With Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester, Yeonis Cespedes, and Justin Masterson previously traded the stage was set for a fast and furious time as the 4pm MLB Trading Deadline crept closer. Here are the SportsZone MLB Trade Grades for the rest of the major moves:

Boston Red Sox trade P John Lackey to the St Louis Cardinals for OF/1B Allen Craig and P Joe Kelly

Boston– A

With the trade of Lackey, Boston has traded away 80% of its starting rotation in the last week, with Clay Buchholz the lone survivor of a rotation now set to hold open 2015 tryouts the rest of the way. Kelly gives them another option to go with Rubby de la Rosa, Allen Webster, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, and Anthony Ranualdo; while Craig figures to be their new starting right fielder, and was a career .300 hitter with consecutive seasons of 90+ RBI entering this season, which has been a disappointment thus far, a .244 average and only seven home runs and 44 RBI. To get this return for Lackey, who only gave Boston one good year out of the five he was signed to is a great return.

St Louis– B

The Cardinals make their second trade in 24 hours for starting rotation depth, with Lackey joining Justin Masterson along side of Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, and hopefully Michael Wacha when he returns. Neither Lackey or Masterson are top-tier starters, but the Cardinals felt they needed veteran starters more than their young guys; as Shelby Miller struggled, Carlos Martinez is close to his innings limit, and Kelly had been hurt most of the year. The loss of Craig is meaningless to them, as this should finally signal the Dawn of the Oscar Taveres-era in right field. It’s a risk that their depth enables to make, and should help them take the NL Central from leaders Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.

Oakland A’s trade P Tommy Millone to the Minnesota Twins for OF Sam Fuld

Oakland– C Millone lost his rotation spot last month after the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and made his disappointment known publicly, so he was expendable. But they bring back Fuld, who they dropped in April and was then claimed by the Twins and are now expecting him to fill the new platoon with Jonny Gomes to replace the departed Yeonis Cespedes. The A’s are the Masters of the Platoon, I just really question this one.

Minnesota– B

Millone isn’t going to blow anyone away, but the Twins have been short on pitching, particularly left-handed pitching, and he has the opportunity to stay in a Minnesota rotation that currently consists of Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correja, and the struggling Kyle Gibson. Fuld was expendable giving the wealth of outfield prospects they have, so this was a perfect trade to make.

San Diego Padres trade OF Chris Denorfia to the Seattle Mariners for OF Abraham Almonte and minor league P Stephen Kohlscheen

San Diego– C+

The Padres sell off another player for possible potential, Almonte could be a decent fourth outfielder, and Kohlscheen was an unranked prospect who’s had a decent season in relief between double and triple-A. Nothing special here.

Seattle– B-

This trade can be a win in Denorfia continues his career success against left-handed pitching, with a .307 career average against them, but he was having a mediocre year with the Padres and needs to distinguish himself from the multitude of other options, including Dustin Ackley, James Jones, Michael Saunders, and Endy Chavez.

Red Sox trade P Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles for prospect P Eduardo Rodriguez

Red Sox– A

The Orioles have been protective of Rodriguez over the last year, he was asked for by the Mets for Ike Davis in the spring, in addition to other teams, and they refused to part with him, so it’s impressive that Boston was able to pry him from the Orioles for a lefty reliever. The 21-year old has had a disappoint season in the minors but is young enough to become a #3 starter by 2016, a major coup for the current experts at team rebuilding, the Red Sox.

Orioles– B-

The Orioles wanted a lefty in the bullpen who could lefties and righties out, and Miller has a 14.7 K/9 ratio to go against a 2.8 BB/9 ratio, explaining why he became the most sought out lefty-reliever at this year’s deadline. Rodriguez could come back to bite them later on, especially giving him to a division rival, but it’s a risk that makes sense considering their weakness and their chance to make the playoffs as either a division winner or wild-card winner. They needed to take the risk.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Boston Red SoxCleveland Indians trade 2B/SS Asrubal Cabrera to the Washington Nationals for IF Zach Walters and Cash Considerations

Indians– C+

The Indians stood to lose Cabrera to free agency after the season anyway, so trading him made sense with them not being close to a playoff spot. The return is questionable, as they were rumored to be in talks with other clubs, and wound up paying Asrubal’s salary and getting a minimal prospect back instead. It’s one of those returns that make the compensation draft pick the club would’ve received from Cabrera signing with another club seem like a better return.

Nationals– A-

Washington’s fighting with the Braves for the NL East, and this trade allows up-and-coming All Star Anthony Rendon to move back to his natural position of third base full-time, while Cabrera takes over second. While Cabrera is having a mediocre season, with a .246 batting average, nine home runs, and seven stolen bases, the move to a playoff race may ignite him, and they gave up nothing for him.

Red Sox trade SS Stephen Drew to the New York Yankees for IF Kelly Johnson……WAIT, What?

