- Keith Law, ESPN Insider
The Chicago Cubs' need for a starter was primarily about depth for the fifth spot, both to add some quality and to try to preserve the bullpen when that spot came up, and Dan Haren succeeds with command and using his cutter and splitter to keep hitters off his mid-80s fastball. He's a bit homer-prone, but as a twice-through-the-order starter he's been very effective this year, and that's more than the Cubs can expect from their current fifth spot. (The third time facing Haren this year, hitters are hitting .306/.345/.590.) The Marlins get right-hander Ivan Pineyro -- who's up to 94 with a good changeup, more control than command right now and a chance to be a fifth starter if everything works out -- and organizational infielder Elliot Soto.
The Baltimore Orioles pick up versatile fourth outfielder Gerardo Parra, capable of playing all three outfield positions and doing it well, a solid hitter against right-handed pitchers but in need of a platoon mate against southpaws. The O's have received virtually no production from their outfielder corners, and neither Travis Snider nor Delmon Young adds any value on defense, which Parra will. The cost was small; Milwaukee gets right-hander Zach Davies, a strike-thrower with a lot of average pitches and a very slight build whom most scouts think won't hold up over a 32-start season.
One note on the Kevin Jepsen trade: The Tampa Bay Rays got a nice power arm in Chih-Wei Hu, a Taiwanese right-hander who's 92-95 with excellent control, a great pickup for a year and two months of a good but not great middle reliever whose issues with left-handed hitters make him something of a right-handed specialist. Hu doesn't have consistent secondary stuff yet but will flash an above-average change and slider at times.
The Toronto Blue Jays made two minor but key additions on Friday, getting help in left field with Ben Revere and adding to their relief corps with right-hander Mark Lowe. Revere gives them plus defense in left (despite the well-below-average arm) and a high-contact bat from the left side, probably heading for a platoon with Chris Colabello, where Revere also serves as the defensive replacement. Lowe, a classic "good when healthy" pitcher, is having the best year of his career and about to pass 50 major league innings in a season for the first time since 2009.
The Philadelphia Phillies got a hard-throwing relief prospect for Revere in Alberto Tirado, who has a huge fastball but below-average command and control, a good inventory arm under the philosophy that if you collect a handful of these guys, one will figure it out and become a high-end reliever. For Lowe, the Seattle Mariners got a pair of low-level arms, Jake Brentz (big velocity, no breaking ball, control problems) and Nick Wells (projectable lefty with a chance for a plus breaking ball but still very raw), along with lefty Rob Rasmussen, probably an up-and-down guy or last reliever in the pen.