Trade deadline day is here, with just hours to go before Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET cutoff for any moves to be made before waiver rules kick in. This month has already seen names like Manny Machado, Brad Hand, Mike Moustakas, Zach Britton, Cole Hamels and Joakim Soria change teams, and the only question now is: who's next? SI's Jon Tayler, Emma Baccellieri and Michael Beller will provide live analysis and reaction to the day's deals and rumors. Follow along with us here as we track the day's events.
4:05 P.M: Brewers Beat the Deadline for Schoop
It’s hard to overstate just how much the Brewers needed a starting pitcher when deadline day began. If it wasn’t the greatest need any contender faced, it was one of the two or three biggest holes. So, of course, they doubled down on infield bats, trading for Jonathan Schoop just days after acquiring Mike Moustakas. Schoop’s on-base skills have regressed this season, with his .244 batting average and .273 OBP a major step back from last year. He’s still hitting for good power, though, slugging .447 with 17 homers in 367 plate appearances. The Brewers, however, aren’t really in need of power. They rank ninth in the majors in homers, 14th in slugging and 12th in isolated slugging. They also didn’t really need an infielder after trading for Moustakas. Travis Shaw was already playing out of position at second, and it’s now likely that Schoop will log some innings out of position at shortstop. What’s more, no team acquires players like Moustakas and Schoop to have them be platoon players.
You can bet on seeing Moustakas, Schoop, Shaw and Jesus Aguilar across the diamond from third to first a whole lot the rest of the season. Shaw and Eric Thames could both see time at first, as well, and Thames should get some at-bats in left field, platooning with Ryan Braun. Orlando Arcia’s glove is too good for him to be relegated to utility duty, especially if the alternative is playing Shaw and Schoop up the middle every day, but the Brewers have clearly made a bet that they can win with bats and relievers, no matter who takes the ball to start the game.
4:00 P.M.: John Axford to L.A.
One more step in the deadline's relief-pitching shuffle: John Axford to the Dodgers, in exchange for minor league pitcher Corey Copping. Axford hasn't been anything spectacular this season, but he's been hard on lefties—who've hit .145/.244/.309 against him—and L.A. could certainly use a bit of extra bullpen help down the stretch here. Plus, this deal means that baseball's top movie buff gets to go to Hollywood.
3:50 P.M.: D-Backs Grab Another Reliever
Michael Beller: After adding Brad Ziegler early on deadline day, the Diamondbacks swung a deal in the late afternoon with the Rangers to bring Jake Diekman to the desert. Diekman has been a steady reliever for the balance of this decade, going back to his time with the Phillies. He has been a bit more hittable than usual this year, but still owns an reasonable 3.69 ERA, 3.36 FIP and 1.38 FIP, as well as a 27.9% strikeout rate in 39 innings. Brad Boxberger, Archie Bradley and Yoshi Hirano are entrenched at the back end of Arizona’s bullpen, but Diekman could still see the occasional high-leverage spot with his new team.
3:40 P.M.: Rays Deal Archer
And the weird arc of this Pirates season continues! Six months ago, the front office seemingly wrote this season off by trading away Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. But after an unexpected hot run over the last few weeks, they're now contending and, therefore, in need of some pitching. The answer here was a deal for Chris Archer: the most-buzzed-about starter of this trade deadline, but not a guy on the same level of the starter that this team gave up a few months ago in Cole. If the package is as big as it's been reported—with rookie outfielder Austin Meadows and young pitcher Tyler Glasnow, along with a potential third piece—then it's a high price. But it's one that Pittsburgh decided that they had to pay in order to move forward in a crowded wild card race.
3:35 P.M. Braves Make Their Move
Michael Beller: Atlanta started deadline day as a possible destination for pretty much every pitcher in the rumor mill, and became the new home for Kevin Gausman during the final hour before business stopped. Gausman has had some excellent moments since becoming a regular member of Baltimore’s rotation back in 2014, but he has never quite put it all together for a full season. He has pitched to a 4.43 ERA, 4.58 FIP and 1.38 WHIP with 104 strikeouts in 124 innings this season. The Braves' rotation has been the brightest surprise in a season filled with them in Atlanta, and Gausman brings another generally reliable No. 3/4 arm to the mix. He figures to slot behind Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb and Julio Teheran in the hierarchy in the rotation.
