Mets Acquire Eric O’Flaherty, Designate Alex Torres

The Mets announced tonight that they have acquired left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty and cash considerations from the Athletics in exchange for a player to be named later. Fellow southpaw reliever Alex Torres has been designated for assignment to clear space for O’Flaherty on the 40-man and 25-man rosters.

Eric O'Flaherty

The Athletics designated O’Flaherty for assignment over the weekend to clear a roster spot for trade acquisition Aaron Brooks. The former Braves setup ace was in the second season of a two-year, $7MM contract he signed prior to the 2014 campaign as he recovered from 2013 Tommy John surgery.

O’Flaherty, 30, was sharp in 2014 — his first year back from Tommy John surgery — working to a 2.25 ERA with 6.8 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 in a small sample of 20 innings at the big league level. His backloaded contract paid him just $1.5MM in 2014 due to uncertainty surrounding how much he’d be able to pitch and $5.5MM in 2015, with the A’s expecting him to be a significant piece in their bullpen.

That didn’t work out, though, as O’Flaherty has struggled to a 5.91 ERA in 2015. While a .354 BABIP has been a significant factor in the regression of O’Flaherty’s ERA, so, too, a marked step back in his control. O’Flaherty averaged just 2.3 unintentional walks per nine innings from 2009-14 after establishing himself as a quality relief option in the Majors, but he’s issued 12 unintentional free passes in 21 1/3 innings this season. On the plus side, O’Flaherty has a track record of success — he posted a 1.99 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 249 1/3 innings from 2009-13 with Atlanta — and he’s dominated opposing lefties in 2015, holding them to a .186/.286/.209 batting line.

O’Flaherty is owed about $1.86MM through season’s end, though the A’s appear to be picking up at least some of the tab there. He becomes the second reliever to make the cross-country journey from Oakland to Queens, as he’ll join former teammate Tyler Clippard in manager Terry Collins’ bullpen.

Torres doesn’t immediately look like a DFA candidate upon first glance, as he’s worked to a 3.15 ERA and struck out 35 batters in 34 1/3 innings. However, Torres has also walked 26 batters this year, and opposing lefties are hitting an alarming .268/.406/.393 against him in 69 plate appearances. Torres’ ERA is largely a product of a minuscule .233 BABIP and a bloated 83 percent strand rate — neither of which figures to be sustainable down the stretch.

A relatively quick DFA certainly isn’t what the Mets had in mind this spring when they traded Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later (Brad Wieck) to the Padres in exchange for what they hoped to be several years of Torres’ services. Torres is not yet arbitration eligible — though he will be this winter — and enjoyed better performances from 2013-14 with the Rays and Padres, so perhaps a team looking for left-handed bullpen depth will give him a look if he’s placed on outright waivers. If not, the Mets will be able to outright him to Triple-A Las Vegas and keep him in the organization with the hope that some time in the minors will help to sort out his command issues.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. This post was originally published at 9:48pm CT.

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/4/2015

We’ll track the day’s minor moves here:

  • The Giants announced today that infielder Joaquin Arias has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A (Twitter link). The versatile 30-year-old hit just .207/.207/.276 in 59 plate appearances in 2015 — the second season of a two-year, $2.6MM contract he signed to avoid arbitration following the 2013 season.
  • Left-hander Aaron Laffey has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A, tweets’s Dargan Southard. Lackey will have the option to reject the assignment in favor of free agency. The veteran lefty pitched 7 1/3 innings for the Rockies this season, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

Earlier Updates

  • Red Sox infielder Jemile WeeksAngels righty Vinnie Pestano, and Cubs outfielder Mike Baxter have all accepted their outright assignments rather than electing to test the free agent waters, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports (Twitter links). The trio of players were all designated for assignment recently as their clubs looked to free roster space for deadline acquisitions. Weeks, 28, has seen only a smattering of big league action since playing as a full-timer in 2011-12. Pestano has been a solid reliever over several full seasons, but has struggled mightily with his control this year. The 30-year-old Baxter will also head to the upper minors to serve as depth after putting up a .246/.348/.263 slash over 66 plate appearances with Chicago.

