MLB Trade Deadline recap


The Chicago Cubs traded starting pitcher Paul Maholm and Redd Johnson to the Atlanta Braves for some minor league players Wednesday afternoon Photo by: Elise Michelle.

BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com writer

Now that the trade deadline has passed, let’s see where the main movers and shakers currently stand. Most of the deals involved prospects, and since I’m no guru on that area, we’ll focus on the priced prizes that were recently moved, and give quick scores on the trades. There was no blockbuster 10/10 deal to be found (Cliff Lee or Josh Johnson) but there were lots of non-superstar level trades made that saw contenders addressing needs without giving away major prospects in return.

• Texas Rangers acquire RHP Ryan Dempster – the 36 year old is having a bit of a career year, which doesn’t make me think it’s likely to last at such a high level. Here are Ryan Dempster’s ERAs the past four seasons:

2009: 3.65

2010: 3.85

2011: 4.80

2012: 2.25

Dempster has kept the home runs down (9 in 104 IP) and a respectable 3:07 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but he isn’t a top of the rotation guy that his streak of excellence might lead some to believe.  That being said, the Rangers snatched a valuable commodity to give them rotation depth in the midst of Roy Oswalt struggling, and Colby Lewis lost for the season due to injury. I’ll give this transaction 7 out of 10 trade vetoes (inside joke for Braves fans).

• Atlanta Braves acquire LHP Paul Maholm and OF Reed Johnson – Don’t fret, Braves fans. You lost out on Dempster because he flat out chose not to accept a trade, but getting Paul Maholm (3.74 ERA) isn’t that low of a deduction. He’s another average pitcher having a slightly above average season to give your team rotation depth in the wake of yet another significant injury with this one being Tommy Hanson. Having a player like Reed Johnson allows manager Fredi Gonzalez to get him some at bats against lefties, and being a perfectly acceptable 4th outfielder going down the stretch.

• Dodgers acquire OF Shane Victorino and RHP Brandon League – Potentially a not that well received opinion, but Shane Victorino will provide more value to the Dodgers than Hunter Pence will for San Francisco.

Dodger left fielders this season have put out a .671 OPS, while Victorino has a .724 OPS this season in a bit of a downtown. Nevertheless, he provides speed with a 24:4 stolen base ratio, has twice lead the league in triples, and overall makes the Dodgers lineup a bit more competent. Removing deadweight like the sluggish Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu from the outfield will also improve the defense ever so slightly. He’s a sparkplug, gritty type that fans love.

Brandon League is a piece the Mariners could afford to move and lose, given they have plenty of flamethrowers in that pen. League was not having a good season as the Mariners closer. Minute save opportunities aside, he comes into LA carrying a paltry 1.42 K:BB ratio and  1.50 WHIP. When you pitch that ineffective in Safeco, there’s clearly something wrong here. But perhaps being a setup man against lesser lineups will help curtail some of his current woes and add some value on a contending squad.

We give these two deals a combined 7.5 out of 10 Dodger Dogs

Giants acquire OF Hunter Pence – Hunter Pence is a good player who isn’t great, his 2011 “breakout” year was a bit of a mirage. Here are his batting averages the past four seasons in relation to his BABIP (batting average on balls in play)

2009: .282 average, .308 babip

2010: .282 average, .304 babip

2011: .314 average, .361 babip

2012: .271 average, .305 babip

Based on this crude data alone, Pence has been pretty consistent with his batted ball rates, and the spike in BABIP lead an even higher average, where this season his production seems to have normalized. The Giants are still getting a nice bat that averages 25 home runs per season. In the San Francisco environment, his batting average may not increase that much, but good enough of an offensive player that the fans are drawn to because of his unorthodox flair.

We give this deal 8 out of 10 Panda hats

Reds acquire RHP Jonathan BroxtonCincinnati would have been better suited getting a starter, but they’re few and far between this year and the cost may not have been worth what GM Walt Jocketty would be willing to give. Broxton is another asset to the Reds bullpen that was already pretty reliable with unhittable Aroldis Chapman and setup man Sean Marshall. Jonathan Broxton was a closer in LA would get at least 10 strikeouts per 9 innings from ’06-’10. A that number haven’t been the same since, but was still getting saves and big outs despite a reduction in Ks this year. Walking nearly 4 per 9 and striking out 6 is not ideal going forward, but he’s walked the Jose Valverde-ian tightrope to a 2.27 era. Like Brandon League in Los Angeles, the former closer now setup man will be able to chill in the background of a pennant race and contribute in the least minimal risk situation possible.

We give this one 7 out of 10 Matt Stairs moon shots:

Yankees acquire 3B Casey McGeheeA fill in at third base until A-Rod returns from the DL, a career .260 with not much plate discipline and league average power.

6 out of 10 Ichiros

Diamondbacks acquire RHP Matt Albers and OF Scott Podsednik – Arizona was one team that was heavily rumored to be involved at the deadline, but ultimately couldn’t pull off a potential steal with a Dempster or Garza. General Manager Kevin Towers instead decided to swap relievers with lefty Craig Breslow, who was having a nice year in the Dback pen, for right hander Matt Albers. It seems that veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik was a throw in piece for the deal, as he will report to triple-A Reno, no doubt an extra piece if needed for a stretch run. The logic getting Albers seems to be that since the NL West is mostly right handed when it comes to power, being able to counter those matchups is an underrated factor in deadline deals.

5 out of 10 excruciatingly long waits only to find out no big deal is made.

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