August 31st is the final opportunity for teams to trade players. Teams out of contention have the chance to get a return for upcoming free agents, while those eyeing a postseason run can add valuable pieces. We saw one of the all-time great waiver trades last August, with Justin Verlander leaving Detroit to join the Houston Astros.
Donaldson joins the Tribe
This year, Josh Donaldson was the headline deal. The All-Star third baseman has had a torrid time with injuries over the last two seasons, but he got healthy just in time for Toronto to trade him to the Cleveland Indians.
Donaldson passed through waivers, and Cleveland managed to get a deal done with time to spare. The Blue Jays got a player to be named later and $1 million in return for their franchise player. The Indians’ biggest need looked to be in the outfield, but adding Donaldson could make a big difference come October.
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Donaldson – if he can stay healthy and find some form – adds depth to a lineup already boasting star power in the shape of Michael Brantley, Edwin Encarnacion, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez. Despite playing just 113 games last season, Donaldson still received MVP votes thanks to a .385 OBP and .559 SLG. If he can get anywhere near that level this season, Cleveland’s line-up will be very intimidating.
Brewers go big
Gonzalez, despite carrying an ERA over 4, was the best available starter. After a monster 2017, the lefty is striking out fewer and walking more in 2018. His ERA in August was 7.47.
The Brewers paid a steep price for Gonzalez. KJ Harrison, who MLB Pipeline ranked as Milwaukee’s 29th best prospect, and Gilbert Lara, who was once the Brewers’ top prospect, were sent to Washington. That being said, with Brent Suter and Jimmy Nelson on the disabled list, the Brewers were the best fit for Gonzalez as they push for a playoff spot.
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Granderson was a more surprising move. The 37-year-old left-hander, as expected, has shown a great eye with a fair bit of pop this year, but he joins an already crowded outfield. If nothing else, Granderson will be a handy pinch-hitting option down the stretch and only cost Milwaukee 21-year-old outfielder Demi Orimoloye.
Cedeno is a left-handed reliever, who is adept against hitters in either box. Milwaukee had to give up two rookie-level players, 19-year-old outfielder Bryan Connell and 22-year-old reliever Johan Dominguez, to acquire the Puerto Rican. He has one more year of arbitration remaining, which could see him return to Miller Park next season.
Yankees add two
Andrew McCutchen‘s deal was common knowledge prior to the deadline, but the Yankees left it late to add Adeiny Hechavarria. With Didi Gregorius on the disabled list, the glove-first shortstop will provide infield depth and is unlikely to make the playoff roster.
The Yankees received some money in the deal for Hechavarria and will send cash or a player to be named later to Pittsburgh.
The 27-time World Series winners had to give up considerably more to add McCutchen, losing their number 23 and 26 prospects. Given how injuries have derailed New York’s push for the division, though, you could argue this trade is just too little, too late.
Dodgers trade for Freese and Madson
The Pirates received Jesus Valdez for Freese, while the Nationals got Andrew Istler in exchange for Madson. Los Angeles will pay the remainder of both contracts, as Dave Roberts looks to continue the Dodgers’ postseason streak.
Madson, who has an ugly 5.28 ERA this year, joins a bullpen that has struggled of late. Freese will likely be used as corner infield depth, and obviously brings massive playoff experience that could be handy off the bench.