Let’s take a closer look at all the trades that happened today, July 27
Cubs acquire SP Cole Hamels
The Cubs have acquired SP Cole Hamels from the Rangers in exchange for pitching prospect Rollie Lacy, RHP Eddie Butler, and a player to be named later. Hamels, 34, has a 4.72 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, and 5.20 FIP. Lacy,, 23, has a combined 2.45 ERA in the minors between A ball and A+ ball and also has 10.5 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. Butler, 27, has a 4.08 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 3.84 FIP in 17.2 innings in the MLB this season.
Cubs: The Cubs have the eighth-best ERA in baseball, but more of that is due to their bullpen that ranks #4 in the MLB. Ace Jon Lester has a 3.06 ERA, but his 4.59 FIP shows he’s due for major regression. Meanwhile, Kyle Hendricks (4.05 ERA) and Jose Quintana (3.87 ERA) haven’t pitched their capabilities, while Tyler Chatwood leads the MLB in walks and Yu Darvish has dealt with injuries all season. Needless to say, they could use Hamels. His $20 million salary and his $20 million team option with a $6 million buyout may seem to look too much, but the Rangers are paying $3 million of his remaining salary and are covering his entire buyout. Therefore, this isn’t a financial sacrifice nor a prospect sacrifice, as they didn’t give up any of their top 30 prospects. This is a low risk-high reward move by the Cubs, and they should be rewarded as Hamels has a 2.93 ERA on the road this season. Grade: A
Rangers: Texas’ primary focus was just getting rid of Hamels, so they accomplished that here. Lacy has done well in the minors, so there’s a chance that he can turn into a middle of the rotation starter, but the chances are slim. Butler can help in the rotation immediately, and at 27 could still progress into a solid 3 or 4 starter for 4-5 years. My major problem with this deal is Texas covering the buyout. If you’re not going to get any valuable prospects than you should at least get the money off the books. They should’ve waited until the August 31 waiver trade deadline, as a team may have gotten more desperate for Hamels, such as the Brewers or Mariners. Grade: C-
Mariners acquire RP Sam Tuivailala
The Mariners have acquired reliever Sam Tuivailala from the Cardinals in exchange for prospect RHP Seth Elledge. Tuivailala, 25, has 3.69 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, and 3.98 FIP. Elledge, 22, has a 1.17 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in Single-A.
Mariners: Tuivailala will help the Mariners bullpen immediately, which ranks 12th in the MLB. He’s also part of the long-term picture, as he’s controlled through 2023. The Mariners are starting to slip, as they only lead the AL Wildcard by 1 game. Therefore, they need to make moves to finally break their postseason drought. Rather than invest in older talent, it makes sense for an older Mariners team to invest in young talent. Giving up their tenth prospect in Elledge hurts, but having Tuivailala for at least four more years makes up for it. Grade: B
Cardinals: The Cardinals made several changes to the bullpen, and it seems like Tuivailala wasn’t part of their plans moving forward. Elledge has had a great year and has progressed tremendously this season. His career 13.6 K/9 in the minors shows that he could be an effective reliever with his very effective sinking fastball. A solid return for an unproven reliever who clearly wasn’t in their short or long-term plans. Grade: A-
Diamondbacks acquire IF Eduardo Escobar
The Diamondbacks have acquired INF Eduardo Escobar from the Twins in exchange for outfield prospects Gabriel Maciel and Ernie De La Trinidad as well as pitching prospect Jhoan Duran. Escobar, 29, is having a career year, hitting .274/..338/.514 with 15 home runs. Maciel, 19, is hitting .287/.362/.333 in Single-A and is now the Twins 15th ranked prospect. His main value comes in his defense, and he should be a hit-field outfielder in the majors. Duran, 20, has 4.73 ERA in Single-A and is now the Twins 20th ranked prospect. He has a solid fastball-curveball combo but still needs to develop a changeup and more consistent command. De La Trinidad, 22, is hitting .311/.403/.442 in Single A. If his success at the plate can continue, he could develop into a solid role player.
Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks have gotten limited production from both shortstop and second base, while third baseman Jake Lamb has dealt with injuries. Luckily for them, Escobar can play all three positions and play the outfield. As a switch hitter, he also helps balance out the Arizona lineup. Arizona needed to make a counter move to the Dodgers acquiring Manny Machado. They still have more to do, but this is a great start. Grade: A-
Twins: Escobar is a rental at the end of the year, so getting two solid prospects is a good return. It may have been better for them to either get one quality prospect instead of going for quality, or for them to get more MLB ready players. As a young, up and coming team, the Twins don’t need depth, but rather some more quality talent. They still have more trades to do, such as trading Brian Dozier, but their strategy of quantity over quality is alarming. Grade: B-
Phillies acquire INF Asdrubal Cabrera
The Phillies have acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets in exchange for pitching prospect Franklyn Kilome. Cabrera, 32, is hitting .277/..329/.488 with 18 home runs. Kilome, 23, has a 4.24 ERA in Double-A so far this season and is now ranked as the Mets #5 prospect.
Phillies: Cabrera’s numbers show that he is still a very good hitter. However, his -18 drs show that he is a liability defensively. Because of this, there is a major risk in even putting him in the lineup. The Phillies should have gone much harder after Eduardo Escobar, who’s a better defender and much more versatile. Grade: D
Mets: Kilome has extremely high upside with an outstanding fastball, above average control, and his makeup. He could develop into a frontline starter, and the Mets have done a good job in developing pitchers in the past. To get that much for a defensive liability and a rental in Cabrera is extremely impressive. The Mets come out as a major trade deadline winner by getting Kilome. Grade: A+
Astros acquire RP Ryan Pressly
The Astros have acquired reliever Ryan Pressly from the Twins in exchange for pitching prospect Jorge Alcala and outfield prospect Gilberto Celestino. Pressly, 29, has a 3.40 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 2.95 FIP this season. Alcala, 22, has a 3.29 ERA between Single-A and Double-A and was ranked as the Astros #10 prospect. Celestino, 19, is hitting .299/.362/.448 in the minors this season and is ranked as the #15 prospect.
Astros: The Astros bullpen has the second-best ERA in baseball with a 2.96 ERA. Having extra depth isn’t a bad idea, but what Houston needs is a closer to replace Ken Giles, who has been demoted to Triple A. They also have the only left-handed reliever in Tony Sipp, that should’ve been more of a priority. Sure, Pressly is controlled through 2020, but their priorities were definitely out of order in making this trade. Grade: C-
Twins: Alcala has a fastball that can hit triple digits, while Celestino is an above average hitter and fielder. Netting both of them for Pressly is impressive, but should they have even traded him? The Twins may be able to contend with their young talent once again in 2019, so hurting their bullpen for next year wasn’t a good idea. They focus should’ve been strictly trading pending free agents, and they had no reason to trade Pressly. Grade: C