San Diego acted boldly once again. Miami actually strengthened its roster. Mike Clevinger, Starling Marte, Archie Bradley and Todd Frazier were on the move. Lance Lynn and Dylan Bundy stayed put.
Baseball’s pandemic-delayed trade deadline was quite a day.
The contending Padres got Clevinger in a multiplayer trade with Cleveland, bolstering their rotation Monday in a rare deadline deal between contenders. The surprising Marlins reeled in the dynamic Marte for their outfield. There was a lot of talk about pitchers Lynn and Bundy, but Lynn stayed in Texas and the Angels held onto Bundy.
The trade deadline is normally July 31, but it was pushed back when the start of the season was delayed because of the coronavirus. With the shortened season and financial uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, there was talk that it might be an unusually quiet day. But there was plenty of activity instead, spurred in part by the expanded playoff format for this year.
“It felt like a normal deadline in a lot of ways,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Tons of activity and phone calls and things like that. I think that in the end, you know, with the Padres notwithstanding, I think that there probably wasn’t quite as much aggressiveness.”
The lack of a minor league season also hurt the market, forcing teams to work off older information on prospects. There was very little to go on when it came to the players working out at alternate training sites.
“I’d say the volume of consummated transactions probably surprised me a little bit,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said.
Shooting for its first playoff appearance since 2006, San Diego acquired Clevinger in its fifth big trade since Saturday. The cost was a package of young players that included outfielder Josh Naylor, right-hander Cal Quantrill and catcher Austin Hedges, adding to the Indians’ depth for their pursuit of the AL Central title.
The Padres also made a smaller deal right at the deadline, picking up reliever Taylor Williams from Seattle for a player to be named.
Clevinger hopes to join his new team in time for its series opener at Anaheim on Wednesday.
“Definitely something special brewing here and I think it’s going to be something special for coming years, not just this year,” Clevinger said.
Miami is normally a seller at the deadline. But the Marlins are in the postseason mix with a .500 record after dealing with a coronavirus outbreak, and help is on the way.
The Fish sent pitchers Caleb Smith and Humberto Mejia and a player to be named to the Diamondbacks for Marte, who is batting .311 in 33 games this year. Miami also traded Jonathan Villar to Toronto for a player to be named, but Isan Díaz is working out again and could return to the Marlins soon.
“Our club has fought so hard for the first 30 games for what they endured,” president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “We want to do everything on our part to put us in a position to make it to the playoffs.”
There were very few sellers with 16 teams heading to the playoffs, but the last-place Diamondbacks also traded left-handed starter Robbie Ray to the Blue Jays, Bradley to Cincinnati and fellow reliever Andrew Chafin to the Cubs. The struggling Rangers dealt Frazier and catcher Robinson Chirinos to the Mets, and sent lefty Mike Minor to AL West-leading Oakland.
“There are moments in time you can’t go chasing something that isn’t there,” Arizona GM Mike Hazen said. “For this season, it hasn’t been there. I feel like pivoting at this moment in time is what’s most appropriate.”
While some contenders moved forward with their current roster, the Blue Jays made over their rotation with the additions of Ross Stripling, Ray and Taijuan Walker, who was acquired in a deal with Seattle on Thursday. The Cubs also got veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin from Detroit and lefty reliever Josh Osich in a trade with Boston.
The Dodgers, Yankees, Braves and White Sox were noticeably quiet. Of course, the loaded Dodgers, who traded Stripling to Toronto for two players to be named, don’t have much to worry about, sitting atop the NL West with the best record in baseball.
“We feel really good about the team that we have, and also the depth that we have behind it,” said Andrew Friedman, the president of baseball operations for the Dodgers. “So our mindset was not to do something just to do something. We have guys on our 28-man roster who are deserving of playing time, and (we) didn’t want to block that unless it was someone really impactful.”