The 2011 MLB non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone and although we may still hear some smaller deals come through after the deadline, chances are all the trading is done. As most of you probably know, this is only the non-waiver trade deadline and teams can continue making trades for another month, but only involving players that have first cleared waivers. That usually means that the big-name players will not be moved.
Since Wednesday when the Blue Jays acquired Colby Rasmus in a three-team, 11-player (potentially 14-player) deal with the Cardinals and White Sox, a total of 20 additional trades have been made. The highlights of course were Rasmus to the Jays, Carlos Beltran to the Giants, Hunter Pence to the Phillies, Ubaldo Jimenez to the Clevelands, and Michael Bourn to the Braves.
A number of big-name players that were rumoured to be moved are staying put, such as Hiroki Kuroda, B.J. Upton, Denard Span, and Rich Harden.
Here’s a quick look at the final few trades that came through as the deadline approached.
A deal that was rumoured all day yesterday was finalized when the Dodgers sent Rafael Furcal to the St. Louis Cardinals for minor-league outfielder Alex Castellanos. The deal could not be finalized until Furcal approved the trade as he had 10-5 rights* in LA. Furcal has been a disappointment since re-signing with the team ahead of the 2009 season for three years and $30-million. Since that deal was signed, Furcal has played in just 284 games over two-plus seasons and has a miserable .197/.272/.248 slash line in just 152 plate appearances this season. The Cardinals will also receive $2.5-million cash-money from the Dodgers to help alleviate the $4-million remaining in Furcal’s salary for 2011. Furcal also has a $12-million club option for next season, which St. Louis will surely decline.
As for the return, the Dodgers grab Castellanos who was unranked in Baseball America’s prospect list for the Cardinals and was their tenth-round pick in 2008. He is, however, enjoying a breakout year in AA-Springfield posting a .319/.379/.562 batting line with 19 homeruns and a .408 wOBA in 391 plate appearances.
*- When a player has accrued ten years of Major League service time and has played for a team for at least five seasons, he has the right to veto any roster move, including trades and demotions, if he has not first cleared waivers.
After getting spooked by his allegedly faulty medicals, the Boston Red Sox balked at acquiring Rich Harden from the A’s for prospect first baseman Lars Anderson and a player to be named later, but as the deadline approached, rumours trickled in that they were close to acquiring another oft-injured Canadian hurler. It took three teams and seven players, but the Red Sox got their man picking up Erik Bedard and righty reliever Josh Fields from the Mariners. The BoSox sent minor-league right-handers Juan Gonzalez and Stephen Fife along with minor-league catcher Tim Federowicz to the Dodgers and also sent Taiwanese outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang to the Mariners. Along with Chiang, Seattle grabbed the player with perhaps the most upside of anyone in the deal in outfielder Trayvon Robinson.
Bedard is enjoying a nice bounce-back year pitching to a 3.45 ERA and 3.39 xFIP in 16 starts with Seattle, coming off of a few injury-plagued years. Bedard ranks in the top 20 among all AL starters with at least 90 innings pitched this year in K/BB ratio, xFIP and SIERA. If he can stay healthy, he’ll give the Red Sox a valuable rotation arm down the stretch. Bedard can make an additional $6-million in performance bonuses on top of his $1-million salary, but it’s unclear what those bonuses are.
Fields is a former first-round pick of the Mariners in the 2008 draft, but has never been anything more than a reliever in the minors. In two-plus years between AA and AAA in Seattle’s system, Fields has a 4.54 ERA and a 1.43 K/BB ratio. He may be an effective arm at some point out of the ‘pen for Boston, but doesn’t add a lot to this deal.
The Dodgers grab three Red Sox minor-leaguers in exchange for sending outfielder Trayvon Robinson to Seattle. Federowicz, who will turn 23 in a few days, was a seventh-round pick of Boston’s in 2008 and has posted a .332 wOBA with seven home runs at AA-Portland this season. Federowicz probably has a future in the big-leagues based on his defense alone; Baseball American ranked him the best defensive catcher in Boston’s system at the beginning of the year.
Rodriguez, 22, was signed to an amateur free agent contract out of the Dominican Republic ahead of the 2008 season and has never played above Low-A. In 201 minor-league innings (most of them in relief), he has a 3.31 ERA and a 2.37 K/BB ratio. He doesn’t project well.
Stephen Fife was having a solid year at AA-Portland, posting a 3.66 ERA, but profiles best as a fringy reliever. He was drafted in the third-round in 2008.
The Mariners get potentially the best player in the deal in Trayvon Robinson from LA. They also nabbed outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang in the deal who figures to be a fringe outfielder at best. Keith Law, however, had this to say about Robinson:
“Robinson, still somewhat raw at 23 with the athleticism to play center but an arm that limits him to left. The switch-hitting Robinson has above-average power from both sides of the plate, although his swing is better from the right side (particularly for generating power from his lower half) and so is his pitch recognition. His ceiling is an above-average regular in left because of his potential to hit for power and show plus range, although he’ll have to work on his contact rates and ability to adjust to off-speed stuff. For two months of Bedard and a castoff relief prospect, Robinson’s a good return, just not a sure thing yet.”
The Red Sox and Mariners both come out looking pretty good in this deal. The Red Sox address a need in their rotation with a solid back-end guy who can show flashes of being even better, while the Mariners grabbed a high-ceiling talent in Robinson. The Dodgers, as usual, don’t make a lot of sense. None of the players they received in the deal project to be Major League regulars, while they gave up one in Robinson. Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti never ceases to amaze.
The Diamondbacks address a need in their bullpen by grabbing right-hander Brad Ziegler from the A’s for first baseman Brandon Allen and left-hander Jordan Norberto, both Major Leaguers. Ziegler, 31, is as steady as they come out of the ‘pen posting a 6.5 rWAR since breaking into the league in 2008. This season, he has a 2.39 ERA and career-best 2.23 K/BB ratio. He’s mostly a situational ROOGY as he’s held right-handers to a .198 average as compared to .396 against lefties.
In Allen and Norberto, the A’s get two players who don’t have terrific ceilings, but are both ready to contribute at the Major League level. Allen, 25, is a power bat that probably plays best off the bench but can provide some versatility as he can play in leftfield as well as first. Norberto, meanwhile is just 24 and has a big arm for a lefty hitting the mid 90s with ease. If Norberto harnesses his command and pitches with more consistency, the A’s could come out clear winners in this deal.
Finally, the Pirates followed up their acquisition of Derrek Lee by trading for outfielder Ryan Ludwick from the Padres for a player to be named later. Ludwick has posted a less-than-impressive .298 wOBA with 11 home runs this year while seeing his walk-rate dive to a career-low 7.5%. He probably won’t make too much of a difference for the Pirates, but does give them a veteran bat as they prepare for an unlikely run at the postseason. Ludwick is a free agent at season’s end and projects to be a Type-B, but it is unlikely that the Pirates will offer him arbitration given the season he’s had so far.
Our fearless leader and yours, Dustin Parkes, will be back this week and will likely talk more about what went down on what was an eventful trade deadline.