Here’s the roundup of what the NL’s teams did on trade deadline day…
Zac(k) Attack In ’Zona: It wasn’t clear for weeks whether the Diamondbacks would be buyers or sellers at the deadline, but they ended up making the day’s biggest trade, sending ace Zack Greinke to the Astros for four of Houston’s top prospects — right-handers Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas, first baseman Seth Beer and infielder Joshua Rojas. It’s a franchise-altering move that instantly gets $53MM of Greinke’s large contract off the books, and adds even more young talent to a farm system already bolstered by a huge draft class. It remains to be seen if other veterans like Robbie Ray or David Peralta could be shopped in the offseason after not being dealt at the deadline, though GM Mike Hazen has long resisted a full rebuild, and Arizona’s made two other deadline moves that are also indicative of a desire to stay competitive.
The D’Backs dealt shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm to the Marlins for rookie right-hander Zac Gallen, adding a controllable young arm who has already had some success at the Major League level into the rotation. The Snakes further added to their starting five by acquiring Mike Leake (and just $6MM of Leake’s remaining salary through 2020) from the Mariners for young infielder Jose Caballero.
Cub-Stellanos: The Cubs acquired southpaw Brad Wieck and some international bonus money from the Padres for Carl Edwards Jr., then dealt backup catcher Martin Maldonado to the Astros for second baseman/outfielder Tony Kemp. It was a pair of useful pickups for players who no longer seemed like roster fits, but the Cubs saved their biggest trade for last with the addition of Nick Castellanos. Chicago sent Paul Richan and Alex Lange to the Tigers for Castellanos, whose production has taken a step backwards this season after three very solid years in Motown, though it wouldn’t be surprising if Castellanos hits better now that he is free of the trade rumors that have swirled around him for months.
Not Done Yet: The Padres and Reds each swung their biggest move of deadline season on Tuesday night, in the huge three-team trade with the Indians that saw Trevor Bauer, Yasiel Puig, Franmil Reyes, and Taylor Trammell all switch uniforms. But San Diego wasn’t quite done trading, as per the aforementioned deal that brought Carl Edwards Jr. from the Cubs. Cincinnati had an even busier day, both in trading Gennett to the Giants and then moving Tanner Roark to the Athletics for outfield prospect Jameson Hannah, a second-rounder from the 2018 draft.
Giant Steps: If you learned a month ago that the Giants were going to make five deadline-day trades, you wouldn’t have at all been surprised — San Francisco had been pegged as deadline sellers for months. But while the Giants did move out some excess pieces, their recent surge up the standings also made them buyers, acquiring Scooter Gennett from the Reds for cash in an attempt to upgrade at second base. Time will tell if the Giants will remain in the wild card hunt, or if their hot streak was ultimately rather ill-timed, and the team cost itself a chance to trade some veterans and add some much-needed young talent into the pipeline.
The Giants did move some pitching, but Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith and Tony Watson remain, while Sam Dyson (who went to the Twins) was the only premium arm dealt. San Francisco also sent Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black to the Brewers for intriguing young infielder Mauricio Dubon, and Mark Melancon to the Braves for Tristan Beck and Dan Winkler. While Melancon was pitching well, the fact that Atlanta is covering all the roughly $18.6MM owed to Melancon through next season is an unexpected boon for San Francisco.
The Braves’ Bullpen Blowout: After getting Chris Martin from Texas on Tuesday, the Braves swung two more deals that brought Tigers closer Shane Greene into the fold, as well as former Giants closer Mark Melancon. Dan Winkler and Tristan Beck went to San Francisco, while left-hander Joey Wentz and outfielder Travis Demeritte went to Detroit. While none of Atlanta’s top prospects were dealt, the Braves paid a rather unexpected cost of another kind in absorbing Melancon’s hefty salary. Melancon hasn’t been a true difference-maker since his heyday with the Pirates), and all advanced metrics suggest that Greene’s startling 1.18 ERA is due for some big regression. Still, even good production from these two veterans will help Atlanta’s relief core. The Braves were linked to some starters and position players in recent days, though a minor depth deal for Diamondbacks backup catcher John Ryan Murphy marked the club’s only other swap.
The Nationals’ Trifecta: Not to be outdone in the NL East bullpen sweepstakes, the Nationals added three new pitchers to the relief corps. Washington sent three minor league hurlers to the Mariners in a pair of trades that brought Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland to D.C., while Daniel Hudson was acquired from the Blue Jays for right-handed prospect Kyle Johnston. This isn’t the first time even this season that the Nats have overhauled their inconsistent bullpen, and they’re hoping that this final shakeup will at last smooth the late-inning path to closer Sean Doolittle.
Phillies Add Corey Dickerson: The Phils have been hurting in the outfield ever since Andrew McCutchen suffered a season-ending injury, so the team replaced one former Pirates outfielder with….another Pirates outfielder, grabbing Dickerson from the Bucs for international cash and a player to be named later. Philadelphia also took a flier on Dan Straily in a minor trade with the Orioles, to see if Straily can recapture any of his Marlins form now that he’s back in the NL East.
Dodgers Focus On Depth: Rather than add a Yu Darvish or a Manny Machado like at past deadlines, the Dodgers avoided blockbusters in favor of two small deals. L.A. supplemented its left-handed bullpen depth by acquiring Adam Kolarek from Tampa, and then brought yet another multi-position infielder into the mix in the form of Jedd Gyorko, as part of a trade with the Cardinals that also saw Los Angeles add international funds and cash considerations while Tony Cingrani and Jeffry Abreu went to St. Louis. With a big lead in the NL West, the Dodgers are just tinkering for October at this point, though do they finally have the right mix to claim that elusive World Series?
Marlins Reel In Position Player Prospects: Miami dealt a young asset in Gallen for an even younger and perhaps more questionable asset in Chisholm, a top-100 prospect who has struggled in 2019. But the Marlins also completed another trade involving moving young pitching for a young position player, as they also moved right-handers Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards to Tampa Bay for outfield prospect Jesus Sanchez and right-hander Ryne Stanek. Like Chisholm, Sanchez is also having a subpar year, so the Marlins are hoping they’ve been able to buy low on a couple of potential everyday players for the future.
Pitching Depth In Milwaukee: The Brewers were linked to a number of notable pitchers on the rumor mill, though they ended up adding mostly depth arms between Pomeranz, Black, and Jacob Faria, who was acquired for struggling first baseman Jesus Aguilar in a deal with the Rays. The addition of Jordan Lyles ended up being the Brewers’ biggest move, as the team decided to wait for its injured starters (Brandon Woodruff, Jhoulys Chacin) to return rather than make a splashier rotation fix. It could be a risky tactic for the Brew Crew, given how tight the NL Central race is between Milwaukee, Chicago, and St. Louis.
The Quiet Deadlines: Even with the Pirates in sell mode, Dickerson and Lyles were the only notable pieces moved by Pittsburgh, despite a lot of chatter surrounding Felipe Vazquez. The Mets also had a lot of late rumblings about Zack Wheeler, though in the end, they didn’t make any deals. The Rockies didn’t do anything apart from one minor trade with the Yankees, and the Cardinals also stood pat apart from the Gyorko trade. St. Louis’ lack of action was perhaps the most surprising given the tight NL Central race — the front office was certainly annoyed at the inability to complete any major deals, yet the Cardinals will have to hope their current roster (plus some players returning from injury) are enough to reach the postseason.