Central Intelligence is back after a week off. Our spot in the rotation got skipped last week due to the big Cueto news.

The trade deadline has come and gone. The Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs all made some nice upgrades, but didn’t make any moves that would blow up their farm systems. The Reds and Brewers both traded away some serious talent for prospects. The Reds traded ace Johnny Cueto to the Royals, and another solid SP Mike Leake to the Giants. Meanwhile, the Brewers made a big deal sending Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Astros, but that was just the beginning of their rebuild.

St. Louis Cardinals 67-38
Pittsburgh Pirates 61-43 5.5 GB
Chicago Cubs 57-47 9.5 GB
Cincinnati Reds 47-56 19.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 44-62 23.5 GB

Chicago Cubs



  • SP Dan Haren (from Marlins): 21 GS, 3.42, 4.58 FIP, 0.5 fWAR
  • RP Tommy Hunter (from O’s): 40 G, 45.1 IP, 3.57 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 0.5 fWAR

The Cubs acquired SP Dan Haren from the Marlins and RP Tommy Hunter from the Orioles. The Cubs didn’t have to give up all that much either, as they only had to lose Junior Lake and two lower level prospects. Lake couldn’t stick with the big league club this year, but had posted a 138 wRC+ at AAA.

The Cubs might not be done yet either. There is a report that they are considering a trade for Chase Utley via the waiver wire. Utley is currently on the DL, but is close to returning. He has struggled this year for the Phillies hitting just .179/.257/.275 with a 43 wRC+. The Cubs would obviously be hoping that it was just the injury that slowed him down. Utley has been an above average hitter in the big leagues every since 2004 (lowest wRC+ was last year’s 106).

The Cubs got a scare on Sunday as Kris Bryant had to leave the game because of dizziness after a hard slide. Early reports are that Bryant will be alright though.

On the field, after a slow start to the second half, the Cubs have won five straight games. The Cubs had a four game sweep of the Brewers over the weekend. They are still 9.5 GB back in the division, but they have caught up to the Giants, and are tied for the second wild card spot (4.0 GB the Pirates for the first wild card spot). The Cubs will have a huge week coming up. They will play three in Pittsburgh against the Pirates, before hosting the Giants for four games.

This Week:

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05) at Pirates
  • Thurs (8:05), Fri (4:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (2:20) vs Giants

Milwaukee Brewers



  • CF Carlos Gomez (to Astros)
  • SP Mike Fiers (to Astros)
  • OF Gerardo Parra (to Orioles)
  • 3B Aramis Ramirez (to Pirates)
  • RP Jonathan Broxton (to Cardinals)

The Brewers were big sellers at the deadline. They traded away Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, Gerardo Parra, and Aramis Ramirez. The Brewers shed some salary and got some big prospects back in return. The Brewers big return was OF Brett Phillips, who is the #39 overall prospect on MLB Pipeline, and is now the Brewers #2 prospect. They also got pitchers Zach Davies (Brewers #11 prospect). Josh Hader (Brewers #15 prospect), and Adrian Houser (Brewers #28 prospect).

The Brewers were involved in a crazy trade of Carlos Gomez to the Mets that fell through. Apparently the Mets didn’t like Carlos Gomez medical records, so they backed out after the trade had reported. Mets SS Wilmer Flores apparently got wind that he was traded to the Brewers in the middle of their game, and was seen crying in the dugout. He bizarrely never came out of the game.

On the field, the Brewers got swept in a four game series at the Cubs over the weekend, and have lost 8 of their last 10. The Brewers had tied the Reds up in the win column at one point, but are now 4.5 behind them in the NL Central basement.

This Week:

  • Mon (8:10), Tues (8:10), Wed (8:10), Thurs (2:10) vs Padres
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (7:10), Sun (2:10) vs Cardinals

Pittsburgh Pirates



  • 1B/OF Michael Morse (from Dodgers via Marlins): .213/.276/.313, 4 HR, 64 wRC+
  • SP J.A. Happ (from Mariners):  20 GS, 4.64 ERA, 4.07 FIP
  • RP Joakim Soria (from Tigers): 44 GS, 42.0 IP, 2.79 ERA, 4.87 FIP

The Pirates didn’t make any major moves, but they made some necessary moves. The Pirates gave up the once #27 overall prospect Jose Tabata for Michael Morse, who will likely platoon with Pedro Alvarez at 1B and be a good bench bat.

J.A. Happ will take the spot of A.J. Burnett, whose recent elbow injury could end his career. Joakim Soria will make the Pirates bullpen even stronger. The Pirates pen has a 2.88 ERA, which is the fifth best in the MLB. The Pirates only lost Adrian Sampson for Happ (who doesn’t even make the Mariners top 30 prospects), and JaCoby Jones for Soria (who is now the #13 prospect in the weak Tigers system).

The Pirates got in a big scuffle with the Reds on Sunday in Cincinnati. After Andrew McCuthen was hit by a pitch, the Pirates retaliated by hitting Brandon Phillips. The benches cleared, and a lot of shoving and yelling occurred. Sean Rodriguez was ejected from the Pirates, along with Byrd and Votto from the Reds. The two teams were warned, and then Mark Melancon hit Tucker Barnhart in the 9th inning, and was ejected. Clint Hurdle and catcher Francisco Cervelli were not happy.

