Astros acquired RHP Zack Greinke from the Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Corbin Martin, RHP J.B. Bukauskas, 1B Seth Beer and INF Josh Rojas.
While the vast majority of the biggest names rumored to be on the trade block -- including Noah Syndergaard, Robbie Ray, Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Zack Wheeler, Felipe Vazquez, Ken Giles, Kirby Yates -- ultimately stayed put, it was the Astros -- who boast the American League’s best record (69-39) this season -- that made the most substantial acquisition of any franchise to bolster their starting rotation; extracting right-hander Zack Greinke from the Diamondbacks in a blockbuster deal only minutes before Wednesday’s 4 PM ET major-league trade deadline. They paid an extremely steep price, but will be adding another potential ace to a staff already comprised of foundational cornerstones Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in addition to veteran southpaw Wade Miley. The 35-year-old right-hander is a tremendous talent and arguably one of the most underrated workhorses in the game. He’s also among the most analytically savvy and inquisitive pitching minds in the modern era moving to an extremely progressive organization that has shown an ability to get the most out of the pitching talent they acquire. It’s a perfect match. Despite lacking the premium fastball velocity he possessed in his halcyon days as a perennial Cy Young Award contender with the Royals, Brewers and Dodgers earlier in his career, Greinke’s rare ability to change speeds and expertly locate his extensive repertoire remains unparalleled. He owns a 2.90 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 135/21 K/BB ratio across 146 innings (23 starts) this season and should benefit exponentially from the move to Houston.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Diamondbacks are sending $24 million to the Astros, who will assume the remaining $53 million left on his deal, which runs through the end of the 2021 campaign. Without question, the Astros paid a steep price, surrendering four quality prospects to complete this deal. I can only paraphrase Rotoworld prospect guru Chris Crawford, who tweeted on Wednesday afternoon, “the Greinke trade is a freakin' haul.” From a pure fantasy perspective, Seth Beer is the most relevant name to monitor in Arizona moving forward. He profiles as a middle-of-the-order masher and a potential four-category impact contributor long-term. There’s a realistic possibility that he pries the starting first base gig away from incumbent’s Christian Walker and Kevin Cron by the start of the 2020 campaign. Right-hander Corbin Martin showed some flashes in his brief stint at the major-league level, but the 23-year-old righty will be sidelined for the majority of next season after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this month. J.B. Bukauskas, the Astros' first-round selection back in 2017, boasts a prodigious strikeout rate, but the 22-year-old righty still needs to iron out his command issues. If you’re looking for a potential sleeper, Josh Rojas has hit .315/.403/.575 with 20 homers and 32 steals in 97 between the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season.
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Greene New Deal
Braves acquired RHP Shane Greene from the Tigers in exchange for minor-league LHP Joey Wentz and INF/OF Travis Demeritte.
Here’s an oversimplification: Shane Greene has been one of the best relievers in baseball this year. He’s collected 21 saves for the Tigers while recording a sparkling 1.18 ERA and 43/12 K/BB ratio across 38 innings. Meanwhile, the Braves bullpen has been an absolute quagmire, to put it mildly. Incumbent closer Luke Jackson has been a true rollercoaster experience in recent weeks. He was pulled after failing to record an out and throwing just six pitches in an ugly appearance against the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon. Greene should slide right in as Atlanta's closer for the remainder of the 2019 season and he should be in line for plenty of save chances over the final two months. Since he's eligible for arbitration in 2020, it’s extremely likely that he remains in the role next season as well. As far as the return goes for the Tigers, Wentz and Demeritte are high-risk prospects with plenty of upside and a ton of question marks moving forward. If you’re speculating on saves in Detroit, 24-year-old righty Joe Jimenez appears to be the frontrunner to inherit the lions' share of the closing duties moving forward.
Gallen Jettisoned to Desert
Diamondbacks acquired RHP Zac Gallen from the Marlins in exchange for minor-league SS Jazz Chisholm.
