From a Tennessee Pro Baseball standpoint, the most interesting move among the flurry of deals before the big-league trade deadline was not about a club trying to make the playoffs but about a club with no chance to make the playoffs.
Derek Jeter, head of the Miami Marlins, made a deal for Jazz Chisholm, the talented shortstop who has played this year for the Jackson Generals as the Diamondbacks’ No. 1 prospect. The move was another bit of evidence that Jeter is building a team on young talent.
Jeter has caught a lot of heat for letting big name players get away, but there may be method to his madness.
Chisholm is indeed an interesting choice because he represents everything happening in baseball right now. He is batting only .204 but he has hit 18 home runs this season, a lot for a shortstop, which puts him among the power leaders in the Class AA Southern League. The 21-year-old left-handed-batting native of the Bahamas was traded for right-handed pitcher Zac Gallen, one of many deals the Diamondbacks made. The Chisholm deal certainly went under the radar of Arizona’s trade of right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros for two pitchers, an outfielder and an infielder, a deal that just thrust the Astros even higher into the playoff hierarchy.
The Marlins made Vanderbilt’s JJ Bleday their No. 1 pick in June, and he is currently playing at Jupiter in the Florida State League.
Beyond the Chisholm deal, the best news from the trades was the new opportunity for former Vanderbilt and Centennial High School standout Tony Kemp, who went from the Astros to the Chicago Cubs. Kemp was batting .227 this season and was designated for assignment, but he brings versatility to Chicago. He plays both second base and left field, and he has playoff experience, batting .286 in six postseason games.
The Cubs also got help from the Detroit Tigers by dealing for Nick Castellanos, who can play the outfield or third base, a mirror image of Kris Bryant, and an improvement over Cubs infielder David Bote who, like Bryant is a former Tennessee Smokies player. For all the attention to pitchers at the trade deadline, the Cubs have added some offense that may well prove to be the shrewdest moves of the hectic week of trading. One of the pitchers the Tigers got for Castellanos is Alex Lange, who was 2-3 with the Class AA Tennessee Smokies with a 3.92 earned run average.
As for moves of the Reds, Cardinals and Braves, the major league teams with the biggest following in Tennessee, while there were big names involved, not much should come from those deals. The biggest acquisition was Cincinnati’s trade that brought Trevor Bauer to the pitching staff from Cleveland. This has brought great compliments for the Reds for adding pitching strength, but the Bauer deal will have no impact. Bauer will simply be another good Reds starter who will put up a quality start, perhaps leave the game with a lead, then see a bad bullpen lose the game for him. The Reds’ bullpen gives Bauer no chance. It would help if Bauer is allowed to pitch longer into the games. Not likely, given the Reds’ infatuation with using poor relievers.
The trade of Chattanooga Lookouts outfielder Taylor Trammell, the top prospect of the Reds, is also of note. Trammell went to San Diego as part of the three-team deal between Cincinnati, San Diego and Cleveland. Trammell didn’t exactly live up to his hype in the Southern League. He is batting only .236 with six home runs and 33 RBIs. He is not among league leaders statistically. This also raises more questions about the Reds’ future outfield, which needs a lot of help. Perhaps they like outfielder Jose Siri as a future center fielder. Nick Senzel, a rookie outfielder from the University of Tennessee with great promise, still belongs in the infield.
The Braves fall into much of the same boat as Cincinnati on the pitching front with the last-minute deals. They picked up right-handed pitcher Shane Greene from Detroit, right-hander Mark Melancon from the Giants and right-hander Chris Martin, who has a respectable 3.08 earned run average, from the Texas Rangers. Those do not look like impact moves that will help anybody get into the World Series. Relief pitching is an outright eyesore for baseball right now.
Nor will the Cardinals see much improvement with the addition of left-hander Tony Cingrani or right-hander Jeffry Abreu, both acquired for infielder Jedd Gyorko, who went to the Dodgers. The Cardinals recalled outfielder Lane Thomas, the former Knoxville Bearden standout, again, but it remains a mystery as to how much stability there will be in the St. Louis outfield. Harrison Bader has been ineffective, and Marcel Ozuna has been injured.
One more bright spot from the trading activity was nestled in the otherwise ho-hum deal Pittsburgh made by trading outfielder Cory Dickerson to the Phillies for money and a player to be named. The move solidifies former Vanderbilt star Bryan Reynolds in the Pirates’ outfield.
Categories: Class AA