With the MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline fast approaching (Monday, July 31st at 4:00 pm Eastern time), there are numerous rumors and predictions being tossed around. Baseball fans love rumors; they provide something to talk about. I, however, prefer to re-evaluate trades that have happened in the recent past, using hindsight to provide clarity on how well each team truly made out in the deal. Since prospects are such a major part of trades in the MLB, it often takes a few years to really determine if a trade was worthwhile. Therefore, I have gone back to the 2012 and 2013 trade deadlines and have handpicked three deals that I believe are worth revisiting.
Late Tuesday night, the New York Yankees completed a trade with the Chicago White Sox that brought third baseman Todd Frazier, as well as righties David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, to the Bronx. In exchange, Chicago received former first round pick Blake Rutherford (36th on Baseball America Top 100 Prospects), lefty Ian Clarkin (also a former 1st rounder), outfielder Tito Polo, and right-hander Tyler Clippard.
Last week, SportsNet ran a piece summarizing the teams that exceeded the 2016 MLB Luxury Tax threshold. The list includes six organizations, three from the American League: the Yankees, Red Sox, and Tigers; and three from the National League: the Dodgers, Giants, and Cubs. As is the case with most luxury tax offenders, each of these teams has at least one ill-advised contract on their books, and some teams have multiple. As a result, I thought I would have a little fun and create a 2016 All-Luxury Tax Team; a team of the most expensive players who provided the least value to their ball clubs in 2016. First though, lets give some background on who our big-spenders were this year (as well as some fun nicknames!).
LOS ANGELES DODGERS aka “The Yankees of the West”
- Tax Amount: $31.8 million (4th Consecutive offense)
On the evening of July 14th, the Boston Red Sox acquired lefty Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres in exchange for their top pitching prospect, Anderson Espinoza. The evening of the deal, I tweeted that after some research, I was sold on the trade, as I could not find much evidence pointing to Pomeranz’s 2016 success as a fluke. I also wrote briefly about my opinion on my blog’s MLB 2016 Trade Deadline Tracker page. Now, however, I would like to discuss, in more detail, why I am so high on the 27-year old pitcher named Drew Pomeranz.
Early Saturday morning (or late Friday night depending on where you live) the Boston Red Sox acquired closer Brad Ziegler from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ziegler, who make no mistake is a very good addition, was not necessarily the name I expected the Sox to get back in June when I explained the team’s possible relief pitching trade targets. Nonetheless, Executive of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski’s focus will now shift to the starting pitching market.
It’s now been two months, and my opinion of Boston’s bullpen has not changed. At the start of the season, I felt that they were a shut-down lefty shy of being a real plus for the team, and with Carson Smith now done for the season, it has become even more evident that the team could use another dominating arm. Craig Kimbrel and Koji Ueahara have both under-performed to this point, and while I have confidence that Kimbrel will turn it around, Koji’s age and durability should definitely be a concern. Junichi Tazawa has faded down the stretch each of the last two seasons with heavy usage, and names like Robbie Ross Jr., Tommy Layne, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Noe Ramirez, and now Clay Buchholz do not instill the amount of confidence needed by a playoff contending team. Barnes and Hembree have both been very good, but it is still risky to rely on them in big roles, which was demonstrated by Hembree’s 8th inning implosion last Sunday.
The following is an article written back at the end of August, 2015. It includes an evaluation of where Ben Cherington went right and wrong during his tenure as the Red Sox’s GM.
At the end of the 2012 season, with the Red Sox coming off of a September collapse that cost them a playoff berth, Theo Epstein chose to leave and become the Executive of Baseball Operations for the rebuilding Chicago Cubs, leaving the door open for Ben Cherington to make his mark on Red Sox Nation.