Cubs May Pursue Chase Utley

The Cubs may pursue Phillies second baseman Chase Utley prior to the August trade deadline, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Utley will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow. He would need 251 plate appearances to activate a 2016 option, an exceedingly unlikely event. The former star has struggled this season with a .179/.257/.275 slash. However, a .186 BABIP suggests a rebound is possible. He’s owed about $5MM over the rest of the season. The Cubs would look to have the Phillies cover part of his salary.

An Utley acquisition would provide depth to existing middle infielders like Starlin Castro, Addison Russell, and Javier Baez. If the club lost patience with Castro, they could opt to use Russell at shortstop with Utley filling in at second base. The interest could also be purely for his veteran leadership. The Angels and at least one other team are also considering Utley per Wittenmyer.


Dodgers Notes: Money, Olivera, Samardzija

This week’s complicated three-way trade looks like a great move for the Dodgers, a mixed bag for the Braves, and another deal for the Marlins which appears to be financially motivated, Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) writes.  The Dodgers badly needed another starter given the injuries in their rotation and lack of organizational depth and Law believes that Mat Latos is probably worth two extra wins to L.A. the rest of the way. Here’s more out of L.A.

  • The Dodgers are paying $85.75MM for eight players no longer with the organization, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Hector Olivera‘s $28MM signing bonus is the biggest expenditure on the list. Matt Kemp ($18MM) and Dan Haren ($10MM) round out of the eight figure commitments.
  • Do the Dodgers even have a financial limit, wonders Shaikin in a separate piece. GM Farhan Zaidi says yes, then goes on to elaborate that “nobody has ever mentioned a number to us.” The Dodgers are projected to pay a record $43MM in luxury taxes this season. It’s possible that number could increase in August. Zaidi did allude to a time when the Dodgers will field a more typical payroll with the help of cost controlled talent.
  • Also from Shaikin, the Dodgers are currently paying for 25 percent of the Marlins payroll. The players’ union has taken fresh notice of Miami’s penchant to deal talent for financial relief.
  • The Dodgers looked into White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija “some time ago,” tweets Shaikin. Talks did not progress. After a brutal start to the season, the Pale Hose are just two games below .500 and 3.5 games behind the second Wild Card. Undoubtedly, the surging roster affected their willingness to sell Samardzija.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Dodgers, Mets, Hamels, Jays, Astros

An elite starting pitcher was a luxury good for the Dodgers, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That’s why Los Angeles passed on talents like Cole Hamels, David Price, and Johnny Cueto despite possessing the prospect depth to acquire their pick of the litter. Instead, the club flexed its financial might to acquire Mat Latos, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, and Jose Peraza. The biggest piece dealt away by the Dodgers was 30-year-old Cuban infielder Hector Olivera. The utility man has not yet reached the majors after signing a six-year, $62.5MM deal with the Dodgers. A full $28MM of that was in the form of a signing bonus.

Here’s more from Rosenthal:

  • Cynics may find a way to criticize the Mets deadline transactions. Perhaps they didn’t add enough to the payroll or were too small minded? However, the moves for Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Kelly Johnson, and Juan Uribe provided essential upgrades to a roster that was showing signs of stress. GM Sandy Alderson deserves kudos for improving the club while working within tight constraints. To me, this was Rosenthal’s money quote, “Mets fans will not be satisfied –€“ and should not be satisfied –€“ until the team raises its payroll to a level more commensurate with the New York market.
  • Echoing the sentiments of many analysts, both the Phillies and Rangers did well in the Hamels trade. With the Phillies taking on Matt Harrison and chipping in cash, the Rangers will pay Hamels an average of $13MM to $14MM per season if his option vests. They also hung onto top prospects Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara. On Philadelphia’s end, acquiring three quality prospects will do much to bolster their future.
  • The Blue Jays, unlike the Dodgers, are often described as a cash strapped organization. Instead of taking on payroll like L.A., the Blue Jays dealt 11 prospects and Jose Reyes to acquire Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe, and LaTroy Hawkins. They’re 6.5 games back in the AL East and 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot.
  • The Astros also spent their prospect chips for major league upgrades. They made the first deadline strike by acquiring Scott Kazmir then paid a princely sum for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Interestingly, mid-market teams like the Astros, Blue Jays, Mets, and Royals used prospects in their search for October baseball. The Yankees and Dodgers opted to use money or stand pat.


