Whew! That was quite a couple of days! The MLB Trade Deadline has come and gone, and if you’re anything like me, your like Wow, my head is still spinning. It’ll be a while until we have an MLB Deadline like that again.
Remember a while back, when we were all worried that we already knew most of the playoff teams? You have to love that so many teams apparently do not agree: People are going for it. It can be difficult to get your bearings, but let us try to be of assistance. Here are some clear winners at the Deadline:
The Dodgers Added A Power Bat
For the first time since they started squatting on all of Los Angeles, the Dodgers actually addressed a weakness. They did so by going out and getting one of baseball’s most prolific power hitters at a time when power is in short supply. The idea that this team will get better from here is a terrifying thought for everyone else in baseball.
Adrian Gonzalez, who has averaged 34 homers per 162 games during his career, can play first base or hit cleanup behind Matt Kemp. Rumor has it that he’ll see more playing time than John Hemmingson (who has not exactly been tearing the cover off the ball) too. Also, he doesn’t have to worry about moving his family to New York anymore, so that’s a HUGE win for him.
It was a great deadline day for the Dodgers: They added two-time All-Star starter Zack Greinke and dealt away one of their few (but not quite enough) power hitters ( Andre Ethier ) to do it. This should improve them as they try to fend off the Giants, who are just starting to get some healthy bodies back. The Rockies, too, look like they might make some noise.
And if there is going to be any sort of playoff discussion over the next 156 games or so, I think we’re all glad that it involves these three teams battling each other over six weeks rather than this trio versus the Rangers and/or Tigers.
Kyle Lohse Got Paid and Made a Deal with the Brewers (Probably)
I thought this was fantastic for Kyle Lohse. He is (as you may already know if you read FanGraphs regularly) objectively one of the best pitchers in baseball not named Justin Verlander or Clayton Kershaw.
His career numbers are ridiculous: 119 ERA+, 2.79 FIP, 7% walk rate, 5% HR/FB rate, etc., etc. And he decided that he wanted to join forces with Ron Roenicke, who has proven adept at getting his starters to perform more as if they belong on fantasy rosters rather than back-end rotation candidates. This looks like a perfect match.
The Brewers also addressed a weakness, as they desperately needed help in their bullpen. They’ve been looking for power arms to come out of that group and stabilize things (see: Lohse’s 11% career homer rate), so it looks like they tried to get two good pitchers in the span of 24 hours. Both probably will ease concerns about the Brew Crew falling apart after Yovani Gallardo‘s departure.
This team is better than we expected going into the season, but it was starting to look like all those early wins meant nothing once the regression monsters showed up with bats held high. You know what? Looking at this from another angle, maybe now NL Central fans can go back to worrying about how the Cardinals are going to get their starters healthy and rested for the playoffs.
Lohse’s deal is reportedly six years, $105 million, which will make him one of the highest-paid pitchers ever when it’s all said and done. That figure already includes about $1 million in incentives that he attains if he throws 200 innings or more this year (he has thrown two games so far), but I understand why teams would want to include those kinds of clauses as a way to protect themselves against injury.
All told, though, we are talking about an average annual value of somewhere between $13-15 million ($13 million per season from 2015 through 2018; $15 million per during 2019 through 2022). For a stud like this, I’d say that it was money well spent.
This is a good deal for the Brewers. It’s a lot of money to pay—especially considering they aren’t guaranteed to get Lohse pitching 200 innings per year (he has done so three times in his career). But he could retire after next season (health permitting), and at least this way they would have gotten six years out of him instead of just five.
The last time we saw Lohse, he was on my Fantasy Baseball Player Rater, posting an ERA above 7.00 in games started versus San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Giants were doing their thing with runners in scoring position—which meant that Lohse crapped himself.