Re-Grading the Impact Deals of MLB's 2013 July Trade Season

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2014

Re-Grading the Impact Deals of MLB's 2013 July Trade Season

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    The month of July is here, and with it comes the start of another MLB trade season, as contenders look to shore up their rosters for the stretch run and also-rans look to add young talent for the future.

    Last year's trade deadline was relatively quiet compared to years past, but it still saw a handful of impact players on the move before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

    A year later, we have a much clearer idea of who got the better end of each trade, so it's time to revisit each of those deals and regrade both sides.

    Taking into account things like the progression of prospects included in each deal, whether or not the players acquired by contenders helped their teams reach the playoffs and who benefits most long-term from the deal, the grades for each trade were adjusted compared to last July's grades.

    Keep in mind, guys like Alex Rios (CWS-TEX), Marlon Byrd (NYM-PIT), John Axford (MIL-STL), Justin Morneau (MIN-PIT) and Michael Young (PHI-LAD) were not traded until August, so their deals will not be included here.

     

    *Note: Quotes and grades for the "What I Said Then" section taken from a live tracker I wrote last July.

Baltimore Orioles Acquire SP Scott Feldman from Chicago Cubs

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    Date: July 2

    Orioles Received: SP Scott Feldman, C Steve Clevenger

    Cubs Received: SP Jake Arrieta, RP Pedro Strop

     

    What I Said Then

    Signed to a one-year, $7 million deal in the offseason, Scott Feldman had been one of the Cubs' best starters prior to being moved, going 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.143 WHIP in 15 starts with the team.

    He's 2-2 with a 5.12 ERA in five starts since coming to Baltimore, but he was a low-cost option for a team that didn't want to give up any top prospects at the time.

    In return, the Cubs got a young pitcher in Jake Arrieta, who has shown flashes of being a front-line arm but has struggled with consistency. They also got a live-armed reliever in Pedro Strop, who could be a solid late-inning arm down the road. All in all, a solid package for a player who was signed with the intention of being flipped.

    Baltimore Orioles: C+, Chicago Cubs: B

     

    One Year Later

    Feldman wound up going 5-6 with a 4.27 ERA in 15 starts with Baltimore—solid numbers but not enough to propel the Orioles into the postseason. He departed in free agency, signing a three-year, $30 million deal with the Houston Astros.

    Meanwhile, Arrieta opened some eyes by going 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA in nine starts after joining the Cubs. He missed 27 games to start the 2014 season with shoulder inflammation, but he's been lights-out since returning, going 5-1 with a 1.81 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 10 starts.

    He's flirted with a no-hitter his last two times out and looks like he could be a solid piece of the future for the Cubs. The 28-year-old is under team control through the 2017 season, so this trade could keep getting better in the years to come.

    Throw in Strop, who has a 2.93 ERA and 9.7 K/9 in 31 appearances out of the pen for the Cubs this season, and there is no doubt the Cubs are the clear winners of this deal.

    Baltimore Orioles: D, Chicago Cubs: A+

Los Angeles Dodgers Acquire SP Ricky Nolasco from Miami Marlins

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    Date: July 6

    Dodgers Received: SP Ricky Nolasco

    Marlins Received: RP Josh Wall, RP Steve Ames, RP Angel Sanchez

     

    What I Said Then

    The highest-paid player on the Marlins and a free agent at the end of the season, Ricky Nolasco was perhaps the surest player to be dealt at the deadline of anyone in the league, and the Marlins acted quickly in trading him.

    In 18 starts with an abysmal Marlins team, he went 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA, and while he's never been an ace-caliber starter, he's a solid veteran innings eater. In four starts since joining the Dodgers, he's gone 1-1 with a 3.13 ERA.

    In return, the Marlins got a trio of relievers. They all have minimal upside but have chances to emerge as positive contributors for the rebuilding Marlins.

    Los Angeles Dodgers: B+, Miami Marlins: D

     

    One Year Later

    The Nolasco deal wound up being a great one for the Dodgers, as the right-hander went 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 15 starts after joining the team. He lost his only postseason start, allowing three runs in four innings, but he certainly helped the Dodgers get there.

