By: Jeffery Romeu
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
A few weeks before the trade deadline, the Miami Marlins were seen as big-time seller as they have already been eliminated from playoff contention and most of their roster has been seen as expendable. However, just hours before the 4 PM deadline, the Marlins hadn’t officially made a single trade. Ultimately, the Marlins decided to trade reliever Brad Ziegler to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cameron Maybin to the Seattle Mariners. Yet, various players mentioned in numerous trade rumors with extremely high return value like JT Realmuto, Kyle Barraclough, and Adam Conley were surprisingly not moved. Let’s take a look at why this trade deadline was quiet and where the organization stands now.
Brad Ziegler traded to the D-Backs
The Marlins have been talking about trading away Ziegler since the ending of the 2017 season. With the righty reliever on the last leg of his two-year contract, it is no surprise the Marlins traded him to a contender in hopes of gaining a quality prospect. After a disappointing start to the season as the closer for the Marlins blowing a number of saves, Ziegler has posted strong numbers after being demoted to the setup role which includes a 0.93 ERA in 29 innings.
In the trade the Marlins receive a young High-A relief pitcher Tommy Eveld who is a central Florida man who played both baseball and football at the University of South Florida. Eveld has posted great numbers this year with a 1.11 ERA in over 40 innings of work along with 47 strikeouts. His arsenal includes a mid 90s fastball, hard slider, and the occasional knuckleball. If all things continue the same, we should see Eveld in the orange jersey in about two years throwing for the Marlins.
Cameron Maybin traded to the Mariners
Since Maybin is currently on a single year deal and having a surprisingly productive year, it is no surprise the Marlins decided to trade him away to a contender. Maybin has posted decent numbers this year overall, but since July 1st, he has a .309/.427/.456 along with 3 homeruns and 5 stolen bases. Maybin has produced better numbers than expected which drew the attention of various teams and the Marlins received the Mariners 19th overall prospect Bryson Brigman and some international bonus pool money in the transaction.
Brigman is currently in High-A slashing .304/.373/.391 with 15 stolen bases and he is now ranked 28th in the Marlins farm system. While he wasn’t expected to be a strong player when he was drafted, he is continuing to improve and show impressive numbers that may propel him to the majors in a few years. Along with Brigman came $250,000 in international money in which the Marlins are hoping to gain some leverage to sign international free agent Victor Victor Mesa. This puts the Marlins international bank account at around $4.25 million, which is nowhere near the favorites what the Orioles have to land Mesa in $8.25 million. However, given that Miami is so close to the island of Cuba where Mesa is from, the culture and the overall environment may convince him to come to the Marlins. Once the MLB declares Mesa a free agent, the Marlins will be part of the discussion.
Reject Trade may show Marlins direction
The Marlins had an overall quiet trade deadline compared to the firesale many expected them to push once again. The Marlins decided to reject offers for Realmuto, Barraclough, Conely, Steckenrider, and Castro mostly because of their high asking price, but also because of the length of the control in which the Marlins have with these players going well into the 2020s. Maybe the front office notices a potential for a competitive team in the near future, as there are various rumors to suggest the Marlins will offer Realmuto a long-term deal. If this proves to be true this coming offseason, the Marlins may continue to add quality prospects or strong players that may compliment the young talented roster and boost the team’s competitiveness moving forward. This question will be answered during the offseason when the Marlins will show their vision for the future once again.
Isaac Galloway, Jarlin Garcia, and Tayron Guerrero called up
Isaac Galloway has been called up to the majors after over 10 years of playing in the minors. While the Marlins have a record of promoting players who spent various years in the minor like Ed Lucas in the late 2000s, it is quite inspirational to see Galloway finally achieve his dream of playing in the Majors. Personally, I hope Galloway proves to be a productive player and stays in the majors for a few years. In addition to Galloway, the Marlins called up lefty starter/reliever Garcia after being sent to the minors earlier this year due to poor performance. It is likely he will be placed in the bullpen and would like to improve from the disappointing start this year. The fire throwing Guerrero was also called up and simply put, we will see if he has more to offer the team than a 102 MPH fastball as he has a poor 4.28 ERA through 40 innings. With the MLB rosters expanding in September, there is likely to be a number of call ups in the future.
