Lets make a deal

HBT’s Trade Deadline Tracker

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The 2012 non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone. Here’s your summary of who went where and for whom:

7/31/12: The Indians Acquire 1B Lars Anderson from the Red Sox for RHP Steven Wright. Quick Take: Anderson is a once-promising slugger who has seemingly run out of gas on his third time through Triple-A. Wright is a knuckleball experiment which could be fun at least.

7/31/12: The Yankees Acquire 3B/1B Casey McGehee from the Pirates for RHP Chad Qualls. Quick Take: Yawn. The Yankees get rid of a reliever they don’t need and the Pirates get rid of a corner guy they don’t need. If McGehee can turn the clock back to 2009-10 again, hey, the Yankees third base hole is filled until A-Rod comes back. But don’t count on it.

7/31/12: The Rangers acquire RHP Ryan Dempster from the Cubs for 3B Christian Villanueva and RHP Kyle Hendricks. Quick Take: The Rangers desperately needed a starter, and they swooped in and took Dempster from the clutches of the Dodgers.

7/31/12: The Reds acquire RHP Jonathan Broxton from the Royals. Quick Take: The Reds already have the best bullpen in the NL and add a guy with 23 saves who throws hard to be a role-playing setup man. The rich get richer.

7/31/12: The Marlins trade 1B Gaby Sanchez to the Pirates for OF Gorkys Hernandez. Quick Take: Sanchez was an All-Star last year but has cratered and has been in the minors for a month. A change of scenery could unlock his old self.

7/31/12: The Diamondbacks trade LHP Craig Breslow to the Red Sox for OF Scott Podsednik and RHP Matt Albers. Quick Take: The Sox add a nice lefty specialist and unload a worse pitcher and a guy with no future on the team. Not bad.

7/31/12: The Marlins trade RHP Edward Mujica to the Cardinals for 3B Zack Cox. Quick Take: Cox has the chance to be something special — he’s young and powerful — but the Cards need bullpen help now, and Mujica should provide it.

7/31/12: The Phillies trade OF Hunter Pence to the Giants for OF Nate Schierholtz, C Tommy Joseph and RHP Seth Rosin. Quick Take: Pence upgrades the Giants offense. His departure lowers the Phillies payroll. And Joseph is a potential catcher of the future.

7/31/12: The Phillies trade OF Shane Victorino to the Dodgers for RHP Josh Lindblom and RHP Ethan Martin. Quick Take: He’ll play left for a Dodgers team that has worked hard to upgrade at the deadline. For the Phillies: the end of something of an era, I guess. Victorino is now nearly 3,000 miles closer to Hawaii.

7/30/12: The Pirates acquired OF Travis Snider from the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Brad Lincoln: Quick Take: A guy who was once the Jays’ top hitting prospect but has never been able to do it in the bigs could use the change of scenery.

7/30/12: The Blue Jays Acquired RHP Steve Delabar from the Seattle Mariners for OF Eric Thames. Quick Take: Eric Thames: not likely to power the M’s to the playoffs this year. Sorry, folks!

7/30/12: The Dodgers acquired RHP Brandon League from the Seattle Mariners for OF Leon Landry and RHP Logan Bawcom. Quick Take: Bullpen help for the Dodgers when their division rival Giants could use the same? Delicious.

7/30/12: The Braves Acquired LHP Paul Maholm, OF Reed Johnson and cash considerations from the Chicago Cubs for RHP Arodys Vizcaino and RHP Jaye Chapman. Quick Take: The Braves bolster their rotation and add a useful bat in Johnson. The Cubs get something of a lottery ticket in Vizcaino with all of its attendant risks and potential rewards.

7/30/12: The Cubs trade C Geovany Soto to the Rangers for RHP Jacob Brigham. Quick Take: Lots of catching congestion in Texas. Figure it means the end of the  Yorvit Torrealba era. Gentlemen, please doff your caps in respect.