    The 31-year-old moved on during free agency, signing a four-year, $49 million contract with the Minnesota Twins. He is currently 5-6 with a 5.49 ERA in 17 starts.

    As for the Marlins' return, both Sanchez (Tampa Bay Rays) and Wall (Los Angeles Angels) were lost to other teams via waivers. Ames had a 4.50 ERA in four appearances down the stretch last year, but he is currently pitching in the rookie league after missing time with an arm injury.

    Los Angeles Dodgers: A, Miami Marlins: F

Texas Rangers Acquire SP Matt Garza from Chicago Cubs

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    Date: July 22

    Rangers Received: SP Matt Garza

    Cubs Received: 3B Mike Olt, SP C.J. Edwards, SP Justin Grimm, PTBNL (RP Neil Ramirez)

     

    What I Said Then

    Viewed by most as the prize of the deadline, Matt Garza was 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.141 WHIP in 11 starts with the Cubs and had pitched particularly well leading up to the trade, with a 5-0 record and a 1.24 ERA in his last six starts.

    In return, the Cubs get a talented package of players, headlined by slugging third-base prospect Mike Olt. Olt entered the year as the No. 22 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America, after posting a .977 OPS with 28 home runs and 82 RBI in 354 Double-A at-bats last season.

    Justin Grimm, 24, made 17 starts for Texas this year, going 7-7 with a 6.37 ERA. He was 5-3 with a 3.93 ERA over his first nine starts this season but was hit hard after that, with a 9.91 ERA in his last eight starts.

    The Cubs also added 21-year-old right-hander C.J. Edwards, who was 8-2 with a 1.83 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 93.1 innings of work at High-A and has been one of the league's fastest-rising pitching prospects.

    Chicago Cubs: B+, Texas Rangers: C

     

    One Year Later

    This was a prime example of a team paying a big price in an attempt to secure a playoff spot. Had it worked out, it would be hard to argue with the Rangers pulling the trigger on the deal, but because they wound up missing the playoffs, this is one that could be second-guessed for years to come.

    Garza ended up struggling after joining the Rangers, going 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 13 starts. He left for the Milwaukee Brewers in free agency, signing a four-year, $50 million deal and leaving the Rangers with little more than a depleted farm system to show for the trade.

    On the Cubs side, Olt has split time at third base in the majors this year and leads all NL rookies with 11 home runs. He is hitting just .150/.229/.371 over 167 at-bats, though, with 72 strikeouts.

    Grimm (40 G, 4.14 ERA) and Ramirez (26 G, 1.19 ERA) have both been key members of what has been a surprisingly good bullpen. Ramirez in particular looks to have a very bright future, whether he remains in the pen or returns to starting.

    Edwards wrapped up a fantastic 2013 season at 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 116.1 innings. That vaulted him to No. 28 on the Baseball America top 100 to open the 2014 season, but he has managed just four starts this year while battling a shoulder injury. If he can turn into a viable middle-of-the-rotation starter, this deal becomes an A+ for the Cubs.

    Chicago Cubs: A, Texas Rangers: D-

Baltimore Orioles Acquire RP Francisco Rodriguez from Milwaukee Brewers

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    Date: July 23

    Orioles Received: RP Francisco Rodriguez

    Brewers Received: 3B Nick Delmonico

     

    What I Said Then

    He didn't wind up signing anywhere until April 17, but Francisco Rodriguez moved into the closer's role in Milwaukee after John Axford and Jim Henderson faltered. He went 10-of-10 on save chances with a 1.09 ERA prior to being moved. 

    He's not closing in Baltimore with Jim Johnson filling that role, but he gives the Orioles a solid veteran setup man for their playoff push while costing next to nothing in salary.

    In return, the Brewers received third-base prospect Nick Delmonico, a 2011 sixth-round draft pick who entered the season as the Orioles' No. 4 prospect, according to Baseball America.

