Trade Deadline Recap: Ziegler, Allen, Furcal
There were a few more moves worth discussing that predominantly flew under the radar as the trade deadline came and went this past weekend. As you’ll see, some are a little more significant than others.
Atlanta Purchases Nieves From Milwaukee
In the wake of losing starting catcher Brian McCann to injury, the Atlanta Braves didn’t waste any time in finding a new backup as they acquired Wil Nieves from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for cash considerations. Nieves has never been a regular everyday player in his career, splitting most seasons between the minor leagues and being sparingly used off of the bench. With Milwaukee he’s received 50 at bats on the season, batting just .141/.189/.180. He’ll see limited action with Atlanta as the bulk of the at bats will likely go to David Ross until McCann returns from the DL.
Diamondbacks Add Ziegler, Deal Allen
Heading into this past offseason it was evident that new GM Kevin Towers was going to prioritize rebuilding the bullpen for the Arizona Diamondbacks. So far the plan has seen some success as the team has performed better in 2011 than they did in 2010. Yet, the reconstruction still wasn’t quite done so Towers continued to seek help before the deadline.
They were linked to a number of relievers in the days leading up to the deadline but most conversations seemed to link the D’backs to the Oakland Athletics. Reports had a number of names being discussed and in the end, the two teams agreed to a deal prior to the deadline in which Brad Ziegler will head to Arizona in exchange for two players – first baseman/outfielder Brandon Allen and relief pitcher Jordan Norberto.
Ziegler, a submarining right hander, has been effective throughout his career against righty batters. This season he’s held them to a collective .198/.250/.229 line. Overall he holds a 2.39 ERA and 1.351 WHIP in 37.2 innings of work. He will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, meaning the Diamondbacks will have him under team control for the next three seasons.
Norberto, 24, is a lefty reliever who’s spent most of the season at Triple-A. Through 41 appearances (48.2 innings) he’s posted a 6-2 record and 4.25 ERA. He received a brief callup to the Majors in 2010 where he struggled with commanding his secondary pitched.
Allen, 25, is the key acquisition here for Oakland. A first baseman with some power potential, he’s failed to live up to expectations in the handful of games he’s played in the Majors. In 30 at bats with Arizona this season he’s hit just .172/.351/.483 with 3 HR. In the minors this year, however, he’s hit a robust .306/.427/.579 with 18 HR and 66 RBI in 304 at bats. He should get a chance to see some consistent playing time in Oakland before the season comes to a close as Oakland has been struggling to find a regular first baseman for quite some time.
Seattle Sends Langerhans to Arizona
In a move completed strictly to create space on the team’s 40-man roster, the Seattle Mariners sent minor league outfielder Ryan Langerhans to the Diamondbacks as the trade deadline approached. Langerhans, who had spent the better part of the season at Triple-A, has seen a fair share of opportunity at the Major League level with limited success – batting .226/.333/.372 in just over 1,200 career at bats spread out over nine seasons. He does give the Diamondbacks a veteran presence for the remainder of the season. Seattle will receive cash considerations in return.
Cardinals Fix Shortstop Problem, Acquire Furcal
Like most of the teams which completed deals at the deadline, the Cardinals had a need that has been plaguing them for some time now. Shortstop has been a revolving door of disappointment over the past few seasons as the team has simply just been unable to find a suitable player to fill the position. After rumors began to swirl that the team was looking mainly at utility infielder types, word broke that an agreement had been reached for the team to acquire Rafael Furcal from the Dodgers in exchange for minor league outfielder Alex Castellanos.
Furcal offers an immediate upgrade for the Cardinals over the shortstops the team has used this season as he is a superior defender when compared to Ryan Theriot, Tyler Greene, and Daniel Descalso. This season, however, has been one of the worst offensive ones Furcal has had over his entire career. Batting just .197/.272/.248 through 137 at bats, the veteran is putting up number a far cry from his career line of .283/.349/.407. The Dodgers will pay the bulk ($2.5 Million) of the $4 Million remaining on his contract. Like most of the other players traded leading up to the deadline, he too will reach free agency at season’s end.
Castellanos, 24, has mainly been playing right field in Double-A on the season. Through 354 at bats he’s batting .319/.379/.562 with 19 HR and 62 RBI. He does strikeout a bit much and will have to improve his overall plate discipline if his development is going to continue.