Trade deadline day roundup: Cubs get Haren, Jays score Revere, more deals
The non-waiver trade deadline has passed, and while only the Mets made a major move in acquiring Yoenis Cespedes (check back later for analysis on that deal), plenty of other teams stayed busy as well, either adding depth for a playoff run or selling off pieces after a disappointing first half. Here's a roundup of Friday's other notable deadline deals, with analysis from SI.com baseball writers Cliff Corcoran and Jay Jaffe. You can find details on every trade before the deadline in our trade tracker.
All stats are as of Friday, July 31. Teams are listed alphabetically.
Hidden under their earth-shaking acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, the Blue Jays quietly rebuilt their bullpen. With rookie closer Roberto Osuna leading the way, Toronto has still-effective veteran setup man LaTroy Hawkins, who came over in the Tulowitzki trade; rookie Aaron Sanchez, who was moved back to the bullpen after returning from a lat strain; and now, a rejuvenated veteran in Lowe in a minor deal with the Mariners.
Lowe, who is 32 and a free agent after this season, has spent all but seven games of his erratic, injury-laden, 10-year major league career in the American League West, finding his greatest success as a member of the Rangers' back-to-back pennant winners in 2010 and '11. Upon hitting free agency after the '12 season, however, his career hit the rocks. With his once upper-90s velocity severely diminished and his control abandoning him in limited major league opportunities, Lowe passed through five organizations (the Dodgers, Angels, Nationals, Rays and Indians) in the '13 and ’14 seasons, appearing in the majors with just two of them and walking 17 men in 18 2/3 innings in those stints.
Signed to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training by the Mariners in December, he didn’t crack Seattle’s 25-man roster until early May. But he found his velocity on both his fastball (which has averaged just under 96 mph this season) and his slider (just under 87 mph) and has restored his control, and with that, Lowe has been absolutely dominant, allowing just six runs and one home run in 36 innings, good for a 1.00 ERA with 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings and a 4.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
There’s obviously some luck going on there. Lowe has allowed just one home run all season, but that total should multiply in the remaining two months with the move from spacious Safeco Park to the homer-friendly Rogers Centre. Still, his FIP (which admittedly considers home-run rates) is 1.83 and his Deserved Run Average (which corrects for them) is 2.48, so the Blue Jays can expect him to continue to pitch effectively assuming he can stay healthy.
As for the pitchers going back to the Mariners in what amounts to a something-for-nothing trade from their perspective, Rasmussen is a small 26-year-old lefty reliever who is joining his sixth organization since being selected by the Marlins in the second round of the 2010 draft. He’s on the 40-man roster and is little more than filler. Wells and Brentz, meanwhile, are both still in rookie ball. The 19-year-old Wells is a tall, skinny lefty taken in the third round last year who throws in the low 90s with a good curve and is the more promising of the two (Brentz, 20, was an 11th-round pick in '13), but both are lottery tickets with limited payoffs at best.
Revere, meanwhile, is a speedy centerfielder notable for his lack of power (just three home runs in 2,414 career plate appearances despite playing half his career for the Phillies) who offers Toronto outfield depth and will likely bump Ezequiel Carrera off the roster, effectively assuming his role as a lefthanded slap-hitting backup. That’s an upgrade for the Blue Jays. Revere, who is also a year younger than Carrera, has game-changing speed (averaging 48 steals per 162 games in his four full major league seasons at an 81% success rate) and is having his best season at the plate at the age of 27 (.298/.334/.374, 98 OPS+). He also has two years of team control remaining.
As for Cordero and Tirado, they’re righthanded Dominican relievers of little distinction, both combating control problems and sporting career strikeout-to-walk ratios below 2.00. Tirado, who will turn 21 in December, is doing so in high A; Cordero, 24 in October, just reached Double A in late May.—Cliff Corcoran
The triple-digit heat isn't coming back, but for the third time in five years, Broxton is somebody that a team is willing to dream on. The 31-year-old righty's strikeout rate of 9.1 per nine is his highest since 2010, but the five homers and .353 BABIP he's yielded in 36 2/3 innings en route to a 5.89 ERA make it tough to see what all the fuss is about. Still, if anybody is going to summon the devil magic for him to post something like a 1.08 ERA and 72% ground-ball rate down the stretch—to pair with an end-of-career Will Clark-like performance from Brandon Moss, naturally—it's the Cardinals, who last week added ex-Marlins closer Steve Cishek in a similar depth move. Via the New York Post's Joel Sherman, the Cardinals are getting $3 million to cover Broxton's remaining salary, but $2 million of that is contingent on them not exercising his $9 million option and instead paying the buyout.
