MLB

MLB Trade Deadline: Astros re-acquire Justin Verlander as Mets continue fire sale

By Sports Desk August 01, 2023

Justin Verlander helped the Houston Astros capture a pair of World Series titles, and the club is hoping he can lead them to another championship.

Verlander was traded to the Astros from the New York Mets in a blockbuster deal hours before MLB’s deadline on Tuesday.

The Mets received two minor league outfielders - 22-year-old Drew Gilbert, Houston’s No. 1-ranked prospect, and 20-year-old Ryan Clifford, who was the Astros’ No. 4 prospect.

Verlander signed a two-year, $86.7million contract with the Mets last December, shortly after earning his second World Series title with Houston and third Cy Young Award.

The 40-year-old has been pitching well lately, going 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA in six July starts, but the Mets have been a major disappointment and are tearing down the most expensive roster in major league history.

Fellow three-time Cy Young Award-winner Max Scherzer, who signed a three-year, $130million deal after the 2021 season, was traded to the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

Hours after that deal was officially announced, Verlander became the 49th pitcher in MLB history to 250 victories.

Of those wins, 61 came while pitching for the Astros – tied with Jim Deshaies for the 15th most in club history.

Verlander was first acquired by Houston during the 2017 season from the Detroit Tigers and helped the Astros to the franchise’s first World Series title later that fall.

During his time with Houston, Verlander made 102 starts and posted a 2.26 ERA – the lowest in franchise history among the 46 players with a minimum of 500 innings pitched for the club.

The Astros have won five of the last six AL West crowns and have reached the AL championship series in each of the last four seasons, but enter August one-half game behind the first-place Texas Rangers.

 

Blue Jays acquire DeJong after Bichette injures knee

The Toronto Blue Jays moved quickly in finding a replacement for Bo Bichette in the event the All-Star shortstop would’ve been sidelined for a while, trading for the St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul DeJong.

Bichette, the AL leader in batting average (.321) and hits (144), exited Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles with a right knee injury.

The extent of Bichette’s injury was uncertain early Tuesday, but after trading for DeJong, it was reported that an MRI on the knee revealed no significant structural damage, and he’s considered day to day.

DeJong was considered the top shortstop on the trade market.

An All-Star in 2019, the 29-year-old is batting .233 with 13 home runs, 11 doubles and 32 RBIs in 81 games.

He is also one of the better fielders at his position, registering a .990 fielding percentage – second only to the Minnesota Twins’ Carlos Correa for the best among all qualifying shortstops.

To complete the trade, the Cardinals are getting 24-year-old pitching prospect Matt Svanson from the Blue Jays.

 

Phillies get All-Star Lorenzen from Tigers

The Philadelphia Phillies have bolstered their rotation, acquiring right-hander Michael Lorenzen from the Detroit Tigers for 20-year-old infielder Hao-Yu Lee.

Lorenzen, who will become a free agent after this season, was named to his first All-Star team this year, going 5-7 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 18 starts. He has struck out 83 and walked 27 over 105 2/3 innings.

The 31-year-old began his career as a starter for the Cincinnati Reds in 2015 before spending the next six seasons working out of their bullpen.

He signed with the Los Angeles Angels prior to last season and moved back into the starting rotation, going 8-6 with a 4.24 ERA in 18 outings.

He now joins a Phillies team that reached last year’s World Series and is in possession of the NL’s second wild card.

 

Marlins bolster lineup with sluggers Burger, Bell

The Miami Marlins added two key bats to their lineup at the deadline, acquiring infielder Jake Burger from the Chicago White Sox and first baseman Josh Bell from the Cleveland Guardians.

The Marlins (57-51) find themselves in rare playoff contention but are hoping to improve their 27th-ranked offence that scores 4.09 runs per game.

Burger, 27, is tied for eighth in MLB with 25 home runs this season but is batting just .214 in 88 games. Of Burger’s 63 hits this season, 41 have gone for extra bases.

Bell, who will turn 31 later this month, was a 2019 All-Star but will be playing on his fifth team since 2020.

In the deals, the Marlins sent pitching prospect Jake Eder to Chicago, while Cleveland added infield prospect Khalil Watson. The Guardians also acquired Jean Segura in the deal but are expected to release the veteran infielder.

 

AL East-leading Orioles add RHP Flaherty

Enjoying their best season in a decade, the Baltimore Orioles fortified their rotation by acquiring right-hander Jack Flaherty from the St. Louis Cardinals for three prospects.

Leading the AL East with a 65-41 record and with a stacked farm system, the Orioles had the chance to be among the most aggressive teams at the deadline but held on to all eight of their prospects ranked by MLB Pipeline in baseball’s top 100.

Flaherty struggled earlier this season but was 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA in five July starts.

Flaherty put together his best season in 2019, when he was 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA and threw nearly 200 innings.

Injuries have derailed Flaherty’s previous three seasons, but he has made 20 starts this year with a 4.43 ERA and 7-6 record.  

 

Padres are buyers; adding Hill, Choi in trade with Pirates

The San Diego Padres are five games out of a playoff spot but are making moves to get back to the postseason.

The Padres acquired veteran left-hander Rich Hill and first baseman Ji Man Choi from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

This will be the 13th major league team for the 43-year-old Hill, who is 7-10 with a 4.76 ERA in 22 starts in his 19th MLB season.

Choi, 32, is batting .268 with four home runs and nine RBIs in 14 games since coming off the injured list after missing more than two months due to a left Achilles strain.

San Diego, which reached last season’s NL championship series but must pass five teams in the NL wild-card race, sent Pittsburgh three prospects - headlined by lefty Jackson Wolf.

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