7/29/12: The Brewers traded C George Kottaras to Oakland for RHP Fautino De Los Santos. Quick Take: Kottaras woulda been a great Moneyball-era pickup for the A’s. Old habits die hard.

7/29/12: The Diamondbacks traded OF Marc Krauss and OF Bobby Borchering to Houston for 3B Chris Johnson. Quick Take: A nice bat for the Dbacks.

7/28/12: The White Sox acquired LHP Francisco Liriano from the Minnesota Twins for INF Eduardo Escobar and LHP Pedro Hernandez. Quick Take: Liriano is an enigma at this point, capable of a shutdown outing of, more commonly, a facepalm outing. But the Sox need rotation depth to get out of the “Peavy and Sale and pray for hail” pattern they were developing in the first half.

7/25/12: The Marlins traded 3B Hanley Ramirez and LHP Randy Choate to the Dodgers for RHP Nathan Eovaldi and RHP Scott McGough. Quick Take: If the Dodgers got pre-2011 Hanley Ramirez it’s a game-changer in the west. If not, well, at least it should be fun to see how Don Mattingly handles discipline.

7/27/12: The Angels acquire RHP Zack Greinke from the Brewers for SS Jean Segura, RHP Ariel Pena and RHP Johnny Hellweg. Quick Take: The Angels get an ace, but he may only be a rental and they paid a high price in return: Segura, Pena and Hellweg were their second, fourth and ninth best prospects coming in to the season.

7/24/12: The Pirates acquired LHP Wandy Rodriguez and cash from the Astros for LHP Rudy Owens, LHP Colton Cain and OF Robbie Grossman. Quick Take: The Pirates are goin’ for it and a solid starter that Rodriguez is the kind of pickup the fans needed to see.

7/24/12: The Indians traded RHP Jose De La Torre to Boston for INF/OF Brent Lillibridge. Quick Take: In the future, Brent Lillibridge will be a utility player for every team for fifteen minutes.

7/23/12: The Mariners traded OF Ichiro Suzuki and cash considerations to the Yankees for RHP D.J. Mitchell and RHP Danny Farquhar. Quick Take: Take the famous name off this deal and the Yankees got something they needed — a defensive-oriented outfielder with some speed and the ability to put the ball in play — in exchange for organization depth and not much more. The key: getting Raul Ibanez out of left field every day. Mission accomplished.

7/23/12: The Tigers acquired RHP Anibal Sanchez, 2B Omar Infante and a competitive balance lottery draft choice between the first and second round of the 2013 amateur draft from the Miami Marlins for RHP Jacob Turner, LHP Brian Flynn, C Rob Brantly and a competitive ballance lottery draft choice between the second and third round of the 2013 amateur draft. Quick Take: Dave Dombrowski addresses the Tigers two biggest need — a starter and a second baseman — in one fell swoop. Jacob Turner could be missed, but not in the 2012 pennant race, and that’s where the Tigers are now.

7/21/12: The White Sox acquired RHP Brett Myers and cash considerations from Houston for RHP Matt Heidenreich and LHP Blair Walters and a player to be named. Quick Take: I guess weirder things have happened that a guy like Brett Myers being the closer for a World Series winning team, but I just can’t think of it right now.

7/20/12: The Astros acquired RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Ben Francisco, RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP Asher Wojciechowski, LHP David Rollins, C Carlos Perez and a player to be named for RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP J.A. Happ and RHP David Carpenter from Toronto. Quick Take: Sound and fury, signifying nothing. Easily the most talent-light giant trade in baseball history.

7/20/12: The Mets traded INF Omar Quintanilla to the Orioles for cash. Quick Take: Take the money, leave the canolis.

7/20/12: The Rockies traded RHP Jeremy Guthrie to the Royals for LHP Jonathan Sanchez. Quick Take: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Another man isn’t going to go too crazy talking up his treasure, though. At least not in this case.

7/14/12: The Reds traded INF Paul Janish to Atlanta for RHP Todd Redmond. Quick Take: The Braves trading for a white veteran middle infielder is about the most predictable thing ever.

