This Year’s Friskiest NFL Teams

Each year, there are a handful of teams that fit the definition of frisky.  What exactly is that?

Probably not what you think.  Frisky has A LOT of different meanings, and they’re all super different from each other.

When it comes to sports, a frisky team isn’t a bad team, or a good one.  But they’re also not mediocre.

The definition of a frisky sports team is one that gives the good teams troubles.  Frisky NFL teams usually end up going 7-9, 8-8, or 9-7.  They’re usually in the playoff hunt, sometimes missing the postseason by a tad, or sometimes just sneaking in.

Here are those teams for this season:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Tampa Bay was the best bad team last year, at 6-10.  Jamies Winston played very well in his rookie season; you have to expect he’s only going to improve.  New head coach Dirk Koetter is a much better quarterback guru than Lovie Smith.  Because of this, I expect major strides from Winston.

The Buccaneers re-signed Doug Martin, which was smart in the sense of having a something to fall back on offensively incase Winston doesn’t improve, but wasn’t the most logical move in terms of the money given to Martin, who’s had two good seasons his whole career (This past year and his rookie one).  I think the Martin contract becomes a stain on the team’s cap, especially if Winston develops the way they hope.

Tampa Bay’s defense has its strengths and weaknesses.  The defensive line is in good shape, anchored by Gerald McCoy.  The Bucs also have a nice secondary, with Chris Conte being a viable safely and Brent Grimes (And his wife) being a new addition.

However, even if Winston makes major strides, I think the Bucs are simply frisky.  The defense just isn’t quite there yet to make them a playoff team, and the NFC is shaping up extremely similar to last year when it comes to playoff seeding.  It’d take a disastrous year from someone like Arizona for the Bucs to make it in.

Kansas City Chiefs

I think Oakland is the team to beat in the AFC West, and that will be backed up further as another AFC West team makes an appearance on this list.

However, the division is wide open.  If the Chiefs want to win this division, now is the time.  There’s no alpha-dog team anymore.

The defense for Kansas City is no question.  The Chiefs have a star at every level of their defense.

Its the offense thats the question mark for Kansas City.  Jamaal Charles is coming back from injury.  Alex Smith is pretty mediocre, and they have no weapons once again.

Its the same problem every year, though this season is the one where it won’t hurt them as much.

I just think that Oakland’s youth and organization offensively is better than Kansas City’s.  Really, its a stingy defense thats gonna make the Chiefs a frisky team, similar to their division rivals below.

Tennesse Titans

The Titans’ whole division has friskiness written all over it.  I’ll be writing about that later.

But the Titans are the most frisky team that won’t have the chance at being truly good.  There’s a scenario where they may actually be good (Column coming on that later), but for now, this is a super frisky and young team.

Marcus Mariota, like Winston, had a very nice rookie year and should take yet another step.  The biggest difference from this year to last is the upgrade in weapons.  Mariota has people to throw to now, even though Tennessee traded Dorial Green Beckham to the Eagles for no reason at all.

No matter what, Mariota’s progress and the upgrade in weapons should take this Titans offense to the next level.  And now they have a running back(s) to lean on when Mariota can’t connect.  DeMarco Murray figures to be the lead back this season, but rookie Derrick Henry could easily take away some rushes, since the book on Murray is that he’s only a good running back when he has a good offensive line.  The Titans don’t exactly have that.

The Titans defense still needs some help, but for now, this is a young team who will be very exciting to watch.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills, had I made a list last year, would have been on it.

This year was the year I thought they’d graduate from the frisky tier of the league, but I’ve slowly backtracked on it.

The Ryan brothers on the same staff seems like a potential cluster in the making.  From what we know about Rob Ryan, his defenses are never really that great.  Who says Buffalo’s defense is gonna be any better than last year?  Are we sure there’s a better coordinator running it?

There’s all the sudden not a lot to like about the Bills defense.  But the offense could very easily be making a positive jump.  This is Tyrod Taylor’s 2nd year as a starter.  The Bills have confidence in him; so much so that there’s a very lucrative extension (with starter money!) sitting there for him if he produces.  I fell in love with Taylor last season.  He’s my starting QB in fantasy football until Tom Brady comes back from suspension.  I trust him and think the Bills will be fine if he plays well.

Taylor’s a big part of whether the Bills can graduate from the friskiness tier of the league, but he’s not all of it.  Its gonna take a lot of luck.

The Bills taking the next step hinges on how New England gets by without Tom Brady.  If the Patriots are disastrous, the Bills could be in position to win the division.  If not, then chances are Buffalo is a narrow miss for the playoffs.

Denver Broncos

Denver has faced as much turnover as any other Super Bowl Champion we’ve seen.