Reactions To The Tigers’ Front Office Changes

The Tigers shook up their front office earlier today, shocking many by announcing that Dave Dombrowski would no longer serve as the team’s general manager and that long-time Dombrowski lieutenant Al Avila would assume the role of executive vice president and general manager. Said Tigers owner Mike Ilitch in today’s press release: “I’ve decided to release Dave from his contract in order to afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities.”

Some more details on the decision, reactions to the move and a few rumors as to where Dombrowski may or may not end up…

  • Yahoo’s Jeff Passan writes that Dombrowski has become the biggest free agent on the market, and his contract, wherever he signs, should begin the trend of correcting the undervalued nature of executives. Dombrowski was earning roughly $3MM per season, but Passan wonders why the top minds tasked with overseeing a Major League team, six minor league clubs, domestic and international scouting departments, and much more earn just a fraction of what a back-of-the-rotation starter would earn on the free agent market. Passan notes that while Andrew Friedman’s reported five-year, $35MM contract with the Dodgers was a step toward correcting that inefficiency, the coming payday for Dombrowski should serve as a further benchmark for the future salaries of executives. Passan lists the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Angels, Mariners and Brewers as speculative landing spots for Dombrowski, adding that the Blue Jays have considered him over the past year while seeking a replacement for retiring CEO Paul Beeston.
  • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes that Dombrowski was seeking a raise, but the specific reasons for the split between the two sides remain unknown. Nightengale opines that the Red Sox make the most sense for Dombrowski, though he speculatively lists the same teams as Passan did, adding in the Orioles (which would make sense if GM Dan Duquette does end up taking a higher position with another team this winter). Nightengale writes that Dombrowski’s trade deadline actions spoke volumes about his integrity, as he knew that his departure could be imminent but still found a way to convince Ilitch to authorize the trades of David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria to create a brighter future for Detroit, even if he wouldn’t be around to be a part of it.
  • At today’s press conference, Avila said that Brad Ausmus will continue to serve as the Tigers manager for the rest of the season, writes’s Chris Iott“[Ausmus] is our manager for the rest of this season for sure,” said Avila. “I have all the confidence in him. I think he’s done a good job. Just like everything else from here on out, everything will be evaluated. Our staff will be evaluated. Our major-league club will be evaluated as we have done in years past.”
  • In a second piece, Iott writes that Avila acknowledged being in an “awkward” position by inheriting the job as GM of the team for which his son, Alex Avila, plays. The newly minted GM recants the story of the 2008 draft, when he asked that the organization not draft his son. He says now that the organization made the right call when looking at the body of work his son has compiled, but he made it clear that there won’t be any nepotism at play when deciding the team’s future. “You know how you go back to Little League and the dad used to be the coach and his son always played and was the fourth batter?” the elder Avila rhetorically asked reporters. “That ain’t gonna happen here.”
  • The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo writes that Dombrowski’s sudden free agency places him “on a silver platter” before the Red Sox, who could use a set of eyes to oversee GM Ben Cherington. Team sources tell Cafardo that Cherington isn’t going anywhere, but adding someone of Dombrowski’s caliber to oversee the baseball operations department and help in the trading department — where Dombrowski has long excelled — would be a boost to the organization. Cafardo also spoke to Yankees GM Brian Cashman about the news. Cashman told Cafardo that he was “shocked” to hear of it, adding that Dombrowski could get a job “any place he wants.”
  • There figures to be plenty of speculation as to where Dombrowski lands, but for the time being, the Red Sox may not be that place, writes Gordon Edes of Edes cites a Red Sox source in stating that the team is not pursuing Dombrowski for an executive role.
  • Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald cites a Major League source in writing that the Red Sox do plan to reach out to Dombrowski, but a match looks “iffy.” Any conversations with Dombrowski would be due diligence, but Silverman says there’s “informed speculation within baseball circles” that Dombrowski could be Toronto-bound, and he also notes that Dombrowski’s philosophies don’t necessarily line up with the strong analytical tendencies of the Boston front office.
  • Suffice it to say, there are conflicting reports and opinions when it comes to the Red Sox and Dombrowski, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that he’s heard rumblings that Dombrowski could indeed be in the mix for the Red Sox.
  • ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets that there’s buzz in the industry that Dombrowski will end up as the new president of the Blue Jays, though despite those rumblings, today’s news was unexpected.
  • Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times tweeted shortly after the news of Dombrowski’s departure that Angels sources to whom he spoke didn’t envision Dombrowski landing in Anaheim.

