Baseball is a sport with year-round news and seasons. The playoffs lead into the Hot Stove during the winter just as the All-Star Break leads to the trade deadline. Some years are more exciting than others when it comes to trade news, but usually a story or two takes over the baseball news cycle as the deadline approaches.
The first trade of the deadline took place Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Angels traded Alberto Callaspo for A’s prospect Grant Green. Following their trade of Scott Downs, the Angels parted ways with their current starting third baseman.
Green, drafted in 2009, has yet to claim a place for himself in the minors playing center field, left field, and all four infield spots over the past two seasons in AAA. With 73 games in AAA this year and a career line of .308/.355/.479 in the PCL, as Keith Law puts it, “…the Angels’ player development folks have just been handed a big, high-profile project.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks, now trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers by 3.5 games in the NL West, shook up their pitching in a trade with division rival San Diego Padres. Arizona sent starting pitcher Ian Kennedy to the Padres for lefty reliever Joe Thatcher, right-handed pitching prospect Matt Stites and a compensation round draft pick.
The Diamondbacks have had a somewhat tumultuous bullpen, rotating closers among the hot hands including Heath Bell, J.J. Putz and currently, Brad Ziegler. For the Friars, spacious Petco Park will be a more friendly home field for Ian Kennedy than the homer-prone Chase Field.
As they placed starting pitcher Jason Hammel on the DL, the Orioles traded for Astros starter Bud Norris. The right hander is in the midst of a solid if not great season in which he has posted a career-low strikeout rate of 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
Still just 28 years old, having struck out at least five batters in three out of four July starts, and under control through the 2016 season, Norris will have his work cut out for him joining a playoff race as the Orioles try to make it out of the very competitive – for the Rays, Red Sox, and Orioles – AL East.
Houston received a package of players: outfielder L.J. Hoes, left handed pitcher Josh Hader, and, possibly most important, a competitive balance pick for the draft.
That wasn’t the Astros only deal yesterday: the club also shipped outfielder Justin Maxwell to the Kansas City Royals for right handed pitcher Kyle Smith. The Royals, having released Jeff Francoeur and traded top prospect Wil Myers, were in need of another outfielder.
While Maxwell is hitting just .241/.311/.387 in 2013, his career line against southpaws is a respectable .253/.370/.455, more than enough to earn himself a platoon in the Royals outfield. L.J. Hoes, an outfielder acquired in the Norris trade, is likely to start his MLB experience soon. Hoes hit .304/.406/.403 in AAA this season with three homers and seven steals, bringing someone immediately useful to Houston.
Of course, arguably the biggest trade of the deadline happened Tuesday night: the three-way transaction that sent Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox to the Boston Red Sox.
The Boston flavor of Sox sent their starting third baseman and one-time shortstop of the future, Jose Iglesias, to the Detroit Tigers for reliever Brayan Villarreal and outfielder Avisail Garcia and then packaged Garcia with minor leaguers Jeffrey Wendelken, Francellis Montas, and Cleuluis Rondon to the Chicago White Sox for Jake Peavy.
The White Sox received a few young players, Garcia the jewel of the haul, the Red Sox got the starter they wanted, and the Tigers, with a beleaguered defense and Jhonny Peralta possibly on the verge of a Biogenesis suspension, got a top-notch glove man in Iglesias to take over at shortstop whether Peralta leaves at the end of the season as a free agent or to serve a suspension.
As we saw last year with the Red Sox and Dodgers, August can still yield some big moves. Michael Young is still a Phillie and there was interest in him from several teams, so he may be be among the first to go once players begin to clear waivers.
By: Mike Carlucci