The Detroit Tigers continued their rebuild on Wednesday as they traded veteran 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for outfielder Troy Montgomery and right-handed pitcher Wilkel Hernandez.
This trade makes some sense for the Tigers as they clearly aren’t going to be in a position to compete next season as they are just beginning what could be a lengthy rebuild. That is why it was good that they traded away Ian Kinsler since he is nearing the end of his career and he will now have a chance to compete for a playoff spot elsewhere. This move makes sense for the Tigers mainly because it allows them to cut $11 million from their payroll by having the Angels take up his entire 2018 salary. That isn’t a lot of money to pay a player like Kinsler, but the Tigers need to cut costs wherever they can especially with an aging veteran player that won’t help them much. Meanwhile, I’m not quite excited about the prospects that Detroit is receiving in this deal. Outfielder Troy Montgomery was the 20th ranked prospect in the Angels farm system according to mlb.com. However, the Angels don’t have a very good minor league system which means that Montgomery isn’t a very quality prospect. Montgomery doesn’t provide much power or offensive ability as he only had 8 home runs last season in 100 minor league games. He does have decent speed as he has 28 stolen bases in 2 minor league seasons and doesn’t have a very impressive batting average as he hit only .271 last season. Montgomery is a good fielder, but he needs to improve his offensive ability if he wants to reach the MLB anytime soon. The other prospect that Detroit received is right-handed pitcher Wilkel Hernandez who was the 24th ranked prospect in the Angels minor league system. Hernandez is only an 18-year old who was an international free agent signing by the Angels in 2016. He has some upside, but he is still a very raw prospect that will take many years for the Tigers to develop. However, he has pitched well mainly as a starting pitcher in rookie ball as he is 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 17 games pitched. Maybe the Tigers could have acquired more for Kinsler, but now they can continue their rebuild and give another young player an opportunity to play 2nd base.
I really like this trade for the Angels as it gives them an all-star caliber player at a position that they have struggled at recently. Kinsler’s production declined last season as he hit only .236 for Detroit, but he still has solid power as he hit 22 home runs in 2017. Kinsler is a very good defensive 2nd baseman as proven by his gold glove award in 2016, yet he is a significant upgrade offensively over what the Angels had at the position last season. Kinsler is likely just a temporary solution at 2nd base since he is 35 years old and he is entering the final year of his contract. However, Kinsler should help the Angels improve in 2018 and that might be enough to push them into the playoffs.
Chris Iannetta is heading back to where his career began as the veteran catcher signed a 2-year/$8.5 million contract on Friday. Iannetta played for the Rockies already from 2006-2011 after he was a 4th round pick by the team in the 2004 draft. He hasn’t had much success since he left Colorado as he struggled with the Angels and Mariners from 2012-2016, but he revived his career last season in Arizona as he hit .254 with 17 home runs and 43 RBI’s. Iannetta is just an average catcher at best at this point in his career, but he is definitely an upgrade over Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy at the catcher position for the Rockies. Iannetta isn’t a great option at catcher, but he provides good leadership and more offensive ability than Tony Wolters. This has the potential to be a bargain signing for the Rockies if Iannetta can play like he did last season, although I’m still not sold on him being a good starting catcher for Colorado.
Starting Pitcher Jaime Garcia only made one start for the Twins and now he is being traded once again as Minnesota traded him to the New York Yankees in exchange for minor league pitching prospects Dietrich Enns and Zack Littell.
The Minnesota Twins just gave a prospect in order to acquire Jaime Garcia from the Braves and he looked good in his one start against the Athletics. However, Garcia didn’t last long with the Twins as the team just traded him to the Yankees after only acquiring him a few days earlier. Minnesota is certainly getting a couple of really good pitching prospects in return for Garcia. Dietrich Enns is definitely the closest of the two prospects to reaching the major leagues. Enns is currently pitching at Triple-A mostly as a starting pitcher where he has been very good as he has a 1.99 ERA this season. Enns isn’t a hard-thrower, but he has outstanding pitch control which is why he is on the verge of making his MLB debut. He has a 1.87 career ERA in 6 minor league seasons which is amazing considering that he was a 19th round pick of the Yankees in 2012. Enns might be a good bullpen option for the Twins and it is possible that he could make his MLB debut this season. Minnesota also acquired 21-year old right-handed starting pitcher Zack Littell in this trade. Littell has had a very impressive 2017 season as he is 14-1 with a 1.93 ERA in High-A and he has a very good 3.24 career ERA in 5 minor league seasons. Littell can throw mid-90’s with his fastball and his recent success can be attributed to an improved changeup and curveball. If Littell continues pitching very well like he has this season then he could make it to the majors in a few years and he could be good starting rotation depth for the Twins. It is strange that the Twins would trade away Jaime Garcia right after they had just acquired him. However, this was ultimately a good trade for the Twins as they are getting two very good minor league prospects to help them continue to build for the future.