There’s nothing better than a prototypical one-for-one, straight-up challenge trade involving a pair of talented young prospects. However, the fact that this deal came together is simply stunning considering Zac Gallen’s meteoric rise and immediate success at the major-league level upon his promotion last month. The 23-year-old righty was simply magnificent in his final start for the Marlins on Tuesday against a high-powered Twins’ lineup, whiffing eight batters over seven innings of two-run ball. He owns a 2.72 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 43/18 K/BB ratio across seven starts at the major-league level. While it’s an obvious downgrade, transitioning from one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the game in Miami, to a worse home environment in Arizona, Gallen should benefit from staying in the National League and settle in as an immediate mid-rotation starter for the Diamondbacks. More importantly, he gives them some long-term rotation insurance in the event that they elect to move left-hander Robbie Ray this offseason. While he doesn’t profile as an upper-echelon fantasy starter, he misses enough bats to remain a viable mixed-league fantasy asset for years. Jazz Chisholm, the top prospect in the Diamondbacks minor-league system, has hit a meager .204/.305/.427 with 18 home runs -- second-most in the Southern League this season -- and 13 steals in - games at Double-A Jackson this season. Clearly, the Marlins envision the 21-year-old middle infielder as a key piece of their future, considering they were willing to jettison a quality, cost-controlled young starting pitcher to acquire him.
Cubs Corral Castellanos
Cubs acquired OF Nicholas Castellanos from the Tigers in exchange for minor leaguers RHP Paul Richan and RHP Alex Lange.
For a brief moment, it seemed like the Cubs were out on Nicholas Castellanos on Wednesday afternoon. Ultimately, they were able to land him for a pair of pitching prospects. At an extremely basic level, the move out of the brutal dimensions of Comerica Park and into the hitter-friendly confines of Wrigley Field should pay immediate dividends for the 27-year-old right fielder, who is hitting .273/.328/.462 with 11 home runs in 439 plate appearances (100 games) this season. Fantasy owners shouldn’t expect Castellanos to evolve into a superstar, but this move is extremely beneficial to his immediate fantasy stock, especially from a counting stats perspective. He should score plenty of runs and have the opportunity to drive in far more baserunners than he did in Detroit.
Hudson Headlines Nationals Haul
Nationals acquired RHP Daniel Hudson from the Blue Jays in exchange for minor-league RHP Kyle Johnston.
The Nationals bolstered their bullpen with a trio of veteran acquisitions. They may not seem like monumental upgrades, but they’ve struggled to bridge the gap between their starters and lefty stopper Sean Doolittle this season. They’ve thrown a myriad of pedestrian cast-off middle relievers at the problem including Kyle Barraclough, Fernando Rodney and Tanner Rainey, but still haven’t stumbled into a quality setup option. The most intriguing of these names is Daniel Hudson, who has enjoyed a remarkable rebound season in Toronto, posting a 3.00 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 48/23 K/BB ratio across 48 innings of work this season. The 32-year-old veteran righty will likely operate as their primary setup man moving forward.
Shortly after netting Hudson, Washington also reeled in a pair of Mariners relievers in Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland. Elias owns a 4.40 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 45/17 K/BB ratio across 47 innings of work as the primary closer in Seattle. While he doesn’t profile as a pure lefty specialist given his rather pronounced struggles against southpaws this season, his versatility and ability to throw multiple innings has value to a contending team down the stretch. Strickland just came off the injured list after missing nearly four months after suffering a Grade 2 lat strain back in late March. The fantasy fall-out for the Blue Jays, who scooped up 23-year-old right-handed pitching prospect Kyle Johnston -- a seventh round selection back in 2017 -- is rather straightforward. Ken Giles, who has been dealing with a nagging elbow issue, will remain their closer. The Mariners will likely go with a committee approach moving forward. Fantasy owners should steer clear of that situation entirely.
Rays Reel In Reinforcements
It’s become increasingly difficult to judge a trade like this, especially since it seems like a classic low-risk, high-reward gamble by the Rays, who seem to be optimistic that a change of scenery could reinvigorate Jesus Aguilar’s potent bat. The 29-year-old slugger has slowly turned it around after a first month to open the 2019 campaign. Aguilar was a force last season in Milwaukee, tallying 35 home runs and 108 RBI in 149 games alongside an .890 OPS, but he regressed to the tune of a .694 OPS with only eight home runs and 34 RBI through 94 games in 2019. Meanwhile, the Brewers add some bullpen depth in right-hander Jake Faria. The 26-year-old righty possesses and outstanding changeup and his stuff could play up significantly in short stints out of the bullpen.
