Tag: Houston Astros

Cole Hamels

The Winners and Losers at the Trade Deadline


On some level it’s silly to declare winners and losers a mere hour after the trade deadline passes. For the buyers these trades, in the shortest term, are designed to help them get over the top and into the playoffs, so we can’t know until October if they were successful. For the seller it could be years before we know if the prospects they received in return truly paid off.

But this is the Internet, and things like “reason” and “waiting” are just not concepts that can be abided. And, at the very least, we can certainly talk about who, in our gut anyway, did OK this trading season. So let’s go with our gut for moment, shall we?

First, go check out our entire rundown of every deal of consequence at the deadline over at our Trade Deadline Tracker.source: Getty Images


Astros: Carlos Gomez helps fix their thin outfield, Scott Kazmir gives them another ace behind Dallas Keuchel and Mike Fiers helps solidify the back end of the rotation. And they got this haul despite not parting with any truly top prospects such as Vincent Velasquez, Mark Appel and Michael Feliz. A great upgrade in a go-for-it season without sacrificing any of that bright future? You gotta love it.

Royals: Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto are excellent win-now pickups, and the Royals are certainly winning now. Kansas City paid a pretty steep price for the Cueto rental — Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed could all be a part of the Reds’ rotation over the next couple of years — but this is the Royals day and they are seizing it.

Tigers: It’s been a bad summer for Detroit and, at least as far as the public was concerned, they weren’t selling until about 48 hours ago. But in that 48 hours they got a lot of something out of what would’ve been nothing after this lost season. David Price was not going to sign with the Tigers after this year and, at most, they’d get a first round pick for him if they held on. Instead they got three nice arms in Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt. Like the Cincy trio, all of these guys will figure in the Tigers’ major league future. They wouldn’t have even gotten a draft pick for Yoenis Cespedes, so getting a couple of arms for him — including a nice one in Double-A pitcher Michael Fulmer — was a decent return. Detroit sure didn’t want to sell, but if they had to, they did well.

Reds: For the reasons mentioned in the Royals comment, they got the most out of their big asset, Cueto. Their overall management of this roster has not been exemplary, but they made a good trade there. And, more importantly, they didn’t panic and move Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier just to say they moved them, which I feel would’ve been a mistake. They are both valuable bats at a time when bats are scarce. They can either try to move them through waivers in August or, more realistically, in the offseason when everyone is less panicky and it’s easier to see how to fit a position player into your plans than it is on the fly in July.

Blue Jays: This could be a situation in which, a couple of years from now, when they’re paying a declining Troy Tulowitzki and David Price has long since gone, they will regret these deals. But for now you have to credit them for going big rather than going home. They have a lot of ground to make up and they gave up a lot of talent to do it, but if these moves turn into an October run it will have been worth it. That’s what a lot of people who judge trades often forget when, ten years later, they ignore the veterans and only talk about the kids involved who turned into something. The Tigers traded John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander. Know what? They were right to do it given their situation in the summer of 1987 and don’t let anyone tell you different, even if it stings Tigers fans a bit to think about what life with Smoltz would’ve looked like.

Phillies: Ruben Amaro has gotten a load of crap over the years. And heck, maybe he didn’t make these moves. Maybe Pat Gillick or Andy MacPhail did. I don’t know. But whoever it was who called these shots, they got a decent return for Cole Hamels in the form of Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff and Matt Harrison and a couple of nice relief prospects for Ben Revere. They also unloaded Jonathan Papelbon and the specter of his 2016 option. Maybe they should’ve rebuilt years ago, but they did the best with what they had now.

UPDATE:  OK, I’ll include the Mets here in their pickup of Cespedes. It certainly improved the offense. I’m not sure it’s enough — it’s still a pretty bad offense — but credit where it is due for addressing a problem.



No one really got hosed here, but the following teams didn’t make the sort of bold moves one would have assumed they would.

Marlins: OK, they’re true losers. Sorry, hard to sugarcoat this. They traded away guys who made money and who likely appeared on season ticket brochures in Mat Latos and Dan Haren. None of the prospects they got back seem projectable and all of their deals seemed aimed at salary relief. Which is par for the course for them.