Minor MLB Transactions: 8/1/15

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Mets have signed pitcher Tim Stauffer to a minor league contract, according to the MLB transactions page. Stauffer was released by the Twins earlier this summer and signed with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in mid-July. He posted a 6.60 ERA in 15 innings with the Twins. Over a 590 inning major league career, he has a 3.94 ERA with 6.73 K/9 and 3.05 BB/9. In his heyday, he worked between 90 and 92 mph. He averaged just 88 mph with his fastball during his stint with Minnesota.
  • The Giants have released pitcher Erik Cordier, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Schulman guesses that Cordier had an out clause for August 1. The 29-year-old righty performed well in the minors. In 34 Triple-A innings, he posted a 1.04 ERA and 11.16 K/9. However, his command and control left something to be desired with 6.49 BB/9.
  • The White Sox have signed outfielder Dayan Viciedo and assigned him to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, the Knights have announced. Viciedo was, of course, a longtime staple of the White Sox outfield, but they released him in February, avoiding paying most of what would have been a $4.4MM arbitration salary. He played briefly this year for Triple-A Nashville in the Athletics system, hitting .221/.282/.336.
  • The Red Sox have outrighted infielder Jemile Weeks and assigned him to Triple-A Pawtucket, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal tweets. The Red Sox designated Weeks for assignment on Wednesday when they added Josh Rutledge to their roster. Weeks has hit .207/.307/.310 in 199 plate appearances for Pawtucket this year.
  • Former Yankees reliever Esmil Rogers is headed to Korea, where he’ll get $1MM to play for the Hanwha Eagles of the KBO, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. In the midst of yesterday’s trade deadline madness, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted that the Yankees had released Rogers. The 29-year-old Rogers posted a 6.27 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 33 innings with New York this season.

Red Sox President Larry Lucchino To Be Replaced

The Red Sox will replace president and CEO Larry Lucchino by the end of the season, reports Michael Silverman and Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald. Lucchino’s contract expires at the end of the season. The Red Sox have reportedly been working on a succession plan for some time with rumors of a shake up first reported during spring training.

While executive turnover in baseball can be fraught with drama, it appears that Lucchino and the Red Sox are still on good terms. Chairman Tom Werner spoke about reaching a new agreement with Lucchino, saying “we are hopeful…we will conclude an agreement with Larry going forward where he will continue to be an integral part of upper management.” Werner went on to describe an advisory role.

Lucchino, 70, helped to guide the franchise to three World Series victories since owner John Henry first purchased the club in 2002. He is also known for overseeing the renovation of historic Fenway Park and the acquisition of the Pawtucket Red Sox. He has had a less prominent influence on the team this season in part due to a serious motorcycle accident sustained over the winter.

Executive vice president and COO Sam Kennedy will be promoted to club president. However, unlike Lucchino, Kennedy is not expected to have a role in baseball operations. Kennedy, 42, has worked with Lucchino for 20 years. Per Luchhino, “he’s certainly my choice, as well as that of John and Tom, to be promoted to the position of president.” Kennedy has been slowly taking over Lucchino’s responsibilities throughout the season.


Cubs Attempted To Acquire Carlos Carrasco, Tyson Ross

The Cubs aimed high at the trade deadline but ultimately settled for pitchers Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. According to club president Theo Epstein, “the two main players we focused on late ended up not getting moved.” Epstein went on to say that he was aggressive in offering both quality and quantity for top major league talent.

Sources tell Wittenmyer that the two players the Cubs focused upon were pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Tyson Ross. Neither was traded. It was rumored that the Indians were merely gather information about Carrasco’s value while the Padres have been criticized for not knowing “what they really wanted.”

Since signing a four-year, $22MM extension over the offseason, Carrasco has pitched to a 4.03 ERA with 9.90 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9. ERA estimators believe he should be at least a full run better than his ERA, as evidenced by a 2.84 FIP. The 28-year-old also has two affordable option years. It’s hard to imagine that the Indians don’t view Carrasco as a building block. However, it is pragmatic to entertain offers at his physical peak.

