Once again, the trade deadline flipped Major League Baseball on its head.
The 2018 Major League Baseball trade deadline came to an abrupt halt on July 31. It seems, once again, there are new faces on every team. Some general managers chose to take the rebuilding route and traded current stars for prospects with the potential to become future franchise players, while other general managers pushed all their chips to the center of the table in an attempt to capture the coveted World Series trophy.
Meanwhile, every fan is left to scratch their head and ponder about the more difficult questions in life. For instance, “who am I even supposed to cheer for?” or “I thought I hated that player?” Have no fear, Our Community Now is here to help everyone begin to sort out the MLB trade deadline madness.
Fans have to go back nearly two weeks, to the MLB All-Star game weekend, in order to truly understand the mad dash for supremacy. The Los Angeles Dodgers (59-49) and Boston Red Sox (75-34) are considered to be the favorites to reach the World Series in the National League and American League, respectively. Both teams were extremely aggressive in acquiring additional assets in order to capitalize on their current standing.
The Dodgers fired the first major shot of trade season when they acquired shortstop Manny Machado (.312 batting average, 24 home runs) from the Baltimore Orioles. Machado was undoubtedly the biggest prize of the trading season and pushed the Dodgers over the top. This left the rest of the National League to search for any advantage they could exploit once the postseason starts.
The playoff hopeful Milwaukee Brewers (63-47) responded with a salvo of their own. They acquired ace reliever Joakim Soria (2.38 ERA) from the Chicago White Sox and former All-Star Mike Moustakas (20 homeruns) from the Kansas City Royals. The Brewers were not done there as they went on to snag Machado’s former teammate infielder Jonathan Schoop (17 homeruns).
As mentioned above, the American League’s leader, Boston Red Sox, also had a very busy deadline. The most notable acquisitions were veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler (career .272 batting average) and starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (3.80 ERA) who is in the midst of one of his best seasons as a pro. The Red Sox division rival Yankees also made some moves, adding an excellent starting pitcher, J.A. Happ (3.94 ERA), and former All-Star closer Zach Britton (career 3.23 ERA). The Yankees already featured one of the best late-game pitching staffs of all time and now that core is even scarier.
So, Where Does This Leave the Rockies?
As of July 31, the Colorado Rockies (58-49) have been playing some of the best baseball in the league (15 wins in the last 20 games). After a sluggish start to the year, the Rockies are right back in the thick of the race for NL West division title (.5 game back of the Diamondbacks). The Rockies did not make a large number of moves, but they did make one of the highest quality trades of the season when they obtained shut down reliever Seunghwan Oh (Career 2.76 ERA).
Adding a strong piece to the weakest link of the team is a great idea, but the trade wasn’t enough to close the gap between the Rockies and the best teams in the league. There’s a chance Oh can help the team reach the playoffs and the Rockies didn’t give up any of their young proven MLB talents.
With a trio of young pitchers having success in the majors, it’s hard to blame the Rockies for not making any rash decisions. Starting pitcher Kyle Freeland (9 wins, 6 losses, 3.13 ERA), Tyler Andersen (6 wins, 3 losses, 3.69 ERA), and German Marquez (9 wins, 8 losses) are all 28 years or younger. Most importantly, third baseman Nolan Arenado (.306 batting average and 28 homeruns) still has one year of arbitrage before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
In order to keep a perennial MVP contender like Nolan, the Rockies need to prove they can win in the playoffs. While some of the other wild card teams in the National League got better through acquisitions, the Rockies are hoping this recent hot stretch is for real. If the Rockies can reach the playoffs for a second year, it will be more bargaining power when convincing Nolan to stay in Denver.
So, what do YOU think? Should the Rockies have added more pieces before the trade deadline? Share your thoughts below!