If you go back in history, there’s a common trend of Super Bowl Champions falling off the season after their glory.  There’s no doubt in my mind the Broncos will have a down-year compared to last.  But to what extent?

The bottom line is that Mark Sanchez was just there to scare the crap out of these young guys.  What had we seen from him the past three seasons that makes you go “I want that guy running my offense.”?

And now they’re trying to trade him?  What team is gonna give up anything for Mark Sanchez?

Speaking of the young guys, I’m a firm believer in that, if you take a quarterback in the first round, he should be your starter.  No questions asked.  Paxton Lynch was my favorite quarterback in this draft, and I think he’ll end up being the best QB out of it.

Lynch, in my mimd, should’ve been the starter, even though there would be growing pains.  But maybe those would be sheltered by the defense, which is still as good as last year.

If you think the Broncos can win the Super Bowl this year, you’re basis is that Trevor Siemian can play equal to or better than Peyton Manning last year, then they should be contenders, due to the fact that defense carried this team last season.

But are we sure Trevor Siemian can reach that quality of play? (Which wasn’t high)  Sure, he won the job, but I have doubts.  The Broncos see Lynch as their future, and Siemian (like Lynch) has never seen snaps.  There’s gonna be growing pains with Siemian too.  Why go through them when the lesson learned won’t translate on the field in the future?

The Broncos will at least be frisky, but nothing more with today’s news that Siemian will be the starter..  They still have whats probably the best defense in the league; thats a hassle to deal with if you’re the other team.   I just think Oakland is the more complete team, and will keep the Broncos in whats still the league’s most fun tier.

My Favorite NBA Free Agency Signings

With NBA free agency wrapped up, I went through all the signings and picked out my favorites.  Here’s those 12:

Mirza Teletovic, three years, $30 million with the Bucks

This was the most Buckiest signing ever.  Milwaukee is putting together this team of long athletic guys who can shoot and defend.  They’re not totally worrying about position, which is the way the league is going.

Mirza Teletovic was one of my favorite Suns.  He nailed threes when it mattered, and could come off the bench and flat out score.  However, Jared Dudley is his replacement, so I won’t be too disappointed.

Milwaukee has a lot of guys that could start elsewhere, but that also means they have a really deep bench.  Teletovic only adds to it.

Nicolas Batum, five years, $120 million max contract with the Hornets

One of the running jokes heading into free agency was the max contract Nicolas Batum was gonna get from someone.  It was known by people in the league and on Twitter that it was actually gonna happen, but to a common fan, it was unbelievable.

Sure enough, it did.  But as insane as it is, it also makes sense.  Charlotte was the one team who viewed Batum as a max guy, considering he was their best player.  Therefore, its not all that surprising.

Losing Batum would have been fatal to the Hornets’ playoffs chances next season.  He’s their playmaker on offense.  Turning the ball over to Kemba Walker isn’t very smart.

So yeah, even though Batum got the max, he’s worth it to Charlotte.  And again, since the cap was up 35% this Summer, contracts were too.  And that applies to everyone.

Jordan Clarkson, four years, $50 million with the Lakers

Jordan Clarkson is one of my favorite young players in the league.  He’s super crafty and makes stuff happen.  I felt like it was necessary for the Lakers to re-sign him.  Him leaving would slot Lou Williams in at shooting guard, which would be a odd with a young team like this (Sounds like a Byron Scott move).

I think the contract he was given was perfect, though I was surprised that no one else made an offer to him.  Perhaps no one wanted to pay that much?

This Lakers team has a friskiness element to them now.  A lineup of Russell-Clarkson-Ingram-Randle-Mozgov isn’t all that bad.  Yes, the Timofey Mozgov signing was really aggressive.  But the Lakers have a good coach now.  That itself will take this team so much farther this season.

Trevor Booker, two years, $18.5 million with the Nets

The Nets have had a great offseason.  New GM Sean Marks has gave this team knowledge of the league, and has halted them from being one of the dumbest teams we’ve ever seen.

Even though they lost Tyler Johnson to Miami, Brooklyn is getting better.  This signing proves that (Jeremy Lin’s too).  Trevor Booker is essentially their Thaddeus Young replacement, who is now in Indiana.  This team is finally showing interest in being competent again, in the front office and on the court.

Booker will help take the pressure off of Brook Lopez down low, which is great since Lopez is always hurt and is exiting his prime.

Mike Conley, five years, $153 million max contract with the Grizzlies

The sheer massiveness of Mike Conley’s deal took many by surprise, expectedly so as its the most lucrative NBA contract ever.  But its not like Memphis chose those numbers.  The team and player don’t negotiate max contracts.  The player tells the team he wants the max, and the salary cap and its max-parameters figure out how much money the contract will be worth.

