Nationals Boost Bullpen by bringing in Brandon Kintzler
The weakest bullpen in baseball was greatly improved with the additions of Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle last week and now former Minnesota Twins closer Brandon Kintzler. Kintzler has had a very solid year so far for the Twins and is another piece of the puzzle for the loaded Nationals.
With a lineup and starting rotation as strong as the Nationals, there was absolutely no need to make a big splash at the deadline. The Nats did what they needed to do by building a bullpen strong enough to bring a World Series to DC.
Cubs add RP Justin Wilson and C Alex Avila from Detroit Tigers
After bringing in SP Jose Quintana, the Cubs filled their last few weaknesses by adding Wilson and Avila. Like their 2016 World Series opponent, the Cubs had an underperforming roster and didn’t need to make any bold moves after acquiring Quintana.
Chicago’s upgrades needed to come from within, and have as of late. The Cubs have been one of the best teams after the All-Star break and currently hold a 2.5 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
Wilson helps the Cubs bullpen that has been good but not great this year. He’ll likely slide into a No. 8 inning setup position before closer Wade Davis. It’s not a very sexy addition, but any bullpen build up is very helpful for the final months of the regular and postseason.
Alex Avila comes will fill the backup catcher void left by Miguel Montero.
Montero was cut by the Cubs after bashing teammate Jake Arrieta for not holding runners on well enough. Avila has had a resurgent year and is hitting RHP very well, something the Cubs starting C Wilson Contreras hasn’t done very well.
Montero brings more versatility to the already deep lineup.
If the Cubs regulars like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber can play as expected down the stretch, this team could be very dangerous again in October.
Rockies follow Cubs suit and bring in RP Pat Neshek and C Jonathan Lucroy
In similar fashion to Chicago, the Rockies addressed their biggest needs and upgraded their struggling bullpen and catcher position. Neshek has been phenomenal for the Philadelphia Phillies and will aid closer Greg Holland.
Lucroy, on the other hand, has struggled mightily, but has been one of the best catchers in the past couple years.
Now, Lucroy comes to Colorado as a low-risk high-reward player. The Rockies have had the worst offensive production from the catcher position all year. If Lucroy is able to perform in the friendly confines of Coors Field, his addition will do wonders for the Rockies.
Colorado’s roster is loaded with young talent, especially in their starting pitching, so it makes sense that they didn’t go all in on the 2017 season for their almost inevitable Wild-Card matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Dodgers Go All in on 2017 trading for Yu Darvish, Tony Cingrani, and Tony Watson
The Los Angeles Dodgers held out to the last minute of the trade deadline to bring in rental ace Yu Darvish. While I don’t think this move was entirely necessary, mainly because the Dodgers roster is so incredibly talented, it definitely increases their chances of making a serious push in the playoffs.
Darvish has struggled as of late for the Rangers, notably surrendering 10 ER over 3.2 IP in his last start against the Miami Marlins.
The low demand on the market and the Rangers need to get some value for their Ace who is bound for free agency this summer, made it so the Dodgers did not have to give up a Top-50 prospect in the deal.
Despite his recent struggles though, Darvish has been one of MLB’s best starters since arriving in the US from Japan. He has been a strikeout machine and his K/9 (11.0) has been the best by a SP over the 5 seasons since he joined the MLB.
The four-time All-Star will undoubtedly be a part of the Dodgers postseason rotation that will most likely include Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood.
The Dodgers have an incredible amount of starting pitching depth. As such, the fourth spot is up for grabs and could be for whoever is most effective towards the end of the season out of the pool of Brandon McCarthy, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun-jin Ryu.
If Darvish is able to return to his dominant form, Clayton Kershaw is 100 percent, and Alex Wood pitches like he has been this entire year, we could witness the most dominant postseason rotation of All-Time.
The additions of Cingrani and Watson help give an already solid bullpen plenty of depth on the left side. Both will be useful pieces for manager Dave Roberts to mix and match against some of the strongest left-handed hitters in baseball like Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Charlie Blackmon, Anthony Rizzo, and Jake Lamb, all of which the Dodgers are poised to face on their way to a World Series.
Los Angeles was the World Series favorite before the deadline and remain so. They should be the most exciting team to watch down the stretch and in the postseason.