Trade Winds Blow at Deadline

After a flurry of trades in the beginning of July, the remainder of the month was looking quiet.  But as injuries stacked up and wild card races heated up, several trades were triggered in the last week of July just before the deadline.

The action started on July 26, when the Toronto Nomads confirmed a deal with the Detroit Motorheads that sent promising prospect infielder Ronnie van der Wal – the “Flying Dutchman” – right-handed reliever Glen Talbert, and 21-year-old prospect Matt Hagopian to the Motorheads in return for slugger Brian Chambliss and infielding prospect Jose Rodriguez.

Chambliss adds significant power to the Toronto lineup, and was hitting a career-high 10 home runs in his second Bull League season. He has since added another. Rodriguez is a speedy infielder/outfielder utility player with great plate discipline which the team hopes will develop into solid numbers at the plate. Van der Wal had been a solid performer for Toronto during the first half, hitting .266 with 11 stolen bases and 22 runs scored over 56 games.

The next big move came the following day, when the NY Dragons and the Louisville Sluggers swapped parts of a battery. Sluggers’ Woodchuck Trophy winning closer from 2017, Everett Weisensel, who had been moved out of the closer role this season and was struggling, was given up in exchange for rookie-level catcher Dan Dumont. Dumont was drafted in the 19th round in 2017 out of Louisiana College, but missed most of the rest of last year with a broken hand.

A day before the deadline, on the 30th, Arizona Cowboys sent first baseman Tony Varela and minor-leaguer Jack Cooper to California, along with a 5th round pick next year. In return, the Tidals gave up 30-year-old right hander Tim Weis.  Weis was 5-4 and 6.21 with California after 11 starts, but had worked hard to establish a low 1.35 WHIP, allowing just 14 walks in 66.2 innings. Varela is no replacement for California departing with Jim Lahey in a trade with Nevada earlier this year, but the 25-year-old has been a solid hitter this year, at .279 after 16 games, and .330 or above in brief major-level stints over the past two seasons.

Then, Montreal and Nevada connected to work out a deal that saw LHP Bobby Miller, shortstop Howard Baker, and 17-year-old prospect Jose Caraballo go to the Metros, and the Speeders receive RHP Danny Tirado in return. Tirado had gone 7-4 in 13 starts with Montreal, striking out 72 batters over 90.2 innings, and holding opposing hitters to a .267 BABIP. Miller, a 4-time all-star, has been serviceable in relief for Nevada this year, going 1-0 with a save, but struggled in June.

With the trade deadline now passed, teams must now place players on revocable waivers should they wish to complete any further trades, until the end of the playoffs.

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