A 10th-round 2013 pick out of an Ontario secondary school, Collymore is now in his third season of Rookie league play, hitting a meager .216/.326/.378 through 86 games at Johnson City of the Appalachian League after tearing up the Gulf Coast League last year (.333/.403/.480), which earned him league All-Star honors as well as the 27th spot on the team's top 30 prospects list via Baseball America. His bat will have to rebound from this year's slow start, as he's moved from second base to leftfield.—Jay Jaffe
A day after the three-way deal involving Mat Latos became official, the Marlins' annual fire sale continues with another rotation piece leaving town. The 34-year-old Haren threatened to retire last December upon being traded from the Dodgers to the Marlins, but ultimately chose to report and finish out the back end of his two-year, $20 million deal, and now he heads to his fifth team in four seasons. Thus far, he's pitched to a 3.42 ERA (his best since 2011 with the Angels) and a 67% quality-start rate despite allowing a whopping 1.5 homers per nine and striking out a meager 6.1 per nine. His .252 batting average on balls is 39 points below his career mark and helps to account for the gap between his ERA and his 4.57 FIP, suggesting some amount of regression ahead. Nonetheless, he'll be a solid upgrade to the fifth spot in the Cubs' rotation, which has seen Donn Roach, Clayton Richard and Dallas Beeler cycle through a revolving door in the weeks since Tsuyoshi Wada hit the disabled list.
The Cubs didn't give up a whole lot to get him. Soto is a 25-year-old former 15th-round draft pick out of Creighton who has all of 29 games of Triple A experience; currently, he's hitting .275/.388/.314 for the team's Double A Tennessee affiliate, and if you think that lack of power is impressive, consider his seven triples, three homers and .304 slugging percentage in 1,887 minor-league plate appearances. He has experience at second base and third base as well as shortstop, so there's that. Of more interest is the 23-year-old Dominican-born Pineyro, who came to the Cubs via the Nationals in the 2013 Scott Hairston deal. Working as a starter at Tennessee, he's posted a 3.69 ERA with good peripherals, including 7.7 strikeouts per nine. Reportedly his fastball is up to 94 mph to complement a good changeup, a combination that suggests he could at least be a future major league reliever.
The 28-year-old Hunter is a hard thrower who found a home in Baltimore's bullpen after failing to keep the ball in the park as a starter. Despite a four-seamer and sinker that both average around 97 mph, he's struck out just 6.4 per nine in 44 2/3 innings, but he's also allowed just 0.6 homers per nine for the second year in a row en route to a 3.32 FIP. He has a bit of experience at closer, having notched 15 saves overall, including 11 last year, but more likely, he'll slot into a middle relief or setup role for a Chicago bullpen that's been a mess lately, having posted ERAs in the mid-4s in May and July to offset a 1.63 June.
Predating the arrival of the Cubs' big-name prospects, Lake reached the majors in July 2013 and made a Yasiel Puig-like show of fireworks, going 15-for-31 with five extra-base hits in his first seven games, but to say it's been all downhill since then would be putting it politely. In 642 plate appearances spread over three seasons, including just 62 this year with a contending team, the now-25-year-old righty has hit a combined .241/.283/.380 with 198 strikeouts, -9 Defensive Runs Saved across all three outfield positions and -0.9 WAR. Whatever hope there is that he can be a usable piece rests in a platoon, as he owns a career .287/.335/.450 line in 167 PA against lefties, albeit with a 47/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Buck Showalter was able to coax a solid performance out of Delmon Young given similar limitations last year, so maybe Lake helps, but more likely he's a depth piece.—Jay Jaffe
Orioles acquire OF Gerardo Parra from Brewers for RHP Zach Davies
The Orioles (51–50) have struggled to get production out of leftfield, where seven players—including Travis Snider, David Lough, Steve Pearce, Nolan Reimold and the since-departed Alejandro De Aza and Young—have combined to hit an abysmal .210/.283/.330, albeit with defense eight runs above average according to Defensive Runs Saved. The 28-year-old Parra is in the midst of a career year with the bat (.328/.369/.517 with nine homers and 140 OPS+) and should at the very least be an upgrade on the offensive side even if he regresses toward his career marks (.279/.330/.407 for a 99 OPS+). Likewise, it's reasonable to expect him to move more toward his norms on the fielding side; in 146 games for the Brewers, he's been seven runs below average, compared to 83 above average in his six seasons in Arizona, a run that included two Gold Gloves and a Fielding Bible award. Like Snider and Lough, he's a lefty, so there's no obvious platoon fit, but this helps nonetheless. To make room for him on the roster, the O's designated Bud Norris and his Boeing-like 7.05 ERA for assignment.
In exchange for Parra, the Brewers get Davies, a 22-year-old former 2011 draft pick who was recently ranked as the team's eighth-best prospect on BA's midseason team top 10. At Triple A Norfolk, he's posted a 2.84 ERA with 7.2 strikeouts per nine and a 54% ground-ball rate, a showing that helped him make the U.S. roster for the All-Star Futures Game. Listed at a slight 6 feet and 150 pounds, he lacks downhill plane with his 90–92 mph fastball but gets good movement and has the command to spot it to all four quadrants of the strike zone. Via Baseball Prospectus' Tucker Blair, "His curveball has the potential to be an average offering, and he has slowly progressed the pitch in the past few seasons with refinements in his release point. His best pitch, the changeup, has a chance to be an above-average offering. Some scouts believe it has the movement and deception to act as a plus offering." In other words, he's a near-ready back-of-the-rotation starter, not a bad thing for a Milwaukee team that has lacked depth in recent seasons.—Jay Jaffe