With the trade deadline just a few days away, the hot stove is definitely heating up. While rumors are swirling for what is to come before Wednesday’s deadline, here are some of the transactions that took place over the weekend:
Mets Make Shocking Yet Bold Move
In what seems like one of the oddest moves of this trade deadline, the New York Mets have plucked one of the major starting pitchers off of the market by dealing for Toronto Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman. Part of the reason that it is so odd is that the Mets have long been rumored to be sellers with the likes of Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, and Edwin Diaz on the trade market.
Initial responses indicate that the Mets still may be willing to deal those three, but this gives them a controllable starter to keep around with Jacob deGrom next season in an effort to retool, not completely rebuild. Stroman this season is 6-11 in 21 starts this season for Toronto. He has a 2.96 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and has struck out 99 in 124 2/3 innings.
The Mets currently sit in fourth in the NL East, 11.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves. They sit six games back for the second Wild Card spot in the National League.
In exchange for Stroman, the Mets gave up their No. 4 and 6 prospects, both of whom are pitchers. Anthony Kay was their fourth-ranked prospect (tops among pitchers) and a first-round pick in 2016. The lefty was at Triple-A at the time of the trade. Woods Richardson, drafted in the second round in 2018, was the Mets’ sixth-ranked prospect. He is just 18 and was at Low-A ball.
Tampa Bay Deals For Sogard
Stroman was not the only person dealt from the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday. They also dealt super-utility player Eric Sogard to the Tampa Bay Rays. In exchange, the Blue Jays are receiving two players to be named. Sogard was drawing interest from numerous clubs, but ultimately Toronto liked what they got from the Rays.
On the season, Sogard is hitting .300/.363/.477 with 10 home runs, 30 runs batted in, and 45 runs scored. Tampa Bay, at 60-48, currently sits 8.5 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East, but just half a game back for the second Wild Card spot.
In a corresponding move, the youth movement continues in Toronto. To replace Sogard, the Blue Jays are calling up top prospect Bo Bichette. The 2016 second-round pick follows both Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio to the big leagues. Ironically, not only are these three highly-touted prospects, but they also have major league bloodlines as each of their dads had amazing careers of their own.
Athletics Get Diekman
The Oakland Athletics made an already strong bullpen even better by trading with the Kansas City Royals for left-handed reliever Jake Diekman. On the season, Diekman is 0-6 with a 4.75 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. In 41 2/3 innings pitched, he has 63 strikeouts versus 23 walks. As mentioned, Diekman joins an already solid bullpen that consists of Blake Treinen, Lou Trevino, Joakim Soria, and others.
Oakland is currently eight games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West but sits in the second Wild Card spot (a half-game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays). In exchange for Diekman, the Royals received prospects Ismael Aquino and Dairon Blanco.
Twins Acquire Romo
The Minnesota Twins, in an effort to improve their playoff chances, have acquired relief pitcher Sergio Romo from the Miami Marlins. At 64-41, the Twins sit in first place in the AL Central, two games ahead of the Cleveland Indians. Romo is not a hard-throwing reliever, as he generally averages in the 80’s for his fastball, but he is still effective due to his ability to get hitters off balance.
On the season, Romo is 2-0 with a 3.58 ERA and 17 saves. While he will likely not be closing for the Twins, it does give them a reliever with backend experience. In addition to Romo, the Twins are also receiving minor league pitcher Chris Vallimont and a player to be named later. Vallimont was Miami’s 27th ranked prospect and currently is at High-A.
In exchange for this trio, the Twins gave up first base prospect Lewin Diaz. The 22-year-old was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 and is ranked 10th on the Twins’ top 30 prospects. Diaz was at Double-A at the time of this trade.
To make room for Romo on the roster, the Twins designated Carlos Torres for assignment.
Cubs Get Holland; Zobrist Rehabbing
After trading away Mike Montgomery in exchange for Martin Maldonado last week, the Cubs acquired a similar long-inning lefty in Derek Holland from the San Francisco Giants. Holland had actually been designated for assignment by the Giants prior to the trade after struggling to the tune of a 2-4 record with a 5.87 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, and 71 strikeouts in 69 innings. As a result, the Cubs will simply send cash considerations in exchange for the veteran southpaw.
Also of note, after acquiring Maldonado, it appears that the Cubs may be looking to flip the defense-first catcher, especially now that Willson Contreras has returned from the injured list.
Other news for the Cubs is the fact that Ben Zobrist has been scheduled to begin a rehab assignment. Zobrist has been on the restricted list for personal reasons (primarily based around a divorce from his wife) for much of the season; however, Zobrist could prove useful as a super-utility guy, especially given that the Cubs were one of the teams that were interested in the Blue Jays’ Eric Sogard. Prior to his leave from the club, Zobrist had been hitting .241/.343/.253 with 10 runs batted in and 12 runs scored in just 83 at-bats.
The Cubs finished the weekend tied for first place with the St. Louis Cardinals, a team they start a series with on Tuesday.