Trades Impact on AL East: Yanks, Sox, Jays slight gains; Rays, Orioles slight losses

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The Hysteria Helium has leaked out of the countless Trade Rumor balloons; the wrinkled bladders litter the blogosphere; just 21 deals got done.  So, how did the 6 AL East trades impact the Red Sox’ post- season playoff chances?


We will define “winners” as teams that had a clear vision of their master plan [current contender, a few tweaks short, remodel, demolish/rebuild], accurately diagnosed their weaknesses, identified target players, achieved a balanced trade, did not overpay, and kept a maximum number of their top-tier prospects.

We will use the 2012 new team WAR ratings for MLB players to arrive at a numerical comparison for each trade. [NOTE: Baseball Reference does not list WAR ratings for Minor leaguers.  No top-tier prospects were involved in any of the AL East trades.]

YANKEES

Yankees got OF Ichiro Suzuki and cash considerations.

Mariners got RHP D.J. Mitchell and RHP Danny Farquhar.

Suzuki can still go got ‘em in the OF and can still make strong throws. The short porch in Yankee Stadium that Roger Maris owned in 1961 will give Ichiro more extra-base hits.  He will struggle vs. LHPs as his bat speed declines.  At 38, in the final year of his contract, he may retire, but the NYC media limelight will boost his HOF vote totals.

WAR [0.1]

Yankees got 1B/3B Casey McGehee and cash considerations.

Pittsburgh Pirates got RHP Chad Qualls.

McGehee can play 3rd until A-Rod returns in September; he has also played 1b, 2b and OF.

WAR [0.1]

At Baseball Insider, Ken Davidoff gave the Yankees a passing grade:

 “Getting Ichiro Suzuki for essentially nothing gives them, at the least, a Brett Gardner clone. They turned a player they picked up for cash, Chad Qualls, into Casey McGehee, a righty bat who can help alleviate some of the sting of losing Alex Rodriguez while being a temporary salve with Mark Teixeira out. Thus, Brian Cashman did what he does in July: made small trades that cost little in dollars or prospects to address shortcomings on the roster. But the Yankees did make a late run yesterday at Ryan Dempster, though they were unwilling to surrender the dollars or level of prospect Texas did (notably third baseman Christian Villanueva) to got the righty.”

Jeff Passan at Yahoo was less impressed with Cashman’s efforts:

“New York Yankees got a big, fat LOSERS stamp, too, for preparing to enter the postseason shorthanded in the rotation once again. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are fine, and maybe Andy Pettitte gots healthy soon, and the bullpen is effective and everything, but the Yankees could’ve used Ryan Dempster.”

[http://sports.yahoo.com/news/winners--losers-and-tweeners-from-2012-trade-deadline.html]

TAMPA

The Rays were self-satisfied, passive and almost ignored the trading deadline. Even they have the league’s second-worst batting average (.231), and they rank at the bottom half in runs scored and on-base percentage. though

Tampa Bay Rays got INF Ryan Roberts.

Arizona Diamondbacks got 2B Tyler Bortnick.

Arizona hopes Bortnick can be an everyday SS.

Jeff Passan at Yahoo thinks to Rays did well:

“Roberts is perfect for the Rays…He’ll fill Evan Longoria‘s shoes until the All-Star comes off the disabled list. After that, he could still be valuable as a right-handed bat with defensive versatility.” [http://sports.yahoo.com/news/winners--losers-and-tweeners-from-2012-trade-deadline.html]

WAR [-0.1]

BALTIMORE

The Orioles made an attempt at trading for a veteran starter and negotiated with the Phillies for Joe Blanton to no avail.

Jeff Passan at Yahoo was not impressed:

“Baltimore Orioles and their 55-49-with-a-minus-51-run-differential record. Here’s the difference between the Rays and O’s: Tampa Bay is built to do this long-term, whereas Baltimore needs to take advantage of a lucky first 100 games and try to actually sneak in to the postseason when it has a chance. Jim Thome alone will not do that. Yes, that constituted the entirety of Baltimore’s deadline dealing: acquiring a 41-year-old DH who, by the way, just hit the DL. These are some Ace Ventura-level LOSERS.”
[http://sports.yahoo.com/news/winners--losers-and-tweeners-from-2012-trade-deadline.html]

WAR [0.0]

TORONTO

Jeff Passan at Yahoo thought that the Jays were boring and conservative:

Toronto Blue Jays …snagged reliever Brad Lincoln (a safe play) for Snider (a risky one) and engaging in the most boring 10-player deal baseball has seen in ages.”[http://sports.yahoo.com/news/winners--losers-and-tweeners-from-2012-trade-deadline.html]

Toronto got pitchers J.A. Happ [-0.1], David Carpenter, Brandon Lyon [0.2].

Houstin got  Francisco Cordero, outfielder Generalissimo Ben Francisco, minor league right-handers Joe Musgrove and Asher Wojciechowski, lefty David Rollins, and catcher Carlos Perez, along with a player to be named.