3:30 P.M.: Dozier to Dodgers
Jon Tayler: A year and a half after we all figured it would happen, Brian Dozier is finally a Dodger. Down to the final hour of the trade deadline, Los Angeles snagged the veteran second baseman away from the Twins, who have been aggressively selling in the last week, for Logan Forsythe and two prospects. A free agent at season’s end, Dozier has had a rough 2018, hitting just .224/.305/.402 with 16 homers, but he brings power to an already deep lineup and is an upgrade over Forsythe, who has alternated between disappointing and hurt since being picked up from Tampa Bay last winter.
3:15 P.M.: Cubs Add Brandon Kintzler
Jon Tayler: Bryce Harper is staying, but Brandon Kintzler is a goner. That’s the latest out of D.C., with the Nationals reportedly dealing the 33-year-old reliever to the Cubs. A free agent after the year, the righty has a 3.59 ERA but only 31 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings for a positively Chien-Ming Wang-esque 6.5 strikeout-per-nine rate. Like the previously traded Brad Ziegler, Kintzler gets by thanks to a high ground-ball rate—48% on the year, 56.6 for his career—that’s a good fit for a Cubs team that has a great infield and excels at drawing weak contact. It’s odd that this is the reliever Washington’s choosing to give to a potential playoff rival, especially given that, of the team’s three pending free agents out of the bullpen, Kintzler makes the least money. But the Washington Post‘s Chelsea Janes suggests that he may be unhappy with his current role, perhaps making this an addition by subtraction. Either way, a curious choice for the Nats, who have otherwise been totally and strangely quiet on a busy day around the league.
3:00 P.M.: One Hour to Go
Emma Baccellieri: With under an hour before the deadline hits, the biggest name on the board remains Chris Archer. If Tampa does move its one remaining true starter, it'll probably be to the National League: Atlanta, Philly and Pittsburgh have all been floated this afternoon as likely destinations. As for what else might happen? The Nationals reportedly might be making a shift into sell mode—not with Bryce Harper, alas, but with their bullpen. (Given that they apparently weren't interested in or able to pay the Rays' high price of "player to be named later" on Wilson Ramos earlier today, it's not so surprising that they're taking this path now.) Meanwhile, Baltimore's supposedly still trying to move anyone that they can, except for Adam Jones. Brian Dozier's name hasn't surfaced in a few hours, but he's still out there. And for whichever teams lose the Archer sweepstakes, Matt Harvey is still out there for anyone who wants to give baseball the potential glory of him pitching down the stretch for a contending team in the Year of Our Lord 2018.
2:50 P.M.: Wilson Ramos to Phillies
Michael Beller: Nice move for the Phillies by acquiring Wilson Ramos, who’s likely to return from the DL, where he’s nursing a hamstring injury, in mid-August. Jorge Alfaro has been great behind the plate but uninspiring at it, hitting .254/.305/.398 with a 37.8% strikeout rate in 275 plate appearances. Adding Ramos, who’s hitting .297/.346/.488 with 14 homers in 315 plate appearances, lengthens a lineup that is 18th in the majors in runs per game, 17th in OBP and 22nd in slugging percentage. The trade kills two birds with one stone by preventing the Nationals, who are absolutely desperate for a catcher and trying to chase down the Phillies in the NL East, from securing Ramos’s services.
2:35 P.M.: Cameron Maybin to Seattle
And we finally get some proof of life from Jerry Dipoto, one that should probably allow Dee Gordon to stay locked in at second base for the rest of the year. This one is maybe most notable in that it's another outfielder off the board who *isn't* going to the Yankees, who seemed in line for a move like this thanks to the injured Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier.
2:15 P.M.: Will Matt Harvey Be Dealt?
