Duvall to Atlanta in Platoon Operation
C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic was the first to break the news late last night of the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves agreeing to a deal featuring four players, all of whom are on their respective 40-man rosters. Atlanta received slugging outfielder Adam Duvall from the Reds in exchange for outfielder Preston Tucker as well as starting pitchers Matt Wisler and Lucas Sims.
Duvall remains under team control until the conclusion of the 2021 season, and could easily assume duties in a corner of the outfield after the upcoming departure of Nick Markakis if he performs to expectations. While his overall slash line isn’t spectacular (.205/.286/.399), Duvall’s .726 OPS and 45 RBI dating back to May 7 is a bit more reflective of the season he’s had. What’s more, his 36 total runs saved in left field would certainly benefit Atlanta, even if called off the bench.
Duvall is expected to take part in a round-robin sort of platoon in the Braves’ outfield over the next few weeks, and possibly the latter two months of 2018 if it works out. In the current platoon arrangement, Duvall will play left field against left-handed pitching (.769 OPS this year against a .656 OPS versus right-handers), while Ronald Acuna will man center field. Against right-handers, Acuna will receive starts in left, with Ender Inciarte patrolling center.
While Cincinnati was by no means given the seeds to replicate Duvall’s presence in the middle of the lineup, it inherits two starting pitchers, one of whom once graded out in 2014 as the 40th best prospect in the majors by Baseball Prospectus in Sims. At just 24 years of age, Sims has found himself on the outside looking in on a dynamic, young Braves’ rotation that has grabbed the high minors by storm. Make no mistake, though, a 2.84 ERA and 10.2 K/9 in Triple-A Gwinnett this year tell the story of a young starter with a lot to give, potentially in need of a clean slate.
Pirates Acquire Keone Kela from Rangers
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Texas Rangers have agreed to send closer Keone Kela to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for two prospects (first reported by FanCred Sports‘ Jon Heyman).
Kela, 25, is currently enjoying a breakout season closing games in Arlington, posting a 3.44 ERA, 2.97 FIP, and 1.15 WHIP while converting 24 of 25 possible saves and averaging a blistering 10.80 strikeouts per nine innings. The Hawaii native will be under team control through the 2021 season, but he’ll likely assume a late-innings role of some kind as soon as he arrives in Pittsburgh.
While All-Star closer Felipe Vazquez will likely remain in charge of the ninth, Kela will nonetheless pad the back-end, which otherwise has gotten little value outside of Kyle Crick. The trade all but confirms the Pirates’ intentions to compete for a playoff spot in the (very) near future, as they attempt to iron down whatever they can and attempt to re-establish a core in the pitching staff.
Ziegler Talks Continuing
Although they seemed ready yesterday to strike up another trade for a smaller-market reliever, a corrected report by MLB Network’s Jon Morosi suggests that the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins are merely “talking” about the idea of a trade for Brad Ziegler. The 38-year old submariner has turned his season around with a fantastic last two months (just two earned runs allowed in his last 27 innings of work).
While Ziegler is still looking at career-worsts in HR/9 (1.2) and FIP (4.59), his resurgent last two months (.157/.257/.236 opponent line, 0.64 ERA since June 5) have opened the floor for the Marlins to negotiate with teams beyond just the Cubs, who just recently swung a deal for long-man Jesse Chavez, have plenty of faith in fellow submariner Steve Cishek anyway, and anticipate a speedy recovery for closer Brandon Morrow.
Sergio Romo Getting Looks
One reliever particularly likely to find himself on a new team in the coming days is right-hander Sergio Romo, who, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, is the likeliest such Tampa Bay Ray to be traded.
Romo, who has worked both as a closer and starter as a pivotal cog in the Rays’ 2018 “opener” machine, has apparently been discussed among “lots of teams,” as Topkin has written. While he has struggled with a career-worst 1.25 WHIP and is set to test free agency this coming offseason, the 35-year old righty has a 1.44 ERA, 3.67 K/BB ratio, and 43.1% groundball rate to his name since June began. It’s hard to dispute the value he would bring to a contending team in need of established relief help.
Last Calls for Archer
With Chris Archer‘s fate in Tampa Bay set to be decided in the oncoming hours, as many as six teams have reportedly maintained interest in possibly trading with Tampa Bay for him.
A 2021 free agent, Archer has garnered the attention of a few teams that thoroughly intend to compete within that time frame, such as the Padres, Braves, Brewers, Yankees (all first revealed by Jon Morosi), and Dodgers (added by Jim Bowden of The Athletic). Per Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay has asked that teams submit their best and final offers for Archer before they pull the trigger on a particular deal, if they do at all.
This is the third year that Archer – who is two months from turning 30 – has seen his name on the trade deadline ticker, but is still a ripe time for Tampa Bay to pawn off a controllable, capable arm as it attempts to continue a rebuild that has moved rather roundaboutly since Evan Longoria was traded to the San Francisco Giants in December.