By acquiring Gerardo Parra from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Milwaukee Brewers added a two-time Gold Glove winner to their outfield and a useful left-handed bat to their bench.
What the Brewers didn’t do is add a right-handed reliever to their bullpen, something considered one of their top priorities at the deadline.
As it turned out, none of the right-handed relievers thought to be available ended up moving. The Diamondbacks didn’t move Brad Ziegler or Addison Reed, the Padres held on to Joaquin Benoit, the Red Sox didn’t move Koji Uehara and the Rockies wouldn’t part with LaTroy Hawkins.
Boston traded left-hander Andrew Miller to Baltimore, but Milwaukee already has three southpaws in its bullpen in Will Smith, Zach Duke and Tom Gorzelanny.
While the Brewers added Parra, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired a pair of pitchers at the deadline in Justin Masterson from Cleveland and John Lackey from Boston.
Masterson, who is likely to debut against Milwaukee at Busch Stadium on Saturday, is not following up an All-Star campaign last year with a strong season. The right-hander was 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA in 19 starts for Cleveland and has missed the last three weeks with a knee injury.
St. Louis sent outfielder Allen Craig and 26-year-old right-hander Joe Kelly to Boston for Lackey, who is 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA in 21 starts for the Red Sox. Craig was having a down season for the Cardinals, but he hit over .300 and drove in over 90 runs in each of the past two years, while Kelly is a promising young arm.
While the Cardinals added two arms to their rotation, they didn’t do anything to improve upon their struggling offense. With Craig out of the mix, prized prospect Oscar Taveras (.210 batting average, two home runs, eight RBI in 33 big-league games) will need to step up in right field.
Rumored to be in the David Price sweepstakes, Pittsburgh stood pat at the deadline. The Pirates, who entered play Thursday two games behind the Brewers in the National League Central, did not end up with Price, Lester or a bat to improve their lineup.
Maybe the best thing to happen to the Brewers on Thursday was Price and Lester not only staying out of their division but also staying out of the National League completely. None of the contenders in the National League made a blockbuster move, as the Giants and Dodgers were quiet.
Washington helped fill the void left by Ryan Zimmerman’s injury by acquiring infielder Asdrubal Cabrera from Cleveland. Cabrera will likely play second base for the Nationals with Anthony Rendon shifting to third base.
The Braves, another National League contender, added utility man Emilio Bonifacio and left-handed reliever James Russell from the Cubs.
Just because the Brewers didn’t add to their bullpen prior to the non-waiver trade deadline doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t trade for a reliever in August. Deals do get done after July 31, as 20 trades were completed in August last year.
The Pirates added key pieces in Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau last August, while the Brewers sent John Axford to St. Louis.
Here’s how August trades work: Teams must pass players through waivers in order to be able to trade them to any team. Players sit on revocable waivers for 47 hours and are free to be traded anywhere if they go unclaimed. If claimed, the original team can either work out a trade with the claiming team, simply let the player go to the claiming team or pull the player back and keep them.
There’s a good chance Brewers general manager Doug Melvin will continue to try and improve the club in the coming month, especially if Milwaukee continues to be right in the thick of the race. In order for a player to be eligible for a postseason roster, he must be acquired by Aug. 31.
As teams continue to fall out of the race, more players — especially relievers — will come available.
Milwaukee also has a decision to make on right-hander Jim Henderson in the coming days. Henderson, out since early May with a right shoulder injury, is at the end of his 30-day minor-league rehab assignment.
While Henderson has not allowed a run in eight outings between rookie ball, Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville, the Brewers have not let on much regarding where the 31-year-old’s velocity has been at.
If Henderson returns in the coming days, Melvin and the Brewers will have to decide how to clear a spot on the 25-man and 40-man roster since the right-hander is on the 60-day disabled list.