Even though Memphis didn’t put this contract together, its possible they would have.  Losing Mike Conley, one of the most underrated players in the league, would have sent Memphis into a rebuild.  It would have left them with Zach Randolph, who’s slowly becoming the type of player who doesn’t fit in the league anymore, and Marc Gasol, one of the best players in the league.  He certainly would have been shopped.

Instead, Memphis spent everything they had on Conley, and signed Chandler Parsons to help with shooting that they’ve desperately lacked the past two seasons.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the Parsons signing, mostly because he’s too unreliable and got max numbers, but it fills a need for the Grizzlies.

Tyler Johnson, four years, $50 million with the Heat

It looked like Tyler Johnson was headed to Brooklyn early in the free agency period, because no one believed Dwyane Wade would actually leave Miami.  When that happened, it forced Miami to pay Tyler Johnson.

I was at a Heat-Timberwolves game last November when I was introduced to Johnson.  Me and my Dad fell in love with him.  It was a classic “Who’s that guy?’ moment.

I figure that Johnson is now the starter at shooting guard for the Heat; his contract fits a starter’s bill.

Johnson’s a lot different than Wade.  He’s not gonna iso like Wade did, or take bad shots.  Johnson’s gonna go the basket, similar to a point guard.

The Heat have a big shift coming, as two new starters will have to fit in.  Johnson and Justise Winslow seem to be taking over at 2 and 3 this upcoming season.  Its gonna be a transition, as expected when you lose someone as key as Dwyane Wade.

Anthony Tolliver, two years, $16 million with the Kings

Like the Nets, the Kings making smart NBA decisions is a new phenomena.  Actually, I’m not ready to say that the Kings are smart yet.  They still have the same management.  But this is a smart signing.

Sacramento has lacked shooting in past years, and Anthony Tolliver is a guy who can come in and knock shots down.  He’s not gonna do a whole lot else, but this fits a great need for the Kings.

Its a pretty average contract for this market.  There’s no way he makes this much last Summer, but again, the inflation we’ve seen this Summer applies to everyone.

Sacramento didn’t stop there with adding shooting.  The Matt Barnes and Aaron Affalo signings didn’t make this list, but they were both smart moves too.

Zaza Pachuila, one year, $2.9 million with the Warriors

Its hard to imagine what Zaza Pachuila would have made in this market if he chose to chase the money.  My guess is a Timofey Mozgov-like deal.  Instead, Zaza chased winning, and took an enormous pay cut to play for the Warriors.

This made many teams around the league upset, much more upset than Kevin Durant signing there.  But those teams have to realize that 1) This is the culture the Warriors have built, and they can easily attract guys this way.  2) This is also the salary cap’s fault.  Pachulia can take a contract much less than what he’s worth.  If there were no cap, its much more likely that Pachulia takes his full value.

Basketball-wise, Pachulia is the Warriors’ new Andrew Bogut, but I have doubts that he will start.  I think the new-and-improved death lineup will be the starting one, but Pachulia is going to be the Warriors true center, so he’ll definitely get a lot minutes.

Langston Galloway, two years, $10 million with the Pelicans

Langston Galloway has become one of my favorite young players in the league the past two seasons.  He’s electric and a scorer, exactly what the Pelicans need.

New Orleans has lacked stability for so long.  At least now, they have guys who they can lean on.  They aren’t stars (Besides Anthony Davis), but they’re at least viable NBA players, unlike Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans.

You just hope that Alvin Gentry plays the young guys, and forms a starting lineup around these players they’ve signed and drafted this offseason.

Meyers Leonard, four years, $41 million with the Trail Blazers

Meyers Leonard is another one of my favorite young players in the league.  He was fantastic for Portland last season, and would have made the Trail Blazers-Warriors 2nd round playoff series a lot more interesting had he not been hurt.

I think Leonard’s contract is very fair.  He definitely benefited from the cap boom, but he’s not a star, and wasn’t really gonna get overpaid.

He’s on this list because I like him, and he would have been great anywhere not just Portland.

He should start next to Festus Ezeli, a fit that had me concerned at first, but its growing on me.

My worry is that Ezeli, who has a new, big contract, is gonna be want to be fed.  Big men like to fed down low, as Dwight Howard always lets us know.

Thats gonna take away from Leonard, who is a stretch-4-type player.  He can shoot!

Ezeli has plenty of confidence, as we know from Golden State.  I think there’s a chance it hurts Leonard on the court, and takes away his production.