Ross agreed to a $5.25MM contract in his second year of arbitration. As a Super Two player, he’ll be eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. Ross has followed up a breakout 2014 with a solid 3.38 ERA, 9.66 K/9, 4.30 BB/9, and a 63 percent ground ball rate.

The Cubs also aggressively shopped shortstop Starlin Castro, but they found few takers. Javier Baez was one of the players discussed as part of a Carrasco package. Meanwhile, the Braves expressed interest in Jorge Soler while discussing Julio Teheran and other young pitchers. Overall, it’s clear that high quality, club controlled pitching is a top priority for Chicago.


Rockies Designate Aaron Laffey

The Rockies have designated reliever Aaron Laffey for assignment, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The transaction was part of a series of moves that allowed the club to recall Christian Bergman, Scott Oberg, and Kyle Parker. Pitcher Kyle Kendrick and outfielder Corey Dickerson were placed on the disabled list. The Rockies also designated Laffey on July 11, but he ultimately remained with the team.

The 30-year-old lefty has spent most of the season at the Triple-A level where he’s compiled a 4.78 ERA, 5.86 K/9, and 4.01 BB/9 in 58 innings. He’s tossed just seven and one-third innings in three relief appearances in the majors this year. Laffey checks in around 87 mph. He’s thrown 494 innings over his career with a 4.44 ERA, 4.46 K/9, and 3.62 BB/9.


Athletics Designate Eric O’Flaherty

The Athletics have announced that they’ve designated lefty reliever Eric O’Flaherty for assignment. The move clears space on the Athletics’ active roster for righty and recent trade acquisition Aaron Brooks, who has been promoted from Nashville to start tonight.

The 30-year-old O’Flaherty has struggled this season, posting a 5.91 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9 in 21 1/3 innings while dealing with shoulder trouble. He’s also dealt with elbow and back issues in recent years. The A’s signed O’Flaherty to a two-year, $7MM contract before the 2014 season, and his rather expensive $5.5MM 2015 salary and uneven performance likely ensure he won’t be claimed.


East Notes: Valencia, Red Sox, Fulmer

The Blue Jays‘ somewhat surprising decision this morning to designate Danny Valencia for assignment confused many fans. Valencia has, after all, had a very strong season at the plate, batting .296/.331/.506, and he’s capable of playing several positions and raking against lefties. As Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith explains, manager John Gibbons told GM Alex Anthopoulos that he wanted new acquisition Ben Revere to play every day rather than platooning, leaving one of Valencia or Chris Colabello without much of a role. The Blue Jays ultimately decided to keep Colabello, and Anthopoulos thinks Valencia will be claimed on Monday. The GM suggests the Jays aren’t done tweaking their roster, so they could make a minor move or two to improve it, perhaps adding an outfielder.

  • The Red Sox were relatively quiet at the deadline, but they expect to look quite different by April, Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston writes. “I think it’s incumbent upon us to make real improvement between now and Opening Day,” says GM Ben Cherington. “We didn’t feel like it had to be this week. And so we went into it with the mindset, we’re going to pursue things we think fall in line with ways we need to improve between now and Opening Day.” Cherington notes that it’s still possible the Red Sox could make deals in August. Potential trade candidates include Mike Napoli and Alejandro De Aza.
  • The Mets repeatedly refused to trade pitching prospect Michael Fulmer, and were able to acquire Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers only when they finally relented, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. To Tigers exec Dave Dombrowski, Fulmer was the key to the deal (which also included another solid pitching prospect, Luis Cessa). “We consider Fulmer a premium-type guy,” Dombrowski says.

Padres Designate Tim Federowicz

The Padres have designated catcher Tim Federowicz for assignment, Corey Brock of MLB.com tweets. Federowicz was completing a rehab assignment for a meniscus tear that has cost him the entire season so far. He was out of options, and the Padres evidently decided they were happy with Derek Norris and Austin Hedges at catcher, so as Federowicz approached full health, the Padres were forced to a decision.

