The trade deadline in baseball is one of my favorite times of the year. The wheeling and dealing that goes on in a span of days down to hours and minutes and even seconds is really fun and exciting to watch. Teams scramble to change their fates in a matter of moments. While most major sports have some kind of similar trading deadline, no sport does it with the excitement of baseball. It’s this time of year that makes every sports fan want to be a General Manager, sitting in front of three different phones fielding calls and negotiating deals on the fly. That’s when the job must be stressful as heck but also really fun.
It was a great trade deadline this year with a lot of major deals including some coming in just under the deadline. This is a big deal for collectors as well as the actual teams. The players we have invested in may have improved their stock or hurt it by the teams they have ended up on. It’s a time to decide whether a player just became worth putting more money into or if it’s time to jump ship. Below are some of the big deals we saw go down, and advice on how you should treat the situation from a hobby perspective.
Seattle trades Ichiro Suzuki to New York for D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar
Seattle and New York seem to be becoming very friendly trade partners, hooking up for this newsworthy deal after the blockbuster last year that saw super-prospects Michael Pineda and Jesus Montero jump between these two teams. No disrespect to Seattle because I’m a big fan of the city, but from a hobby perspective these two cities are like night and day. As a result the big winner here is Ichiro, he is on his last legs as a player but still has a HUGE hobby following, especially in Japan. Going to the bright lights of New York and a winning team should only drive his values even higher. It won’t be cheap, but if you want to speculate on Ichiro possibly picking up his first World Series ring you could try for a card or two of his since it’s been so long since he was even in the playoffs.
On the flip side, Seattle picks up two very good prospects. The downside is that they are heading in the wrong direction to a team where they will likely be forgotten about from a hobby perspective. I like D.J. Mitchell however quite a bit, there is a lot of room in the Seattle rotation for young talent and both Mitchell and Farquhar could have potential there. Give it some time for their prices to drop post-New York and then consider giving them a look.
Miami trades Jacob Turner and prospects to Miami for Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez
Miami had quite the fire sale after their big money experiment wasn’t going so well, and this was the first big deal they pulled off. It looks like a really good one as Jacob Turner is arguably one of the best prospects to change teams from all the deadline deals. He was already a top prospect so this doesn’t change much as he probably had equal opportunity and notoriety on either team involved, so you can continue to treat him as a top arm worth investing in.
Detroit probably should have been able to get more for a package highlighted by their top prospect, but they filled some holes with some decent if not overwhelming players. The name to watch there is Anibal Sanchez. He has quietly had some very good stretches of pitching during his career, and if he steps up in some big late season or postseason games for Detroit he could get some attention from collectors.
Miami trades Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to Los Angeles for Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough
If Jacob Turner was the biggest prospect to move teams during the deadline deals, Hanley Ramirez was easily the biggest veteran involved in a trade. Two days after their deal with Detroit, Miami officially waved the white flag for the season by moving the face of the franchise to the opposite coast. Ramirez was instantly energized by the trade, and his cards could see a nice boost playing for a big name team in the heat of a playoff race. It harkens back to when Manny Ramirez rejuvenated his career and excited the entire West Coast when he came to Los Angeles. Hanley’s cards are worth a look especially if you believe LA can beat out San Francisco and Arizona for the division title.
Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough are underwhelming acquisitions, they are prospects that could go either way. Eovaldi has more hype and has had his moments, but I’m not crazy about either. However both should be cheap enough this offseason when trade hype dies down to be worth the risk if you believe Miami can reload and be relevant again next year.
Milwaukee trades Zach Greinke to Los Angeles of Anaheim for Jean Segura and prospects
The Angels continue to make big win-now moves and did just that getting Zach Greinke. Greinke has been good for a long time but doesn’t really get the hype he did a couple years ago when he was really elite. Maybe a move to a division race and a high profile team does the trick. I’m worried the Rangers are still the team to beat however, and guys like Albert Pujols and Mike Trout will overshadow Greinke at times. I don’t think he’s worth jumping on thanks to a move to a contender like some of the other veterans who got delt.
For the prospects I really like Jean Segura, I was following him closely thinking he could do well in that potent lineup with the bats of Pujols and Trout. Milwaukee probably offers less notoriety and support but more opportunity. He should have an impact at the top level sooner in Milwaukee than he would have before so that’s a positive. He’s worth a look as his prices weren’t bad before the trade when he was under the radar a bit. Get in now because the trade likely got him a lot of attention considering he was the centerpiece of a package that got a star pitcher. Ariel Pena, a pitcher going to Milwaukee in the deal, is also worth a look.
Chicago trades Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to Atlanta for Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman
Rumored to be the backup plan for Atlanta after Ryan Dempster balked at going there, like the trade Detroit made they filled holes but at a steep price. Arodys Vizcaino has a lot of potential, and Chicago did well to get him and still flip Dempster later on in another deal. If the Cubs ever find their stride and become a contender, the attention on them will be massive. If by then Vizcaino has developed and is at the center of the rejuvenation, he will be a goldmine. He is absolutely worth a look for the future.
Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson are never going to move the needle much for collectors, but Maholm is quietly in the midst of a very strong season. With the division really opening up after Philadelphia and Miami sold off their pieces, it’s very likely we see Maholm helping lead Atlanta’s rotation into the postseason. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think you get some Maholm cards for cheap and have them pay off in the postseason after a big game or two.
Philadelphia trades Shane Victorino to Los Angeles for Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin
Los Angeles paid a steep price for Victorino but filled a huge hole with a guy who is a big boost to their lineup both hitting and in the field. So it was probably worth it. Victorino should be revitalized in LA just like Hanley Ramirez, and this team should be getting a lot of attention and the season goes on. Victorino isn’t really expensive to collect and could end up in a starring role for a high profile team. Not a bad deal for the price you will pay to invest.
Philadelphia gets two very good prospects in Lindblom and Martin. Only problem is pitchers in Philadelphia have a limited ceiling. Halladay and Lee are still there, and after the big extension he signed Cole Hamels is the face of the rotation for the foreseeable future. That being said they are talented pitchers and could make an impact as the veterans age in Philadelphia. Plus we know the team will make every effort to become elite again. It will require a youth movement as their stars age and Lindlom and Martin could lead that movement.
Philadelphia trades Hunter Pence to San Francisco for Nate Schierholtz, Tommy Joseph, and Seth Rosin
San Francisco pounced on the remains of Philadelphia to snatch up Hunter Pence in response to the big moves Los Angeles was making. This was a decent deal for both sides and Pence could spend a few years in San Francisco doing quite well while Philadelphia continues to restock their farm system. Pence has never really gotten much hobby love despite being a decent player. Maybe the new team will help him out. He was in a supporting role in Philadelphia behind big budget players and a star-studded rotation. In San Francisco he becomes one of the best bats in the lineup. Plus San Francisco loves their star players, if the make another run this year Pence will get serious attention.
The big name going to Philly is Tommy Joseph, this kid has serious potential. At some point he will step in as the starting Catcher and should be a big part of Philadelphia’s plans both as a hitter and behind the plate managing the young pitching talent. He is one to watch long-term. Schierholtz is the other major name but never really fulfilled his potential. It wouldn’t shock me if he simply fills a hole in the lineup for a team out of contention and eventually gets pushed out by an upstart prospect. If you have any Schierholtz cards left, move them to a Philly fan now.
Chicago trades Ryan Dempster to Texas for Christian Vilanueva and Kyle Hendricks
As I mentioned above in the Paul Maholm deal, I like what Chicago did this trade deadline. They got a top prospect from Atlanta without giving up Dempster, their top trade chip. Then they played off all the competition for Dempster and parlayed it into two very good prospects from Texas. Both Vilanueva and Hendricks are the kind of guys who could lead the rebuilding effort in Chicago. I really believe they will join Arodys Vizcaino in helping turn around Chicago and make them a contender again. Plus Chicago is a very collectible team with a big fan base. They are both worth looks with Vilanueva my favorite because of the offensive potential.
Meanwhile Ryan Dempster goes to a big name team in a big time playoff race. I have always liked Dempster but he runs very under the radar as consistency doesn’t really make the headlines. Due to injures however, Dempster just became very important to the Texas rotation. If they make a run it will be in large part to the arm of Dempster, and that could get him some good attention.
Miami trades Edward Mujica to Saint Louis for Zack Cox
It was a small deal that was under the radar compared to all the other moves Miami made, but it may have been the biggest steal of any of the deals made. Mujica is a decent but unimpressive reliever, and Miami managed to net a top prospect for him. Miami could have been in the heat of the playoff race and if I was their GM I still would have taken this deal. Zack Cox could factor into the team’s future in a big way and all it cost them was an average reliever. I think Cox is a great buy right now.
Meanwhile Saint Louis fans are left to scratch their heads and wonder how one of their top prospects only got them a so-so reliever. Let’s just say I’m going to bet you don’t have anything invested in Edward Mujica and now is not the time to start thinking about it.
Miami trades Gaby Sanchez to Pittsburgh for Gorkys Hernandez and a 2013 lottery draft pick
Miami really wasn’t messing around, when they started selling they really started selling. This deal was made possible in part to acquiring Zack Cox, which made Sanchez expendable. That says a lot about Cox because Gaby Sanchez was really developing into a decent hitter. Pittsburgh did a very nice job getting him for a very good price, and he should help them in their playoff run quite a bit. I think the added attention will win him a lot of fans, and I really like the potential he has to take the next step in the coming years.
Sadly for Miami the big win for them in this deal is probably the draft pick. Gorkys Hernandez just isn’t becoming much of a player, and his best trait coming up in the minors was his defense. Miami can afford to throw him out there and see what happens, but I don’t think anything will come of it. If you want a prospect to follow from this deal, see what Miami does with the draft pick. Seriously, I’m not kidding.
Phew! Lots of big deals went down and there were even some other notable ones that didn’t make the cut like Francisco Liriano and Geovany Soto switching homes. Plenty of guys are worth taking a look at as collectors with veterans getting renewed opportunities going to contenders and prospects getting a chance to prove themselves on teams out of the race. Now get out there and negotiate your own deals for these players by picking up their best Upper Deck cards!