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Braves swing last-second trades for slugger, reliever
The Atlanta Braves grabbed Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Richard Rodriguez in a last second trade, per ESPN's Jeff Passan. Continuing a day of stockpiling outfielders, they also reportedly struck a deal for slugger Jorge Soler with the Kansas City Royals.
Rodriguez, a 31-year-old who has pitched to a 2.82 ERA as the Pirates closer in 2021, was at one point among the most desirable relievers on the market, but seems to have suffered from MLB's crackdown on sticky substances. Still, with Will Smith entrenched as a reliable closer, he does not have to perform the highest leverage duties for the Braves as they chase the Mets.
The 29-year-old Soler led the AL in home runs in 2019, but is experiencing a severe downturn in 2021, batting just .192 with 13 homers. He has picked it up recently, though, smashing seven of those homers in July.
Yankees add Heaney from Angels
The New York Yankees continue to add to their roster.
Per The Athletic, Andrew Heaney is on his way to the Bronx via the Los Angeles Angels. The 30-year-old lefty is 6-7 with a 5.27 ERA in 18 starts this year for the Angels. He has 113 strikeouts in 94 innings pitched. With 107 career starts, Heaney is a depth addition for the Yankees rotation that has dealt with plenty of injuries this year.
Smaller deals in the deadline frenzy
Things are getting wild as the 4 p.m. ET deadline approaches Friday.
The Milwaukee Brewers are adding left-handed pitcher Daniel Norris from the Detroit Tigers to supplement their bullpen, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports.
The Astros shipped center fielder Myles Straw to Cleveland for another bullpen piece in Phil Maton, Mark Berman reports.
The Padres added outfield depth by acquiring strong defensive center fielder Jake Marisnick, per reports.
One final move for the Nationals: They traded veteran starter Jon Lester to the St. Louis Cardinals, per the Washington Post's Jesse Dougherty.
The Red Sox added a bullpen piece, taking a chance on right-hander Hansel Robles in a deal with the Twins.
Shortstop Freddy Galvis, who had been in Baltimore, is going back to his longtime team, the Phillies.
Phillies deal for two Rangers pitchers
The Philadelphia Phillies are adding much-needed pitching help. According to multiple reports, the club is on the verge of landing both Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy from the Texas Rangers.
The 33-year-old Gibson sports a sterling 2.87 ERA, but there are questions about how likely it is to hold up.
His FIP (the more predictive Fielding Independent Pitching metric) is a run-on-the-mill 3.75. That is more of what Gibson has been historically. In his ninth year in the league, his career ERA is a touch below average. His record is 75-77. He’s usefully durable, and the 2021 results at least provide hope he could be a difference-maker, but there’s no apparent reason to think he has morphed into a pitcher you’d feel great starting in a playoff series.
The 36-year-old Kennedy, meanwhile, brings a steady presence and closing experience to the back of the bullpen. Kennedy has a 2.51 ERA and 16 saves this season.
The Phillies are reportedly sending right-hander Spencer Howard back to Texas alongside two minor-leaguers. A promising prospect, he has struggled in his first taste of the majors. The Rangers are also sending back a prospect in the form of 6-foot-4 right-hander Hans Crouse.
A's grab Gomes, Harrison from Nationals
The Washington Nationals continue to offload talent.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Washington is shipping off infielder Josh Harrison and catcher Yan Gomes to the Oakland Athletics.
Harrison has mainly held down the second base spot for the Nats, but is capable of adequately playing a multitude of positions. In 90 games, the 33-year-old is hitting .294 with six homers and 38 RBI. Gomes, also 33, is hitting .271 with nine home runs and 35 RBI in 63 games. Both could be in line for big roles as the A’s fight for a playoff spot.
Mets make move for Javier Báez
The New York Mets are getting in on the Cubs fire sale, pulling off a swap for the thrilling infielder Javier Báez to fill in for, and then eventually pair with, Francisco Lindor.
Reports indicate the Mets will also add pitcher Trevor Williams in the deal as the Cubs continue to offload impending free agents.
White Sox get Kimbrel, send Madrigal to Cubs
The Chicago White Sox just bolstered their bullpen in a big way by reportedly adding Craig Kimbrel from their crosstown rival, the Chicago Cubs.
Kimbrel, 33, has been stellar this season, posting a 0.49 ERA and 23 saves. Kimbrel will pair with Liam Hendriks (2.58 ERA, 25 saves) at the back of the White Sox’s bullpen, forming one of the most formidable pairs in the American League. The White Sox currently have an eight-game lead in the AL Central standings.
