Dodgers, Nationals win NL trade deadline

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

American League Trade Deadline Recap: Yankees, Red Sox big winners

Red Sox acquire IF Eduardo Nunez and RP Addison Reed without giving up top prospects.

The Red Sox addressed their two biggest needs at the deadline by adding a solid bat in Eduardo Nunez who is capable of filling in at 3B which has been a nightmare spot for the Sox and adding Reed to the back of their bullpen that has been good, but shaky at times other than the dominant Craig Kimbrel.

The Sox also called up their top prospect Rafael Devers, who has been manning the hot corner while Nunez has been at 2B during a brief injury related absence of Dustin Pedroia.

Both of these guys have been swinging the stick really well for the Sox over the past few games and have brought life to this offense. However, it still is not an intimidating offense by any means, as it sits in last place in the AL in HR as it has done for most of the season.

The Red Sox hitters will all need to be clicking at once to keep up with the other AL powerhouses, and that’s a lot to ask of the young, powerless lineup.

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If the Red Sox are going to make any noise in the postseason it will be on the back of their starting pitching. The pitching has been great this year, but with the injury to Price and Pomeranz’s tendency to burnout towards the end of the season, it will remain to be seen whether or not the staff will be able to carry them.

While the Red Sox definitely got better at the deadline, their playoff chances took a hit due to what other AL teams did around them, mainly their heated rivals in the New York Yankees.

Yankees acquire SP Sonny Gray and SP Jaime Garcia

Between their pre-deadline trade with the White Sox and these two recent acquisitions, the New York Yankees are officially the winners of the 2017 trade deadline. They were able to boost their MLB roster while simultaneously not having to sacrifice the entire farm of prospects they have developed over the past few years.

With Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia, the Yankees now have a formidable 5-man rotation that should be able to propel them to an AL East title. These two SPs also give the Yanks a much better-looking playoff rotation that will go four deep, featuring a dangerous 1-2 punch of Severino and Gray, followed by any combination of Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Jaime Garcia.

With the newly added depth and expected dominance of their bullpen, the starters will not face the same pressure to be lights out as those on other postseason teams.The Yankees acquisitions turned their biggest weakness, pitching, into arguably their biggest strength heading into the home stretch and makes them a much more likely candidate to win the Pennant and World Series.

The Yankees acquisitions turned their biggest weakness, pitching, into arguably their greatest strength improving their chances to win the Pennant and World Series.

Sonny Gray is controllable through 2020 and will be cheap while earning arbitration money. Moreover, the reactions to all their trades made it seem like everyone expected they would give up more than they did. While OF Blake Rutherford, OF Dustin Fowler, P James Kaprielian and IF Jorge Mateo are all solid prospects, the Yankees were able to keep SS Gleyber Torres, OF Clint Frazier, and other future MLB talent.

Cashman has done a marvelous job in the past two deadlines. He sold his assets, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, for top dollar, and acquired impressive talent this season.

The Yankees are the winner of this year’s deadline bringing stability and success to the franchise for presumably many years to come.

Houston Astros acquire Francisco Liriano

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Houston desperately needed a top of the line SP and RP to go along with baseballs’ best offense, yet failed to address both of those needs. With Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. both coming off or going on the DL, Houston’s starting pitching is a major concern.

The addition of Gray, Darvish, or Verlander would’ve made the Astros the team to beat in the AL. Now, it looks like the clock might strike midnight on the Astros early in the 2017 postseason.

Houston still has the opportunity to potentially land Verlander before the waiver-trade deadline, but have seemed pretty firm on not relinquishing their top prospects to do so.

In regard to Liriano, he has struggled as a starter for Toronto this year, but is expected to move to the bullpen in Houston. He has dominated lefties this year and that will most likely be his primary focus out of the pen. However, he does not bring the amount of help the Astros’ staff needed.

It wouldn’t be smart to count Houston out yet. The team has been dominant to this point in the season, but their lack of a big acquisition certainly didn’t give any confidence that they’ll have the ability to roll through the postseason like they have done in the regular season. 

AL Central Teams Make Minor Adjustments

The Cleveland Indians added RP Joe Smith to further bolster their already excellent bullpen. The upgrades they needed were internal, and the emergence of Bradley Zimmer, combined with the improved play of Michael Brantley, Francisco Lindor, and Edwin Encarnacion has helped give the Tribe a major boost lately.

The Kansas City Royals decided to make one final push for a World Series and remain buyers at the deadline. With Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas all hitting free agency in the offseason, the future looks grim for the Royals, but their recent success led management to take one last shot at a World Series before the core of their 2015 Championship team hits free agency for a massive pay day.

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The Royals added OF Melky Cabrera from the fire sale formerly known as the Chicago White Sox as well as SP Trevor Cahill and RP Brandon Maurer from the San Diego Padres. These moves did not cost the Royals much due to Cahill and Cabrera being rentals and they obviously don’t bring as much to KC as some of the more high-profile names on the market would have, but these moves make sense.

Kansas City was able to fill the few small holes the team had and while the roster may not look primed for a World Series, the Royals seem to have found the secret recipe for post season success making them an interesting competitor in the AL if they’re able to hold on to a Wild-Card spot or take over the division from the Indians.