As someone that was in the building during the final hour before the MLB trade deadline, I saw how surreal it was to see someone in uniform prepare for a game that they were not going to play because they were about to pack their bags and move out of town.
Marlins rookie reliever Nick Anderson was warming up with a rag with his teammates prior to Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins. He received closing considerations during the aftermath of the Sergio Romo trade. Within minutes he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays along with Trevor Richards for outfield prospect Jesus Sanchez and right-hander Ryne Stanek.
Stanek was known more as the “opener” in Tampa Bay but will most likely be viewed as a stabling force in the back end of the bullpen. However, he was placed on the 10-day injured list on July 20 for right hip soreness. He was the Rays’ first round draft pick in 2013 and recorded 61 strikeouts in 55.2 innings with a 1.15 WHIP prior to the injury.
Zac Gallen was also traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm. In those trades, the Marlins received Arizona’s No. 1 prospect and Tampa Bay’s No. 4 prospect, which serves as a victory for the front office’s longterm mission.
“We continued on that path with the trades we made, with Lewin Diaz and Jazz Chisholm and Jesus Sanchez,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “Left-handed bats are at a premium. In our organization, we felt like we were very right-handed.”
The trades came after the Marlins used their two first round MLB draft picks on left-handed-hitting outfielders JJ Bleday and Kameron Misner. Second baseman Isan Diaz was Miami’s primary left-handed-hitting position player at the upper levels going into the season. Hill noted that these moves balances the talent pool in their organization.
“When you look at our prospects, aside from Isan Diaz, Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, those guys are all right-handed at the upper levels,” Hill said. “We just wanted to create a little balance to our lineup, our future lineup, our championship lineup.”
There Marlins were unable to trade Starlin Castro, Neil Walker and Martin Prado, veteran infielders with expiring contracts. means the Marlins will have veteran players in the final years of their contracts on the roster for the rest of the season.
— Tony Capobianco (@TonyCapobianco) July 31, 2019
Manager Don Mattingly said he will speak with players individually to let them know where they stand.
“Just let them know what we think the situation is,” Mattingly said. “I’ve found in the past, being up front, being straightforward with guys … It could be Starlin. It could be Walker. It could be Martin. It could be anybody that you’re having a conversation with. Being up front, straightforward is really the best way, even if it’s upsetting a little bit.”
The aftermath of the trade deadline can affect the team on that day leading up to the game, especially when numerous players end up having to leave the clubhouse. It’s the human element to this day that is rarely mentioned.
“They definitely came out of the blue,” Marlins reliever Jeff Brigham said on the trade news, “all three of them to be honest. Those were three of my best friends on the team so it was definitely a tough pill to swallow. I am excited for the other guys who got called up with me because of these past couple trades but it definitely was tough to see my friends go.”
The Marlins called up Brigham, Tyler Kinley and Kyle Keller to fill the holes in the bullpen. They also reinstated Jon Berti from the 10-day injured list. Keller was in the Arizona Fall League last season and comes into the fold after striking out 68 batters in 51.1 innings in the minor leagues.
“He’s a guy with a big arm,” Mattingly said. “A guy who has been putting it together in Triple-A this year. So we’re going to get a look to see how he handles his first attempt at the big leagues and see how his stuff is going to play.”
“I saw him this morning and I’m so pumped for him,” Brigham said. “He’s an awesome guy. I mean he’s been working his butt off all year. He’s got good stuff. He definitely has a chance to succeed up here.”
The Rays are in the thick of the wild card race and on top of the pitchers they got from Miami, they also brought in Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar. He hit 35 home runs last season but is hitting only eight home runs and batting .225 with a .694 OPS this season. We saw what Tampa can do for players searching for career rehabilitation. 30-year-old catcher Travis d’Arnaud went from castoff to power hitter just by rocking the sunburst.
Around the same time Arizona acquired Gallen, the Diamondbacks added Mike Leake from Seattle and sent Zack Grienke to the Houston Astros for four prospects, one of which is named Beer. Greinke is 35 and was the ace of the Diamondbacks staff with a 2.87 ERA, which reminds people in Miami to not use age as a reason to rush a controllable starting pitcher out the door, regardless of trade return.
After sending their top prospect to Miami, Arizona receives Houston’s No. 3-5 prospects in first baseman Seth Beer and right-handers J.B. Bukauskas and Corbin Martin, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. They also received No. 22 ranked prospect, infielder Josh Rojas, and cash. The Diamondbacks (3.5 games back from wild card) restocked their farm system but still have the pitching to continue competing for the playoffs.
Meanwhile the Astros are going into the playoffs with a rotation of Justin Verlander, Garrett Cole and Grienke. If that doesn’t win the World Series this year, what will?