The MLB trade deadline is still not too close, but it’s closer than it was last week, and that’s close enough for a rundown of three trades that make sense. (For a look at what every team should do at the deadline, click here.)
Giants RP Will Smith To Twins For Minor-League OF Lamonte Wade, SP Griffin Jax, Additional Prospect
Will Smith has emerged as one of the most discussed trade chips in baseball, arguably even more so than teammate Madison Bumgarner. The Giants are textbook sellers here, Smith’s 1.95 ERA (218 ERA+) and 13.6 K/9 make him a hot commodity on the busy relief market, and Minnesota is reportedly one of the interested teams. The Twins’ playoff spot is all but assured—as they’ve built one of the best records in baseball, with the most comfortable division lead in the American League—but relief help is always useful down the stretch, and Minnesota’s ‘pen is the team’s one area that could use a particular boost. Smith, a rental on a modest contract who hits free agency at the end of this season, should likely be available for a decent prospect package, and it should be worth it for Minnesota.
White Sox RP Alex Colome To Nationals For Minor-League SP Seth Romero, Additional Minor Prospect
The Nationals’ recent surge has pushed them back on the fringes of the wild-card race, currently three games back. Their ‘pen, however, remains a mess, and they’ll need to address it if they have any desire to stay in the fight. (Adding Fernando Rodney can only take them so far.) Washington’s 6.36 relief ERA is the worst in baseball—yes, even a few tenths of a run worse than the Orioles—and the crew can best be described as “Sean Doolittle and assorted guys to make you say yikes.” Ideally, Washington would make multiple additions here, but one that would certainly make sense is Alex Colome. The White Sox’s last two weeks have cast them out of the surprising fringe-y candidate space they occupied at the beginning of the month, and 30-year-old Colome just might be their best trade chip. With a 2.32 ERA and 16 saves, the reliever could add some significant stability to a Washington ‘pen that greatly needs it. In exchange, let’s say one of the organization’s better pitching prospects (maybe Seth Romano, their No. 4 pitching prospect and No. 8 overall at FanGraphs)—albeit one currently recovering from Tommy John.
Marlins SP Trevor Richards To Rangers For Minor-League CF Pedro Gonzalez, SP Ronny Henriquez
The Rangers may not necessarily be the most viable fringe candidate, but they’re certainly the most fun. After finishing in last place last year, they were never supposed to be here; FanGraphs set their Opening Day playoff odds at 0.6%, the lowest in the AL West. But Texas exceeded expectations with a middle-of-the-pack first two months of the season—and way exceeded expectations with a 16-9 tear through June. As a result, the club is second in the division and currently holding onto a wild-card berth. (FanGraphs has only bumped its postseason chances up to 5.8%, but, hey, the deadline is the chance to take control of those odds!)
The Rangers need to upgrade their rotation, which has a 4.90 ERA and lacks suitable depth beyond Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. But since they didn’t originally plan to be in a position to contend this year, and are likely looking at a window out beyond 2019, a rental wouldn’t make sense. Who’d be a good fit, then? Miami’s Trevor Richards, in his second year in the big leagues for a team that currently is not going anywhere and reportedly might be open to dealing a starter or two. The 26-year-old would be a decent boost to the middle of Texas’ rotation (3.94 ERA, 102 ERA+), and shouldn’t come at too high of a cost.