MLB Trade Review: Phillies Improve Pitching

The Philadelphia Phillies have acquired RHPs Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy, Hans Crouse, and cash from the Texas Rangers in exchange for RHP Spencer Howard, Kevin Gowdy, and Josh Gessner.

The Phillies needed pitching and boy did they get pitching in this trade. Gibson and Kennedy are both veterans but each has had a very nice season. He has a 3.8 barrel percentage with a 3.69 xERA as his slider has shined throughout the season. Out of nowhere, he became the ace for the Rangers. Their closer was Kennedy, who used to be a starter. He throws his fastball over 80 percent of the time and has a 3.25 xERA this season. Finally, Crouse was MLB Pipeline’s 9th best Rangers prospect. The 2017 2nd-round pick has had a solid season at AA. Considering what they gave up, this is a nice move for the Phillies. Kennedy is a free agent at the end of the year while Gibson has one more year left under contract.

Gibson, 33, has a 2.87 ERA with 94 strikeouts and a 1.177 WHIP in 113 innings for the Rangers this season. In his MLB career, all for Texas and the Minnesota Twins, Gibson has a 4.42 ERA with 997 strikeouts and a 1.397 WHIP in 1267.1 innings pitched.

Kennedy, 36, has a 2.51 ERA with 35 strikeouts and a 1.052 WHIP in 32.1 innings for the Rangers this year. In his MLB career for Texas, the Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, and New York Yankees, Kennedy has a 4.10 ERA with 1683 strikeouts and a 1.281 WHIP in 1813.2 innings pitched.

Crouse, 22, has a 3.35 ERA with 54 strikeouts and a 0.902 WHIP in 51 innings for AA Frisco this year. In his minor league career, Crouse has a 3.29 ERA with 222 strikeouts and a 1.064 WHIP in 213.1 innings pitched.

The Rangers got three players in exchange for three players, but their side is a lot less exciting. Howard was drafted in the 2nd round of 2017, just ahead of Crouse. He was a major prospect but has not done a whole lot of productive things for the Phillies in his short time with the team. Gowdy was a 2nd rounder in 2016 and Gessner is a young Australian with not a lot of minor league experience.

Howard, 25, has a 5.72 ERA with 31 strikeouts and a 1.482 WHIP in 28.1 innings for the Phillies this year. In his MLB career, all for Philadelphia, Howard has a 5.81 ERA with 54 strikeouts and a 1.557 WHIP in 52.2 innings.

Gowdy, 23, has a 4.46 ERA with 63 strikeouts and a 1.361 WHIP in 61 innings for High-A Jersey Shore this season. In his minor league career, Gowdy has a 4.53 ERA with 125 strikeouts and a 1.551 WHIP in 147 innings.

Gessner, 21, has a 2.21 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 20.1 career minor league innings.

MLB Trade Review: Mets Get Baez

The New York Mets have acquired IF Javier Baez and RHP Trevor Williams from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for OF Pete Crow-Armstrong.

This may be the key indicator that the Steve Cohen Mets are different. They got Francisco Lindor in the offseason and now add his former teammate from Team Puerto Rico in Baez. The headliner of this trade is a pending free agent who is an elite defender and has a .459 xwOBACON this season. He can play second or third base in New York, most likely replacing JD Davis. Baez can mash but does have problems. His 36.3 percent K rate is way too high considering his 4.2 percent walk rate. Still, he will be a massive addition for the NL East leaders. Williams is a veteran back-end starter who has struggled. His 4.36 xERA is his best since 2018.

Baez, 28, has 22 home runs with 13 stolen bases, a .292 OBP, and a .775 OPS in 361 Plate Appearances for the Cubs this season. In his MLB career, all for Chicago, Baez has hit 140 home runs with 76 stolen bases, a .303 OBP, and a .777 OPS in 3069 Plate Appearances.

Williams, 29, has a 5.06 ERA with 61 strikeouts and a 1.534 WHIP in 58.2 innings for the Cubs this season. In his MLB career for the Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates, Williams has a 4.49 ERA with 477 strikeouts and a 1.357 WHIP in 593.1 innings.

The Cubs’ fire-sale will be painful for their fans. It is meant to suck. But at the very least, it is good that GM Jed Hoyer has stolen the show. In return for Baez, they get the 19th overall pick from 2020. Crow-Armstrong was MLB Pipeline’s fifth-best prospect from the Mets. The prep outfielder is highly regarded by scouts. His professional sample size is small; the 19-year-old has a 1.063 OPS in six games at Single-A.

MLB Trade Review: Braves Boost Outfield

The Atlanta Braves have acquired OF Eddie Rosario from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for IF Pablo Sandoval. They also acquired OF Adam Duvall from Miami for C Alex Jackson.

As the Braves announce that they are not done yet, we will have to see how the Mets and Phillies respond. Atlanta has had a rough year ruined by injuries, most notably to Ronald Acuna Jr. Their biggest need this deadline season has been the outfield. They already got Joc Pederson from Chicago and now they bring in Rosario and Duvall. Duvall should be a familiar face for Braves fans. He hit 26 home runs with a .778 OPS over three seasons for the club. He signed with the Marlins this offseason and has shown his power, hitting the most home runs since 2017. He is sneakily fast with a good defensive ability. The biggest knock against him is that Duvall strikes out a ton without walking to make up for it. Rosario also does not walk but at least he does not have a high K rate. Rosario is on the injured list at the moment and has had a rough season. He hit 32 home runs in 2019 but once again, his walks are an issue. The Braves do not give up much for Rosario but maybe overpay for Duvall.

Rosario, 29, has hit seven home runs with nine stolen bases, a .296 OBP, and a .685 OPS in 306 Plate Appearances for Cleveland this year. In his MLB career for the Indians and Minnesota Twins, Rosario has hit 126 home runs with 48 stolen bases, a .308 OBP, and a .778 OPS in 3136 Plate Appearances.