New York Yankees analysis/grade:
The New York Yankees are once again playoff contenders mostly because of their improved offense and a somewhat improved starting rotation. However, the Yankees needed some more starting pitching depth which is why they added Jaime Garica. He is having an average season in 2017 as he is 5-7 with a 4.29 ERA, but he will be a good 5th starter in the Yankees rotation. The Yankees could even move him into the bullpen if they decide that Jordan Montgomery would fit best in the 5th spot in their rotation. Garcia is not an elite starting pitcher, but he still improves the team by adding much more depth to their rotation. New York gave up two quality prospects in order to acquire Garcia and that is why this trade isn’t as good for the Yankees, but Garcia should help the Yankees even if it’s just for a couple of months.
The Texas Rangers decided to trade away catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for a player to be named later.
Texas Rangers analysis/grade:
This is a really bad trade for the Rangers as they are giving up an all-star caliber catcher basically for nothing. Lucroy wasn’t having a very good year for the Rangers, but he is surely worth more than a low-level prospect. He is set to be a free agent after the season, but the Rangers could have gotten at least something decent in return for Lucroy. This is a trade that just isn’t worth it for Texas since they are acquiring pretty much nothing for a player that has a proven track record of being a very good catcher. Lucroy would have been more valuable just to remain with the team for the rest of the season rather than only getting a low-level minor league player presumably. We’ll see later on which prospect the Rangers receive from the Rockies for this trade, but this is still a major fail for the Rangers since they basically are getting rid of a valuable catcher for nothing.
Colorado Rockies analysis/grade:
This is a terrific low-risk trade for the Rockies as they are acquiring 2-time all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy in exchange for basically nothing. Lucroy is having a down season in 2017 as he is only hitting .242 with 4 home runs and 27 RBI’s. However, Lucroy was an all-star just one season ago when he hit 24 home runs so he still has the potential to be a big impact player for the Rockies. The catcher position has been a major weakness for Colorado as both Tony Wolters and Ryan Hanigan have struggled to produce offensively. Even if Jonathan Lucroy plays like he did for the Rangers this season he still is a big upgrade at the position for the Rockies and he is still a dangerous hitter in the 8th spot of the Rockies lineup. Lucroy is likely only a rental player as he is a free agent after the season, but if he can just be half the player that he used to be then he will still make a major impact for the Rockies. The Rockies are giving barely anything up in exchange for Lucroy, so this trade has absolutely no risk and at the same time it could produce a huge return. Colorado is already a playoff-caliber team, yet this trade just makes the Rockies even more dangerous offensively especially if Lucroy can play like he did just a year ago.
The Chicago White Sox traded yet another key veteran player as they sent outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor league pitchers A.J. Puckett and Andre Davis.
White Sox analysis/grade:
Melky Cabrera was one of the most productive players in the White Sox lineup this season, but Chicago made the right decision to trade him since he is about to turn 33 years old and he is going to be a free agent after the season. The White Sox added a couple of good young pitching prospects in this deal. The most notable prospect that the White Sox received in this deal is right-handed pitcher A.J. Puckett who was a 2nd round pick in 2016 by the Royals. Puckett hasn’t been very dominant in the minor leagues as he only has a 3.83 career ERA in 33 starts. He has struggled with his consistency at times and he walks a lot of batters. However, he he has a good fastball and a good change-up which should make him a successful starting pitcher. The White Sox will need to develop Puckett some more, but in a few years he should be ready to make an impact at the MLB level. The other prospect that the White Sox received in this trade is left-handed starting pitcher Andre Davis who was an 8th round pick by the Royals in 2015. Davis is a hard-thrower as he can throw mid-90’s consistently and that is likely why the White Sox are taking a chance on him. However, Davis is still a very raw pitcher as he struggles with his command at times and his 5.06 career ERA in the minor leagues isn’t very appealing. Davis is a starting pitcher right now, but ultimately the White Sox will probably have him to the bullpen because of his ability to throw hard. Chicago is getting two pitchers with very big potential and it is a good return for a player that they weren’t going to re-sign this offseason anyway.