For the last few weeks, it seemed like Nick Anderson, who owns a 3.95 ERA and an impressive 69/16 K/BB mark over 43 2/3 innings this season, was predestined to take over the closing role in Miami. After being dealt to the Rays, it wouldn't be a surprise if he pushed Emilio Pagan for saves over the final two months. The other key component in the deal, Trevor Richards, struggled mightily in the Marlins’ starting rotation before being demoted to the bullpen. It’s unclear what his role will be in Tampa Bay, but he’s someone to monitor in AL-Only formats. The same question marks surround Ryne Stanek, who operated primarily as an opener for the Rays, but could transition into a high-leverage role and eventually take over as the Marlins closer.
Roark Relocates to Bay Area
Athletics acquired RHP Tanner Roark from the Reds in exchange for minor-league OF Jameson Hannah.
The Reds’ blockbuster acquisition of Trevor Bauer from the Indians on Tuesday night made Tanner Roark, who was slated to hit free agency once his contract expired at the end of the season, an expendable asset. The 32-year-old veteran right-hander owns a 4.24 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 110 1/3 innings (21 starts) this season. From a fantasy perspective, it’s a major upgrade in ballpark upgrade, which should pay immediate dividends for Roark from a run-prevention standpoint over the final two months of the regular season. It’s difficult to trust him in shallow mixed leagues, but this feels like a sneaky-good addition for the Athletics.
Minor Deadline Deals, Major Ramifications
Aaron Sanchez is a fascinating reclamation project for the Astros player development machine. He’s recorded a disastrous ugly 6.07 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in 23 starts this season. There’s a chance that he’s not a relevant mixed-league asset anytime soon, but after witnessing Houston turn around several pitchers with less raw talent, he’s at least worth monitoring moving forward.
Giants acquired 2B Scooter Gennett from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations.
Scooter Gennett was at least worthy of a cheap flier for the Giants, even though he's also been a complete non-factor at the plate and has played only 21 games this season. The veteran infielder is set to hit free agency this offseason, but not before the Giants voodoo magic somehow transforms him into their next unlikely playoff hero.
Brewers acquired LHP Drew Pomeranz and RHP Ray Black from the Brewers in exchange for INF Mauricio Dubon.
Mauricio Dubon, one of the top prospects in the Brewers’ minor-league system, is an intriguing long-term prospect and could blossom into the Giants’ long-term solution at either shortstop or second base, which makes him a must-own prospect in NL-Only leagues. He’s hitting .297/.333/.475 with 16 homers at the Triple-A level this season. As for the Brewers’ return, Drew Pomeranz -- who is an impending free agent -- has been extremely effective since transitioning to a relief role. Ray Black boasts a prodigious triple-digit fastball, but has been plagued by injuries throughout his professional career. He’s a quintessential lottery ticket with some long-term upside.
Diamondbacks acquired RHP Mike Leake from the Mariners in exchange for minor-league infielder Jose Caballero.
The 31-year-old innings-eater will take over Zack Greinke’s vacated rotation spot in Arizona. He’s a worthwhile streamer in deeper mixed leagues in favorable matchups, but that’s the extent of his fantasy upside.
Phillies acquired OF Corey Dickerson from the Pirates in exchange for international signing bonus money and a player to be named later.
It doesn’t hurt to have another lefty masher on the bench, especially since the Dodgers have been forced to turn to another recent trade acquisition, Kristopher Negron, to fill the void left by injuries to Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor.
Tony Kemp was recently designated for assignment by the Astros after batting just .227/.308/.417 this season, but he's been a useful player in the past and offers some versatility between second base and the outfield. He figures to serve in a utility role for the Cubs after they missed out on a handful of alternative leading up to the deadline. Meanwhile, Maldonado will serve as the Astros’ primary backup behind starter Robinson Chirinos.