Federowicz, 27, has a career .194/.247/.300 line in parts of four big-league seasons, all with the Dodgers. He does, however, have a good defensive reputation. The Dodgers sent him south last December in the Matt Kemp / Yasmani Grandal trade.


Drew Pomeranz Changes Agents

Athletics pitcher Drew Pomeranz is changing agents to CAA Sports, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets. The 26-year-old Pomeranz will be arbitration eligible for the first time in the coming winter.

The lefty currently has a 4.04 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 64 2/3 innings split between starting and relieving. Those numbers are roughly in line with his career numbers in parts of five seasons split between Colorado and Oakland.


How August Trades Work

Now that the July 31 trade deadline has passed, teams can still make trades, only with more restrictions than before. Updating Jeff Todd’s post last year on the topic, here’s a look at how August trades work. This information has, of course, been shared elsewhere, most notably in an article by ESPN’s Jayson Stark from all the way back in 2004, and in greater detail at Cub Reporter. Since the rules surrounding August deals are confusing, though, they’re worth reviewing here.

  • In August, a big-league player must pass through revocable waivers before his team can trade him without restriction. These waivers last 47 hours. If no one claims him in that period, his team can trade him anywhere.
  • If a player is claimed, his team can do one of three things. It can trade the player to the claiming team, revoke the waiver request (in which case the player will remain with his original team), or simply allow the claiming team to take the player and his salary (although a player with no-trade rights can block this from happening).
  • A recent example of an August trade that developed from a waiver claim was the Brewers’ acquisition of Jonathan Broxton from the Reds last year. The Brewers claimed Broxton and ultimately got him from the Reds for two players to be named later, who turned out to be Kevin Shackelford and Barrett Astin. An example of a claim that didn’t result in a trade occurred last year, when the Cubs claimed Cole Hamels. The two sides couldn’t strike a deal, the Phillies revoked their waiver request, and Hamels remained in Philadelphia. Examples of teams simply letting players go via revocable waivers are more rare, but in 2009, the White Sox claimed Alex Rios from the Blue Jays, who simply let him go to Chicago without a trade. The White Sox were thus responsible for all of the approximately $62MM remaining on Rios’ contract.
  • A team has 48.5 hours to trade a claimed player, and can only negotiate with the team awarded the claim on him.
  • It’s common for teams to place players on revocable waivers, and their having done so does not necessarily mean they have serious plans to trade them. As Stark points out, teams commonly use waivers of certain players purely as smokescreens to disguise which players they really are interested in trading. In fact, sometimes teams place their entire rosters on waivers.
  • If more than one team claims a player, priority is determined by worst record to best record in the league of the waiving team, followed by worst record to best record in the other league. For example, if an NL team places a player on revocable waivers, the team with the NL’s worst record will get first priority on claims, followed by every other team in the NL from worst to best, followed by AL teams from worst to best.
  • If a team pulls a player back from waivers once, it cannot do so again in August. So if a team places a player on waivers for a second time, those waivers will be non-revocable.
  • Players not on 40-man rosters are eligible to be traded at any time without passing through waivers.
  • A player on the disabled list cannot pass through waivers.
  • Teams can still make trades in September, but players acquired after August 31 can’t play in the postseason.

Players traded last August included Broxton, Adam Dunn, Alejandro De Aza, Kelly Johnson, Geovany Soto, Gordon Beckham, Josh Willingham, Kevin Correia and Jacob Turner. There weren’t any blockbusters last year, although it’s not impossible for major deals to happen in August. The Dodgers acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett in a gigantic trade in 2012, for example.


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C.J. Wilson Likely Out For Season

Angels starter C.J. Wilson believes he might be out for the season, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (Twitter links). The Angels had previously announced that the results of a recent MRI showed left elbow impingement secondary to arthritis. Wilson says he has bone spurs in his elbow that have expanded. As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets, the bone spurs have been an issue for several months, but Wilson is now opting for surgery because of a decreased range of motion and an increased risk of injury to his shoulder.

