Mets trade Lucas Duda to the Rays

The New York Mets traded 1st baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Drew Smith.

 

Mets analysis/grade:

Lucas Duda was a good starting 1st baseman for the Mets for several years, but it was the right move to trade him now since he is going to be a free agent after the season. The Mets were smart to at least get something in return for Duda before they would lose him for nothing this offseason. The Mets received right-handed relief pitcher Drew Smith who was the 30th ranked prospect in the Rays minor league system. Smith was a 3rd round pick of the Tigers in 2015, so clearly he has some potential to be a good MLB player. Smith also has been outstanding in 3 minor league seasons as he has a career 1.78 ERA and he was recently promoted to Double-A before being dealt to the Mets. Smith has the potential to be a good middle relief pitcher for New York in a few years as long as he continues to pitch well like he has so far in the minor leagues. This is a good trade for the Mets as they open up the 1st base position for outstanding prospect Dominic Smith who could be promoted very soon. The Mets are also getting a very quality prospect for Duda, so this trade makes a lot of sense for New York.

Grade: A

 

Rays analysis/grade:

The Rays have been looking for a full-time designated hitter in order to make their lineup complete as they look to make a playoff push this season. Duda certainly will provide even more power to the Rays lineup as he has 19 home runs this year. The Rays already had enough left-handed batters in their lineup, so it would have been better for them to add a powerful right-handed batter for some more balance. However, Duda will certainly make the Rays lineup much better as he will be a good full-time DH for the team and he can fill in at 1st base if needed. Duda is probably just a rental player for the Rays since he becomes a free agent after this season and the team probably won’t re-sign him, but he should add even more offense to an already deep lineup. The Rays give up their 30th ranked prospect Drew Smith in this deal and he was doing great in the minor leagues and I’m just not sure if giving Smith up was worth having 2 months of Lucas Duda on their team. This is a trade that might help the Rays a little bit this season, but in a few years they might regret making this trade.

Grade: C

lucas duda

White Sox trade Dan Jennings to the Rays

The Chicago White Sox continued trading away their veteran players as they sent relief pitcher Dan Jennings to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for 1st baseman prospect Casey Gillaspie.

 

White Sox analysis/grade:

The White Sox have recently traded away most of the quality relief pitchers that they have and they continued that trend by sending left-handed reliever Dan Jennings to the Rays. Chicago didn’t really have to trade Jennings since he is under team control through the 2019 season at a very inexpensive price. However, the White Sox received a very good prospect in return and it was a deal that they just couldn’t pass up. The White Sox acquired 24-year old 1st baseman Casey Gillaspie who was the Rays 10th ranked prospect according to MLB.com. Gillaspie was drafted in the 1st round of the 2014 draft by the Rays mostly because of his offensive abilities especially with the above average power that he possesses. However, Gillaspie has struggled this season in Triple-A for the Rays as he is hitting only .227 with 9 home runs. Gillaspie is still a good hitter, but for whatever reason he is just not having a good season in 2017. If Gillaspie can continue to improve then he could make it to the major leagues very soon probably as a designated hitter for the White Sox since they already have Jose Abreu at 1st base. Gillaspie has the chance to be a very good starter for Chicago if he can overcome the hitting struggles that he has faced in Triple-A this year. Dan Jennings was a good pitcher for Chicago, but Gillaspie is a very good prospect and this could turn out to be a very good trade for the White Sox.

Grade: B+

 

Rays analysis/grade:

The Rays bullpen has been the weakness of their team this season and they especially have been searching for a good left-handed relief pitcher. That is why they acquired veteran left-handed pitcher Dan Jennings from the White Sox. Jennings was good for the White Sox this season as he had a 3.45 ERA, but he was particularly effective against left-handed batters as they only have a .169 average against him in 2017. Jennings is under team control through the 2019 season, so he will likely be a key part of the Rays bullpen for a couple of years. However, Tampa Bay gave up a very good prospect in order to acquire Jennings as they traded away their 10th ranked prospect Casey Gillaspie. There is no doubt that this trade should make the Rays bullpen much better, but the Rays probably gave up too much to get him.

Grade: C+

dan jennings

White Sox trade Swarzak to the Brewers

The Chicago White Sox continued selling their veteran players just prior to the trade deadline as they sent relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for minor league center fielder Ryan Cordell.

