The surging Pittsburgh Pirates are intent on making a run at a playoff spot.
The Pirates bolstered the front end of their rotation at the non-waiver deadline on Tuesday, adding Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer while sending the Rays a couple of coveted prospects in outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow and a player to be named.
Archer, a two-time all-star, is 3-5 with a 4.31 earned-run average in 17 starts this season for the Rays. The 29-year-old gives the Pirates a significant jolt in experience in a rotation that includes three starters — Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove — 26 or younger.
The move is the second significant trade by the Pirates ahead of the non-waiver deadline. Pittsburgh acquired Texas Rangers closer Keone Kela early Tuesday for left-handed pitching prospect Taylor Hearn and a player to be named. The trades came at the end of a torrid 15-4 run by the club that pulled Pittsburgh within 3 1/2 games of a wild-card spot heading into a two-game set with the National League Central-leading Chicago Cubs.
Pittsburgh, which was the only team to not sign a free agent during the off-season despite parting with established stars Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen, assumes the remaining $2,049,731 in Archer’s $6.25 million US salary.
Archer receives a $500,000 assignment bonus for the trade. His deal includes a $7.5 million salary for 2019, a $9 million team option for 2020 with a $1.75 million buyout and an $11 million club option for 2021 with a $250,000 buyout.
The Pirates, who have been reluctant to part with young prospects in recent years at the deadline, gave up a pair of promising talents in Meadows and Glasnow.
Meadows, a first-round pick in the 2013 draft, hit .292 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 49 for the Pirates after making his major league debut on May 17. The 24-year-old Glasnow dominated as a starter in the minors but struggled as a starter during his first season-plus in Pittsburgh, going 2-7 with a 7.69 ERA in 15 games (13 starts) in 2017.
The Pirates moved Glasnow to the bullpen this season with better results. The 6-foot-8 right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA in 34 appearances.
Pham, Ramos switch leagues
The Rays also shipped all-star catcher Wilson Ramos, whose contract expires after the season, to the Philadelphia Phillies and acquired outfielder Tommy Pham from the St. Louis Cardinals before Tuesday’s deadline.
Tampa Bay also traded minor league lefty Hunter Schryver to the Chicago White Sox for international bonus money.
The Rays moved outfielder Justin Williams, left-handed pitcher Genesis Cabrera and right-handed pitcher Roel Ramirez to St. Louis for Pham while also receiving international cap space.
Pham, 30, has been a member of the Cardinals organization since being drafted in 2006. He was batting .248 this season with 14 home runs and 41 RBI as St. Louis opened the day seven games out of the National League Central lead during a season in which the team has already fired manager Mike Matheny.
Williams, 22, is a left-handed hitting outfielder who was batting .258 for the triple-A Durham Bulls.
Cabrera, 21, is 7-6 mark with a 4.12 earned-run average in 21 games for double-A Montgomery of the Southern League and Ramirez, 23, was 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 26 games as a reliever for the Montgomery Biscuits.
There had already been a flurry of moves this week, including closers Roberto Osuna (to Houston) and Ken Giles (to Toronto) switching teams, Seattle picking up Adam Warren and Zach Duke, Lance Lynn joining the New York Yankees, Adam Duvall moving to Atlanta and Ian Kinsler added to the Boston Red Sox.
Dodgers bolster infield with Dozier
The National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers kept revamping their infield, getting power-hitting second baseman Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins for infielder Logan Forsythe and two minor leaguers.
Dozier will join a Dodgers team that’s in a tight race with Arizona, aiming for a return trip to the World Series. The Dodgers went all in by acquiring Baltimore shortstop Manny Machado during the all-star break for five prospects.
The Twins also got outfielder Luke Raley and left-hander Devin Smeltzer for Dozier.
Though the 31-year-old Dozier’s production has dropped off this year, he has 161 home runs in six seasons as a regular in the lineup. In 2016, Dozier went deep 42 times, becoming only the fourth player in major league history to hit 40 or more home runs while playing second base.
Dozier is batting .224 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI this season, with a .708 on-base-plus-slugging percentage that’s his lowest since he was a rookie in 2012.
Orioles ship Schoop to Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired second baseman Jonathan Schoop for two prospects in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles.
Schoop is the second infielder to be acquired in the last few days after Milwaukee traded for third baseman Mike Moustakas from Kansas City. The plan then was for left-handed hitting third baseman Travis Shaw to shift to second base. Schoop gives the Brewers a right-handed option at second.
Braves acquire right-hander Gausman
The Atlanta Braves have acquired right-handers Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day from Baltimore in exchange for four prospects.
The 27-year-old Gausman is 5-8 with a 4.43 earned-run average in 21 games started for Baltimore. He is under team control through 2020.
The Orioles acquired triple-A Gwinnett right-hander Evan Phillips, Class A Rome infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion and two double-A Mississippi prospects — catcher Brett Cumberland and left-hander Bruce Zimmerman. Baltimore also received international signing bonus slot money.
O’Day is on the 60-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He has a 3.60 ERA and two saves in 20 games for Baltimore this season.
In other moves:
- Badly needing outfield help, the Cleveland Indians have acquired centre-fielder Leonys Martin from the Detroit Tigers. Cleveland also received right-hander Kyle Dowdy in the deal Tuesday in exchange for shortstop prospect Willi Castro.
- Right-handed reliever Brad Ziegler has been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who bolstered their bullpen for the pennant race and gave up double-A reliever Tommy Eveld to the Miami Marlins. Ziegler, 38, is 1-5 with a 3.98 earned-run average this season.
- Seattle acquired centre-fielder Cameron Maybin from the Miami Marlins for minor league infielder Bryson Brigman and international slot money. Maybin, 31, is batting .251 with three homers, 20 RBI and eight stolen bases in 99 games this season.
- The Washington Nationals traded reliever Brandon Kintzler to the Chicago Cubs for minor league pitcher Jhon Romero. Kintzler, who turns 34 on Wednesday, was 1-2 with two saves and a 3.59 ERA in 45 games this season.