I’ve done a version of this post in each of the last two years, both times in late May. We’re already through nearly half of the month of June, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still take stock of the recent history of swaps in the month before primary deadline season begins. Most major swaps occur in July, of course, and most of those occur toward the end of the month.
The biggest “early” deadline deal of recent memory — the 2014 swap that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs to the Athletics in exchange for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, and Dan Straily — didn’t go through until the 4th of July. Likewise, the equally important deal from the year prior — in which the Cubs nabbed Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop from the Orioles for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger — was reached on July 2nd.
That’s not to say that nothing of consequence occurs in June; indeed, as covered below, there’s already been some dealing this year. Here are some of the most notable deals that came together in the month of June over the last several seasons:
- After a late-May strike of rare significance, in which the Mariners put unexpected cash availability to work in adding both Alex Colome and Denard Span, the month of June has seen a pair of notable swaps. The fading Rays acquired first baseman/outfielder Ji-Man Choi from the contending Brewers in a deal that sent recently-designated infielder Brad Miller to Milwaukee. And the D-Backs bolstered their outfield mix with veteran Jon Jay, sending minor-league hurlers Gabe Speier and Elvis Luciano to the Royals.
- There wasn’t much of an early trading period in 2017, with the most significant action waiting until July and even August. The most notable swap occurred early in the month of June, when the Giants took a flier on once-dominant Rangers reliever Sam Dyson. Taking over some of Dyson’s salary proved a reasonable price to pay for the San Francisco organization, which received 38 innings of 4.03 ERA pitching, including 14 saves, as Dyson edged back toward his prior form. But the real payoff has come this year. Dyson — who still has two more seasons of arbitration eligibility — has turned in thirty frames of 2.70 ERA ball to date, with 7.2 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and a monster 63.9% groundball rate.
- The Rays were exceedingly busy and somewhat unusually willing to take on some salary in bolstering the left side of their infield. Tampa Bay added third baseman Trevor Plouffe (link) and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (link) in swaps with the Athletics and Marlins, respectively, with the latter deal sending outfielder Braxton Lee and right-hander Ethan Clark to Miami. While Plouffe did not last long with the Rays, Hechavarria performed well enough to have a contract tendered for the 2018 season. He’ll likely never reach base at a palatable rate, but has hit just enough to keep his high-quality glove in the lineup. As for the young players, Lee is considered a top-twenty organizational prospect and has touched the majors, though he’s struggling at the plate in 2018. The 23-year-old Clark has yet to move past the High-A level, though he has shown an ability to get some swings and misses in the low minors.
- The first and most significant deal in June of 2016 is a good place to point friends when they ask, “why don’t teams make big trades earlier in the season?” With the White Sox fading after a hot start, they took a chance on struggling veteran James Shields, absorbing about $27MM of his remaining salary obligations while also sending righty Erik Johnson and young infield prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. to the Padres. Shields continued to decline, the Sox crashed, and Tatis blossomed into a top-ten leaguewide prospect. UPDATE: Tatis still looks to be the lost jewel from a still-ballyhooed White Sox farm system. Johnson is throwing well at Triple-A in 2018 after working back from Tommy John surgery, so this deal could tip further in the Friars’ favor. Shields is still giving worthwhile veteran support to a very young group of pitchers in Chicago, but that’s scant consolation.
- In a reprisal of a deal from the prior July, the Mets picked up utilityman Kelly Johnson from the Braves. New York had a need for a veteran lefty bat capable of moving around, and Johnson fit the bill, hitting quite well and helping the Mets eke into the postseason. Relief prospect Akeel Morris, who made up the return, ended up leaving Atlanta via the waiver wire.
- A similar deal went down shortly thereafter, as the Cubs brought back Chris Coghlan after a brief stint with the Athletics. Like Johnson, he showed new life once back in his old uniform. Outfielder Arismendy Alcantara went to Oakland in the deal, but was later lost on waivers.
- In a swap of former prospects who had fallen on hard times, the Dodgers added infielder Chris Taylor from the Mariners in exchange for righty Zach Lee. The immediate impact was minimal, but Taylor broke out in 2017 and has become an everyday asset for the Dodgers. Lee, like Alcantara, was lost on the waiver wire over the ensuing offseason.