Dave Dombrowski Out As Tigers GM; Al Avila Named Replacement

7:23pm: Avila received a five-year contract that runs through the end of the 2020 season, reports’s Chris Iott.

3:10pm: The Tigers have announced significant changes to their front office structure, with Al Avila taking over for Dave Dombrowski as GM and executive VP of baseball operations. In a statement, announcing the move, owner Mike Ilitch issued the following statement: “I’ve decided to release Dave from his contract in order to afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities.”

Dave Dombrowski

The sudden and abrupt departure unexpectedly brings to close a historic and successful tenure for Dombrowski as the Tigers’ top baseball operations decision-maker. While there’s been some speculation that Dombrowski would depart after the season, the fact that he was allowed to oversee franchise-altering transactions such as the David Price and Yoenis Cespedes trades led many to believe that Dombrowski would remain with the Tigers.

The 59-year-old Dombrowski’s experience as a general manager dates back to 1988, when he became GM of the Expos at the age of 31. (Notably, he worked with Angels interim GM Bill Stoneman in Montreal.) He’s since served as general manager of the Marlins — including in 1997 when the team won the World Series — and the Tigers.

Dombrowski has served as the Tigers’ GM since 2002 and helped to revitalize an organization that finished no better than third place in the AL Central in each of the division’s first eight years of existence. (Three of those were under Dombrowski’s watch.) His 2006 blockbuster trade to acquire Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins in exchange for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop, Mike Rabelo, Frankie De La Cruz and Dallas Trahern looks, in hindsight, like one of the most lopsided swaps in recent history. Other notable transactions made under Dombrowski’s tenure include acquiring Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson in a three-team deal that sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees as well as acquiring Doug Fister from the Mariners in exchange for Francisco Martinez, Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush and Chance Ruffin.

Of course, Dombrowski isn’t without fault, either. His trade of Fister to the Nationals in exchange for Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi and Ian Krol hasn’t panned out as hoped, and the Tigers have seen trade acquisitions Shane Greene and Alfredo Simon struggle quite a bit in the rotation this season.

Dombrowski is one of the game’s most well-respected executives and should have no difficulty finding a position elsewhere. The Angels are currently without a permanent general manager, for instance, following Jerry Dipoto’s resignation. The Blue Jays took a long look at Orioles GM Dan Duquette as a potential replacement for retiring president Paul Beeston this offseason, and one can envision Dombrowski sliding into that role as well. Brewers GM Doug Melvin is rumored to be rising to the role of president this offseason, which would create a GM opening. Other very preliminary speculation has connected Dombrowski to both Seattle and Boston.

As for Avila, his Detroit tenure also dates back to the 2002 season. The father of Tigers catcher Alex Avila, he’s also worked in the front office of the Pirates and the Marlins. With the Marlins, Avila was involved in the signing of Cabrera as well as several of the drafts that helped form the foundation of a 2003 World Series Championship (after Avila had departed). “I’m very excited for this opportunity, and honored and grateful to Mr. Ilitch for having the faith and trust in me to run the ballclub in our continuing pursuit of a World Series championship,” said Avila in the press release. “…We’re confident we can make a strong push to win this year, and that we have the foundation in place to win next year and for years to come.”