The whopper crosstown swap sends young second baseman Nick Madrigal to the Cubs, where he figures to factor heavily into their future plans.
Braves swing trades to boost depleted outfield
The Atlanta Braves swung two trades within minutes of each other Friday to remake an outfield decimated by injury. They acquired Eddie Rosario from Cleveland and Adam Duvall from the Miami Marlins.
Cleveland will be getting Pablo Sandoval in return, while catcher Alex Jackson is heading to Miami.
The moves are not earth-shattering, but could vastly improve the Braves' chances at making a run in the NL East. They had been fielding a makeshift outfield of journeymen like Abraham Almonte and nominal infielder Orlando Arcia in the wake of a season-ending injury to superstar Ronald Acuña Jr.
They also recently acquired Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs.
By upgrading their production even to the league average levels that Rosario and Duvall are likely to provide, Atlanta could gain momentum and make up ground on the division-leading New York Mets. Duvall, who played with Atlanta from 2018 to 2020, has already bashed 22 homers this season. Rosario was batting .254 in 78 games before going on the IL.
Blue Jays land coveted pitcher José Berríos
The Toronto Blue Jays scored the top remaining arm on the market, dealing a huge prospect haul to the Minnesota Twins for ace José Berríos.
Berríos, who is importantly under team control through 2022, is a big swing for a Toronto team currently fourth in the AL East and behind several teams, including the Yankees, in the AL wild card race. He adds crucial reliability to a pitching staff that has lagged behind the prodigious young Blue Jays offense.
In return for moving a key piece, the Twins will get shortstop/center field prospect Austin Martin, who is considered one of the top 20 prospects in the game.
Nationals keep selling, deal Kyle Schwarber and Daniel Hudson
Trading Max Scherzer, Trea Turner and Brad Hand wasn't enough for the Washington Nationals, apparently.
The Nationals made their third trade of Thursday by sending slugger Kyle Schwarber to the Boston Red Sox. Going back to Washington will be pitching prospect Aldo Ramirez.
The Nats' fourth trade came soon after, dealing reliever Daniel Hudson to the San Diego Padres for pitching prospect Mason Thompson and infield prospect Jordy Barley.
Schwarber joined the Nationals over the winter after being non-tendered by the budget-conscious Chicago Cubs. And for the first two months of 2021, he was roughly the strikeout-prone power threat that the Cubs deemed expendable.
Then, from June 12 to July 2, he went on a scorched earth campaign of dingers — mashing 16 homers in 88 plate appearances, logging five multi-homer games. He hit the IL with a strained hamstring and is working his way back now — he was serving as impromptu bench coach amid the Nationals’ COVID-19 outbreak on Thursday as rumors began swirling that he, too, could be joining a contender as part of Washington’s sell-off.
Hudson has been with the Nationals since a midseason trade in 2019. He would eventually throw the final pitch of the franchise's lone World Series championship, then sign a two-year, $11 million with the team in the next offseason. He struggled heavily in 2020, posting a 6.10 ERA in 20.2 innings, but has been excellent in 2021, with a 2.20 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 32.2 innings.
The Hudson trade comes with some awkwardness considering how the Padres had been previously reported to be on the verge of acquiring Max Scherzer only for the Nats to trade him (and Trea Turner) to their rival Los Angeles Dodgers instead (see below), but the Padres will clearly take bullpen help from whereever they can get it.
Ramirez was ranked as the No. 19 prospect in Boston's system by MLB Pipeline entering the 2021 season, but has been flying up the team's rankings according to the Boston Globe's Alex Speier. Thompson is ranked as the Padres' No. 9 prospect.
Both arms figure to bolster a Nationals system that was low on depth, until Thursday.
Dodgers swoop in on Max Scherzer, pick up Trea Turner along the way
Just when it looked like the San Diego Padres were going to acquire Max Scherzer, the Los Angeles Dodgers swooped in to complete the biggest deal of the trade deadline.
The Dodgers are finalizing a trade with the Washington Nationals that will land them not just Scherzer, but All-Star shortstop Trea Turner as well, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Going back to the Nationals will be top catching prospect Keibert Ruiz, young starting pitcher Josiah Gray, outfield prospect Donovan Casey and pitching prospect Gerardo Carillo, per MASN's Zuckerman.