Jon Tayler: Atlanta never really made all that much sense for Harvey, as he’d be at best the team’s fourth starter and more or less a clone/redux of Julio Teheran as the club’s resident disappointing yet talented righthander. Does this make Milwaukee the favorite for the Dark Knight?
2:00 P.M.: Clock Is Ticking
Jon Tayler: Two hours to go! As we wait for the Rays to achieve inbox zero in their starting rotation, my biggest surprise of the day is that Jerry Dipoto is apparently passed out in a bathroom somewhere, phone battery at zero.
1:20 P.M.: Wilson Ramos Trade in Works?
Jon Tayler: An interesting move that would be, given that the Phillies seem to be doing just fine with Jorge Alfaro, who’s not quite league average with the bat but is a good defender. If nothing else, though, it keeps Ramos away from the catcher-needy Nationals.
Also, fun Alfaro fact: He’s struck out 104 times in 275 plate appearances—an Adam Dunn-esque 37.8% whiff rate.
1:10 P.M.: Archer to the NL?
Jon Tayler: Archer ain’t nearly the pitcher he once was, but he’d be a much better move for Milwaukee than the likes of Harvey or other such lesser pitchers. At least Archer has ace upside, which that rotation as a whole lacks.
12:45 P.M.: Ziegler Finds a Landing Spot
Jon Tayler: After a long stretch of breathless reporting, Brad Ziegler finally has a new home, as he’s apparently headed to Arizona. It’s an old home, too: The veteran righty spent six years (2011–16) in the desert with the D-Backs, including a season-plus as the team’s closer, before getting dealt to Boston in a midsummer trade. Now 38, Ziegler has been up and down with Miami, with a 3.98 ERA and just 37 strikeouts in 52 innings. Never a hard-thrower—his fastball averages just 84.2 mph—the side-armer is instead a ground-ball specialist, with a 74% rate that leads all relievers this season. And he’s been excellent since the beginning of June: After struggling to a 7.83 ERA in his first 24 appearances, he’s posted a tidy 0.93 mark over his last 29 frames, albeit with 11 walks. He’s not much for throwing strikes, but he should help a Diamondbacks bullpen that’s on the thinner side.
12:40 P.M.: Indians Get OF Leonys Martín From Tigers
Emma Baccellieri: The Indians trading for Bryce Harper to fill their need for an outfield bat seemed like a real possibility as recently as last night. But twelve hours is a lifetime in deadline-day-time, and that's way off the table now. Instead, Cleveland has made the far less flashy—and far less expensive—decision to acquire Leonys Martín from Detroit in exchange for shortstop prospect Willi Castro. (The Tigers threw in minor-league pitcher Kyle Dowdy, too.) With Bradley Zimmer out for the season after shoulder surgery and Lonnie Chisenhall out indefinitely with a calf injury, Cleveland hasn't had much offense from the outfield outside of All-Star Michael Brantley. Martín is a step toward fixing that, as a perfectly capable centerfield bat, if not a particularly exciting one.
12:25 P.M.: McCutchen Update
Jon Tayler: That’s a bummer for Cutch, doomed to play out the string on a non-contending team. But hey, the Giants have to put butts in the seats somehow, right? I don’t think folks are gonna be forking over cash for the Austin Slater Show.
12:15 P.M.: Relievers a Hot Commodity
Jon Tayler: It’s relievers all the way down today. Diekman, a 31-year-old lefty, is having a good season for Texas, with a 3.69 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 39 innings, though weirdly enough, he has a reverse split this year (.584 OPS against righties, .792 against lefties). He’d make sense for the Red Sox, Phillies, Braves or Cubs, among others.
Emma Baccellieri: A return toward harmony in the universe: a Marlins team that includes both Jarlin and Starlin.
12:00 P.M.: Deadline Day Hits Noon Lull
Jon Tayler: With four hours to go until the deadline, things have quieted down since this morning’s double shot of the Nationals saying Bryce Harper is staying put and the Cardinals shipping out Tommy Pham. Chris Archer may go, a few relievers are probably going to have new homes, and the Mets are apparently going to sit on their starters. Still plenty of time for something nuts to happen, but the buzz has worn off ever so slightly.
