Three Up, Three Down: Brewers, Rays Win The Trade Deadline
Jordan Lyles, RHP, Brewers
When the Brewers re-acquired Lyles from the Pirates on July 29, it was considered a minor trade and a precursor to more significant deals to come. Funny enough, it turned out to be the most impactful move of this year's trade deadline. Lyles has gone 6-1, 2.35 in 10 starts since joining the Brewers, fortifying their rotation and keeping Milwaukee in the playoff hunt. He has allowed one earned run or less in eight of his 10 starts. It’s a stark contrast to the 5.36 ERA he put up with the Pirates, where the Brewers noticed he may have been victimized by poor catching. Combined with the performances of Drew Pomeranz (2.35 ERA, 39 K, 8 BB) and Ray Black (3.75 ERA in 12 appearances), the Brewers’ trade deadline has been a big win.
Nick Anderson, RHP, Rays
Like the Brewers, the Rays have a successful trade deadline to thank for keeping them in a playoff hunt. Anderson has been the leader, becoming a dominant bullpen force since coming over from the Marlins on July 31. Anderson is 3-0, 2.14 with 40 strikeouts and two walks in 21 innings since joining Tampa Bay. He’s kept opponents scoreless in 18 of his 22 appearances while pitching almost exclusively in the late innings. Trevor Richards, who came to the Rays alongside Anderson in the same deal, has been similarly dominant, going 3-0, 1.93 while working as both a starter and multi-inning reliever. On the offensive side, Jesus Aguilar (.289/.367/.470) and Eric Sogard (.266/.328/.404) have bolstered the offense since being acquired. If the Rays hold on and make the playoffs, their wildly successful trade deadline—even with their trade of Nick Solak for Peter Fairbanks not looking good early—will be a major reason why.
Nicholas Castellanos, OF, Cubs
While the Cubs’ season is on life support, it’s not because their trade deadline acquisitions flopped. Castellanos, acquired from the Tigers for two pitching prospects, was re-energized by joining a competitive club and has hit .335 with 16 home runs, 36 RBIs and a 1.045 OPS in 49 games with the Cubs. He also has 21 doubles, giving him 58 on the season and moving him closer to becoming the first player with 60 doubles in a season since the 1930s. The Cubs’ bullpen additions of David Phelps (2-1, 3.14) and Brad Wieck (1-0, 1.11) also worked out, but it just hasn’t been enough to overcome the team’s other shortcomings, namely their 31-44 road record.
Trevor Bauer, RHP, Reds
The Reds acted like a contender at the trade deadline despite a sub-.500 record, acquiring Bauer in exchange for Yasiel Puig, top prospect Taylor Trammell and lefthanded pitching prospect Scott Moss in a three-team trade. Expected to form a formidable top of the rotation with Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo, Bauer has instead flopped. The 28-year-old righthander is 2-5, 6.39 in 10 starts with the Reds. He has given up 57 hits and 40 earned runs in 56.1 innings with Cincinnati, becoming frighteningly hittable with opponents batting .261/.322/.509 against him. Bauer is set for arbitration after this season, and his recent performance will not help his case.
Andrew Cashner, RHP, Red Sox
Like most other pitchers to don a Red Sox uniform this season, Cashner has disappointed. Acquired from the Orioles to help fortify a reeling rotation, Cashner instead delivered an 8.01 ERA in his first six starts with the Red Sox and was demoted to the bullpen. All in all, Cashner is 2-5, 5.76 for Boston this season, another disappointing outcome in a season full of them for the reigning World Series champions.
Derek Fisher, OF, Blue Jays
The deadline's most puzzling deal continues to look unfavorable for the Blue Jays. Aaron Sanchez got hurt and Joe Biagini has a 7.71 ERA with the Astros, giving Fisher and the Blue Jays a chance to show everyone they were right. Instead, Fisher has hit .159/.281/.366 in 35 games with the Blue Jays—a .647 OPS that is right in line with the .649 OPS he put up in three years in Houston—and strengthened the argument that the Blue Jays massively overpaid for a fringe major league outfielder.