As the clock was ticking toward 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jake Arrieta was pitching for the Cubs. More to the point, he was mowing down the Rockies at Wrigley Field.
|In three-way trade, Tigers acquire David Price, the Mariners acquire Austin Jackson and the Rays acquire Nick Franklin, Drew Smyly, Willy Adames |
|A's acquire Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes from Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes |
|Cardinals acquire John Lackey, Corey Littrell from Red Sox for Allen Craig, Joe Kelly |
|Yankees acquire Martin Prado from D-backs for Peter O'Brien. |
|Marlins acquire Jarred Cosart, Enrique Hernandez, Austin Wates from Astros for Jake Marisnick, Colin Moran, Francis Martes and a 2015 competitive balance pick |
|Braves acquire James Russell, Emilio Bonifacio from Cubs for Victor Caratini |
|Nationals acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from Indians for Zach Walters |
|Twins acquire Tommy Milone from A's for Sam Fuld |
|Brewers acquire Gerardo Parra from D-backs for Mitch Haniger and Anthony Banda |
|Mariners acquire Chris Denorfia from Padres for Stephen Kohlscheen and Abraham Almonte |
|Orioles aquire Andrew Miller from Red Sox for Eduardo Rodriguez |
|Yankees acquire Stephen Drew from Red Sox for Kelly Johnson |
Arrieta retired the first 14 hitters he faced en route to his sixth victory, and would have taken a no-hitter into the sixth inning for the third time this year had Junior Lake been able to grab a knee-high liner he had outrun. It was a nifty demonstration of why the pitching-thin Cubs had felt all right about trading Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A's four weeks earlier.
Pretty impressive for a guy the Orioles let get away, huh?
The Cubs got Arrieta and reliever Pedro Strop from Baltimore last July for three months of Scott Feldman, who they had signed as a free agent the previous winter.
There weren't a lot of national headlines about that Feldman trade but it could prove huge as Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod continue to build the strongest core of young talent in the organization's history.
For teams on the outside looking in at playoff races, the non-waiver Trade Deadline was a chance to make under-the-radar moves that would yield contributing players with shelf life, like Arrieta and Strop. Not all of the moves will work out, of course, but the good news for sellers is that July trades wind up benefitting them far more often than they do the contending teams.
And sometimes you can get really clever and use the Deadline to get business done with veterans. The Twins did exactly that, signing catcher Kurt Suzuki, who they have come to a love, to a contract extension (two years and an option for $12 million) rather than trade him to the Orioles, Cardinals or another potential suitor.
That wasn't all the Twins did, either. They added squeezed-out starter Tommy Milone (32-22 with a 3.84 career ERA with the Nationals and A's) by sending high-energy outfielder Sam Fuld to the A's. Here's the thing that makes this is a really cool move by Terry Ryan: he claimed Fuld on waivers from the A's in late April.
Don't look now, but I think Ryan just outsmarted Billy Beane, and that's not easy to do.
On paper, the Astros got a really nice return on 24-year-old right-hander Jarred Cosart (who they acquired from Philadelphia for Hunter Pence three years ago), who will move from Minute Maid Park into the no-lose fun that is the Marlins' attempt to make the playoffs two years after their latest fire sale. Third baseman Colin Moran, a hitter so advanced at the University of North Carolina that he was the sixth player overall in the 2013 Draft, moves to Houston with outfielder Jake Marisnick, who should immediately go into Bo Porter's lineup.
That's a lot of talent for a pitcher with a 4.41 ERA in 20 starts this season, especially given the confidence that Houston GM Jeff Luhnow has in pitching prospects Mike Foltynewicz, Josh Hader and Mark Appel. You can also be sure the Astros will draft at least one advanced pitching prospect with the two top-five picks they will have next June.
Scouts will tell you how tough it is to find power hitters on any level but two mashers were included in the prospects moved Thursday.
The D-backs landed catcher Peter O'Brien from the Yankees for Martin Prado. The Indians picked up middle infielder Zach Walters from the Nationals for Asdrubal Cabrera.
There are downsides to O'Brien and Walters, sure. But Walters hit 29 homers for Triple-A Syracuse last year and has 15 to go along with a .965 OPS this year. O'Brien has been just behind the Cubs' Kris Bryant in producing homers this year, hitting 33 in only 386 at-bats between high-A and Double-A.
Walters seems likely to get a look before the point in 2015 when Francisco Lindor takes over the shortstop spot. There's question whether O'Brien can be an adequate defender behind the plate but the D-backs love that power.
Oh, the Cubs struck again. They addressed an organizational weakness by sending two veterans (Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell) and cash to the Braves for 20-year-old catcher Victor Caratini.
Yes, it took two veterans and cash to get a catcher from the low-A South Atlantic League.
Sounds insignificant now, doesn't it? Check back in a few years, if not 10-15 years.
Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com.