- The Dodgers also made another trade right at June’s end, adding righty Bud Norris along with outfielder Dian Toscano from the Braves in exchange for righty Caleb Dirks and lefty Phil Pfeifer. Norris fell flat in Los Angeles in 2016, though he has rebounded since. Dirks has shown some promise at times but hasn’t appeared at an affiliate thus far in 2018.
- The month started with an interest arrangement that saw slugger Mark Trumbo head from the D-Backs to the Mariners along with lefty Vidal Nuno. Trumbo hit at just over a league-average rate in a half-season in Seattle but was dealt in the ensuing winter. This swap seemed mostly motivated by salary from Arizona’s perspective, but the team also received good production from backstop Welington Castillo before moving on from him the next winter. The team also picked up righty Dominic Leone, but let him go on waivers before he started turning in interesting numbers elsewhere. Prospects Gabby Guerrero and Jack Reinheimer also came from Seattle, but both are still stuck in the minors (Guerrero in another org).
- One day later, the Orioles sent veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza to the Red Sox after designating him for assignment, receiving minor league righty Joe Gunkel in return. De Aza performed well in Boston, which took on about $1MM of his remaining salary, but couldn’t turn around a sinking ship, and was eventually passed along to the Giants.
- Later that June, the D-Backs struck another interesting deal. In exchange for taking over about $10MM of salary obligations to injured veteran Bronson Arroyo, and sending over infielder Philip Gosselin, the Braves earned the rights to high-upside pitching prospect Touki Toussaint.
- In another agreement involving prospect assets, the Pirates got the 39th overall pick in the 2014 draft from the Marlins on June 1. Miami picked up righty Bryan Morris, who’s been a sturdy reliever who’s still controlled for two more years, while Pittsburgh ultimately turned that selection into first baseman Connor Joe, who has bounced around since but is currently playing well at Double-A in the Dodgers organization.
- Later that month, the Pirates and Angels made a change-of-scenery swap that sent Jason Grilli out west in exchange for Ernesto Frieri. While Grilli provided some solid innings, Frieri faded, though both organizations ended up making the post-season.
- DFA swaps are often fruitful in the middle of the year, and the Brewers managed to land a useful piece from the Braves out of limbo. Third baseman Juan Francisco went to Milwaukee for lefty Tom Keeling, and ultimately gave the Brew Crew a league-average bat with some pop while the club dealt with an injury to veteran Aramis Ramirez.
- A middle-of-the-month trade of seemingly limited consequence was reached between the Mets and Rockies. New York added speedy but limited outfielder Eric Young Jr., while Colorado picked up righty Collin McHugh. The latter didn’t find success at Coors Field, but turned into quite a useful starter for the Astros in the season that followed.
- The month of June started with a quiet transfer of cash considerations from the Orioles to the division-rival Yankees. The return? A first baseman by the name of Steve Pearce, who had joined New York on a minor league deal. He showed a bit of a spark that year, filled in usefully in 2013, and then exploded in the following season, when the O’s trounced the Yankees and the rest of the AL East.
- Kevin Youkilis traded color schemes, going from the Red Sox to the White Sox on June 24th. A struggling Youk headed to Chicago along with a stack of salary-offsetting cash for righty Zach Stewart and utilityman Brent Lillibridge. The 33-year-old provided a jolt for the South Siders, though the club ultimately fell shy of the playoffs.
- And at month’s end, the Orioles picked up veteran slugger Jim Thome from the Phillies in exchange for a pair of prospects (Kyle Simon and Gabriel Lino). The 41-year-old Thome wasn’t an impact bat for Baltimore, but neither of the players dealt has been of much consequence since.
I don’t care what the stats say, calling Juan Francisco “league average” or “useful” is very generous. Maybe it just shows how bad the Brewers were in 2013.
Touki Toussaint. Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. I would have expected him to be up with the Braves by now, but it’s like he fell off the face of the earth.
He was 18 when he was traded and is still only 21. He’s having a nice season in Double-A so far, but he was 3-4 years away at least when the D-backs traded (well, sold) him to the Braves.