Avila’s emphasis on winning in 2015 — a sentiment he echoed at today’s press conference, via’s James Schmehl (on Twitter) — is an interesting development and one that could at least indicate some of the reasoning behind the executive shakeup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rangers Release Wandy Rodriguez

The Rangers have placed left-hander Wandy Rodriguez on release waivers, according to the team’s executive vice president of communications, John Blake (on Twitter).

Rodriguez, 36, was designated for assignment last week. Though he’s had a pair of disastrous outings over his past six appearances (he allowed eight runs in four innings on June 24 and seven runs in one inning on July 28), Rodriguez has been a serviceable rotation option in Texas for much of the season. Through his first 11 starts this season, Rodriguez worked to a 3.20 ERA with a 50-to-23 K/BB ratio in 64 2/3 innings.

Any team will have the ability to claim Rodriguez off release waivers, although doing so would mean agreeing to pay him any of the additional $1.8MM he can earn via performance incentives. It’s more likely that Rodriguez will clear release waivers and be free to sign with any team for the pro-rated portion of the Major League minimum (for any time spent on the new team’s active roster).

Multiple teams are on the lookout for rotation depth. The Yankees recently lost Michael Pineda to a forearm strain and will be without him for the next month, at least. The Royals lost Jason Vargas to Tommy John surgery shortly before the trade deadline, and the Angels may be without C.J. Wilson for the balance of the season. It’s also possible that a rebuilding team such as the Phillies could just look to Rodriguez as a source of innings every fifth day down the stretch in 2015 as they give their mid- to upper-level arms a bit more time to develop in the minors.

Yankees Notes: Ackley, Pineda, Williams, Gregorius

The Yankees placed Dustin Ackley on the disabled list today due to a lumbar strain in his back. Ackley’s collected just three plate appearances since coming over from the Mariners in a trade, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link) that he has no issues with the Mariners. Ackley was healthy at the time of the trade, said Cashman, who expects the outfielder to miss about 20 to 30 days.

More on the Yankees…

  • Also from Cashman (and also via Hoch), right-hander Michael Pineda won’t pitch in a Major League game in the month of August. The team is hopeful that Pineda, who hit the disabled list with a forearm strain shortly before the trade deadline, will return to the big league mound in September.
  • Hoch tweets that outfield prospect Mason Williams, who made his Major League debut with the Yankees this season, will have season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday. Formerly a consensus Top 100 prospect, Williams’ star has faded in recent years, but he put himself back on the Yankees’ radar in 2015 with a .318/.397/.398 batting line between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Though he hasn’t homered in the minors at all this season, he did homer in the Majors before landing on the disabled list. In eight games with the Yankees, he hit .286/.318/.571. Williams will accrue 116 days of Major League service time this season by virtue of his time spent on the 60-day DL.
  • The Yankees’ patience with Didi Gregorius is beginning to pay off, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. Though Gregorius batted just .221/.283/.297 through the season’s first two months, he’s now batting .291/.330/.396 since June 1 and playing solid defense at shortstop. “When we got him I spoke about his ability but that he was not a finished product,” said Cashman. “There were going to be growing pains, and we were forced to be patient. You hope your patience pays dividends. We are seeing that.” The Yankees picked up Gregorius in a three-team deal that sent Shane Greene to the Tigers.

MLBTR Chat Transcript

Click here to read a transcript of this week’s live chat, hosted by MLBTR’s Steve Adams.

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Tigers Notes: Norris, Boyd, Dombrowski, Starters

Just acquired as the key piece in the David Price deal, new Tigers starter Daniel Norris showed plenty of promise in his first outing with his new club, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. Inserted directly into the big league rotation after the swap, the southpaw held the Orioles to one run in 7 1/3 solid frames. Norris, 22, opened the year in the Blue Jays rotation and put up solid numbers despite struggling with his control, and will surely look to continue to whittle down the free passes. According to Baseball America’s top fifty midseason list, Norris rates as the 18th-best prospect in the game. As Fenech writes, he impressed his new team with his calm demeanor, quick and confident work on the mound, and varied arsenal.

