Regulation: Beneath-the-radar MLB trades value noting from the Phillies, Reds, Mets and extra

Some quick notes on some other trades from Tuesday deadline. I did not cover every single trade that occurred, focusing on the ones that included prospects or otherwise interested me.

Twins get: Tyler Mahle

Red find: Spencer Steer, Stephen Hajjar and Christian Encarnacion-Strand

Mahle has been a bit unlucky this year, though his on-base numbers are almost where they’ve always been, with a career-best FIP ​​of 3.60 so far. He changed his pitch mix a bit, using his splitter more and less slider, with both pitches being slightly less effective than in previous seasons, with the velocity down his slider about 2 mph. He missed a couple of starts in July with a sore shoulder but seemed fine in his return, and should be able to give the Twins some average league work out of the rotation, when he didn’t there but Sonny Gray FIP is under 4 a year.

Steer has been one of the top hitters in the minors this year, as the 24-year-old has 20 homers and a .361 OBP with just a 17 percent strikeout rate between Double and Triple A. He played all three skill positions in the infield, playing mostly third base this year. He looks to be a regular as long as his defense stays up at third or second, with a high floor as a utility infielder thanks to the power and high contact rates, especially from fastballs. Hajjar is a 6-foot-5 lefty with a fringy fastball and a below-average breaking ball, but he gets some upside from his size and projects a 55 changeup. He struggled to get lefties in High A this season and lost six weeks with a shoulder strain. Encarnacion-Strand was the Twins’ fourth round pick last year and has continued to hit with surprising power given his short swing, already with 25 homers between High A and Double A. The plate discipline hasn’t kept iffy he showed it back in college. so far in pro ball. He’s probably an average defender at third in the long run, but he could end up at first if not.


Fathers get: Brandon Drury

Reds get: Victor Acosta

Drury leads the lefties and had a solid rebound year for the Reds, aided by the homer-friendly ballpark. He can back up at all outfield spots other than shortstop or he might be ready to replace Will Myers, who is terrible at the plate when he plays this year. Acosta is an 18-year-old instrumental shortstop with plus speed and a plus arm who is likely to stay at the position long-term, with a high-touch approach that should yield strong batting averages with little power. He still has far more tools than skills, and needs time and reps in pretty much every field, but with the upside of being an above-average regular at shortstop or, failing that, center. He is hitting .243/.346/.360 in the Arizona Rookie League.


Phillies get: Noah Syndergaard and Marsh Brandon

Angels Find: Logan O Hoppe, Mickey Moniak and Jadiel Sanchez

This was technically two deals, Marsh for O’Hoppe, and Syndergaard for Moniak and Sanchez. Starting with the one-on-one exchange, I mean, if I were a sarcastic person, I could say that the Phillies trading Marsh means they’ve found defense. I feel the trade is more interesting for the Angels, because Marsh was a home run player, which was rare in that system, and still has some upside at the plate in power and contact, although at 24 a window closed. They traded him for Logan O’Hoppe, a tight end from a Long Island high school who has gone from a 23rd round pick to a possible everyday guy who is having a great season in the Doubles A at 22 years old. the plate, he undoubtedly stays there, and should be a 15-20 homer guy with some on-base skills and high contact rates. I’d rather have O’Hoppe.

Syndergaard hasn’t shown his pre-Tommy John stuff or form this year, with much lower velocity than 2019 levels on all of his pitches, less movement on both of his pitches and seemingly worse command. He might come back next year, but he’s a rental for the Phillies and is probably just rotation insurance just in case Zach Eflin does not return when he becomes eligible in late August. Moniak is a four-A guy at this point, a 24-year-old corner outfielder with fringy power who has trouble with off-speed but doesn’t do much damage in against the right hand to even be a platoon man. It’s going to play close to home, if that’s worth it. Sanchez has even less value, because he’s old for Low A and no hitting, though he’s limited to the outfield corners.


Phillies get: David Robertson

Cubs find: Ben Brown

Oh, the irony. The Phillies signed Robertson to a two-year deal before 2019 and got 6.2 innings from him – not even good ones. It’s back, and the 37-year-old is having his best year since 2018, making up for lost velocity by using a cutter as his fastball, then going to that curveball for whiffs. I saw Brown pitch for High-A Jersey Shore a couple of weeks ago and the Long Island native impressed, as he has a 94-97 mph fastball that is very difficult for hitters to square off, with three secondary pitches but nothing above average. He’s 6-foot-6 but doesn’t fully utilize his height with his streak or extension, so it could be worth getting a little more on that side.


Blown Blue get: Whit Merrifield

royal find: Max Castillo and Samad Taylor

Merrifield was a three-and-a-half-hit player in 2019, mostly from his bat, and in 2021, with more value from his glove; but he’s below replacement level this year at age 33, hitting .240/.290/.352 while playing average with slightly above-average defense at second. Spinal Santiago actually Merrifield ended this year, and he went out a lot, but Merrifield could take it Biggio of Cavanon the bench, providing more defensive value and speed without losing anything else. The Jays did not get far, however. Castillo is a middle reliever at best, a righty with some deception but a below-average fastball, and hitters hit the pitch hard. Infielder Samad Taylor was left out of the 40-man last winter, but could end up being an additional capable infielder, although he is more of a second / third base guy rather than a real utility man to handle shortstop.


Mets get: There is a reputation

A giant get: JD DavisCarson Seymour, Thomas Szapucki and Nick Zwack

Two quick thoughts here. For one thing, it’s notable that the Giants turned Ruf, who had nearly 800 plate appearances with the Phillies over five years before washing out and going to play in Korea, into someone who would get a positive return on a trade. He’s still just a platoon bat who can hit lefties and has no value defensively; but still, if you said back in 2019 that the Giants would get a few interesting players in exchange for Ruf by this point, I’d be kidding. Of the returning players, I’m most surprised by Seymour, 23, a 6-foot-6 right-hander who touches 100 mph but had massive walk rates for Kansas State , so he went undrafted in 2020 and the Mets got him in the sixth round in 2021. They played him slowly this year, starting him in Low A for seven starts and moving up to High A at the end of May, but he is not walking many guys and showed no platoon split, even reducing his walk rate as the season went on. I said at the draft that he might just have to be a reliever because of the control issues, but at this point I’d leave him as a starter and push him to Double A.

(Photo of Darin Ruf: Kelley L Cox / USA Today Sports)

Leave a Comment