Yankees: They didn’t have a lot to work with, but they definitely needed a starter or, short of that, another reliever to help that strong bullpen get stronger and diminish the impact of that problematic starting five. And . . . they did nothing. While Toronto picked up two huge pieces and even the Orioles added talent. They have a nice division lead and my bet now is that it holds up, but it was rather surprising not seeing the Yankees making any moves.

Dodgers: Picking up Mat Latos and Alex Wood help their depleted rotation, and Jose Peraza is a nice long-term piece for the Dodgers at second base, but given their money and their prospects, I’m rather shocked they weren’t in on the Price/Cueto/Hamels action. Some of their fans likely will be too. Certainly not hard losers — they improved their team –but they sort of surprised in their lack of big moves.

Braves: I’m somewhat torn here, because if you look at the Braves’ overall plan since they decided to blow things up last offseason, a lot of what they did makes sense and fits in a larger “smart moves” narrative. Including Bronson Arroyo in the deal that brought them Hector Olivera ended up — if you rationalize things just right — getting them Olivera and pitching prospect Touki Touissant for basically free, and that’s good. But you can also say that they traded a well-thought-of, team-controlled lefty starter and one of their top position playing prospects for a 30-year-old infielder who has never played in the bigs and who has an injury history. Which, eh.

Cardinals: They’re leading their division and seem like a team in good shape, but like a lot of clubs, just wanted one more bat. And they got it in Brandon Moss. So, good, right? Welp, I dunno. They gave up a nice pitching prospect in Rob Kaminsky to do it. You’d figure he could get you more. Maybe Ben Zobrist if they had moved aggressively? Hard to say, but it’s a lot for Moss, who has had a rotten year.

Cubs: A big caveat here in that, in their heart of hearts, I bet Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer didn’t think they’d contend this year and thus don’t really feel comfortable trading a lot of talent for a 2015 run. If I were them I’d have a hard time doing that, that’s for sure. I’d be all about getting David Price next winter, frankly. Still, if they were going t0 make a move to make it look like they were making a move, I’m not sure why Dan Haren was that move. He has been OK overall, but he has pitched WAY WAY worse on the road than he has in Marlins Park and will likely give up a ton of homers in Wrigley Field. Indeed, I feel like his second half will be rather ugly.

OK, so that exercise is done. And, as noted above, maybe it was silly given that time is required to truly judge these moves. But this is the Internet, dang it, and the Internet is made for this kind of insta-analysis, right?


2015 MLB Trade Deadline Tracker

Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners

Find all of the completed deals right here through Friday afternoon’s trade deadline.

July 31

Mets acquired OF Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers for RHP Michael Fulmer and RHP Luis Cessa

After backing out of the Carlos Gomez deal and flirting with Jay Bruce, the Mets still managed to pull off deadline day’s biggest deal, bringing in Cespedes in the midst of one of his best surge’s as a major leaguer. It’s not an ideal fit — a true center fielder would have been better — but it will give the offense quite a lift, even if Cespedes doesn’t offer much in the way of OBP. It will be interesting to see how the Mets try to get by with either Curtis Granderson or Cespedes in center. Ideally, Juan Lagares would start hitting and those two could stay in the corners. Lagares, though, appears to be too banged up to contribute. Expect him to take a backseat so that Michael Conforto can continue to start in left for now.

The Tigers did well to get Fulmer here. He has all of the makings of a No. 3 starter or perhaps even a No. 2, and he should be ready to help next year. Cessa has been a career starter in the minors, but he probably projects better as a reliever in the majors.

Blue Jays acquired OF Ben Revere from the Phillies for RHP Alberto Tirado and RHP Jimmy Cordero

The Phillies got two of the Blue Jays’ hardest throwers back for Revere, with the caveat that both are true relievers. Tirado has the better chance of the duo of turning into a late-game option in a couple of years, though Cordero could reach the majors first. Revere should be a nice complementary player for the Jays as a left fielder against right-handers and backup to Kevin Pillar in center. He hit .298/.334/.374 in 366 at-bats for the Phillies. The Blue Jays can continue to stick with Chris Colabello if he produces, but now he will be able to DH more frequently. Sacrificing power for defense makes plenty of sense here.