Here’s more from Detroit:

  • The Tigers will get a look at another young lefty that came over in the Price trade, as the team announced that Matt Boyd will take a start tomorrow. Boyd has thrived this year in the upper minors, putting up a 1.65 ERA over 114 2/3 innings with 8.5 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9, though he scuffled through two prior starts with the Jays.
  • After striking a trio of big deals in which the Tigers parted with pending free agents to bolster their talent pool, GM Dave Dombrowski was looking ahead in his recent comments to reporters. As Fenech notes, though he is not currently under contract past the present season, Dombrowski spoke like a man who intended to continue on with the organization. There has been increasing speculation that other teams, such as the Red Sox, could look to make a run at bringing in the highly-respected executive, though we’ve yet to hear anything concrete on where things could be headed.
  • Dombrowski explained that the deals he struck make for “a much stronger organization going into next year.” Though the club added several notable arms, Dombrowski said that he does not expect to stand pat on the club’s rotation, which could be in need of several other pieces. “Our starting pitching will be addressed in the wintertime,” he said. “I assure you that our goal going into next year will be to try to win a world championship.”
  • It seems clear that the Tigers organization will continue to try to build around its veteran core in the near-term — after all, the team only traded players who were destined for free agency anyway — and a glance at the club’s future commitments reveals both needs and opportunities to match affordable young talent with a high-profile set of aging All-Stars. The club owes over $110MM to just five players (including pay-outs to the Rangers for Prince Fielder), and will lose several other important pieces to free agency. But arbitration shouldn’t be too terribly expensive — J.D. Martinez and Jose Iglesias are both in line for nice raises, but don’t have significant salaries to build off of — and the organization carried an Opening Day payroll over over $170MM, so there ought to be room to add.

NL Notes: Phillies, Cosart, Latos, Moss

The Phillies finally moved star lefty Cole Hamels at the trade deadline, ending a long saga in which the organization was often criticized for waiting to act. But as’s Todd Zolecki reports, Philadelphia’s front office feels that it accomplished what it set out to do in dealing Hamels, as well as Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere“This was as well prepared as we’ve been,” said GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “There were no shortage of suitors, and when you’re talking about five or six teams to cover all those players and all those prospects … we started to target some of those guys during the offseason. The scouting and the addition of the analytics portion of these evaluations put us in the best position to be ready to make the trades.” The club sought to balance the desire for quality with the need to add a number of young players with promising outlooks, and outgoing president Pat Gillick praised the job of Amaro and his staff. “He did an excellent job,” said Gillick. “He’s going to do things in a professional manner. He’s going to do things he thinks are in the Phils’ best interest. People might think he’s doing something to save his job, but I’ve always said I have confidence in him that he’s going to carry out his responsibilities in a professional manner.”

Here’s more from the National League:

  • The Marlins seem to have finally diagnosed the underlying issue that has sidelined righty Jarred Cosart for long stretches this year,’s Joe Frisaro reports. Cosart, a significant trade acquisition last summer, has a disorder in his inner ear that has caused him difficulties with his balance. It’s not hard to imagine how significant an impact that may have had on the 25-year-old, who has struggled this year. The hope is that he’ll be able to receive treatment to ameliorate the issue and return to the bump later this year.
  • After being shipped from Miami to the Dodgers, starter Mat Latos will be pitching both to help drive Los Angeles into the post-season and to set himself up for free agency. As Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times writes, Latos has confirmed that early-season knee issues were a huge factor in his struggles. Since having his knee inflammation rained and undergoing a strength regimen to improve it, Latos says he’s noticed a vast improvement. “I got with the right people,” he said. “They put me on the right program and I’ve stuck with it. I think the results have showed. … Imagine having a lot of fluid in your knee, a lot of pain. That’s my landing foot, so I’m putting all my weight shifted onto that knee. It’s allowed me to clear over my front side and drive the ball down. My velocity has gone up.” Set to hit the open market in advance of his age-28 season, Latos will certainly present an interesting free agent case, especially if he can continue to put up top-of-the-rotation numbers in his new home and put the injury and performance concerns further in the background.
  • Another recent deadline mover, new Cardinals slugger Brandon Moss, says he’s very happy with where he ended up, as’s David Cobb reports“I feel really blessed to have the opportunity to be here,” he said. “There’s 28 places I could have gone if I was going to be traded and to be able to come here, I’ve said it a few times, it’s like winning the lottery.”

