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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.

Indians trade Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers

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The Cleveland Indians have traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers. In exchange, Texas is sending center fielder Delino DeShields and pitcher Emmanuel Clase to the Indians. There are reports that the Indians will be getting more than just those two players, but no word yet. The deal is pending physical.

Kluber made only seven starts this past year thanks to a broken arm and a strained oblique muscle. When he did pitch he was no great shakes, posting a 5.80 ERA and 44 hits in 35.2 innings. Those were freak injuries that do not suggest long-term problems, however, so there’s a good reason to think he’ll bounce back to useful form, even if it’s a tough ask for him to return to the form that won him the 2014 and 2017 Cy Young Award.

Before his injury-wracked 2019 campaign, Kluber pitched over 200 innings in each of his previous five seasons so mileage could be an issue. For his career he’s 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA (134 ERA+), a 2.99 FIP, and a K/BB ratio of 1,461/292 over 1,341.2 innings in nine big league seasons.

Unless there is cash coming from Cleveland in the deal, the Rangers will be paying him $17.5 million this year and a 2021 option of $14 million pursuant to the five-year, $38.5 million contract he inked with Cleveland before the 2015 season.

DeShields, 27, is a career .246/.326/.342 hitter (76 OPS+) and that’s about how he performed in 2019 as well. He was demoted to Triple-A Nashville in May. Clase, who will turn 22 before next season, pitched 21 games, all but one in relief, for the Rangers in 2019 and will still be considered a rookie in 2020. He has been used mostly as a reliever in the minors as well.

Pending what else the Tribe is going to be getting, this appears to be a light return for a pitcher who, despite his 2019 injuries, should be expected to come back and be a workhorse. Unless there is some real talent coming back, in addition to DeShields and Clase, it would seem to be a salary dump for Cleveland and a steal for Texas. It is likewise perplexing how any of the many, many teams who could use starting pitching — the Angels and the Mets, among others, come to mind — could not top the package Texas offered.

As for the Indians, the commitment to Kluber for 2020-21 is $31.5 million if you exercise next year’s option, $18.5 million if you don’t. He’s one year and a freak injury removed from goin 20-7 with a 2.89 (150 ERA+), 0.991 WHIP, and 215 innings pitched. Cleveland is coming off 93 wins and should contend. Why you trade Kluber in that situation, regardless of the return, is a question they should have to answer to fans who expect to see winning baseball.