
This is what our own Scott Criscuolo is thinking right now.

August 1: Los Angeles Dodgers acquire RHRP Josh Fields from the Houston Astros for a minor leaguer.

Analysis: Fields has two arms and two legs. He throws baseballs with his right arm. He is a person.

The most improved organizations coming out of the deadline are the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees. Two teams which greatly improved their playoff odds, and two others that went all-in on young talent and added a lot of promising future assets.

Not quite on the “winners” list, San Francisco paid through the nose for Smith, but made up for it by getting Moore for a reasonable cost. Arguably giving the Giants the best 1-5 rotation in the NL, if not MLB.

The Blue Jays were quite active, clearly in a flurry of deals built around Sanchez’s upcoming move to the bullpen. Toronto is hoping a stronger bullpen can help support a weaker rotation. Meanwhile, the Pirates cut a ton of salary and disappointment. The Bucs are just four games out of an NL Wild Card spot, but they are probably more likely to take a stab at the 2017 postseason now.

Author: Joel Barnhart

A big-time baseball nerd, Joel is currently teaching English as a Second Language in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to his MLB passion, he enjoys good whiskey, good music, good movies, and good friends. He is currently engaged in an ongoing 12-year online debate over the merits of bubble wrap.