Brandon Bass, one year-minimum with the Clippers

I like this cheap signing for the Clippers because there’s a chance that Blake Griffin is traded (Or, more likely, injured, like last year.)  at some point, and Bass would be a great interim replacement.  He can space the floor more than Griffin.  He can hit an occasional three.  Griffin has no jumpshot.  Its been one of the most criticized aspects of his game.

The Clippers still have the same issue as last year, and thats at small forward.  They still have no viable option there.  Yikes!

Aaron Brooks, one year, $2.5 million with the Pacers

Before the Bulls decided to construct a team made for 2010, I thought they should have turned the point guard reigns over to Aaron Brooks.  He was their point guard when Derrick Rose was hurt the past four years.  And he was dang good.  Brooks has command.  He can control an offense, unlike Rose (and his injuries) weren’t able to do.

Instead of rebuilding, and letting Brooks take over point guard while Jerian Grant develops, Brooks signed in Indiana, while the Bulls signed Rajon Rondo.  Brooks will be backup to Jeff Teague and Monta Ellis.  Thats suddenly a real nice backcourt the Pacers have put together.  Plus, if Ellis is hurt, Brooks can step in and not be a huge drop-off in production.

MLB Trade Deadline Roundup

This trade deadline was crazy, but not in ways that others have been.  This deadline revolved around guys that we couldn’t believe there would be takers on.  This deadline also set the price extremely high for pitchers and relievers, and saw some big-time prospects be traded.

I know this column is going up two days after the deadline.  Most guys moved have already made their debuts, but its not like two games will determine the outcome of the trade.  Most of these are made for October, when it really matters.

Anyways, here we go!

Cubs get: Aroldis Chapman

Yankees get: Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren,  Billy McKinney, Rashad Crawford

This was a very predictable trade.  We knew the Cubs would make some kind of splash when it came to adding bullpen, which is their only issue this season.  Getting Aroldis Chapman is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  There’s no one like him in the league.  I thought he was the more important asset than Andrew Miller (more on him later), and the haul the Yankees got proves that.

When the report of this trade was making its way through Twitter (It took an extremely long time to be processed.), I thought it’d be Gleyber Torres straight up.  There was no way in my mind that the Cubs would be forced to give up anything else.  But we tend to underrate Brian Cashman.  He’s a really good GM, and is just under the shadow of his owners, forcing him to always make big moves.  But this trade made Hal Steinbrenner look smart, thanks to Cashman.

Torres and Billy McKinney were two top five prospects of the Cubs.  People, including me, thought it was way too much to give up.  But, at the same time, consider a couple things.

  1. Its not like the Cubs have any prospects they need to call up.  McKinney and Torres weren’t needed, now or down the road.  The Cubs are so stacked that these prospects never would’ve had a chance in Chicago
  2. People made the arguement that, if you’re going to give up two prospects like Torres and McKinney, that you don’t give them up for a reliever.  Its a fair point, but at the same time, what else do the Cubs need?  Now or in the future?

The Cubs had a weakness and decided to fill it with one of the best relievers in baseball, and to do it, they had to give up a lot.  But this is a team that can afford to do that, more than anyone else we’ve perhaps ever seen.

Blue Jays get: Melvin Upton Jr, cash

Padres get: Hansel Rodriguez

I didn’t totally understand this trade.  It felt really underwhelming compared to what our expectations were for the Blue Jays this deadline (That line was written before Monday came around, and boy, did Toronto make some good moves.  More on those later.).  Yes, Melvin Upton Jr. has had a nice year.  He’ll be coming off the bench for Toronto.  Depth is nice, but it only matters when you get to the postseason.  I’d love them to get there, because they’re so fun to watch, but you can’t guarantee that right now.  Thats why I felt like this trade wasn’t the best for Toronto.  Another move may make me switch my feelings on it (It did).

Blue Jays get: Joaquin Benoit

Mariners get: Drew Storen, cash

This trade was absolutely hilarious.  Its literally a trade of “Here’s my crappy reliever that we thought would do stuff for us for your’s.”

These were two guys who were expected to play big roles for their teams this season.  Instead, they both suck and are traded for each other.  It seemed like a player dump for both teams, and an experiment by both teams when it comes to the guys they acquired.

Giants get: Eduardo Nunez

Twins get: Adalberto Mejia

A lot of Twins fans/friends didn’t want to see Eduardo Nunez go, understandably.  He was their best player this season, made the All-Star Game, and was the only real highlight of this season, besides Byron Buxton’s ridiculous catches.

At first, the move made no sense to me, considering the left side of the Giants infield was pretty good when they made this move.  But then Matt Duffy traded (More on that later), and the pieces fit together.

San Francisco basically feels that Nunez gives them more than Duffy, now and later.  Its not worthing debating, but from a longview, it seems fine.

