Trade Deadline in Review
The 2020 Trade Deadline has come and gone. It brought a major splash with the San Diego Padres acquisition of Mike Clevinger to kick things off. Clevinger ended up being the most notable name to move before the final bell rang.
Several other deals were made before time ran out. Other notable trades involved the Cincinnati Reds acquiring Archie Bradley from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Starling Marte being traded to the Miami Marlins, and the Oakland Athletics acquiring Mike Minor. Each of those moves were done with the postseason in mind.
While blockbuster trades were few and far between, it was not due to a lack of effort. All thirty General Managers around the league worked diligently to upgrade their respective teams. Therefore, none of us know what truly happened inside those trade war rooms. With that being said though, these teams were expected to address certain needs and fell short of those expectations.
Pair of AL East Teams Don’t Make a Trade
Both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays did not make a single transaction on Monday. In fairness, the Rays did make a trade with the Chicago Cubs Sunday as they traded away designated hitter Jose Martinez. However, even with 10 pitchers on the Injured List, Tampa Bay didn’t add an arm to their starting rotation or bullpen.
Going into play Monday, the Rays pitching staff has combined for a 3.72 ERA over 309 and two-thirds innings. Despite all of those injuries, the Rays currently sit in first place in the American League East with a three-and-a-half game lead over the New York Yankees.
Although an argument can be made that an addition should have been made, the Rays might feel really good about the group they currently have. Sometimes, teams are leary about an outside addition messing with the rhythm of what’s happening internally.
The Yankees were another team that was expected to add an impactful starting pitcher before the final bell rang on Monday. New York was connected publicly to Lance Lynn of the Texas Rangers, Kevin Gausman of the San Francisco Giants, and Dylan Bundy of the Los Angeles Angels. As is the case with any team looking for help in the starting rotation, the Yankees explored every name available.
With Gerrit Cole at the helm, the Yankees feel comfortable heading into the postseason with Masahiro Tanaka as their number two starter and J.A. Happ in the three-hole. There are some concerns with both Tanaka and Happ from a durability standpoint. Although, both starters have proven to be effective this year.
Houston Astros Remain Quiet
The Houston Astros were another team that was expected to add pitching prior to the Trade Deadline. After all, Houston has relied heavily on a group of unproven relievers all season long. Entering Monday, Astros relievers had combined for a 4.30 ERA over 33 games.
Of the group, Blake Taylor currently has the lowest ERA at 1.20 over 15 innings. Taylor has held opposing hitters to a .189 batting average this season and has a 9.00 K/9 rate during his rookie season.
While that is impressive, Houston seemed to need more stability on paper. However, it is unknown what types of demands the team would have had to meet for some of the relief pitchers available on the market. Regardless, as the past few postseasons have shown, you can never have enough relief pitching.
Atlanta Braves Hang Onto Top Prospects
While there was certainly plenty of chatter about the Atlanta Braves making a splash, they ended up not doing that prior to the Trade Deadline. The Braves did acquire starter Tommy Milone from the Baltimore Orioles Sunday. That was the only move the team made to improve their starting rotation.
Despite there being talk about the team’s top three prospects in starting pitcher Ian Anderson and outfielder Cristian Pache and Drew Waters, they are all still a part of the organization. On paper, it seems like Atlanta lost out on a big opportunity here in regards to the noise they could make in the National League East.
Internally, the Braves likely feel satisfied with who they have currently for the starting rotation. The good news is that Ian Anderson should continue to be impactful. Furthermore, if Max Fried performs to the level he should, that gives them a nice 1-2 punch. For now, the Braves could look to rely on someone like their number seven prospect Kyle Muller.
Chicago White Sox Continue to Feel Confident
Leading up to the Trade Deadline, the Chicago White Sox were actively looking in the starting pitching market. The biggest name they were publicly connected to was the aforementioned Mike Clevinger. Of course, if that deal did happen, it would have been between two teams that play in the same division.
The Indians likely didn’t feel comfortable with that angle of a potential deal. In addition, the asking price could have been intensified just because it was the White Sox. Even without making a trade, there is something special going on there on the Southside of Chicago.
Heading into play Monday, the White Sox rotation had the fifth-best ERA in all of baseball (3.50). Additionally, the team’s rotation ranked 10th in baseball in strikeout percentage (23.6%). To date, Dallas Keuchel leads the way with a 2.70 ERA over seven starts. With Lucas Giolito, Keuchel, and Dylan Cease the White Sox have a powerful 1-2-3 punch even if an outside addition wouldn’t have hurt things.
Minnesota Twins Hold Tight
Another team that was very quiet leading up to and on Trade Deadline Day was the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota entered play on Monday sitting in third place in the American League Central. The Twins are one-and-a-half games back of the first-place Chicago White Sox and currently are on a five-game losing streak.
With Homer Bailey and Jake Odorizzi on the Injured List, the Twins looked poised to address their starting rotation before the final bell Monday. The team ultimately elected not to do that and if it was due to a reluctance of dealing away a top prospect is unknown. Although, having that additional arm would have been very beneficial.
The Twins are amid an intense race with both the White Sox and Indians. Additionally, once the postseason rolls around, they will look to Jose Berrios, Randy Dobnak, and Kenta Maeda to be the team’s 1-2-3 punch. While Dobnak and Maeda have been effective this season, having the assurance of another arm from the outside wouldn’t have hurt things.
St. Louis Cardinals Remain Comfortable With the Lineup
Despite a clear need for an upgrade to the lineup, the St. Louis Cardinals remained quiet on Monday before the Trade Deadline. St. Louis has continued to struggle at the plate this season at times and an argument can be made that the team needed to add an impact bat. Now in fairness, the team does have some talented players especially in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielder Dylan Carlson.
Regardless, heading into play on Monday the team was batting .237/.336/.370 as a unit. From a league perspective, that gave the Cardinals a bottom-third batting average. Furthermore, the team has accumulated a Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) value of 98 on the year. That ranks 19th overall in baseball.
More specifically, the Cardinals outfield entered the day batting .204/.298/.383 over 25 games. In addition, over that span the group has accumulated a 27.2 strikeout percentage. Therefore, a clear need was for an outfield bat of some sort but internally the Cardinals are obviously comfortable with the lineup they have assembled.
In the end, this Trade Deadline was unlike any that we have ever seen before. Yes, there were deals made and teams addressed their needs to a certain degree. However, it occurred at a later date (August 31st) and there’s some uncertainty regarding finances for the remainder of this season and next year.
The financial aspect could have very well been what held some teams back from being more aggressive. Now, only time will tell whether these teams made the right decision to stand pat or not leading up to Monday’s Trade Deadline.
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