The Braves continued their retooling effort with a big (and a little bit confusing) three-team trade between they, the Dodgers and the Marlins in a deal that involved 13 players. The net result was that Atlanta let go of Jim Johnson, Bronson Arroyo, Alex Wood, Luis Avilan and minor league prospect Jose Peraza to acquire a draft pick and three players, including 30-year-old Cuban defector Hector Olivera.
Olivera appears to be the centerpiece of this deal, which seems counterintuitive for a club that presumably wants to get younger and build for the future. But President of Baseball operations John Hart and Assistant GM John Coppolella appear to be enamored with his talent. In the Dodgers' minor league system, he hit .348/.392/.493 with two home runs and seven RBI in 19 games.
Though the Marlins were busy near the trade deadline -- they unloaded Dan Haren to the Cubs in addition to being involved in the aforementioned three-team deal -- it doesn't appear as if they acquired an impact player of any kind. That, to go along with the fact that they shipped away a draft pick, probably leaves Marlins fans scratching their heads a little bit. Is this club's future brighter after these moves? It doesn't really seem like it.
NEW YORK METS
Here come the Metropolitans.
New York had what was probably the wildest and most memorable week of anyone in baseball, concluding it by claiming sole possession of first place. It all started with the infamous Wilmer Flores trade-that-wasn't, leaving the 23-year-old infielder in tears on the field thinking he was about to play his final game as a Met, only to hear that the deal fell through at the last minute. A day later, the Mets blew a 7-1 lead to the Padres to fall to three games behind the Nationals in the division standings.
And that's when the fun started, much to the chagrin of the local baseball team. The Mets acquired power bat Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers just hours before the trade deadline and have since won four straight, including a weekend sweep of the Nats to claim the top spot in the NL East. With Cespedes now on board and a dynamic pitching staff getting in a groove, you can bet that D.C. fans are starting to get a bit nervous. However, there's still plenty of season left, so this race is far from over. But it's clear the Nats have their work cut out for them if they wish to repeat as division champs.
The Cole Hamels saga in Philadelphia has finally come to an end as the club pulled the trigger on a deal to send the lefty starter and Jake Diekman to the Rangers. The Phillies got an impressive haul in return, netting veteran pitcher Matt Harrison and prospects Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Alec Asher and Jerad Eickhoff.
Most pundits praised the deal, saying the Phils got both quality and quantity (considering the club held off this trade for so long, you'd hope that would be the case). The most intriguing player in this bunch is Alfaro, a catcher with power potential, who Baseball America rated as the Rangers' third best prospect prior to the season. His development is the key to this trade being considered either a success or failure. Either way, the Philly fans should celebrate the club taking a big step toward reshaping the roster for 2016 and beyond.