A Look at Six Trade Deadline Deals

Giants NewsHunter Pence ripped a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning on Sunday to lift the San Francisco Giants to a 9-6 win over Colorado and maintain their one-game lead over Los Angeles in the National League West.

It was undoubtedly the highlight of Pence’s brief tenure with the Giants since he was acquired from Philadelphia at last month’s non-waiver trade deadline for catching prospect Tommy Joseph, minor league pitcher Seth Rosin and outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

Pence entered Sunday’s game batting .149 (7-for-47) in 11 games with his new team. He was 0-for-4 before the blast and is 8-for-52 (.154) with one home run, 11 RBI and a .455 OPS for the Giants.

It is still early in Pence’s Giants career, yet his early struggles prove that, sometimes, trade deadline deals that will appear to have a significant impact do not immediately progress as anticipated.

Here are 5 more trade deadline deals that are working out well for at least one team:

Atlanta Braves acquire starting pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson from Chicago Cubs for minor league pitching prospects Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.

Ryan Dempster, and not the left-hander Maholm, was originally the arm Atlanta most coveted from the Cubs, but Dempster did not accept the deal and ended up going to the Texas Rangers.

Dempster has a 6.35 ERA (11 runs, eight earned runs, 15 hits, 11.1 innings) in two starts for the Rangers while Maholm is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA (three runs, nine hits, 16 innings) in two starts for the Braves.

Johnson – a versatile, 35-year-old outfielder – is 6-for-17 (.353) since joining the Braves and hit ..302 in 169 at-bats for the Cubs.

The Braves would have sacrificed promising 22-year-old right-handed starting pitcher Randall Delgado for Dempster. Instead, they kept him and gave up the 21-year-old Vizcaino, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery this season and projects as a starter or a late-inning reliever, and Chapman, who is a Triple-A right-hander.

Angels acquire right-handed reliever Ernesto Frieri from San Diego for minor leaguers Donn Roach and Alexi Amerista.

Technically, this was not a trade deadline deal since it was completed in early May, but it was before the deadline and impactful for the Angels.

The Angels needed stability in the late innings. Scott Downs has saved nine games in 12 opportunities and has a 2.57 ERA, but the left-hander is on the DL. Second-year reliever Jordan Walden blew 10 saves last year and has pitched well in a set-up role but is also on the DL.

The 27-year-old Frieri, whose salary is $489,100 this season, has 13 saves in 14 opportunities, a 2.11 ERA and a .149 opponent’s batting average. He throws strikes, as his 1.09 WHIP suggests, and he has 79 strikeouts in 47 innings.

Diamondbacks acquire third baseman Chris Johnson from Astros for minor league outfielders Bobby Borchering and Marc Krauss.

The Diamondbacks are five games behind the Giants in the National League West and 6.5 games out of the second wild card spot, yet they are hanging around at 58-57 with the help of Johnson’s bat.

The 27-year-old Johnson is hitting .286 with five home runs, 18 RBI and a .920 OPS in 49 at-bats for Arizona.

Krauss was Arizona’s first round pick in 2009 while Borchering was a second rounder of the Diamondbacks in the same draft, so the cost for Johnson was high, but since he has run producing potential and is under affordable team control (he makes $495,000 this season and is not eligible for free agency until 2017), it was a win-win situation for both teams.

To visit the opposite side of the trade spectrum, along with the aforementioned Pence deal, here are two other moves that have not worked out as planned, at least not yet:

Marlins acquire first baseman Carlos Lee for minor league pitcher Rob Rasmussen and third base prospect Matt Dominguez.

In a few years, this could be a major head scratcher, especially since the Marlins acquired Lee on July 4 and later in the month commenced a fire sale. The Marlins are not contenders, they are saddled with a plethora of bad contracts and Lee is a free agent at the end of the year.

For the woeful Marlins, the 36-year-old Lee is batting .282 but has just one home run in 138 plate appearances. The 22-year-old Dominguez, the 12th overall pick of the 2007 draft by the Marlins, hit .398 in 107 at-bats for Triple-A Oklahoma City and was recently called up to the Astros, with which he is 2-for-8 in four games. He has a high ceiling at third base.

A second round pick of the Marlins in 2010 out of UCLA, the 23-year-old Rasmussen is 4-2 with a 4.74 ERA in seven starts at Corpus Christi, his first taste of Double-A after a stint at advanced Single-A Jupiter this year in the Marlins organization. Rasmussen is a promising arm, and not a fringe prospect.

Tigers acquire Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from Marlins for right-handed pitching prospect Jacob Turner.

The 30-year-old Infante has improved Detroit’s second base production. He is batting .308 in 70 plate appearances, but the 28-year-old Sanchez was the key player in the deal for the Tigers, which needed to bolster their rotation. Sanchez is 1-2 with a 7.80 ERA in three starts.

As for Turner, the ninth overall selection in the 2009 draft and the 15th-best prospect in the game entering this season according to MLB.com is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four starts for Triple-A New Orleans and will likely make his Major League debut at least when rosters expand in September.

Infante is a productive yet unspectacular second baseman, so for this trade to work out for the Tigers, they need Sanchez to deliver in the regular season and playoffs. With Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, Detroit has three back of the rotation types to accompany ace Justin Verlander. The team is hoping that Sanchez can give the club a formidable No. 2 in October. So far, he has struggled in his adjustment to the American League.

 


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