    The 21-year-old has hit .243/.344/.464 with 13 home runs and 32 RBI in 239 at-bats at the High-A level so far this season, and he could wind up being the team's everyday third baseman down the road.

    Baltimore Orioles: B, Milwaukee Brewers: A

     

    One Year Later

    K-Rod did little to shore up the Orioles bullpen down the stretch, posting a 4.50 ERA in 23 appearances before hitting free agency once again this past offseason.

    What really makes this trade a slam dunk for the Brewers is the fact that they were the ones who wound up signing Rodriguez this offseason, bringing him back on a very reasonable one-year, $3.25 million deal.

    Closing once again, he's converted 27 of 30 save chances with a 2.34 ERA and 0.874 WHIP, playing a big role in the Brewers fantastic first half.

    Delmonico opened the season ranked as the No. 12 prospect in the Brewers system. The 21-year-old is currently hitting .265/.303/.412 in 35 games for High-A Brevard County and still has plenty of upside to make this deal look even better.

    Baltimore Orioles: C-, Milwaukee Brewers: A

New York Yankees Acquire LF Alfonso Soriano from Chicago Cubs

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    Date: July 26

    Yankees Received: LF Alfonso Soriano, $17.7 million

    Cubs Received: SP Corey Black

     

    What I Said Then

    The Cubs finally found a taker for Alfonso Soriano when they shipped him back to the Yankees, with whom he played from 1999-2003. He gives an injury-riddled Yankees lineup some much-needed pop as they look to stay in the playoff hunt.

    The Cubs will pay $17.7 million of the $24.5 million remaining on Soriano's contract, and by eating that much salary, the team was able to acquire a solid pitching prospect on top of the $6.8 million in salary they were able to shed.

    Corey Black was shipped to Chicago in the deal, and the 21-year-old has solid upside after being selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of Faulkner University. Pitching at the High-A level this season, he's gone 3-8 with a 4.25 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 82.2 innings of work.

    New York Yankees: C, Chicago Cubs: B+

     

    One Year Later

    Soriano ended up being one of the better deadline pickups, as far as helping the team acquiring him is concerned. In 58 games with the Yankees, he posted an .850 OPS with 17 home runs and 50 RBI, adding some much-needed punch to a stagnant lineup.

    The Yankees are paying just $5 million of his $18 million salary this year, and that makes his .225/.248/.374 line a little easier to swallow. But he has not been the same impact bat he was down the stretch last year.

    Black wrapped up 2013 at 7-8 with a 3.93 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 107.2 innings at the High-A level. The 22-year-old began the year as the No. 15 prospect in the Cubs system, and he has posted a 2.83 ERA and 8.9 K/9 in 14 starts for Double-A Tennessee.

    New York Yankees: B, Chicago Cubs: A

Oakland Athletics Acquire 2B/3B Albert Callaspo from Los Angeles Angels

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    Date: July 30

    Athletics Received: 3B Alberto Callaspo

    Angels Received: 2B Grant Green

     

    What I Said Then

    The A's have acquired Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo, likely to play second base for their stretch run, with prospect Grant Green heading to Los Angeles in the deal.

    Callaspo has hit .253/.323/.348 with five home runs and 36 RBI on the season, which may not seem like much but still represents an upgrade over Eric Sogard and the handful of others who have played second in Oakland this season.

    The 30-year-old Callaspo is signed through next season for $4.875 million, so he's not just a rental player.

    In return, the Angels get a solid prospect in the 25-year-old Green, who has moved from shortstop to center field to second base looking for a way to get regular at-bats in Oakland.

    He's hit .325/.379/.500 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI in Triple-A this season. Where he fits into the grand scheme of things in L.A. remains to be seen, but perhaps this is a precursor for a Howie Kendrick deal.

    Oakland Athletics: C+, Los Angeles Angels: B+

     

    One Year Later

    Callaspo proved to be a solid addition to the A's, hitting .270/.350/.409 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 50 games with the team. He was also 1-for-6 with a double in the postseason.