With the blockbuster deal, the Dodgers add both another ace to their rotation, which was recently lacking in depth, and one of the best shortstops in baseball. Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, currently holds a 2.83 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 105 innings pitched. Turner is hitting .322/.369/.521 with 18 homers and 21 stolen bases.
Adding that level of talent is a coup for the Dodgers, and taking Scherzer away from the Padres may be an even bigger one.
The Dodgers are currently locked in a three-way war for the NL West title with the Padres and first-place San Francisco Giants. While the Dodgers have been one of the more injury riddled teams in baseball this year, Juan Toribio of MLB.com notes that Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts are all set to return from the injured list within the next week.
While Scherzer's spot on the roster is clear, the Dodgers' intentions for Turner are a bit more murky. Seager has been the team's starting shortstop since 2016, but is considered a below-average defender at the position while Turner is more well-regarded. However, Turner also has experience playing both second base and center field in the past, so the Dodgers have some flexibility in how they delay their newest All-Star.
Meanwhile, the deal carries heavy implications for Washington's future. While Scherzer is a pending free agent, Turner was under team control for next year as well. Trading him away means the Nationals may be fully embracing rebuilding mode, two years after winning the first World Series in franchise history.
Mariners get bullpen replacement in trade for Diego Castillo
Days after sparking rage within their own clubhouse, the Seattle Mariners are trading for a relief pitcher. ESPN's Jeff Passan reports they have a deal in place to acquire Diego Castillo from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Ever dealing from depth, the Rays are moving on from the 27-year-old right-hander who has been part of their closer committee. They will get back right-hander JT Chargois and minor-league third baseman Austin Shenton, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
Castillo has 14 saves and a 2.72 ERA this season. He figures to be a major factor in the late innings for Seattle bullpen.
The Mariners — just two games out of the second AL wild-card spot — will use Castillo to backfill for Kendall Graveman, the closer they traded to the division rival Houston Astros a day after he logged a stirring victory. Seattle players were livid with GM Jerry Dipoto over the decision, but the notoriously active executive promised more win-now moves were on the way.
Yankees snag Anthony Rizzo in trade deadline twist
Long connected to the Boston Red Sox or overshadowed by rumors surrounding teammate Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs mainstay Anthony Rizzo is on the move. The New York Yankees reportedly pulled off a swap for Rizzo to cap a whirlwind 24 hours that has seen them reshape their puzzlingly disappointing lineup.
A beacon of consistency at first base, Rizzo brings a steady left-handed bat and loads of October experience to the Bronx as the Yankees try to claw their way back into the postseason picture.
Dodgers trading for Royals pitcher Danny Duffy
The Los Angeles Dodgers are finalizing a swap for Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports.
The move comes shortly after news broke that the rival San Diego Padres are close to acquiring Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer.
Duffy, a fixture of the Royals teams that made World Series runs in 2014 and 2015, has no-trade protection but is reportedly expected to waive it. He is experiencing a resurgent 2021, with a 2.51 ERA in 61 innings. A starter by trade, it's unclear how he will fit into the Dodgers' ultimate plan for their pitching staff. They have previously acquired similar pitchers, such as Alex Wood, and used them in swingman roles out of the bullpen.
White Sox get Ryan Tepera in crosstown deal
The Chicago White Sox are adding to their bullpen in a crosstown swap with the Cubs. Right-hander Ryan Tepera is headed to the South Side.
The 33-year-old Tepera has posted a 2.91 ERA in 43 1/3 innings so far in 2021. The Cubs will get minor-league left-hander Bailey Horn.
Tepera is the second member of a strong triumvirate that had formed the back end of the Cubs' bullpen to be traded away. Andrew Chafin was sent to the Oakland A's earlier this week. Closer Craig Kimbrel is widely expected to move to a contender before Friday's deadline.
Blue Jays strike deal for Nationals reliever Brad Hand
The Toronto Blue Jays are acquiring closer Brad Hand from the Washington Nationals, the Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty reports.
On the outside of the AL playoff picture looking in, the Blue Jays are attempting to bolster a pitching staff lagging behind their powerful offense.
Hand, a lefty who has also closed for San Diego and Cleveland in recent seasons, brings experience to a young Blue Jays bullpen. However, he’s in the midst of a relative down year — with a middling 3.52 ERA and his lowest strikeout rate since he became a reliever.
The Nationals will reportedly receive catcher Riley Adams in return.
Washington, meanwhile, is beginning a sell-off that has the attention of the baseball world.
