It's becoming increasingly clear that savvy front offices are no longer waiting until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline to make their moves.The benefit is obvious, as adding a player two to three weeks early can make a considerable difference in a postseason race.The All-Star break, in particular, has become
It's becoming increasingly clear that savvy front offices are no longer waiting until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline to make their moves.
The benefit is obvious, as adding a player two to three weeks early can make a considerable difference in a postseason race.
The All-Star break, in particular, has become a hotbed of activity in recent years after being known in the past as a dormant period before player movement escalated in the week leading up to the Trade Deadline. Manny Machado is the latest example.
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Here are 10 July blockbusters that were consummated more than 10 days before the non-waiver Trade Deadline over the past 10 years, starting with the most recent.
Yankees acquire 3B Todd Frazier, RHP Player Page for David Robertson and RHP Tommy Kahnle from White Sox
Date: July 19, 2017
White Sox receive: RHP Tyler Clippard, OF Blake Rutherford, LHP Ian Clarkin, OF Tito Polo
Although Frazier signed with the crosstown Mets this past offseason and Kahnle is in the Minors, this trade nonetheless worked out well for the Yankees. Kahnle and Robertson combined to toss 5 2/3 scoreless innings in the Yanks' AL Wild Card Game victory over the Twins and 24 1/3 effective frames (3.33 ERA) altogether during the 2017 postseason. Frazier, meanwhile, became a positive clubhouse presence and hit a key three-run homer in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series with the Yankees trailing the Astros in the series, 2-0. New York still has one of the top farm systems in the game, so the club likely isn't lamenting the loss of Rutherford (Chicago's No. 7 prospect, per MLB Pipeline), Clarkin (No. 15) and Polo all that much.
D-backs acquire OF J.D. Martinez from Tigers
Date: July 18, 2017
Tigers receive: 2B Dawel Lugo, SS/2B Sergio Alcantara, SS/2B Jose King
While Martinez spent just a few months with the D-backs before signing with the Red Sox in February, Arizona is looking like the clear winner in this deal. Martinez produced 29 homers with 65 RBIs in only 62 games with the D-backs, helping the club reach the postseason for the first time since 2011 and ensuring the National League Wild Card Game was played at Chase Field rather than Coors Field. Lugo (Detroit's No. 12 prospect), Alcantara (No. 24) and King have posted unimpressive numbers in the Minors this season, and none ranks among the Tigers' top 10 prospects.
Nationals acquire LHP Sean Doolittle and RHP Ryan Madson from A's
Date: July 16, 2017
A's receive: RHP Blake Treinen, LHP Jesus Luzardo, 3B Sheldon Neuse
The Nationals addressed a weak spot with the additions of Doolittle and Madson to their bullpen last season, and Doolittle has turned in an All-Star campaign in 2018. However, the A's landed a gem in Treinen, who is under control through 2020 and has recorded a 0.94 ERA while also making the All-Star team this year. Additionally, Luzardo is the A's No. 1 prospect (20th overall), while Neuse ranks ninth.
Cubs acquire LHP Jose Quintana from White Sox
Date: July 13, 2017
White Sox receive: OF Eloy Jimenez, RHP Dylan Cease, 2B Bryant Flete, 3B Matt Rose
The Cubs were gaining three-plus years of control of Quintana at the time of the trade, as he is signed through 2018 with reasonable team options for '19 ($10.5 million) and '20 ($11.5 million). As a result, they paid a steep price to bring him to the North Side of Chicago just two days after the '17 All-Star Game. The left-hander has been solid over 32 regular-season starts for the Cubs (3.86 ERA), but he allowed eight runs across seven innings in two starts during the '17 postseason. The Cubs may ultimately come to regret this move, with Jimenez ranking among the top prospects in all of baseball (No. 2 overall) and Cease (Chicago's No. 4 prospect, No. 40 overall) also looking like a future member of the White Sox rotation.
Red Sox acquire LHP Thomas Pomeranz from Padres
Date: July 14, 2016
Padres receive: RHP Anderson Espinoza
Just two days after appearing in the 2016 All-Star Game with San Diego, Pomeranz was on his way to Boston. The results since then have been mixed, with Pomeranz posting a 4.09 ERA in 54 appearances (53 starts) with the Red Sox during the regular season and yielding six runs over 5 2/3 innings in the postseason. This year, Pomeranz has recorded a 6.81 ERA in eight starts, and he is now on the disabled list with left biceps tendinitis. Espinoza (San Diego's No. 7 prospect), though, hasn't appeared in a game since '16, having undergone Tommy John surgery in '17.
