The San Francisco Giants have been a major disappointment during the 2017 season as they are the 2nd worst team in the MLB right now. That means the Giants will be sellers at the trade deadline and that means everybody except for maybe Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner are available. There are many players that the Giants could trade, but one player that they will almost certainly trade is 3rd baseman Eduardo Nunez. He is having a good year as he is hitting .297 with 26 RBI’s for the Giants, but Nunez is a free agent after the season and the Giants don’t want to lose him for nothing. Trading away Nunez would probably only give the Giants one or two decent prospects, yet the Giants need some young prospects to help rebuild their farm system. Another player that San Francisco could trade away is relief pitcher Hunter Strickland. He is having an outstanding season as the best pitcher in the Giants bullpen as he currently has a 1.85 ERA. Strickland is under team control until 2022 which is why the Giants could decide not to trade him. However, Strickland could net the Giants a big return if they trade him before the deadline since there are many contenders that could use him as a late-inning option in their bullpen. There are a couple of starting pitchers that the Giants could decide to trade as well including Matt Moore and Jeff Samardzija. Moore has had an awful year as he is 3-10 with a 5.81 ERA and his trade value has worsened significantly. The Giants might still get some interest in Moore, but they probably wouldn’t get much in return for him because of how terrible he has been this year. The Giants still have him under contract for a couple of years, so they will probably just keep him and try to rebuild his trade value. Jeff Samardzija hasn’t had a very good year for the Giants as he is 4-11 with a 4.86 ERA this season. However, Samardzija still has good trade value and the Giants could at least get a couple of decent prospects in return for him. Samardzija is under contract through 2020, but he is 32 years old right now and he has an annual salary of $18 million. The Giants are looking to get younger and rebuild their farm system, so they could get some good players and start the process if they just trade Samardzija before the deadline. Those are all of the players that the Giants could trade before the deadline, although the only one that is basically sure to be traded is Eduardo Nunez.
The Miami Marlins traded relief pitcher David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor league prospects Brayan Hernandez, Brandon Miller, Pablo Lopez, and Lukas Schiraldi.
The Seattle Mariners have been looking to improve their bullpen as they look to make the playoffs this season for the first time since 2001. That is why the Mariners decided to trade for Marlins relief pitcher David Phelps on Thursday. Phelps was a starting pitcher and relief pitcher for the first 4 seasons of his career, but he struggled as a starter and he became a full-time relief pitcher in 2016. Phelps had an outstanding first season as a full-time relief pitcher that season as he had a 2.28 ERA. However, Phelps hasn’t been nearly as good this season for the Marlins as he has a 3.45 ERA. This acquisition does help the Mariners bullpen for the rest of this season and next season as well as he is under contract through 2018. Phelps is a good middle relief pitcher, but I’m just not sure that he will make much of an impact for the Mariners. Also, they certainly need other missing pieces like a catcher and some better relief pitchers in order to better compete for a playoff spot. Phelps shouldn’t be used as a late-inning option, but he is a good pitcher to use in the 6th or 7th inning. The problem with this trade for Seattle is that they gave up 4 young prospects in this deal which is too much to give up for a middle relief pitcher especially one that hasn’t been very consistent. Seattle even gave up their 6th, 16th, and 22nd ranked prospects in this deal which is way too much. Nobody knows if those prospects will ever be good MLB players, but it is still too much potential to give up for a relief pitcher that likely won’t make much of a difference. This trade might help the Mariners bullpen slightly this season and in 2018, but the risk of this trade just isn’t worth the reward for Seattle.
