MLB Trade Review: Early Returns on Every Key Deadline Deal
The MLB trade deadline was full of major moves. Players like Hunter Pence, Zack Greinke and others saw their talents head elsewhere, meaning they had a shot to play for a contender.
As a result, one would expect the new players to be playing lights-out baseball. After all, we have seen that before, with CC Sabathia and others coming to mind.
This year, that could not be further from the truth. Are any of the traded blue chips playing like they were worth the investment?
By acquiring ace Zack Greinke to combine with Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson in the front, it looked like the Angels had a prime playoff rotation to make a late charge back up the AL West.
As for Greinke, he apparently has new-team jitters. He's 0-1 in three games so far with a 5.38 ERA. He had a great game against the Rays and has followed it up with mediocre performances against Chicago and Oakland.
If the Angels want to beat Oakland and make the playoffs, Greinke has to pitch like he did in Milwaukee. His five walks against Oakland were a season high, so hopefully it was a fluke.
The Texas Rangers' answer to the Greinke trade was to acquire Ryan Dempster from the Cubs. It's not a big name, but he was performing excellently this year. How has he been with the Rangers?
In two starts he's 1-0 but has a 6.35 ERA. He had a very good game against the Red Sox but a terrible one against the Angels, allowing eight earned runs. Texas scored 15 runs, so he got lucky, but he can't pitch like that down the stretch, especially not against rivals.
The Pittsburgh Pirates finally have a shot at making the playoffs. They knew not to squander it, so they made two moves, with the hitting fix being acquiring Gaby Sanchez.
He struggled in Miami, but so far in eight games in Pittsburgh he's hitting .350. He only has one RBI but does have three runs. His three-hit performance on Aug. 9 against Arizona certainly helped that number, though; it raised his average 100 points.
Even though the Pirates needed hitting and had a good pitching staff, they still made a pitching move at the deadline, acquiring Wandy Rodriguez from the Houston Astros.
Rodriguez is 0-2 with a 4.74 ERA in three starts, none of them terrible but none of them good either. Allowing four home runs already in a Pittsburgh uniform is certainly cause for concern, and hopefully he can nip that in the bud.
Francisco Liriano pitched just well enough in the summer months that the Twins were actually able to get something for him, and as a result they shipped him to the White Sox.
So far he's been great. In two no-decisions against the Twins and Angels he has a 2.45 ERA and 12 strikeouts. It looks like a change of scenery was exactly what he needed, and somehow the White Sox keep striking gold in the trade market.
With Aroldis Chapman firmly in place as the closer, Jonathan Broxton was acquired by the Reds to further solidify the eighth inning for the team.
His first three outings were good, but on Aug. 8 he blew a game against Milwaukee in the eighth to earn a loss after winning one the game before, and another two earned runs allowed on Aug. 10 mean that his ERA is 9.00 through five appearances.
Brandon League has been overrated as a closer; at least the Dodgers seem to believe that, since they have converted him to a setup man for Kenley Jansen since he joined the team.
In four appearances, he's allowed two runs in two innings for a 9.00 ERA, with four hits on top of that. He has three strikeouts and no walks so far, so at least there's a silver lining.
Speaking of the Dodgers, they made a big trade with the Phillies to acquire Shane Victorino, who should provide some extra pop to the lineup. How has he been doing?
He's hitting .257 in eight games, around the .261 he hit with the Phillies. He has two doubles and five runs scored as well, the latter being a big deal since leadoff production is why they acquired him.
The Dodgers really made some major moves around the deadline, with Hanley Ramirez being the third on the list, though he was traded a bit earlier than the deadline.
Han-Ram is hitting .259 in 15 games with 14 RBI, thanks largely in part to the Aug. 10 matchup against his former team, the Marlins. He had his first three-hit game with his new team, bumping his average up from the .220s.
Perhaps the biggest trade on the hitting end was Hunter Pence being acquired by the Giants. He was exactly what the Giants needed, so surely that one worked out well, right?
So far, that could not be further from the truth. He hit .154 in his first nine games, and while he has seven RBI, he also has 10 strikeouts. If you take out a two-double performance against Colorado, his numbers look even worse.
He's a guy the Giants are counting on, so he perhaps more than anyone needs to get back on track.