Winners and losers of the trade deadline

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We’re required by federal law to make a “winners and losers” post after the trade deadline. Gotta know where the teams stand after all of the 4 PM EDT hubbub.

Check out the list of all the deadline transactions here.

Winners

New York Yankees – GM Brian Cashman turned pending free agents Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova into legitimate prospects. For Beltran, the club acquired Dillon Tate, Erik Swanson, and Nick Green from the Rangers. Tate’s stock fell sharply after being selected fourth overall by the Rangers in last year’s draft. He struggled to a 5.12 ERA in 65 innings with Single-A Hickory this season, but he’s only 22 and probably fixable. Meanwhile, for Nova, the Yankees received two players to be named later. Beltran is 39 and Nova hasn’t been good for a while, so turning them into potentially useful young players is a win. The Yankees on Sunday flipped reliever Andrew Miller to the Indians for four prospects: outfielder Clint Frazier and pitchers Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller, and J.P. Feyereisen. A week ago, the Yankees sent Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for pitcher Adam Warren, minor league outfielders Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford, and shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres. Torres is now the Yankees’ #2 prospect. Frazier is first, Sheffield is seventh, and McKinney is 16th, per MLB Pipeline.

Texas Rangers – The Rangers bulked up to protect their 62-44 record and six-game lead in the AL West by snagging Beltran from the Yankees as well as catcher Jonathan Lucroy and reliever Jeremy Jeffress from the Brewers. While the Rangers would’ve liked to have also brought in a starting pitcher, the club otherwise addressed its glaring needs. Lucroy and his .841 OPS represent a major upgrade over the aggregate .710 OPS the Rangers have gotten from their catchers. Jeffress bolsters a scary back of the bullpen that includes closer Sam Dyson, Tony Barnette, Jake Diekman, and Matt Bush who all have ERA’s under 3.00. Beltran and his .890 OPS help the Rangers fill the DH role vacated by Prince Fielder. Beltran could also find time in the outfield and at first base as needs dictate.

Milwaukee Brewers – Like the Yankees, the Brewers were able to ship out some veterans to truly bolster their minor league system. The club sent Lucroy and Jeffress to the Rangers for outfield prospect Lewis Brinson and pitching prospect Luis Ortiz, rated as #2 and 3 in the Rangers’ system, respectively, by MLB Pipeline. Reliever Will Smith went to the Giants for catcher Andrew Susac and pitching prospect Phil Bickford, who is now rated fourth in the Brewers’ system. That’s a pretty good day.

Chicago Cubs – A team with few flaws added arguably baseball’s most dominant reliever in Chapman and also picked up Joe Smith from the Angels on Sunday. Smith isn’t as lights out as he used to be, but he has an adequate 3.82 ERA with a 25/13 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings this season. With the way Hector Rondon, Travis Wood, and Pedro Strop have been pitching this season, though, Smith is mostly just middle relief depth. If the Cubs can have their starters depart with a lead after six innings, they have a very good shot at winning that game. It’ll be even scarier in the playoffs.

Losers

Los Angeles Angels – The Angels sent starter Hector Santiago and minor league reliever Alan Busenitz to the Angels for starters Ricky Nolasco and Alex Meyer. This trade doesn’t make much sense for the Angels, even though they’re getting money to cover Nolasco’s salary. Nolasco has been terrible and will be under contract next season. It’s possible the Angels just designate him for assignment as his rotation spot could be better used. Meyer will be under team control for a while, so that will be nice for the Angels, but Meyer has been battling a shoulder injury for most of the season.

Cleveland Indians – The Indians completed a deal with the Yankees on Sunday for Miller, sending four prospects to New York. The Indians thought they had a deal with the Brewers for Lucroy, but that fell through when the Indians wouldn’t promise Lucroy a starting catching role in 2017 nor nullifying his club option for ’17. Outfielder Brandon Guyer was also added ahead of Monday’s 4 PM EDT deadline. The 60-42 Indians lead the AL Central by 4.5 games, but adding only Miller and Guyer may not be enough. They really needed a catcher. The club has gotten an AL-worst .511 OPS from the catching position. A pitcher — even one as lights out as Miller — who only pitches one inning every other game or so can only do so much.

Atlanta Braves – The Braves didn’t do a whole lot, other than exchanging outfielder Hector Olivera with the Padres for outfielder Matt Kemp. Olivera was given an 81-game suspension for his involvement in a domestic violence incident in April. The Braves washed themselves of the player and what was remaining of his six-year, $62.5 million contract originally signed with the Dodgers. They also brought in a useful outfielder in Kemp. While Kemp may not be an MVP-caliber player anymore, he still put up a .774 OPS this season playing half his games at Petco Park and he’s not a known domestic abuser. So that’s nice.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.