By Cat Garcia
The MLB trade deadline is always an exciting period during the halfway point of the Major League season, a time in which emotions around the league are running high as the battle towards October wages on.
This week, the 2016 iteration of the annual deadline proved no different, bringing in a flurry of last minute, big name trades just moments before the 4 p.m. Eastern Time cut-off occurred on Monday.
Though the Cubs made their biggest move to kick off the week with Aroldis Chapman, and the White Sox mostly stood pat for the second year straight, plenty of other action ensued around the majors – and some of the deals made were likely strong game changers for many clubs. Let’s take a look at a few of the teams who came away with the biggest and most significant hauls.
Toronto Blue Jays
Added: LHP Francisco Liriano, RHP Scott Feldman, RHP Mike Bolsinger
Traded: RHP Guadalupe Chavez, RHP Jesse Chavez, RHP Drew Hutchison
The Blue Jays race to contend in the AL East just got a bit more interesting as they stocked up on starting pitching depth to help bolster their rotation for the second half. Feldman, who came from the Houston Astros, has pitched to a 3.05 ERA this season in 62 innings of work. Liriano, who came from the Pirates, is currently an 11-year veteran of the game who is seeing the highest walk per nine rate of his career at 5.46 while also posting a HR/FB rate of 19.6 percent, another career high by nearly 7 percentage points (min. 100 IP). Mike Bolsinger is an interesting add, as he was a starter in the Dodgers rotation in 2015 before falling on a some hard luck in 2016, earning him a demotion to the minor leagues. Bolsinger has pitched 27 innings with the Dodgers and has a 6.83 ERA.
The Blue Jays also acquired Melvin Upton Jr. from San Diego for Hansel Rodriguez and sent pitcher Drew Storen to Seattle in exchange for Joaquin Benoit, another long time veteran of the game.
San Francisco Giants
Added: RHP Matt Moore, LHP Will Smith, INF Eduardo Nunez
Traded: 3B Matt Duffy, C Andrew Susac, prospects Lucius Fox, Michael Santos
The Giants made an unexpected move in acquiring starting pitcher Matt Moore from the Tampa Bay Rays during the final moments before the deadline. Moore, who returned from Tommy John surgery just last season, pitched to a 4.08 ERA in Tampa Bay.
The Giants made a few other small moves before the Matt Moore deal, trading backup catcher Andrew Susac to the Milwaukee Brewers in return from reliever Will Smith. Smith has seen a decline in his peripherals this season, with a FIP nearly one run higher than his ERA at 4.27, along with an uptick in home runs allowed, a drop in strand rate, and a decrease in ground balls.
Eduardo Nunez will be a help offensively for the Giants, as Nunez is posting a healthy slash line of .295/.326/.437 and was a part of the 2016 All-Star Team for the Twins.
Added: LHP Andrew Miller, OF Brandon Guyer
Traded: Prospects Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Ben Hellerand, J.P. Feyereisen, Nathan Lukes, Jhonleider Salinas
The Indians certainly had the most interesting deadline of all the teams. Early in the weekend already being deemed the winners of the deadline after acquiring catcher Jonathan Lucroy as well as pitcher Andrew Miller, arguably two of the most sought after pieces to be moved this deadline, those dreams were quickly snuffed when Lucroy exercised his no-trade clause and vetoed the move leaving the Indians with just Miller. Miller will be a significant addition for the Indians bullpen not only now but in the future, as he would have been to any team he landed with. The addition of Brandon Guyer simply serves as good insurance depth should Michael Brantley not return to full form once he is back in the lineup. The haul for the Indians was big, but when acquiring a pitcher such as Miller with such a team friendly contract, the cost is always going to be steep.
Added: C Jonathan Lucroy, RHP Jeremy Jeffress, CF Carlos Beltran, RHP Lucas Harrell, LHP Dario Alvarez
Traded: Prospects Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, Dillon Tate, Erik Swanson, Nick Green, Travis Demeritte, PTBNL
The Indians may have added Andrew Miller, but the Rangers still came away with one of the top three prizes in the deadline in Lucroy, while also solidifying themselves offensively and in the bullpen. The Rangers, looking to secure their large division lead on the Astros, have now added a two-time All-Star catcher to their roster with good offensive value in Lucroy, a solid relief pitcher with a 2.22 ERA in Jeffress, and a veteran slugger in Carlos Beltran, who is currently batting .304/.344/.546 and having one of the best seasons of his long career – all without having to sacrifice top prospect Joey Gallo.
The Rangers have now bolstered down all areas of their already immensely strong club, and will look to make their strongest push to the postseason in quite some time.
In other trade deadline news, Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig was not moved at the deadline and was told he would be demoted if he was not traded. Early reports sais that Puig had stormed out of the clubhouse after a discussion with Dodgers brass, but it was later clarified that he hadn’t even show up to the stadium on the day. Puig did not travel with the team on their road trip Monday.