2012 MLB Trade Deadline Update 7/23: Dempster, Blue Jays, Astros, and More

Monday July 23rd, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: As the trade deadline looms, teams are scrambling to make a final buy or sell in order to push toward the playoffs. Some teams are trying to get value out of their soon-to-be free agents while other teams are rebuilding. Here are some of the big deals that have gone down in the past few days:

Blue Jays and Astros—10 player deal. Big names: J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, David Carpenter, Ben Francisco, Francisco Cordero, Carlos Perez

The Astros are obviously in their rebuilding phase. Last year, they gave up Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, and the year before they gave up Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman. Earlier this year, Carlos Lee went to the Marlins for top prospect Matt Dominguez and others.  More recently Brett Myers went to the White Sox for minor league pitchers and J.A. Happ went to the Blue Jays along with relievers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter for Ben Francisco, Francisco Cordero, and other prospects in a ten-player trade. With these deals this year, the Astros have removed virtually all big names from the team. Not to say that J.A. Happ was a big name player, but he was a well-regarded pitcher that the Phillies gave up in the Roy Oswalt trade. Also given up by the Astros is former closer Brandon Lyon. He gave up the closer role to Brett Myers this year, but he does have the capability to serve in the back-end of a bullpen.

The last remaining name on the Astros is Wandy Rodriguez, who most likely won’t be on the team much longer. All that can really be said about the Astros is that they’re definitely looking toward the future. For the Blue Jays, they got some extra pitching in case they make a run for a wild card. With the injuries to Brandon Morrow, Drew Hutchison, and Kyle Drabek, Happ will be a nice addition to their pitching staff. Cordero, on the down side of his career, will help out in the Astros’ bullpen and could serve as a mentor to some of the young relievers. Ben Francisco might play a part in the Astros’ future as he develops, but my hopes aren’t high as Francisco is already 30 years old and has a career batting average of .260 since his debut with the Indians in 2007. Toronto obviously wasn’t the place for Francisco who hit .240 playing only 27 games without a homer and only two RBI. Hopefully he will find a spark with the Astros and help them reach the playoffs in the future. So far, he’s done nothing (very small sample size). I guess the side that immediately benefits is the Blue Jays, receiving an established pitcher, but the Astros might have an advantage in the future as the young talent (catching prospect Carlos Perez notably) develops.

White Sox and Astros. Big name: Brett Myers

Along with getting rid of J.A. Happ, the Astros also gave up closer Brett Myers. Myers was a starter with the Phillies and Astros up until this year, when he was converted to a closer. Depending on what the White Sox want to do with him, Myers could provide a huge boost to the back-end of the bullpen with Addison Reed having been the primary ninth inning option before Myers’ addition. The White Sox announced that Reed would retain the closer role. I’m not sure how long that will last with Reed being shaky at times. Reed gets the job done for the most part, but has a 4.24 ERA and lost to the Red Sox on Friday after giving up a walk-off homer to Cody Ross. Myers will play a big part in the success of the White Sox should they make the playoffs. He could be used as a set up man for Reed, looming in case Reed falters. Myers can also be converted to a starter. Moving Brett Myers will enable the Astros to use newly acquired Francisco Cordero as their closer. The White Sox benefit in a big way with a large boost in pitching while the Astros make room for their new acquisitions.

Rockies and Royals. Big names: Jeremy Guthrie and Jonathan Sanchez

Both players were brought in to each team in hopes of boosting the pitching rotation. Unfortunately, Sanchez struggled to the point that he was designated for assignment by the Royals, and Guthrie was eaten up by Coors Field going 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA. As bad as Guthrie has been, Sanchez has been even worse. It’s hard to believe, but Sanchez has gone 1-6 with a ridiculous 7.76 ERA. If this isn’t enough perspective, in my fantasy points league (each out is one point, strikeout is an extra point, hit given up is -1, earned run -2, etc.), Sanchez has averaged -1.6 points per game, while a slightly above-average pitcher—we’ll say Mark Buehrle—averages 15.9. Both teams are hoping that each pitcher will use the change of scenery to turn over a new leaf. I don’t see that happening at all for Sanchez, coming off a rough start combined with Coors Field being a hitter’s paradise. Sanchez will be happy though, because he will get to pitch for a Major League team rather than going through waivers or being sent down to Triple-A. Guthrie, on the other hand, will take advantage of getting out of Denver and coming back to the American League. Neither team is going anywhere, so the best case for each pitcher would be to turn their seasons around.

Cubs and Braves. Big Names: Ryan Dempster and Randall Delgado (according to reports)

Just announced this afternoon, Ryan Dempster will be headed to the Braves probably for 22-year old starter Randall Delgado (in a likely package). This year, Delgado has gone 4-9 with a 4.42 ERA in 17 games. The Cubs will no doubt benefit in the future if they do indeed acquire Delgado. If he is already this developed by age 22, he could eventually become a top-of-the-rotation starter. For the Braves, this is huge. Already a contender, Dempster will provide the extra boost needed to possibly overtake the Nationals in the NL East (as of today the Nationals lead by 3.5 games). With Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson already heading the staff, Dempster will be a third veteran arm in the rotation. Jair Jurrjens has been roughed up lately, so some pressure will be taken off him. The rotation is looking like Hanson, Hudson, and Dempster at the top, with Mike Minor and Jurrjens following. Dempster will also give the Braves extra strength in the playoffs if they decide to go with a three-man rotation. This year with the Cubs, Dempster is 5-4 with a 2.11 ERA. Over his 15-year career, Dempster holds a 117-120 record with a 4.31 ERA.

As the deadline gets closer, look for more updates as the trades keep coming.

***Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, MLB reports Intern & Facebook Administrator.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky)***


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About bernieolshansky

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve experienced some exciting times with the local baseball teams—the Giants winning the World Series being the most memorable highlight. Some of my favorite players include Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, and Cliff Lee among others. I played baseball up through my freshman year of high school and transitioned into being a full time fan. I regularly attend major and minor league games when I have free time. I enjoy working at a baseball store. I’m in my senior year of high school and hope to major in Journalism or Sports Administration in college. Follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky).

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