Reds acquire Trevor Bauer from Indians
On July 30th the Reds made the move to acquire Bauer from the Tribe in exchange for Yasiel Puig and LHP Scott Moss. They also sent top outfield prospect Taylor Trammell to the Padres in part of a 3-team deal.
Bauer joins a Reds team that has the 7th best ERA in all of baseball. The 28-year-old is having a bit of a down year from his 2018 campaign where he posted a 2.21 era and career-low FIP (2.44) and HR/9 (0.5). Bauer struggles this season have stemmed from the long ball, ballooning his HR/FB% to 14.2% almost a full 3% higher than his career average. The addition of Bauer forms a solid trio with Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, but I’m not convinced that this trade was worth it for the Reds. Bauer’s home run problems may continue as Great American Ballpark is just as good if not a better hitters park than Progressive field.
Pitching wasn’t the issue for Cincinnati, hitting was. The Reds are 22nd in runs scored per game and the loss of Puig who had the 2nd most RBIs on the team with 61, will hurt their offensive firepower. Plus, Cincy is also giving up the #30 prospect in baseball in Trammell. This seems like a steep price to pay for a team that is currently 4th in a very tough central division.
Mets Acquire P Marcus Stroman
It was all but evident that the Blue Jays were going to move Stroman at some point this season. The 28-year-old righty hurler was having his best year in the bigs to date posting a 2.96 ERA and a below career average 3.52 FIP despite a 6-11 record. The first time all-star will join a hopeful Mets rotation sitting 5 games back of the wildcard.
The addition of Stroman to the group of deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, and Matz (who could potentially be on the move) could bolster an already solid rotation. While it is unlikely this addition will thrust the Mets towards that 2nd wildcard spot, Brodie Van Wagenen believed it was worth giving up two prospects out of their below-average farm system for Stroman and the remaining year and a half under team control.
Heading back to Toronto is lefty Anthony Kay and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson. Kay, was stellar for AA Binghamton this season posting a 7-3 record and 1.49 ERA across 12 games for the Rumble Ponies. The 24-year-old has since struggled at the AAA level, but the Jays aren’t going to be contending next season and will be willing to wait on a prospect who could serve as a nice 3-4 starter in their rotation at some point next summer.
Woods-Richardson, 18, Was a 2nd round pick of the Mets in 2018. He has posted a stellar 11.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 across 20 starts in Single-A Columbia this season. MLB.com ranks him currently 7th among Blue Jays prospects.
Neither player was a top 100 prospect, which was something the Jays had hoped for in return for Stroman. But nonetheless, this is a solid deal for both teams involved.
Indians Acquire Puig, Allen, Reyes in 3 team trade
I keep asking myself, why on earth would the Indians even consider trading Trevor Bauer when they’re in the hunt, but they would’ve been crazy to say no to this deal. Cleveland has struggled to hit the ball this season ranking 20th in runs scored per game. The return of Carlos Santana has helped, but they desperately miss the power that Edwin Encarnacion offered.
Puig is arguably having his best year in the MLB, on pace for a career-high in home runs and RBIs. He can now insert himself right into the middle of the batting order with Lindor, Ramirez, and Santana surrounding him. He should thrive there. Reyes has always had power but struggled to find consistent everyday playing time in San Diego. His 48.7% hard-hit rate is among some of the best in baseball and has an average exit velocity that rivals sluggers such as Marcel Ozuna and Matt Chapman. Logan Allen also offers himself up as a nice prospect for the tribe. Injuries have plagued him thus far, but he has been healthy in 2019 and could be on the Indians radar come September.
Giants Trade Pomeranz
I don’t understand this move. Maricuio Dubon was the #3 prospect in the Brewers system. A good defensive 2B who can also play SS, has a decent bat but should serve as a serviceable infielder who can step right into the Giants lineup. While more pieces of this deal have yet to be announced, we now know that Madison Bumgarner is not going to Milwaukee, so this feels like a real loss for the Brewers. They have been yearning for quality pitching all year and now that Brandon Woodruff is out for quite some time, this move seems a bit desperate. Pomeranz has been putrid for the Giants this season, posting a 2-9 record and above 5.5 ERA across 21 games. To give up your #3 prospect for this seems puzzling when there were more serviceable pitchers on the market. (i.e Wheeler, Leake)
A’s snag Tanner Roark from Reds
This is such a Billy Beane acquisition. Oakland has been trying all season to keep their rotation afloat with injuries to Sean Manea, Frankie Montas’s suspension, and the everlasting injuries of top prospect Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk. The A’s are still in hard competition for a wildcard spot and could even make a late dash for the Division. The need for Starting Pitching was evident, as they recently acquired Homer Bailey from the Royals, but he has struggled in his first few starts. Roark, 33 will be a free agent at the end of this season and has mightily cooled off after his nice start the first two months of the season where he posted a 2.77 era. The move makes sense for Oakland, but I don’t see it making much of a difference.
Nats bolster Pen with Strickland, Hudson, Elias
The Nats have notoriously the worst bullpen in baseball despite having one of the National League’s better rotations. With the Phillies clinging to the 2nd wildcard spot and the Braves holding a 6.5 game lead in the east, Mike Rizzo knew he had to bring in some assistance, and he did just that.
Hunter Strickland serves as the biggest gamble here as he’s only logged 3 ⅓ innings this season due to a lat strain that sidelined him in April. Strickland was very effective during his tenure with the Giants where he accumulated a 2.91era, 8.4 K/9, and 19 saves. He will now get to see his old foe Bryce Harper much more frequently as they both push for the postseason.
Elias has stepped in nicely in Strickland’s absence recording 14 saves in 16 opportunities in Seattle. Working exclusively out of Seattle’s pen this year, he has a 4.40 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.53 HR/9, and 34.1% groundball rate in 47 innings. Elias has been fairly effective against lefties thus far in his career as left-handed bats hit a mere .258 against Elias. The other left-handed options for Washignton this season, Mark Grace and Tony Sipp have struggled as of late, making the Elias trade very logical. He’s set to make $91k this season and is under team control until 2021.
Finally, Daniel Hudson makes the jump over to DC as well. Hudson was thought to be high on the Red Sox trade list but he found his way to Washington in exchange for pitcher Kyle Johnson. Hudson has a 3.00 ERA and 48 Ks in 48 innings for the Jays this season and is looking to be used as a high leverage arm in the Nationals bullpen. The hard-throwing righty is allowing the fewest H/9 since he was a starter for the Diamondbacks in 2010.
The Nats look primed and ready to make a run at this division. With their bats heating up and starting pitchers dialed in on the mound, they could be one sleeper team to watch come the postseason.