Time's up, pencils down.
Another frenzied year of MLB trades is now officially in the books, with several marquee players finding new digs all over the United States.
While some MLB teams didn't exactly accomplish what they envisioned by the deadline,other teams literally cleaned up by settling some very important needs with some very important positional players.
Today I want to take a look at the Top 10 teams who cleaned up at the deadline, and quickly review why.
The Blue Jays needed a quality outfielder who could hit for power in addition to Jose Bautista, and the Cardinals were in the market for some pitching.
The Blue Jays were also looking for some MLB ready arms, and the Cardinals just simply had little room for Colby Rasmus to grow.
Well if any team cleaned up this year it was both of these teams, but mainly Toronto.
The Blue Jays got what they wanted in Rasmus, and also acquired LHP Trever Miller, LHP Brian Tallet and RHP P.J. Walters.
The Cardinals also made out pretty good in the deal as they wound up with RHPs Edwin Jackson and Octavio Dotel, LHP Marc Rzepcynzki, OF Corey Patterson (depth) and three players to be named later or cash considerations.
Speaking of the Cardinals....
The Cardinals cleaned up pretty good before the trade deadline, and their newest acquisition—Rafael Furcal—settles yet another glaring issue.
The Redbirds already acquired RHPs Edwin Jackson and Octavio Dotel, LHP Marc Rzepcynzki and OF Corey Patterson which adds solid depth to the pen and bench, while giving the Cardinals a solid veteran presence in the rotation, as mentioned in the previous slide.
But adding Furcal settles a growing defensive problem at SS (Ryan Theriot) and its effects should be felt immediately.
The National League Central suddenly became a bit more intriguing.
Sometimes all it takes is for a team to acquire one single missing piece to an otherwise complete puzzle, and that is exactly what San Francisco did with Beltran.
The defending World Series Champions had the pitching, the relief and even the small ball hitting, but lacked a quality impact hitter with decent speed as well.
Carlos filled that void and then some.
Beltran is comes in hitting .286/.388/.507 with 15 homers, 30 doubles, 66 RBI and a .904 OPS in 357 at bats this year.
His presence in San Francisco should provide the Giants with that lacking power, and put them right back into the hunt for October.
The Giants weren’t the only ones who benefitted from that trade as the Mets also did a little cleaning up themselves.
In exchange for Beltran, the Mets receive Zach Wheeler who is regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in the game.
Wheeler, a 2009 first-round pick has a 3.99 ERA and 168 strikeouts over his first 146 2/3 innings as a pro.
But in addition to Wheeler being brought over, the Mets also get to give the 25 year old Lucas Duda a go, whom the team is very high on.
In 127 at bats this season, Duda’s already hitting .283/.359/.465/.823, with 11 doubles and three triples while adding on 2 solo shots, 18 RBI and a pilfered base.
The Brewers and Francisco Rodriguez got together and made one of the smartest deals this trade season.
The Brewers—already a contender—scooped up Rodriguez and is now using him as a setup man for current closer John Axford.
Hmmm, a closer setting up for a closer? It’s genius!
But what makes this deal utterly important is the fact that Rodriguez‘s vested option, is now a mutual option; one in which the Brewers only have to pay out $4 million dollars, while Rodriguez still retains his free agency at the end of the season.
It’s a win-win for everybody.
A lot of money saved, a player who gets to pitch for a contending team while preserving his ability to test the open market this winter—a great deal indeed.
The Brewers also added Jerry Hairston Jr. for depth, and generated some cash by trading C Will Nieves to Atlanta.
One of the biggest moves the Phillies made this trade season was landing Astros outfielder Hunter Pence, which provides them with a ton of avenues to take and preserves their competitive race towards the Fall Classic.
Originally, it was expected that the Phillies were going to have to include top prospect Domonic Brown into any sort of deal to acquire Pence, but instead, the Phillies sent over first base prospect Jonathan Singleton, RHP’s prospect Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid.