The Royals are officially all in to try and make the playoffs this season before they have many key players that could leave in free agency. Cabrera is scheduled to be a free agent after this season, so he is basically a rental player for the Royals. However, Cabrera fills a big need for Kansas City in right field as they haven’t gotten much production out of that position this season. Cabrera doesn’t hit too many home runs, but he is a very underrated consistent hitter. He always seems to hit for a high average including this season when he hit .295 for the White Sox to go with 13 home runs and 56 RBI’s. Cabrera makes the Royals lineup pretty much complete as he adds just another dangerous hitter in the middle of their lineup. We’ll see how much of an impact Cabrera makes for the Royals as they chase a postseason spot this season, but he is probably an upgrade over Jorge Bonifacio in right field. My only concern with this trade is that the Royals gave up 2 pitching prospects with a high upside for a player who will likely only be with the team for a few months. This trade benefits the Royals immediately, but they might regret giving up Puckett and Davis in the future.
The Seattle Mariners exchanged relief pitchers with the Tampa Bay Rays as the Mariners sent Steve Cishek to the Rays for Erasmo Ramirez.
The Seattle Mariners really didn’t have much of a need for Steve Cishek anymore after the team recently acquired setup man David Phelps from the Marlins. Cishek is still a very good relief pitcher, but the Mariners didn’t have a big role for him this season. Meanwhile, Erasmo Ramirez provides the Mariners with some more versatility since he can be used as a starting pitcher or he can be used as a middle relief pitcher. The Mariners will probably use Ramirez as a starting pitcher to begin, but if that doesn’t work out then they could just move him to the bullpen. Ramirez hasn’t been very good this season as he has a 4.80 ERA, but maybe he will pitch better for the Mariners. Ramirez fits in well with Seattle, although I’m just not sure if he makes Seattle any better. In fact, they might be worse off as a result of this trade since Cishek was a very productive player for the Mariners and Ramirez has had a bad season in 2017. I see why the Mariners made this trade, but this trade probably won’t make them any better.
This trade makes a lot of sense for the Rays since they had a big need for late-inning bullpen help and Cishek is certainly a very good option in the 7th or 8th inning. Cishek has been a closer for most of his career and he did a very good job of it as he has 121 career saves and an impressive 2.81 career ERA. Cishek has been good for the Mariners this season as well since he had a 3.15 ERA for Seattle in 23 appearances. The Rays also didn’t give up much in return for Cishek as they dealt Erasmo Ramirez who had struggled with a 4.80 ERA for the team anyway. Tampa Bay didn’t have a role for Ramirez anyway since they have tons of starting pitching depth and their bullpen is really deep right now as well with the addition of Cishek. The only downside of this trade for the Rays is that they are only getting Cishek as a rental player since he is going to be a free agent after this season. However, this is a trade that makes the Rays bullpen stronger at least for the rest of this season.
The Philadelphia Phillies continued trading away their veteran players as they sent left fielder Howie Kendrick to the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor league pitching prospect McKenzie Mills.
Philadelphia Phillies analysis/grade:
This trade makes a lot of sense for the Phillies since Howie Kendrick is a free agent after the season and he wasn’t a starter for the Phillies anyway. Kendrick provided the Phillies with a player that can play many positions and he provided quality veteran leadership to the young Phillies roster. However, it made sense for the Phillies to trade away Kendrick now rather than lose him for nothing. The Phillies ended up acquiring 21-year old left-handed starting pitcher prospect McKenzie Mills who is having an outstanding season in Low-A. Mills has a 12-2 record with a 3.01 ERA in 18 starts this season which is remarkable considering how terrible he was in his first 2 minor league seasons. Mills is striking out tons of batters and he seems to have improved his control considerably this year. He is still far away from reaching the major leagues, but if he can continue to pitch well consistently like he has this season then he could reach the MLB level in a few years. Mills is an intriguing prospect and it is a good return for the Phillies to get for a veteran player that didn’t play much anyway.
Washington Nationals analysis/grade:
This is a good trade for the Nationals to make in order to improve their depth as they look to make a deep postseason run this season. Kendrick is 34 years old and he will only be a rental player for the Nationals since he is a free agent after this season. However, Kendrick has proven that he can still be a very effective player as he hit .340 with 18 RBI’s for the Phillies in limited playing time this season. The Nationals will probably have Kendrick split time with Adam Lind in left field, but Kendrick is very useful since he can play many different positions. The Nationals didn’t have to give up much for Kendrick and he should be a useful player for the Nationals as they look to make a world series run. Washington lacked depth on their bench prior to this trade and Kendrick definitely will improve this team immediately.