This was a great return for the Twins, though.  Minnesota needs all the pitching prospects they can get, and they have to hit on some of them, since its been their biggest organizational problem the past five years.

Marlins get: Andrew Cashner, Tayron Guerrero, Cash 

Padres get: Carter Capps, Jarred Cosart, Josh Naylor

This trade seemed really simple as the reports of it’s happening came in, but only got more complicated and more interesting.

That was before the day of the deadline.

Then it got blown up after Colin Rea got injured in his first start with the Marlins.  Two days after the trade was completed.  So what happened?

The Marlins traded Rea back to San Diego for Jose Castillo, one of the main pieces of this deal.

The most amazing part of Rea getting traded back wasn’t that itself, but that Rea’s value to Miami was worth Costillo.

If I was the Marlins, I would have given back Carter Capps and Jarred Cosart.  But whatever.  It is the Marlins we’re talking about.

The Marlins basically traded two rejuvenation projects and a power-hitting first base prospect, who’s future is very bright for a mediocre starter in Andrew Cashner.  Even though the deal was reworked, I still don’t like it for the Marlins.  Andrew Cashner has been pretty sketchy in his career.

I’m much more interested in the Padres return.  Josh Naylor is a power hitting first basemen prospect. Carter Capps was excellent in the 30 games he appeared in last year, though he just underwent Tommy John Surgery.  Jarred Cosart was a intriguing piece two years ago at the deadline, and the trade that sent him to Miami from Houston was the best thing that ever happened to him.  Sure, he’s been pretty crappy since, but the Padres are fine with seeing if they can get back what he once had.

Nationals get: Mark Melancon, cash

Pirates get: Filipe Rivero, Taylor Hearn

The Nationals lost out on Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, but Mark Melancon is nice consolation prize. Melancon’s a top ten reliever in the game, which makes the Pirates return look really weak.  It is.

Filipe Rivero is still young, but has a 4.53 ERA so far this season.  It seems like Pittsburgh is taking a flyer on him, with pitcher Taylor Hearn being the real asset in this deal.  Still, its nothing close to what I expected the price to be on Melancon.  Especially when it comes to contenders.  It would have been smart by the Pirates to raise the price to teams that can afford it, or were as desperate as Washington was to get a reliever, their biggest need.  I’m still struggling to understand this one.

Royals get: Billy Burns

A’s get: Brett Eibner

This trade was close to unfathomable.  Sure, Brett Eibner has been a nice player for the Royals this year as a backup outfielder, but swapping Billy Burns for him had me speechless.  Burns has had a down year too, but at least we’ve seen what Burns can do.  He’s a speedy guy who can hit and get on base.  We don’t totally know what Eibner is yet.  The Royals got an impact guy in this trade at the expense of a bench player.

Padres get: Hector Olivera

Braves get: Matt Kemp

This was the 4th strange trade of the deadline (There were many more).  The Padres dumped Matt Kemp, which left the Braves to be the 3rd team to try and figure out how to make him a star again.

There’s a lot of baggage with this trade.  Hector Olivera’s had one of the strangest and most unfortunate careers we’ve ever seen, and you have to feel bad for Atlanta, knowing how much they liked Olivera as a prospect, even before they got him via trade from the Dodgers last Summer.  They were ecstatic.  But the domestic violence suspension required the Braves to practically ignore him, and now they won’t see him again.

Its a tough issue, obviously.  The Padres have already sent him down to the minors, but it’ll be up to their front office to decide what to do with Olivera.  I’m sure the PR department will have some say in that.  The biggest issue is his contract, and the fact that he’s owed a ton of money, and the fact he may face prison time.  Yeah, things aren’t so great for Hector Olivera.

The only positive is the Padres being able to dump Kemp, which I’m sure they’ve been wanting to do forever.

Indians get: Andrew Miller

Yankees get: Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller, J.P. Feyereisen

We knew the Indians were gonna do something big.  For an eight hour period, it looked like the Tribe had landed Andrew Miller and Jonathan Lucroy.  The Lucroy deal, as we know, fell through (more on him later).  But the Indians landed the 2nd best reliever on the market.

Cleveland desperately needed a late inning guy.  Miller can close or pitch in the 7th and 8th innings for the Indians.  No matter what, he’s gonna get outs.  Bringing him in makes scoring practically impossible for the other team.  You don’t need any stats to make the case for Miller.  In fact, you don’t need to make the case for Miller.  We all already know how good he is.

The Yankees, expectedly, got quite the return on Miller, like they did for Chapman.  The Yankees now have Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield, and Billy McKinney in the same system.  Brian Cashman definitely did some restocking.

