Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Let's Recap the Deadline

By now, I'm sure most of these trades are not news to most of you. Most of the tweets came from MLB Trade Rumors while I will link to FanGraphs as well.

First of all, yesterday was the non-waiver trade deadline, so while most of the major trades have taken place, there are bound to be more over the next month. The second deadline is a bit more confusing, where players are placed on revocable waivers and have to clear to be traded unless the team that claims the player strikes a deal in the 48 hours they have before the waivers are revoked. MLBTR has a more in depth write-up if you wanted to read up more about the process. Generally, most teams will place a majority of their team on waivers, and every now and then people get worked up about it. If news comes out that Bautista, Donaldson, Stroman, Sanchez, or Osuna are placed on waivers, please don't make too much fuss about it. It's a common occurrence and indicates Shapiro and Atkins are doing their due diligence to improve the future of the ball club.

Let's talk about the deals that did get made, starting with the Blue Jays moves.

This name is all you need to know about how the deadline day went for the Blue Jays. They only moved expiring contracts and didn't move anyone under control for 2018 or beyond. It's highly likely they had calls about guys like Josh Donaldson, Roberto Osuna, Justin Smoak, Steve Pearce, J.A. Happ, Marcus Stroman, and likely Bautista and Estrada as well.

This indicates to me that the front office is open to a lot of things, and have creatively managed to exchange Fransisco Liriano in back to back deadline trades. While some may remember a post I made advocating a bigger sell-off of assets; unless you're in a position like the White Sox or Athletics, these deals can be more difficult to pull off. It's entirely possible that Victor Robles was never on the table in talks for Osuna, and likewise with Rafael Devers for Josh Donaldson in a year where he is slashing .243/.364/.442 while having a DL stint with a calf injury. He hasn't really been firing on all cylinders at any point this year. The Red Sox seem to be highly enamored with Devers, and there's talk that they preferred to keep him over Moncada when in talks for their ace, Chris Sale. They got an extra year of control in that trade and could potentially garner MVP votes if he keeps this insane pace he has performed at this season.

Back to the return for Liriano, namely T-Oscar Hernandez, who is a legitimate top 100 prospect that management was able to acquire by taking on the salary of Norichika Aoki and assuredly eating cash on the prorated $13 million that Liriano was earning this year. KATOH projects him to earn 3.9 career WAR while KATOH+ has him at 4.7, both placing him in the top 100 of prospects. He has emerged as the teams fifth best prospect on the MLB Pipeline lists, slotting in ahead of our three arms (Zeuch, SRF, Pearson). I like that he's MLB ready, and fits the mold of the young athletic outfielder the Jays have been trying to acquire. His KATOH comparables don't inspire the most confidence, and he might not have the most upside out there, but has double digit homers and steals and plays good defense in the outfield, and is basically MLB ready. Not a ton to dislike here, all things considered.

The second move the Jays made yesterday was moving expiring contract Joe Smith for two upside low A players, from the current regime's old employer in Cleveland. Admittedly, I don't know much about either, so I first checked to see what year they were drafted. Pannone was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2012 draft by the Cubs, and re-entered in 2013 and was drafted in the 9th round by Cleveland, where Shapiro was team president and Ross Atkins was the director of player development. Samad Taylor was drafted in 2016, so in theory, he has no real ties to our management group. He is four years younger though and seems like he could be the better of the two acquired today. Neither cracked the Pipeline's top 30 prospects, however.

I have a feeling that Marco Estrada could still get dealt in August, as well as potentially Bautista. There might not have been much interest in Estrada, and there's not much point in just giving him away. I'm also starting to buy into the theory that Jose Bautista might not waive his no trade clause granted by his 10/5 veto rights, though Atkins stated that nothing got to the point where he was asked to waive. Other than that I doubt there is much else they could do in August, besides a contender getting desperate for a catcher if there was an injury or something. They definitely face tough decisions in the off-season, where I think it is imperative for the club to either sign Josh Donaldson - or at the very least have an idea on what the number is going to be - or trade him in the off-season where there will be a larger market for him with more teams potentially getting involved. I think they still need to get younger, faster, and more athletic in the off-season, but the deals made today were strides in the right direction.