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BALTIMORE ORIOLES
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Acquired OF-L Gerardo Parra from the Brewers in exchange for RHP Zach Davies. (7/30)

If Dan Duquette really is Toronto-bound after this season, he’s not giving up his last go-round in Baltimore without a fight. The Orioles are 51-50, and given the improvements the Blue Jays made this week, there’s not a lot of cause for hope that Baltimore will be able to stay in the playoff picture for long. They’re probably a better team, in terms of fundamental talent, than the Yankees, but not by as wide a margin as the six-game cushion the Yankees hold over them with 60 games to play. They’re clearly inferior to Toronto, pending any more action. They’re kind of a poor man’s version of the Jays, in fact, with a good offense (though not the dynamic juggernaut kind), a decent set of fielders, and a crummy pitching staff.

Unfortunately, the Orioles don’t share the Jays’ greatest strength: mashing left-handed pitching. Toronto has an MLB-leading (by a lot) .838 team OPS against southpaws, whereas the Orioles rank ninth in the AL and 15th in MLB in that split. The O’s do hit .251/.310/.425 against righties, good for ninth-best in baseball.

Enter Parra, who offers no help against lefties whatsoever, but who will help the O’s rise even higher up the ranks against right-handers. Of 204 batters with at least 200 PA against right-handers this year, Parra’s .315 True Average ranks 35th. That’s what he does best, and the fact that he does it with average defense at any of three outfield spots is what makes it a viable skill set. Parra is more than a fourth outfielder, but less than a full-time starter on a good team. In Baltimore, he'll probably push Chris Davis back to (mostly) first base, bumping Ryan Flaherty out of the lineup on most days. Travis Snider and David Lough have had such rough seasons that Parra threatens their playing time, too, in a direct way.

Here’s the rub: all four of the guys I just named, plus part-time first baseman Chris Parmelee, are left-handed hitters. Parra is a much, much better left-handed hitter, or so it seems this season, but this trade didn’t really add what the Orioles lacked. Instead, it feels like a gesture toward contention by an executive unconcerned with plotting a master course for the franchise, and it cost them a pitcher who might have contributed at the big-league level down the stretch, had he stuck around. Despite his lack of pedigree, Zach Davies has done nothing but perform well in Triple-A this season, and the Orioles’ 21st-ranked starting rotation (by DRA) could have used a fresh face. —Matt Trueblood

Fantasy Impact

Gerardo Parra

Not only is Parra riding a 13-game hit streak as he departs for Chesapeake Bay, but he’s slashing a robust .435/.495/.718 with four home runs, 23 runs scored and four stolen bases dating back to July 1. Granted he is more valuable to the Orioles for his defensive prowess, but he should fit comfortably atop Buck Showalter’s lineup card for the final two months. Fantasy owners should expect a substantial uptick in runs scored with Parra batting in front of Manny Machado, Adam Jones and Chris Davis the rest of the season. The move to the rich offensive environment of the AL East is a huge boost for Parra’s long-term value in keeper and dynasty formats. Outfielders who can hit .300 with double-digit home runs and steals don’t just materialize out of thin air (like Parra has done this season), which is why Parra is one of the more attractive targets out there in long-term formats. —George Bissell

MILWAUKEE BREWERS
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Acquired RHP Zach Davies from the Orioles in exchange for OF-L Gerardo Parra. [7/30]; Acquired OF/2B-R Malik Collymore in exchange for RHP Jonathan Broxton. [7/31]

The Brewers continue an impressive, albeit unsexy, reload. Parra was a cheap grab at last year’s trade deadline, and while the team went 66-90 during his tenure, he can hardly be faulted. Parra batted .312/.355/.482 in 146 games in a Brewers uniform, and again, that versatility in the outfield was as valuable as the actual quality of his play out there.

Now Parra has done the most valuable thing yet for the Brewers, though, by bringing more in return than he cost to acquire. Davies is no future star, but he could pitch in the big leagues this season, and as Doug Melvin continues spinning off his spare parts, he can look ahead to a rebuild free of some of the limitations he faced when he built this team in the first place. The Brewers had such trouble drafting and developing young arms that they had to shell out unattractive contracts to guys like Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse in recent winters. Those moves have not only worked out as tepidly as we expect them to, but have tied the team’s hands financially at times. If Melvin can build up a stable of usable starters like Davies, he won’t have to waste his money on the middle tier of the pitching market when his team is ready to compete again. —Matt Trueblood

While Davies may lack the prototypical starter's build, he brings along a solid arsenal with three average or better pitches. His fastball generally sits 90-92 with armside run, and he can spot the pitch in all four quadrants of the zone. His curveball has the potential to be an average offering, and he has slowly progressed the pitch in the past few seasons with refinements in his release point. His best pitch, the changeup, has a chance to be an above-average offering. Some scouts believe it has the movement and deception to act as a plus offering. Overall, Davies profiles as a backend starter that relies on above-average command and pitchability. —Tucker Blair

Raw because of spending his amateur days playing in the Great White North, Collymore does show some refinement with the bat for a player with limited experience. He has struggled this year in his first experience off of the Cardinals complex, but he does show the skill set to be a potential above-average hitter, including a short swing path and strong wrists. He's likely limited to gap power at best, but he does understand how to drive the ball. His bat would profile better at second base where the Cardinals played him last year, but the lack of power could hinder him if he remains in a corner outfield position.

Collymore has the athleticism to remain up the middle and showed some skills as an infielder, though he is unrefined at the position and his development there would take time. It remains to be seen whether or not the Brewers will want to move him back in the infield, but if they chose to, his defense at the keystone would not be a lost cause. An intriguing project for the Brewers, Collymore probably is not an everyday player, but he could be a contributor in some role at the major-league level. —Jeff Moore

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
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Acquired RHP Jonathan Broxton from the Brewers in exchange for OF/2B-R Malik Collymore. [7/31]

John Mozeliak adds a former closer to his bullpen for the second time this week, having previously acquired Steve Cishek over the weekend. In both cases, the pitcher is a limited-time attraction, as Cishek is as certain to be non-tendered as Broxton's $9 million club option is to be bought out for $1 million.

But enough with the bean-counting. The pertinent concern in St. Louis is whether Broxton can be an asset for the next two months. The answer is maybe. For as ugly as his surface-level statistics are—he's earned his bloated ERA by allowing more than 10 hits and one home run per nine—there are underlying reasons for optimism. Consider how Broxton's control remains sound, and how he's continued to miss bats and generate grounders with his mid-90s fastball and slider. Factor in how Broxton has pitched better lately, and the Cardinals could be hopeful that his command has improved to the point where he can function as a middle reliever.

This being your classic buy-low deal at the deadline, the Cardinals can live with the trade if Broxton stinks, either by releasing him or burying him in low-leverage situations. And if Broxton is good? Then he's another option for Mike Matheny to call upon in meaningful situations. Either way, the Cardinals probably won't miss Collymore. —R.J. Anderson

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thepete39
7/31
Love the Wayne's World reference.