So needless to say, I was completely wrong about my previous article on David Price and Jon Lester. Lester ended up with the A’s and Price ended up on the Tigers. But, in all fairness, I do not believe anyone expected those two to be where they are currently before July 31st started. However, back to the point of this article, there were three major trades on Thursday: the Lester trade, the Lackey trade, and the Price trade. Now there were obviously other trades, but with those being the biggest we will look at the winners and losers in each trade situation.
Trade One: Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the A’s for Yoenis Cespedes
In the first big trade of the day, when most of us were still snuggled in our beds, the A’s pulled the trigger on Jon Lester and also got Jonny Gomes. All they had to give up was their all-star outfielder in Yoenis Cespedes. On the surface, many may think the A’s are nuts, but in reality this was a beautifully orchestrated traded by Brad Pit…er Billy Beane.
I am going to start off with a quick fact drop, Cespedes is not that good. Sure the guy can hit a long ball, but his strikeout numbers are higher than would be preferred and the guy is also coming up on the end of his contract. At the end of the 2015 season, the 30-year-old Cespedes will be looking for a pretty penny, one that the A’s cannot afford. So Beane decided to sell high on his all-star and play the number game. In Gomes he gets a better hitter against lefties, .264 to Cespedes .262. In another trade today, the A’s acquired Sam Flud from the Twins, who is a better hitter against right-handed pitching than Cespedes, .250 to .241. Billy loves moneyball, and he will be playing it the rest of the season with a platoon of “who statistically hits best against this type of pitching” in his outfield. Now that they got the guys to fill in for Cespedes, the icing on the cake was Jon Lester. Lester is now pitcher 1-C on this already staked staff. In Lester they get one of the best pitchers this year to combine with Samardzija, Kazmir, Gray, and Hammel/Chavez. That is one scary staff, easily the best in the league, and they should be considered even better favorites to win it all now.
On the other side of the ball, the Red Sox received a very good baseball player in Cespedes. Yes, I just got done saying that he isn’t that good, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a good ball player, I just think he is over hyped. However, in Boston, he will really fit in to their short and long-term plans. Short-term, he gives the Red Sox outfield a much need power boost, already having more home runs alone than the entire Red Sox outfield has had all year. Boston will love this guy and he will easily fit in short-term. Long term, with how the Sox are playing the game, they will have the money and market to sign Cespedes long-term. I am sure they are hoping that after a few months, he will fall in love with the city and fans, and then they will try to sign him to something long-term, maybe as soon as this winter.
On both sides of the coin, this is a very good deal. The A’s found a way to replace Cespedes in a platoon and they also gained another ace. In Boston they got rid of a guy they know they could not keep and gain a guy they have a very good chance at keeping, who still has the potential to get a whole lot better. Good trade all around here which is why:
Oakland Athletics: Winners
Boston Red Sox: Winners
Trade Two: Allen Craig and Joe Kelly head to Boston for John Lackey
Alright, so in the second major trade of the day, we had the Cardinals shockingly send Allen Craig and Joe Kelly out east for right-hander John Lackey. This was a little bit of a shocking trade by the Cardinals who were expected to be in the running for both Price and Lester, so what exactly were they thinking?
Well for the Red Sox, it is a very good trade again. After coming out of the Cespedes trade smelling pretty, they went to unload more. Lackey has been decent this year, but with him turning 36 this year and still owed a lot of money next year, they decided to sell high again and unload the dead weight. What they got back for him isn’t huge, but it is still pretty darn good. They got a OF/IF in Allen Craig, who is struggling this year, but after hitting north of .300 the past two years, he can easily do that again, especially in Boston. Plus they get the 30-year-old for not only this season, but for another four seasons, until 2018, on a very team friendly contract. The Red Sox also picked up pitcher Joe Kelly who is an interesting pick up. He could easily slip into the bullpen and give you some really good stuff as a long-reliever. On the flip side, he was a starter in St. Louis and just had some control issues. He does not have overpowering stuff, but if he can fix his control issues, there is no reason the 26-year-old cannot figure it out. While Kelly is a free agent after this year, much like Cespedes, I do not think that the Red Sox will have a difficult time resigning him.
