MLB Trade Deadline: 4 Teams That Gave Away Too Much
At the MLB Trade Deadline, we learn how franchises view themselves.
Franchises in postseason contention try to trade for a “missing piece” that hopefully nets them a World Series championship.
Franchises not in postseason contention also try to trade for “missing pieces,” but these players will more likely net them benefits in the distant future.
A third group of franchises chooses not to trade anyone and feels satisfied enough with current rosters.
Ideally, both franchises involved in a trade will benefit. Sometimes, though, a trade benefits one franchise more than the other. It is difficult to "grade" trades immediately, though, because trades often require a few years before they can be fairly assessed.
Therefore, instead of giving out "grades" to "winners" and "losers" of marquee trades, we will discuss franchises that might have cost themselves too much while trading.
Let's take a look at four of these franchises.
As always, feel free to jot down your thoughts in the comments section below.
If pitcher Matt Garza was healthy at the trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs might have given up even more players.
On July 31, the Cubs traded pitcher Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers for infielder Christian Villanueva and pitcher Kyle Hendricks.
Dempster was leading the majors in ERA+ through July 30, but only had a .500 record. The $14 million man in 2012 becomes a free agent after this season.
BaseballAmerica.com rated Villanueva the No. 100 overall prospect for 2012. Hendricks, meanwhile, was a starting pitcher for Myrtle Beach (A+).
On July 30, the Cubs traded catcher Geovany Soto to the Rangers for pitcher Jacob Brigham.
Soto has struggled since winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2008—his first full season—but the Cubs should have gotten something more in return. Soto has a career slash of .252/.342/.445, and he averages 22 home runs along with 77 RBI per 162 games.
Brigham, meanwhile, was not even considered a Top 100 prospect for 2012 (or even a Top 10 Rangers prospect) by BaseballAmerica.com.
Also on July 30, Chicago traded pitcher Paul Maholm, outfielder Reed Johnson and cash to the Atlanta Braves for pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.
Maholm went 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA for Chicago in 2012. The Cubs acquired Maholm in free agency this offseason. Johnson hit .302/.355/.444 to lead an otherwise offensively inept Cubs team.
BaseballAmerica.com rated Vizcaino the No. 40 overall prospect for 2012. Chapman, meanwhile, was a relief pitcher for Gwinnett (AAA).
This trade could turn out to benefit the Cubs, but combined with the first two trades mentioned here, Chicago might have given up just too much.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim improved their 2012 situation, but could have created more questions than answers beyond this season.
On July 27, the Angels acquired starting pitcher Zack Greinke from the Milwaukee Brewers, and traded shortstop Jean Segura and two pitchers, John Hellweg and Ariel Pena.
Down the stretch, Los Angeles can start any combination of Greinke, C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. This rotation should scare the AL.
Greinke led all major league pitchers in FIP (2.45) and WAR (4.2) through July 30.
Greinke becomes a free agent after this season, though, which means the Angels will need to prepare a sizeable contract to keep him from being simply a rental player. Greinke is earning $13.5 million this season, which makes him the No. 21 most expensive pitcher in 2012.
If the Angels decide to pick up Haren and Santana’s options for 2013, they will have at least six players earning $11.5 million, which totals to $93.2 million. That is over halfway to the $178 million luxury tax for 2013. Adding Greinke will also require a huge chunk of payroll for just one player.
Even if the Angels were to keep Greinke as a rental player and let him walk after 2012—which remains to be seen, according to ESPN.com—three very promising prospects were sent to the Brewers.
I also wonder what will happen when Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo start earning big contracts, which based on their play, will happen sooner than later.
The Angels improved their playoff chances in 2012 greatly through adding Greinke. A big-time acquisition was necessary, considering Los Angeles was third in the AL West through July 30.
I hate to bring bad news here, but this seems too costly, especially if the Angels do not make the playoffs in 2012.
I have allowed Stan McNeal of SportingNews.com to sum up the Miami Marlins transactions:
The way they have unloaded talent in the past month, they might as well hang a sign on their new ballpark: Enjoy football season.
Miami has traded away three-fourths of its Opening Day starting infield since July 23. Only shortstop Jose Reyes remains.
First baseman Carlos Lee cost the Marlins two of their top-seven prospects heading into 2012, according to James Bailey of BaseballAmerica.com: third baseman Matt Dominguez (No. 4) and pitcher Rob Rasmussen (No. 7). Lee is 35 years old, is earning $19 million in 2012, and is a free agent following this season.
On July 25, Miami traded third baseman Hanley Ramirez and pitcher Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough.
BaseballAmerica.com rated Eovaldi the No. 96 overall prospect for 2012. McGough was a relief pitcher for Jupiter (A+).
Ramirez, once the face of the franchise, is a three-time all-star and two-time Silver Slugger at shortstop. With Reyes acquired over the offseason, Ramirez moved to third base; the two were primed to be a great left side of the infield. No more.
On July 23, Miami traded second baseman Omar Infante and pitcher Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers for catcher Rob Brantly and pitchers Jacob Turner and Brian Flynn.
With Miami in 2012, Infante had a .287/.312/.442 slash line. Sanchez went 5-7 with a 3.94 ERA with the Marlins.
BaseballAmerica.com rated Turner the No. 22 overall prospect for 2012. Ben Badler of BaseballAmerica.com rated Brantly the Tigers' No. 7 overall prospect for 2012. Flynn was a starting pitcher for Erie (AA).
Seven of the eight players remaining on James Bailey of BaseballAmerica.com's Marlins Top 10 prospects for 2012 list play for Jupiter (A+). This means these players are still years away from getting major league action.
Hopefully all the trades will close the 14.5 game gap between the Miami and the first-place Washington Nationals in the NL East (through July 30). All the change that went on this offseason for the Marlins has not served them well so far.
With the trade deadline inching closer, it was clear the Philadelphia Phillies would be sellers.
The Phillies had nine players earning at least $10.4 million heading into 2012, and the combined salaries exceeded $134.685 million. Philadelphia knew it would have to eat the salaries of both second baseman Chase Utley and first baseman Ryan Howard until they returned from injuries. Pitcher Roy Halladay’s struggles and injury problems were unexpected, though.
Once July 30 turned into July 31, Phillies fans were wondering not if, but who, would be traded.
Outfielder Shane Victorino, who becomes a free agent after this season, was often mentioned as someone the Phillies should trade to ease the financial burden. On July 31, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. indeed traded Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitchers Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin.
Victorino had a .261/.321/.401 slash line with the Phillies in 2012, along with nine home runs, 40 RBI, five triples and 24 stolen bases.
Lindblom went 2-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 47.2 innings of relief work for the Dodgers in 2012. Martin was a starting pitcher for Chattanooga (AA).
Also on July 31, Philadelphia traded outfielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, catcher Tommy Joseph and pitcher Seth Rosin.
Pence had a slash line of .271/.336/.447 with the Phillies in 2012, along with 17 home runs and 59 RBI.
Schierholtz batted .257/.327/.429 in 77 games with the San Francisco in 2012. Andy Baggarly of BaseballAmerica.com rated Joseph the Giants' No. 2 overall prospect for 2012. Rosin was pitching for San Jose (A+).
Pence was essentially a rental in Philadelphia. The Philles traded the Houston Astros for Pence on July 29, 2011.
Philadelphia gave the Astros some good prospects for Pence.
John Manuel of BaseballAmerica.com rated Jonathan Singleton (No. 1), Jarred Cosart (No. 2) and Domingo Santana (No. 6) three of the Astros’ Top 10 prospects for 2012 . All three came from the Phillies in the Pence trade.
BaseballAmerica.com rated Singleton and Cosart the No. 34 and No. 55 overall prospects for 2012, respectively.
Philadelphia did not replenish the farm system in an effective way.
Six players on Matt Forman of BaseballAmerica.com's list of the Phillies' Top 10 prospects for 2012 are pitchers. Lindblom, Martin and Rosin just add quantity to Philadelphia's organizational pitching depth.
The Phillies gave up two All-Star-caliber outfielders (Victorino and Pence) for one average MLB outfielder (Schierholtz). How does this make competitive sense?
At catcher, Joseph will likely wait behind Sebastian Valle in line to take over for Carlos Ruiz. Valle was the No. 9 overall catcher prospect for 2012, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
Philadelphia needed to trade players to shed payroll, but I think the players the Phillies traded away should have demanded more highly regarded prospects as collateral.