When Brad Ziegler is the topic of the moment, you know deadline day has slowed down.
11:45 A.M.: Chris Archer Rumors Swirl
Jon Tayler: The Pirates punting this offseason by dealing away Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen, only to turn around and go for it when they’re 3 1/2 games out of the nearest playoff spot by getting a pitcher who’s been league average results-wise for the last three years would be … well, it’s an idea.
Or maybe Atlanta will ruin it all for the Buccos. A guy like Archer is just about the only kind of player Atlanta can add, given the ownership group’s aversion to spending. Like acquiring Adam Duvall from the Reds late Monday night, this would be all about cost and control, with the hopes that Archer can rediscover his Cy Young-caliber form.
11:30 A.M.: Mets Content to Stand Pat
Jon Tayler: So that means no Zack Wheeler for any team needing a rotation upgrade, as well as New York failing to move any of its remaining veteran pieces like Jose Bautista or Jose Reyes—not that anyone would or should want the latter. It also means we’re out of another potential blockbuster, as Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard will stay put. That feels like the right call for the Mets, who are better served exploring that market this winter.
11:20 A.M.: Rays Acquire Cardinals OF Tommy Pham
Michael Beller: Bryce Harper may be staying put according to the latest churn of the rumor mill, but that doesn’t mean deadline day will be devoid of drama, thanks to the Cardinals and Rays.
The Cardinals traded Tommy Pham to the Rays on Tuesday morning for minor leaguer pitchers Genesis Cabrera and Roel Ramirez, and outfielder Justin Williams. Pham’s name hadn’t appeared much, if at all, in rumors leading up to the deadline, and he looked like a key piece of the Cardinals future at the start of this season, both of which contributed to the surprise.
Pham broke out last year, hitting .306/.411/.520 with 23 homers and 25 steals. A degenerative eye disease threatened his career before last season, but with that seemingly corrected Pham appeared to be a late-blooming star. He has struggled mightily after a strong start to the season, however, and will take a .248/.331/.399 slash line with him to Tampa.
Despite his issues over the last two months, Pham is a worthy gamble. He’s under team control through the 2021 season, and isn’t likely to get a major raise in arbitration. Additionally, Pham could be hitting into more bad luck than the average major leaguer. He has the ninth-highest average exit velocity in the majors, according to Statcast. Hitting the ball hard typically leads to good results, but that hasn’t been the case for Pham for the balance of this season. The problem, however, could be an uptick in ground-ball rate that has helped keep his power numbers down. Pham may rank ninth in average exit velocity, but he’s also 122nd in barrels per plate appearance.
Cabrera has spent this season at Double-A Montgomery, pitching to a 4.12 ERA and 1.29 WHIP with 124 strikeouts in 113 2/3 innings. The 21-year-old likely has the highest ceiling of any of the players going to St. Louis. Ramirez, 23, has pitched mostly in relief this season, splitting his time between High-A Charlotte and Montgomery. He has thrown the ball well, amassing a 2.53 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old Williams made his way to Triple-A Durham this season, where he’s hitting .258/.313/.376 with eight homers, 18 doubles 46 RBI and a 21% strikeout rate in 386 plate appearances.
10:40 A.M.: Bryce Harper Staying Put?
Michael Beller: Could the biggest deadline day move of at least the last 10 years actually take place Tuesday? Bryce Harper’s name is firmly in the rumors, with MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reporting on Monday night that the Nationals were open to dealing the former MVP. However, it seems GM Mike Rizzo has squashed everyone’s deadline-day fun, with this message to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
This could be gamesmanship from Rizzo, but with an earlier report from the Post’s Jorge Castillo that management decided against a selloff, it might be wise to take the GM at his word.
The Nationals enter deadline day 5 1/2 games behind both the Phillies in the NL East and the Diamondbacks for the NL’s second wild-card spot.