On July 31st, some big names were traded. Some were expected — like the Jon Lester and David Price trades. Some were totally out of left field, like Allen Craig and Yoenis Cespedes moving on to other teams.
For the players that get traded, it can be a hassle. Going to a new team in the middle of a season can be tough, especially when you have been with a team for numerous years. In Price’s case, he was rookie on the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays team that made it to the World Series. In Lester’s case, he won 2 championships with the Boston Red Sox, now his former team.
For them it is unfortunate, but for players who were backing them up and could rarely see the field, it is great. They finally get their opportunity to prove themselves with 2 months to play, whether they are in a pennant race or just playing for the future.
Oscar Taveras – St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals top prospect was stuck in a crowded outfield with Craig, center fielders Peter Bourjos and Jon Jay and left fielder Matt Holliday. It was tough for manager Mike Matheny to find him playing time.
The Cards traded a struggling Craig, who also plays first base but was stuck in right field because first baseman Matt Adams has played so well this season.
Taveras has started in right field every game since Thursday’s trade deadline. He started life as an everyday player by hitting a two-run HR in his first at-bat against the San Diego Padres. He then proceeded to drive in the game-winning run in the seventh inning during Sunday’s 3-2 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ranked as Major League Baseball‘s #2 overall prospect, he has gone 4/13 (.307 average) since Craig was traded.
Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Indians
Ramirez is a guy that did get a little taste of major league life last season, as a September call-up. Mainly used as a late game defensive replacement and a pinch runner and went 4-12 (.333 average).
He was called up in early May only because current Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was out with an oblique injury. Was sent back down in late May when Kipnis returned but got another shot when now traded shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera went down with a back injury.
Ramirez was the #4 prospect in the Indians organization last season, and he was having a pretty good season this year at Triple A Columbus, batting .302 with 5 HR’s and 29 RBI’s in 60 games. He displays excellent plate discipline also, walking 25 times and striking out only 30 times in 277 plate appearances.
The fact that they traded away an everyday shortstop like Cabrera shows that the organization has confidence in Ramirez. He’s great with the glove and he can play multiple positions (second base, third base and shortstop). For now, he has two months to prove that he can be their everyday shortstop.
Arismendy Alcantara – Chicago Cubs
Signed as an amateur free agent in 2008, Alcantara became a top 100 prospect in a loaded Cubs organization. He enjoyed 4 consecutive seasons of at least 100 hits in the Minors. His best season was at Double A Tennessee, when he hit 15 homers, drove in 69 in 133 games. He was enjoying a great season this year at Triple A Iowa (103 hits in 89 games) before getting the call-up while now-traded Darwin Barney was on paternity leave.
Alcantara was told that it was only a temporary move and he would be headed back to Triple A as soon as Barney returned but he went 4-5 with a double, a triple, drove in 3 runs in just his second career game. He had a .391 average (9-23) through his first five career games so there was a change of plan. Instead of sending Alcantara back down, they traded Barney to the Los Angeles Dodgers and they also traded Emilio Bonifacio to the Atlanta Braves.
Bonifacio is a guy that can play center field and second base just like Alcantara.
Alcantara has pressure on him, the Cubs are not going anywhere any time soon, so the spot is his to lose.
Andy Marte – Arizona Diamondbacks
A 30 year old who hasn’t seen the majors since 2010, Marte made the most of his opportunity in his first MLB at-bat in 4 years with a pinch-hit two-run HR during Thursday’s game against the Pirates.
Signed as an amateur free agent by the Atlanta Braves in 2000 and rated as their best prospect in 04′ and 05′ and ranked as the Red Sox best prospect in 06′, Marte has seen limited time at the major league level. The most games that he has ever played was the 81 he appeared in during the 2010 season with the Indians.
He’s had minor league stints the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Angels organizations as well. This season at Triple A Reno, he was posting very impressive numbers — batting .330 with 13 HR’s and 62 RBI’s in 102 games.
He also drove in the game winning run on a groundout in the 10th inning against the Pirates on a controversial play at second base.
Marte will take the walkoff RBI any day of the week. Gerardo Parra being traded to the Detroit Tigers might have opened up a door for him.
– Khristian Peel