We're less than halfway through the season but the trading season never really stops in HD. Teams in contention are still trying to get the pieces they need to put them over the top while rebuilding teams are hoping to get talent for the future. To that end, several major trades have gone down in the last few weeks.
Chicago Cubs and Vancouver Fighting Moose
Cubs get: RP Dave Stewart
Fighting Moose get: RP Ken Baez
Analysis: Stewart is a legitimate closer- he's 37 out of 40 lifetime save opportunities. He's an important piece as the Cubs try (now without ace Stephen Tucker) to make the playoffs as he can either set up for rookie closer Graham Rivera or take over for him if Rivera falters. On Vancouver's end, they trade a closer now for a potential closer of the future. Baez is a 21-year-old hard-throwing righty who at the very least is a ML setup guy and maybe could close. Since Tucker was healthy at the time of this trade and the Cubs were very much in contention, it's hard to fault this deal from either side.
Houston Riverdogs and Las Vegas Gamblers
Riverdogs get: 1B Ricardo Moreno
Gamblers get: RP Pascual Rojas (AA), RP Babe Vaughn (AA)
Analysis: Houston felt they needed a true 1B and got one. Moreno shouldn't be in the class of Lyle Barber or Burt Stevenson at the plate, but he should be fairly solid and no easy out. He also adds a left-handed bat to a lineup that, especially toward the top, is very right-handed. Rojas and Vaughn are both decent arms and could contribute on the ML level someday, although there isn't much certainty for either of them.
Chicago Cubs and Monterrey Sultans
Cubs get: CF Dewayne Castillo
Sultans get: RP Ted Reese
Analysis: This is a case of two teams each having a specific need and getting it. The Cubs needed an all-around CF and Castillo fits the bill- he played a large role in getting the Sultans to the World Series last season. Reese is a very good reliever who is dominant against lefties but can get right-handers out as well. He's setting up but could end up being the Sultans answer to the closer question they've had since the beginning of the season.
Monterrey Sultans and Trenton Traffic
Sultants get: SS Torey Diaz
Traffic get: CIF/COF Duffy Brewington (Hi A), RP Shep Richard (AA), RP Dwight Roberts (AAA)
Analysis: It isn't often that you see a first-place team trade a ML player for prospects, but Diaz wasn't hitting as well as Trenton had expected. He's hit well in his first week in Mexico, however, and even if he reverts back to how he it in Trenton and Chicago, he still provides a very good defender at the shortstop position. Monterrey still has lots of offense to cover Diaz and defensive ace C Bum Casey. Trenton gets Brewington, a player with good pop in his bat and can also run. Richard and Roberts are unspectacular but could be solid for the bullpen in time.