Orioles acquire OF Gerardo Parra from the Brewers for RHP Zach Davies

The Orioles had a Parra-type player in Alejandro De Aza, only to dump him after his slow start. Now they’ve had to give up a solid prospect and spend some money to replace him. Clearly it’s a win if Parra’s career season continues — he’s batting .328/.369/.517 right now after coming in at .265/.316/.387 the previous two years — but there isn’t much reason to think it will, particularly now that he’s switching leagues for the first time in his career. Also, his defense isn’t nearly what it was a few years back. All of that said, he’s better than what they have now and that probably makes the deal worth doing. Davies, 22, isn’t a big upside guy, but he has a 2.84 ERA and an 81/33 K/BB ratio with just four homers allowed in 101 1/3 innings in Triple-A this year. He could work out nicely as a fourth or fifth starter.

Cubs acquire RHP Dan Haren from the Marlins for RHP Ivan Pineyro and SS Elliot Soto

The Cubs would have preferred a top-of-the-rotation threat, but they needed to shore up the fifth spot and do that here. Haren has a 3.42 ERA in 21 starts for the Marlins, but it comes with a diminished strikeout rate and peripherals that suggest his ERA should be closer to the 4.00-4.50 range. He gives the Cubs security, but ideally, he wouldn’t be in their top four should they reach the postseason. The Marlins aren’t getting much in return. Pineyro is probably a middle reliever if he makes the majors. Soto might have some use as a utilityman if this year’s on-base skills are for real; he’s at .388 in Double-A this year, but his career mark is .328 in six minor league seasons.

Rangers acquired RHP Sam Dyson from the Marlins for LHP Cody Ege and C Tomas Telis

This one will slip under the radar, but Dyson is solid reliever capable of being something considerable more if he just brings down his walk rate some. He throws in the mid-90s and gets tons of grounders along with his strikeouts (41 in 44 IP this year). He makes the minimum for another year, and he could become a really good setup man for half a decade or so. The Marlins didn’t give him away; Ege has the makings of a strong lefty reliever himself, and Telis should grow into a long-term role as J.T. Realmuto’s backup. Still, this is a nice pickup for Texas.

Pirates acquired 1B-OF Mike Morse and cash from the Dodgers for OF Jose Tabata

Morse is being tossed around like he didn’t have an .811 OPS in 131 games for the Giants last year or a .794 career mark. The Pirates can use him as their first baseman against left-handers and give him a chance to secure the job outright if he outproduces Pedro Alvarez. He’s also an option in the outfield, but it’d be for the best if he’s not needed there. The Pirates are also finally out from under the rest of Tabata’s deal, which they’ve seemed to regret from the moment it was signed in Aug. 2011. He’s made $4 million this year while spending most of the season in the minors and gets $4.5 million next year before the guaranteed portion finally comes to an end. Tabata still might be useful as a fourth outfielder and starter against lefties, but the Dodgers probably won’t ever have playing time for him. He’ll head to Triple-A for now, and it’d be for the best if he simply gets released.

Blue Jays acquire RHP Mark Lowe from the Mariners for LHP Nick Wells, LHP Rob Rasmussen and LHP Jake Brentz

Lowe had had a fabulous year, posting a 1.00 ERA and a 47/11 K/BB ratio in 36 innings for the Mariners. His ability to keep it up is less about stuff and more about health. He’s always had durability issues, and he hasn’t topped 50 innings since 2011. This year, he’s already at 45, including his time in Triple-A. Coming back to the Mariners are three lefties. Wells is the prospect in the group, a 2014 third-round pick with a chance of turning into something someday. Right now, he’s sporting a 4.78 ERA in Rookie ball. Rasmussen is a fringy reliever who could slot into Seattle’s pen immediately. Brentz is another Rookie ball guy.

