Jul 7, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra dives back into first base on a pick off attempt in the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
As the clock ticks toward the July 31 trade deadline, I’m here to give a brief summary of what deals were made (or weren’t made) by the five teams in the National League Central Division. Could any of these moves make a difference in the last two months of the season? All of the teams making the swaps would like to think so, but only time will tell.
The Milwaukee Brewers made one trade, sending prospects Mitch Haniger and Anthony Banda to Arizona for Gold Glove outfielder Gerardo Parra. Bill Berg wrote about this deal earlier today. As a trade, I think this is a good deal for Milwaukee, as Haniger is not a ‘top’ prospect and Banda is even farther down the list.
The big question is: where does Parra fit in? He can play all three spots, so he can fill in as needed, but the players given up are a high cost for a ‘fourth’ outfielder. Maybe there is an injury that we don’t know about…
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in second place, two games behind the Brewers. They elected to stand pat, as GM Neal Huntington said, “In the final decision process, we felt that our best move was to stay as we were at this point.”
St. Louis is sitting in third place, 2.5 games back and they made two moves over the last week. They acquired P Justin Masterson from Cleveland for OF prospect James Ramsey last week, and then the Cards dealt another move today, as they traded P Joe Kelly and OF-1B Allen Craig to the Red Sox for P John Lackey and LHP pitching prospect Corey Littrell.
Lackey and Masterson are veteran pitchers and both have appeared in All-Star games. The loss of Kelly will be negligible, but moving Craig means the Cards will need to find a minor leaguer to replace him, or move up a bench player. Either way is potentially a loss.
The Cincinnati Reds are in fourth place, just six games out, but they were quiet in the trade market. The Reds have two key players on the DL–Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips–and hope they can hang tight until these two stars return.
The Cubs made three moves–two that made sense and one that didn’t. They sent IF-OF Emilio Bonifacio and P James Russell to the Braves for catching prospect Victor Caratini, who is playing at Class A Rome in the South Atlantic League.
Second baseman Darwin Barney headed to the Dodgers for RHP Jonathan Martinez, who is stationed at the Great Lakes entry in the Midwest League. Martinez appears to be a power pitcher that doesn’t walk many, with a K:BB ratio of 4.79 and a WHIP of 1.213.
The move that seems strange is where the Cubs sent a ‘player to be named later’ to the Red Sox for LHS/R Felix Doubront, and the fact that Doubront has been placed on the 15-day DL makes it even freakier.
So, to summarize, the Brewers improved their team a little, although how that is going to happen remains a question. Parra is a solid player, but will he play enough to make it worthwhile?
The Cardinals added pitching and lost a solid hitter, but now have the rotation that might make them favorites in the N.L. Central.
The Cubs made some moves that will give them a net improvement in the future, but will make their big league club weaker this season.
And the Pirates and the Reds made no moves at all, hoping their current teams are good enough.
Only time will tell.