In the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak on the team, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is rumored to be working to trade ace Max Scherzer — a move that could sway the balance of power in the daunting NL West race.
White Sox fill second base opening with Cleveland's Cesar Hernandez
The Chicago White Sox are plugging a hole at second base by acquiring Cesar Hernandez from division rival Cleveland, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports.
The 31-year-old Hernandez — a longtime starter for the Phillies before joining Cleveland prior to 2019 — will slot into a void created when young average-hitting extraordinaire Nick Madrigal went down with a season-ending hamstring injury.
Chicago is cruising toward a playoff berth, as evidenced by their closest competition agreeing to sell them a starter, but still recovering from a rash of injuries. Eloy Jimenez just returned this week and center fielder Luis Robert is on a rehab assignment.
Hernandez has hovered around league-average offense, solid enough for a good defensive middle infielder. This season, however, the shape of his production has changed dramatically. He has usually produced by getting on base. But in 2021, he has already blazed past his career-high for home runs.
Yankees go big, trade for Rangers star Joey Gallo
The Rangers began their sell-off with a bang, reportedly shipping star outfielder Joey Gallo and and reliever Joely Rodríguez to the New York Yankees for a package of prospects.
Floundering on the outside of the playoff picture, the Yankees will try to jumpstart their offense with a massive slugger who seems exactly like what they already have in many ways, but who is left-handed and plays Gold Glove defense. Gallo is also running the best on-base percentage of his career, and will be under team control for 2022 as well.
Brewers swing deal for D-backs' Eduardo Escobar
The Milwaukee Brewers are acquiring switch-hitting infielder Eduardo Escobar from the Arizona Diamondbacks, per multiple reports, seeking a boost for their lackluster lineup as they roll toward an NL Central crown.
Escobar plays mostly third base and second base. He has 22 homers and 65 RBIs already in 2021 and has long been a steady, above average hitter. The jovial 32-year-old — known for his love of the Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao — made his first All-Star Game this year.
Milwaukee's stellar pitching staff has lifted the team to the top of the NL Central, but the lineup has been bogged down by major holes. Recent top prospect Keston Hiura has flailed at the major-league level this year, batting just .167.
Escobar is the second significant infield addition the Brewers have made via trade this season, as they also brought over Willy Adames from the Tampa Bay Rays, who has been a revelation at shortstop.
The Athletic's Zach Buchanan reports minor leaguers Cooper Hummel and Alberto Ciprian will go to Arizona in the deal.
Astros trade for Yimi Garcia, stock up on closers
The Houston Astros are reportedly picking up another high-leverage reliever. They are dealing for Marlins closer Yimi Garcia, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
Garcia, a hard-throwing 30-year-old righty, has logged 20 saves as the Marlins closer in 2021. The move comes a day after the Astros snagged Seattle closer Kendall Graveman, along with fellow reliever Rafael Montero, in a deal that sent shockwaves through the Mariners clubhouse.
Garcia and Graveman will slide in behind Astros closer Ryan Pressly and give manager Dusty Baker more late-game options. Houston boasts a solid lead in the AL West over the Oakland A's, who have also been active on the trade market.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports minor-league outfielder Bryan De La Cruz will be headed back to Miami in return.
A's get Starling Marte from Marlins for Jesús Luzardo
The Oakland A's reportedly added outfielder Starling Marte from the Miami Marlins for young pitcher Jesús Luzardo. After extension talks between the Marlins and Marte broke down, he became one of the most in-demand hitters on the market.
His ability to play any outfield spot and hit for average made him a desirable piece for contenders, and the A's swooped in to add him as they try to fend off the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays for an AL wild-card spot.
Reds acquire reliever Mychal Givens from Rockies
The Cincinnati Reds are finalizing a deal with the Colorado Rockies to acquire right-handed bullpen arm Mychal Givens, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports.
The 31-year-old Givens has been a reliable reliever since the moment he emerged with the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. This season, he has managed a 2.73 ERA in Colorado.
Adding to their bullpen — which has an MLB-worst 5.36 ERA — signals the Reds have at least some intention of staying in contention and buying. They are seven games back of the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers and six games back of the second NL wild card entering Wednesday.
Cincinnati also made a minor deal with the New York Yankees late Tuesday night to pick up relievers Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson for a player to be named later.
Tyler Anderson diverts from Philadelphia to Seattle
The two big MLB trade stories of the day were the Tyler Anderson and Kendall Graveman deals, so of course those stories have found a way to fuse.
