Coming to the 4:00 p.m. eastern time trade deadline that was chosen this year by MLB there were roughly 16 teams within striking distance of a post-season berth. Eight American League and eight National League teams were well within their rights to believe they had a shot at ending their world series droughts. Having over half the teams in baseball still having a chance at the post-season lead to a much more intriguing final few days and hours of wheeling and dealing. However, those who were trying to deal to improve their chances may have done more to harm their franchises than help.
With over half the league possibly looking to bolster their lineup, rotation or bullpen, there was going to be miniscule amounts of options on the market, which meant raised costs, and the possibility that you would either part with a chunk of your future, or fear getting nothing at all. The only teams who escaped this were the Texas Rangers, LA Dodgers, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs but a major winner from this unfortunately at the same time as they finally are losing….were the vaunted Yankees. To start though, one team that has been torn apart for their lack of moves is the Houston Astros, who in all honesty really didn’t play their cards too bad. All they accomplished was freeing up space to add more next off-season to an already good young team
The perfect example of going against this trend in 2016 would be the Houston Astros. Rather than jettison their future that still has brightness to it when you look within their organization and the youth of the current major league roster, they parted with very little for the possibility of very much down the road. They sent veteran righty starter Scott Feldman (with a horrid contract) having a decent season out of the bullpen to Toronto for a young and upcoming right hander Guadalupe Chavez. Then swapped another arm that has struggled mightily this season in Josh Fields for a young 1B prospect in Yordan Alvarez. So instead of adding anything to the roster for the sake of pushing the team toward another post-season, they have gone with the idea that what they have as their core is good enough as is to achieve the outcome, while taking the opportunity to add to the future prospects.
However, Houston, was on their own in that regard. The real trend was to add and subtract from your already set 25-40 man roster. Take the Texas Ranger and New York Mets (Two very clear winners who vastly improved their teams for the stretch run this year) out of the picture and almost every team that added something this deadline gave away something too in terms of current MLB ready material.
San Francisco while adding left hander Matt Moore to the rotation was a success, they had to send young infielder Mark Duffy back the other way which will be a good solid addition to the Rays corner infield moving forward. Not exactly a huge win for the Giants even though they stack their rotation with another dangerous southpaw, they know they must again look for someone to help bolster the corner infield positions going forward into the next year from within or outside the organization.
Pittsburgh chose to add…..and subtract? Yes the Pirates sort of confused people over the past few days by first ridding of veteran reliever and closer Mark Melancon for two young arms from Washington. So the Pirates were sellers…but then they chose to add veteran righty Ivan Nova from the Bronx Bombers. Placing him into the rotation in return for two players or prospects to be named later. So now the Pirates are buying?… After that they shipped out former Mets starter Jon Niese to his former club for a former Pirate reliever Antonio Bastardo, but turned around after that move and chose to ship veteran starter Francisco Liriano and two minor leaguers to the Blue Jays for Drew Hutchison who hasn’t seen a big league start all of 2016? So did they buy, sell or did they just do both? Well if the Pirates are going to somehow walk away and explain a victory from all this they will need some things to go their way. They will need something from the two prospects they gained for Melancon, Nova must rekindle his early Yankee magic, or just regains his control, and simply put Drew Hutchison needs to come to the big league level and prove his AAA numbers are not just that, AAA worthy numbers. All in all, the Pirates are going to have alot of explaining to do when they most likely fall short of a post-season berth this October.
Toronto fresh off its first appearance last season in the post-season since their 1993 World Series triumph had all the makings of a competitor once again this season. As the year has dragged on, pitching woes have begun to worry Jays fans and management, and the impending Aaron Sanchez pitch limit scenario has put a damper on what has been a terrific year from the stout young righty. However, the Jays have attempted to do what they can, bringing in Jason Grilli and Franklin Morales as veteran arms to the bullpen in July prior to the deadline. Unfortunately Morales lack of success finds him already out, and while the Jays moved on adding another outfielder (Melvin Upton Jr.) they were not content to sit on their rotation and bullpen. As mentioned they added Francisco Liriano to their rotation from Pittsburgh, then struggling Drew Storen was shipped off for veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit, and traded struggling reliever Jesse Chavez to the Dodgers for another arm Mike Bolsinger and just before the deadline added Scott Feldman as well. If the Blue Jays don’t win now then there is going to be alot of complaints filed this off-season by Jays fans as to the emphasis put on winning at all costs, and its lack of success.
In simple terms, is all this really worth it? Well the time it will take for us to figure that out will bring us through October and into the off-season. Even then we won’t truly know the impact of some of these major trades until 3-5 years down the line when some of these players are finally reaching or falling short of their potentials. So as another wild trade deadline passes in the major leagues teams and fans across baseball are left wondering was it worth the risk?