Tuesday night has taught us all that you can't go to sleep a week before the trade deadline, or you'll miss something huge. Hanley Ramirez has reportedly been dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Wandy Rodriguez was traded to thePirates, and Cole Hamels is no longer on the trade market, as he's signed a long-term extension with the Phillies.
The Ramirez deal might be of particular interest to Red Sox fans, as the cost seemed relatively low. Now, trades don't work in a way where the Marlins go and call their other 28 friends once they have a deal set up with someone, hoping that one of the others will exceed the offer. But, had it been the Red Sox that Miami called back first instead of the Dodgers, you likely would have been pleased with the price. (Unless you were one of the few who voted against acquiring Hanley regardless of price, anyway.)
The Dodgers sent Nathan Eovaldi and a player to be named later for Ramirez and Randy Choate. Eovaldi was Baseball America's #96 prospect heading into the year, and Kevin Goldstein rates him as a three-star prospect, one who is likely a back-of-the-rotation starter. A useful return, but not a great one. Like said above: had the Red Sox sent this equivalent for Hanley -- especially with the clearing out of a reliever from the pen -- many of us would have been pleased with the gamble, since it likely would have meant someone like Bryce Brentz, Brandon Jacobs, or Garin Cecchini heading out to LA, rather than one of the five or six prospects we'd selfishly like held on to.
The Pirates bolstered their rotation with the acquisition of Wandy Rodriguez. Wandy might not be the arm he has been in the past, but he's still an upgrade for Pittsburgh, who needed another stabilizing force to help them down the stretch. Wandy netted the Astros three prospects -- four-star Robbie Grossman, three-star Colton Cain, and two-star Rudy Owens, by Goldstein's rankings -- as well as relieving them of $17.7 million that remained on the deal.
Wandy has averaged over six innings per start this year, and his current 2.8 K/BB is above his career average, despite the drop in strikeouts he's seen. Getting out of Minute Maid and into PNC should help his numbers a bit, and there's room for him in the current rotation, given Kevin Correia has an ERA+ of 80 in his two years with the Bucs. Given that they are relying on Erik Bedard to stay healthy, and that their top hurler, James McDonald, set his career-high in innings with 171 last year, another arm was absolutely necessary for Pittsburgh, even if things are going fine at this moment.
The key to both of these deals, as it pertains to the Red Sox, is that teams rumored to be interested in Ramirez and Rodriguez -- the Blue Jays and Orioles, respectively -- now cannot acquire them to help as they push for a wild card spot. Unlike the Red Sox, who have a chance in this thing simply by staying healthy and seeing their pitchers who should be good actually pitch that way, the O's and Jays both need some outside assistance if they want to stay in this thing.
On a broader, post-2012 scale, the same can be said of Cole Hamels re-signing with the Phillies. Reportedly, Hamels has inked a six-year, $144 million deal that will pay out an average of $24 million annually. That's the second-most ever for a pitcher, behind only CC Sabathia, and it takes him off of not just the rental trade market of July, but also keeps him from signing with any of Boston's competitors this upcoming off-season. While the Yankees are slated to join the Red Sox in their attempt to get under the luxury-tax threshold, that doesn't mean someone like the Rangers, Tigers, or Angels wouldn't go and do something nuts like add Hamels to their roster. Before you say that it's unlikely, remember how much money was thrown out last year, unexpectedly, by all three of those clubs. There was room to do more in each case, too, and Hamels was likely the jewel of the free agent class.
There's more out there this winter, like Zack Greinke, for instance, but having one of these arms off the board, in a winter where the Red Sox likely wouldn't be acquiring them, is a good thing.