5 teams that made underrated Deadline deals
We love it when big names change teams. We weigh the impact and declare winners and losers. We never let the losing side forget. Here's the funny thing about headline-grabbing Trade Deadline deals. Sometimes -- actually more than sometimes -- they're not the ones that have the most impact.
Remember 2014? Jon Lester changed teams. So did David Price, John Lackey and Yoenis Cespedes. Later, we would look back and see that a much smaller trade mattered more -- Baltimore's acquisition of lefty reliever Andrew Miller. He helped solidify a bullpen that was already very good and gave one of the best managers of this era -- Buck Showalter -- another huge weapon for the late innings.
In 2013, something similar happened. Two fairly big names changed teams when the Yankees got Alfonso Soriano and the Rangers grabbed Matt Garza. Turns out, the move that mattered most was the Red Sox's acquisition of Jake Peavy, who won four games down the stretch and won Game 4 of the American League Division Series on the road.
Want more? The Giants picked up second baseman Marco Scutaro for the 2012 stretch run. No one blinked. All he did was stabilize the lineup and hit .500 in the National League Championship Series as the Giants won the World Series for the second time in three years.
Giants executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean made an even more under-the-radar move in 2010 when he claimed outfielder Cody Ross off waivers from the Marlins. San Francisco had just picked up the guy who would be the MVP of the NLCS and an important component of a championship team.
So this week as teams scrambled to acquire big names like David Price and Cole Hamels and Carlos Gomez, there's a good chance those aren't the ones we'll be talking about later on.
Here are five to keep an eye on:
1. Cardinals get Steve Cishek, Jonathan Broxton and Brandon Moss.
The Cards have learned the tough way that October isn't always about the best team. Sometimes, it's about the team that's rested and healthy. So general manager John Mozeliak worked around the edges, adding Moss to a lineup that needs a boost and two relievers to a bullpen that has been worked hard. These aren't moves that get headlines, but they might help win a championship.
2. Pirates get Joakim Soria, Joe Blanton and Aramis Ramirez.
How do you make one of the best rotations in baseball even better? You monitor the workload for the final weeks and have the starters as rested as possible for the postseason. In Soria and Blanton, the Bucs have two veteran guys whose arrival will have a ripple effect. Ramirez is another guy who has been around the block a time or two, but he might just be energized by a pennant race.
3. Dodgers get Alex Wood, Mat Latos, Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman had discussions about all the big-name pitchers. In the end, he simply would not part with any of the young players he sees as future cornerstones. So Friedman went "small," getting Wood and Latos to fill in the rotation behind Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Brett Anderson. The Dodgers are going to go as far as Greinke and Kershaw take them in October, but first there's winning the NL West. Friedman helped his team do just that. And in Johnson and Avilan, he got two solid bullpen arms whose real impact might be felt in October when getting the final nine outs are about winning the matchups.
4. Orioles get Gerardo Parra.
The O's are hanging in despite poor production from the corner outfield spots. They viewed one more bat as critical to their chances of making a run at another postseason berth. With Chris Davis now playing right field, Parra is a very solid addition to the lineup. Given Baltimore's pitching and core lineup, the Orioles should not be counted out. General manager Dan Duquette has a history of making under-the-radar moves that pay off big. This could be another.
5. Blue Jays get Mark Lowe.
Once general manager Alex Anthopoulos had done the heavy lifting with the acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki and Price, he turned to fine-tuning his roster. This move is one to watch. Lowe, 32, has had a huge bounce-back season. Healthy again, he has compiled a 1.00 ERA in 34 appearances for the Mariners. Lowe could be an important cog as John Gibbons sets up his bullpen.