 

White Sox analysis/grade:

This is a great trade for the White Sox as they signed Swarzak to a minor league contract in January and now they are trading him away for a quality prospect. Swarzak is going to be a free agent after the season, so the White Sox wouldn’t have re-signed him anyway. Chicago is also getting a good young outfielder in this trade as they acquired 25-year old outfielder Ryan Cordell who was an 11th round pick in 2013 by Texas. Cordell has been very impressive during his 5 minor league seasons as he is hitting .276 with 65 career home runs and 272 RBI’s. Cordell is in Triple-A this season and he has been really good at that level as he is hitting .284 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI’s. Cordell has good power and he is a good offensive player overall as evidenced by his impressive minor league stats. He also has good speed and he has above average arm strength for an outfielder, but the only thing that he could work on is that he strikes out too much. Cordell doesn’t have an elite skill in any area, but he is a good all-around player as he is able to do a variety of things well. Cordell projects very well as a good 4th outfielder for the White Sox and he is very close to making it to the MLB level as he could make his debut next season. The White Sox are getting a quality young outfielder that they can use for several years and that is a really good return considering that Swarzak didn’t have any trade value prior to this season.

Grade: A

 

Brewers analysis/grade:

The Milwaukee Brewers are shockingly in the middle of the playoff race in the national league, but they should still be building for the future instead of trading young prospects away. Swarzak is having a surprisingly good season as he had a 2.23 ERA coming out of the bullpen for the White Sox. However, Swarzak is just basically a rental player for Milwaukee as Swarzak is scheduled to be a free agent after the season. The Brewers are also giving up a prospect that has been dominant in the minor leagues so far. Milwaukee probably won’t make the playoffs this season and this trade isn’t one that will make much of a difference. The Brewers don’t need to sell their veteran players right now, but they certainly shouldn’t hurt their rebuilding process by trading young prospects away. The Brewers will probably look back at this trade in a few years and wonder why they thought it would be a good idea to trade a good young prospect for a relief pitcher that was signed as a minor league free agent not too long ago. It is difficult to see the logic of this trade for the Brewers and the Brewers gave up too much for Swarzak as well.

Grade: D

anthony swarzak

Giants trade Nunez to the Red Sox

The San Francisco Giants made a big trade a few days before the trade deadline as they sent 3rd baseman Eduardo Nunez to the Boston Red Sox for young pitching prospects Gregory Santos and Shaun Anderson.

 

Giants analysis/grade:

This is a good return for the Giants as they are getting two intriguing young pitching prospects for Eduardo Nunez who is a good utility player. The Giants will have a big void to fill at 3rd base, but that doesn’t matter much since they clearly aren’t going to make the playoffs this year. Nunez was going to be a free agent after this season anyway and the Giants weren’t really interested in re-signing him. It makes tons of sense for the Giants to get rid of him now and begin to rebuild a farm system that doesn’t have much talent. The Giants received two promising young right-handed pitchers in this deal as they acquired Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos. Anderson was a 2016 3rd round pick by Boston, so he clearly has the talent to make it to the major leagues soon. Anderson doesn’t throw too hard, but he mixes his pitches well and that is where he has been successful. He is 6-4 with a 3.58 ERA this season in the minor leagues, so if he keeps putting up good numbers consistently then he could be in the MLB within a few years. Anderson won’t ever be a star pitcher, yet he could be good depth for the Giants starting rotation as a 4th or 5th starter. The Giants also received 17-year old right-handed pitching prospect Gregory Santos in this deal. Santos is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in 7 starts in the Dominican summer league this season. Those stats are certainly impressive, although it will be interesting to see if those numbers can translate well to the higher levels of the minor leagues. Santos isn’t a ranked prospect and it is unlikely he will ever make it to the MLB, but if he keeps putting up impressive stats in the minors then the Giants would surely give him an opportunity. This is a really good trade for the Giants since they are acquiring two promising pitching prospects for a player that probably wasn’t going to re-sign with the team after this season.

Grade: B+

 

Red Sox analysis/grade:

The Boston Red Sox have one of the most complete rosters in the entire MLB this season, but 3rd base is the position where they have really struggled. Eduardo Nunez should be the solution to Boston’s problems at that position and he could be a big help for the Red Sox in their playoff run this season. Boston just called up Rafael Devers to play at 3rd base and he is playing well so far, but Nunez is a good fallback option at the position if Devers struggles. Nunez also has tremendous versatility as he is able to play many different positions including shortstop, 2nd base, left field, and right field. Nunez might not be an everyday starter at 3rd base, but he is still guaranteed to start many games since he can play a variety of positions. Nunez also is a consistent hitter as he hit .308 with 4 home runs and 31 RBI’s with the Giants this season. Nunez has the defensive versatility and offensive ability to make the Red Sox one of the deepest teams in the MLB for sure. Giving up talented young prospect Shaun Anderson in this trade isn’t ideal, but this trade is still good as it gives the Red Sox much needed help at a major position of need.