Wilson had similar surgery following the 2012 season and returned to pitch 212 1/3 good innings in 2013. (He also had surgery for the issue late in 2008.) Still, the news is unfortunate for the Angels. Shaikin tweets that Wilson informed the Angels before the trade deadline that he would likely need surgery, so they had enough time to make a deal if they wanted to. They did not, however, perhaps figuring that they already had enough depth — they currently have Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Hector Santiago and Andrew Heaney in their rotation, with Jered Weaver set to return soon from a hip injury.

The 34-year-old Wilson has had an effective season with the Angels, with a 3.89 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 132 innings. He’s making $18MM in 2015 and will make $20MM next year before the expiration of the five-year, $77MM deal he signed prior to the 2012 season.


Dodgers, Braves, Marlins Complete 13-Player Trade

AUGUST 1: The Dodgers are paying just $500K of the remainder of Arroyo’s deal, Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles tweets. Arroyo is owed about $8MM, including his 2016 buyout, and it appears the Braves are paying almost all of that amount.

JULY 30: The Dodgers, Marlins and Braves have swung one of the most complex three-team trades in recent history. The “basic” structure of the deal (though there’s nothing basic about this move) is as follows: the Dodgers will receive right-hander Mat Latos and first baseman Michael Morse from the Marlins. They’ll also add top prospect Jose Peraza and pitchers Alex Wood, Bronson ArroyoJim Johnson and Luis Avilan from the Braves. Atlanta, in turn, will receive infielder Hector Olivera, lefty Paco Rodriguez and minor leaguer Zachary Bird from the Dodgers. The Braves are also picking up Miami’s Competitive Balance Round A pick in next year’s draft (No. 35 overall). The Marlins will come out of this deal with three minor league pitchers — Kevin Guzman, Jeff Brigham and Victor Araujo — plus the financial relief of shedding the remaining $14.3MM that is owed to Latos and Morse. Each team has announced the trade’s completion.

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Mat Latos is headed to the Dodgers.

In making this trade, the Dodgers bolster their rotation not only for the remainder of the 2015 season but also potentially through the 2019 campaign. Latos, who is earning $9.4MM in 2015 and has $3.6MM of that sum remaining on his contract, is a free agent at season’s end, but Wood can be controlled for four years beyond the current campaign.

While he’s battled injuries and struggled early in the season, Latos has increased his velocity and upped his results since returning from a DL stint (as noted by MLBTR’s Steve Adams when examining his trade candidacy). All told, the 27-year-old Latos owns a 4.48 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 over 88 1/3 innings on the year. But ERA estimators view him more as a mid-3.00 ERA contributor, and that has shown up in his last seven starts, over which he’s allowed 15 earned runs in 45 2/3 frames with a 43:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Wood is perhaps the more intriguing name here for the Dodgers, though. The 2012 second-round pick was never vaunted as a Top 100 prospect, but he’s emerged as a reliable cog in the Braves’ rotation over the past few seasons. Though many have expressed long-term health concerns with Wood and his numbers are down in 2015, his overall body of work is nonetheless impressive. Wood has a lifetime 3.10 ERA in 368 2/3 big league innings with very strong averages of 8.2 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 to go along with a 46.5 percent ground-ball rate. Both Latos and Wood will join co-aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in the Dodgers’ rotation, solidifying the starting five down the stretch. Those additions, however, demonstrate a different approach than many pundits expected, as L.A. was heavily rumored to be involved with the top names on the trade market.

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Alex Wood could be a long-term rotation piece for L.A.

In landing Johnson, the Dodgers are picking up a reliever that was serving as Atlanta’s closer and doing so quite well. Johnson led the AL in saves from 2012-13 before a down season in 2014. Atlanta snatched him up on a one-year, $1.6MM contract with enough incentives to carry the deal to $2.5MM if he maxes it out. He’s been an outstanding buy-low piece for the Braves and will carry a 2.25 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 60.8 percent ground-ball rate into the Dodger bullpen, where he’ll help set up for Kenley Jansen.