The Pirates went 4-2 on the week, and have a four game cushion for the first wild card spot. The Pirates are still 5.5 games behind the Cardinals however. The Pirates will have a big week, as they host the Cubs and Dodgers.

This Week:

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05) vs Cubs
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (8:08) vs Dodgers

St. Louis Cardinals



  • 1B Brandon Moss (from Indians): .213/.283/.398, 15 HR, 89 wRC+
  • RP Steve Cishek (from Marlins): 35 G, 35.0 IP, 4.11 ERA, 3.54 FIP
  • RP Jonathan Broxton (from Brewers): 41 G, 37.2 IP, 5.73 ERA, 3.59 FIP

The Cardinals added Brandon Moss, who if he can get his season rolling could be a bigger upgrade at 1B or LF. The also added Cishek and Broxton to help a bullpen that already has the second best ERA in the MLB (2.35). Moss and Broxton might not seem like much, but Moss has a BABIP this season of only .259 (well below his career .293 mark), and Broxton has a FIP of 3.59, which says his ERA of 5.73 is very misleading.

The Cardinals did have to give up a lot for Moss. They parted with pitcher Rob Kaminsky, who is now listed as the Indians #3 prospect on MLB Pipeline. Both players the Cardinals traded for Cishek and Broxton were small prospects, as neither player cracked the Marlins or Brewers top 30 prospects.

The Cardinals have cooled off after their strong 7-1 start to the second half. The Cards are just 4-4 since, and that has come against the Braves, Reds, and Rockies.

This Week:

  • Tues (8:10), Wed (8:10) at White Sox
  • Thurs (7:15) vs Royals
  • Fri (8:15), Sat (7:15), Sun (2:15) vs Braves

 Nick’s Power Rankings

  1. St. Louis Cardinals

  2. Pittsburgh Pirates

  3. Chicago Cubs

  4. Cincinnati Reds ↑1

  5. Milwaukee Brewers ↓1

Players of the Week

Pitcher: Jon Lester, Cubs: 8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 14 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.59 FIP, 0.3 fWAR

Batter: Joey Votto, Reds: .389/.645/.722, 1 HR, 270 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR


All statistics include games played through 7/4/15, and used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index). Prospect rankings mostly courtesy of MLB Pipleline.

8 Responses

  1. Morgan Mayham

    Pirates also added Joe Blanton. He hit Byrd almost in face in saturdays game.

  2. Morgan Mayham

    I believe they traded or release vance worley?

  3. Tom Gray

    Although meaningless in 2015, I liked both Reds trades. For 2 SP who were going to leave as FA anyway, Reds acquired 3 LHP prospects and 1 RHP prospect (all with good chance to be MLB P) and solid MiLB power hitting 1B (and maybe LF).

    At least 3 of the acquisitions should be part of 2016 roster for Reds.

  4. Shchi Cossack

    The reviews for both the Cueto and Leake trades are mixed. Personally, I think WJ got pretty good (not great) value for Cueto and just OK value for Leake. The Royal went all in and got the ace they lacked for a major playoff push this season. The Giants scored big by adding Leake since the market for Leake just didn’t materialize. I’m not sure what WJ could have done to promote Leake any better, but that is part of the GM’s job.

    The biggest win at the trade deadline was not trading Bruce for an average major league starter, still not recovered from TJ surgery, with 3 years of team control remaining. Based on the reports I’ve seen, Wj was ready to pull the trigger on the trade, but BC squashed the trade. The reliability of those reports is certainly open to question.

    The biggest disappointment was not trading Chapman for the types of offers reported. This lack of opportunity pursuit I can somewhat understand from the context of the new TV contract negotiations, but with the aggregious utilization of Chapman by the Reds, not taking advantage of the type of offers that were reported seems like a big lost opportunity. Of course, the reliability of tyhose reports is also certainly open to question.

    • Tom Gray

      There is a good (or better) chance that Chapman and Bruce will be traded in the offseason for proven MLB players in return.

      • reaganspad

        trading Jay Bruce is just a stupid thing for a Reds club in need of outfielders who can hit and field at the ML level to do. The guy is hitting 260 having come all the way back from injury.

        The guy is a 30/100 machine and with the way he lined the double last night to LF, it shows that he is expanding his game and understanding of success.

        The guy has a 40 HR season in him, you hate that to be with another team.

        I say, lets stop all the talk about trading Jay Bruce, and go find another Jay Bruce to add to this team.

        apparently, it is easy for fans to become disgruntled with star players. We cannot sign free agents but we can sure trade some nice pitching trinkets for another Jay Bruce type player. Our Jay Bruce appears to be surplus so there must be a glut…

        Is say if hitting is such a premium today, extend Jay Bruce

      • Tom Gray

        I didn’t opine whether it was a good idea or not, just that there is a good chance it will be done over the winter.

  5. redsfan06

    Sounds like the Brewers did good with the returns for the players they traded.