Thirteen deals were consummated at MLB’s nonwaiver trade deadline Tuesday, and all 30 major league clubs made at least one trade in July. Starting pitcher Chris Archer and second baseman Brian Dozier were among those moving to new Zip codes, while slugger Bryce Harper stayed put with the Washington Nationals, who hope to make a playoff push after months of mediocrity.
Three teams — the Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks — gave themselves more than hope at the deadline, with each having a better chance to make the playoffs after the flurry of activity.
Playoff chances went from 50 to 57 percent (per FanGraphs)
Philadelphia, the surprising leader of the National League East, acquired catcher Wilson Ramos, infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and left-handed reliever Aaron Loup, who each fill a glaring need.
Cabrera can play second base, third base and shortstop. Loup joins Austin Davis as a left-handed option out of the bullpen. Ramos will provide an immediate upgrade over Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp.
Alfaro and Knapp have combined to bat .243 with a .702 OPS, creating runs at a rate that is 13 percent lower than the league average after adjusting for league and park effects (87 wRC+). Ramos hit .297 with a .834 OPS for the Tampa Bay Rays, creating runs at a rate that was 30 percent higher than average (130 wRC+).
Ramos also gives the Phillies another catcher who can frame pitches. With Knapp behind the plate, Philadelphia’s pitchers get a called strike on pitches out of the zone 5.4 percent of the time, per TruMedia; Ramos has a 7.2 percent called-strike rate on those pitches, just slightly lower than Alfaro (7.8 percent). The league average is 7.2 percent.
Playoff chances went from 73 to 78 percent
The Brewers couldn’t pull off a trade for their biggest need, starting pitching, but they did snag reliever Joakim Soria and infielders Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop.
Soria joins a bullpen that has combined for the third-most wins above replacement this season (5.5, per FanGraphs), behind only the New York Yankees (6.9) and San Diego Padres (5.7). And his command of four pitches — four-seam fastball, change-up, slider and curveball — will only close that gap. Look for the change-up to be a potent weapon: Soria has fanned 18 of 44 batters on that pitch with a mere .167 average against this season.
Schoop, an all-star second baseman last season with the Baltimore Orioles, provides the Brewers another option in the infield. Schoop also will give Milwaukee a big bat: He has 17 home runs through 89 games with pull power that should play nicely at Miller Park, where right-handed hitters hit 7 percent more home runs, per Baseball Prospectus (107 park factor). Camden Yards, by comparison, had a park factor of 110 for right-handed home run hitters.
Playoff chances went from 50 to 53 percent
Ziegler is 1-5 this season with 10 saves and a 3.98 ERA, allowing just three earned runs in 29 innings (0.93 ERA) since June. Diekman, a left-handeder, is striking out 27 percent of batters in 2018 with two pitches, a sinker and slider.
He uses the slider more often against right-handed batters, who manage just a .191 average and .550 OPS against the pitch. The sinker is effective against batters on both sides of the plate (.222 against with a .654 OPS).
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