    He's served in a utility role this year, making at least 15 starts each at DH, first base, second base and third base. His numbers have not been nearly as good, though, as he's hitting just .233/.314/.302 over 258 at-bats.

    The 26-year-old Green has been up and down between Triple-A and the majors this year, and his production has been solid in limited action for the Angels. Over 74 at-bats, he's hit .324/.333/.419 with five extra-base hits, and he could still wind up in an everyday role down the road.

    Oakland Athletics: B, Los Angeles Angels: B

Boston Red Sox Acquire Jake Peavy in a Three-Team Deal

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    Date: July 31

    Red Sox Received: SP Jake Peavy, RP Brayan Villarreal

    White Sox Received: OF Avisail Garcia, SS Cleuluis Rondon, RHP J.B. Wendelken, RHP Francellis Montas

    Tigers Received: SS Jose Iglesias

     

    What I Said Then

    Jake Peavy joins the Red Sox as they look to battle the Rays for the AL East title. He's 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 80 innings of work this season. With Clay Buchholz still on the shelf, Peavy gives Boston a frontline veteran starter for their stretch run.

    He's also signed for $14.5 million next season and has a $15 million player option for 2015, so he'll help the Red Sox beyond 2013. Boston also received Tigers reliever Brayan Villarreal.

    The Red Sox shipped 23-year-old shortstop/third baseman Jose Iglesias to Detroit in the deal, and they are no doubt selling high on him as he's hit .330/.377/.410 in 212 at-bats on the season. He's hit .377 on balls in play, so at least some luck has contributed to those numbers.

    Boston also sent a trio of low-level prospects to the White Sox in Cleuluis Rondon, J.B. Wendelken and Francellis Montas. None of the three were among the Red Sox top 30 prospects entering the season, according to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook.

    Completing the deal, the Tigers send 22-year-old outfielder Avisail Garcia to the White Sox. Garcia made his big league debut last season, hitting .319/.373/.319 to provide a spark down the stretch.

    He's hit .382/.414/.549 with five home runs in 144 Triple-A at-bats this season, and he profiles as a solid .280 BA, 20 HR, 80 RBI player down the road. He could be a replacement for Alex Rios in the immediate future if Rios winds up being dealt.

    Boston Red Sox: A, Chicago White Sox: C, Detroit Tigers: A+

     

    One Year Later

    Peavy certainly helped out down the stretch, going  4-1 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 regular-season starts with the Red Sox. He struggled in the postseason, though, going 0-1 with a 7.10 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in three starts.

    Back in the Red Sox rotation this season, he's gone 1-7 with a 4.82 ERA and 1.443 WHIP while allowing an AL-high 17 home runs. It's looking less and less likely his $15 million option for 2015 will be picked up at this point.

    Garcia had a strong finish to the season for the White Sox, hitting .304/.327/.447 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 42 games. Unfortunately, a torn labrum ended his 2014 season after just eight games, but he still looks like a key piece of the team's future.

    Rondon (26th) and Montas (29th) both entered the year ranked inside the White Sox's top 30 prospects, but it will still be a couple years before we know what the team got with those three prospects.

    Iglesias ended up finishing second in AL Rookie of the Year voting last year and was penciled in as the Tigers' everyday shortstop heading into spring training. Stress fractures in both shins have sidelined him since early spring training, though, and he may wind up missing all of 2014.

    Boston Red Sox: C, Chicago White Sox: B, Detroit Tigers: B

San Diego Padres Acquire SP Ian Kennedy from Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Date: July 31

    Padres Received: SP Ian Kennedy

    Diamondbacks Received: RP Joe Thatcher, RP Matt Stites, Competitive Balance Round B Pick

     

    What I Said Then

    Despite being out of contention this season, the Padres opted to buy low on Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy, acquiring him for a pair of relievers and a Compensation Round B selection in next June's draft.

    Kennedy, 28, has not been great this season, going 3-8 with a 5.23 ERA and 1.419 WHIP in 21 starts. However, he has the upside to be the ace of the Padres' staff if he can return to the 2011 form that saw him go 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA. Even if he gets back to where he was at in 2012 (15-12, 4.02 ERA), this will be a solid move for a pitching-starved Padres team, and he's under team control through 2015.

