We’re less than 24 hours from the Trade Deadline! Let’s take a closer look at trades that happened today, 7/30.
Astros acquire CP Roberto Osuna
The Astros have acquired closer Roberto Osuna from the Blue Jays in exchange for former closer Ken Giles, and right-handed pitching prospects Hector Perez and David Paulino. Osuna, 23, has a 2.93 ERA in just, 15.1 innings this season, as he was suspended for 75 games for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. He is eligible to return on August 5th, will be able to pitch in the postseason, and is controlled through 2021. Giles, 27, has a 4.99 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 2.28 FIP in just 30.2 innings, as he was demoted after cursing out manager AJ Hinch. Perez, 22, has a 3.73 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP between Single-A and Triple-A. Paulino, 24, has a 4.67 ERA and 1.07 WHIP between Rookie Ball and Triple-A.
Astros: This is a bold move and a major risk by the Astros. Yes, they’re acquiring an all-star closer for two mid-level prospects and a lost cause in Giles, but Osuna has a lot of problems himself. In acquiring him, the Astros now have to take full responsibility for Osuna and his actions, as well as the developments in Osuna’s previous case. It also may mess with the Astros chemistry, they famously have zero tolerance for domestic violence, and pitchers Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr. have in the past sent tweets diminishing a former Astros prospect who violated the domestic violence policy. There’s also a question of how effective he’ll be, as he hasn’t pitched since May 6th. In the midst of a push to be back to back champs, the Astros can’t afford to let Osuna get settled in. If Osuna passes all these different red flags, which seems very unlikely, then the Astros will be filling their only remaining hole, which is a dominant closer. Grade: C+
Blue Jays: It can be argued that the Blue Jays shouldn’t have traded Osuna while his value was so down, especially considering the market for controllable relievers. However, the Blue Jays seemed intent on never letting Osuna play for them again and taking the best trade possible. The accomplished their goal, as they got two solid pitching prospects while taking a flyer in Giles. Perez has excellent stuff and can be a frontline starter if he improves his command. If not, he could still be an excellent reliever. Paulino hasn’t had great results this year in the minors, but he has excellent stuff and command. The Blue Jays may be also getting a contributor in Giles, as his 2.38 FIP suggests he may be the victim of bad luck. He is giving up hard contact at a career-high 36.8% rate though, so there still are some red flags. It is obvious Giles needed a change of scenery though, so Toronto is hoping that they can revive his career. Grade: B
Mariners acquire RP Zach Duke
The Mariners have acquired lefty reliever Zach Duke from the Twins, in exchange for RHP Chase De Jong and minor league infielder Ryan Costello. Duke, 35, has a 3.62 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, and 2.68 FIP. He also hasn’t given a home run in 37.1 innings, which is extremely impressive. De Jong, 24, has a 3.80 ERA in Triple-A and was ranked as the Mariners’ #28 prospect. Costello, 22 is hitting .266/.360/.486 in Low-A ball and is not one of the Mariners’ Top 30 prospect.
Mariners: Before acquiring Duke, the only other lefty that the Mariners could use in late innings was James Pazos, who is only forcing soft contact 12% of the time. Therefore, it’s safe to say that they could use an additional lefty if they have playoff aspirations. Lefties are only hitting .237/.274/.288 off of Duke, so he’s an excellent option vs them. The problem with Duke is getting righties out, as they’re hitting .303/.409/.351 vs him. However, with right-handed options in Edwin Diaz, Alex Colome, Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, and the newly acquire Sam Tuivailala, the Mariners don’t need Duke to be anything more than a lefty specialist. Grade: A
Twins: DeJong has a very low ceiling, and should end up as a long reliever or spot starter at the next level. Costello was drafted in the 31st round and isn’t a big name prospect by any means, but his success in the minors could point towards a future as a role player. There isn’t much of a market for a 35-year-old with an ERA near 4.00, but there’s not much for the Twins to get excited about here. Grade: C+
Mariners acquire RP Adam Warren
The Mariners have acquired reliever Adam Warren from the Yankees in exchange for $1.5 million in international bonus money. Warren, 30, has a 2.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 3.30 FIP. One has to wonder how long he can keep that up, however, as opposing hitters have a 42.3% hard contact rate.
