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2021 MLB trade deadline tracker: Starling Marte goes from Miami to Oakland

The MLB trade deadline picked up some serious steam on Tuesday thanks to Seattle Mariners’ GM Jerry Dipoto and the Yankees offloading relief pitching. The hot stove shows no signs of cooling down, and with a flurry of early moves on Wednesday, impending free agents, prospects and good players on bad teams need to be on high alert.

Here’s a roundup of all the notable moves that have happened since the baseball world woke up on Wednesday, July 28, two days before the deadline officially hits on Friday.

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A’S TRADE HIGHLY TOUTED YOUNG PITCHER FOR MARTE

Starling Marte is on the move, but he’s not coming to the Yankees. The outfielder who armchair GM’s pinpointed as a logical replacement for Brett Gardner will instead set up shop in the Bay Area. Miami traded Marte and cash considerations to Oakland for Jesus Luzardo.

Starling Marte is leaving Miami.
Starling Marte is leaving Miami. (Terrance Williams/AP)

Including this season, Marte has been worth at least 3.0 Wins Above Replacement in each of the last three non-pandemic seasons. The 32-year-old is still raking this year, to the tune of a .305/.405/.451 line. With good defense in the outfield as well, Marte is a definite boost for the A’s, a team that has made six playoff appearances since advancing to their last ALCS in 2006.

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To get Marte, the A’s gave up a former top-20 prospect. In 2019, MLB.com ranked Luzardo as the 18th-best prospect on the planet. He debuted that year with six starts down the stretch and a performance in the Wild Card game that looked to announce his legitimacy. He’s hit a rough patch since then, spending the last month in Triple-A. He is still just 23 years old though and fits nicely in the Marlins’ future-oriented plans, which now includes a school of promising pitchers.

REDS BUILDING BIG, BAD BULLPEN

The Reds are not stopping at Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson. One day after nabbing the former Yankee relievers, Cincinnati announced the acquisition of right-handed relief arm Mychal Givens.

Givens, a seven-year veteran who spent five and a half seasons with the Orioles, was enjoying a mostly anonymous season in Colorado. He was striking out 10.31 hitters per nine innings with the Rockies. Cincinnati swapped two minor league pitchers to get Givens, who also has experience pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Cincinnati’s relievers entered Wednesday with a league-worst 5.36 collective ERA. Despite the heart attack bullpen, though, the Reds are still in the race. They’re the first team on the outside looking in at the second Wild Card spot. The Reds are six games behind San Diego as of Wednesday morning, and they addressed one of the most glaring weaknesses in all of baseball.

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MARINERS ADD TO STARTING ROTATION, SUBTRACT FROM BULLPEN

Before Seattle’s game on Tuesday night against their AL West bullies from Houston, the Mariners sent one of their best relievers across the field. Kendall Graveman, who had an 0.82 ERA in 33 innings for the Mariners this season, joined the Astros’ clubhouse just hours before game time. In return, the Mariners received 24-year-old utilityman Abraham Toro and rubber armed reliever Joe Smith.

Dipoto acknowledged himself that the move didn’t make much sense on its surface (why trade from their strength to help a division rival improve on a weakness?), but that his vision would become much clearer after other moves came across the wire. One of those happened during the game, when Seattle announced that Tyler Anderson would be joining them as well. Anderson, a left-handed starter who’d spent 2021 with the pitiful Pittsburgh Pirates, will bring his fastball-cutter-changeup arsenal back to the Pacific Northwest, where he attended the University of Oregon. Dipoto landed Anderson without giving up Toro, perhaps indicating that he views him as a potential replacement for longtime Mariner third baseman Kyle Seager.

Seattle shipped Double-A catcher Carter Bins and 18-year-old Panamanian pitcher Joaquin Tejada to the Pirates’ organization to complete the trade. The Astros executed another deal for a reliever on Wednesday when they got Yimi Garcia from Miami for right-handed pitcher Austin Pruitt and budding outfielder Bryan De La Cruz. The move makes sense for both sides, as Houston is clearly going bullpen-centric at the deadline and De La Cruz has an .880 OPS in Triple-A, giving the Marlins another intriguing block in their rebuilding process.

RAYS TAKE FIRST SHOT

The biggest move thus far went down on July 22 when the Rays scooped up Nelson Cruz to fill their hole at designated hitter.

Tampa Bay is not the only club making an unapologetic push toward a desired World Series berth though. The Mets reinforced their starting rotation by bringing in 41-year-old wizard Rich Hill in a separate deal with those very same Rays.

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