The Phillies also received $2 million dollars in cash meaning they aren’t going to have to pay him hardly anything this year, and they’ll also avoid the luxury tax in the deal, and the additional money they received could allow them to pursue a reliever if they still want to.
But acquiring Pence also affords the Phillies to not only keep Brown, but also send him back to the minors for some additional seasoning, while enjoying a true difference maker in the outfield.
The Indians were looking to bolster a few key areas on their team and cleaned up rather nicely with two marquee additions: OF Kosuke Fukudome and SP Ubaldo Jimenez.
Fukudome gives Manny Acta and company the veteran presence in right field they were in need of, and Acta believes Fukudome “immediately” makes them (Cleveland) better, according to the The Plain Dealer.
But the real impact came from the deal in which the Indians solved another issue, by adding a solid veteran ace to their rotation in Ubaldo Jimenez.
At first it appeared that Jimenez wasn’t going anywhere, but the Indians managed to put together something the Rockies liked, and due to the fact, the Indians have every reason to believe they can easily catch division leading Detroit, and reclaim first place again.
The deal sent right-hander Alex White, along with Minor League pitcher Joe Gardner and first baseman Matt McBride and a player to be named down the road— Drew Pomeranz perhaps? – MLB.com.
The O’s made a pretty big splash right before the deadline cleaning up all over the place with deals to Texas and Pittsburgh.
In exchange for first baseman Derrek Lee, the O’s received Class-A first baseman prospect Aaron Baker who was hitting .285/.353/.474 with 15 home runs and 72 RBI in 436 plate appearances for High-A Bradenton.
But the bigger deal was with Texas; one that sent reliever Koji Uehara to the Rangers in exchanges for the highly coveted first baseman Chris Davis, and starting pitcher Tommy Hunter.
The O’s have pined over Chris Davis for a while now, and finally got who they wanted which is an upgrade over Lee, but Davis will have to prove he can consistently hit as an everyday hitter while cutting down on his penchant for strikeouts.
Tommy Hunter’s career numbers are as solid as they come: 23-13 with a 4.36 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 151/74 K/BB rate over 266 1/3 career major league innings, and finally provide the O’s with a player that can give a good shot in the arm to their rotation.
Heading into the trade deadline, the Tigers took care of some crucial business and cleaned up with deals that involved Kansas City and Seattle.
The Tigers have already been enjoying Wilson Betemit—their acquisition from Kansas City—as he has now hit at least once in all four starts since coming over.
But the Tigers finally took care of two other, more pressing, issues in acquiring SP Doug Fister and RP David Pauley.
The Tigers started their search for another starting pitcher with a list that included 20 or so names, and after an exhausting month, the club feels they landed the right guy for the job.
Fister’s ugly 3-12 record and 1.17 WHIP makes the deal seems terrible to some, but the fact is Fister had zero run support in Seattle, and those stats are reflective of that.
Fister’s 3.33 ERA, however, ranks 20th among AL starters.
David Pauley also serves a huge purpose by providing the Tigers with the right-handed reliever the Tigers have been short on all season long.
Pauley is 5-4 with a 2.14 ERA and seven holds to one blown.
As I stated in the Giants slide, sometimes a team can clean up by simply adding one major piece to their puzzle: Enter Atlanta.
The Braves recently consummated a deal that sent OF Jordan Schafer, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, RHP Paul Clemens, RHP Juan Abreu to Houston for the best outfielder on the market currently: Michael Bourne.
This deal does two things for the Braves: It provides the team with the league leader in stolen bases, and a superb defenseman in the outfield.
In other words, the exact puzzle piece the Braves needed to help them secure a post-season appearance.
But the deal also did NOT require the Braves to give up their top four pitching prospects as originally thought, which means this team literally cleaned up before the deadline.
With better base running, improved defense, and a solid core of pitching prospects, the Braves will remain in the hunt this year for a post-season run, but also remain competitive for years to come.