Tyson Ross and Craig Stammen to the Nationals for Carter Kieboom and Jefry Rodriguez?
Ross immediately goes into the 5th spot/swing man role, he also enters the organization that employs his injured brother Joe, he could be a huge help for Joe in his efforts to rehab from TJ, Tyson recently dealt with some arm issues and could help.
Stammen returns to the Nationals once again where this time around he will pair nicely in the back end of the bullpen with Doolittle and company.
The Padres get SS insurance in Kieboom if Tatis does indeed outgrow the position. They also get a lottery ticket arm ranked in the middle of the Nationals top 30 list. Kieboom is also blocked by Turner at the big league level for the foreseeable future.
Win/Win for both sides. Right?
Maybe a little more from SD?
It’s good but the Padres might want a little more like one more player or a bigger name to replace Kieboom
This goes back a little further, but don’t forget June 24, 2004
Carlos Beltran was traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Kansas City Royals to the Houston Astros. The Oakland Athletics sent Mark Teahen and Mike Wood to the Kansas City Royals. The Houston Astros sent Octavio Dotel to the Oakland Athletics. The Houston Astros sent John Buck and cash to the Kansas City Royals.
The Royals started the season in a win-now mode after a surprising 2003. After a disastrous start to 2004, this was one of the first moves to kickstart a new rebuilding program.
John Buck was a serviceable catcher for the Royals for about 5 years. Mark Teahen had 1 very good year, and several not-so-good. Mike Wood got a participation trophy. This also cleared room in the Royals outfield for David DeJesus, one of the few bright spots for the Royals in the 2000s
The departure of Octavio Dotel from Houston opened the door for Brad Lidge, where he had a very successful tenure. Carlos Beltran may have hit a few home runs for the Astros that postseason.
2015 Mariners trade: They received Trumbo and Vidal in exchange for Leone, Castillo, Reinheimer and Guererro. The writer finished out the other trades from previous years and teams, but failed to finish out this one saying, “. . .but the team has received compelling production from backstop Welington Castillo. . .” Really? Castillo hasn’t been productive for the DBacks since 2016, after which he elected Free Agency. Trumbo, thought to be the key piece in the deal hoping to boost their weak offense, was underwhelming and was traded again at the end of the 2015 season. The only player still remaining with the original team from that entire trade is Reinheimer. The others have all moved on/been traded again. If you’re gonna post it…post all of it.
I just forgot to update that one blurb from the prior years’ version, as I’m sure you gathered.
Duly noted. “Stuck” is the perfect word. It’s all about opportunity, dontcha know.
Isn’t that the polar opposite of the Haniger/Segura/Walker/Marte trade between the same two clubs? Not one player in the 2015 trade panned out for their new teams, four of five in the later trade have worked out well, TJS notwithstanding.
What about when the cardinals traded for mark derosa?
I know. I know. It’s ancient history but June trades still have recalling June 15, 1977 – the midnight massacre. (Seaver, Kingman gone!)
Jon Jay will be riding pine when Pollock and Souza return
Or he will be swapped again.
John Jay is WAY better than Souza. And so far, Souza hasn’t shown an ability to stay healthy. Dyson and Souza should be the first men sitting…
Sam Dyson is an absolute joke in any sort of high leverage situation. He might have decent numbers but the dude is a gas can if the Giants have a small lead they are trying to protect.
How Much Will It Help If Either Now Or Sometime Before His New York Yankees Host The Boston Red Sox On June 29 For A 3 Game Series At Yankee Stadium,Brian Cashman Trades Albert Abreu,Domingo Acevedo,Clint Frazier & Estevan Florial For Either Madison Bumgarner,Cole Hamels,Patrick Corbin,James Paxton,Danny Duffy,Jacob DeGrom,Chris Archer,Felix Hernandez,Tyson Ross Or Michael Fulmer?
I bet the Mariners, with Felix, and Padres, Ross, wouldn’t hesitate to take that deal and run. Legitimately run like Forrest. No take backs at all, we’ll even cover the remainder of 18 salary.