Mariners: Even though Warren probably won’t be able to keep his success, but he still can be an excellent option as a spot starter or multi-inning reliever. The Mariners have been riddled by injuries in the rotation, and Marco Gonzales has already set a career high in innings pitched while is approaching his career high as well. Therefore, Warren being a spot starter can make sure that those two, in particular, stay fresh. It’s a perfect fit, as Seattle needs him much more than the Yankees do. Grade: A-
Yankees: This is the third trade in which the Yankees have acquired international bonus money. They may have their eyes set on another big name international prospect, possibly Victor Victor Mesa, who the division rival Orioles covet. If this helps them land someone like Mesa, then it’s worth it, considering Warren has barely used by the Yankees. Grade: B+
Yankees acquire SP Lance Lynn
The Yankees made another trade, this time acquiring a pitcher, as they acquired starter Lance Lynn from the Yankees in exchange for 1B Tyler Austin and RHP prospect Luis Rijos. Lynn, 31, has a 5.10 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, and a 4.73 FIP. He’s walking batters at a career-high 13.2% and is giving up hard contact at a career-high 36.5%. Austin, 26, is hitting .223/.280/.471 with 8 home runs in 121 at-bats in the MLB this season. Rijo, 19, has a 2.77 ERA and 1.15 FIP between three minor league teams this season (Rookie, A-, A+). The Twins also will pay half of Lynn’s remaining $4 million salary.
Yankees: The Yankees clearly think that they can fix Lynn’s woes, as they chose him with a 5.10 ERA over Adam Warren with a 2.70 ERA and two prospects essentially. It’s a good fit with the Yankees, as Lynn induces ground balls 50.8% percent of the time, which will play well in Yankee stadium. There is a question of need, however, as the Yankees already had Warren filling in as a reliever/spot starter. This seems like a case where the Yankees went for a big name rather than going for actual production. Grade: C-
Twins: Austin was once a big name prospect, and he still has big power potential. He’s not a big on-base guy, but he should be able to hit 20+ home runs if given playing time. Rijos isn’t a premier prospect, but his 0.7 BB/9 in the minors this year is worth taking a flyer on. For a rental in Lynn with an ERA over 5.00, the Twins made out really well. Grade: A
Braves acquire OF Adam Duvall
The Braves have acquired outfielder Adam Duvall from the Reds in exchange for pitching prospect Lucas Sims, RHP Matt Wisler, and outfielder Preston Tucker. Duvall, 29, is hitting .205/..286/.399 with 15 home runs. Better things can be expected from him in the second half, however, as his .244 batting average balls in play (BABIP) and his 37.5% hard contact rate (second best in his career) show he’s an extreme victim of bad luck. He’s also an elite fielder, as he already has 14 defensive runs saved this season. Sims, 24, has a 7.84 ERA in 10.1 MLB innings this year and has a 2.84 ERA in Triple-A. Wisler, 25, is a former top prospect and has a 5.40 ERA in 26.1 innings in the MLB next season. Tucker, 28, is hitting .256/.307/.444 in 117 at-bats this season.
Braves: Duvall will fill in as the 4th outfielder behind Ronald Acuna Jr., Ender Inciarte, and Nick Markakis. The real value with Duvall comes after this season, as he’s controlled through 2022. Markakis is a free agent after year’s end, and the Braves may not be inclined to keep him, as he’ll be 35 next season. Duvall is clearly better than what his stats show and the Braves can expect to have another power bat in their lineup who will be able to take advantage of the short dimensions in Atlanta. AAt the very worse, he’s a gold glove defender and a power bat off the bench. Grade: A
Reds: Cincinnati acquired two MLB ready pitchers in Sims and Wisler. Both should get a chance to start this year, and possess solid upside as middle of the rotation starters. The Reds are hoping to contend as soon as 2019, so acquiring two pitchers who can help their rotation is a great move. Tucker also can be a solid bench bat and comes cheap as he won’t hit arbitration until 2020 This move puts them in a great position to start winning next year as they add pitching depth for an outfielder who was buried behind Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler, and Jesse Winker among others. Grade: A-