2019 MLB Trade Deadline Results

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

Image result for Texas Rangers Trade Deadline Allard

BY DIC HUMPHREY
DHUMPHREY24@GMAIL.COM

ARLINGTON, Texas – When the rules changed to prohibit trades
after July 31, making that date a firm deadline, most experts
predicted that trades would start happening earlier in the summer, and
that more trades would happen in July.  After the smoke (more like a
light dust) cleared on Wednesday, both predictions proved false.
There were about a dozen fewer trades in total compared with last
year. The market was so slow moving this July that a prominent player
was not traded until last Sunday when Marcus Stroman was traded to the
Mets.

Another notable name wasn’t traded until Tuesday night, less than
24 hours before the deadline. Cleveland sent Trevor Bauer to
Cincinnati in a complicated three team transaction. Bauer was thought
to be the best pitcher moved this July until Zach Greinke was traded
Wednesday just moments before the deadline. One of the players
Cleveland received in return was outfielder Yasiel Puig, another
player of note.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t a blockbuster trade. The
Houston Astros were the biggest winner as they pulled off the most
astounding deal in July when they pried Greinke from the Arizona
Diamondbacks.  The motivation for this deal was money.  Greinke signed
a six year $206 million contract that runs through the 2021 season.
It’s been a contract that has financially hamstrung the D-Backs for
years.  Greinke is still owed $77 million. Arizona is contributing
$24 million to make the trade, so the team receives $53 million of
salary relief as well as the four highly regarded Astros’ prospects.
When a team takes on a major financial contract, be it by trade
or free agency, the front office usually goes to ownership for
approval. In the Greinke trade, that process worked in reverse, as
Astros owner Jim Crain went to Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and suggested
they pursue Greinke.  Houston is certainly a good team with a good
pitching staff.  Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole at the top of the
Astros’ rotation are already the best one-two punch in baseball.
Greinke is every bit in the class with those two, so now they have the
best three starters in any rotation in baseball. It’s a move that
shows the Astros are fully committed to winning this year’s World
Series.

Greinke also solves a long term need. Cole and Wade Miley are
both eligible for free agency after this season. The Greinke deal
almost assures that Houston will not re-sign Cole, who will command an
astounding contract. Next year, the Astros will still have a great
one-two punch at the top of their rotation in Verlander and Greinke.

The Astros also obtained pitchers Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini
from Toronto.  There is some question as to how Sanchez will be
utilized. He has been a highly regarded starter in the past, but his
2019 numbers aren’t good.  However, he has pitched well lately and
will get a crack at joining the Astros’ rotation with a start this
weekend. Biagini, a top reliever, is a nice addition to the Astros
bullpen.

Arizona can also count themselves among the winners. Friday
morning they were 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card, with a record
one game below .500.  It’s not likely that a team bobbing around .500
will emerge to win a World Series, but the D-Backs made another trade
for Mike Leake to replace Greinke in the rotation.  They aren’t
completely dead in the water, and their future looks bright with four
nice prospects and a lessened salary burden.

The biggest loser of the July trading derby is the New York
Yankees. They held the best record in the A.L. but sorely needed help
with their starting rotation. They refused to trade one of their
better prospects, outfielder Clint Frazier, and ended up getting
shutout in their efforts to land starting rotation help.
Cleveland is a trade deadline winner too.  The Tribe got rid of
the problematic Bauer, and their rotation may be better.  They have
been without Carlos Carrasco and Cory Kluber most of the year with
injury.  Both are expected back soon to fill the Bauer hole, and the
Indians improved their offense with two hard hitting outfielders they
received in the deal.

As for the Rangers, reliever Pete Fairbanks was sent to Tampa Bay
in exchange for infielder/outfielder Nick Solak on July 13. Solak is
regarded as a very good hitter, and he bats right-handed, a plus for
the too left-handed Rangers.  He was assigned to AAA Nashville where
he is playing mainly second base and has hit five home runs in his
first 44 at-bats.  He is likely to join the Rangers in September when
the rosters expand if not sooner.