Red Sox Release Ronald Belisario

The Red Sox have released reliever Ronald Belisario, the club’s Triple-A affiliate announced on Twitter. It has not been reported whether or not Belisario exercised an opt-out clause of some kind to precipitate the move.

Since joining the Boston organization in the middle of last month, Belisario has thrown 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits but permitting three walks to go with his two strikeouts. But the results have been there all year at the Triple-A level. Including his time in the Rays organization, Belisario has tossed 36 2/3 frames of 2.70 ERA baseball at the minors’ highest level.

Belisario was somewhat less productive in a brief stint with Tampa Bay earlier in the year, allowing seven earned runs in eight frames. More concerning, perhaps, is that he showed a marked decreased in velocity. After averaging better than 94 mph on his fastball for his career, Belisario showed a sub-92 mph offering with the Rays.

While he also struggled to keep runs off the board last year for the White Sox, and has not posted above-average run prevention numbers since 2012, Belisario continues to fare well in the eyes of ERA estimators. He carries a lifetime 3.26 SIERA and has never ended a MLB season with a mark of over 3.46 in that metric.

It stands to reason that another organization will give the veteran a shot, particularly with the trade market now complicated by the need to pass players through waivers.

AL Notes: McCullers, Red Sox Front Office, Wilson

The Astros will option righty Lance McCullers Jr. to Triple-A after his rough outing last night, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reported on Twitter and the team later announced. Manager A.J. Hinch says that the team is hoping to provide a break to the rookie, who may not even take the hill while he’s down, as Ortiz adds (Twitter links). McCullers has been outstanding since receiving an aggressive promotion to the big leagues at age 21, putting up 76 2/3 innings of 3.17 ERA pitching with 9.3 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9, but that line looked even better prior to yesterday’s dud, in which McCullers allowed seven hits and six earned runs while recording only one out. That’s just one game, of course, and McCullers still surely features in the team’s plans the rest of the way. But Houston does need to manage his innings, as he’s already exceeded his prior career high for a single campaign, so it could be that the club will use this as an opportunity to save some bullets. There could be down-the-line implications as well, though it’s not likely a driving consideration since the team needs a fully available staff. McCullers has only picked up 78 days of service on the year thus far, and will be held under 130 total days even if he comes back right after the minimum ten day stay on optional assignment. That makes him a somewhat marginal future Super Two candidate, with any further time away from the big leagues decreasing his odds.

  • It was time for the Red Sox to nudge departing President and CEO Larry Lucchino out the door, writes Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald, who says that undertones in the recent announcement suggest that ownership decided upon a change in direction. Buckley does credit Lucchino with a huge amount of credit for Boston’s successes (on and off the field) over his tenure.
  • With Lucchino heading out, there could be more changes in store for the Red Sox front office, the Herald’s Michael Silverman writes. The baseball operations department is unlikely to carry forward without at least some modifications, says Silverman, who reports that a new executive could well be placed on top of or alongside GM Ben Cherington.
  • While Angels lefty C.J. Wilson will seek a second opinion on his left elbow,’s Alden Gonzalez reports, but it seems unlikely at this point that he’ll decide against season-ending surgery. Though the team has floated the idea of a rehab plan that could get him back in action late in the year, says Gonzalez, Wilson does not seem favorably disposed toward that option after battling with bone chips all year. “In the meantime, I’m working out and staying in shape, just in case they come up with some other magical course of action,” Wilson said. “But it seems more like a Hail Mary at this point. I want to pitch — that’s why I’ve pitched this whole time.”