This is an outstanding trade for the Marlins as they are receiving 4 young prospects for a decent relief pitcher that was inconsistent during his time with the team. The biggest prize that the Marlins received in this trade is 19-year old outfielder Brayan Hernandez who was the 6th best prospect in the Mariners minor league system according to MLB.com. Hernandez has been inconsistent so far in his minor league career as he hit .281 in rookie ball in 2016. However, he hasn’t has much success in 28 games at Class A this season as he is only hitting .252 with 2 home runs. Hernandez will probably never be a decent power hitter, but the hope is that he can improve his average and be more of a line-drive hitter. Hernandez has good speed as he has 35 career stolen bases, but that won’t mean much unless he can continue to improve his offensive abilities. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a starter at the MLB level and he needs much more time to develop, but he has the potential to be a decent bench player one day. The Marlins also received right-handed starting pitcher prospect Brandon Miller who was the 16th best prospect in the Mariners farm system. Miller has been good in his 2 minor league seasons as he is 13-6 with a 3.32 ERA and he has the potential to make it to the majors in a few seasons if he can stay consistent. Miller has the potential to compete for the final spot in an MLB starting rotation at some point, but if that doesn’t work out then he could be a good long relief or middle relief pitcher. Miami also received right-handed starting pitcher Pablo Lopez who was the 22nd ranked prospect in the Mariners farm system. Lopez was outstanding in his first 3 minor league seasons as he had an ERA of 2.57, 3.13, and 2.13 in those seasons. However, Lopez has not been good in Class A advanced this season as he is 5-8 with a 5.04 ERA. Lopez is striking out a lot of batters this year, but he is also allowing tons of hits which explains his mediocre ERA. This season might just be a bump in the road for Lopez, but he will likely get back on track soon because he is still a good pitching prospect. Finally, the Marlins acquired 23-year old right-handed starting pitcher Lukas Schiraldi who was a 15th round pick by Seattle in 2014. Schiraldi isn’t a ranked prospect and he doesn’t have much potential. However, if he can turn around his minor league career then maybe he could be a decent depth relief pitcher for the Mariners. Schiraldi is 13-23 with a 4.65 ERA in his minor league career, so the Marlins are just hoping that somehow something will click and he will become a decent pitcher one day. He doesn’t have much of a chance of making it to the MLB, but possibly a change of organizations will help Schiraldi improve. Either way, this trade is a very big return for the Marlins as they now have 3 decent young prospects to work with for an average middle relief pitcher that was inconsistent at times.
The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox pulled off a major blockbuster trade on Tuesday as the White Sox sent Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees in exchange for Tyler Clippard, Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin, and Tito Polo.
This is a good trade for the Yankees specifically with the acquisition of 3rd baseman Todd Frazier. The Yankees now have one of the deepest lineups in the MLB and this move will allow the Yankees to move Chase Headley from 3rd base to 1st base since that position has had terrible production this season. Frazier is only hitting .206 this season, but he is still a good power hitter as he has 16 home runs. Also, Frazier is still a solid defensive player at 3rd base and he is the type of player that will help the Yankees out in a variety of ways. The Yankees also made major upgrades to their bullpen in this trade by acquiring relief pitchers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. Robertson was the closer for the White Sox this season and he did well in that role as he had a 2.70 ERA and 13 saves. However, he won’t be the closer for the Yankees as New York has Aroldis Chapman as their closer and they also have quality setup man Dellin Betances in their bullpen. Robertson will likely be the 8th inning guy for New York and he will make their bullpen elite as the team now has 3 terrific late-inning options. Tommy Kahnle will add even more to the Yankees bullpen as he had a 2.43 ERA this season for the White Sox. Kahnle is an outstanding middle relief option for the Yankees and he will help add some quality depth to the bullpen. The Yankees did give up 2016 1st round pick Blake Rutherford and quality pitching prospect Ian Clarkin. However, this is a trade that makes the Yankees better immediately and it was a good trade for New York to try and make a push for a playoff spot.
White Sox analysis/grade:
It probably wasn’t easy for the White Sox to trade away all-star caliber players Todd Frazier and David Robertson. However, it was a deal that they had to make as they look to rebuild their roster and compete in a couple of years. Frazier was a free agent after the season and the team would have lost him for nothing. Also, Robertson is a free agent after the 2018 season and he is already 32 years old, so it wouldn’t make much sense to keep him around. Meanwhile, the White Sox are getting 3 good young prospects in this deal including outfielder Blake Rutherford who was the Yankees 1st round pick in 2016. Rutherford is a good all-around player as he is a solid defender and he also is an above average hitter. He has hit .302 so far in 104 career minor league games, but don’t expect much power from him as he only has 5 career home runs. If he can ever develop more power then he could be a very good MLB starter. Either way, he is still a good hitter and fielder which means he projects well as a decent starting outfielder at the MLB level. The White Sox also acquired another talented young prospect with left-handed starting pitcher Ian Clarkin who was a 1st round pick of the Yankees in 2013. Clarkin was the 19th best prospect in the Yankees minor league system according to MLB.com. He hasn’t made it past Class A yet in his career despite being 22 years old. However, injuries have stalled his career a little bit as he missed the entire 2015 season with elbow inflammation and he missed some of last season after having knee surgery. Clarkin has a good 3.19 ERA so far in his minor league career and he should continue to move up the White Sox minor league system as long as he can stay healthy. Chicago also acquired another interesting prospect with 22-year old outfielder Tito Polo who was signed originally by Pittsburgh in 2012. Polo has since continued to impress since being traded to the Yankees in 2016 as he hit .302 with 12 home runs for the Yankees High-A team. He recently was promoted to Double-A and he has been even better at that level as he is hitting .382 with 17 RBI’s in just 14 games. Polo isn’t a highly ranked prospect, but if he can continue to hit like he has the past couple of years then he might make it to the MLB in a couple of years. Finally, Chicago also received one major league player in this trade as they acquired Tyler Clippard from the Yankees. Clippard has been terrible this season as he has a 4.95 ERA, but he is expected to be the White Sox new closer for the rest of the season after the team traded away David Robertson in this deal. Clippard is just a temporary solution for the White Sox in their bullpen as he is a free agent after the season and the team likely won’t re-sign him since he turns 33 years old prior to next season. This is a good trade for the White Sox as they are continuing their fast rebuild by acquiring 3 quality young prospects.