AL Quick Hits: White Sox placed Yoan Moncada on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain. … Yankees placed Luke Voit on the 10-day injured list with a sports hernia. … Astros placed Ryan Pressly on the 10-day injured list with a right knee contusion. … Lourdes Gurriel Jr. left Wednesday’s game against the Royals with right knee discomfort. … Indians activated RHP Danny Salazar from the 60-day injured list. … Rays recalled LHP/DH Brendan McKay from Triple-A Durham. … Bo Bichette drilled his first major-league home run and finished a triple shy of the cycle in the Blue Jays’ win over the Royals. … Mike Trout slugged his 35th home run of the season in the Angels’ loss to the Tigers. … Jose Berrios whiffed 11 batters over seven shutout innings in a win over the Marlins. … Roberto Perez homered twice in the Indians’ blowout win over the Astros. … Kevin Kiermaier, Austin Meadows and Willy Adames homered in the Rays’ victory over the Red Sox. … J.D. Martinez went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBI in the Red Sox’ loss to the Rays. … Lucas Giolito recorded nine strikeouts over seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Mets. … Willie Calhoun blasted a three-run homer in the Rangers’ narrow win over the Mariners. … Trent Thornton (elbow) will return to the Blue Jays' rotation Thursday against the Orioles. … Felix Hernandez (shoulder) will make a rehab start on Friday for short-season Everett. … Rays placed Joey Wendle on the 10-day injured list with right wrist discomfort. … Twins acquired RHP Sam Dyson from the Giants in exchange for minor-leaguers OF Jaylin Davis, RHP Prelander Berroa and RHP Kai-Wei Teng. ... Angels acquired C Max Stassi from the Astros in exchange for minor-league outfielders Rainer Rivas and Raider Uceta. … Rangers acquired RHP Nate Jones, international slot compensation and cash from the White Sox for right-handed pitching prospects Joe Jarneski and Ray Castro. … Rays acquired C Rocky Gale from the Dodgers for cash considerations. … Twins acquired RHP Marcos Diplan from the Brewers for cash considerations. … Blue Jays claimed RHP Brock Stewart off waivers. … Twins released RHP Cody Allen.
NL Quick Hits: Dodgers right-handed pitching prospect Dustin May will make his MLB debut on Friday when he starts against the Padres. … Brewers manager Craig Counsell told reporters on Wednesday that top prospect Trent Grisham will be in the starting lineup on Thursday against the Athletics. The 22-year-old outfielder owns a .300/.407/.603 triple-slash line with 26 home runs and 12 stolen bases over 97 games between Double-A and Triple-A this season, … Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported Wednesday that the Mets pulled Noah Syndergaard off the trade market Tuesday night. … David Robertson will undergo season-ending surgery to repair flexor injury in right elbow and might also need to undergo Tommy John surgery as well. … German Marquez left his start on Wednesday against the Dodgers due to “full body cramping.”. … Charlie Blackmon went 1-for-4 in his return to the Rockies' starting lineup Wednesday against the Dodgers after missing two games due to back issues. … Jacob deGrom struck out 11 batters over seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the White Sox. … Josh Donaldson launched a go-ahead homer in extra-innings to power the Braves to a victory over the Nationals. … Adam Duvall went deep for the fourth time in five games since being recalled from Triple-A last week. … Mike Soroka hurled seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision. … Juan Soto swatted his 20th home run in the loss. … Will Smith slugged a three-run homer to lead the Dodgers past the Rockies. … Jesse Winker went 3-for-3 with a solo homer in the Reds’ win over the Pirates. … Kyle Hendricks fired seven scoreless innings in a win over the Cardinals. … Craig Kimbrel notched his eighth save in that one. … Dodgers acquired LHP Adam Kolarek from the Rays in exchange for minor-league OF Niko Hulsizer. … Braves acquired RHP Mark Melancon from the Giants in exchange for Tristan Beck and RHP Daniel Winkler. … Padres acquired RHP Carl Edwards Jr. from the Padres in exchange for LHP Brad Wieck. … Dereck Rodriguez is expected to start for the Giants on Thursday against the Phillies. … Dominic Smith will be in a walking boot for the next three weeks. … Cardinals optioned RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon to Triple-A Memphis. … Braves acquired C John Ryan Murphy from the Diamondbacks for cash considerations. … Phillies acquired RHP Dan Straily from the Orioles for cash considerations. … Braves designated LHP Luiz Gohara for assignment.