The Yankees put together an incredible bullpen in the offseason, and thought it’d make them contenders.  It didn’t, and since New York is one of the oldest teams in the league, Cashman thought that 1) They needed to get younger.  2) They needed to restock the farm.  3) He had the two best players at the most coveted position when the deadline came around.  That was the purpose of the Yankees moves, and man, did they work out.

Yankees get: Tyler Clippard

Diamondbacks get: Vicente Campos

Even though the Yankees fire-saled this deadline, they had to add a piece to make up for their substantial losses.

Tyler Clippard had been pretty average for the Diamondbacks, and for me pretty disappointing because I excited for him to come to Arizona.  He’s gave up too many home runs, but can still get strikeouts.

However, the Diamondbacks got a great return.  Everything I’ve seen on Vicente Campos seemed positive.

Orioles get: Wade Miley

Mariners get: Ariel Miranda

What a weird move.  The Orioles really love mediocre pitchers, don’t they?  I guess it upgrades their rotation, but only by taking away innings from guys like Ubaldo Jimenez.

With Baltimore, their pitching issues won’t keep them out of the playoffs, but will keep them from going deep in them.

As for the Mariners, Wade Miley was an experiment that didn’t work out.  They were lucky to find a taker in Baltimore.

Red Sox get: Fernando Abad

Twins get: Pat Light

I think the Red Sox got a steal here.  The Twins should have made them pay up, because Boston’s stacking their bullpen and just added another nice piece in Fernando Abad.

Abad’s pitched very well for the Twins this year, with a 2.65 ERA in 30 games.  He has issues with walks, but can usually get himself out of those situations.

It really seemed like the Twins gave Abad away.  Pat Light is pretty much a lower-level prospect.

This was part one of an odd deadline for Minnesota.  We’ll get to that later.

Dodgers get: Josh Reddick, Rich Hill

A’s get: Frankie Montas, Grant Holmes, Jharel Cotton

What a magnificent trade by the A’s.  Oakland shed two expirings for three very nice prospects, all who rank in the A’s top 30.  Only one appears in the MLB top 100, and thats Grant Holmes, but still, this is incredible value for Oakland.

It showed not only how good Billy Beane is at his job, but how willing the Dodgers are to overpay.  Josh Reddick is thrown into a mix of nine (!) outfielders with the Dodgers.  Its a cluster, and always has been.  However, the Dodgers have too many non-contributors in the outfield.  Reddick’s bat is the 2nd best in the outfield based on BA; only behind Yasiel Puig (Funny how this league works, aye?), who has his own issues in other areas.

Reddick can hopefully provide the Dodgers with some stability back there.

As for Rich Hill, the Dodgers love getting these type of guys, and sometimes they work out, and sometimes they don’t.

Its not a massive upgrade for the Dodgers, but could be meaningful down the road, especially if Clayton Kershaw doesn’t return this season.

I’ll dive into this later when we touch on the Dodgers again, but it seems like the Dodgers are acquiring as many starters as possible.

Giants get: Will Smith

Brewers get: Andrew Susac, Phil Bickford

This was a tough pill to swallow for Giants fans.  Phil Bickford is a top 100 prospect in the league, and now listed as the Brewers’ 4th best prospect, impressive when it comes to Milwaukee, a well-stocked farm.  Andrew Susac was a favorite of mine, and with the Jonathan Lucroy trade (more on that later), gives them extra depth behind the plate.

The Giants desperately needed bullpen help, like a lot of teams.  We all know this was a ferocious market.  That couldn’t have been set up worse for San Francisco, a team with a weak farm system.  To get help, they would have to give up a lot.  They did, and not for someone who’s all that.

Will Smith’s ERA and ERA+ disagree.  His ERA stands at 3.68, a little high for my liking, but his ERA+ makes him out to be better than that, at 115.  However, Smith walks a ton of guys (3.7 per nine innings!).  Thats concerning, and makes this trade look not so great.

Smith can strike guys out, and the Giants’ bullpen has struggled with that, as they rank 26th in the league in bullpen strikeout percentage, at 19.8%.

Like their other trade (more on that later), the Giants paid the price.  Now its just gotta work out.

Rangers get: Carlos Beltran, cash

Yankees get: Dillon Tate, Nick Green, Erik Swanson

This deal was pretty funny.  Its the one Yankees trade I didn’t like.  It was obvious that New York was gonna move Carlos Beltran, but I thought they’d get a little more value for him.  Beltran’s been productive; he’s batting .304/.344/.546, good for a 1.8 WAR.

Beltran most likely takes over the DH position, now that Prince Fielder is out for the year.  They can also rotate him in the outfield, though he has a -8 DRS out there this year.

