Lots and lots of news for you this week as the Dodgers and Red Sox make one of the biggest trades in the history of the game. Who made out the best? We also give you some Tommy John news, other injuries, and of course the always popular fantasy players of the week.
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It doesn’t come as a surprise to most of Brewer Nation that their acquired pitching ace, Zack Greinke, wasn’t going to be around forever. Having not lost at Miller Park in almost a year and a half, it was almost too good to be true. Alas, every good thing in Milwaukee (except Ryan Braun) comes to an end. (Read: CC Sabathia, Prince Fielder). And just like that, Greinke was shipped off to his first large market team in the form of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Not without cost however, as the Brewers acquired three strong prospects from the Angels’ organization. Let us recap:
SP – Zack Greinke
SS – Jean Segura
RHP – John Hellweg
RHP – Ariel Pena
An outside observer might think that this would be unbalanced, and for the time being, it is. It will help an Angels team that is currently 5 games back of their division and surging as of late behind the AL Rookie of the Year leader, Mike Trout, and the big man on campus, Albert Pujols. If they catch the Rangers by seasons end, that would be a big plus, but with the moves that are being made, a Wild Card spot may be all LAA needs to make a strong run to the World Series.
The Angels aren’t at that point yet. They got a 9-4 would be All Star who had countless blown saves behind him, who also posted a 3.39 ERA with a K/9 of exactly 1.00. Now when you put it like that, the Angels padded their already stellar rotation with one more right handed mastermind. I’m not worried about him not performing in Los Angeles, he will. It’s the people behind him and possibly the spotlight that would make him flinch, but I don’t see the stone faced Greinke flinching anytime in the near future. After posting a solid first outing for them, I think they’ll be glad with their trade. Now can they resign him? That’s a question we’ll have to see after the season.
Over in the Midwest, the Brewers are collapsing behind their bullpen who has managed to ruin win after win for their starters. With the current state of affairs in Milwaukee, this was a great rebuilding trade for a team that probably wasn’t going to resign Greinke at the end of the 2012 season anyway. Plus, being 16 games back never helped anyone. They acquired three top prospects from the LAA farm system and will be looking to make a lot of noise in 2013 or possibly when the rosters expand to 40 at the end of the season.
Jean Segura, the 22 year old Dominican and a career .311 hitter in the minors, was one of the Angels top prospects. He’s certainly going to battle for Alex Gonzalez’s spot in 2013 as Segura has the power and speed to make a difference right away. His base stealing alone will bring an aspect that the Brewers have focused on under Ron Roenicke. On top of that, he can swing a quick bat, and will strive for 15 home runs and around 30 doubles a season. Segura is pretty sure handed with the glove as well, posting a .971 fielding percentage over 6 seasons.
Let’s head to the pitchers. It would be hard to miss John Hellweg in the halls of Miller Park as he stands a tall 6’9″. He packs a fastball that tops out at just under 100 mph on some days, but usually hovers around the mid to upper 90s. Locating that fastball however has been the problem. Hellweg’s pitching arsenal and control aren’t quite mature enough to be a prolific starter just yet. With some crafting at AA-Huntsville, he could lower the 1.378 WHIP, strike out more batters, and depending on how his stamina develops, we could see John make a debut in the majors sooner rather than later.
Ariel Pena has the potential to make an impact in the Brewers’ organization as he has improved his statistics each year and his pitches have matured quite well. As with any young pitcher, he does have control issues, but his BB/9 has gone down every season and his ERA/WHIP have both trended downward. Pena also needs to change his “miss” pitch, as it tends to float up in the zone, which at Miller Park, is never good. We’ll keep an eye on him as he has yet to make his first start for AA-Huntsville.
Side Note: The Brewers also traded C George Kottaras to Oakland for RP Fautino De Los Santos. Two mainly backup players for both teams. Kottaras is best known for catching Randy Wolf every fifth day while also tallying one of the Brewer’s elusive cycles. De Los Santos has always been seen as a potential closer for Oakland, but didn’t pan out early this season and has spent his time in Sacramento. Keep an eye on Kottaras as he’ll be Suzuki’s backup in Oakland, but De Los Santos will start in the minors.
So? What do you think? Who came out on top? That kind of depends if you live in the present or the future. Feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter – @FalconKP
If there is one team that has made it clear that they are sellers at this year’s trade deadline it’s the Houston Astros. Why wait until July 31st to make some some moves though? Houston already dealt Carlos Lee to Miami that we covered here and Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow is continuing to build towards the future by pulling off two more deals this weekend. Let’s take a look at how the Astros did.
Astros receive: RP Francisco Cordero and OF Ben Francisco, plus prospects RHP Joe Musgrove and Asher Wojciechowski, LHP David Rollins, C Carlos Perez and a player to be named later
Blue Jays receive: SP J.A. Happ, RP’s Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter
The Blue Jays were looking for any pitching help after losing Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison, Sergio Santos, Luis Perez, and Jason Frasor to injuries. Drabek, Perez, and Santos are done for the season. Happ can be serviceable in both the rotation and out of the bullpen. He came out of the bullpen in his first appearance with the Jays. Lyon will replace Cordero as the righty set-up man in the bullpen.
Cordero joins his 6th MLB team in his career and comes back to the N.L. Central after being with Cincinnati from 2008-11. He has fallen off this season with a 5.77 ERA, but is only signed to a one-year contract, meaning the Astros will clear his salary at the end of the season or it makes him a target to be flipped by the end of July for more prospects. Francisco was a former big-name prospect, but hasn’t lived up to it. He’s turned into a reserve outfielder and is hitting .236 this season.
The Astros made this deal though for the prospects. The three pitchers all have been good in the minors so far and two were high draft picks in the 1st compensation round. Wojciechowski and Perez were top 15 prospects in the Blue Jays system according to “Prospect Corner.”
Astros receive: Prospects RHP Matt Heidenreich, LHP Blair Walters, and a player to be named later
White Sox receive: RP Brett Myers
Was there a more obvious trade candidate in the 2012 season than Brett Myers? The Astros converted him to closer in order to maximize his value on the trade market. The two prospects aren’t anything overly special, but stockpiling pitching lottery tickets and hoping one makes it, isn’t a bad strategy. Walters, 22, was ranked by Baseball America as the 26th best prospect in the White Sox system, but has struggled since moving up to high A with a 7.01 ERA and 1.63 WHIP for Winston-Salem. 21 year-old Heidenreich was solid in Winston-Salem going 8-2 with a 3.57 ERA this season, but also has struggled since moving up another level.
Myers moves to the Windy City to help stabilize a bullpen that has the 3rd worst bullpen ERA in the American League. Myers has 19 saves and a 3.52 ERA for Houston before being traded. Myers, Matt Thornton, and Addison Reed isn’t exactly the strongest combination at the end of games, but it can be good enough to keep the White Sox in contention for the A.L. Central.
The Astros have shown that they’re trying to bottom out completely and pick up high draft picks in the draft to build a nucleus for the latter part of this decade. We’ve already seen Houston grab Carlos Correa with the #1 pick in this years draft. They’re setting themselves up to pick near the top once again.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)