Early trade deadline review
It's been two weeks since the deadline, what have we learned?
It's been two weeks since the trade deadline, so we asked our experts for their early takeaways from the deals we saw (and didn't see) in July.
1. The best trade deadline acquisition thus far is ________
Richard Durrett (@espn_durrett), ESPN Dallas: The Braves' trade for Paul Maholm. He's an underrated arm in that rotation and has given up just three runs in 16 innings for Atlanta as the Braves push for the playoffs. It was one of those "quiet" deadline trades, but a good one.
Christina Kahrl (@ChristinaKahrl), ESPN.com: By straightforward value reflected via wins above replacement, I'll go with Omar Infante for the Tigers. Sure, WAR is an imperfect measure, but Infante has already put up a full win's worth of value since becoming a Tiger, and he's solidified an infield and a lineup that needed help on both counts at a time when Detroit can't afford to lose ground. Honorable mention to Brett Myers for the White Sox.
Bill Baer (@CrashburnAlley), Crashburn Alley: In terms of production since the trade, it's been third baseman Chris Johnson for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who currently has a .920 OPS in his new uniform. Johnson is a bit of an underrated player but he's an average bat at a position that has been skimpy on quality bats lately. He can also play first base and both corner outfield spots if necessary, adding to his value.
2. Come Oct. 1, the best trade acquisition will have been _______
Durrett: Zack Greinke. It may seem a little crazy, but I still think the Angels will get things together enough to claim one of those AL wild card spots. And if they do, Greinke could be critical as they try to get that spot or are forced to play in that one-game playoff.
Kahrl: Hanley Ramirez for the Dodgers. Maybe it's true that some Fish grow to the size of the tank they're in, but keep HanRam's situation in mind: A star player, getting away from baseball's biggest sham franchise and ownership team to a ballclub so recently liberated from a similar circumstance? See you in October, because Ramirez will finally get a shot at shining on a national stage in a game that matters.
Baer: He hasn't been blazing hot so far, but Hanley Ramirez will prove to be a valuable asset as the Dodgers contend for the NL West crown. They had been getting abysmal production from their shortstop and third baseman. If the Dodgers reach the postseason, they'll be looking to Ramirez to lead an otherwise lackluster offense -- the Dodgers have the NL's worst slugging percentage.
3. What is the biggest deadline regret any team has in terms of trades that should have been made?
Durrett: I would think the New York Yankees have to be second-guessing not getting one of the frontline starters at the deadline. With CC Sabathia's injury, they need some depth in that rotation. Perhaps they can get it before the end of August.
Kahrl: The Cubs have to be frustrated by the fact that Matt Garza was hurt, scaring off bidders at a time when they could have landed impact talent for him. Not that Theo Epstein & Jed Hoyer didn't do a good job of getting value by adding Arodys Vizcaino, but taking their best bargaining chip off the table when they really needed to have him available just means they'll have to revisit the drama over what to do with him in December and next July.
Baer: Ruben Amaro isn't regretting the fact that he didn't trade Juan Pierre, but he should be. When the Phillies broke camp with Pierre at the end of March, he had posted a 79 OPS+ in his previous two seasons. This year, it's at 94 and he's been extremely successful on the bases. It's one of the best seasons of his career and he doesn't factor into the Phillies' future plans, so it would have been wise of Amaro to capitalize on Pierre's inflated value and overrated intangibles (e.g. work ethic) by selling him to a contender. Instead, the Phillies will get a couple more months of his production in a lost season before he becomes a free agent.