Red Sox– B-

The Sox make their first trade with the Yankees in almost 20 years, and they only do it try to decrease the infield log jam and move Xander Bogaerts back to short. Johnson could conceivably play third until Will Middlebrooks comes back from injury, or he can be a utility infielder with Brock Holt starting at third. This isn’t about the return for the Sox, it’s about the possibilities that open up in the absence of Drew, who has been terrible since signing in June.

Yankees– B

Johnson was doing nothing for the Yankees, who acquired Chase Headley at third base after Johnson’s struggles for most of the year. Drew will spend time at second and probably give Derek Jeter an occasional day off. It could be a decent return for a guy who wasn’t contributing.

prIn a three team trade, The Tampa Bay Rays trade P David Price to the Detroit Tigers; the Seattle Mariners receive OF Austin Jackson from the Tigers; The Rays receive P Drew Smyly, and prospect SS Willy Adames from the Tigers, and 2B/SS Nick Franklin from the Mariners

Rays– C-

After all the posturing and talk by Tampa Bay about trading Price, this could be the worst return general manager Andrew Friedman has ever gotten for a starting pitcher. With numerous offers he takes a second baseman who has been a bust thus far with the Mariners in Franklin; a decent swingman in Smyly who can pitch effectively in the rotation or in a relief; and the #3 prospect in the Tigers organization in Adames, who is at least two to three years away from a major league impact. Especially with the Rays playing themselves back into playoff contention over the last month, this is not the return a team is supposed to receive for an ace starter under team control next season. I’m stunned the Rays shot themselves in the foot with such a minimal return.

Tigers– A+

The Tigers just matched Oakland’s moves for Samardzija and Jon Lester by adding the Cy Young winning Price into a rotation that already has Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, and Rick Porcello, and they did it for almost nothing, for while Smyly did decently for them, and Jackson is a solid all-around player, to give up the two of them and an 18-year-old who might never make the majors is a steal any major league GM would take in a heart beat.

Mariners– A

The Mariners had no place to play Franklin and needed more consistency in the outfield. Jackson immediately becomes the starting center and possible leadoff hitter, and the best outfielder on a team that has a lot of options, but no standouts. Such a return for a player who became obsolete after the signing of Robinson Cano could help Seattle get back to the playoffs for the first time in years.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh PiratesArizona DiamondBacks trade 2B/3B/OF Martin Prado to the Yankees for C/OF Peter O’Brien

Yankees– A+

How do they do it? After adding Brandon McCarthy, Chase Headley, Chris Capuano, and Stephen Drew to plug some of the roster’s many leaks, they add one of the most versatile swiss-army knife-type players in the game, and while he is having a down year, he has the ability to play every infield position and the outfield if needed, which is going to be vital to a Yankee team battling injuries and age at nearly every position. To do it for next to nothing, with O’Brien still being at least a year away and Prado being signed for two more years, is a major coup.

D’Backs– B-

At the age of 30, Prado’s salary was a burden as he wasn’t a part of their current rebuilding plans. They get rid of his $10 million a year, and add the catching prospect they have been searching for all year. But with O’Brien needing more seasoning they should have gone for a player closer to the major league level, like a pitcher if they could have. They gave up Prado too easily and didn’t get enough back for him.

The Atlanta Braves acquire P James Russell and 2B/OF Emilio Bonifacio from the Chicago Cubs for prospect C Victor Caratini

Braves– B-

The Braves have been after the lefty Russell for a couple of weeks now, and Bonifacio is versatile enough to play three infield spots and the outfield, and has speed on the base paths. The fee was the 20-year-old Caratini, their #7 prospect as ranked by MLB.com, who is blocked in the system by Evan Gettis and Christian Betancourt. This is not a major trade for wither team, but to get two parts that can contribute in a playoff race for nothing that matters is always a good return.

Cubs– B+

The Cubs rebuilding effort continues, as they have been looking for a young catcher they could groom with Wellington Castillo currently behind the plate. Bonifacio was needless given the amount of infield talent the Cubs have at their disposal in prospects Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez, and shortstop Starlin Castro. We might have to wait a few years on Caratini, but as of now it’s a small risk that sellers are often able to make.

MLB: Houston Astros at Chicago White SoxHouston Astros trade P Jarred Cosart, SS Enrique Hernandez, and OF Austin Wates to the Miami Marlins for OF Jake Marisnick, prospect 3b Colin Moran, P Francis Martes, and their 2014 Competitive Balance Pick.


The Astros rebuild continues, as they trade away one of the main pieces in their trade of Hunter Pence for the #6 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, a struggling former top 100 prospect, an early pick next year, and an 18-year old. It’s a decent package but it’s the type of deal that makes one wonder if the Astros rebuild will ever end, or just continue with no real plan in place.

Marlins– A-

Normally the Marlins are the sellers, but they have a chance at a Wild Card spot, and are giving up a significant amount of potential for Cosart, who will benefit from leaving the American League and a last place team. He figures to be a middle of the rotation arm, but he could develop into one of their main cogs for the next three years. Hernandez and Wates are triple-A players; Hernandez might get some at short, and Wates has 31 SBs at triple-A this season. It’s a change for them, but definitely for the better.

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