Michael Bourn to the Atlanta Braves: The Braves get a much-needed center fielder and a bat at the top of the order. Bourn is benefitting from a higher-than-average BABIP but, overall, his defensive metrics have been above average, and he should be a solid leadoff bat for the Braves through next season.
Hunter Pence to the Philadelphia Phillies: What I most like about this trade is that the Phillies were able to get a right-handed bat/outfielder under the age of the 30 and not trade Domonic Brown in the process. I like that the Phillies are loading up for a playoff run while also focusing on the 2012 season. I always felt that maybe the Phillies should have made a move for Carlos Quentin (in terms of offering the same trade package), but this is a trade that could benefit both sides.
Derrek Lee to the Pittsburgh Pirates: I like the moves the Pirates made from a business standpoint. I’m sure the Pirates realize the odds are stacked against them this season, but the move to acquire Lee—as well as Ryan Ludwick—should benefit a team in need of some right-handed power as well as keep the Pirates fans excited as they move forward for the remainder of the season.
Jerry Hairston and Felipe Lopez to the Milwaukee Brewers: With a team that is completely dependent on keeping their stars healthy, these trades are minor, since they couldn’t offer the same packages for players like Bourn, Ludwick and Orlando Cabrera. The Brewers should have been aggressive in pursuing options like a Clint Barmes or Kosuke Fukudome since they wouldn’t have been too expensive, but being in the same division with sellers like the Cubs and Astros may have been difficult.
Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, Corey Patterson, Rafael Furcal to the St. Louis Cardinals: This was probably instrumental in taking the air out of a possible Heath Bell trade since Dotel and Rzepczynski should shore up their bullpen, but a haul like this for Colby Rasmus could come back to haunt them in the future.
Carlos Beltran, Orlando Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants: Obviously, Beltran should benefit the Giants as their much-needed middle-of-the-order bat, but it’s tough to see him as anything more than a shiny 2011 rental. The prospects given for Beltran and Cabrera could prove costly (especially Zack Wheeler going to the Mets), and this could be another quiet feather in the cap of the Indians front office—especially if former Giants prospect Thomas Neal can get past this season’s shoulder injury and show some power for Cleveland as a future fourth outfielder.
Mike Aviles, Erik Bedard to the Boston Red Sox: If Bedard remains healthy, I like this addition for the Red Sox, and I especially like this trade for the Seattle Mariners, since it allows them to flip a half-season of Bedard for Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Trayvon Robinson in this last-minute deadline deal. Leave it to Ned Colletti and the Dodgers to trade off a high-profile, MLB-ready prospect at a time when they are clear sellers.
Colby Rasmus, Mark Teahen, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet to the Toronto Blue Jays: This is a trade that greatly benefits the Blue Jays in the 2012 season and beyond. Rasmus should develop into a franchise center fielder; the rest of the haul is mere roster clogs and will be handled accordingly.
Ubaldo Jimenez , Kosuke Fukudome to the Cleveland Indians: The Jimenez trade is still a few years away from being properly judged,but I do like the idea of Cleveland inserting a pitcher with the potential to miss bats among its other control artists like Justin Masterson and Carlos Carrasco.
The other advantage for Cleveland is that Jimenez comes relatively cheap, and if he only performs as a mid-rotation pitcher through next season, then the money owed won’t be too burdensome and won’t handcuff them in the future. Fukudome gives the Indians a good insurance plan until other options like Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore return from injuries.
Jason Frasor to the Chicago White Sox: Frasor doesn’t have the same bat-missing stuff he did last season, but he does add a bit more depth to a White Sox bullpen. Now, with that said, who cares? The White Sox should be expected to fall back as this race turns into a Tigers/Indians battle. Depending on their GM situation this offseason, the White Sox need to figure out pretty quick where they stand in 2012 and beyond and could benefit from some major roster reconstruction surgery.
Doug Fister, David Pauley to the Detroit Tigers: This is another trade I like because it gives the Tigers some depth without moving future Tigers starters like Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver. With Justin Verlander moving into elite status and Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Fister anchoring the rest of the rotation, the Tigers can be patient with their top pitching prospects, as they could have one of the better rotations in the AL Central going forward.
Mike Adams, Koji Uehara to the Texas Rangers: This trade should benefit the Rangers this season as they solidify their bullpen. The deal also will allow them to know who will be the team’s closer in 2012 as they revisit the “Neftali Feliz as starter” (for real) concept next spring.
These are ‘prospects’ who are likely to be MLB-ready
Chris Davis to the Baltimore Orioles: The best comp I see for Davis is Russell Branyan. Davis’ struggles against left-handed pitching are genuine, and this should put an anchor on his potential going forward. The Orioles now have a team full of high-strikeout guys on the wrong side of the roster, and this will need to change soon.
Brandon Allen to the Oakland A’s: After losing out on Lars Anderson in the negated Rich Harden deal with the Red Sox, the A’s finally receive a legitimate prospect to compete with Chris Carter at first base. Allen is MLB-ready, so he will be a bonus for a team badly in need of power.
Jordan Schafer to the Houston Astros: Schafer was a highly-touted prospect a few seasons back, but his inability to handle MLB pitching has put his abilities in doubt. He is still a capable defender, and if he can show improvement in handling off-speed pitching, he may be fine. At best, the Astros traded for a probable fourth outfielder.
*Major thanks to Brian Cartwright for gathering and organizing each transaction