The MLB trade deadline finished with a burst of activity on Wednesday afternoon as teams bulked up for the stretch run of the 2019 season.
So let’s take a look at some of the winners and losers.
At the last possible moment, the Astros became far and away the biggest winners of the deadline by acquiring right-handed starter Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Entering Wednesday at 69-39, Houston already was well within the realm of contending for the 2019 World Series, but this move could all but cement them as the favorites. Opponents facing the Astros in the playoffs will have to go up against the likes of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley and now Greinke. According to ESPN Stats & Info, those four hurlers have four of the top 15 ERA’s from starters league-wide.
Not to mention Houston also landed Joe Biagini and Aaron Sanchez from the Toronto Blue Jays to further bolster its pitching depth.
In 22 starts this season, Greinke is 10-4 with a 2.87 ERA.
As of Wednesday, Atlanta sat 6.5 games up on the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals in the National League East race. Needing some reinforcements for their bullpen, the Braves went out and acquired Shane Greene from the Detroit Tigers and Mark Melancon from the San Francisco Giants. Yes, Melancon comes tagged with a hefty annual price of $19 million through 2020, but Atlanta went out and did what it needed to do.
Greene is 0-2 this season with a sharp 1.18 ERA in 38 innings. Melancon boasts a 3.50 ERA to go along with a 4-2 record over 46 1/3 innings.
San Francisco Giants
Entering Thursday, San Francisco stood just 2.5 games out of an NL wild card spot. So yes, it’s a good thing the Giants decided to keep Madison Bumgarner around. They’re still in the hunt, so why not make a run at it? To that end, San Francisco went out and landed Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett.
This isn’t to say Farhan Zaidi didn’t sell, though. The Giants shipped off three arms from their bullpen in Melancon, Drew Pomeranz and Sam Dyson, but getting rid of Melancon’s contract likely will be viewed by the front office as a win in itself.
New York Yankees
The Yankees have been one of the best teams in baseball all year long, but starting pitching remains their one glaring issue. They didn’t address this, or anything, on Wednesday. We’re not saying the Bronx Bombers should have gone out and mortgaged their future on Greinke, but any sort of reinforcement for the starting rotation would have been helpful.
New York has control over the AL East, and it likely will take a major meltdown to change that. But the Yankees’ rotation is not prepared for a playoff race where it stands right now. The pending return of Luis Severino could be a make or break factor for New York.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are in a similar spot to the Yankees. They entered Thursday 15.5 games up in the NL West race, so they aren’t concerned about missing the postseason, or even losing the division for that matter.
But Los Angeles needs some bullpen help if it wants to make another run to the World Series this year. They acquired left-hander Adam Kolarek from the Tampa Bay Rays, which was a good move, but doesn’t fully check the box as he mainly thrives as a lefty specialist. The bridge between their starters and closer Kenley Jansen is still extremely vulnerable, making them losers on Wednesday.
The Pittsburgh Pirates closer was a prime candidate to help out the back-end of the Dodgers bullpen. Instead of moving over to a contender and serving as the set-up man for Jansen, he remains on the Pirates who sit in the basement of the NL Central at 47-61.
Despite the team’s poor performance, the 27-year-old lefty is 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA to go along with 21 saves. Unfortunately for him, he’s under team control through 2023.
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