Poll: Best Trade Deadline Moves By A Buyer

There are many ways to break out the bunches of deals we see at the trade deadline every year, and the division of teams into buyers and sellers may no longer mean quite what it did before the addition of a second Wild Card. But it nevertheless remains clear that a good number of teams can be placed into those two camps, at least now that the moves are in the books, and we didn’t really see any club pull off the balleyhooed “buy and sell” (even if some tried).

Let’s focus here on the buy-side. Adding players for the stretch (and a possible post-season run) requires teams to identify needs, evaluate internal options, and value their own future assets in structuring deals. Needless to say, there’s far more to it than just getting the best or best-known player you can.

So, here’s the poll question: looking at the teams that made moves to bolster their current rosters, which one made the best additions, all things considered? I’ll organize the teams into rough groupings for ease of reading:

High-Cost Rentals

Two teams pushed their trade chips squarely toward the present, acquiring multiple players who will all become free agents after the season.

Royals acquire Johnny Cueto, Ben Zobrist — This seemed like the moment to push the chips in for GM Dayton Moore, and he did just that, adding two of the most hotly-pursue players. But those big adds came at the cost of appealing arms like Brandon Finnegan and Sean Manaea.

Mets acquire Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Juan Uribe & Kelly Johnson — After adding some solid pieces in areas of need, GM Sandy Alderson pulled the trigger on a marquee rental in Cespedes. The Mets’ overall mix looks much better right now, but they won’t own the rights to the futures of young pitchers Michael Fulmer and Casey Meisner.

Major Moves – Rent And Buy

Those weren’t the only clubs that paid high prices for rentals, but these teams also picked up significant players who will be controllable after 2015.

Astros acquire Scott Kazmir, Carlos Gomez & Mike Fiers — We’ve seen GM Jeff Luhnow as an accumulator of young talent; now, we got to see him spend it. He opted to add a high-upside rental arm, a year and a half of the excellent Gomez, and a controllable arm in Fiers, dealing from the team’s young depth (including high-rated youngsters like Brett Phillips, Josh Hader, and Jacob Nottingham) to do so.

Cardinals acquire Brandon Moss, Steve Cishek, Jonathan Broxton — While the relievers were available for little more than some salary relief, the reasonably affordable and controllable Moss cost highly-regarded pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky. But nobody knows young arms like St. Louis, and they filled a clear need with the slugger.

Blue Jays acquire Troy Tulowitzki & LaTroy Hawkins, David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe — Toronto added some big names despite facing a large deficit in the AL East, and parted with a long list of pitching prospects to get things done, including highly-regarded young hurlers Daniel Norris and Jeff Hoffman.

Dodgers acquire Mat Latos, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson & Luis Avilan — Los Angeles took on a good bit of salary to add a group of solid arms to the big league roster (while also picking up future years of Wood as well as prospect Jose Peraza), and gave up Hector Olivera in the process.

Multiple Veteran Pieces

These teams bulked up on depth pieces who will fill particular roles on their clubs, generally keeping the acquisition costs down in the process.

Angels acquire David Murphy, David DeJesus, Shane Victorino — Los Angeles added three veteran platoon candidates to address its need for bats. It was an interesting strategy, but certainly added plenty of experience and clubhouse presence at a reasonable price.

Pirates acquire Joakim Soria, J.A. Happ, Aramis Ramirez, Michael Morse, Joe Blanton — Pittsburgh added veteran rental pieces at the spots that were in need of shoring up, and didn’t have to part with its best young talent to do so.

Cubs acquire Dan Haren, Tommy Hunter — Chicago reportedly pursued some more impactful moves, but ultimately settled for veteran depth that did not require the team to part with significant future assets.

Single Shots

Several buyers made targeted buys of specific assets that, they hope, will fill a specific need.

Nationals acquire Jonathan Papelbon — It took some financial juggling and created a bit of controversy due to the presence of Drew Storen, but ultimately the Nats got a quality late-inning arm at the cost of some solid upper-level pitching depth (Nick Pivetta).

