July Trade Recap: NL West

As we continue to recap the July 2013 trade period, the focus shifts to the National League. We'll start things off with the NL West:





  • Acquired right-handed starter Ian Kennedy from the Diamondbacks in exchange for left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher, righty Matt Stites, and a 2014 Competitive Balance pick (Round B).



With crickets chirping all around baseball, the NL West certainly played its part in keeping down the trade volume. Most of the above-listed deals involved minor leaguers.

Of course, the Diamondbacks and Padres did pull off one of this year's most interesting swaps. On its face, the Ian Kennedy trade seems backwards, with second-place Arizona sending fading San Diego an established (albeit struggling) starter to acquire a LOOGY, an underwhelming relief prospect, and a competitive balance pick. The deal starts to make more sense when you consider the D-backs' starting depth and Kennedy's underperformance and rising arbitration salary. Nevertheless, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained earlier today, Kennedy is a 28-year-old, cost-controlled, former Cy Young-contending starter who still possesses substantial upside. While Thatcher promises to deliver some value out of the Arizona pen, the most fascinating aspect of this deal will be watching to see whether Kennedy makes the Diamondbacks look foolish for giving up on him over the coming seasons.

On the seller side of the ledger, the division was notable for the absence of deals. The Giants, along with the above-noted Padres, both had various pieces that seemed ticketed for more promising clubs. With the Pads opting to hold onto reliever Luke Gregerson, and the Giants failing to deal any of their potential chips (such as pending free agents Javier Lopez, Tim Lincecum, and Hunter Pence), there was no influx of young talent to the bottom of the standings. Likewise, the Rockies opted to pick up a few minor pieces earlier in the month, but refrained from any major moves in either direction. 

In large part, the inaction of these clubs makes sense. The Giants are fresh off of a World Series victory and have the pieces to put together an above-average team next year. The club apparently intends to bring back Javier Lopez and make qualifying offers to Lincecum and Pence. It is understandable that San Francisco would choose to keep a competitive roster together in the meantime while making those plans for the future. 

In a different way, the Padres and Rockies had valid reasons to stand pat. Neither is so far out of the picture that a late run is out of the question. More importantly, both clubs have their share of young, big league talent that could continue to emerge in the near future. The pieces most recently discussed as trade possibilities from these teams — players like the Padres' Gregerson and Carlos Quentin, and the Rockies' Michael Cuddyer and Josh Outman — are all valuable big leaguers that are under team control beyond this season. If these clubs hope to contend over the next two seasons, it made sense to retain these assets. Moreover, none seemed likely to bring back anything close to a sure prospect.

Wait, did we forget a team? After a seemingly endless run of major moves, even the Dodgers were relatively quiet this year. Of course, Los Angeles did manage to make the most significant addition among the division contenders when it picked up Nolasco from the Marlins earlier this month. With the addition of Nolasco and the upswing in the team's overall health and performance, there were no glaring needs to address on deadline day. As it turned out, the biggest move the Dodgers made in the final run-up to the deadline was signing former closer Brian Wilson.

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