Grade: B-

eduardo nunez

Phillies trade Neshek to the Rockies

The Philadelphia Phillies continued their lengthy rebuild as they sent all-star relief pitcher Pat Neshek to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for minor league prospects Alejandro Requena, J.D. Hammer, and Jose Gomez.

 

Phillies analysis/grade:

Pat Neshek was pretty much the only bright spot for the Phillies this season as he was the team’s only all-star since he had a 1.12 ERA before being traded. However, Neshek is about to turn 37 years old and he is going to be a free agent after the season which made it an easy decision for the Phillies to trade him. The Phillies also received 3 good prospects from the Rockies in exchange for Neshek. Jose Gomez is the top prospect that the Phillies received in this trade as he could be a good starting middle infielder one day. Gomez has been outstanding in the minor leagues as he has a career .316 batting average and he is once again impressing this season as he has a .324 average with 33 RBI’s. He doesn’t provide much power as he only has 9 career home runs, but his offensive ability is still impressive. Gomez also has 73 career stolen bases, so he clearly has above average speed. Gomez is a shortstop right now, but he will probably move to 2nd base at some point because he doesn’t have great arm strength. Gomez is still a long way from being major league ready, but he projects well as a good starting infielder in the MLB. The Phillies also received 23-year old right-handed pitching prospect J.D. Hammer in this trade. Hammer was a 24th round pick by the Rockies last season and he has been good so far in his minor league career and he has a 2.25 ERA so far this season. He projects well as a middle relief pitcher as he has the ability to strike out batters effectively. Hammer is in High-A right now, so it is possible that he could make it to the majors in a few years. The final prospect that the Phillies acquired in this deal is 20-year old starting pitcher Alejandro Requena who is having a good year in Low-A with an 8-3 record and a 2.85 ERA. Requena struggled during his first 3 minor league seasons, but his impressive 2017 season shows that he does have some potential. Requena doesn’t throw very hard, but if he can continue to control his pitches well then he has a chance to make it to the MLB at some point. This is a very good return for the Phillies to receive for an aging relief pitcher that they weren’t going to re-sign anyway. The Phillies now have another 3 good prospects to work with as they continue their rebuild.

Grade: A

 

Rockies analysis/grade:

The Rockies desperately needed some more consistency from their bullpen since the only reliable relief pitcher that they have is closer Greg Holland. The addition of Pat Neshek should not only help to secure Colorado’s playoff spot, but it should help them to possibly go deeper in the playoffs this year. Neshek has a 1.12 ERA this season and his side-armed pitching style still should work well despite pitching at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Neshek gives the Rockies a terrific 8th inning option to try and setup closer Greg Holland in the 9th inning. Neshek is probably just a rental player for Colorado since he is about to be 37 years old and he is set to be a free agent after this season. The Rockies did give up some good prospects with potential, yet they didn’t give any top prospects in this deal so it won’t affect the Rockies minor league system much. We’ll see if Neshek can continue to pitch well in the worst stadium for pitchers, but at least he gives the Rockies with a much better 8th inning option. The Rockies did give up some talented young prospects, but they didn’t give up too much in return for Neshek and this is a move that should help to solidify a playoff spot this season.

Grade: B

pat neshek

Twins acquire Jaime Garcia from the Braves

The Minnesota Twins added to their rotation depth on Monday as they acquired starting pitcher Jaime Garcia and catcher Anthony Recker in exchange for minor league starting pitcher Huascar Ynoa.