7/4/12: The Astros acquired INF Matt Dominguez and LHP Rob Rasmussen from Miami for 1B Carlos Lee. Quick Take: Remember when the Marlins thought they were buyers? Yeah, that seemed like eons ago.

7/1/12: The Yankees acquired RHP Chad Qualls from Philadelphia for a player to be named. Quick Take: I still don’t quite get this one. Qualls is just keeping Joba Chamberlain’s seat warm.

6/30/12: The Phillies traded 1B Jim Thome to Baltimore for RHP Kyle Simon and C Gabriel Lino. Quick Take: Jim Thome will play until he’s 60 and will mash taters for every team in baseball at least once.

Jose Fernandez was in the middle of baseball’s culture war

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins and Brian McCann #16 of the Atlanta Braves have words after a solo home run by Fernandez in the sixth inning during a game  at Marlins Park on September 11, 2013 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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A lot has been written since news of Jose Fernandez’s death broke early Sunday morning. Fernandez will be remembered fondly for the way he seemed to never stop smiling and for the way he competed on the field. Having already won the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year, it seemed inevitable that Fernandez would one day win a Cy Young Award. We were truly watching one of the best arms of this era and that was paired with a terrific personality. The combination is quite rare and the sport made so much better in the four years during which Fernandez pitched.

Fernandez defected to the United States four times and was sent to prison after each of the first three unsuccessful attempts. On the fourth attempt, his mother was thrown overboard in choppy waters and Fernandez dove in to rescue her. Fernandez risked everything to come to the United States to play baseball and seek a better life for himself and his family. If anyone had a right to tell other players to “play the game the right way” or to “respect the game,” it would have been Fernandez. But he never did. He played every game like it was his first. He savored his time out on the baseball field.

When Fernandez somehow snagged a Troy Tulowitzki line drive, Tulo stopped in his tracks to ask him, “Did you catch that?” Fernandez, flashing his trademark smile, replied, “Yeah, I did.”

When Giancarlo Stanton hit a monster home run to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, Fernandez cheered like he had just won the lottery.

Most memorably, Fernandez took a moment to take in his first career home run, hit on September 12, 2013 against the Braves. He lifted a 1-0 Mike Minor change-up for a no-doubt home run just in front of the Clevelander sign beyond the left field fence at Marlins Mark. Fernandez took his time circling the bases and, as he passed third base, Chris Johnson chirped at him. Catcher Brian McCann confronted him at home plate and shortly thereafter, both benches emptied. Even during this tense moment, Fernandez was seen smiling. In the dugout, he had an expression on his face that seemed to say, “Really?”

Fernandez was not the most central figure in baseball’s culture war, but as one of baseball’s best and most well-known players, he was certainly in the middle with the likes of Yasiel Puig, Jose Bautista, and Carlos Gomez. The war was about baseball’s “unwritten rules” which were devised by a homogeneous group of players decades ago and still followed today, still a rather homogeneous group. Newer players, an increasingly diverse group, were expected to adhere to these rules despite the fact that many of them played the game in a culture where emotion and exuberance were a normal part of the game.

Fernandez’s death should be a reminder that, when all is said and done, baseball is just a game and we’re meant to have fun with it. He was the embodiment of fun on the baseball field. In his memory, players should admire their handiwork on the field. Flip a bat after hitting a foul ball, like Odubel Herrera. Bat flip a fly out, like Puig. Players should laugh and pump their fists and cheer as if they might never have a chance to do it again. Because they might not.

Jose Fernandez was remarkable on and off the field

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Pitcher Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins poses for photos on media day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 24, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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Jose Fernandez’s love for baseball was born in Santa Clara, Cuba. It was there, alongside childhood friend and St. Louis Cardinal Aledmys Diaz, that he devoted hours to makeshift games of baseball. Often alone, often without a teammate, a playing field, or even a baseball, Fernandez would spend hours lobbing baseball-sized rocks in the air, hitting them with sticks, and circling imaginary bases.

