Vinson kept the stove hot when baking up this deal, sending away their top (and really, only) prospect in Rojas and receiving Pannekoek -- the first-ever draft pick in Vinson’s history -- in return. Pannekoek has four years of team control remaining at arbitration prices, making him an extremely valuable piece. He can play anywhere in the outfield at a high level and will likely fill in at CF, with Perry Pederson moving over to right. Vinson’s window seems to be ever-closing, but never quite completely shut. They’ve gone all-in again this year, giving up their first-round pick Gabe Rojas, who I gave a 55 FV in my rankings (although he could’ve easily been higher had he been performing well when I did them). He currently sits as Philadelphia’s #2 prospect and OSA’s #35 overall. Pena’s a 20-year-old reliever prospect with potential, but those are a dime a dozen. Claas de Pree is likely a future reliever as well. Marcos Orosco makes this deal interesting, to say the least. Not even a year after signing a 3-year/$48.5M extension with the Emperors, Orosco has been sent packing. (He should’ve seen it coming, really, as nobody has ever played a full season in Vinson, let alone three.) Orosco has been a decent hitter and terrible defender his entire career, posting 119 OPS+ or higher every single season and yet somehow only having an above-average WAR twice. His bat seems to be disappearing now, as well, so his contract will likely haunt both of these franchises for the next three-and-a-half seasons.
The Cincinnati Reds have made three separate deals for relievers:
- The Reds acquired RP Francis Munoz from the Fargo Rage in exchange for Bill Hernandez.
- The Reds acquired RP Fumio Hamada from the Philadelphia Phillies, with the Phillies covering $1.5M of Hamada’s contract this season. In return, the Reds have sent CF Omer bin Safwan from their international complex, along with minor league SP Jose Flores.
- Cincinnati has also acquired RP Wan-Ling Sun from the Patsies, with Brooklyn retaining all of Sun’s remaining salary for this season, in exchange for CF Franklin Reyes.
The Reds needed bullpen help after one of their better relievers, Wijnand Gouda, suffered a career-ending elbow injury. This was Gouda’s second elbow ligament reconstruction surgery in three years, in addition to shoulder bursitis that kept him out 6 weeks last season and a torn labrum that kept him out 4 months in 2030.
Cincinnati’s desperation for bullpen arms couldn’t have been more clear than in their acquisition of Munoz, who hasn’t had a positive WAR in four seasons. The fact that he has four years left under team control almost feels like a burden, not an asset. The prospect the Reds sent to Fargo, Bill Hernandez, has some promise. The fourth-round pick’s power potential is among the best in the game, although his hit- and eye-tools project as average at best. Hernandez has the tools to make an average-or-better LF, and could possibly be a very good 1B as well.
Hamada, who the Reds acquired from Philadelphia, is a bit better than Munoz -- at least he’s posted positive WARs each of the last three years. Hamada’s FIP has been increasing every year for the past three years, however, and is 3.96 this season is the third-highest in his career. The Phillies did cover $1.5M of the $4M left on his contract this season, which makes the hit to the Reds’ payroll a little more reasonable. He does have a $8.7M team option for next season, although it’s more likely the Reds purchase his $2.5M buyout. The prospects Philadelphia received in return, bin Safwan and Flores, are minor-league filler.
Sun at least has been a decent reliever, although he hasn’t shown it much in the past three years, posting FIPs of 4.67, 5.04, and 5.53 in that time. If he can pitch to his potential, he’ll more than replace Gouda’s production, but that’s not a guarantee. Reyes is a decent-if-not-exciting prospect who can play elite-level defense anywhere in the OF, but struggles with the bat. He’s already been traded three times in his two years as a professional.
Fargo has sent IF Omar Ramirez to St. Louis, getting C Mike George and RF Bobby Rivera in return.