Duvall, 32, has hit 22 home runs with a .277 OBP and a .755 OPS in 339 Plate Appearances for the Marlins this year. In his MLB career for the Marlins, Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and San Francisco Giants, Duvall has hit 135 homers with a .291 OBP and a .760 OPS.

The Marlins get the better return of the two for the future. Jackson was selected sixth overall in 2014 by Seattle but has not lived up to the hype. He has good minor league numbers but just could not break onto the Atlanta roster. He is 3-for-43 in his MLB career. He should get more chances on the Marlins. Sandoval is a name a ton of baseball fans will recognize. The former all-star is now a below-average pinch-hitter. His 91.5 mph average exit velocity is good but not much else is. Cleveland makes this trade merely to dump the remainder of Rosario’s $8 million salary from this season.

Sandoval, 34, has hit four home runs with a .302 OBP and a .645 OPS in 86 Plate Appearances for Atlanta this year. In his MLB career for the Braves, San Francisco Giants, and Boston Red Sox, Sandoval has hit 153 homers with a .330 OBP and a .773 OPS in 5052 Plate Appearances.

Jackson, 25, has hit 11 home runs with a .366 OBP and a 1.060 OPS in 123 Plate Appearances at AAA this year. In his minor league career Jackson has hit 87 home runs with a .320 OBP and a .769 OPS in 2040 Plate Appearances.

MLB Trade Review: Blue Jays Acquire Berrios

The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired RHP Jose Berrios from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for IF Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson.

What an absolute haul for the Twins. They were unexpectedly awful this season, making them sellers at today’s Trade Deadline. Berrios has been their best starting pitcher over the past few seasons but he will become a free agent after the 2022 season. The Twins are able to capitalize and bring him two highly regarded prospects. MLB Pipeline ranks both of them as Top-100 prospects in all of Major League Baseball. Martin is 16th while Woods-Richardson is 68th. Drafted fifth overall in the 2020 draft, Martin raked at Vanderbilt before debuting at AA this year. His power has not come along to professional baseball but he is still a very good hitter with a ton of potential. Woods-Richardson was selected by the Mets in the second-round of the 2018 draft. The Blue Jays brought him in along with Anthony Kay in the Marcus Stroman trade. One thing about the younger pitcher is that he has struggled this season thanks to a walk rate that has hurt him big time. The Twins may have made the best deal of the deadline, absolutely stealing two prospects that scouts seem to unanimously love.

Martin, 22, has hit two home runs with nine stolen bases, a .424 OBP, and an .807 OPS in 250 Plate Appearances for AA New Hampshire this year. Over his career at Vanderbilt, Martin hit 14 home runs with 43 stolen bases, a .474 OBP, and a 1.007 OPS in 665 Plate Appearances.

Woods-Richardson, 20, has a 5.76 ERA with 67 strikeouts and a 1.500 WHIP in 45.1 innings for New Hampshire this year. In his minor league career he has a 4.09 ERA with 219 strikeouts and a 1.222 WHIP in 169.1 innings pitched.

The Blue Jays need starting pitching, as after Hyun-Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray, their rotation isn’t much. They definitely improve it now with Berrios, who is having a career season and still has a year left of control. However, Berrios has never really earned his reputation as an ace. Only once has he had an xERA under 4.00, which came in 2018. This year his xERA is 4.13. That is fine but not worth two top-70 prospects. He has decreased his walk rate to 6.5 percent this season which has helped his 3.57 FIP. Does he help the team? Yes. Is it worth the return? Absolutely not.

Berrios, 27, has a 3.48 ERA with 126 strikeouts and a 1.044 WHIP in 121.2 innings for Minnesota this year. In his MLB career, all for the Twins, Berrios has a 4.08 ERA with 779 strikeouts and a 1.233 WHIP in 781.1 innings.

MLB Trade Review: Red Sox Acquire Schwarber

The Boston Red Sox have acquired outfielder Kyle Schwarber from the Washington Nationals in exchange for RHP Aldo Ramirez.

This is a fantastic deal for the Red Sox, with the condition that Schwarber can learn how to play first base. He has been a wreck in the outfield defensively but the Red Sox are fine in that category. They need someone to replace rookie Bobby Dalbec at first. If he can be anything but a liability at the position, then Boston wins this deal. Schwarber is a power-hitting left-hander who will make the Sox lineup even tougher to pitch against. He walks over a tenth of the time while posting an 18.4 barrel percentage and a 92.2 mph average exit velocity. Schwarber also has an elite .393 xwOBA and a .527 xwOBACON. Fielding will be a journey but he is good. Schwarber is also a rental, so the Red Sox may not have him for long. One problem with him is that in early July he sustained a significant hamstring injury. Schwarber recently resumed batting practice activities but a rehab assignment may be necessary.

Schwarber, 28, has hit 25 home runs with a .340 OBP and a .910 OPS in 303 Plate Appearances for the Nationals this season. In his MLB career for Washington and the Chicago Cubs, Schwarber has hit 146 home runs with a .337 OBP and an .828 OPS in 2411 Plate Appearances.

The Nationals fire sale continues with Schwarber, whose injury cost them a better prospect. The hamstring problem made them have to settle for Ramirez, who MLB Pipeline ranked as Boston’s 19th best prospect. He is a young Mexican pitcher who has good numbers this season. He is still a very long way from the major leagues.

Ramirez, 20, has a 2.03 ERA with 32 strikeouts and a 1.129 WHIP in 31 innings for Single-A Salem this year. In his minor league career, Ramirez has a 2.72 ERA with 112 strikeouts and a 1.063 WHIP in 115.2 innings.