    In return, the Diamondbacks got some immediate bullpen help in left-hander Joe Thatcher. The 31-year-old has a 2.10 ERA and 8.7 K/9 in 30 innings of work this season and a career 3.18 ERA in 287 total appearances.

    They also received reliever Matt Stites, a 23-year-old right-hander who has a 2.08 ERA and 8.8 K/9 in 52 innings at Double-A San Antonio this season. He should be able to help out in the big leagues soon.

    San Diego Padres: A, Arizona Diamondbacks: C+

     

    One Year Later

    Kennedy may not have bounced back to his Cy Young-caliber form, but he's been a solid addition to the Padres rotation this year.

    In 18 starts, he's gone 6-9 with a 3.87 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 109.1 innings. His 2.88 FIP suggests he's pitched better than his ERA indicates, and the Padres may very well look to sell high now and flip him at the deadline.

    Thatcher struggled mightily after arriving in Arizona last year, posting a 6.75 ERA in 22 games. He's been much better this season, though, with a 2.63 ERA and 1.083 WHIP in 37 appearances, and was just packaged in a trade to the Los Angeles Angels.

    Stites entered the year as the No. 9 prospect in the Diamondbacks system, and he made his big league debut June 19. He has a 2.45 ERA in eight appearances and could be a long-term bullpen piece in Arizona.

    Finally, the draft pick in the deal wound up being the No. 69 pick, and the D-backs selected high school outfielder Marcus Wilson, who was ranked as the No. 47 prospect in the class by Baseball America.

    San Diego Padres: A+, Arizona Diamondbacks: C

Baltimore Orioles Acquire SP Bud Norris from Houston Astros

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    Date: July 31

    Orioles Received: SP Bud Norris

    Astros Received: OF L.J. Hoes, SP Josh Hader, Comp Round A pick

     

    What I Said Then

    After trading for Scott Feldman earlier this July, the Orioles made another move to shore up their starting rotation, adding one of the top arms on the market in Bud Norris.

    The right-hander has gone 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA over 21 starts this season, and has the added value of being controllable through the 2015 season. The 28-year-old is 34-46 with a 4.33 ERA in 118 career starts, despite pitching for some poor Astros teams.

    In return, the Astros get a pair of top prospects in L.J. Hoes and Josh Hader, and the Orioles' competitive balance lottery pick in the upcoming draft, which will be immediately following the first round.

    Hoes, 23, hit .304/.406/.403 with three home runs and 40 RBI before recently being called up to Baltimore. He entered the season as the team's No. 6 prospect, according to Baseball America's "Prospect Handbook."

    Hader, 19, is currently 3-6 with a 2.65 ERA, 1.282 WHIP and 8.4 K/9 at Single-A Delmarva. The left-hander entered the season as the team's No. 19 prospect and has impressed after being taken in the 19th round of the 2012 draft.

    Baltimore Orioles: A, Houston Astros: C

     

    One Year Later

    Traded just minutes before the deadline, Norris would go 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA and 10.1 K/9 in 11 games (nine starts) for the Orioles down the stretch.

    However, the real value of the trade was in his team control through the 2016 season, and he has been much better this season. In 14 starts, he's gone 7-5 with a 3.62 ERA and 1.16 WHIP as the team's top starter so far this year.

    On the Astros side, Hoes has hit just .182/.245/.295 in 88 big league at-bats this season. He has been far more productive in Triple-A, though, posting a .323/.402/.409 line, and the 24-year-old still has some upside.

    Hader opened the season as the Astros' No. 14 prospect, and the 20-year-old has been terrific at High-A Lancaster this year, going 7-1 with a 2.46 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 80.1 innings.

    Rounding out the trade, the Astros received the No. 37 pick in this year's draft. They selected Virginia outfielder Derek Fisher, one of the top college bats in the class and one with considerable offensive upside.

    Baltimore Orioles: B, Houston Astros: B+