Surprising Non-Moves from the 2013 MLB Trade Deadline
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While several starting pitchers were traded, only a few hitters changed teams. Alfonso Soriano, Alberto Callaspo and Justin Maxwell were the only hitters dealt that are expected to get semi-regular at-bats. (Jose Iglesias could play everyday in Detroit if Jhonny Peralta is suspended.)
And for the high number of relievers that were mentioned over the past several weeks, only a small percentage of them changed teams. That group was highlighted by Francisco Rodriguez, Scott Downs, Matt Thornton, Jose Veras and Jesse Crain.
As for the surprising non-moves at the trade deadline, here are the top eight.
Marlon Byrd Stays with the Mets
When the Mets said that they were unlikely to trade veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd, it's doubtful that anyone took them very seriously. At 35 and heading for free agency, the fact that he had any value at all should've been viewed as a win.
After a pitiful performance in 2012 (.488 OPS in 47 games between the Cubs and Red Sox) and then testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug after he had been released, Byrd was lucky to get a minor league deal with the Mets. But that's nothing compared to how lucky the Mets were to get a resurgent Byrd, who has been on pace for a career season (.837 OPS, 17 HR, 60 RBI in 92 games heading into Wednesday).
For whatever reason, though, New York didn't take advantage and Byrd remains a Met. He's unlikely to pass through waivers in August, so the opportunity has likely passed to sell high on a player previously thought to be washed up.
Nate Schierholtz Stays with the Cubs
The Cubs didn't have to trade Schierholtz, who is under team control for one more season at a very reasonable price. But if they wanted to get peak value for a 29-year-old who had been considered nothing more than a fourth outfielder coming into the season, July 31 would've been the last day to do that.
With an .850 OPS and 14 homers, Schierholtz is having his best season ever, by far. In a weak market for hitters, the Cubs set his price tag high and apparently didn't bring it down far enough despite interest from several contenders around the league.
If his four-month performance is a fluke and he comes down to earth for the remainder of the season, he'll have little value in the offseason and the Cubs might find themselves looking for an upgrade in right field anyways.
Alex Rios Stays with the White Sox
The White Sox's acquisition of rookie outfielder Avisail Garcia from Detroit in the three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston seemed to be an indication that they'd be moving Rios shortly as well. But Rios remains with the club and Garcia will begin his White Sox career in Triple-A.
Rios' price tag was likely very high—as it should be for a very productive player signed through 2014 with a 2015 club option. The biggest surprise, though, is that a team like the Royals, Pirates or Rangers didn't pull the trigger considering their needs in the outfield. All three of those teams have strong farm depth and seemingly could've struck a deal with relative ease.
The 32-year-old, who can play all three outfield spots, has a .747 OPS with 12 homers and 22 stolen bases in 103 games.
Mariners Fail To Trade Any Free Agents-To-Be
Raise your hand if you think the Mariners can get back into the playoff race. Anyone? Anyone? Me neither. They are now seven games under .500 and nine games back of a playoff spot. They also had four free agents-to-be on their roster who should've attracted plenty of interest around the league.
How Raul Ibañez, Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and Joe Saunders are still Mariners is perplexing. An August deal isn't out of the question, but any return would likely be much less than they could've gotten in July.
Plenty of young talent is showing up in Seattle this season and there's much more on the way. But is having a few more veteran, mentoring players around really worth passing up on more prospects who could help this young group in two to three years? My guess is probably not.
Phillies Stand Pat
All that trade talk surrounding the Phillies over the past three months and they gave us absolutely nothing at the trade deadline. Despite rumors surrounding Michael Young over the past two days and even some Cliff Lee talks picking up steam on Wednesday morning, the Phillies held onto every last one of their veterans.
If they can sign Chase Utley to a contract extension and make a few impact signings in the offseason, maybe they'll bounce back and Ruben Amaro won't have to further deal with questions as to why he didn't trade free agents-to-be Utley, Young and/or Carlos Ruiz and possibly on his biggest trade chips under team control for several more years—Lee and Jonathan Papelbon.
I have a strong feeling, though, that this isn't the last time that their quiet July 2013 trade deadline is going to come up.
Pirates Don't Address Potential Bullpen Need
After losing All-Star closer Jason Grilli to a forearm injury, possibly for the season, it was mildly surprising that the team wasn't linked to any relief pitchers in the rumor mill. Even if they feel strongly about Mark Melancon's ability to replace Grilli (he's 3-for-3 with five scoreless innings since taking over as the team's closer) his elevated status takes away from the team's late-inning depth.
At the least, you'd figure a minor acquisition like Kevin Gregg from the Cubs or Matt Lindstrom of the White Sox would help if they didn't want to give up a good prospect for Padres setup man Luke Gregerson or Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen. But they passed all around and instead going with a bullpen full of young and unproven pitchers.
While many of those young relievers are having terrific seasons, especially Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris and Tony Watson, it would be a shame if the group folds under the pressure of a late-season playoff race.
Rangers Fail to Acquire a Bat
By early Wednesday, the Rangers were reportedly leaving no stones unturned with a possible suspension coming for outfielder Nelson Cruz. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweeted that the Rangers had asked the Blue Jays about sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted that every player on the Texas roster was in play, including newly acquired Matt Garza.
So when the deadline passed with nary a move from the AL West contenders, it was quite the surprise. In fact, that the Rangers didn't at least end up with one of the hitters they'd been linked to over the past several weeks—namely, Byrd, Rios and Schierholtz—might be the biggest disappointment of the 2013 trade deadline.
Royals Fail to Land Second Baseman
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The Royals are on a roll, getting close enough to a playoff spot (now 4.5 games back of wild-card spot) that to pass on becoming sellers this year. But unless you really think highly of journeyman outfielder Justin Maxwell, who the team acquired from Houston, it's safe to say that they weren't much of a buyer either. The front office didn't reward the team's solid effort of late with some much-needed offensive help, especially at second base.
Although they had been linked in rumors or speculation with virtually every second baseman on the market, including Chase Utley, Howie Kendrick, Gordon Beckham and Rickie Weeks, the Royals weren't aggressive enough to get a deal done. Instead, they'll stick with Chris Getz and Co., who have combined on a brutal .593 OPS.