Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Trade deadline acquisitions have been flops
By David Schoenfield
For all the hype about the trade deadline, the early returns haven't been good.
- Ryan Dempster, Rangers: Has been pounded for 19 runs in 17.1 innings in three starts, including two starts with eight runs. He gave up eight-plus runs just three times in 154 starts with the Cubs.
- Like Dempster, Anibal Sanchez was roughed up on Monday. He's 1-3 with a 7.97 ERA with the Tigers, having allowed 35 hits and 19 runs in 20.1 innings.
- The Angels haven't won in Zack Greinke's three starts. He starts Tuesday night, coming off a five-walk game.
- Hanley Ramirez had a .749 OPS with the Marlins. He has a .746 OPS with the Dodgers and just one home run in 18 games. He does have 18 RBIs.
- Hunter Pence, who had been struggling when traded, has been terrible with the Giants, hitting .145/.172/.273.
- Ichiro Suzuki has been a little better with the Yankees than with the Mariners, but a .701 OPS and .301 is hardly pushing the Yankees closer to a division title.
- Jonathan Broxton has allowed four runs in four innings with the Reds, including a blown save and a loss in one appearance.
Not all the acquistions have been duds. Omar Infante (.304/.315/.478) has been a big upgrade at second base for the Tigers. Shane Victorino has done OK with the Dodgers (.277/.333/.426). Chris Johnson has slugged .602 and has 18 RBIs in 15 games for Arizona. The biggest acquisition may prove to be Paul Maholm. He was regarded as the third-best of the Cubs pitchers on the trade block (behind Dempster and Matt Garza, who wasn't dealt), but has been superb for the Braves, allowing three runs through his first two starts. Over his last eight starts, he's allowed eight runs. It's possible that Maholm could be this year's Doug Fister, the under-the-radar pickup that proves to be a better deal than the more glamorous names.
The most interesting results have been from Dempster, Sanchez and Greinke, who all moved from the National League to the American League. It's only 10 starts, so it's a small sample size, but they've combined for a 7.15 ERA. Is the change in the leagues that much of a factor? Probably not, but pitching in Texas or Yankee Stadium is certainly a different test than facing the Astros.
As always, the trade deadline can provide reinforcements to a contending team, but the hype it generates rarely matches the impact that many fans and front offices expect.