Giants acquire Mike Leake — San Francisco parted with righty Keury Mella and third baseman Adam Duvall to bolster its rotation with the reliable righty.

Twins acquire Kevin Jepsen — Despite its strong position in the standings, this was Minnesota’s only move. But giving up youth for veterans may not have made much sense, and the August trade market could present opportunities if the club stays in the hunt.

Orioles acquire Gerardo Parra — To add the solid Parra, who is currently in the midst of a career year, Baltimore gave up a good pitching prospect in Zach Davies.

Padres acquire Marc Rzepczynski — Do we call the Padres buyers? Their only move was to add a veteran middle-reliever, and they held multiple impending free agents, so it’s hard to give any other label.

Looking To The Future?

Rangers acquire Cole Hamels & Jake Diekman, Sam Dyson — It may not quite be fair to consider Texas here, since the main move was heavily driven by future considerations, but the club did have to beat out more obvious contenders to get Hamels. It took quite a haul, with top prospects Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson, and Nick Williams among the pieces moved.

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Old MLBTR Layout Available On Mobile Devices

Back in April, we launched a new mobile version of MLBTR.  The change to mobile-friendly was made to improve load time and user experience, and also because Google basically required it.

In looking at your survey responses, I noticed that some readers preferred the old desktop-style, full post MLBTR format on their mobile devices.  Fortunately, we have a Desktop View button that brings back the old layout.  Just go to the homepage on your mobile device, scroll all the way to the bottom, and tap the button that says Desktop:


Your preference should be remembered the next time you visit.

(Side note: if you occasionally get the mobile version of MLBTR on a desktop computer, that’s a bug.  Please contact us if that happens).

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Quick Hits: Deadline Prospects, Valencia, White Sox

Over at Fangraphs, Kiley McDaniel has placed current grades on all of the 58 prospects that he counts as changing hands at the deadline. Among the eight players to get a rating of 55 (on the 20-80 scouting scale), three went from the Rangers to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels deal: catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Nick Williams, and righty Jake Thompson. No other club gave or received more than one such player at the deadline, in McDaniels’ estimation. It’s an interesting read and a great resource for assessing the summer prospect haul. Check it out before voting in tonight’s poll on which team made the shrewdest moves to build out their current roster.

A few more quick notes to round out he day:

  • Athletics assistant GM David Forst explained that the club was happy to have a chance at claiming infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia off waivers from the Blue Jays, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The 30-year-old was a roster casualty after Toronto’s flurry of deadline moves, despite his strong season thus far. “Danny is having an excellent year offensively,” said Forst. “His defensive versatility and track record of success against left-handed pitching fit our roster very well.” As Slusser notes, there’s some down-the-line benefit for Oakland, which also recently picked up Felix Doubront as a Jays cast-off: Valencia can be controlled for two more seasons via arbitration after earning $1.68MM in his first trip through the process this year.
  • The White Sox have promoted Nick Hostetler to the post of scouting director, as John Manuel of Baseball America writes. Previous director Doug Laumann will take a senior advisory role with the club. Hostetler has served in various scouting roles with the club since 2001.

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/3/2015

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Blue Jays have outrighted outfielder Ezequiel Carrera to Triple-A, Ben Nicholson-Smith reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old was recently designated for assignment after seeing his role taken by trade acquisition Ben Revere. Over 164 plate appearances for Toronto this season, Carrera owns a solid .279/.327/.374 with three home runs and two stolen bases. That represents his most significant big league action since his rookie campaign.
  • Angels reliever Vinnie Pestano has also cleared waivers and been outrighted,’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. The recently-designated, 30-year-old righty has tossed 11 2/3 innings of 5.40 ERA pitching on the year, though he has had more success in the past. Over 202 2/3 career frames, he’s allowed just under three earned per nine. While he’s continued to strike out better than ten batters per nine, control issues (6.2 BB/9) have limited Pestano’s effectiveness this season.