A's acquire RHP Jeff Samardzija and RHP Jason Hammel from Cubs
Date: July 5, 2014
Cubs receive: SS Addison Russell, RHP Dan Straily, OF Billy McKinney, cash
Samardzija was famously shipped to the A's shortly before the 2014 All-Star Game, leading to the right-hander being introduced with the National League while wearing a generic All-Star Game cap. Samardzija continued to excel after the trade and Hammel was serviceable, helping Oakland claim the second AL Wild Card spot by one game over the Mariners. But after Oakland lost the AL Wild Card Game to the Royals, Samardzija was sent to the White Sox in a deal that landed the A's Marcus Semien, and Hammel re-signed with the Cubs. While Russell hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations bestowed upon him as a former top prospect, he has developed into an above-average MLB player for the Cubs and was a member of the 2016 World Series champions along with Albertin Chapman, who was acquired from the Yankees for a package that included McKinney, and William Fowler, who was picked up from the Astros for Straily and Luis Valbuena.
Brewers acquire RHP Francisco Rodriguez from Mets
Date: July 12, 2011
Mets receive: LHP Danny Herrera and RHP Adrian Rosario
Looking to bolster its bullpen for the stretch run, Milwaukee picked up Rodriguez from the Mets on the same day as the 2011 All-Star Game. K-Rod pitched like an All-Star the rest of the way, recording a 1.86 ERA and giving Milwaukee a dominant setup man in front of closer John Axford. The Brewers were tied with the Cardinals in the NL Central when Rodriguez was acquired, but the right-hander helped the club win the division by six games. Herrera posted a 1.13 ERA over 16 games for the Mets in '11, but he didn't appear in the Majors thereafter, and Rosario never pitched in a Major League game.
Rangers acquire LHP Cliff Lee and RHP Mark Lowe from Mariners
Date: July 9, 2010
Mariners receive: 1B Justin Smoak, RHP Josh Lueke, 2B Matt Lawson, RHP Blake Beavan
The Lee deal was a major success for the Rangers, who made the first of their two straight World Series appearances in 2010 with help from the southpaw's 2.78 ERA in 35 2/3 innings during the postseason. The trade also kept Lee away from the Yankees, who went on to lose to Texas in the '10 ALCS. Although Lee left to sign with the Phillies in the following offseason, only one of the players the Rangers surrendered in the trade -- Smoak -- did anything of note in the Majors, and that came years later with the Blue Jays.
Cubs acquire RHP Rich Harden and RHP Chad Gaudin from A's
Date: July 8, 2008
A's receive: 3B Josh Donaldson, RHP Sean Gallagher, OF Matt Murton, OF Eric Patterson
Harden enjoyed one of the best stretches of his career after the trade, recording a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts with the Cubs, who won the NL Central that year. The right-hander posted a 4.09 ERA in 26 starts for the Cubs the next season before hitting free agency and signing with the Rangers. But Donaldson, then a catching prospect in the low Minors, ultimately emerged as the best player from this trade. The third baseman finished among the top eight in AL MVP Award voting in both 2013 and '14, helping the A's make the postseason in both years. He was then traded to the Blue Jays for a four-player package that included Franklin Barreto and Kendall Graveman.
Brewers acquire LHP Carsten Sabathia from Indians
Date: July 7, 2008
Indians receive: OF Michael Brantley, 1B Matt LaPorta, RHP Rob Bryson, LHP Zach Jackson
Although he signed with the Yankees after the 2008 season, Sabathia is arguably one of the greatest Trade Deadline acquisitions ever, as he put the Brewers on his back and carried them to the third postseason appearance in franchise history. Despite making only 17 starts for Milwaukee, the big left-hander finished fifth in '08 NL Cy Young Award voting after going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and seven complete games. The Brewers were behind the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card race when Sabathia was acquired but ended up winning it by a game over the Mets, 3 1/2 games over the Astros and four games over the Cardinals. LaPorta was supposed to be the big prize on Cleveland's end of the deal, but Brantley -- the player to be named later in the trade -- has become a three-time All-Star ('14, '17, '18) for the Tribe.
Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.