MLB Trade Review: Brewers Acquire Adames

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired SS Willy Adames and RHP Trevor Richards from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for RHPs JP Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen.

In classic Rays conditions, this trade appears to be very lopsided against them at first look, but will most likely not end up that way. Adames is one of their core locker room players, but his present and future role on the team was always complicated. He made his debut in 2018 years after being acquired from Detroit as the young headliner in the David Price trade. He then became the team’s starting shortstop, but at this moment, that is a massive surplus for Tampa Bay. Prospect Taylor Walls could get the call to replace Adames after starting the AAA season with a .958 OPS. The Rays also have Vidal Brujan, who is a highly rated prospect, and of course, the league’s top prospect, Wander Franco. Franco could be seen by the end of the season, but probably not now, unless the Rays get aggressive.

With Brandon Lowe at second base, and Joey Wendle plus Yandy Diaz as third base options, Adames could not even move positions. A trade was imminent. They throw in a starting option in Richards to get two solid bullpen pieces back. Rasmussen came onto the scene when he struck out 21 in 15.1 innings as a rookie for the Brewers last year. His average fastball velocity is 97.1 mph, with a great average spin rate of 2521. The pitch has a 29.1 percent whiff rate, which is really good for a heater. Rasmussen is young and controllable, while Feyereisen is more of the latter. In 2021, he is in the top-ten percent of pitchers in xERA (2.42), xBA (.161), xSLG (.253), wOBA (.209), and xwOBA (.250). Add a 97th percentile spin rate on his fastball, and Feyereisen has backend of the bullpen potential.

Rasmussen, 25, has a 4.24 ERA with 25 strikeouts, 12 walks, a 1.471 WHIP and a 3.84 FIP in 17 innings for the Brewers this year. In his MLB career, all for Milwaukee, Rasmussen has a 5.01 ERA with 46 strikeouts, 21 walks, a 1.577 WHIP, and a 4.27 FIP in 32.1 innings.

Feyereisen, 28, as a 3.26 ERA with 20 strikeouts, 11 walks, a 1.086 WHIP and a 4.12 FIP in 19.1 innings pitched. In his MLB career, all for the Brewers, he has a 4.08 ERA with 27 strikeouts, 16 walks, a 1.047 WHIP and a 5.32 FIP in 28.2 innings. Plus, Feyereisen has given up just 14 hits in his career for a 4.4 H/9.

This trade signals the reducing of playing time for Luis Urias, a former top prospect who was acquired for Trent Grisham less than two years ago. He was given the starting shortstop job when Orlando Arcia was traded to Atlanta, but he has a .676 OPS this year with -7 outs above average. Both Urias and Adames are young, but I’m not sure this trade is it for the Brewers. Sure, Adames has a 14.8 barrel percentage this year. But he constantly strikes out, at a 35.9 percent rate in 2021. He has struggled offensively this year, and is not that much better on defense, with -3 outs above average. He is going to be the Brewers shortstop until hitting free agency after 2023. Adames did have a 127 OPS+ last year, but his OBP is just .254 prior to the trade. Richards does not look like more than a spot starter/long-relief option. He was one of Tampa’s worst pitchers in 2020, and while his strikeout rate has increased this year, he still has a 4.51 xER with a .276 xBA and .458 xSLG against. Given the Rays’ history of success in trades like this, the Brewers should proceed cautiously.

Adames, 25, has hit five home runs with a stolen base, a .197 average and a .625 OPS in 142 Plate Appearances for the Rays this year. In his MLB career, all for Tampa Bay, Adames has hit 43 home runs with 13 stolen bases, a .254 average and a .740 OPS in 1254 Plate Appearances.

Richards, 28, has a 4.50 ERA with 16 strikeouts, three walks, a 1.000 WHIP, and a 3.38 FIP in 12 innings for the Rays this year. In his MLB career for Tampa Bay and the Miami Marlins, Richards has a 4.42 ERA with 300 strikeouts, 124 walks, a 1.390 WHIP, and a 4.32 FIP in 305.2 innings.

MLB Trade Review: Angels acquire Strickland

The Los Angeles Angels have acquired RHP Hunter Strickland from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The Angels needed a bullpen upgrade. Their bullpen has thrown the fifth-most innings in the league, and at 5.32, they have the fourth-worst ERA. Strickland will be a big boost. He has closing experience, and has looked great after making the Rays on a minor league deal. His 2.94 xERA suggests that he has been lucky, but that is still very good. Strickland also has allowed a .212 xBA and a .335 xSLG. Walks have been an issue for him, but since 2019 he has been able to keep his walk rate under ten percent.

Strickland, 32, has a 1.69 ERA with 16 strikeouts, a 1.250 WHIP, and a 3.04 FIP in 16 innings for the Rays this year. In his MLB career for the Rays, San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners, and New York Mets Strickland has a 3.14 ERA with 249 strikeouts, a 1.209 WHIP, 21 saves, and a 3.62 FIP in 269.2 innings.

