MLB: Last-Minute Trades as Teams Enter 2014 Playoff Race
As teams prepare to enter the playoff race, Major League Baseball saw one of its most exciting trade deadlines to take place. Major trades took place on July 31, 2014, up until the 4:30 p.m. deadline. If you missed the day’s event-filled chaos, it’s not too late to get caught up.
Two of the biggest trades included Yoenis Cespedes and David Price, while the Red Sox worked hard to acquire many new players who may lead to a successful 2015 season.
Cespedes, who holds a .256 average and reigns as the repeat Home Run Derby champ, left the A’s and headed to the opposite end of the country. Boston was able to gain the left fielder by trading pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to Oakland. Lester stood at a 2.52 ERA before picking up a win in his first game with Athletics, and received a standing ovation to welcome him to the A’s.
With the addition of Lester, the A’s could afford to trade LHP Tommy Milone, who has a much higher 3.55 ERA, to the Twins for center fielder Sam Fuld.
Pitcher David Price was traded to Detroit in a deal between the Rays, Tigers and Mariners. Removing Price from the Rays’ rotation leaves a big gap, and it doesn’t look like there’s anyone capable of filling it.
Tampa received three players in the exchange, including shortstop Nick Franklin, prospect Willy Adames and LHP Drew Smyly. Smyly is at a 3.93 ERA compared to Price’s 3.11.
Center fielder Austin Jackson left mid-game to join the Mariners franchise. As he made his final exit from Comerica Park, the crowd gave a standing ovation as they realized what was unfolding before them, and his former teammates supported him with hugs as he left the dugout.
The Mariners then traded pitcher Stephen Kohlscheen and outfielder Abraham Almonte to the Padres, getting right fielder Chris Denorfia in return. Denorfia has proven to be a better bat this season with a .238 average, in comparison to Almonte’s .198.
Another big trade for the Red Sox involved getting rid of John Lackey, and acquiring RHP Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig from St. Luis. The Cardinals also gained a minor-league player and some cash. Craig entered his first game with Boston batting .237 and produced a double as his first hit with the team.
Boston didn’t limit its trades yet, as they would also make deals with the Orioles and its New York rivals. Letting go of pitchers was a popular factor in most of Boston’s exchanges. Andrew Miller was traded with a 2.34 ERA in return for Eduardo Rodriguez, a minor-league left-handed pitcher.
New York, which is soon going to be in need of another shortstop after the retirement of Derek Jeter, took shortstop Stephen Drew from the Red Sox and gave up third baseman Kelly Johnson. Drew holds a .174 average while Johnson’s .219 is slightly higher.
The Yankees also picked up third baseman Martin Prado, who’s hitting .270, from the Diamondbacks. New York handed over its catching prospect, Peter O’Brien, as well as a player to be named later or cash.
Arizona didn’t settle for one prospect, but picked up a second through a trade with the Brewers. The Diamondbacks traded two-time Gold Glove winner Gerardo Parra for outfielder Mitch Haniger.
Houston and Miami made some last minute trades, exchanging three-a-piece. The Astros traded starter Jarred Cosart, as well as outfielders Enrique Hernandez and minor-leaguer Austin Wates. They received pitching and an outfielder in return, as the Marlins gave up RHP Francis Martes and Jake Marsnik. Miami also included Colin Moran, a third baseman and former first-round pick.
The deadline didn’t end without additional trades from the Nationals, Indians, Braves and Cubs.
Washington and Cleveland exchanged middle infielders, as second baseman Zach Walters was traded for Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera brings a better average to the Nationals lineup at .244 compared to Walters’ .205.
Capping off the event-filled day was a trade between the Braves and Cubs. Reliever James Russell left mid-game after hearing word of the trade, ending his five-year career with the Cubs. He will be heading to the Braves with infielder Emilio Bonifacio, while minor-league catcher Victor Caratini heads to Chicago.
Now that teams have made their selections as we enter August, it’s time to see how the new additions impact each team, and watch as the playoff race begins.