The Philadelphia Phillies continued their lengthy rebuild just before the trade deadline as they sent starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for outfielder Hyun Soo Kim and minor league pitcher Garrett Cleavinger.
Philadelphia Phillies analysis/grade:
Jeremy Hellickson had really hurt his trade value this season with the Phillies as he had a 4.73 ERA for the team. However, Hellickson was set to be a free agent after this season so the Phillies had to get at least something in return for him. The most notable player that the Phillies received in this trade is Hyun Soo Kim who has been a backup outfielder for the Orioles. Soo Kim had a good 2016 season for Baltimore as he hit .302 with 6 home runs in his first major league season. However, Soo Kim has struggled this season as he is hitting only .233 with 1 home run in limited playing time. Soo Kim is a free agent after the season, so he is likely just a temporary solution for the Phillies in the outfield. He should get a lot more playing time the rest of this season with the Phillies than he did in Baltimore since Philadelphia is not competing for a playoff spot. The Phillies also received 23-year old minor league relief pitcher Garrett Cleavinger in this trade. Cleavinger was a 3rd round pick in 2015 by the Orioles, so he clearly has the potential to be a major league player. However, Cleavinger is having a terrible season in 2017 as he has a 6.28 ERA in Double-A. Cleavinger is still an intriguing prospect and if he can return to the type of player that he was in 2015 and 2016 then he could be a good bullpen piece for the Phillies. Overall, the Phillies didn’t get much in return for Hellickson, but this trade was definitely worth it since he was probably going to leave in free agency anyway.
Baltimore Orioles analysis/grade:
The Baltimore Orioles have struggled to find quality starting pitchers for years and they especially don’t have much depth in their rotation right now. However, the addition of Hellickson should at least add some starting pitcher depth for the Orioles this season. If Hellickson can pitch like he did in 2016 or like he did early on in his career, then he could make a big difference for Baltimore. However, Hellickson is very inconsistent and he hasn’t had a good 2017 season as he currently has a 4.73 ERA. The Orioles still have very slim playoff hopes this season, but this isn’t the type of trade that will get them there. Hellickson is only a rental player for the Orioles since he is a free agent after the season which is why it is strange that the Orioles traded for him since Baltimore doesn’t have much of a chance at the playoffs this season. The Orioles didn’t give up much to acquire Hellickson and maybe they can re-sign him this offseason, but this is a trade that won’t make much of a positive impact for Baltimore.
The Miami Marlins continued to sell off key bullpen pieces as they dealt closer A.J. Ramos to the New York Mets in exchange for minor league prospects Merandy Gonzalez and Ricardo Cespedes.
A.J. Ramos was just having an average season for the Marlins as their closer, yet the Marlins still got a good return for him as they are getting two quality prospects from the Mets. The main prospect that the Marlins are getting in this deal is 21-year old right-handed starting pitcher Merandy Gonzalez who was the 9th ranked prospect in the Mets farm system. Gonzalez has been outstanding this season in the minor leagues as he is 12-3 with a 1.78 ERA. He is still a few years from reaching the MLB level since he is only in Class A advanced right now, but he has the potential to be a very good starting pitcher for the Marlins. The other prospect that the Marlins received in this trade is 19-year old outfielder Ricardo Cespedes who was the 22nd ranked Mets prospect. Cespedes hasn’t been very productive in the minor leagues as he only has 2 home runs and a .271 average in 4 seasons. Cespedes is a very raw prospect at this point as he still needs to develop some more power or he needs to at least start hitting for a better average. Cespedes does have a strong arm, but that is about the only above average skill that he has at this point. Cespedes is talented, but he just hasn’t developed most of his skills yet and it is unknown whether he ever will. The Marlins did well with this trade as they are getting 2 quality prospects for a relief pitcher that has been average this season. Miami needs some more starting pitching badly and Merandy Gonzalez sure looks like he can be an impact player for the Marlins in a few years.
New York Mets analysis/grade:
I’m not quite sure what the logic of making this trade is for the Mets since they have been trying to trade away all of their veteran relief pitchers, but now they are adding one in exchange for two quality prospects. A.J. Ramos is under team control for the 2018 season, so he isn’t just a rental player for the Mets. However, the Mets probably won’t make the playoffs next season either and they could have just kept their own closer Addison Reed for next season rather than giving up prospects to acquire an average closer. Ramos has a 3.63 ERA and 20 saves this season which is decent, but he’s not a better option than Reed or other bullpen options that the team already has. The Mets have been trying to trade away their veteran players this season in order to acquire more prospects. However, this trade just sends the Mets in the completely opposite direction since they are now acquiring a veteran player and giving up too much in return. This trade doesn’t help the Mets immediately and it certainly doesn’t help the team for the future since they are giving up their 9th and 22nd ranked prospects. The Mets shouldn’t have made this trade as it doesn’t help them in any way and they will probably begin to regret it very soon.
The New York Mets traded 1st baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Drew Smith.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.