Twins acquire RHP Kevin Jepsen from the Rays for RHP Chih-Wei Hu and RHP Alexis Tapia

Jepsen has a 2.81 ERA for the Rays this year, but he’s gone from striking out 10.4 batters and walking 3.2 batters per nine innings last year to striking out 7.3 and walking 4.3 this year. That’s a big change, and it might not bode well for continued success in a setup role. On the plus side, the Twins didn’t part with any top prospects here. Hu, 21, has a nice 2.44 ERA and a 73/19 K/BB ratio in 84 2/3 innings in high-A ball, but he doesn’t get rave reviews for his stuff. Tapia is a 19 and pitching in Rookie ball. Neither made Baseball America’s preseason top 30 prospects list for the Twins.

Pirates acquired LHP J.A. Happ from the Mariners for RHP Adrian Sampson

With his ERA up to 4.64, the Mariners were all set to dump Happ from their rotation. This is a more permanent solution. Happ isn’t an upgrade for the Pirates rotation, either, though if A.J. Burnett needs a stint on the DL, he’s a capable replacement for two or three weeks. Sampson, 23, had a 3.98 ERA and a 95/29 K/BB ratio in 124 1/3 innings for Triple-A Indianapolis. His stuff is mediocre, and if he has any success in the majors, it’ll probably come as a reliever.

Cubs acquired RHP Tommy Hunter from the Orioles for OF Junior Lake

Hunter is a free agent at season’s end, and he hasn’t had a great year with his 3.63 ERA in 44 2/3 innings. Still, the feeling here is that the Orioles were better off with him in the pen than they are with Lake anywhere on the 40-man roster. Lake can hit lefties a bit, but he offers horrible plate discipline and subpar defense in an outfield corner. He’s a career .241/.283/.380 hitter with 198 strikeouts in 602 at-bats for the Cubs. That makes this a winner for the Cubs, even if Hunter is just the fifth- or sixth-best righty in their pen.

Padres acquired LHP Marc Rzepczynski from the Indians for OF Abraham Almonte

Haven’t these guys been traded for each other at least once already? No? Well, it had to happen at some point. Scrabble is a perfectly respectable lefty specialist, those his numbers this year against lefties aren’t as strong as usual (.264/.339/.358 in 53 AB). Almonte is a solid center fielder and a switch-hitter, but he lacks the bat to play regularly or even the splits to form part of a platoon. He might put up one or two good years before he’s done, but it’s anyone’s guess whether they’ll come in Cleveland.

Cardinals acquire RHP Jonathan Broxton from the Brewers for INF Malik Collymore

Just like Parra, Broxton was acquired by the Brewers as they tried to gear up for the postseason last year and now he’s gone in a deadline deal this year. Broxton was awful early on, but his ERA has dropped from 8.22 on May 20 to 5.89 now and he has a 37/10 K/BB ratio in 36 2/3 innings overall. The home run ball can be a problem for him, but the Cardinals play half of their games in a pretty forgiving stadium. Anyway, they aren’t bringing him in to pitch in crucial situations. Collymore, a 2013 10th-round pick, is in Rookie ball again this year and hitting .216/.326/.378 in 74 at-bats. He showed more last year, but he’s a long shot to reach the majors.

Athletics acquired LHP Felix Doubront from the Blue Jays for cash considerations

The Jays thought they could do without Doubront after their recent moves, so they save a little money here. The A’s get themselves some rotation insurance with Scott Kazmir gone and Drew Pomeranz apparently remaining in the bullpen.

Red Sox acquired RHP Ryan Cook from the Athletics for cash considerations

The 28-year-old Cook still possesses a nice 2.93 ERA as a major leaguer, with 207 strikeouts in 202 2/3 innings, but injuries caused him to slip last year and a disastrous spring cost him his spot entirely this year. He ended up giving up five runs over 4 1/3 innings in his final stints with the A’s, and they were probably just going to non-tender him rather than pay him another $1.5 million or so in arbitration next year. The Red Sox will take a look-see and see if he has anything left.