The dream was to play in the Cuban National Series, a 16-team league that formed when the original Cuban League disbanded in 1961. When Fernandez became a teenager, however, his stepfather, Ramon Jimenez, defected to the United States. It took Jimenez 13 attempts before he made a successful escape, and soon he sent for his wife and children. Whatever baseball aspirations Fernandez had took a backseat to his own treacherous journey from Cuba to Florida.

After two unsuccessful attempts and two months in a Cuban prison, 15-year-old Fernandez, his mother, and his stepsister tried again. The voyage was tumultuous; at one point, Fernandez’s mother fell overboard. Fernandez dove in after her and helped her swim 30 yards back to the boat. It took another month and change before Fernandez was settled in Florida with his family, and from there, his baseball career appeared to flourish overnight. He enrolled in Braulio Alonso High School and pitched during two championship runs with the Florida Class 6A state champions, working a 13-1 record and 2.85 ERA in his senior year with two no-hitters.

By 2011, several weeks before his 19th birthday, Fernandez was selected by the Miami Marlins in the first round of the MLB draft. His ascension through the minor leagues was even more remarkable. In his first season with Single-A Greensboro, Fernandez contributed six innings of a combined no-hitter, pitched to a combined 1.75 ERA and 158 strikeouts between Greensboro and Advanced-A Jupiter, and was distinguished as the preeminent Marlins minor league pitcher of the year.

If the transition from Miami’s minor league circuit to the big league stage was a rocky one, Fernandez hid it well. He debuted with the Marlins on April 17, 2013, holding the Mets to five innings of one-run ball and striking out eight of 19 batters. Only six major league pitchers under 21 years old had struck out at least eight batters during their major league debut; at 20 years old, Fernandez was the seventh.

The rest of his rookie season was no less groundbreaking. Fernandez worked a 2.19 ERA, second only to Clayton Kershaw’s 1.83 mark among qualified starting pitchers, appeared in his first All-Star Game, was named Rookie of the Month in two consecutive months, and capped his year with a staggering 4.1 fWAR. The Marlins didn’t just find their next ace in Fernandez; they found one of the best starting pitchers of the decade.

This isn’t to say that Fernandez was perfect — no player is. Reports surfaced in November 2015 that the 23-year-old hurler was working under a strained relationship with the Marlins’ brass, refusing to adhere to dugout protocol and asking president of baseball operations Michael Hill when he would be traded. Per Andy Slater of slaterscoops.com, the higher-ups in the Marlins’ organization weren’t the only ones frustrated with their star pitcher. Casey McGehee reprimanded Fernandez for showing up late to the clubhouse, and unnamed players also expressed their hope that Fernandez would struggle on the mound in future starts as a consequence for his arrogant behavior.

Following the report, several players stepped forward in Fernandez’s defense. According to a report by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the worst criticism levied at Fernandez was that he occasionally acted his age. (Brian McCann, who confronted Fernandez in a benches-clearing brawl after the rookie’s first career home run, might have agreed.) Others, like right-handers Dan Haren and Tom Koehler, vocalized their support for the pitcher despite any underlying tension surrounding his potential departure.

Whether or not the rumors had merit, Fernandez was spared the chopping block during his lengthy recovery process in 2014 and 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. In 2016, he again proved his dominance on the mound. Through 186 ⅔ innings, the 24-year-old posted 16 wins, a staggering 12.49 K/9 rate, a 2.86 ERA and career-high 6.2 fWAR. It should have been just the second outstanding season of a lengthy career; instead, it was his last.

In the wake of today’s tragedy, it is difficult to dwell on Fernandez’s professional accomplishments. We know that he was more than the sum of his innings pitched in Miami, more than a feel-good story or a testament to the resilience of other players who defected from their home countries in pursuit of a better life. By all reports, he was a man of incredible courage, a cherished son and grandson, and a remarkable talent on the field. His life, as with any other, should be valued not for what he did or did not do, but simply because he existed.