After a reported trade to the Philadelphia Phillies went south, Pittsburgh Pirates starter Tyler Anderson was dealt to the Seattle Mariners for minor leaguers Carter Bins and Joaquin Tejada on Tuesday.
Anderson, currently sporting a 4.35 ERA in 18 starts, was previously on his way to Philadelphia until a medical issues cased the deal to fall through. He will now head to Seattle, where emotions are raw among players after the Kendall Graveman trade (see below).
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto defended the Graveman trade by indicating more moves were coming, but trading for an average starter alone probably isn't going to make Mariners players and fans feel like they came out of the trade deadline stronger.
Anderson figures to slot in as the Mariners' new fifth starter.
Mariners send Kendall Graveman to Astros
Despite sitting only one game out of the second American League wild-card spot, the Seattle Mariners front office is trading its top relief arm to a division rival.
The Mariners have agreed to trade ace reliever Kendall Graveman and reliever Rafael Montero to the Houston Astros in exchange for infielder Abraham Toro and reliever Joe Smith. The quartet won't have to travel far, as the two teams are in the middle of a series in Seattle.
Graveman, a pending free agent, is the clear centerpiece of the deal. After several seasons of middling results as a starter, Graveman had rocketed to the top spot of the Mariners' bullpen with a 0.88 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 33 innings, plus 10 saves. He will join an Astros bullpen low on depth behind All-Star closer Ryan Pressly.
That lack of depth was never more clear than Monday's game, when the Astros blew a 7-0 lead in an 11-8 loss, capped off by a Dylan Moore grand slam. One day after that exhilarating victory, and with their best playoff position in months, the team decided to trade one of its most important arms.
The decision reportedly isn't going over well with Graveman's now-former teammates.
The trade becomes even more perplexing when you consider the other pieces. The Mariners designated Montero for assignment recently, so he's effectively a throw-in, while their return is Toro, a corner infielder with a .193/.276/.350 line in three seasons, and Smith, a 37-year-old reliever with a 7.48 ERA this season.
Graveman's trade value was never going to be too high as a reliever with half a year of team control, but only receiving those pieces makes this deal a head-scratcher.
Phillies deal for Pirates starter Tyler Anderson held up
The Philadelphia Phillies looked to be trading for rotation reinforcements Tuesday. Chasing the New York Mets in the NL East, the Phillies reportedly agreed to a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates to acquire left-handed starter Tyler Anderson.
But as the Pirates' game got closer, Anderson was spotted throwing in the bullpen and The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported a medical issue has held up the deal.
Anderson has been more solid than standout. He has compiled a 4.35 ERA for the lowly Pirates, however, he has completed at least five innings in all 18 starts — an important tendency for a Phillies club with a beleaguered bullpen. He was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday against the Brewers, and it's unclear whether the deal will be completed.
A's bolster bullpen with Andrew Chafin
Currently clutching the American League's second wild-card spot, the Oakland A's are reportedly making a deal to add firepower in the bullpen. The A's are set to acquire left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin from the Chicago Cubs, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports.
The deal, still pending medicals, would give Oakland a second reliable southpaw in the bullpen and add flexibility for Jake Diekman, one of their best relievers. The mustachioed Chafin has been excellent for the Cubs in 2021, logging a 2.06 ERA in 39 1/3 innings.
The A's will be sending back two players, according to Rosenthal, including outfielder Greg Deichmann. Chafin was among the most obvious trade chips once the Cubs faded from contention and signaled their intention to sell.
Padres acquire Adam Frazier from Pirates
The San Diego Padres dealt for the versatile Adam Frazier Sunday, sending three prospects back to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The always aggressive A.J. Preller started off trade season by adding a second baseman who makes a ton of contact and can also play the outfield. Manager Jayce Tingler now has the option of starting four current All-Stars in his infield as the Padres try to chase down the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
In return, the Padres sent infielder Tucupita Marcano, outfielder Jack Suwinski, and right-handed reliever Michell Miliano to Pittsburgh. None are impact prospects, but the Pirates reportedly have high hopes for Marcano. At best he might evolve into ... something like Frazier.
Rays deal for Twins slugger Nelson Cruz
The Tampa Bay Rays made the first big deal ahead of the deadline, swooping in to snag beloved designated hitter Nelson Cruz from the flailing Minnesota Twins.
Cruz, now 41 years old, has been one of baseball's best hitters despite his advancing age. He adds a new dimension to a Rays lineup that lacked a consistent top-level power threat.
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