Flipping over the calendar to the beginning of August reminds us that there are only two more months of regular season baseball remaining. It also means that the trade deadline has passed — in 2019 the July 31 date is now the only deadline — and with it goes the anticipation of many fans as to whether their team can either make a transaction for a deep playoff run or a talent injection into their farm systems.
In the case of the Detroit Tigers, this year’s deadline was modest but productive amidst the many rumors that swirled around the club. It took until the last day — and in Nicholas Castellanos’ case, the last minutes — for the team to pull the trigger on two deals that shipped out the aforementioned right fielder and closer Shane Greene for some interesting returns. The staff here at Bless You Boys gave their opinion on Thursday, and every other media outlet had something to say as well.
Nicholas Castellanos is now a Cub
According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Castellanos to Chicago Cubs talks only began to blossom about 20 minutes prior to the deadline. The deal was reported finalized only eight minutes before the clock ran out, with the main hangup being how to handle the remainder of Castellanos’ salary on his expiring contract. The exchange was finally made, and both teams got what they were looking for.
According to the Detroit Free Press, however, the deal was actually made 40 seconds before the clock struck 4:00, according to Tigers general manager Al Avila. The exchange brought back Paul Richan and Alex Lange, both right-handed pitching prospects, that our own Jay Markle did a fantastic job breaking down. Side note: Castellanos had the only Cubs hit in his debut game with his new club.
Nick Castellanos, on getting the news and on joining the Cubs.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 1, 2019
He’s wearing No. 6 because today is his son’s 6th birthday. pic.twitter.com/o8FDguz7Wx
Shane Greene heads to the A-T-L
Well, the Tigers finally got Greeney goin’... to the Atlanta Braves. The veteran pitcher, who has had a phenomenal year as the Tigers’ closer but is also possibly due for regression, finally got moved on Wednesday. While many consider the return to be rather modest, there had been whispers that his asking price was a bit more reasonable than some of the other relievers on the market. Regardless, some felt strongly that the trade was a bit on the light side.
Shane Greene isn't an elite closer, but that's a very light return for him. Wentz is a lefty with a fringy fastball and a good changeup. Could be a 4th/5th SP. Demerritte is a 4th OF with power, but he's not a great hitter, he's almost 25, and they could've had him for free.— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown0914) July 31, 2019
Not that the Tigers did not try to get more; according to Anthony Fenech, the Tigers had asked about catching prospect Alex Jackson, but were rebuffed in their request. While the two players the Tigers received in return are not major head-turners, southpaw Joey Wentz and outfielder Travis Demeritte were not a terrible return for a closer with a wildly varying track record and health concerns. Demeritte will be contributing to the big league club right away, but there is also some potential in Wentz’s arm as well. Once again, Mr. Markle here at Bless You Boys has all your questions answered regarding the haul from this trade.
Matthew Boyd stays!
Possibly the biggest (non-)transaction for the Tigers at the deadline was the absence of a Boyd trade. The rumors were that the asking price was sky high, and most fans agreed it should have been. As it stands, there were no takers for the 28-year-old lefty, who is in the midst of a breakout season. With three years more of control, Boyd would probably be better suited as a role model and mentor for the crop of rising pitching from the minors, given his accomplishments both on and off the field.
Other opinions on the deadline
As noted above in the introduction, there is no shortage of opinions on how the trade deadline worked out for all involved. Over at FanGraphs, Jay Jaffe talks about the deals he liked and disliked. On the bright side for the Tigers, he liked both the Castellanos and Greene trade, ranking them No. 3 and 4, respectively on his good list.
On that same site, you can also find a rankings list for all of the prospects that were moved during the trade season this year. Detroit made its first appearance at No. 10 with Joey Wentz, to whom they assigned a 45 future value grade. Alex Lange appears next at No. 26 and a 40 FV grade, followed by Paul Richan at No. 40 with a 35 FV, and trailed by the last acquisition Travis Demeritte who ranks 43rd and carries a 35 FV grade.
MLB Pipeline also produced a list of prospect rankings, focusing on the top 32 who were moved. Wentz appeared first again, this time at No. 14, followed by Richan at No. 21 and Lange and No. 29. Demeritte failed to make this list, but more interesting was the swapped positions of Richan and Lange in these rankings.
Lastly, Jim Bowden over at The Athletic gave his grades for all 30 MLB teams for their moves or non-moves leading up to 4pm on Wednesday afternoon. In regards to the Tigers, he gave the team a B- grade based on the fact that they did not receive any impact talent in return. Given that keeping Boyd was probably the biggest move of the deadline for Detroit and the return on the two trades were pretty “meh”, this is probably a fair grade.
A record number of trades
For many of us, the weeks leading up to the deadline felt cold and anticlimactic. As it turns out, from June 1 to July 31 there were more trades made than ever before in major league baseball history. The average number of moves for the two decades preceding this season was a little under 39; 2019 saw 76 total trades made in that two-month span. It goes to show how one’s perception can be deceiving. Here is a list of every notable trade deadline transaction.
More on the record number of deals this summer: An all-time high 76 trades were made in the two months between June 1 and July 31 (and Aug. 1 in 2016). The average number between 1998-2018 was just shy of 39.— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) August 1, 2019
14 players who have been an All-Star were among those traded in 2019.
Around the horn
Prospect values that were impacted by the trade deadline. Here are the 40-man roster situations that may have affected the trade deadline. Kansas City Royals prospect Malcolm Van Buren records a five-strikeout inning. Are you a fan of the split-finger pitch? Here is a discussion with three former pitchers who threw it. Set the wayback machine to 1994 and see what transpired during that deadline. Jake Rogers haunts Cody Stavenhagen’s dreams. The 2020 Detroit Tigers are going to look a lot like the 2019 Miami Marlins. A fan who hit 96 mph in a pitching booth at Coors Field signs a contract with the Oakland Athletics.
Baseball is awesome: the moonshot edition
I am pretty sure that ball disintegrated before reaching the seats.