The non-waiver trade deadline is in the rearview mirror and much has transpired in the final hours. Via MLB Trade Rumors, here are the noteworthy transactions:
- The Rangers traded for Ryan Dempster from the Cubs for a couple of Single-A prospects, third baseman Christian Villenueva and pitcher Kyle Hendricks.
- The Pirates picked up free-swinging outfielder Travis Snider from the Jays for pitcher Brad Lincoln, and first baseman Gaby Sanchez and pitcher Kyle Kaminska from the Marlins for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez.
- Don’t expect many Phillies fans to show up at Nats Park during the final series of the regular season, as Philadelphia is throwing in the towel. Right fielder Hunter Pence, whom GM Ruben Amaro had acquired from the Astros last July, got dealt to the Giants for right fielder Nate Schierholtz and two minor leaguers, pitcher Seth Rosin and catcher and first baseman Tommy Joseph. Meanwhile, Shane Victorino was shipped to the Dodgers in exchange for minor-league pitchers Ethan Martin and Josh Lindblom. Los Angeles separately acquired Brandon League from Toronto.
- The Reds picked up Jonathan Broxton from the Royals for Triple-A southpaw Donnie Joseph and Double-A righty J. C. Sulbaran.
Despite concerns about Dempster’s fly-ball pitcher reputation, Jack Moore of Fangraphs is cautiously optimistic about his impact on the Rangers:
Still, Dempster projects as an average to above-average pitcher — ZiPS has him for a 3.92 FIP the rest of the way — and that’s all the Rangers need given their current injury struggles. Neftali Feliz hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy in the rotation and could be better served in the bullpen. Scott Feldman has a 4.61 career FIP as a starter. Roy Oswalt is serving up almost two homers per nine innings. The Rangers can now run a playoff rotation of Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Dempster and Derek Holland without worrying about any of their struggling or injured pieces, and the difference between Dempster and Feldman could be the difference between a division title or a one-game Wild Card play-in.
The Rangers had to take on nearly $5 million in salary to make the deal happen, and the prospects aren’t valueless either. Mike Newman just wrote up Villanueva as a sleeper prospect and Hendricks has been solid in the low minors, if a bit old for the level. To fill the biggest need on the major league level, however, such a price is minimal, leaving the Rangers well positioned for the season’s final two months.
Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated’s Jay Jaffe is impressed with the Pirates’ acquisition of Snider:
As I noted at Baseball Prospectus yesterday, the Pirates have gotten a Replacement-Level Killer-worthy production out of their leftfielders (.200/.243/.321) while their rightfielders haven’t been much better (.258/.297/.458). Both Opening Day starters, Alex Presley and Jose Tabata, have served minor league stints due to their struggles, with the latter still there. The team brought up Starling Marte for a look on Thursday, and had been discussing him as the key player in a potential trade for the Indians’ Shin-Soo Choo. The acquisition of Snider won’t necessarily stop that from going down, but note the contrast: Marte is 23, with two-thirds of a season at Triple-A and 22 big league plate appearances under his belt, while Snider is just eight months older, with a ton more upper-level experience. Because of his yo-yoing, he won’t even be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season, making him somebody who should have a reasonable shot of becoming a lineup staple. Even matching his big league numbers to date (.248/.306/.429 ) would be an improvement upon the current situation, though Snider will have to improve upon a strikeout-to-walk ratio that was at 5.1 in 202 plate appearances last year.
And Dustin Parkes of The Score understands Amaro’s motive in unloading both Pence and Victorino:
For Philadelphia, the deal can’t help but be coupled with moving Shane Victorino as a sign that the Phillies are reloading their roster. As I’ve expressed before, following their locking up of Cole Hamels to a multi-year contract, I was concerned that Philadelphia would continue to try to forge ahead with the top heavy payroll that it had gathered while being in dead last. . . .
I like this series of moves for the Phillies because it gives them flexibility in terms of payroll to avoid an entire demolition rebuild . . . as the team replaces its more expensive talent with bodies that will hopefully provide cheaper production.