Note: This was written prior to the final day of the trading deadline. We’ll cover the latest moves, such as the Dempster deal, along with the winners and losers in Part 2, coming in the next few days.
A couple of big names switched teams this past week as former National League batting champion Hanley Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers as part of yet another Miami fire sale, and perennial All-Star Ichiro Suzuki went from Seattle to the Yankees. Houston ace Wandy Rodriguez was also traded to division rival Pittsburgh.
Then, the biggest trade yet was made as the Brewers shipped former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke to the Angels. Do you like the moves?
Continue reading after the jump…
As a Rockies fan, I don’t like the Ramirez move simply because if anything will cure his hitting woes, it’s Rockies pitching. This was a good move for the Dodgers, who had tailed off after their sizzling start to the season and now trail San Francisco in the NL West.
Los Angeles is 12 in the National League in runs scored and 13th in OPS. Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have had to shoulder the burden, and Kemp’s been injured for a good part of the season.
They need help.
Ramirez won Rookie of the Year honors a few years back, won a batting title, and led all shortstops in home runs between 2006-2010. He’s tailed off significantly the past couple years, but he’s only 28. Maybe the change in scenery will reinvigorate him.
If not, well he’s still an upgrade over Juan Uribe, Dee Gordon, and Luis Cruz on the left side of the infield. Plus, the Dodgers didn’t give up much to get Ramirez–a decent starting prospect in Nate Eovaldi and minor league right-hander Scott McGough. If it works out, it’ll be a steal by the Dodgers. If not, they didn’t hurt themselves long-term.
The Ichiro move was a huge surprise because well, he’s Ichiro. He’s the face of the Mariners and the first one who comes to mind when you think of Seattle (sorry, Felix Hernandez). Even though he’s not the player he once was, he’s still a big name. Like the Hanley Ramirez trade by the Dodgers, though, this is a low-risk/high-reward move by New York. Ichiro’s not the Ichiro of old, but he’s smart, knows how to handle the bat, and can still run. He’s already the Yankees’ team leader in steals and a huge upgrade defensively in left field.
The only thing he has not accomplished is winning a World Series, so you have to think he’s going to be extra motivated. Maybe that extra inspiration helps him turn back the clock for a couple months. Plus, he’s going to benefit from hitting in a quality Yankee lineup instead of the rancid Seattle offense. If it doesn’t work out, the Yankees didn’t give up much and can turn back to the Raul Ibanez/Andruw Jones platoon they’ve been employing.
I’m a bit miffed about the Wandy Rodriguez trade for a couple of reasons. One, the Rockies put in a waiver claim on him last year and tried to negotiate a trade, but Houston demanded top pitching prospect Drew Pomeranz and catcher Wilin Rosario–currently tied with Mike Trout for the most home runs among rookies–in return.
Now, the Astros give him up for two fringe prospects and one decent guy. Not cool, Houston!
Aside from that, the trade doesn’t make much sense. Pittsburgh is in contention because of its strong pitching staff. Adding another starter doesn’t hurt, but they have more pressing needs. Besides Andrew McCutcheon, nobody on that team is really hitting. They needed to add a bat to take some of the load off of McCutcheon.
The Greinke trade was a surprise in that it actually happened. The past few years, it’s seemed like the big name that everyone assumes will be traded is never actually traded at the deadline.
This is a big move by the Angels, and I think they come out ahead in this trade.
Greinke has ace stuff, but there has long been concern about how well he can handle the pressure of pitching in a big market. Los Angeles is certainly a big market, but Greinke will benefit from the fact that the Dodgers get the top billing and that he won’t be the ace of the staff. He’s not being asked to carry the load; the Angels already have Jered Weaver, CJ Wilson, and Dan Haren. The spotlight won’t shine as brightly on him.
The Angels gave up three of their top ten prospects, according to ESPN’s Keith Law, but that’s not as bad as it sounds. Law had shortstop Jean Segura as the #2 prospect in the Angels’ system, but the team is loaded at shortstop and second base. The two pitchers they gave up have upside, but neither are sure things.
I’m no fan of Hanley Ramirez. Maybe he helps the Dodgers in the short run, but that’s it. The Dodgers do have a history of getting great performance out of a malcontent named “Ramirez” acquired midseason, so maybe that’s they’re thinking. As a long term move, Hanley Ramirez is a liability in the field, a cancer in the clubhouse and a font of diminishing returns at the plate. I like the move for the two months of this season only.
I love Ichiro, but he’s truly way past his prime. It doesn’t matter though, because the Yankees are so desperate for outfield help and depth that they’d have taken ANYONE at this point, so why not a first ballot hall of famer who still has skills at the plate. I don’t think this puts the Yankees on top, but it helps.
I may like the Wandy Rodriguez move for Pittsburgh most of all. The Pirates have been so awful for so long…I just like that they are making a move that is clearly geared toward playing in the postseason. The addition of Rodriguez gives them another viable starting arm to use in a short series. Thumbs up.
I’m not in love with the Greinke trade – I just don’t know that the Angels needed another starter that badly, but I suppose the Angels had better do everything they can to win after all the money they spent in the offseason, so…go for it.