Frustrating/Promising Farm System
The Marlins continue to stack their minor league system with quality prospects like Brigman and Eveld, but still are having frustrating results with starting pitching. Their 2016 first round pick Braxton Garrett missing most of last season and this season due to Tommy John surgery, the Marlins are eager to see how he responds to this common procedure in the MLB. In addition to Garrett, Trevor Rogers, their 10th overall prospect, continues to struggle posting a 5.02 ERA in 13 games started in High-A. It is unknown if he will be called to the majors in 2021 as he is expected due to his poor numbers, but only time will tell. Yet, the Marlins do have some potential in the minors for pitching such as Zac Gallen (Probable September Call Up), Jordan Yamamoto (View Previous Article), and Nick Neidert who are all producing great numbers in the minors and are all starting pitchers.
Marlins Status: Clearly still rebuilding
Not surprisingly, the Marlins are still rebuilding with the possibility of being competitive in the next four to six years if everything works out as planned. As for the rest of the year, the Marlins will finish with one of the worst records in the MLB and gain a high draft pick in the 2019 Amateur Draft to continue their efforts for their rebuild.
By: Noah Wright
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Back at the 2015 Deadline, The Detroit Tigers were 50-53, and seemed to be entering a rebuild. They had already traded off ace David Price (who was on the last year of his contract) to The Blue Jays for 3 prospects on July 30th, but would make another blockbuster trade on the deadline by trading all-star level outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to The Mets for then prospects Michael Fulmer and Luis Cesa. Now that the 2018 deadline has passed, let’s take a look back at how well this trade has aged.
After a trade for then Brewers’ outfielder Carlos Gomez fell through, and a very emotional Wilmer Flores was seen on TV, The Mets turned their attention to the Tigers’ left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes entered the deadline batting .293/.323/.506 with 18 home runs, and 61 RBI’s, and on the last year of his contract. His always gold glove level defense was on display in Detroit too with 11 DRS, 9 assists, and a .8 defensive WAR, all in left field. The Mets were also looking to add to a contending team too. Their outfield consisted of an old and declining Michael Cuddyer, and a very glove first Juan Lagares. Both had averages below .260, and OPS’s under .700. Their only large producing outfielder at the time was Curtis Granderson, who was batting .255/.350/.440 with 16 home runs, and 36 RBI’s entering The 31st. Their only other option that was in the minors was Brandon Nimmo, who only saw limited time in Triple-A. After coming to The Mets, Cespedes would go on to bat .287/.337/.604 with 17 home runs, and 44 RBI’s in just 230 plate appearances. His production took a real bost after being traded to NY. He also helped the team in the postseason, as he hit 2 home runs in The NLDS against The Dodgers, and batted for a .286 average in The NLCS against The Cubs. After the 2015 season, The Mets resign Cespedes to a 4 year, $110 deal. He proved to be worth the money in his first season back in NY. Cespedes made The All-Star game again in 2016, and finished the season batting .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs, 86 RBI’s, and a near career high 131 wRC+. While his overall defense that season was underwhelming, he started the season as the team’s main CF, but then was moved to LF where he performed much better. His overall great season helped the team go to The Postseason again in The Wild Card. While The Mets lost in The Wild Card game against The Giants, and Cespedes went 0-4 that game, his overall season was very good. 2017 would be a somewhat of a struggle for Ces, as he only played in 81 games. However when he was healthy, he performed similarly to 2016. Overall he batted .292/.352/.540 with 17 home runs, 42 RBI’s, and 131 wRC+. His defense continued to be just above average with 2 DRS, -.1 defensive WAR, and -3.2 UZR. Now it’s 2018, and Cespedes is arguably having the worst season of his career, and not because of his performance. Cespedes is still batting a good .262/.325/.496 with 9 home runs, 29 RBI’s, and 120 wRC+. However, he’s only played in 38 games and will now miss the rest of the season, plus he could miss part of the 2019 season too. While Cespedes has overall only had one season when he played more than 100 games in a season, he’s overall batted .282/.346/.543 in NY, along with 74 RBI’s, and 201 RBI’s in 1270 plate appearances.