July 30

Blue Jays acquire LHP David Price from Tigers for LHP Daniel Norris, LHP Matt Boyd and LHP Jairo Labourt

With Norris involved, I’d say the Tigers did a bit better for their rental than the Reds did for Johnny Cueto, even if I’d put Boyd and Labourt behind all three arms the Royals surrendered. It’s just the Norris is the best bet of the six. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have given themselves a much better shot at postseason success should they get there, though that’s still very much in doubt.

Astros acquire OF Carlos Gomez and RHP Mike Fiers from Brewers for OF Brett Phillips, OF Domingo Santana, LHP Josh Hader and RHP Adrian Houser

This is quite the hit to the Astros’ depth, but it’s a testament to their system that they could go get Gomez and Fiers without touching top arms like Vincent Velasquez, Mark Appel and Michael Feliz. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if Gomez’s can get back to where he was in 2013 and ’14 while perhaps dealing with a mysterious hip condition that wrecked the deal sending him to the Mets. Even if he just carries on his 2015 level of performance, he’s an upgrade over Jake Marisnick at a modest price through 2016. Fiers is making the minimum this year and next, and he won’t be eligible for free agency until after 2019. His upside would seem to be rather limited despite his strong strikeout rate, but he’s a nice asset at a bargain price. The Astros will likely send Scott Feldman to the pen to make room for him.

For the Brewers, this is quite a shift from the Zack Wheeler-Wilmer Flores deal that would have given them two ready pieces for 2016. It’s also interesting that they apparently didn’t ask for Marisnick, who could have taken over for Gomez in center. Of the four players they got back, only Santana is ready to contribute. He’s a high-risk, high-reward right fielder with a huge strikeout rate. Phillips and Hader are better long-term prospects. Phillips will hit for average and modest power and play a solid center field when he’s ready in 2017. Hader’s slight build has long had him looked at as an injury risk, but he’ll be nasty if his command and changeup come along. Houser might be a fourth or fifth starter if things break right.

Dodgers acquire LHP Alex Wood, 2B-OF Jose Peraza, RHP Jim Johnson, LHP Luis Avilan and RHP Bronson Arroyo from Braves and RHP Mat Latos and 1B-OF Mike Morse from Marlins; Braves acquire INF Hector Olivera, LHP Paco Rodriguez and RHP Zach Bird from Dodgers and competitive balance draft pick from Marlins; Marlins acquire RHP Jeff Brigham, RHP Victor Araujo and RHP Kevin Guzman from Dodgers

A whopper of a deal, this seems hugely skewed in the Dodgers’ favor, mostly because they’re eating about $40 million in Olivera’s signing bonus and the salaries of Morse and Arroyo to make it happen. This could be a huge blow to the Braves’ future if Olivera doesn’t work out. Wood is just 24, and he has a 3.10 ERA and a 337/108 K/BB ratio in 369 innings as a major leaguer. Peraza figures to turn into at least an average regular at second and maybe something more. Olivera offers a middle-of-the-order bat, but there are questions about his health and long-term position.

For Marlins fans, this should just be another bummer. None of the three prospects the Dodgers sent them would have rated in the top 20 in their system. Latos alone should have drawn a bigger return, but the Marlins were mostly interested in shedding Morse’s salary and even gave up a 2016 draft pick, likely to come in the 40-45 range, to make it happen. Landing that pick was a key to the Braves’ part of the deal.

Giants acquire RHP Mike Leake from the Reds for RHP Keury Mella and 1B-3B Adam Duvall

Leake is a perfectly solid starter, but do you want him starting postseason games? He has a career ERA+ of 100 and that’s with him benefiting from the Reds’ typical strong infield play; his career FIP of 4.17 is worse than his 3.87 ERA. He has been on quite the roll of late after a slow start, and he’s going from a good situation for pitchers to a great one. Still, he doesn’t really seem like a difference maker, especially for a Giants team seven deep in the rotation. Whether Leake is second, third, fourth or fifth best in that group is hard to tell. He’ll help, and he might prove necessary if Matt Cain fails to improve the further removed he gets from his injuries or Chris Heston hits the wall. Tim Hudson appears likely to exit to make room for him. It just seems like he would have helped other teams more.

