Monday was certainly a busy day on the trade front in baseball. Teams began to let it be known that they will look towards adventurous options in order to improve their club and make them not just playoff contenders, but championship contenders.
Two trades went down officially, while another seems like its inching itself towards completion. Here’s how the business sorts out for the teams involved:
On the surface, this is a huge move for the red-hot Detroit Tigers. No team needed a second baseman more than the Tigers, and in the worst way. The team had tried Ryan Rayburn and Ramon Santiago almost regularly at the position, and neither hit over .220 during their time spent in the line-up.
Enter Omar Infante. This will be his second tour of duty with the Tigers, and has been a strong offensive option all season for the Marlins. Infante has hit .287/.312/.442 with 8 HR and 33 RBI. He also has 10 stolen bases and 42 runs scored. He’s a perfect fit for the #2 spot in the Tigers offense, hitting directly behind Austin Jackson and in front of the mashers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Sanchez also comes to the Tigers, a team in need of more rotational depth. Anibal Sanchez has recorded four-straight seasons of under-4.00 ERA and has been a victim of poor run support while in Miami/Florida. The Tigers clearly needed an upgrade in the middle of the rotation despite the recent success of Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister. For one, I think Fister is well on his way back to putting up the numbers he put up in Detroit when he came from Seattle at last year’s deadline. Sanchez also isn’t a rental fit, as he will be arbitration eligible at the end of the year.
As for the Marlins, the haul they get back for Infante and Sanchez is all about Jacob Turner. His numbers in the Majors this year are inflated by a start against the Angels in which he got blown up for seven runs in just two innings. He is still somewhere in the Top 10 among starting pitching prospects in baseball. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone that expects Infante to perform any better than he currently is, and while Sanchez is a controllable starting pitcher with a track record of success, the ceiling Turner has trumps all. And, should the Marlins choose not to trade Josh Johnson (they really shouldn’t), this team could work back towards the top of the NL East in the next coming years with a duo of Johnson and Turner at the top of the rotation.
The other two prospects involved in this deal, Brantly (a catcher) and Flynn (lefty pitcher), are having strong seasons in the Minors, with both reaching AA or higher. Neither seem to be Major League ready, but could have an impact on the Marlins plans in the near future.
We covered this trade yesterday, but its worth re-visiting briefly.
The Yankees needed an outfielder with speed to effectively replace Brett Gardners’ lost bat. The team had become almost universally reliant on the long ball without the sign of another offensive player that could do something dynamic on the base paths. Is Ichiro going to steal 40 bases like he used to earlier in his career (or last season)? Probably not. But, he’s going to get on base, he’s going to bother opposing pitchers and he’s going to score a lot of runs. That’s everything the Yankees needed.
As for the two pitchers the Mariners got in return, neither provide much of a reason to get overly excited about. Mitchell has had moderate success in AAA with the Yankees, but only has 4.1 innings to his Major League resume. Farquhar, claimed off waivers earlier this year, has had even less success in AAA and is yet to make his Major League debut. In hindsight, I really feel like the Mariners felt like they needed to get something from the Yankees for Ichiro, because it wouldn’t have been easy to find him a different home on the trade market that Suzuki would’ve approved.
Its a good deal for the Yankees, and a deal in which the Mariners felt like they had to make to honor the service Ichiro had given them throughout his career.
This move has become interesting in two regards. 1) I didn’t think the Braves would be willing to hunt for a rental player at the level of Dempster, especially considering the early returns on Ben Sheets. 2) this trade still hasn’t been completed, despite being the first of the three reported.
On the surface, its a clear win-now move for the Braves. Dempster is a proven vet in the middle of a terrific season that could vault any rotation of a contender towards a higher level of success. Thrust Dempster into a rotation with Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Ben Sheets, you have yourself a very difficult playoff rotation to compete with.
The move also allows the Braves to replace Mike Minor or Jair Jurrjens in the rotation, both young, promising arms in the middle of what are very difficult seasons. Its a superb addition by addition and subtraction.
However, they’re trading away Delgado, a young starting pitcher with a high ceiling that has flashed since of brilliance in the Majors this season. His 4.1 BB/9 rate is much higher than any team would feel comfortable with, and his 1.43 WHIP will need to decline at some point to maintain constant success. I understand the Braves have a surplus of starting pitching prospects, with Julio Teheran still hanging around the Minors fine-tuning his game. But, if you were going to trade some of those pieces away, the goal would be for a player you could control for more than three months.
This feels like a very high price to pay for a half-season piece. No other team was willing to come close to the type of player the Braves have given up, which is why Dempster will, maybe, be going to the Braves. The Dodgers were so uncomfortable about trading Zach Lee for Dempster, they changed the conversation entirely to Matt Garza. I think both teams got what they wanted out of this deal, but the Cubs will likely enjoy their end of the trade a whole lot more.