Now let's look at what The Tigers got in return for Cespedes. Going back to Detroit in this deal was then prospect Michael Fulmer, and Luis Cesa. The biggest piece going to The Tigers was Michael Fulmer. Fulmer slotted into The Tigers farm as their #1 prospect, and #99 in all of baseball. At the time, Fulmer was rated with a good fastball, and slider, along with decent control. Fulmer was only in double-A at the time, and was performing well. Overall in the 2015 season, Fulmer was pitching to a 2.24 ERA, 1.075 WHIP, 2.73 FIP, 2.2 walk/9 rate, and a 9 K/9 rate in 124.2 innings pitched. The next season, Fulmer would play just 15 and a third innings in Triple-A before getting called up to The MLB, ad made his debut in April 29th, 2016. Fulmer pitched 5 innings against The Twins in his first game, and gave up just 2 runs, while striking out 4 batters, and walking only 1. Over the course of his rookie season, Fulmer showed the impressive performance he showed in the minors. Overall, Fulmer pitched in 159 innings for a 3.06 ERA, 3.76 FIP, and a 1.119 WHIP. While his 7.4 K/9 rate wasn’t too impressive, he did have a low 2.4 walk/9 rate. Fulmer’s efforts in 2016 helped him win The AL Rookie Of The Year over Gary Sanchez and Tyler Naquin, and finishing 10th in Cy Young voting. Fulmer would continue to pitch well in 2017. In the first half of 2017, Michael pitched for a 3.13 ERA, 3.27 FIP, and keeping batters to a .238/.285/.335 batting line. He would be The Tigers one All-Star representative during his sophomore season. However after an impressive first half, his performance would take a dip. In his last 49 innings on the season, Fulmer’s ERA spiked to 5.33, and his WHIP went to 1.245. While he did struggle in the second half, he still kept batters to a .255/.316/.386 line. In September, Fulmer was forced to undergo elbow surgery, and missed the last half of a month of the season. Entering 2018, Fulmer started the second game of the season for The Tigers, and he did very well. Seemingly fully recovered from surgery, Michael went 8 innings giving up just 1 earned run, and 4 hits. He walked just 2 batters, and struckout 3 against The Pirates. However, his first few games of the season have been the highlights of his 2018 year so far. Since May, Fulmer has a 5.12 ERA, and has walked 31 batters in 82.2 innings. Plus since July 20th, Fulmer has spent time on The 10-day recovering from a left oblique strain. Overall, Fulmer is still just 25, and still has plenty of time to show that he can be a top of the rotation level starter in The MLB. The other piece The Tigers got in this deal was starter Luis Cesa. Cesa never geared up in The MLB as a Tiger, but was traded in the 2015-2016 off season along with Chad Green to The Yankees for left hander Justin Wilson, who eventually took over as their closer in 2017. Then Wilson was traded to The Chicago Cubs for 2 prospects; Isaac Paredes, a 19 year old infielder who is performing well in The Tigers’ double-A club, and Jeimer Candelario; the team’s current third baseman whose batting .226/.318/.413 with 14 home runs, 39 RBI’s, in 400 plate appearances this season.
Now looking back at this swap about 3 years later, the trade gave pieces that each team needed. The Tigers were starting a rebuild, and received Michael Fulmer, who can play into a larger picture for the team, and Luis Cesa who indirectly helped them get 2 other prospects that also could play a role into the team’s future plans. The Mets got an all-star caliber player that they needed to further fortify a line-up that was playoff ready team. While they may no longer be a playoff level team, Cespedes helped The Mets make the playoffs twice. However, that contract The Mets gave him after 2015 looks a little bit worse every time Cespedes goes on The DL for a long period of time. He’s only played 119 games between 2017 and 2018, but was owed a total of $51 million between those two years, and is owed $29 million for both 2019 and 2020. Cespedes could still be the consistent .280/.330/.530 The Mets are paid him to be, but so far, his inconsistent health is not what The Mets were expecting when signing him to a 4 year $110 million deal.