 

Twins analysis/grade:

Minnesota has amazingly stayed in the thick of the american league playoff race this season after having an awful 2016 season. However, the team’s pitching depth has been a major issue for Minnesota as they have lacked a good 3rd option in their rotation behind Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios. Jaime Garcia will provide much needed starting pitching depth for the remainder of the season for Minnesota as they look to remain competitive in the AL central and in the AL wild card race. Garcia is having a decent season as he had a 4.30 ERA for the Braves this season and the Twins are hoping that he can continue to stay consistent. The Twins also acquired catcher Anthony Recker in this trade and he will add some much needed catcher depth for Minnesota behind starting catcher Jason Castro. Recker will likely spend most of his time in Triple-A, but he could compete with Chris Gimenez for the backup catcher role with the Twins. There is no doubt Jaime Garcia makes Minnesota’s rotation better, although the Twins are still building towards the future and they should be acquiring prospects instead of selling them off. This is a decent trade for Minnesota since they are making their team more competitive, but giving up a talented young prospect just isn’t worth it.

Grade: C+

 

Braves analysis/grade:

The Braves are an improved team this season, but they are still not competing for a playoff spot this season which is why it made so much sense to trade away Jaime Garcia. He is set to be a free agent after the season and it wasn’t likely he would return to the Braves anyway, so it made sense to get a decent young prospect in exchange for him. Right-handed pitcher Huascar Ynoa was the 22nd ranked prospect in the Twins minor league system and he is only 19 years old which means he still has some more time to improve. Ynoa has a good fastball and an average changeup, but he just needs to control his pitches better. He has a 5.26 ERA in 6 starts this season in Minnesota’s minor league system. It certainly isn’t encouraging for him to be struggling that much in rookie ball, but it is still a small sample size and he still has time to improve. Ynoa is an intriguing prospect and if the Braves can develop him effectively then he could be a decent player one day. Jaime Garcia made the Braves rotation better, yet it wouldn’t have meant much to have him on their team since the Braves aren’t competing for a playoff spot and he will be a free agent this offseason. This is a good trade for the Braves, although it remains to be seen the type of player that Ynoa becomes in a few years.

Grade: B-

jaime garcia

Cardinals trade Marco Gonzales to the Mariners

The Seattle Mariners once again are looking to upgrade their pitching depth as they traded outfield prospect Tyler O’Neill to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for starting pitcher Marco Gonzales.

 

Mariners analysis/grade:

This trade doesn’t make much sense at all for the Mariners because they are giving up their 2nd ranked prospect Tyler O’Neill who has been outstanding in Triple-A. However, in return they are only getting the Cardinals 18th ranked prospect Marco Gonzales who is coming off of Tommy John surgery last year. Gonzales is a left-handed pitcher prospect who was drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 draft by the Cardinals and he certainly has some upside. However, Gonzales hasn’t been very good at the MLB level when he’s been called up as he only has a 4.82 career ERA in 12 games. Gonzales is pitching depth for the Mariners if anything and he might never develop into a decent MLB pitcher. Gonzales will likely start in Triple-A until the Mariners feel that he is ready, but giving up O’Neill for him is just stupid. O’Neill has a much bigger upside than Gonzales and O’Neill has the potential to be a very good starter unlike Gonzales who is just likely starting rotation depth at best for the Mariners. I’m not quite sure why the Mariners would make this trade since O’Neill has much bigger potential than Gonzales and Seattle should have gotten at least another decent prospect in return.

Grade: D

 

Cardinals analysis/grade:

The Cardinals continue to add to their young outfield depth as they acquired Tyler O’Neill who was the 2nd-ranked prospect in the Mariners minor league system. St. Louis did have to give up promising pitching prospect Marco Gonzales, but Gonzales doesn’t have nearly as much upside as O’Neill anyway. Gonzales was a 2013 1st round pick by St. Louis and he still has some upside, but he struggled at the MLB level while with the Cardinals and injuries have really held him back. The Cardinals are really good at developing starting pitchers, yet for some reason they just weren’t able to develop Gonzales effectively. Meanwhile, Tyler O’Neill might now be the best outfield prospect in the Cardinals organization which is already stacked with young outfielders. O’Neill is known as a very good hitter and he is certainly proving that season as he has hit 19 home runs in Triple-A this season. O’Neill probably won’t hit for a high average, but he has great power and he can drive in tons of runs. O’Neill also has decent speed as he has 9 stolen bases this season, but he needs to become a better defensive player. O’Neill projects as a corner outfielder at the MLB because of his lack of defense, but he should be a starter as long as he can continue to hit like he has in the minor leagues. O’Neill could make his MLB debut very soon and that is when we will see if his power numbers will remain. Overall, this is a steal for the Cardinals because they are getting a young prospect with big upside for a pitcher that wasn’t going to have a big role with the team anyway.

Grade: B+

marco gonzales