Over Tuesday and Wednesday two of the bigger names available were traded ahead of the July 31st deadline, and a third almost went in the failed trade of Carlos Gomez. On Tuesday, the Oakland A’s traded utility player Ben Zobrist to the Kansas City Royals for pitching prospects Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks. Wednesday night Philadelphia Phillies finally traded ace pitcher Cole Hamels along with relief pitcher Jake Diekman and cash to the Texas Rangers for starting pitcher Matt Harrison and prospect pitchers Jake Thompson, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, catcher Jorge Alfaro, and outfielder Nick Williams. Here are the SportsZone trade grades for all involved:


General manager Billy Bean continues to stockpile high-upside prospects in his most recent rebuilding effort, having previously acquired catching prospect Jacob Nottingham and pitchers Daniel Mangden and Casey Meisner in trades for Scott Kazmir and Tyler Clippard. By trading his third free-agent-to-be in the last week, he adds Manaea, who becomes the third best prospect in the A’s farm system. Signed in 2013, the 23-year-old lefty has battled injuries thus far this season, but has made it the Double-A roster with mixed results. If developed properly, he could turn into a future top-of-the-rotation starter in two years. Brooks will be inserted immediately into Oakland’s rotation, and has been impressive at Triple-A as a starter, but has spent most of his major league time as a reliever the last two years. But Manaea is the big get here, and to get a prospect with his potential for two months of Zobrist is as good a return as Beane could have hoped for, and if all breaks right look for Manaea, Meisner, and Mangden to be cogs in the rotation by 2017.


The Royals are in “World Series or Bust” mode, having added Johnny Cueto from Reds earlier in the week. Now they address another glaring need by adding Zobrist; who can take over second base after a down year out of Omar Infante, while also having the versatility to play short, third or an outfield spot- where Alex Gordon is currently hurt while Alex Rios has struggled this season. Manaea is a big loss, especially when the starters have struggled for the Royals and there is a lack of high-upside prospects in the pipeline. But if Kansas City get back to Series and this time win, it doesn’t matter.


The Rangers are eight games back in their division, and they gave up a ton, but the allure of pairing Hamels with Yu Darvish when he returns from Tommy John surgery was too good to pass up. They also get to keep their top prospects, Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara, in the process. Hamels is signed through 2019, so they will hopefully get at least 3+ seasons of the dueling aces.


It took a long time for general manager Ruben Amaro to start a long overdue rebuilding process, but he finally dumped Hamels’ contract while filling a barren farm system with some quality talent. Thompson, Williams, and Alfaro; the best of the package, are all in Double-A, while Asher and Eickhoff are both in Triple-A and could be in the Phillies’ rotation next season. Harrison keeps the team respectable in the present, and he won 18 games in 2012. But injuries have crippled him since, and he hasn’t looked the same since he returned earlier this year. Regardless, good job by Amaro in finally doing what many thought was long overdue.

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