The Detroit Tigers made a major trade on Tuesday by sending star right fielder J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league prospects Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose King.
I certainly didn’t see Arizona making a big deal like this at the trade deadline, but it certainly shows that the team is doing whatever necessary to try and make a deep playoff run this season. J.D. Martinez gives the Diamondbacks yet another dangerous bat to put in the middle of their lineup and he will help out in an outfield that has a glaring need in left field with Yasmany Tomas on the disabled list. The issue that I have for the Diamondbacks with this trade is that Martinez is essentially just a rental for the rest of the season and it is unlikely that the team would be able to retain him in free agency after the season. Martinez makes the Diamondbacks lineup one of the best in baseball and it probably makes the team better a little bit. However, this trade only guarantees them a wild card spot because they probably won’t close the gap on the Dodgers in the division anytime soon. Arizona already had tons of right-handed hitters in their lineup and they would have been better off trying to trade for a quality left-handed batter for more balance. The Diamondbacks still need bullpen help the most if they want to make it anywhere in the playoffs and that is where their focus should be at the trade deadline. This trade will be great if Martinez re-signs with the Diamondbacks in free agency, but that is relatively unlikely to happen. That is why I can’t give Arizona a great grade since they are giving up 3 quality young prospects in exchange for a player that they might only have for a total of 3 months.
This trade signals that Detroit is ready to move on from their aging star players and start to build a team that will be younger and more competitive in a few years. J.D. Martinez has been the Tigers best hitter this season, but the Tigers still aren’t a competitive team even with him on their roster as they sit at 42-49 on the season. Obviously, Detroit isn’t going to be a playoff team this season which is why it made tons of sense to trade away Martinez now rather than lose him for nothing at the end of the season. Detroit had one of the worst farm systems in the MLB before this trade and this trade won’t improve their farm system much. However, this trade at least gives the Tigers some quality young prospects to work with and it is a good start to trying to build a more competitive team. The prize of this deal for the Tigers is 3rd baseman Dawel Lugo who was the 2nd best prospect in Arizona’s minor league system according to Baseball America. Lugo doesn’t hit for much power, but he still is a tremendous offensive player because he hits for average and he doesn’t strike out much. The Tigers also received shortstop Sergio Alcantara who was the 15th best prospect in Arizona’s farm system according to MLB.com. Alcantara is ranked that high of a prospect mostly because of his outstanding defensive abilities as he is a good fielder and he has a strong arm as well. Alcantara doesn’t do much offensively as he only has 6 career home runs in 374 career minor league games. However, if he can continue to develop a respectable offensive capability then he projects well as a bench player at the MLB level, although he will mostly be used as a defensive replacement late in games. Finally, the Tigers acquired 18-year old shortstop prospect Jose King in the trade. King only has 13 games of experience in the minor leagues, so it is a complete unknown as to how he will turn out. However, he has shown an ability to steal bases and he hit for a good average while playing in the Dominican Republic. There aren’t really high expectations for King with the Tigers, but he is still young and it is worth it to see if the team can develop him. Detroit could have gotten better prospects if they had decided to trade Martinez maybe a year ago. However, this trade shows that the team is finally heading in the right direction and they are starting to rebuild a farm system that has not been good in recent years.
Only a couple of years ago, the Kansas City Royals were probably the best team in baseball, but a lot has changed since then and now the team has many tough decisions to make very soon. The Royals have basically the same core of players that it had in 2015, but those players just haven’t stepped up this year as they find themselves now as one of the worst teams in all of baseball with a 11-20 record so far this year. What’s most concerning for the Royals is the key players that are all set to leave after this season. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and Jason Vargas are all free agents after the season. However, there is virtually no way that they will be able to keep all of those players around next season. That means they will either keep a few of those guys and be stuck in mediocrity for many years to come or they can trade most of those players before the trade deadline and start a lengthy rebuild. Neither of those options is good for Kansas City, but it is time for this team to start building their future. The Royals best option right now is probably to just start the lengthy rebuild and trade away many veteran players before they are lost in free agency for nothing. Kansas City has Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, Jorge Soler, and Danny Duffy under contract for several years. However, those players are more of complementary players and none can carry the team by themselves. Meanwhile, the Royals need to at least get something by trading away players that are set to hit free agency like Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jason Vargas. The only player that the Royals should try hard to retain is 1st baseman Eric Hosmer who is set to hit free agency as well this offseason. Hosmer is pretty much the only power threat in the Royals lineup and he is still young enough that he could be a big part of their future when the team is ready to contend again. The only issue is that he will probably want to join a contender this offseason rather than staying in Kansas City for a lengthy rebuild. Either way, the Royals need to sell off any veterans that they can this season in order to try and rebuild their farm system with young prospects. However, this team is several years from being relevant again even if they begin the rebuilding process soon.