Dillion Tate has fallen off a cliff in the past year when it comes to development.  The Yankees must see him as a flyer-prospect.

Blue Jays get: Scott Feldman

Astros get: Lupe Chavez

I really liked what the Blue Jays did at the deadline.  As I said above, the Melvin Upton Jr. trade was a little strange, and the Joaquin Benoit trade was a flyer, but acquiring what they did when it comes to starters was genius.

Scott Feldman’s been great for Houston this year.  He has a 2.90 ERA in 26 games, his FIP is a little high since he’s giving up 1.2 homers per nine innings.  He’s not a strikeout guy, but will get outs.  He also doesn’t walk guys often, like the other starter the Blue Jays got.

With Aaron Sanchez getting moved to the bullpen soon, a tough but smart decision by the Blue Jays, Toronto needs as many guys as they can to eat innings and fill his void.  I think there’s a good chance he pitches in the postseason if they make it, but for now, Feldman and Liriano keep Toronto afloat in the pennant race pitching wise, as we know the offense is what is really carrying them.

Dodgers get: Jesse Chavez

Blue Jays get: Mike Bolsinger

This is strictly to improve the Dodgers bullpen.  Chavez hasn’t been great this season, as his ERA is high and gives up too many home runs, but its not like the Dodgers gave up anything big (like usual) to get him.

Mets get: Jay Bruce

Reds get: Dilson Herrera, Max Wotell

This trade was completely redone after medicals on one of the prospects in the original trade didn’t satisfy Cincinnati, and I think it was redone for the better.

The original trade included Brandon Nimmo, the Mets outfielder prospect who will eventually hit for batting titles.  He’s struggled against major league pitching this season, but is killing the ball in the minors.  Giving him up for Jay Bruce, someone who’s still good but probably declining was madness to me.

Instead, the Mets traded Dilson Herrera, who’s value has dropped lately, from the Mets’ and others’ around the league’s perspectives.

I think giving him up is fine.  But the Mets are taking a chance with Jay Bruce.  He’s horrendous defensively, which isn’t going to help a Mets outfield which is practically in the middle of the pack when it comes to defense.  I guess defense isn’t a huge concern to them with their rotation.

Essentially, they’re trading for his bat, which we can all agree is much needed.  This Mets offense could be one of the worst of all-time.  Jay Bruce is the current NL RBIs leader.  He’s putting up MVP-like WARs offensively.

Its a trade the Mets had to make.  Bruce is gonna preform for them, and they have him under control for next season.  In the middle of a division race, this is the kinda things you have to do.

Rangers get: Jonathan Lucroy, Jeremy Jeffress

Brewers get: Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, PTBNL

After Jonathan Lucroy vetoed the trade to Cleveland, I thought that his value would drop, but that it was as likely as ever he’d be moved.  We knew he didn’t want to be there, and later on, it seemed Milwaukee didn’t want him.

Lurcroy’s value certainly dropped.  The Rangers somehow constructed this trade without giving up Joey Gallo or Nomar Mazara, an incredible job by Jon Daniels.

Instead, the Rangers gave up what is now the Brewers’ 2nd and 5th best prospects.  Keep in mind, the Brewers farm is stacked, and while Texas’ is too, they’re worth a lot more in Arlington than Milwaukee.  However, the Rangers are looking good in the outfield for now, though Shin Soo Choo’s a long-term liliabilty with injuries, and Ian Desmond’s a free agent after this season.  Giving up outfielder Lewis Brinson is better than giving up Gallo though, since Mitch Moreland hasn’t hit well this year, and figures to be on the decline now that he’s 30.

Getting Lucroy though addresses the one weakness Texas had: Catcher.  The Rangers’ catchers have all batted poorly this year, and are practically non-contributors.  Lucroy hasn’t only been good offensively, but as we know, is an incredible pitch framer, something a smart team like Texas has probably coveted for years.

Jeremy Jeffress gives Texas bullpen depth.  He has a very nice ERA, but tends to walk a lot of guys.  He usually gets out of them, as his ERA (and especially FIP) prove.

This trade makes the Rangers the ones to beat in the AL.  Cleveland is close, and its fitting that the Lucroy sweepstakes came between those two teams.  Guess we’ll find out in October, aye?

Twins get: Hector Santiago, Alan Busenitz

Angels get: Ricky Nolasco, Alex Meyer

One of the many mind-bogglers of this deadline.  I don’t even know where to start here.  Its amazing to say that Terry Ryan would have done a better job making this trade.

It seemed like Ervin Santana was gonna be the one moved, and people on Twitter were reporting that he was “gone” at one point.  Instead, it was Ricky Nolasco, who Twins fans should be glad to see gone.  However…

Minnesota gave up one of their best pitching prospects for Hector Santiago, who’s ERA is 4.25 and leads the whole MLB in walks.  He’s basically another Ervin Santana when it comes to his stuff and what he’s gonna give you as a pitcher.