The 26-year-old Avilan gives the Dodgers another left-handed relief option to pair with J.P. Howell and Ian Thomas, though it’s debatable whether he’s a long-term improvement over Rodriguez, who heads to Atlanta in the deal. Avilan has a 3.58 ERA on the season with a 31-to-10 K/BB ratio (though two of the walks were intentional) in 37 2/3 innings. He’s upped his velocity this season and his strikeout rate as well, but Avilan’s previous good fortune in terms of homer-to-flyball ratio has dried up this season, and he’s near the league average (above it, in fact) in that regard for the first time in his career. Avilan hasn’t missed a ton of bats throughout his career but does have strong overall totals against left-handed hitters.

Morse doesn’t really fit on the Dodgers’ roster and was likely included as a means of offsetting some salary, so it’s possible his stay with the Dodgers will be brief, at best. Los Angeles designated Eric Stults for assignment immediately upon acquiring him from the Braves earlier this year and did so with Ryan Webb as well, so there’s certainly precedent for them to flex their financial muscle as a procedural necessity and simply cut ties with the unwanted or superfluous players in a deal.

Arroyo serves as a second example of the Dodgers flexing their financial muscle. The veteran right-hander signed a two-year deal with the D-Backs prior to the 2014 season but underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and hasn’t pitched this season. Arizona unloaded his contract in a prior trade with the Braves, and that money will now go to the Dodgers, bringing the total amount of cash they’re eating in this deal to roughly $43.5MM. It’s possible, at least, that Arroyo could pitch at the back of the L.A. rotation down the stretch.

Dealing Peraza away was probably a tough pill to swallow for the Braves, who have long lauded him as one of their top prospects. The 21-year-old entered the season as a consensus Top 50 prospect in the game, and though his offensive numbers are down somewhat, that’s not necessarily a red flag for someone playing at the minors’ top level at the age of 21. That’s not to say, of course, that Peraza’s numbers are poor; he’s hitting .295/.319/.380 this season. Peraza ranks as the game’s No. 26 prospect on the midseason Top 50 from Baseball America and No. 30 on MLB.com’s midseason update to their own Top 100 prospect list. Peraza began his career as a shortstop and eventually moved to second base, but it’s not certain where the Dodgers project him in the future. He has little power but draws rave reviews for his speed and glove, and he’s swiped 149 bases over his past 310 minor league contests. I feel it should be noted that Peraza, too, could be a piece that the Dodgers will consider dealing, as they’re reportedly reluctant to part with their own top prospects: Corey Seager and Julio Urias.

As for the Braves, they’ll finally land a player they pursued extensively this offseason in the form of Olivera. Atlanta simply couldn’t match the Dodgers’ enormous $62.5MM offer to the 30-year-old infielder, but $28MM of that came in the form of a signing bonus that is to be paid in three installments. The Dodgers will pay the final two installments of Olivera’s signing bonus, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That means the Braves are essentially taking on Olivera on a six-year, $32.5MM contract that began this season. He’s earning $2MM in 2015, of which about $754K remains, so their total financial commitment to him will be about $31.25MM over the course of five and a half years. That’s a much more palatable obligation for the Braves (who have notably shed significant payroll from their books by moving Melvin Upton Jr. and Craig Kimbrel since Olivera signed.)

Olivera, a right-handed hitting third baseman/second baseman, was said at the time he signed to be a safe bet to post strong average and OBP marks due to his pure hitting abilities and a keen eye at the plate. The question was how much power he’d show in the Majors, but some felt that he could be a 20-homer bat on a yearly basis. He’s looked sharp to this point in the minors, hitting .348/.392/.493 across three levels and reaching Triple-A. The Braves undoubtedly consider him to be a major component of their long-term future in the infield, though the specific position he’ll play is yet an unknown.

In Rodriguez, they’ll pick up a left-handed reliever who could be out for the season but has pitched well when healthy. Rodriguez had surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow in late June — a procedure that will sideline him for eight to 10 weeks. However, the former second-round pick has been excellent while on the mound. He was the first player from the 2012 draft to reach the Majors, debuting the same year he was drafted, and he sports a lifetime 2.53 ERA with 9.6 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9.

The 21-year-old Bird has largely unimpressive numbers in the minors — a 4.74 ERA in 351 minor league innings — but MLB.com rated him 15th among L.A. farmhands. Per their scouting report, he made big strides with his velocity late in 2014 and has gone from a low-90s heater to a mid-90s offering that “threatens triple digits” at times. He still needs to get a better feel for his offspeed pitches and has a long ways to go as a slider, they add.