By: Noah Wright
At the deadline, The Nationals were rumored to be listening to offers on all-star and Home Run Derby winner outfielder Bryce Harper. When the deadline came, The Nats announced that Harper was not on the table and available for trade. Once they made this announcement, many fans questioned if they were making the wrong decision. However, their decision may also be for the better. With how The Nationals season has been going, lets see if they did make the right decision or not.
Why would trade Harper?:
The main reason for The Nats selling Harper is that he is on the last season of his contract. That factored in with them 5 out of the division, and 4.5 out of the wild card also comes into play when talking about a Harper trade. The Nats also showed that they were willing to sell, as they traded veteran relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler who did have another year of control, and didn’t add anything worth noting. However, there’s also the threat of Harper not resigning with The Nats. With multiple big budget spenders likely to pursue Harper, The Nationals may not be able to keep up with teams like The Phillies, Cubs, and/or Yankees. An upside of trading Harper is that they could get a decent package back for him. While they may not be able to get back (because one he’s a rental, two, he was batting .220/.369/.473 entering The 31st, and three, because he has a -1.7 defensive WAR), let's say Triston Mckenzie from The Indians, they should have been able to get back something around the level of Cionel Perez from The Astros. A guy that isn’t ranked in the top 100, but is young, and next to major league ready. While there are plenty of reasons for them to trade Harper, there’s just enough reason for them not to trade him.
Why they didn’t trade Harper?:
The Nationals don’t really have anything to lose if they don’t trade Harper. While they’re not in a playoff spot, they’re not completely out of contention. A 5 game, and 4.5 game deficit isn’t an impossible deficit to come back from. Plus from a business standpoint, if anything, would hurt ticket sales. Harper is one of the most popular players in The MLB right now, and trading Harper could lose fan trust. One thing that may have stopped teams from asking about Harper is The Nats asking price. They could be asking for a team’s #1 prospect. Another thing that could be stopping a trade is that Harper wants to stay. Like I said earlier, he could be wanting to leave Washington very much. They haven’t been able to make it past the first round of the playoffs with Harper, but maybe he’s told The Front Office that he would like to stay a National for now. Plus, they aren’t a team that should be hitting the rebuild now button. They still have plenty of talent outside of Harper, both on The ML roster, and some in the pipeline so even if Harp does leave in FA, it’s not like they’re screwed long term by not getting a haul back for him.
After everything is said and done, I do think The Nationals made the better decision. Unless there was a package that was amazing, and they couldn’t turn down, there are more downsides of trading Harper. Like I said earlier, trading Harper could lose fan trust/respect for a longer term period than a Harper trade could. Plus since they’re not far out of contention, it wouldn’t be horribly surprising if they went on a hot streak. Harper is currently batting .327/.429/.635 in his last 15 games, and if the rest of The Nationals get their performance up, they could win a few series, put themselves back within 2 or 3 games of the division again, and maybe even add a few pieces between now and the August deadline.
By: Noah Wright
The White Sox started their rebuild back in the 2016-2017 off season, and they kicked it off big time. They traded stars for some then major prospects. Now that it’s been about a year and a half since their rebuild, how has the rebuild been going? How have the prospects they traded for developed, and performed when they got to the majors?
To start, we have to see how they got the prospects they did. The rebuild started when they traded off Cy Young level pitcher Chris Sale to The Red Sox. In exchange, The White Sox got Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe. At the time, Moncada was ranked the #1 prospect in The MLB, with Kopech being ranked #30. Basbe was not a top 100 guy at the time, but ranked #9 on The White Sox list. The next major move The Sox made was trading outfielder Adam Eaton to The Washington Nationals for pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning. When this trade was made, The White Sox owned 2 of the top 5 prospects in The MLB, with Giolito ranked #3 overall. Reynaldo Lopez was still ranked high at #38 overall. The rebuild continued when they traded lefty Jose Quintana to The Chicago Cubs at the deadline. For Quintana, The Sox received outfielder Eloy Jimenez, with pitcher Dylan Cease, and utility players Bryant Flete and Matt Rose. The White Sox added 2 more top 100 guys, with Jimenez ranked as #5 and Cease ranked #58. One other notable trade they made was trading relief pitcher David Robertson, and third baseman Todd Frazier to The Yankees for Tito Polo, and Ian Clarkin. While neither are top 100 guys, it’s a trade worth bringing up.
