The MLB postseason push can officially begin now. With the trade deadline passing this past Monday afternoon, teams both fighting for a spot in the MLB postseason and fighting to win Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the season. And aside from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals holding a double digit lead in their NL West and East division, eight of the other ten spots in the baseball playoffs is still up in the air. These trades were those team’s final push to better their roster and correct any weaknesses. Here are the best deals of the MLB season.
Melky Cabrera to the Royals
This goes down as a really solid move. Nothing front page worthy or something that will always be remembered. But a solid trade for an outfield bat. Cabrera is having a good season at the plate, batting close to .300 and knocking in 56 runs for the lowly White Soxs. The left fielder will replace Royals’ defensive wizard but inept hitter Alex Gordon in the Kansas City lineup. And as a, for lack of a better word, solid all round play in the field and plate, the Melkman will join KC’s final push to take control of the AL Central from the Cleveland Indians and enter the MLB postseason for the third time in four years.
Alex Avila and Justin Wilson to the Cubs
The Chicago Cubs went from being the best and most complete team in recent memory last season to a disappointing shell of themselves during the first half of 2017, then back to that great team that won the World Series last year. In acquiring catcher Alex Avila and relief pitcher Justin Wilson, the team hopes to sure up their weaknesses in the bullpen and behind the plate with veteran players. Avila’s bat that smacked eleven homers and batted .274, as well as a sturdy hand behind the plate can replace the departed Miguel Montero. Justin Wilson in the bullpen, as well as starter Jose Quintana who Chicago got earlier in the month, are strong lefty arms in a league that faces against lefty power bats in Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers. And speaking of LA.
Yu Darvish to the Dodgers
A few years ago, this deal would be No. 1. Darvish, despite the All-Star selection, is having the worst season of his professional career. Still, that could be from a lack of interest in playing with a struggling Texas Rangers team whose October hopes are being set ablaze in the Arlington August sun. Darvish is still an ace on most teams (though not here because of Clayton Kershaw). But with Kershaw out indefinitely, Darvish can fill that role as the top man. If Clayton returns however, the Dodgers will enter the MLB playoffs with the best foursome starting rotation with him, Darvish, Alex Wood, and Rich Hill. And maybe turn owner Magic Johnson’s prediction a reality for winning the fall classic.
Sonny Grey to the Yankees
Sorry Dodgers fans, this move for a starting pitcher has a bigger impact than the Darvish trade. Not for skills, the two pitchers are very close together in talent, with Darvish probably slightly edging out Sonny. But with importance, it’s not even close.
Los Angeles is going to have the best record and make the playoffs. The Yankees’ starting staff, outside the talented, but inexperience Phil Severino, is as steady as a job in the current administration. Masahiro Tanaka can pitch like an ace and another three letter a word in the same week. CC Sabathia has pitched great his last few starts, but is still an older power pitcher, which isn’t a confident statement. Jordan Montgomery is young and has shown promise, but not a steady hand. Sonny Grey is a steady, consistent ace pitcher for a team fighting for a division title against two other tough teams. This move guarantees a playoff spot for New York and also puts them in a great position to make a World Series run.
Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals
Late game pitching wins World Series. Bullpens win World Series. The ability not to surrender runs between the sixth to ninth innings will win World Series. And the Washington Nationals desperately needed bullpen help. Their starting staff features stars like Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg (who seem to always find himself on the DL this time a year). Their starting pitching is great. Their bullpen is the exact opposite. The Nationals bullpen has the highest ERA (5.07) and batting average (.271) in the NL. They also have the fewest innings pitched, but that’s because the starters have carried the weight of pitching in the capital. So trading for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from Oakland have already been a massive upgrade and would have been enough to find themselves on this list. What puts them over the top is acquiring All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler as the clock on the deadline hit zero. Despite the Dodgers’ better record, the two trades for the three pitchers might have made Washington the favorites in the National League to get to the World Series.