The Reds did well here, considering that Leake is a free agent at season’s end. Mella has a terrific arm, one with more upside than any of the three the Reds got from the Royals for Cueto. Still, much could happen to it between now and his projected major league debut in late 2016 or 2017. Duvall has been one of the top power hitters in the minors, but he’s 26, he can’t really cut it at third and he’ll probably never hit for average in the majors. He needs to hope the Reds turn right around and trade Marlon Byrd or Jay Bruce. If that happens, he could take over in left field and hit several homers these next two months. But if it doesn’t materialize now, one wonders if he’ll ever get a chance.

Cardinals acquire 1B-OF Brandon Moss from Indians for LHP Rob Kaminsky

The Indians would much rather have been in position to buy than to sell this week, but at least they were able to flip Moss at a profit after giving up second baseman Joey Wendle to get him from the A’s in the offseason. Kaminsky, a 20-year-old southpaw with a 2.15 ERA in 217 innings as a minor leaguer, is a much more intriguing talent. He projects as a fine middle-of-the-rotation starter with continued good health. Moss gives the Cardinals a starter at first base or in left field against right-handers with Matt Adams and Matt Holliday out.

Pirates acquire RHP Joakim Soria from Tigers for SS JaCoby Jones

The Pirates didn’t really need the bullpen help, but there are some things major league teams can never have enough of. Soria, who had a 2.85 ERA as Detroit’s closer, can work the seventh and eighth innings in combination with Tony Watson, turning Jared Hughes into a big double-play weapon in the middle frames. It seems like a fine arrangement, and the price was right, since Jones didn’t fit into their plans. He’s not good enough defensively to stick at shortstop, and the Pirates weren’t ever likely to need him at his more natural position of center field. He’s probably not going to hit enough to make it as a regular anyway.

Yankees acquire 2B-OF Dustin Ackley from the Mariners for OF Ramon Flores and RHP Jose Ramirez

Ackley has picked it up some as a bench player these last two months after his dreadful start played a big role in the Mariners acquiring Mark Trumbo. Of particular interest here is that he’s hitting more flies and pulling the ball more frequently than usual, which could lead to homers in Yankee Stadium. While he’s the fifth outfielder right now, he’ll probably start getting worked out at second base some to give the Yankees an alternative to Stephen Drew.

As for the Mariners, well, they probably weren’t going to want to pay Ackley $3 million to be a spare part next year anyway. Flores has an Ackley-like bat as a corner outfielder. He’s hit .286/.377/.417 as a 23-year-old in Triple-A this year. Ramirez is a fringy middle reliever.

July 29

Rangers acquire LHP Cole Hamels, LHP Jake Diekman and cash from the Phillies for C Jorge Alfaro, RHP Jake Thompson, OF Nick Williams, RHP Alec Asher, RHP Jerad Eickhoff and LHP Matt Harrison

By taking on the whopping $33 million owed to Harrison and swallowing a further $9.5 million of Hamels’ salary, the Phillies were able to get three premium prospects here in Alfaro, Thompson and Williams, plus a decent fourth piece in Asher. It’s a fine return, even if there’s no slam dunk prospect in the deal. Alfaro should turn out to be a quality starting catcher, if not a star. Thompson has No. 2 starter upside. Williams has his detractors, but he offers the ability to hit for average and power. Most importantly, he’s gone from posting 140/22 and 117/19 K/BB ratios the last two years to a more reasonable 77/32 in 97 games this season.

Fortunately for the Rangers, they don’t have to win this year for this to pay off, though they’ve given themselves a chance to stay in the wild card race. Hamels should be a force for years to come, and it’ll be exciting to see him paired with Yu Darvish atop the rotation next year. Diekman isn’t exactly chopped liver, either. He’s one of the game’s hardest throwing left-handed relievers, and while that hasn’t resulted in good numbers this year, he could still take a step forward as a setup man. The 28-year-old has 225 strikeouts (and 95 walks) in 173 1/3 innings as a major leaguer, and he won’t be a free agent until after 2018.

