Friday, 1 August 2014

EarlyThoughts on Deadline Deals

The trade deadline day proved suitably dramatic. Here is a roundup of my thoughts on the deals involving the teams I keep an eye on.

David Price for Drew Smyly, Austin Jackson and Will Adames I don't think one can analyse this deal properly without taking into account the deal in the offseason that sent Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals, the decline of Justin Verlander and contract negotiations with Max Scherzer. Smyly didn't quite step into Fister's shoes, while the other two elements have put the Tigers in a position of not having more than one plausible candidate for #1 Ace status for 2015, after several years of having two. Trading for Price is a signal to Scherzer that the Tigers are re-tooling for a Scherzer-less future, and puts pressure on Scherzer to think carefully about whether his chances for post-season play may be as good for more dollars elsewhere. But, my goodness, it will take deep pockets to sign both Price and Scherzer.

Having said that, my own impression is that Price may be, as I suggested about Joakim Soria, a player whom the Tigers are getting possibly as he has passed his best. He did not start the season well, although he has come on strong subsequently. Furthermore, I don't like the effect that trading Jackson will have on the Tigers' outfield defence. Verlander, who already has problems, and the newly acquired Price may in particular suffer (although possibly not as much as Scherzer, which further adds to my view that some of this trade is about Scherzer). While Adames was showing promise, the presence of Jose Iglesias and Eugenio Salazar in the organisation meant the Tigers had the depth to deal away a good prospect. Overall, though, I think this trade did not particularly strengthen the team for 2014, but has made it worse in the medium term, if only a little bit. (But a lot if the Tigers cannot sign either of Price or Scherzer.)

Asdrubal Cabrera for Zach Walters This deal is about... well, it is really about hitting. The Nationals have had great difficulty driving in runs for most of the season, and Cabrera ought to make that aspect of their game better. But the deal is really about injuries. I don't think there would be a problem with Anthony Rendon at second base and Ryan Zimmerman at third base and Danny Espinosa on the bench, but the Z-Man can't stay in the field, and the Nationals are really not as good a team without him. I'm not at all convinced that a mid-season shift is going to be as painless for the Nationals' infield defence as some people think. I see the potential for major improvement for 2014 here, at no major cost to the medium-term outlook.

The Marlins' Six-Player Swap with the Astros This is the most appealing trade of the day for me. Jarred Cosart gives the Marlins some depth to the rotation, an area they have been lacking in this season. Enrique Hernandez and Andrew Wates are interesting prospects, and I do wonder if Hernandez is going to move to second base, a la Cabrera with the Nationals. I view both Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran as prospects with busty tendencies. Francis Martes is too far away right now for a team that has an outside chance at something in the immediate future not too gamble on giving away for pieces that might strengthen that chance. I see upgrades for the Marlins all round, here.

No comments: