10 MLB GMs Who Got the Most out of Their Trade Scenarios
The 2012 MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and experts and fans alike are debating whether or not their favorite team made the moves needed to secure a place in the postseason dance.
General managers were especially busy during the month of July, as big names such as Ichiro Suzuki, Shane Victorino and Ryan Dempster all found themselves wearing new uniforms.
Who were the big movers and shakers during deadline week? Which GM's decided to focus more on quality than quantity? Did your favorite team make this list?
Here are 10 GM's who got the most out of their trade scenarios.
Transaction information courtesy of baseball-reference.com
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New York Yankees: Brian Cashman
July 1: Acquired Chad Qualls from the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later and cash.
July 23: Danny Farquhar and D.J. Mitchell to the Seattle Mariners for Ichiro Suzuki.
July 31: Traded Chad Qualls to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Casey McGehee.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman made a couple of small moves that should help down the stretch.
The acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners for Danny Farquhar and D.J. Mitchell was a good move that didn't cost the Yankees any valuable prospects. Suzuki is filling in well so far with the Yankees; he is batting .256 with a .622 OPS through 12 games.
The early return of Joba Chamberlain from his ankle injury made Chad Qualls expendable. He was acquired in early July and sent to the Pirates in the Casey McGehee trade. McGehee should provide additional infield depth as well as an option at third until Alex Rodriguez returns.
Cashman gets credit here for getting a few players of value without mortgaging the farm.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Neal Huntington
July 24: Traded minor leaguers Colton Cain, Robbie Grossman and Rudy Owens to the Houston Astros for Wandy Rodriguez and cash.
July 30: Traded Brad Lincoln to the Toronto Blue Jays for Travis Snider.
July 31: Traded Gorkys Hernandez and a 2013 compensatory draft pick (A) to the Miami Marlins for minor leaguer Kyle Kaminska and Gaby Sanchez.
July 31: Traded Casey McGehee to the New York Yankees for Chad Qualls.
The Pirates have been missing from MLB postseason play since the Clinton administration. Pirates GM Neal Huntington is hoping that his pre-deadline acquisitions will help end the 20-year playoff drought.
The key move made by Pittsburgh was the acquisition of the Astros ace Wandy Rodriguez. He was traded for three minor leaguers. The player who is the closest to the majors is Rudy Owens, who is currently pitching at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The Gaby Sanchez pickup from the Marlins also could pay off big dividends if he can return his to All-Star form of a season ago.
Travis Snider also provides some outfield help and flexibility for Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.
The real determining success factor to Huntington's moves will be Rodriguez. So far, the trade is working out; Rodriguez has posted a respectable 1-1 record with a 4.15 ERA.
Cincinnati Reds: Walt Jocketty
July 31: Traded Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran to the Kansas City Royals for Jonathan Broxton.
There was only one notable trade made by the Reds before the trade deadline. Reds GM Walt Jocketty obtained closer Jonathan Broxton from the Royals for two minor leaguers.
The move for Broxton undoubtedly strengthens the Reds bullpen, but what about adding some offense to help carry the load until Joey Votto returns from the disabled list?
The move also seems a bit puzzling since the Reds already have Aroldis Chapman plugged in at the closer's role.
The Reds also included Donnie Joseph in the Broxton deal. Joseph was having a strong season (4-1 record with a 2.86 ERA) at Triple-A Louisville.
If Broxton turns out to be a key contributor down the stretch, the move will make a lot more sense.
Right now, it does not.
The Reds are 3.5 games in front of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central through play on Monday.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Ned Colletti
July 25: Traded minor leaguer Scott McGough and Nathan Eovaldi to the Miami Marlins for Randy Choate and Hanley Ramirez.
July 30: Traded minor leaguers Leon Landry and Logan Bawcom to the Seattle Mariners for Brandon League.
July 31: Traded minor leaguer Ethan Martin, Josh Lindblom and a player to be named or cash to the Philadelphia Phillies for Shane Victorino.
Aug 3: Traded a player to be named or cash to the Philadelphia Phillies for Joe Blanton.
The Dodgers were one of the more active teams during the week leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. During the week, they made a blockbuster trade with the Marlins, acquiring Hanley Ramirez.
They also shored up the back end of their bullpen by bringing in Mariners reliever Brandon League.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti whiffed on a potential trade that would have brought Chicago Cubs ace Ryan Dempster to Los Angeles, but he redeemed himself on deadline day by adding the Phillies' Shane Victorino.
He followed up the trade deadline by acquiring Joe Blanton via waiver/trade with the Phillies.
As for the minor leaguers included in the trade packages, the one with the best pedigree would have to be former 2008 first-round pick Ethan Martin. Primarily a starter in the minors, Martin had posted 8-6 record with a 3.58 ERA in 20 starts with Double-A Chattanooga.
Colletti was able to successfully retool the Dodgers for the stretch run without giving away too much talent.
Chicago Cubs: Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer
July 30: Traded Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm and cash to the Atlanta Braves for minor leaguer Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino.
July 31: Traded Geovany Soto and cash to the Texas Rangers for minor leaguer Jacob Brigham and a player to be named or cash.
July 31: Traded Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers for minor leaguers Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks.
Aug 5: Traded Jeff Baker to the Detroit Tigers for two players to be named later.
When Theo Epstein assumed the role of president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs last fall, he knew he had his work cut out for him. He knew, as he did with the Boston Red Sox, that he had to reverse years upon years of losing and missed opportunities. He recruited a team of executives with high baseball I.Q.s to help mold the Cubs into a winner.
One person who he brought to his team was Jed Hoyer, who he served as a mentor to during his days in Boston.
The Epstein/Hoyer team had an active week leading up to the trade deadline. The Cubs traded away several contributors, including the long-standing backstop Geovany Soto. However, they would make the most trade deadline noise by sending co-ace Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers.
In return, they picked up several players who could prove vital in the Cubs rebuilding process. Arodys Vizcaino, 20, could prove to be the steal of the Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm trade with the Atlanta Braves. He averaged more than a strikeout (279) per innings pitched (268.2) in the minors. He had also put up respectable numbers with the Braves last season, posting a 1-1 record with a 4.67 ERA in 17 games. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and won't be available until next season.
Epstein and Hoyer will be examined most closely for the Dempster trade—obviously. Both Villanueva and Hendricks have shown promise in the low minors. Villanueva has shown versatility, playing several infield positions. He also has shown some pop, hitting 17 home runs for the Class-A Hickory Crawdads of the South Atlantic League last season.
Hendricks has a career 2.64 ERA in the minors and has been utilized mostly as a starter of late.
The Cubs seem to be dedicated to bringing championship-caliber baseball to the corner of Clack and Addison. It just may take a few years for Theo and company to accomplish that task.
Texas Rangers: Jon Daniels
May 29: Signed Roy Oswalt via free agency.
July 31: Traded minor leaguer Jacob Brigham and a player to be named or cash to the Chicago Cubs for Geovany Soto and cash.
July 31: Traded minor leaguers Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks to the Chicago Cubs for Ryan Dempster.
The trading and transaction season began early for the two-time defending AL champions, as they made the first significant move by signing free-agent Roy Oswalt. That move was followed up by Rangers GM Jon Daniels acquiring a pair of Chicago Cubs, including co-ace Ryan Dempster.
The move on the trade deadline to acquire Soto and Dempster has been met with mostly positive reviews. The Rangers were in dire need of a starting pitcher after Colby Lewis was lost for the season with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. Soto will undoubtedly serve as a backup catcher and battery mate for when Dempster pitches.
As for Oswalt, well, the move hasn't worked out as well as imagined; he has posted far-from-stellar numbers. In eight games, Oswalt has a 4-2 record with a hefty 5.82 ERA.
Both Villanueva and Hendricks could become good MLB players, but they are still a few years away. The Rangers have never won a World Series, and with an aging roster and potential free-agent departures on the horizon, Daniels and company want to win now.
Atlanta Braves: Frank Wren
July 1: Signed Ben Sheets as a free agent.
July 31: Traded minor leaguer Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino to the Chicago Cubs for Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm and cash.
Braves GM Frank Wren didn't make a ton of trades on and before the trade deadline, but they all have the potential to make a significant impact down the stretch to the postseason.
One move that has worked out remarkably well has been the free-agent signing of the oft-injured Ben Sheets. He has been a revelation for the Braves so far, posting a 3-1 record with a 1.46 ERA in four starts. He has also been averaging almost a strikeout (23) per inning (24.2), which echoes his pre-injury All-Star form from 2008.
The Reed Johnson/Paul Maholm pickup was a high-value move for Wren. Johnson is a role player who can contribute for the Braves immediately, and Maholm has been likened to a poorman's Doug Fister. Arodys Vizcaino has some upside and could blossom for the Cubs, but he's not a huge loss for Atlanta.
At 63-46, the Braves are right in the midst of the playoff chase. The moves Wren made should help them down the stretch.
LA Angels: Jerry DiPoto
July 27: Traded minor leaguers Ariel Pena, John Hellweg and Jean Segura to the Milwaukee Brewers for Zack Greinke.
The L.A. Angels were big spenders during the offseason when they shelled out over $320 million to sign C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols. They were relatively quiet during trade deadline week, but they made a big move by acquiring Zack Grienke from the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Grienke move could prove huge if he can pitch well down the stretch. He was 9-3 with the Brewers prior to the trade and was averaging about one strikeout (122) per inning pitched (123). He was also the 2009 AL Cy Young winner with the Kansas City Royals, which undoubtedly was attractive to Angels GM Jerry DiPoto.
The three players dealt to Milwaukee—two pitching prospects and one MLB player—are all bit players at their career junctures. Ariel Pena is a Double-A innings-eater who has seen some limited success. John Hellweg is more of a middle to end of the rotation guy who has put up average numbers at Double-A this season.
Jean Segura doesn't have much of a major league resume, but he had a .313 career BA in the minors. He is still relatively young at 22 and could blossom into a major league-caliber shortstop for the Brewers.
DiPoto needed to make the move for Grienke; it gives the Angels a much more potent rotation.
Philadelphia Phillies: Ruben Amaro
June 30: Traded Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles for minor leaguers Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon.
July 1: Traded Chad Qualls to the New York Yankees for a player to be named or cash.
July 31: Traded Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor leaguers Ethan Martin, Josh Lindblom and a player to be named or cash.
July 31: Traded Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for minor leaguers Seth Rosin, Tommy Joseph and Nate Schierholtz.
Aug 3: Traded Joe Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later.
The Philadelphia Phillies were expected by most baseball experts to contend for the NL East crown and to be a front-runner for a spot in the World Series. Things never materialized for the Phillies this season, falling victim to inconsistent play and injuries to key stars.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro decided to turn over the roster and retool the farm system at the trade deadline. The first move happened about a month before the deadline when the Phillies shipped Jim Thome about 150 miles down I95 to the Baltimore Orioles. Amaro received two low-level prospects in return.
Amaro freed up some salary when he traded reliever Chad Qualls to the Yankees. He made a considerable amount of noise on the trade deadline by trading a pair of outfielders to NL divisional foes.
He received two pitchers who were drafted in the first (Ethan Martin, 2008, 15th overall) and second rounds (Josh Lindblom, 2008) from the Dodgers for Victorino. Amaro also received a pair of two promising minor leaguers, pitcher Seth Rosin (fourth round, 2010) and a C/1B Tommy Joseph (second round, 2009) from the Giants for Hunter Pence.
The Phillies had traded away young blue-chip prospects (i.e.: Kyle Drabek) to construct the current squad. Amaro needed to retool the farm system at the trade deadline in order to build for 2013 and beyond.
Chicago White Sox: Kenny Williams
June 24: Traded Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart to the Boston Red Sox for Kevin Youkilis and cash.
July 21: Traded minor leaguers Blair Walters, Chris Devenski (Aug. 3) and Matthew Heidenreich to the Houston Astros for Brett Myers and cash.
July 28: Traded Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Hernandez to the Minnesota Twins for Francisco Liriano.
White Sox GM Kenny Williams fired one of the first shots of the trading wars by acquiring Kevin Youkilis from the Boston Red Sox. He became available because of his disagreements with Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine and the emergence of Will Middlebrooks.
The trade has turned out well for the South Siders, as Youkilis has put together decent numbers. He's batting .260 through 34 games with a very good .899 OPS. Even with the good numbers, it seems the White Sox are thinking about not picking up his option at the end of the season.
The other notable move made by Williams was picking up the oft-injured but good (when healthy) Francisco Liriano from the Minnesota Twins.
The White Sox did not give up much to acquire Youkilis. Brent Lillibridge has a career .213 BA and has shown little to no pop. Zack Stewart has been equally unimpressive during his two-year career, managing a 5.92 ERA.
The same holds true for the Liriano trade. Both Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Hernandez have had uninspiring MLB careers to this juncture.
Williams seems to have got some value for giving up a couple of minor leaguers and role players.