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Trade Deadline Recap

Jarrod SaltalamacchiaThe trade deadline came and went yesterday with one big move and a flurry of smaller ones. The nature of the deadline has changed considerably the last couple years as bad teams are much less willing to part with their superstars. That's partly because contenders are also less willing to give up their best prospects. As a result, deadline trades are often moves involving second-tier players and either marginal or extremely young prospects. Here's a look at what happened this year (numbers in parentheses are the player's value according to my rating formulas; in the case of prospects with minor league numbers, their adjusted Major League rating is first followed by their raw, unadjusted rating):
  • Rangers trade 1B Mark Teixeira (86) and LHP Ron Mahay (68) to the Braves for C/1B Jarrod Saltalamacchia (72), SS Elvis Andrus (37/68), RHP Neftali Feliz (23/93), LHP Matt Harrison (59/84), and LHP Beau Jones (30/71) - This was easily the biggest trade of the deadline, as it would be the biggest pretty much any year. This is a huge deal for the Braves as they shored up their biggest hole in the lineup, and even got a little bullpen help while only moving one guy off their major league roster. Atlanta was in the hunt for the wild card before this move, but now they are right there with the Mets for the NL East crown, and have also positioned themselves for a World Series run. This is the type of deal that makes giving up great young talent worth it. As for the Rangers, they really had to trade Teixeira. They did have control of him next year, but he turned down a contract extension worth about $140 million, so it was clear he wasn't interested in staying, and keeping him would have turned ugly. The Angels were rumored to be offering 1B Casey Kotchman (85) and LHP Joe Saunders (76/85), which is the deal I would have picked between these two, but the concern of trading within the division is understandable. In the Braves deal the Rangers got five legitimate prospects, though it will be some time before anyone besides Saltalamacchia contributes. All in all, an amazing deal for Atlanta and a good one for Texas.
  • Red Sox trade RHP Joel Pineiro (56) and cash considerations to the Cardinals for a player to be named later - The only intriguing thing about this trade is if that player to be named is worth paying attention to. Pineiro certainly isn't at this point. I think St. Louis wants to have a starting rotation completely comprised of converted relievers by the end of the year.
  • Astros trade 3B Morgan Ensberg (67) and cash considerations to the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later - Without a doubt, Ensberg has slipped some, but the Astros never fully valued Ensberg's ability to work counts. They couldn't get past his low batting average the last couple years. Unlike most deals that are this small, I could see Ensberg making a bit of an impact in San Diego.
  • Royals trade RHP Octavio Dotel (65) to the Braves for RHP Kyle Davies (65) - The Royals got the better end of this deal. Dotel is an oft-injured mediocre reliever in the twilight of his career at this point, while Davies is a struggling young starter. Dotel has more value to the Braves right now, but these two players are of essentially equal value right now, except one is on his way down and the other on his way up.
  • Dodgers trade INF Wilson Betemit (75) to the Yankees for RHP Scott Proctor (53) - This deal is going to blow up in the Dodgers' face. Betemit, much like Ensberg, wasn't valued thanks to a low batting average. However, he has shown good plate discipline and very good power, and he's also just 25 years old. On the other hand, Scott Proctor's ERA will jump up in a hurry if he doesn't start pitching better. The Dodgers could use some help in the bullpen, but not at this price.
  • Giants trade RHP Matt Morris (80) to the Pirates for OF Rajai Davis (77/88) and a player to be named later - This gets my vote for oddest trade at the deadline. I can't believe that of all the teams looking to upgrade pitching the Pirates end up landing the best pitcher at the deadline. However, in classic Pirates fashion, they still got the worst end of this deal by far. This is a great move for the Giants because they unload Morris's contract and they have plenty of talented young pitchers. What they don't have are younger position players, and Davis looks like a leadoff hitter cut out of the Juan Pierre/Willy Tavares mold (though Davis has a little pop too). I don't get what the Pirates are thinking here, but I could say that for virtually anything they have done in the last 15 years.
  • White Sox trade OF Rob Mackowiak (74) to the Padres for RHP Jon Link (39/72) - This is another underrated move by the Padres. Mackowiak is a tremendous option off the bench thanks to his solid bat and versatility. Really, he's good enough to be a serviceable starter. It probably made sense for the ChiSox to move an outfielder and make space for OF Jerry Owens (66/73), since he fits the small-ball style Ozzie Guillen prefers, but they either should have got a little more for Mackowiak or offered OF Darin Erstad (68) instead.
  • Padres trade LHP Royce Ring (75/83) to the Braves for LHP Wil Ledezma (54) and RHP Will Startup (64/75) - I wonder if the Braves know how good Royce Ring is, because though Mahay is being heralded as the lefty the bullpen needed, Ring is younger and better. Ledezma has had a tough year, but he's young and not as bad as he has performed this year. Talent-wise the trade is pretty equal, but Ring clearly upgrades Atlanta's bullpen (if they are smart enough to put him there and not AAA) and I don't see how Ledezma and Startup really help the Padres, though they don't hurt the team either.
  • Rangers trade RHP Eric Gagne (74) and cash considerations to the Red Sox for LHP Kason Gabbard (73/81), OF David Murphy (65/76), and OF Engle Beltre (6/65) - This deal would have been great for the Rangers even with only Gabbard included, but they also got a solid outfielder in Murphy, and a complete wild card in Beltre. As for the Red Sox, I don't see why they did this deal given how strong their bullpen already is. They mortgaged a little too much young talent for a rather minimal gain.
  • Mariners trade RHP Julio Mateo (67/75) to the Phillies for SS Jesus Merchan (66/94) - Really, this move was all about letting Mateo move on. Merchan intrigues me, but he's shown only marginal hitting ability at any level before this year. However, it was clear that Mateo was going nowhere with the Mariners. I included Mateo's unadjusted rating, but considering his age and MLB experience, in all likelihood he has peaked around the 67 rating. Mateo is going to be a nice addition to the Phillies bullpen, and maybe the M's really got something in Merchan.