Looking to end a world championship drought that dates back to 1988, despite having made 10 post-season appearances since, including the last four, the Dodgers have taken the attitude that anything short of winning the World Series is failure. They reinforced their feelings with major moves to beef up their rotation and bullpen before the July 31 trading deadline. But they aren’t the only ones.
A look at the four teams in the NL Division Series and the impact of their in-season additions:
The Dodgers added Yu Darvish for the rotation, and lefties Tony Cingrani from the Reds and Tony Watson fro the Pirates for bullpen depth.
Darvish carried a high price, the Rangers added prospects 2B Willie Calhoun, who is ranked No. 2 in the Texas prospect lilst, right-hander A.J. Alexy, who ranks No. 19, and shortstop Brendan Davis, who ranks No. 29. They look at Darvish as the second half of a 1-2 punch with Clayton Kershaw, although he wasn’t dominate after joining the Dodgers. He is scheduled to pitch Game 3 of the NLCS at Arizona.
Darvish Before and After The Deal
Watson was what was advertised. He and Cingrani put together the lowest ERAs among the Dodgers left-handed relievers after they were acquired. They helped lift pressure from Luis Avilan, whose 61 appearances were more than double any other left-handed reliever on the Dodgers roster. They gave up two prospects for Watson, including third baseman Oneil Cruz, who ranks as the 15th best prospect in the Pirates system, along with right-hander angel German, a fifth-year pro who spent 2017 at the Low A level.
Watson Before and After the Deal
Cingrani came at lower price. The Dodgers gave up outfielder Scott Van Slyke, and catcher Hendrik Clementine, a 20-year-old from Curacao who in his fourth pro season was still at the Rookie Level.
Cingrani Before and After the Deal
The Nationals bullpen was a first-half nightmare, which is what prompted them to make three major acquisitions to help in the late=inning situations. They also brought in the experience of versatile Howie Kendrick. And they were rewarded for the trust they put in relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Dolitte, who came from the A’s on July 15, although they did not report until July 17, and Brandon Kintzler, acquired from the Twins on July 31.
Nationals Bullpen Before and After July 17
|Thru July 16||14||13||.519||22 of 36||89||254.1||281||158||149||46||93||235||5.27||.279|
|After July 16||11||5||.688||24 of 27||70||219.1||181||86||82||17||72||210||3.36||.223|
Dolittle stepped into the closers role, converting 21 of 22 opportunities for a team that converted only 22 of 36 before his arrival, which was just what the Nationals wanted when they agreed to give up lefty Jesus Luzardo, now the sixth ranked prospect with the A’s, and third baseman Sheldon Neuse, who is ranked No. 14, along with pitcher Blake Trenien.
Dolittle Before and After the Deal
Madson stepped in as a solid setup man for Dolittle, a role he was used to from their days together in Oakland.
Madson Before and After the Deal
In his two seasons with the Twins Kintzler was the closer. With the Nationals he became a setup man, and adapted well.
Kintzler Before and After the Deal
The D-Backs needed a big bat and they got one with J.D. Martinez, who is a potential free agents. After his July 18 acquisition he hit 29 home runs for the D-Backs, second most in the major leagues to the 31 home runs of Giancarlo Stanton.
Martinez Before and After the Trade
The D-Backs also picked up right-hander David Hernandez from the Angels and shortstop Adam Rosales from the A’s. Neither, however, provided much of a lift.
Hernandez Before and after the Trade
Rosales was a late decision, prompted by utility infielder Chris Owings suffering a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch from St. Louis starter Lance Lynn on July 30.
Rosales Before and After the Trade
Whether it was old arms feeling the strain from having pitched into November a year ago to win the World Series, a first half slump or whatever, the Cubs rotation was a first-half concern. That’s why they were anxious to add left-hander Jose Quintana from the cross-town rival White Sox. Maybe it was a coincidence, but the Cubs rotation did an instant turnaround starting on the day of Quintana’s July 16 debut.
Cubs Rotation Before Quintana’s Debut and After
Quintana didn’t come cheep. The Cubs gave up four prospects, including left fielder Eloy Jimenez, now the No. 1 ranked prospect in the White sox system, and right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease, who is ranked No. 5 in the White Sox system. The Cubs also sent second baseman Bryant Flete and first baseman Matt Rose in the package. But with Quintana in the rotation the Cubs did return to the post-season. Quintana also seemed to be refreshed after the move across the Windy City.
Quintana Before and After the Trade
The Cubs also felt the need for a veteran presence as a backup catcher after the problems with Miguel Montero prompted them to deal him to the Blue Jays. Enter
Alex Avila, who was acquired along with left-handed reliever Justin Wilson, from the Tigers for shortstop Isaac Paredes, who is now the No. 9 prospect in the Tigers system, and third baseman Jeremy Candelaria.
Avila Before and After the Trade
Wilson Before and After the Trade