The Rays did not believe that they would need Strickland, but injuries made them put him on the roster. The return of Pete Fairbanks and Diego Castillo, plus the emergence of Luis Patino and Josh Fleming had made Strickland expendable. He has no more options left, and there was a good chance the Rays were about to designate him for assignment anyways.

MLB Trade Review: Yankees and Giants make a deal

The New York Yankees have acquired LHP Wandy Peralta from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for OF Mike Tauchman.

This is a deal that seemingly came out of nowhere. The Yankees bullpen has actually been their strength this year, while the offense has been terrible. So, trading a hitter for a reliever wouldn’t make sense on the outside. But, Tauchman was a part of the problem. After looking like the next Yankees discovery in 2019, he has not hit a home run since then, and his only value has been defensive. Now that Clint Frazier has improved and Brett Gardner is on the roster, Tauchman became expendable. You could argue that getting rid of him would benefit their offense, although not when Tyler Wade was recalled to replace him. Unlike Tauchman, Peralta still has a minor-league option. He can be a better middle relief left-hander than Lucas Luetge, who has struggled this year. Peralta has struggled this year, but he had a 3.29 ERA in 25 games last year. He also has limited batters to an 84.5 mph average exit velocity this year, with a very good 2.80 xERA. Batters hit .133 against his slider last year, but they are 8-for-15 against the pitch this year. He has the potential to be a solid pick-up.

For San Francisco, these sellers are looking for talent, and Tauchman may have that. He hit 13 home runs with a .865 OPS in 87 games in 2019 but has looked lost since then. He still had a 12.6 BB% last year, and his defensive value helps the Giants. If given regular at-bats, Tauchman can be a lot better than a middle relief pitcher.

Peralta, 29, has a 5.40 ERA with eight strikeouts, a 3.82 FIP, and a 1.680 WHIP for the Giants this year. In his MLB career for San Francisco and the Cincinnati Reds, Peralta has a 4.72 ERA with 158 strikeouts, a 4.84 FIP, and a 1.490 WHIP in 192.2 innings.

Tauchman, 30, is 3-for-14 with a .552 OPS and two stolen bases for the Yankees this year. In his MLB career for New York and the Colorado Rockies, Tauchman has hit 13 home runs with 16 stolen bases, a .250 average, and a .752 OPS in 492 Plate Appearances.

NHL Trade Review: Leafs acquire Hutton


      The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired defenseman Ben Hutton from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2022 5th round draft pick. 

This is a nice move by the Leafs to bolster their defensive depth. Hutton can play third pairing minutes and also be Toronto\’s 7th defenseman if necessary. He has averaged over 18 minutes on ice a night for the Ducks this year, who are rebuilders. With a current cap hit of $950k, Hutton is cheap, and is a pending unrestricted free agent. The Ducks get an extra draft pick here out of an offseason signee. 

Hutton, 27, has scored one goal with four assists for five points in 34 games for the Ducks this year. In his NHL career for the Ducks, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings, Hutton has scored 16 goals with 75 assists for 91 points in 375 games. 

NHL Trade Review: Flyers send Raffl to Washington, Gustafsson to Montreal


           The Washington Capitals have acquired forward Michael Raffl from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 5th round draft pick. Additionally, the Flyers acquired a 7th rounder from the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Erik Gustafsson. 50% of Gustafsson\’s salary was retained. 

These two players were spare parts for the Flyers this year, who still have playoff aspirations but will probably fall short. Raffl is the main name to look at here, as he was a Flyer for the past eight seasons, maxing out at 21 goals. He has spent time all throughout the Philadelphia lineup throughout his career, but in Washington he will be a 4th liner. They get a late round pick for the veteran from Austria, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year after having a $1.6 million cap hit this year. That is $100k more than Gustafsson\’s cap hit after the trade, as the Flyers gave him a one year, $3 million deal in the offseason. He is an offensive defenseman who is terrible offensively. He was brought in to replace defensive defenseman Matt Niskanen after he retired, which was unfair to Gustafsson given his playing style. He fell out of favor as of late. 

Raffl, 32, has scored three goals with five assists for eight points in 34 games for Philadelphia this year. In his NHL career, all for the Flyers, Raffl has scored 81 goals with 79 assists for 160 points in 504 games. 

Gustafsson, 29, has scored one goal with nine assists for 10 points in 24 games for the Flyers this year. In his NHL career for Philadelphia, the Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames, Gustafsson has scored 29 goals with 100 assists for 129 points in 245 games. 

The Canadiens give up very little here, and only account for half of Gustafsson\’s remaining salary. Even after the club lost Victor Mete on waivers to Ottawa, Gustafsson should just be depth. The team also recently brought in Jon Merrill from Detroit.

The Capitals\’ acquisition did not make too much sense originally, but things cleared up after they traded away Richard Panik and Jakub Vrana to Detroit for Anthony Mantha. Raffl will fight with Dan Carr for Panik\’s spot, as a 4th liner or the extra forward.