- Jim Bowden, Baseball, Insider
It was one of the busiest July 31 non-waiver trade deadlines in recent memory, but what about a handful of trades that did not happen but should have? These were deals that made a lot of sense, even perhaps got discussed between teams, yet never materialized. They could be the one deal that makes the difference between the postseason and sitting at home this fall.
Here are five trades that should have happened but didn't. But who knows? They might still have a chance of happening in August or the offseason.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a legitimate chance of winning the NL Central or securing one of the two wild card berths this season, and they will finish over .500 for the first time in two decades. Therefore, this is the year to go for it.
Although they made solid deals for Wandy Rodriguez, Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez, they really needed to add a proven bat down the stretch. A trade of Marte to the Indians for Choo would have given the Pirates one of the best all-around right fielders in baseball. Choo is an above-average defender with a plus arm and speed. He’s on pace to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases and has a career OBP of .383. He would have given important protection to Andrew McCutchen especially when teams start to pitch around him in September.
Indeed, Marte has a chance to be a solid above-average major leaguer in the long term, but it will take him a few years to develop into his potential. For the Indians, they might be receiving a lesser player than Choo, but it would make sense for them because they would control Marte for six years rather than the one year they have left with Choo.
The Texas Rangers need a No. 1 starter to match up in the postseason with the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander, the White Sox’s Chris Sale, the Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price, the New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia or the Los Angeles Angels’ Jered Weaver. General manager Jon Daniels tried to pry Zack Greinke away from the Milwaukee Brewers before he was ultimately traded to the Angels.
With Felix Hernandez not on the trade market, the only No. 1 starter that could be had is Lee of the Phillies. Mike Olt would solve the Phillies’ third base position and fifth spot in the lineup for the next decade while Buckel should develop into a middle-of-the-rotation starter. With a revised rotation of Lee, Dempster, Harrison, Darvish and Holland, the Rangers would be poised for a third chance at a World Series championship. This would be a painful deal for the Rangers -- their championship window is open right now and it could mean the difference between being the first world champion Texas Rangers squad rather than remembered as baseball’s version of the Buffalo Bills.
3. Matt Garza to the Arizona Diamondbacks for LHP Patrick Corbin and OF A.J. Pollock
The Diamondbacks were primarily on the sideline while the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants significantly improved their teams at the deadline. The Dodgers added Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Brandon League and Randy Choate in a flurry of moves, while the Giants countered with their deal with the Phillies to bring on Hunter Pence. The D-backs did acquire Chris Johnson and Matt Albers but neither are difference makers. However, a deal for Garza would be. They could send Corbin and Pollock to the Chicago Cubs, who would get younger and fill Garza’s void in the rotation with Corbin. Meanwhile, Pollock could secure an everyday outfield spot for the future. The deal would allow the D-backs to hold on to top pitching prospects like Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley. You win with starting pitching, and a move like this would really narrow the gap for them.
It was one of the busiest July 31 non-waiver trade deadlines in recent memory, but what about a handful of trades that did not happen but should have?