The August 31st trade deadline — for adding players to an organization who will be eligible for the post-season — is not nearly as celebrated as the July 31st version. To be sure, most significant deals occur at the earlier date, since thereafter players must clear revocable waivers (or be claimed by the acquiring team) to be dealt.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. This year, several clubs were in competition to add outfield options as September approached. On deadline day alone, five players who figure as platoon/reserve options changed hands.
So, which of these moves looks to provide the best value to the acquiring team? (Links to posts on acquisitions; poll order randomized.)
Cubs acquire Austin Jackson from Mariners — Jackson will cost Chicago $1MM, a player to be named later, and an international bonus slot ($211,100). In exchange, the Cubs get a center field-capable player who has fallen why shy of his early-career numbers since heading to Seattle. He’s always maintained even platoon splits, so he’s not exactly a typical time-share candidate, but he provides flexibility across the outfield.
Royals acquire Jonny Gomes from Braves — Kansas City took on about $380K of Gomes’ remaining salary and parted with young infielder Luis Valenzuela to add the veteran. Gomes is a classic late-season add: he’s a valued member of the clubhouse and mauls left-handed pitching, making him a limited but useful role player.
Giants acquire Alejandro De Aza from Red Sox — While they won’t owe De Aza much (if anything) in the way of salary, San Francisco did have to give up an interesting (but underperforming) arm in Luis Ysla. In De Aza, San Francisco gets a player who has hit well in recent months and traditionally performs well against right-handed pitching.
Dodgers acquire Justin Ruggiano from Mariners, Chris Heisey from Blue Jays — Los Angeles took a different approach from the teams listed above, adding two right-handed bats who could end up serving in platoon roles with expanded rosters and possibly competing for a single post-season roster spot. Both have spent much of the year in Triple-A, and cost little to add.