CHICAGO, July 31, 2013 — Well, that was a dud. The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, but this year it seems there were no huge stars moved. Maybe it is front offices getting smarter and realizing an acquisition is good for maybe 2-3 WAR between now and the end of the year or maybe it is with the additional Wild Card more teams believe they are still in the chase. Regardless, this deadline seems to be lacking trades involving starts. Perhaps, more players will clear waivers and be traded in August.
Yesterday’s Jake Peavy and Alberto Callaspo deals can be found here, but let’s take a look at the trades from today.
The Royals acquired Justin Maxwell from the Astros for Single A starter Kyle Smith. The Royals believe they are in contention, and are 9-2 in their last 11, so they acquired Maxwell and his .241/.311/.387 slash line. Maxwell will likely platoon in center field with Lorenzo Cain as Maxwell does hit lefties at a .302/.348/.488 clip. In Kyle Smith, the Astros add another arm to their farm system and though many scouts believe Smith has limited upside there is optimism that he can develop into a fourth or fifth starter.
The Dodgers acquired Drew Butera from the Twins in exchange for a player to be named later. Butera provides depth at catcher in case anything happens to A.J. Ellis or Tim Fedorowicz, but does not appear to offer much else as he has a career slash line of .182/.230/.263.
The Orioles obtained Bud Norris and an international bonus slot in exchange for minor leaguers L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader and a 2014 Competitive Balance Round A pick. Norris will go from the worst team in baseball into the thick of a playoff race for the Orioles. He will be needed immediately as the Orioles also placed Jason Hammel on the disabled list today. Norris has pitched 126 innings this year with a 3.93 ERA, 6.43 K/9, and 2.09 K/BB. The Orioles will have of Norris through 2015 as he finishes his arbitration years. Norris’ K/9 are substantially below his career rate of 8.39, which bears watching and could be due, at least partially, to the Astros switching from the NL to the AL.
The Astros add Hoes, who has a .304/.406/.403 line in AAA, and Hader, who was pitching in Single A. Hoes seems to have patience and may be a bat off the bench when the rosters expand in September while Hader has decent peripherals but is a long way off.
Finally, the Padres traded for starter Ian Kennedy from the division rival Diamondbacks for lefty reliever Joe Thatcher, AA pitcher Matt Stites, and a compensation round B pick. The Padres will control Kennedy through 2015 as he is not eligible for free agency until then, which is good because they trail the division leading Dodgers by nine games and the wild card by even more.
Kennedy has thrown 124 innings with a 5.23 ERA, 7.84 K/9 and 2.25 K/BB. Historically, he has pitched well at PETCO with a 1.13 ERA and 37 K’s in 24 IP over the last three years. This move should help the Padres in 2014 and 2015. Thatcher will join the Diamondbacks bullpen as they trail the Dodgers by three and a half games. Thatcher has thrown 30 innings this year with a 2.10 ERA, 8.70 K/9 and 7.25 K/BB and should help the Diamonbacks bullpen although many relievers from the Padres have taken advantage of the large confines of PETCO. Many scouts view Stites as another bullpen arm, but he will likely not be up this year.
Overall, these trades lack the excitement of a Cliff Lee trade but may have a large impact over the next two months. GM’s will now look to sneak players through waivers to make them eligible to trade throughout the month of August.
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