3. The San Diego Padres are a worse team than we expected
There aren’t very high expectations heading into the season as they are terrible in every aspect of their roster. However, opening day just proved how terrible this team will likely be this season and they could even be worse than I expected. San Diego lost 14-3 to the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day. Sure, the Dodgers could compete for a world series this year, but there is never an excuse for a team to allow 14 runs on opening day. Jhoulys Chacin is supposedly the team’s best starting pitcher and if he is the best that they have then I don’t really want to see their worst pitcher because he allowed 9 runs in just 3.1 innings of work. The bullpen for the Padres wasn’t much better, so there doesn’t look to be much hope for the Padres pitching staff. San Diego didn’t do well offensively either, but I expected that considering that they were facing Clayton Kershaw. However, the Padres are basically a minor league team playing at the major league level and they had many players playing today with very little MLB experience. San Diego should be a better team as the season goes on, but right now I’m not sure they even deserve to compete at the MLB level because they looked awful on opening today.
2. Blake Treinen surprisingly could be a good closer for the Nationals
The Nationals had a major question mark as to who their closer would be heading into this season after elite closer Mark Melancon left in free agency. Blake Treinen was just recently named the team’s closer and he certainly didn’t disappoint on opening day. Treinen was faced with a save situation and he made it look easy as he had 2 strikeouts to close out the Marlins in a 4-2 victory on Monday. Treinen faced three really tough hitters and he made them look foolish. It is only opening day, so Treinen could still get worse, but at least he eased some of the concern in the closer role for now.
1. Kansas City might be rebuilding soon once again
Just a couple of years ago, the Kansas City Royals were the best team in the MLB and yet they now are showing signs that they aren’t even contenders anymore. Kansas City suffered an embarrassing loss on opening day as the lowly Minnesota Twins demolished the Royals 7-1. Danny Duffy was outstanding for the Royals, but after he left the game the Royals just completely fell apart. Kansas City’s bullpen was terrible as they allowed 6 runs in only 2 innings of work combined and that is a concern as that has been the strength of their team in recent years. Also, the offense only managed 1 run on 3 hits against a Twins pitching staff that isn’t very overpowering. Kansas City has a lot of key players hitting free agency after the season, so they might have to start trading away players and start rebuilding once again this year. The Royals have many areas to improve in order to contend and they can’t lose to teams like Minnesota if they want to have any chance of making the playoffs in 2017.
Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:
- Logan Forsythe – 2nd baseman
- Corey Seager – Shortstop
- Justin Turner – 3rd baseman
- Adrian Gonzalez – 1st baseman
- Yasmani Grandal – Catcher
- Joc Pederson – Center Fielder
- Yasiel Puig – Right Fielder
- Andrew Toles – Left Fielder
Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:
- Clayton Kershaw
- Rich Hill
- Kenta Maeda
- Scott Kazmir
- Julio Urias
The Dodgers didn’t make too many additions this offseason, but acquiring 2nd baseman Logan Forsythe is the one move that could make the Dodgers even better. Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and Adrian Gonzalez are the most dangerous and consistent threats in the Dodgers lineup. However, if their lineup is to ever become dangerous then they will need more consistency from players like Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, and Yasmani Grandal. The offense for Los Angeles is already really good and if those 3 players show up consistently then their lineup could be unstoppable. Meanwhile, the Dodgers still have star pitcher Clayton Kershaw who is remarkably elite every year. Rich Hill also had an amazing season in 2016 as he had a 2.12 ERA and if he can pitch like that again in 2017 then the Dodgers rotation should be really good. Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir are also really good options for the Dodgers in their rotation as the 3rd and 4th options. Julio Urias has by far the biggest upside in the Dodgers rotation as he is only 20 years old and he has already had success in limited action for Los Angeles last year. He figures to get a full-time role in the Dodgers rotation in 2017 and if he performs well then he could make the Dodgers rotation sensational. Re-signing elite closer Kenley Jansen will maintain the stability in the Dodgers bullpen and Sergio Romo/Pedro Baez should be really good late inning options as well. Overall, there aren’t many weaknesses on this Dodgers roster and they are definitely world series contenders heading into 2017.
Prediction: 1st place in the NL West