9 takeaways from a crazy night of deals
Nine takeaways from the most dizzying day of deals (and non-deals) in recent memory.
1. What a bizarre few hours for the Mets. One minute, they're on the verge of completing a deal with the Brewers for center fielder Carlos Gomez, a fiery, productive player who would have been a nice upgrade. And, suddenly, it was off the table, the Mets apparently stepping away over concerns about Gomez's right hip. But the other part of this story -- attention, Mets fans -- is that general manager Sandy Alderson has shifted directions and is willing to trade prospects for a better shot at making the playoffs in 2015. Right-hander Zack Wheeler, recovering from Tommy John surgery, would have joined Wilmer Flores in going to the Brewers if the Gomez deal had been finalized. Now where do the Mets look for offense? Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes? Padres slugger Justin Upton?
2. At some point next season, the Rangers hope to have Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish and Derek Holland in their rotation. And that's why Texas' impending acquisition of the Philadelphia left-hander makes sense. Hamels is owed about $81 million: $7.5 million for the remainder of this season, plus $22.5 million each of the next three seasons. He also has a $6 million buyout on a $19 million club option for 2019 that automatically vests at $24 million based on innings pitched. Even if the Rangers don't make the playoffs in 2015, they're set up for '16. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has been cautious about trading his prospects, but Hamels is a generational-type addition.
3. The Dodgers have been shopping for pitching for weeks. That need became even more pressing when Clayton Kershaw had Wednesday's start pushed back to Friday because of a sore hip. Sure, maybe he'll be sidelined for just a few days, but with their rotation already thin because of an assortment of injuries, the Dodgers had a great day on Wednesday in agreeing to a deal that would net them two starting pitchers -- Mat Latos from the Marlins and Alex Wood from the Braves.
4. The Cardinals are also looking for offense, especially after left fielder Matt Holliday strained his right quad on Wednesday. The Cards are 19th in the Majors in runs scored this month, and with a very good pitching staff shouldering the load, general manager John Mozeliak is attempting to make a deal, perhaps a significant one with Cleveland. He's got a deep farm system and could be tempted to make a run at Gomez or perhaps Brewers first baseman Adam Lind. Would the Orioles listen on first baseman Chris Davis?
5. Tough day for the Tigers. Yes, listening to offers for Price -- who was reportedly dealt to Toronto -- and Cespedes probably was the right thing to do. While Detroit remains in sight of an American League Wild Card berth, the Tigers are a shadow of the team they expected to be. Team president Dave Dombrowski notified teams that he's considering pushing the "reset" button on his roster. This isn't how Dombrowski thought this season would play out, and if he trades the two impending free agents, he'll be looking at a significant overhaul by Opening Day 2016.
6. Keep an eye on the Astros. Having already traded for Scott Kazmir, general manager Jeff Luhnow pushed hard to acquire Hamels. Houston hasn't been in first place this late in a season in 12 years, and with three other AL West teams -- Seattle, Texas and Oakland -- all sporting losing records, it's a window of opportunity for the Astros. While this is sooner than they expected to contend, they're in a go-for-it mode because the entire division could be significantly tougher next season.
7. The White Sox have won 16 of 24 and are 2 1/2 games out in the AL Wild Card race. So if they were ever considering trading Jeff Samardzija, that possibility is almost certainly off the table. Only the Cardinals and Marlins have a better team ERAs this month, and with Melky Cabrera hitting .381 in July, the White Sox just might make things interesting in September.
8. Sometimes, life just isn't fair. Nationals reliever Drew Storen is one of the real good guys in the game. He has also converted 29 of 31 save chances this season, and so it was surprising to see the first-place Nats acquire closer Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies on Tuesday. As disappointed as Storen surely is, it's one of those deals that can make the Nats better. That is, if Storen accepts the role of eighth-inning reliever and can make the mental adjustment to it.
9. The Padres are on the clock. As Detroit fielded offers for Price and Cespedes, San Diego is listening on Craig Kimbrel, Upton, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and perhaps even James Shields. Some executives doubt Padres general manager A.J. Preller will really tear down a roster he overhauled only a few months ago last offseason, but the Astros are pushing hard for Ross or Cashner.