Unless you were in a barn without cable, internet, or any other modern way to get information or communicate, you are probably aware that yesterday the MLB trade deadline came and went. It was way more dud than thud, and we only saw a few trades of significance made. Normally, I would do a “Winners and Losers” article, but there was so much inaction, that isn’t appropriate. But inaction is also an issue for some clubs, so I wanted to take a quick look at the American League Central teams to touch upon their efforts or lack thereof yesterday.
Here we go…
Nobody can accuse Tigers GM David Dombrowski of not trying to do what it takes to win every year at the deadline. The Tigers definitely have some issues, and it looks like they took care of those by acquiring reliever Jose Veras from the Astros, and SS Jose Iglesias from Boston. While they did give up a couple of talented outfielders in Danry Vasquez and Avisail Garcia, this is a team that is playing for all the marbles, and trading on potential hasn’t really bitten them in the behind to this point. The Tigers took the right approach, and although they might come up on the short end in the long term, none of that should matter now. Tigers fans expected Detroit to make some moves, and they did. Kudos to the Tigers for being one of the few teams in all of baseball to consistently part with their precious prospects. With the success they have had, I am surprised more teams don’t take the approach.
The way Terry Francona has the Cleveland Indians playing right now, they have that “Team of Destiny” kind of look to them right now. The Indians are getting some really good starting pitching performances, and seem to be finding late inning magic to win games. A somewhat big issue for the Indians has been the mediocre performance of a bullpen that has been very good in the past. The Indians needed another guy from the left side to help out Rich Hill and got Marc Rzepczynski from the Cardinals to help. Rzep hasn’t been great this year, but he has helped playoff runs in the past with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Indians put out some feelers for others, however, standing pat might be the best thing for this club. They don’t have an incredibly deep farm system, and I don’t think they are one or two guys away from putting them on top of the Tigers. If the Indians overtake the Tigers, it is likely to be because of the team chemistry they built, and some guys picking up their game in the second half.
The Royals are another team on fire as of late, and have now moved themselves into the Wild Card discussion as well. The Royals did make one move, acquiring talented but enigmatic outfielder Jason Maxwell from the Astros for minor league pitcher Kyle Smith. The move isn’t an eye popping one, but should add some right handed pop in a right field platoon with David Lough down the stretch. The move has some Kansas City fans in an uproar who never wanted to trade top prospect Wil Myers, but getting James Shields to lead the pitching staff was a good move in my opinion, and one of the reasons Kansas City is pitching so well. It’s been their offense that has made them struggle to get over .500. Guys like Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, and Alcides Escobar have had subpar years. Second base has been a black hole all season long. The Royals didn’t do enough, especially with Howie Kendrick and Hunter Pence potentially on the market. There is enough in that Kansas City farm system to have gotten one or both of those players for the stretch run. And those guys could’ve made a huge difference. I don’t get making the trade for Shields before the season, only to do nothing substantial at the trade deadline
Chicago was in a fire sale mode, and they were able to deal a couple pieces. Jake Peavy and Matt Thornton, both to Boston. The haul for Peavy was a bit suspect, with the Tigers Avisail Garcia being the big piece they got in return. Francellis Montas has a huge arm, but little in the way of secondary pitches and command at this point. They also moved Jesse Crain to the Tampa Bay Rays, but we have no idea at this point the compensation they will receive for him. I felt the White Sox could’ve went further with the fire sale, though it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see Alex Rios go before the end of August. The White Sox just have to get more realistic on their asking price. Frankly the White Sox need to start over despite having good pitching. I will say this, the White Sox had the right idea, they just didn’t really execute it all that well.
I was just going to write…ughhh…for the Minnesota Twins. My beef with this franchise goes all the way back to last season. The Twins have been living in fantasy land the last couple of years, holding on to guys for dear life it seems, when they should’ve been shredding their roster since before last year’s deadline. They made the huge mistake of not capitalizing on Josh Willingham‘s outstanding 2012, and now he is hurt, making it almost impossible to get any sort of value out of him now. While it’s debatable that the Twins even have some movable pieces, I have to think they could’ve gotten something for guys like Kevin Correa, and hell, maybe even Clete Thomas for a team that is looking for some outfield depth. The big one this season though? Glen Perkins. What a lefty closer is still doing on that roster right now makes no sense to me. Maybe the Twins move Perkins in the off-season, but he has a ton of value right now. Hopefully the Twins farm system comes through in a few years, because I like it better when they compete.
*I do want to mention that I realize that making trades isn’t as easy as snapping a finger. I am sure Minnesota, Chicago, Cleveland, and Kansas City all tried some things. The bottom line is they didn’t get a lot done. In Cleveland’s case, that may not be a bad thing, though I definitely think it is for the Royals and the Twins. Those fan bases can be particularly happy with sticking with the status quo. Purgatory is no place to be in baseball, and Minnesota and Kansas City can’t seem to make up their mind if they want to go for it all the way or throttle back and build with prospects.