As the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline approaches the Houston Astros made the first deal getting Scott Kazmir from the Oakland A’s for 2 Class A players pitcher Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham. The Pittsburgh Pirates then brought back Aramis Ramirez from the Milwaukee Brewers for Triple A pitcher Yhonathan Barrios. It was two moves you were kind of expecting these teams to make you where just wondering which players they would try to get. Houston has been struggling and even fell out of 1st place in the A.L. West right before the All-Star break; so it’s no surprise they added a starting pitcher instead of bringing up top prospect Mark Appel. Kazmir made his first start for the Astros last night (Friday) against the Kansas City Royals. Kazmir pitched 7 innings giving up 3 hits, walking 1 and striking out 3 while not giving up any runs in a 4-0 Astros victory. With all of the injuries the Pirates have had they needed to add a bat and Ramirez was a solid add. Ramirez isn’t an everyday player anymore, but he can fill in at 3rd base now and then and he’ll be a good bat off the bench. Ramirez has announced that 2015 will be his last season and now he’ll get to end his 18 year career in Pittsburgh where he started it.
We also had some deals yesterday as well. The St. Louis Cardinals acquired former Miami Marlins closer Steve Cishek for Double A pitcher Kyle Barraclough. Cishek had established himself as one of the game’s most reliable late-inning arms. Over 2011-2014, he put up 253 1/3 innings of 2.70 ERA pitching and despite racking up 91 saves over that stretch, Cishek lost his closing role to A.J. Ramos and was eventually sent to the minors earlier this year. It’s always interesting when the Cardinals pick up a pitcher that everyone else seems to think is done. I don’t know if St. Louis assigned Cishek to the minors or if he’ll be added to the major league bullpen.
Another deal had The Los Angels Angels of Anaheim acquiring third baseman Conor Gillaspie from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for cash considerations. Gillaspie had been designated for assignment by Chicago. With David Freese on the disabled list due to a fractured index finger. Adding (at no real cost) an experienced player with a left-handed bat makes sense for the Angels; while the club monitors Freese and continues to explore more promising players.
Everyone has said that the New York Mets need to find some bats if they wanted to contend for either the N.L. East or one of the two wild card spots this season. Yesterday the Mets picked up Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the Atlanta Braves for 2 minor league pitchers John Gant and Rob Whalen. Gant is currently pitching in Double A while Whalen is at high Class A. Now when all the experts where saying that the Mets needed bats I’m not sure that Uribe and Johnson were who they where talking about. Remember though; David Wright is still out and both of these players can play 3rd base. Johnson can also play 1st base, 2nd base and both corner outfield positions as well. Uribe is 36 years old and the Mets will be his 6th team, but he was hitting with the Braves. Uribe had a .285 batting average with 7 home runs for Atlanta in 46 games. Johnson had also been hitting well for Atlanta. In 62 Johnson had a .275 batting average with 9 home runs. Again while it wasn’t the name players the experts wanted to see the Mets go out and get they did pick up two veteran players with post season experience. I know a lot of people forget this, but Uribe has been on 2 World Series winning teams; the 2005 Chicago White Sox and 2010 with the San Francisco Giants. Besides making this trade to try to add some offense the Mets also called up their top hitting prospect Michael Conforto. Conforto is just 22 years old and was hitting .312 with 5 home runs and 26 RBI’s in 45 Double A games. He started the season in Class A ball were he was hitting .283 with 7 home runs and 28 RBI’s through 46 games before he was promoted to Double A. While I know these aren’t the names that the baseball experts wanted to see the Mets go out and get and maybe their not done dealing, but they added 3 bats without having to give up one of their top pitching prospects.
As they trade deadline moves along it’s no surprise that the Philadelphia Phillies haven’t made a move. With Cole Hamels struggles you have to wonder if teams are rethinking what they would be willing to give up for him. The Phillies also have Jonathan Papelbon and I was a little surprised when I heard that the Washington Nationals have had some discussions with Philadelphia about a deal. If this trade went through would Papelbon agree to be a set up guy on a winning team or would Drew Storen be asked to move back to a set up role. I wouldn’t expect the Nationals to end up with Papelbon, but it’s interesting to talk about him in that bullpen. I still think in the end a team like the Toronto Blue Jays or Chicago Cubs would give Philadelphia a better deal for Papelbon as he would be more of a need for those teams. Now Hamels is scheduled to start today against one of the teams he’s been rumored to be traded to the Cubs. Hamels last outing was July 19th against the Miami Marlins and he lasted just 3 innings giving up 8 hits, 5 runs all earned and striking out just 1 batter. Now after this outing there were some reports that Hamels is becoming distracted by all the trade talks. He’ll have a chance to impress the Cubs today, but if he goes out and falls on his face again; what will teams be thinking? Don’t foget that Hamels last outing before the All-Star break against the Giants he lasted 3 1/3rd innings while giving up 12 hits, 9 runs all earned; he also walked 2 while striking out 4. Hamels needs a good outing to get his trade value up for the Phillies, but if he has another rough outing against the Cubs today what would that do to Hamels trade value?
Don’t forget on Sunday’s podcast Chris Olmstead from http://www.BeyondtheFlag.com will join our podcast to talk MASCAR with us. If you listened last week you heard Chris mention that it was tough to bet against Kyle Busch and sure enough he was right on as Busch ended up in victory lane. This week it’s the Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Turn in tomorrow and see which 3 drives Chris thinks have the best chance to end up in victory lane in Indianapolis.
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