Pirates acquire RHP Joe Blanton from Royals for cash considerations

July 28

Royals acquire INF-OF Ben Zobrist from the Athletics for LHP Sean Manaea and RHP Aaron Brooks

Nationals acquire RHP Jonathan Papelbon and cash from Phillies for RHP Nick Pivetta

Angels acquire OF David Murphy from Indians for SS Eric Stamets

Angels acquire OF David DeJesus from Rays for RHP Eduar Lopez

July 27

Blue Jays acquire SS Troy Tulowitzki and RHP LaTroy Hawkins from the Rockies for SS Jose Reyes, RHP Jeff Hoffman, RHP Miguel Castro and RHP Jesus Tinoco

Mets acquire RHP Tyler Clippard and cash from the Athletics for RHP Casey Meisner

Angels acquire OF Shane Victorino and cash from the Red Sox for INF Josh Rutledge

July 26

Royals acquire RHP Johnny Cueto from the Reds for LHP Brandon Finnegan, LHP John Lamb and LHP Cody Reed

July 24

Mets acquire 3B Juan Uribe, INF-OF Kelly Johnson and cash from the Braves for RHP John Gant and RHP Robert Whelan

Cardinals acquire RHP Steve Cishek from the Marlins for RHP Kyle Barraclough

Angels acquire 3B Conor Gillaspie from the White Sox for cash considerations

July 23

Astros acquire LHP Scott Kazmir from the Athletics for C Jake Nottingham and RHP Daniel Mangden

Pirates acquire 3B Aramis Ramirez and cash from the Brewers for RHP Yhonathan Barrios

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

Jason Castro

Astros 3, Angels 0: The Astros complete a three-game sweep of the Angels and take a two-game lead in the west thanks to Jason Castro’s walkoff three-run homer. The win was aided by Scott Kazmir’s seven and two-thirds shutout innings. And now Carlos Gomez is on his way to join the fun.

Reds 15, Pirates 5: Brandon Phillips hit two three-run homers and drove in seven as the Reds demolish the Pirates. He also stole two bases. Jay Bruce drove in three as well. Word is that the Mets may be interested in Bruce, however, so expect to hear Sandy Alderson identify some mysterious physical ailment in him in the next few hours which undercuts any possible trade. Maybe a strain of his right buttock due to is wallet being too big for the Mets’ tastes.

Nationals 1, Marlins 0: Max Scherzer, Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon combine on a three-hit shutout. After the game someone asked the Nationals new closer how he was getting along with the old closer. Any strife or awkwardness with Storen, you know, losing his job?

That, um, is good.

Padres 8, Mets 7: Justin Upton’s three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth — after a 45 minute rain delay — ended up winning the game. But not before a post-homer rain delay of nearly another three hours, thanks in part to the Mets crew having a hell of a time getting the already wet tarp back on the field. Open question as to why Jeurys Familia was allowed to resuming pitching after that first 45 minute break, but Terry Collins thought he was OK. In other news, Justin Upton, who is the subject of trade rumors, is messing with us:

Earlier in the game, Upton hugged his teammates in the dugout as if he was saying goodbye after a trade.

“I thought that was funny,” Upton said. “That’s what happens when people like to tweet everything.”

Just like Best Shape of His Life, “Hug Watch” is more or less over now that players are aware of it. Really tired of players ruining all that is great about this game.

Phillies 4, Braves 1: Philly wins its tenth in the past 12 games. Aaron Harang came off the DL to allowed one run while scattering nine hits over five innings. Fun times: despite the trade to Texas, reliever Jake Diekman was still in uniform in the Phillies bullpen because, apparently, actually finalizing trades is too hard to do these days. Wilmer Flores on Wednesday night, Michael Morse pinch hitting for the Marlins yesterday, Diekman in the pen. Jeez, guys, clean it up. Tigers should’ve started David Price for crying out loud.

Tigers 9, Orioles 8: The Tigers had a 9-2 lead in the sixth inning before their bullpen made it interesting. Not that that’s new or anything. Now that they’re selling off it doesn’t matter all that much, of course. What does matter is Yoenis Cespedes homering and driving in three runs in his final audition before the trade deadline this afternoon.

