Now that the 2018 MLB Trade Deadline has passed, we’re taking a look back at what each team in each division was able to accomplish (or not accomplish) before 4 p.m. ET on July 31. We continue our series with the clubs in the American League Central.
The White Sox remained pretty quiet during deadline season, but that is what happens when a club like them is in a rebuild.
They did manage to make one move that attracted some news, though, as they dealt closer Joakim Soria to the Brewers for pitching prospects Kodi Medeiros and Wilber Perez. The White Sox did have other assets they could’ve dealt, including Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia and James Shields, but they felt it was best to hold on to them at the end of the day.
Plus, getting two pitching prospects, including a guy in Medeiros who was the Brewers’ 13th ranked prospect, for a reliever in his mid-30s and has a $10 million option for 2019 isn’t a bad deal and can help them in their rebuilding process.
The Indians have been the frontrunners in the AL Central all year long, but they knew they had to make improvements in their weaknesses if they want to seriously think about winning the AL pennant and ending baseball’s longest active World Series championship drought at 69 years.
They did just that, as they acquired All-Star reliever Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the Padres to shore up their MLB-worst bullpen and Leonys Martin from the Tigers to upgrade their outfield. They also acquired outfield prospect Oscar Mercado from the Cardinals, but the combo of Hand/Cimber and Martin were the big moves.
Even though they gave up top prospect Francisco Mejia in the trade, the deal with the Padres was important because Hand and Cimber can be the guys who help the Tribe’s bullpen return to being the best in the big leagues now that they are teaming up with Andrew Miller and Cody Allen in the late innings. Hand and Cimber are also controllable pieces, so they could be the future of Cleveland’s bullpen if Miller and Allen decide to opt for free agency after this season.
The Tribe also had a void in their outfield with Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin both being hurt, which is why they acquired Martin and Mercado . The 30-year-old Martin now patrols center field, where he has only made two errors this year, giving the Indians a solid defensive presence. He is also having his best season at the plate, posting a .758 OPS.
Another AL Central team in rebuilding mode, the Tigers didn’t make many deals at the deadline. The only one they did was with the Martin trade.
The Tigers did have some other assets they could’ve tried to trade, but the injury to their best trade chip — starter Michael Fulmer — cost them a chance to possibly make a big deal involving him. In addition, they had Nick Castellanos, Francisco Liriano, Shane Greene, Matthew Boyd, Jose Iglesias, Mike Fiers and James McCann, but they either hardly drew any interest or the Tigers felt it was best to hold on to them.
The Royals told clubs back in May that they were going to be sellers, and they sure did sell some players this summer.
They traded Mike Moustakas, Kelvin Herrera and Jon Jay in separate deals for a ton of prospects that they desperately needed for their farm system, which ranked 29th out of 30 teams by Baseball America entering this season.
Jay was shipped out first, as the outfielder went to the Diamondbacks on June 8 for minor-league pitchers Gabe Speier and Elvis Luciano. Ten days later, Herrera was sent to the Nationals for prospects Blake Perkins, Kelvin Gutierrez, and Yohanse Morel.
However, after months of speculation, Moustakas finally got dealt on July 28 to the Brewers for prospects Brett Phillips and Jorge Lopez. Though Moustakas was beloved in Kansas City, the Royals knew they had to try to get something for him because he is a free agent at season’s end. More importantly, they want to continue their next phase of the franchise after enjoying one of their best runs in franchise history from 2013-17, when they won at least 80 games each season, made back-to-back trips to the World Series from 2014-15 and won a world championship in 2015.
The Twins decided to sell for the second straight year, as they traded veterans Brian Dozier and Lance Lynn.
Minnesota managed to deal a struggling Lynn, who they signed to a one-year deal before this season, to the Yankees on July 30 for Tyler Austin and Luis Rijo. By getting Austin, the Twins may have a future replacement for Joe Mauer, who is a free agent after this season.
As for Dozier, the Twins traded the slugging second baseman to the Dodgers on deadline day for Logan Forsythe and prospects Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer. Though Dozier had been a big part of the franchise, the Twins knew they had to get a good return for him before he became a free agent after this season. Fortunately for them, they got a World Series hero in Forysthe, who they hope can reverse his struggles this year, plus two prospects who were playing in Double-A Tulsa for Los Angeles. Out of the two prospects, Raley could factor into the Twins’ outfield or first base positions as early as next year.