With all that said, we’re at last to the Marlins’ portion of the trade, which looks meager. Of the three names in question, only Brigham ranks among L.A.’s top 30 prospects, per MLB.com, who rank him 28th. Brigham had Tommy John surgery in college in 2012 and missed all of 2013 before pitching himself into the fourth round, their scouting report notes. He’s 90-94 mph with his fastball and has shown shaky control, though some of that can be attributed to the surgery. He’s punched out 75 hitters in 75 innings this year but has also walked 38 and has a 5.52 ERA.

Guzman is a 20-year-old starter pitching at the Class A level who has notched a 3.90 ERA with 6.7 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 83 innings this year. The 22-year-old Araujo is in his second stint with Class-A Advanced and hasn’t found very favorable results. He’s missed plenty of bats (55 strikeouts in 50 innings) with solid control (14 walks) but has been hittable and ultimately surrendered a 5.40 ERA this season.

The Marlins had a number of ways they could go in terms of dealing Latos, but it seems they either prioritized shedding the Morse contract or simply didn’t find that teams were willing to offer much in return given his rental status, health concerns and early struggles. In the end, while this trade started off being termed the “Mat Latos trade,” it will be more remembered as a deal that netted the Braves their second baseman or third baseman of the future in exchange for a promising young arm and one of their top prospects.

Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported (on Twitter) that Latos and Morse were headed to the Dodgers. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link) and MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (Twitter link) reported the financial components for Miami/L.A. and the inclusion of the Marlins’ draft pick. Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM tweeted that a third team was potentially being brought in. Frisaro reported the prospects going to Miami. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the Braves’ inclusion (via Twitter). Joel Sherman of the New York Post said the Braves would get a young starter (Twitter links), and Rosenthal tweeted that Wood was the pitcher in question. Bowden tweeted Johnson’s inclusion. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman first suggested Peraza’s name (on Twitter) and Sherman confirmed his inclusion (via Twitter). Bowman also tweeted that Olivera was in the deal, and Bowden tweeted that Avilan was as well. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweeted that Bird was headed to Atlanta. Bowman added that Rodriguez was going to the Braves. Passan added the final wrinkle: Arroyo’s inclusion (Twitter links).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Deadline Reactions: Winners, Losers, Top Prospects

Here’s a roundup of recaps from yesterday’s trade deadline.

  • The Blue Jays and Royals are the biggest winners of last month’s trades, while the Padres are the biggest losers, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes. All three choices were probably fairly easy ones, with the Blue Jays landing Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, the Royals grabbing Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist, and the Padres mostly standing pat. Further down both lists is where things get interesting, though — Heyman notes that the Phillies and Athletics did well in their trades of veterans, and that the Dodgers should have done better than Mat Latos and Alex Wood for all the payroll they’re taking on.
  • The Astros, Royals, Phillies and Tigers, among other teams, deserve credit for their deadline deals, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan writes. The Padres, meanwhile, did poorly. To expect the Padres to make the playoffs at this point “borders on lunacy,” Passan writes.
  • Nine of the top 100 prospects in baseball changed teams at the deadline, MLB.com’s Jim Callis writes. Daniel Norris (headed from the Blue Jays to the Tigers in the David Price trade) tops the list followed by Brett Phillips (from the Astros to the Brewers in the Carlos Gomez deal) and Jose Peraza (who went from the Braves to the Dodgers in the Mat Latos deal). Callis’ take on the Dodgers’ 13-player trade is quite different from Heyman’s — Callis writes that the Dodgers got plenty of big-league help in the deal while also getting a very impressive prospect in Peraza.
  • Prospects among MLB’s top 50 include Norris, Phillips, Peraza, Hector Olivera (who went from the Dodgers to the Braves), Jeff Hoffman (Blue Jays to Rockies in the Troy Tulowitzki deal) and Jake Thompson (Rangers to Phillies in the Cole Hamels deal), J.J. Cooper of Baseball America writes.

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