Blue Jays 5, Royals 2: Dioner Navarro, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson all homered. Ben Zobrist made his Kansas City debut and went 0-for-4. He did manage to snag his preferred number 18 from coach Rusty Kuntz, however. Hope he’s getting what he wants for it. 

Dare to dream, Rusty.

Cardinals 9, Rockies 8: The Cardinals win on a walkoff walk as the Rockies blew a two-run lead in the ninth. Matt Carpenter homered twice, going 4-for-5 with four driven in. He did so after being moved back up to the leadoff position. After the game he talked about how that helps and how he’s more comfortable there and stuff. Which is something I don’t understand at all, as after the first inning it’s just like being in any other position in the lineup. He singled then, so great, but the homers came later. Never under estimate the superstition, irrationality and love of routine of ballplayers, though.

Red Sox 8, White Sox 2: The White Sox were surging, winners of seven straight, and were sending their ace, Chris Sale to the mound. So much for momentum theory. Boston rocked Sale to the tune of seven runs on 12 hits in five innings. David Ortiz went 3-for-3 with two RBI. Xander Bogaerts also had three hits and Rusney Castillo homered in the seventh. It was only Boston’s third win in their past 15 games.

Rangers 7, Yankees 6: Josh Hamilton hit a three-run homer in the first and a walkoff single in the ninth for a nice set of bookends. It was 101 degrees at first pitch. CC Sabathia ended up going to the hospital with dehydration. I’m all for outdoor baseball but I’d love to meet the genius who decided that they didn’t need a retractable roof in Texas. I guess they build the dang thing too early — Chase Field, Safeco Field, Minute Maid Park, and Miller Park all came later — and weren’t confident that it’d work? I dunno.

Cubs 5, Brewers 2: Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer with two out in the eighth inning. Joe Maddon: “The whole night, it wasn’t going our way, but I liked the way we worked. And then eventually Riz steps up and does what he can do.” No diggity. In other news, baseball nicknames are dying, you guys. How is he not “Ratso?”

Twins 9, Mariners 5: Eddie Rosario had a homer, a triple, a double and drove in three. If you have to fall short of a cycle, not getting the single is the best way to do it, even if “triple short of the cycle” gets all the press. Aaron Hicks and Brian Dozier also homered.

Indians 3, Athletics 1: Carlos Carrasco was dominant, tossing a two-hitter, with both hits coming in the first inning. All the A’s managed the rest of the way was a measly walk as Carrasco went the distance, needing only 103 pitches to do so, in a game that took only two hours and fifteen minutes.

Video: Jason Castro powers Astros past Angels with walk-off three-run homer

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 03:  Jason Castro #15 of the Houston Astros swings at a pitch in the second inning during their game against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park on June 3, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The Astros and Angels were locked in a scoreless tie Thursday night until Jason Castro stepped to the plate against Fernando Salas with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Take it away, Mr. Castro…

Now that’s a quality bat-flip.

Scott Kazmir, who was acquired from the Athletics last week, held the Angels to three hits over 7 2/3 scoreless frames. The Astros swept the three-game series from the Angels, so they now hold a two-game lead in the American League West. Oh, and they have Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers on the way. Pretty fun night to be an Astros fan, huh?

Jed Lowrie rejoins Astros after three-month disabled list stint, moves from shortstop to third base

Jed Lowrie

Astros infielder Jed Lowrie, who’s been out since April with a torn thumb ligament, is off the disabled list and back in the starting lineup … at third base.

At the time of the injury Lowrie was Houston’s starting shortstop, but since then stud prospect Carlos Correa has taken over the position for the next decade or so. When the Astros signed Lowrie to a three-year, $23 million deal this offseason they did so knowing Correa was nearly MLB-ready, so the move to third base was expected.

Luis Valbuena has been the Astros’ primary third baseman and he’s provided good power with 19 homers in 85 games, but that comes with a lowly .200 batting average and .698 OPS. Lowrie was off to a great start before the injury and is a career .262 hitter with a .748 OPS.