Texas made an under the radar trade last Sunday receiving AAA
hurler Ian Gibaut for a player to be named later.  The Rays are so
loaded with good prospects that they DFA’d Gibaut because they needed
a spot on their 40-man roster.  He’s got a 2.92 ERA in 13 minor league
games this season, and was assigned to AAA Nashville.
The next Ranger trade came Tuesday night. Reliever Chris Martin
was dealt to the Atlanta Braves, news that broke around the fourth
inning of that night’s Rangers – Mariners game.  Texas received Kolby
Allard in return.

Allard is a 21 year-old, left-handed starting pitcher who was 7-5
with a 4.17 ERA at AAA Gwinnet this season. He was drafted by the
Braves in the first round of the 2015 amateur draft (14th overall),
and has raced through the Braves system, making his Major League debut
in 2018. He is not a pitcher with a blazing fastball, but he knows
his craft.  He has near pin-point control, an outstanding curve ball,
and is very competitive.  Allard likely joins the Rangers in September
if not sooner, and is expected to have a strong chance to be part of
the Rangers’ 2020 starting rotation.
Martin will be a free agent after this season and could easily
return to the Rangers next year.

On Wednesday morning, the Rangers made a minor trade sending two
low level prospects to the White Sox for Nate Jones and $1,000,000 in
international slot money.  Jones, who had surgery in May, is on the
60-day injured list. It is assumed the Rangers will turn down the
team option on Jones for 2020 and pay the buyout. I.e, return for the
two prospects was the increased slot money, which will enable the
Rangers to officially sign outfielder Bayron Lora from the Dominican
Republic.  The Rangers have had an agreement in place to sign Lora,
who was ranked as the third best prospect on the international market
this year, but did not have slot money available to complete the
agreement. Now they do.

Hunter Pence was surprisingly not traded.  The Rays and Cubs were
especially interested in obtaining a veteran right handed bat, but in
the end went another direction. He’ll be a free agent after the
season, and with the team looking at development over the balance of
the season, he may lose playing time to younger players getting a
look. Pence has been non-committal about his desire to return to the
Rangers next year.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels met with the media soon after the deadline
passed. He was asked if Allard was on the radar screen in 2015 when
the Rangers had the number four pick in the amateur draft. The
Rangers selected pitcher Dillon Tate, but Daniels said that Allard was
considered but had suffered a back injury which led the Rangers to
look elsewhere for that pick.

Daniels also indicated there were extensive talks to trade Mike
Minor, but in the end, the deals simply weren’t good enough to
dissuade the Rangers from keeping Minor for next year.  He said, “For
what we hoped to accomplish, we didn’t line up.  Ultimately we stood
down at the end.”

Over the past two Julys, the Rangers traded top starting pitchers
Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels. The Rangers were in a position on those
two trades of having to take the best deal they could find. With
Minor signed through next season at a team friendly salary, the
Rangers had the luxury of making a deal only if the return was enough.
In the end, what they were offered wasn’t.
FanGraphs ranked the 55 prospects that were traded this year.
The players the Rangers received are ranked: Solak 7, Allard 18, and
Gibaut 20. The prospects they gave up are ranked: Fairbanks 17, Joe
Jarneski 52 and Ray Castro 54; with the last two going to Chicago for
the slot money.

All reports have the Rangers excited that the team stayed largely
intact. They won Wednesday night to end a three game losing streak.
Lock St. John taking Chris Martin’s place was the only new face on the
roster.  The Rangers are still on the fringe of being contenders for a
playoff berth, but realistically that’s not going to happen unless the
Rangers put together a significant win streak of 10 games or so.
The emphasis will be on development over the last two months.

After Wednesday’s game, the team announced that Asdrubal Cabrera and
Tim Federowicz will be designated for assignment prior to Friday’s
game, and that Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino will be joining the
team.  IKF will get a good shot at being next year’s third baseman,
and Trevino will become part of the catching tandem.
Pedro Payano is in the starting rotation now.  Allard, Joe
Palumbo and Taylor Hearn will likely get serious looks as they attempt
to be in the Rangers’ 2020 starting rotation. Solak will get playing
time too.

As for the overall slow trade market, teams simply are valuing
prospects highly and aren’t willing to part with prospects for
immediate playoff chase help.  There are already complaints about the
hard July 31 trade deadline date. Many GMs think the deadline is too
early…they want more time to assess their playoff chances before
making trade deadline deals. A move to August 15 next year is already
on the docket for discussion in November.

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