Ramirez is on pace for a career-high 2 WAR this season. He’s currently slotted in as the Cardinals’ 2B, although a move to SS seems likely at some point this season given Miguel Ceja’s struggles. Ramirez has three years left of team control, which fits perfectly within St. Louis’ two-year timeline to compete before David Veloz’s contract turns albatross. Bobby Rivera was St. Louis’ sixth-round pick in this year’s draft and certainly has some potential. He’ll need more than the 10 ABs he got this season to reach it, however. Mike George is a decent catching prospect with decent tools behind the plate and a very good eye. I gave him a 45 FV in my system rankings. OSA has him slotted at #11 on Fargo’s prospect board.
Vinson has acquired 1B Tim Eisenberg (TNBL) from Seattle, sending a three-player package of 1B Danny Zaragoza, OF Tadatoshi Shimizu, and CF Jonathan Tamayo back to the Mariners.
Eisenberg struggled mightily in Seattle for the past two seasons, putting up 0.1 WAR over that period. Vinson had a need for a big left-handed power bat, however, and Eisenberg certainly fills that role. The 1B has 207 career HRs, good for 9th-most in league history. Zaragoza has put up very good offensive numbers so far this season, with an OPS+ of 135 and 2.4 WAR. He’s on pace for 3.7 WAR, which would be his highest since the 4.2 he put up in 2030. The main attraction for Vinson trading away Zaragoza was his contract, which is worth about $17M more over the next two seasons than Eisenberg’s. If Zaragoza can continue to put up the numbers he has for his entire career, Seattle will get a huge upgrade over Eisenberg for a reasonable price. If Zaragoza starts to decline, the $17M Vinson got off its books will be more than worth having to play Eisenberg regularly. Neither of the two prospects Seattle got in return are big names, but Shimizu is a decent prospect who OSA now has ranked as the #9 prospect in Seattle’s stacked farm system. Tamayo is not even ranked. This deal will almost entirely come down to how Zaragoza plays for the Mariners.
Seattle and Indianapolis have swapped top prospects, with Seattle getting 1B Bill Corya and Indianapolis getting SP Richard Reardon.
Corya was ranked as OSA’s #29 prospect and Reardon was #71. Reardon is a little bit closer to being TNBL-ready, so this was most likely a high-floor for high-ceiling swap.
Italia has sent the rights of 1B Izzy De Lara to the St. Louis Cardinals, and have retained all of the remaining salary on De Lara’s contract. The Cardinals sent RP Bobby Valdiviezo and RP Finn MacDonald in return.
Italia will eat all of the ~$4M left on de Lara’s contract, which expires after this season. De Lara has been a very good 1B so far this season, and could likely play 3B or LF for the Cardinals if they so choose. His 3.8 WAR-pace would be his highest season total in the past three seasons. He’ll likely take over full-time 1B duties from the struggling George Spence. Finn MacDonald is a career minor leaguer. Bobby Valdiviezo is an interesting prospect who can touch 101 with his fastball and has an elite curveball. His control will keep him from being an ace, but he might make a starting rotation one day. All in all, the return for the very good de Lara seems a bit light.
Boston and Italia have agreed to a deal, with Italia sending longtime 3B Natanael Mondragon to Boston in exchange for prospects SP Ricardo Vasquez and SS Nigel Kelly.
Mondragon is under contract for 4 more seasons at roughly $12M per season. He’s having by far the worst year of his career, currently posting 0.1 WAR and a 75 OPS+. If he continues to struggle like this, Italia will have won this deal regardless of how the prospects turn out. Of the prospects they got in return, only Vasquez is of interest. He currently sits as the #49 prospect according to OSA, although I think he looks like a future reliever, and a below-average one at that. Kelly might make a TNBL team one day as a bench bat, but nothing more.
Seattle has sent reliever Tong Loh to the Brooklyn Patsies, getting 1B Robbie Flores in return. In a separate deal, Seattle sent reliever Hector Miramontes to the Patsies, getting RF Alex Ramirez and SP Bobby Palma in return.
