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Early Deadline DealsPosted on July 23, 2012 at 09:12 AM.
The first Major League trade deadline is merely seven days away. With the July deadline, trading is much easier as it is really just a matter of teams agreeing on names and making the proverbial handshake. The second deadline, on August 31st, is much more difficult as all players involved have to clear waivers before they can be traded. While most players do make it through trade waivers, there are some cases when a team will put in a claim to block a trade from happening. But, for the July deadline, it is all about finding a match.
Over the weekend, three trades were consummated. None of the three deals were anything close to a blockbuster and only one of them has a real chance of making a small difference in the pennant race. Perhaps the most impactful transaction of the weekend wasnít even a trade. The Padres signed Carlos Quentin to a three year deal, taking one of the more attractive and affordable power hitters off of the market. But, this weekend should just be a footnote on the 2012 trade deadline as some bigger names, or at the least some names who will have impact, will be traded. Thus far, the Houston Astros have been involved in two deals. Considering their dearth of talent, the fact that they have acquired five young pitchers is astounding. Although they need a heavy rebuild, the Astros have done well with what little they have.
Blue Jays trade Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, Joe Musgrove, Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins, Carlos Perez, and a player to be named later to the Houston Astros for Brandon Lyon, JA Happ, and David Carpenter.
The first trade of the deadline season was a 10 player swap as the Houston Astros kick off their full fledge rebuild effort and the Blue Jays try to stay on the outskirts of the Wild Card race. The Astros acquire two veterans to help them finish the season on the Major League level. Francisco Cordero is in the middle of an awful season (12.2 H/9, 3.6 BB/9, 5.60 ERA), but will function as the Astros closer for the remainder of the season after failing in the setup role in Toronto. Ben Francisco still hits left handed pitching. But, the important parts of this deal for the Astros, aside from the salary relief, are the prospects received. While none of the players are of the canít miss variety, the Astros are in need of quantity as their farm system has long been neglected.
Musgrove was the 46th pick in the 2011 draft. The right hander is just 19 years old and in his second professional season. He profiles as a middle to back of the rotation type pitcher. Asher Wojciechowski is 23 years old and is in his second season in high-A ball as a starting pitcher. Heís shown improvement during his second tour at the level, but is 23 years old and needs to advance. He is another mid to bottom of the rotation type. David Rollins is a 22 year old left handed starter who has been successful in his 18 starts this season, striking out over eight per nine innings. Carlos Perez is a 21 year old catching prospect who has posted a .378 OBP during his five years in the Minor Leagues. None of the group project as stars, but the Astros are in need of a core of talent. Considering they didnít give up all that much, three starting pitching prospects and a catching prospect is a good haul.
The Blue Jays farm system is still rich in young talent so they can afford to give up some quantity. They acquire veteran reliever Brandon Lyon as another arm in the bullpen. The 32 year old right hander seems to finally be healthy as he is averaging a career best 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings during his 38 appearances. His last stint in the American League was in 2009 as a member of the Tigers and it was a successful season. If he can remain healthy, he should provide quality middle relief innings for a Blue Jays bullpen that has been increasingly more taxed. Happ, a southpaw, is now 29 years old and has been, at best, a league average pitcher in the National League. Heís regressed in each season since his surprising rookie year, but 2012 has shown some improvement, especially with his strikeout rate. Perhaps Happ is finally figuring it out, but his hits allowed are up, his homerun rate is up, and he is now going to pitch in the American League East. That isnít a recipe for success. David Carpenter is a hard throwing reliever who has shown the ability to strike hitters out. He is currently at triple-A and if he can find the strike zone (3.6 BB/9 in the minors and 4.2 BB/9 at the Major League level), he could be a be a quality reliever.
The Blue Jays unloaded a bunch of mid level prospects for three players who donít really project to make them contenders or give them any significant upgrade. Happ hasnít had sustained success, Carpenter is still questionable, and Lyon, at best, is an average middle reliever. Unlike most of Alex Anthopoulosí trades, this one doesnít seem as if it will have an impact.
Colorado Rockies trade Jeremy Guthrie to the Kansas City Royals for Jonathan Sanchez.
This is a classic deal of trading headaches in the hopes that new surroundings can help each player. For the Rockies, they are acquiring a pitcher whose velocity is down, is infinitely more hittable, and doesnít seem to want to make adjustments. Going to Colorado doesnít seem like a good match for the struggling southpaw. But, Guthrie couldnít pitch in Colorado so the Rockies felt the need to swap him. The 29 year old southpaw is pitching to a 7.76 ERA in 12 starts for the Royals. His 6.42 FIP isnít much better. Couple that with his declining velocity, the Rockies are just simply hoping.
The Royals are taking a much better chance and actually get value for a pitcher they designated for assignment. Guthrie, a flyball pitcher, just couldnít succeed in Coors Field. In nine appearances at Coors, Guthrie was 1-5 with a 9.50 ERA, allowing 67 hits in 42 innings. Away from Coors, Guthrie has pitched well this season, pitching to a 3.67 ERA in 10 appearances. In 153 starts for the Orioles, Guthrie has posted a 4.12 ERA, 8.9 H/9, 2.6 BB/9, and 5.5 K/9. A slightly better than league average pitcher, the 33 year old will look to re-establish himself as a reliable, unspectacular innings eater.
The Royals are short on pitching and Guthrie could be a reliable source of innings for the next two seasons at a cost effective rate, assuming the re-sign him. Even if he isnít back next season, Dayton Moore actually got something of value for Sanchez, perhaps the worst acquisition of last winter.
Houston Astros trade Brett Myers and cash to the Chicago White Sox for Matt Heidenreich, Blair Walters, and a player to be named later.
The Astros continued their rebuild by sending their closer Brett Myers to the White Sox for a pair of southpaws. Heidenreich is 21 years old and in his first season at the double-A level. He hasnít posted eye popping numbers, but heís young enough to develop to a middle rotation pitcher. Walters is 22 years old and did struggle once he was promoted to high-A ball. But, he is a strikeout pitcher--8.7 K/9--and has good control as his 2.0 BB/9 indicates. For a 31 year old reliever with a mediocre strikeout rate, the Astros did well.
The White Sox are hoping that Myers can fortify their bullpen. The 31 year old has pitched decently in his return to the bullpen. But, heís allowed 35 hits in 30.2 innings while striking out just 20 batters. He has walked just 6 batters, but his 4.24 FIP indicates some trouble. He is hittable and a move to the American League isnít going to help that. Myers isnít a candidate to close unless Addison Reed really implodes, but he should be an average option as a late inning reliever. The White Sox do have one of the worst performing bullpens in the league so a couple of additions are in order. While the two pitchers they gave up arenít elite prospects, they did overpay for a middle reliever. The White Sox do need more bullpen help. Adding Myers didnít solve the problem.
BORN: April 17, 1975 (38)
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