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August 1, 2013

Overthinking It

Trade Deadline Takeaways

by Ben Lindbergh


Well, that was underwhelming. According to Retrosheet transaction logs and MLBAM’s count of this year’s crop, there were fewer big-league trades made this July (19) than in any other season since 1996. Prior to this year, the average number of July trades per seasons the last round of expansion was 30.

There are a number of plausible explanations for the lack of activity, ranging from the second wild card and increased competitive balance to the new draft-pick compensation system to increasingly data-driven front offices to the trend toward making mega-millions in TV money and locking players up long term before they approach free agency. Charlie Wilmoth took a thorough look at the circumstances surrounding the slow deadline at MLB Trade Rumors, and Sam Miller and I discussed the same subject on Tuesday’s episode of Effectively Wild. We don’t know for sure whether 2013 will prove to be a blip or the new normal, but we do know that there’s considerably less roster turnover to discuss than there typically is at this time of year.

Of the deals that did go down, some, as always, were inconsequential (here’s looking at you, Marc Rzepczynski), and only a few had impact potential. But dissecting trades is tradition, dammit, so I’m going to pick a few favorite moves, a few teams that did and didn’t make the most of the deadline, and a few holes on contenders that could be addressed during what might prove to be a busy August for waiver trades. (You can find links to our full breakdowns of all of the major—and most of the minor—deadline trades at the Trade Deadline Transaction Analysis Thread.)

Five Favorite Trades

Red Sox get Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal, give up Jose Iglesias and three lower-level prospects. [7/30]
I covered this one in depth on Wednesday. Boston got one of the top two potential difference makers who changed teams at the deadline, and did it by both selling high and dealing from depth. Jose Iglesias has a great glove, but this season is the first in which he’s looked even remotely competent at the plate, and that’s mostly because of a fluky BABIP that’s already begun to freefall. The Sox have Stephen Drew to start now and Xander Bogaerts to start later, so Iglesias was unlikely to be more than a utility type for them. And while Peavy could fall apart, he’s healthy now, which is when the Sox need an arm to fill in for Clay Buchholz. Boston has only a 52-45 edge over Tampa Bay in its odds of winning the East, so adding even a win or two could prove decisive. Plus, Peavy gives them another above-average starter to pencil in for 2014.

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Related Content:  Trades,  Buyers,  Sellers,  Trade Deadline,  Contenders

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article What Scouts Are Saying... (08/01)
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Overthinking It: Matt ... (07/29)
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Overthinking It: How t... (08/08)
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