Now nearly a year and a half later, how have the prospects developed, and how are they doing when they’ve gotten to the majors? Let's first look at the big piece that fans were excited to see; Yoan Moncada. Moncada has finally gotten a long term look at big league playing time this season. So far, he’s not performed to the degree The White Sox wanted him to, but overall Yoan has shown good power (13 home runs), speed (11 stolen bases), and defense (1 DRS, .5 defensive WAR, -3 UZR). However, one thing that Moncada still has to work on is his strikeout rate, and contact rate. Moncada has struck out nearly 33% of the time this season (32.9%), and makes hard contact 38.1% of the time. But Moncada is still just 23, so there’s still plenty of time to polish up his game. The next large piece The White Sox got to kick off their rebuild is right hander Lucas Giolito. Things haven’t gone so smooth for Giolito this season. In his 113.2 innings of work, Lucas has a 6.26 ERA, 6.09 FIP, 1.540 WHIP, and nearly identical walk/9 and K/9 rates (5.1/.5.6). While he has struggled greatly this season, he did do fairly well last season in a limited 45 and a third innings of work (2.38 ERA, 4.94 FIP, .949 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9 rate). However he’s shown signs of being able to be a major league ball player with just .261 BABIP, and a 31.3 hard hit rate. The other piece The Sox got back for Eaton is Reynaldo Lopez. Lopez has had a significantly better year than Giolito, but overall hasn’t done great. In 122 innings, Lopez has a 4.57 ERA, 5.30 FIP, and 1.393 WHIP. His walk/9 rate is a below average 4.1 to similarly matches his lack luster K/9 rate (6.3). The farm is currently one of the best in The MLB. In the minors Eloy Jimenez currently sits in Triple-A. However, the #3 top prospect in all of baseball could receive a small taste of the majors later this season during September call-ups. Between Double and Triple-A, Jimenez has batted for an amazing .342/.392/.611 line with 18 home runs, 59 RBI’s, and a very good wRC+. While he isn’t going to be winning any gold gloves in the majors, it’s clear his bat will make up for that. Their next big prospect is Michael Kopech. The one of prospect that they got back for Sale, Kopech has a 4.15 ERA, 3.59 FIP, and 1.359 WHIP in 99 and a third innings in Triple-A. Kopech is best described as effectively wild. He has a very high 5.8 walk per 9 rate, but a 12.2 K/9 rate. His wildness mainly stems from his fastball that can reach Syndergaard levels. Like Jimenez, Kopech could also receive a late season call up to get a sample of the bigs. Dane Dunning, one of the other prospects The Sox got for Adam Eaton, is currently 23, and is excelling in double-A. Currently, Dunning has a 2.76 ERA, 2.48 FIP, and 1.290 WHIP in 62 innings in Birmingham. But unlike Kopech, Dunning has 3.3 walk rate, along with a decent 10 K/9. However, he won’t likely be MLB ready until next season. Another starter that is in the minors, but won’t be MLB ready by the end of this season is Dylan Cease. Cease has spent time in both High-A ball, and double-A. Between both leagues, Cease has pitched to a 2.71 ERA, a 2.95 FIP, and 1.100 WHIP. Further down the pipeline, The White Sox have Luis Robert, Blake Rutherford, Nick Madrigal who all probably won’t be ready until 2020 or later.
Right now, the rebuild hasn’t went so smoothly. Some prospects (Moncada, Giolito, Lopez) haven’t performed well, or near to where expectations were. However it’s too early to call it a failure. Moncada, Lucas, nor Lopez have yet to turn 25 yet, and The Sox still have tons of prospects waiting in the wings. While I do not see The White Sox being ready compete this season, or next season (unless they start over performing a year ahead of schedule), if prospects develop as expected, they could be serious contenders by 2020.