Sure, the Twins are trying to put together a better pitching staff, which is what they’ve struggled to develop for years, but they gave up what could be their future ace for a mid-rotation guy.  Thats not how you build a rotation.  Then again, this is the Minnesota front office we’re talking about.  I could run that team better.

Congrats on Ricky Nolasco I guess, but this was a great trade by the Angels.

Cubs get: Joe Smith

Angels get: Jesus Castillo

This was a massive overpay by the Cubs, considering Jesus Castillo is now the No.28 prospect in the Angels system, but consider two things:

  1. We all know how insane the reliever market was, and this was just another example of it’s craziness
  2. The Cubs can afford to overpay

Plus, the Cubs main target this deadline was bullpen help.  They’ve done a great job of acquiring it, and this was the final piece.

Joe Smith’s fine.  His ERA is 3.82, and he walks a ton of guys, but he’s one reliever in a stacked bullpen.

Pirates get: Ivan Nova

Yankees get: 2 PTBNL

The deadline wasn’t crazy because no huge (Big, but not huge.) names were moved, nor were there any true surprises when it came to those big names.  This deadline was crazy because of deals like this one.  Ones that were dumb, or that didn’t have anything to do with a playoff race were made this deadline.  Here’s another one of them:

The deadline was crazy because the Yankees somehow found a taker for Ivan Nova, who’s been a disaster the past three seasons.  Pittsburgh had a rotation hole (More on that later), sure, but Pirates fans have to be thinking “Why him?”.  This is normally a smart front office, but Pirates fans have to be wondering about the logic used in this deal.

Giants get: Matt Moore

Rays get: Matt Duffy, Lucius Fox, Michael Santos

The Eduardo Nunez trade made a lot more sense after this move by the Giants.  However, it was still an insane price (Following the trend of the deadline) the Giants paid.

First, Matt Duffy became a fan favorite in San Francisco.  He was incredible replacing Pablo Sandoval, and as a friend of mine pointed out, helped the Casey McGhee signing not become a total disaster.  Duffy’s gonna be moved to shortstop in Tampa Bay, and Eduardo Nunez will take over 3rd base for the Giants.  Thats a much more effective use of him.  If they had kept Duffy, Nunez would have been sheltered as a bench guy who could hit when needed.  He’s an everyday player, at shortstop or 3rd.  The Giants were smart, and realized Duffy was expendable now.

However, the Giants gave up two top 30 prospects to get Matt Moore also.  In all, this is an incredible trade by the Rays.  Acquiring a new shortstop and two top 30 prospects for a starter with a 4.08 ERA is pretty good.

Matt Moore’s use will come to value in the next few years, as he’s under contract till 2019.  Jake Peavy’s having a rough year and is 35.  There’s a good chance he’s done after this season.  Moore is right there to take his rotation spot.  Thats what made this trade worth it for San Francisco, even though the market didn’t help them out, as it didn’t for many other teams.

Orioles get: Steve Pearce

Rays get: Jonah Heim

I don’t know if this trade totally matters for either team, but the whole idea of Steve Pearce getting traded back to Baltimore was pretty funny.  The Orioles missed him, and since he’s played well, they decided to go get him.  Anyways, Pearce will be an effective bench guy for Baltimore as they try to fend off Toronto in the AL East.

Mets get: Jon Niese

Pirates get: Antonio Bastardo

The Pirates practically fire-saled this deadline, and man, was this (And our next and final trade!) a sure example of it.

Antonio Bastardo has been really bad this season, giving up a ton of walks and with ERA of 4.74.  But hey, at least he has this going for him!

And he has a return to Pittsburgh going for him too, where he was excellent in 2015!

The Mets will use Niese out of the bullpen this time around, as their rotation is doing okay, to say the least.

Blue Jays get: Francisco Liriano, Harold Ramirez, Reese McGuire

Pirates get: Drew Hutchinson

Last trade!  The Pirates continued their fire-sale by sending their No.2 starter and two top five prospects in the Blue Jays system for Drew Hutchinson, who’s never had a good season in his career and is practically a salvation project.

Liriano has been really bad this year, but as we talked about above with the Blue Jays getting Scott Feldman, it gives them options for later in the season, and maybe October.  Toronto seems conformable with giving Liriano a chance in a possible postseason game.  Plus, even if thats not the case, you still make this trade anyways giving what 1) Pittsburgh was asking for back and 2) The prospects you’re acquiring.

Thats it!  4,285 words of trade deadline madness!