The Toronto Nomads and the Dallas Deputies agreed to terms that will see a major hole plugged in the Nomads’ infield, while seeding the Deputies with one of the league’s top pitching prospects.
And in the other major trade today, the Montreal Metros sent a 2019 draft pick and a serviceable outfielder to the Arizona Cowboys in exchange for one of the Bull League’s top catchers.
In the Nomads-Deputies trade, Toronto picked up 25-year-old shortstop Rich Dillon, a five-tools player who will deliver immediate impact to the lineup. Currently hitting .344, he is also a power bat, which is something the Nomads sorely need if they plan to contend for a wildcard spot down the road.
Going to Dallas were 2B Hector Martinez, who had only just joined Toronto in a late April trade with New York, and Cow League pitcher Frtis Ritmeester. Martinez had even just been signed to a 1-year contract extension in an effort to avoid arbitration with Toronto, suggesting the team had longer term plans for him. Ritmeester is currently the #16 prospect in the Bull League.
Both Martinez and Ritmeester will help improve Dallas in future seasons, as their 2018 season is already a bust, while Dillon gives an immediate impact to Toronto’s lineup now, but he’s also a younger player who is still under team control and could develop even further.
For the Metros-Cowboys deal, the goal seemed more about offloading a costly and underperforming outfielder and getting an upgrade behind the plate for Montreal. The Cowboys benefit by also getting a second-round pick in next year’s draft.
For the Metros, the draft pick is a small price to pay to unload $5.8 million in salary to a 28-year-old with 2 more years under contract and who is hitting an anemic .216 so far this year. Caldwell showed signs of being a promising hitter back in 2014, when he won a Bull Cup with Montreal, and then in 2015 when he hit career numbers, going .263 at the plate with 15 doubles, 5 triples, and 7 homers. But since signing a 5-year deal that year his numbers have sunk. And Montreal has depth in the outfield, with Orlando Garza, Jose Ramirez, and Brian Currell making up one of the most deadly outfields in the Lake League.
Arizona is in full rebuild mode, and will certainly cherish having another second-round draft pick next June. Giving Howard Jackson to the Metros in the deal made sense, with two AAA-level catchers potentially ready to move up and fill the role as the team remakes itself as a younger, faster and better defensive team.