The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and unlike in past seasons, there will be no Major League trades after today. Ian Kennedy was one of a number of Royals rumored to have some interest leading up to today’s deadline, but ultimately Kennedy will remain in Royal blue through the rest of this season.
The Royals were reportedly not inclined to eat the nearly $20 million owed to Kennedy through the rest of next year to make a deal happen, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Interestingly, the Giants were able to ship off expensive reliever Mark Melancon and about $20 million owed to him to the Atlanta Braves. Melancon has a much more proven track record as a closer with 183 career saves and a 2.82 ERA, but has also been injured quite a bit in the last two seasons. The Giants received pitchers Dan Winkler and Tristan Beck in return for Melancon.
The Royals also did not trade second baseman Whit Merrifield, who was reportedly drawing a lot of interest from the Cubs. But the Cubs have a pretty depleted farm system, and simply did not have enough to entice the Royals, who had a very high asking price for their All-Star. Ultimately the Cubs acquired Nick Castellanos from the Tigers for pitchers Paul Richan and Alex Lange (from Lee’s Summit West HS), one of the few notable position players to be dealt.
Also not traded by the Royals was speedster Billy Hamilton, who can be a free agent at the end of the season if his mutual option is not picked up. Danny Duffy, Jorge Soler, Alex Gordon, and even Tim Hill and Richard Lovelady were mentioned as potential players to be dealt, but ultimatly the Royals stood pat.
The deadline was perhaps most notable for who didn’t get dealt. Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Zach Wheeler, Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, and Rangers pitcher Mike Minor were among the bigger names rumored to be on the block, but all stayed with their respective teams.
Relievers were in high demand, with Shane Greene, Roenis Elias, Hunter Strickland, Daniel Hudson, David Phelps, Nick Anderson, Sam Dyson, and Chris Martin all changing teams, but bigger names like Felipe Vazquez, Will Smith, and Edwin Diaz all staying put. Greene, an All-Star with Detroit this year, was deal to the Braves for pitcher Joey Wentz, who attended Shawnee Mission East in the Kansas City area, as well as second baseman Travis Demeritte.
The biggest blockbuster at the deadline involved former Royals pitcher Zack Greinke, who was sent to the Astros for pitchers Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas, first baseman Seth Beer, and infielder Josh Rojas. Greinke has a no-trade clause with 15 teams listed, but the Astros were not one of them. The Diamondbacks will pick up $24 million of the $77 million owed to Greinke over the next three seasons.
I had a thought the Royals might try to be buyers at the deadline, looking for players with several controllable years that could be available. Ultimately they didn’t make such a move, probably to give in-house options a longer look, but there were several younger players dealt in interesting moves. The Rays found a solution at first base, picking up slugger Jesus Aguilar from the Brewers for pitcher Jacob Faria. The Rays also picked up reliever Nick Anderson from the Marlins, a 29-year old having a breakout rookie season, and young starting pitcher Trevor Richards in exchange for pitcher Ryan Stanek (from Blue Valley HS), and outfielder Jesus Sanchez. The Marlins also traded promising pitcher Zac Gallen to the Diamondbacks for top 100 shortstop prospect Jazz Chisolm.
The Astros added more than just Greinke to their pitching staff, adding Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini from the Blue Jays for outfielder Derek Fisher. The Athletics continued to bolster their pitching, adding Tanner Roark from the Reds for outfielder Jameson Hannah.
The Dodgers added utility man Jedd Gyorko from the Cardinals for pitchers Tony Cingrani and Jeffry Abreu. The Twins, having already added reliever Sergio Romo this week, added another reliever by getting Sam Dyson from the Giants for pitchers Prelander Berroa, Kai-Wei Teng and outfielder Jaylin Davis. The Giants also received second baseman Scooter Gennett from the Reds for cash considerations. The Angels picked up catcher Max Stassi from the Astros for two minor league outfielders.
The Royals did execute four trades earlier this month, sending Homer Bailey and Jake Diekman to the Athletics in separate trades for infielder Kevin Merrell, outfielder Dairon Blanco, and pitcher Ismael Aquino, shipping catcher Martin Maldonado to the Cubs for pitcher Mike Montgomery, and outfielder Terrance Gore to the Yankees for cash considerations. Speaking of Maldonado, he was dealt again, with the Astros picking him up from the Cubs for second baseman/outfielder Tony Kemp.
Other notable deals before the deadline was a three-team trade executed last night that sent pitcher Trevor Bauer to the Reds, outfielders Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes, infielder Victor Nova, and pitchers Scott Moss and Logan Allen to the Indians, and outfield prospect Taylor Trammell to the Padres. The Mets also made a surprise deal to pick up Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays for minor league pitchers Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson.
The Royals probably can’t be faulted too much for hanging on to Whit Merrifield considering that pretty much no significant position players with many controllable years were dealt. The Royals could instead shop him this winter, next summer, or even hold onto him as part of the future.
The deals with the A’s and Cubs earlier this month may not make headlines, but seem like decent enough value deals, although you can quibble with the doubling-down on speed as a skill-set the Royals need in deep reserves.
But the failure to deal Ian Kennedy now that he has some trade value has to be considered a pretty disappointing development. We don’t know if teams were that interested, but there always seems to be a pretty good market for relievers. The money should not been an impediment, since the Royals are obligated to pay Ian Kennedy regardless. Perhaps the Royals can trade him this winter or next summer, but if he regresses at all, this could be quite a lost opportunity.
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