Seattle was a surprise seller at the deadline, shipping away two very good relievers for prospects. Loh and Miramontes were a big part of the reason why the Mariners had the 6th-best bullpen in the league, and now they’ll try to help out Brooklyn’s 2nd-worst. Of the prospects they got in return, I like Flores the best. He can play Gold Glove-winning defense at 1B and has tremendous power potential. He’s tearing up A-ball right now, but I’d like to see him in AA or higher. Palma projects mostly as a future reliever, although he does have back-of-the-rotation upside. Ramirez is a bit of an unknown at this point, but Brooklyn thought highly enough of him to take him in the fourth round of this year’s draft.
Cloud City has acquired the rights of LF Billy Lopez from the Phillies, sending minor leaguers C Masateru Haraguchi, 1B Miguel Cervantes, C Mike Harris, and CF Melvin Aguilar to Philadelphia. Lopez tore his labrum on May 15 and still has at least a month until he’s ready for a rehab stint in the minors.
Cloud City has gambled a bit on Lopez, hoping he’ll come back from his partially torn labrum in time for the playoffs this season. Lopez has shown he can play at a high level in the past, but his 36 games to start this season were at least mildly alarming. He’ll never hit home runs, and almost never walks, so he needs to hit .300 or better to have any value with the bat. His .270 average this season before his injury won’t get it done. Philadelphia eating 65% of Lopez’s contract certainly helps the Sky Pirates, who have to be close to maxing out their payroll.
None of the prospects in the deal were rated 45 FV or higher on my rankings, but Mike Harris and Melvin Aguilar at least have some potential. They now slot in as the #9 and #12 prospects on Philadelphia’s board, respectively, with Haraguchi in at #14. Cervantes is a 27-year-old 1B who has posted exactly 0 WAR over his four-year career. He is slashing .306/.381/.569 in AAA this year, good for a 4.0 WAR, which is definitely something to keep an eye on.
Everett has sent starting 3B Vinny Nunez and $6M in cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates, getting prospects SP John Styles, RF Ricky Medina, and RF Luis Arocho in return.
Nunez is on pace for 4.1 WAR this year, his second in the TNBL. The 23-year-old 3B still has six more years of team control remaining, making him one of the more valuable players to be traded this deadline. He’ll never draw walks, but he has enough power and contact-ability to hit .280 with 20+ HRs. Combine that with his above-average defensive ability at 3B, and Nunez looks like a very good player.
Arocho is 26 years old and has posted -1.4 WAR in his three-year TNBL career. He’s got the potential to be an average starter one day, but he certainly hasn’t shown it. Styles and Medina are the highlights of this deal for the Hawks. Both are rated in OSA’s Top-100, currently sitting at #86 and #89, respectively. Medina’s eye will keep him from being an above-average starter, but Styles has the potential to be an ace. Everett gave up a very good player but got some good value in return. They’re on pace for fewer than 50 wins this season even with Nunez, so cashing him in for prospects was the right thing to do.
Italia has sent starter Arturo Galvan to Cloud City, with the Stivali retaining all of his remaining salary. In return, Italia received low-level prospects CF Chris Boone and 2B Luis Rodriguez.
The Sky Pirates needed a starter to replace the struggling Dan Tanton, and likely didn’t have much room on their payroll to acquire one. In Galvan, Cloud City gets an average starter who will fit into the final spot of their rotation. They won’t need to worry about his overpriced contract, as the Stivali have retained all of his remaining ~$4.5M. The prospects Italia received in return -- Boone and Rodriguez -- are barely worthy of mention. Neither was given even 45 FV on my rankings. OSA has Rodriguez now ranked as Italia’s 22nd-best prospect, with Boone slotted at #26.
St. Louis has purchased SS Dong-su Ch from the Pirates for $6M.
The Cardinals have said Ch will start, but it’s not entirely clear where (or why, for that matter). The 29-year-old SS has never played in the TNBL, and has only been average with the bat in AA for the past three years. Pittsburgh can use the $6M they received to buy a few decent IFAs in this year’s window or use it to pay one start’s worth of salary to SP Mitch Sharp.