 

WAR [0.1]

RED SOX

The headline on MLB.com seemed to

summarize the Sox efforts:

Cherington keeps core intact at Trade Deadline

‘Empowered to do something bold,’ first-year GM adds bullpen piece

The Sox have one of the league’s worst ERAs (4.28), and they rank in the bottom half of the league with only 49 quality starts.What did they get?

Red Sox got RHP Zach Stewart [WAR -0.7] and Jose De La Torre.

White Sox got Kevin Youkilis [WAR 0.9].

 

Boston Red Sox got LHP Craig Breslow. [WAR 0.8]

Arizona Diamondbacks got RHP Matt Albers and OF Scott Podsednik.

Albers and Breslow are nearly clones; effective middle relievers, FAs after 2013.

Breslow gots an edge since he does equally well against LH and RH batters and has a higher strikeout rate.

Jeff Passan at Yahoo places the Sox just over mid-line into the LOSER zone:

Kevin Youkilis, Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik. And for the return they received – Craig Breslow, Zach Stewart and Jose De La Torre – the Red Sox are ever-so-slight LOSERS. About five weeks after the Youkilis dump, he’s sporting adjusted OPS 23 percent above league average.”

[http://sports.yahoo.com/news/winners--losers-and-tweeners-from-2012-trade-deadline.html]

While we have made WAR calculations for the AL East teams, we also need to consider if the Oakland Athletics improved with their trades, since they may be in the AL WC hunt.

If the season were over at the end of July, these would be the playoff brackets:

American League:

Yankees (1) vs. winner of Angels (WC1) and Oakland (WC2)

Texas (2) vs. White Sox (3).

 

National League:

Cincinnati (1) vs. winner of Atlanta (WC1) and Pittsburgh (WC2)

Washington (2) vs. San Francisco (3)

After a busy winter of trading, Billy Beane made a single trade.  He recognized the weakness at SS and 3b, but was not willing to pay the price for Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar, or Jimmy Rollins.

The A’s got catcher George Kottaras. [WAR 0.0]

Milwaukee got reliever Fautino De Los Santos.

WAR [0.0]

“[The] Oakland Athletics fall somewhere between the Rays and Orioles. They’re having more of a Baltimore season, with out-of-nowhere excellence. They also happen to be built for long-term success. They weren’t going to overpay for an infielder on the left side, which may cost them the win or two it takes to hang in the AL West. Still, it would be unfair to call them anything but TWEENERS for limiting themselves to a trade for George Kottaras.” Jeff Passan, Yahoo [http://sports.yahoo.com/news/winners--losers-and-tweeners-from-2012-trade-deadline.html]

Since the two extra “Bub Ceiling” Wild Card slots will likely come down to a few, maybe even one, additional W, let’s see how the AL East teams and the A’s scored.

Yankees          0.2 Ws

Red Sox                 0.1 Ws

Toronto                  0.1 Ws

Oakland                      0.0 Ws

Baltimore                             -0.1 Ws

Tampa                                                   -0.3 Ws

Applying our WAR scores, we find three cohorts:  better, same, and worse.

The Yankees came out on top of the AL East and the Sox were tied for second with Toronto in the trio of teams that showed a slight gain with a fraction of a W added.

The A’s were unchanged.

Baltimore and Tampa have lost a percentage of a W.

 

Yesterday’s Wild Card race standings show the Sox are 3.5 games out.

Oakland and the Angels are tied for first.

Baltimore, Detroit, Tampa are 1.5 games out.

Toronto trails the Sox by .5 games and is 4.5 games out.

After all the sensational sizzle of trade rumors, the AL East teams all changed by less than 3/10 of a W.  The real action was in the AL and NL West with the Angels grabbing the most significant standings changer: Greinke.

By the final week of the season, the small gain of a single game by the Red Sox might make the difference between a shot at the World Series, or emptying the lockers to go home for a long winter.

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Tags: 2b Ace Ventura Alex Rodriguez American League Andy Pettitte Angels Arizona Diamondbacks As Atlanta Baseball Insider Billy Beane Brad Lincoln Brian Cashman C.C. Sabathia Casey Mcgehee Cash Considerations Catcher Chad Qualls Christian Villanueva Cincinnati D.J. Mitchell Danny Farquhar Evan Longoria Fautino De Los Santos. George Kottaras Hiroki Kuroda Ichiro Suzuki INF Jeff Passan Jimmy Rollins Joe Blanton Jose De La Torre Ken Davidoff Kevin Youkilis Mariners Mark Teixeira Matt Albers Milwaukee National League Oakland OF Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pirates Got RHP Chad Qualls. Prospect Reliever RHP Righty Roger Maris Ryan Dempster Ryan Roberts San Francisco Scott Podsednik Stephen Drew Tampa Bay Rays TEXAS Third Baseman Trading Travis Snider Tyler Bortnick WAR Washington White Sox Yahoo Yankee Stadium Yankees Yunel Escobar Zach Stewart [1b/3b]

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