Now for the mighty birds, what were they thinking? Well, I don’t know. Joe Kelly and Allen Craig you can argue very easily that they are replaceable because of what the Cardinals having going on in their farm system. Kelly wasn’t pitching well and was in the bullpen more often than not, and therefore the Cardinals could replace him with a call up. Craig was struggling this year, and maybe the Cardinals are going all in on Taveras or another prospect. But with Kelly they could easily sign him for cheap and he is very serviceable, and Craig was already on a very team friendly contract for another four years. Sure those two weren’t a lot, but they were important cogs, and what the Cardinals got back for those cogs was a clunker. Lackey, like I already stated, is 36 and owed roughly $15 mil over the next year. Will the Cardinals be paying all that? No. But still, with the Cardinals being linked to Price and Lester, two guys that were ripping apart hitters and are both clear-cut aces and then coming out of today with 36-year-old, 3.60 ERA Lackey, that is questionable.
Maybe the Cardinals did not like the prices of those two, but Price didn’t even go for that much and the Cardinals could have easily topped what the Mariners and Tigers gave up! That is why, after this trade, I am going with:
Boston Red Sox: Winners
St. Louis Cardinals: Losers
Trade Three: David Price heads to Detroit, Austin Jackson heads to Seattle and Smyly, Franklin and prospect Willy Adames head to Tampa
With Lester being traded in the wee hours of the morning, all day we have eagerly awaited Price to be dealt. Hour after hour went by and finally after the trade deadline had pasted we finally received word that it had happened. David Price was heading to Detroit to team up with his Cy Young brothers, Austin Jackson headed out West to boost Seattle’s chances at a post-season appearance, and Tampa Bay received some questionable young talent.
Alright let’s start off with the easiest of them all, the Detroit Tigers. They received David Price, the same guy who is killing batters and is one of the best pitchers in the league this year. Sure, they lost Austin Jackson, but with how Rajai Davis has been playing this year, I am more than confident he can fill in for Jackson in a big way. The Tigers also had to give up their highly touted prospect in Willy Adames. The kid is supposed to be showing good signs, but with him only in Class A, and still 18 and far off from the show, the Tigers were more than willing to part ways. The other piece the Tigers had to give up was Drew Smyly. Smyly had shown signs of being decent, but with his 3.77 ERA and the fact that they were essentially replacing him with Price, it was a no brainer for the Tigers to give up Drew. The Tigers desperately needed Price, with their team ERA being one of the worst, Verlander sucking, Scherzer either good or really bad, and the A’s only getting better. With Scherzer also walking out after this year, the Tigers should have the money to resign Price. Good stuff is happening in Detroit, but they are still a long way off from being a championship team.
Okay, now for the next easiest team, the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners had to part ways with Nick Franklin. Once considered a very promising prospect, after his call up last year and then after his play this year, he really hasn’t shown it. He is still young, only 22, but with his lack of discipline at the plate, and his average defense, the Mariners were willing to part ways with him. In return they got a very underrated player, in my opinion, in Austin Jackson. Jackson will step into that club house from day one and be their lead-off guy. He is instantly better than everyone in that current outfield, and will give someone for Robinson Cano to drive in. I really like the Jackson pick up by the Mariners because now that feeling that I had about them not being good enough to make the playoffs is slowly diminishing.
Finally, we have the third team in this trade, the Tampa Bay Rays. To start off with, the Rays got Nick Franklin, Drew Smyly and Willy Adames. Franklin is not very good, but the Rays are hoping that with him still being young that they can help him figure it out and turn him into their everyday SS or 2B. Smyly is an interesting pick up because he will still be a starter for the Rays. He will slip into the rotation in place of David Price, and the once decent staff of the Rays will probably diminish. The good thing about Smyly is that he is still young, 25, and could become a decent late rotation/bullpen guy in the future. The Rays will be happy with these two because they are young, locked up for 5+ years, already have big league experience and they have the ability to get better, for cheap. The Rays also received Adames, an 18-year-old prospect who is supposedly going to be really good. We will see about that, but for right now, the Rays like the addition of Adames too. With all of these players that the Rays gained, they had to give up golden boy David Price. Price was throwing really well this year, and the Rays were only 5.5 games out of the playoffs. Not only that, but I can’t help but think the Rays could have gotten more for Price at another time, whether it was last year, a few months ago or even this winter.
The Rays were right there, they could have kept the golden boy and made a run for the post-season, and still received an equal or better return than what they got today. It seemed to be very much a panic trade which is why:
Detroit Tigers: Winners
Seattle Mariners: Winners
Tampa Bay Rays: Losers
Thanks for reading!
All stats and information courtesy of espn.com, sbnation.com, baseball-reference.com and spotrac.com