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MLB Rankings For The Week Beginning August 11

By RealGM Staff Report

The Opsera is a statistic RealGM Executive Editor Chris Reina created in order to objectively rank teams by how well they hit (OPS) and pitch (ERA). 

In order to determine the Opsera rating for each, we take their OPS, multiply that number by 10 to move the decimal point over one place to the right and then subtract their ERA from that number.  

All statistics are through Sunday, August 10.

Rankings from last week are in parenthesizes.

1. (1) Oakland Athletics – 4.08

The Athletics have a 99.6% chance of making the postseason, the highest in baseball.

2. (3) Los Angeles Dodgers – 3.91

If anyone can rival Oakland's balanced attack it's the Dodgers. They rank seventh in OPS (.724) and fifth in ERA (3.33).

3. (2) Washington Nationals – 3.85

Anthony Rendon has been Washington's most valuable offensive player with a .277/.333/.465 slash line and 3.3 oWAR.

4. (6) Seattle Mariners – 3.74

Robinson Cano is hitting .330/.399/.465, but Seattle has still struggled offensively. The second baseman's power numbers are at their lowest since 2008.

5. (4) Los Angeles Angels – 3.69

Mike Trout (6.2) leads all of baseball in WAR, but the Angels have depth with four other players that rank among the Top 40 in the AL -- Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols.

6. (T8) Baltimore Orioles – 3.64

7. (5) Detroit Tigers – 3.63

T8. (7) Milwaukee Brewers – 3.55

-- (12) Pittsburgh Pirates – 3.55

10. (13) Toronto Blue Jays – 3.51

11. (14) Tampa Bay Rays – 3.48

T12. (T8) Atlanta Braves – 3.41

-- (16) Cincinnati Reds – 3.41

14. (11) San Francisco Giants – 3.38

15. (15) Cleveland Indians – 3.37

16. (19) Kansas City Royals – 3.33

17. (T8) St. Louis Cardinals – 3.32

18. (23) San Diego Padres – 3.23

19. (20) New York Yankees – 3.16

20. (17) New York Mets – 3.15

21. (T21) Miami Marlins – 3.03

22. (24) Chicago Cubs – 3.00

23. (18) Boston Red Sox – 2.96

24. (T21) Chicago White Sox – 2.85

25. (25) Colorado Rockies – 2.73

26. (27) Philadelphia Phillies – 2.70

27. (26) Arizona Diamondbacks – 2.69

28. (28) Minnesota Twins – 2.62

29. (29) Houston Astros – 2.53

30. (30) Texas Rangers – 2.20


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Grading The Deal: Tigers Land Price From Rays, Mariners Get Involved

By Andrew Perna

The Detroit Tigers, in a literal arms race with the Oakland Athletics for American League supremacy, have acquired David Price in a three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners.

As it got closer to Thursday afternoon’s deadline, the Rays became more serious about moving Price, who can become a free agent after the 2015 season. For the Tigers, adding Price to their rotation helps them compete now while also giving them a potential replacement for Max Scherzer, who will hit the open market this winter.

The Mariners will receive Austin Jackson from the Tigers, while Tampa Bay’s return for their ace was Nick Franklin (Seattle), Drew Smyly (Detroit) and shortstop prospect Willy Adames (Detroit).

Franklin didn’t appear to have a future in Seattle following the blockbuster signing of Robinson Cano this past winter and adding Jackson to help grease the wheels for Detroit and Tampa Bay is a nice yield. Franklin hasn’t hit well at the Major League level in 2014, but his Triple-A numbers (.294/.392/.455) have been very promising.

Despite adding Cano, the Mariners have struggled offensively. Only three teams have scored fewer runs this season and they rank second-to-last in OPS (.668).

Grade for Mariners: B+

Jackson is under team control through the 2016 season and his .727 OPS will help Seattle even though it’s the second lowest of his career. Two seasons ago he had a .856 OPS, while also hitting 16 home runs, and his glove will fit nicely in the Mariners’ outfield as well.

Detroit adds Price, a certifiable No. 1, to a rotation that already includes Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez. Rick Porcello, now the team’s fifth starter, has a 3.25 ERA this season. The price for the left-hander -- pun intended -- was their starting center fielder, previous fifth starter and a shortstop prospect that recently drew raves.

Just 18, Adames was one of the best prospects in a shallow Detroit farm system and the youngest everyday player in the Midwest League. There is time for the Rays to nurture him into something greater than expected, but he is not yet among the game’s top-level prospects.

The Tigers clearly felt as though adding Price made sense after the Athletics dealt for Lester earlier in the day. There are teams with more wins, but Detroit is considered the main threat to Oakland in the American League postseason. The four-man rotations that could be featured in the ALCS would be epic.

Grade for Detroit: A

Detroit didn’t get Price for a song-and-dance, but the cost wasn’t overwhelming either. Jackson has regressed since 2012 and Adames isn’t a guarantee to develop into a Major League player. Smyly, 25, has been very good already with only 35 starts to his name, but the chance to add a former Cy Young winner for approximately 40 starts was a great one.

When reports surfaced that the Rays would deal Price before the deadline it was assumed that teams were starting to impress them with packages unlike anything they had seen in the preceding weeks. The expectation was that Tampa Bay would get at least two Grade A prospects for the soon-to-be 29-year-old; instead the haul included no such players.

Franklin and Smyly give the Rays the ability to see the fruits of Price's value immediately, but the relative uncertainty surrounding Adames makes the deal a risky one. Did the market for a Cy Young winner dry up a bit because of all the starters that either changed hands or were reportedly made available? What would Andrew Friedman have been offered this winter if he had held onto Price just a little bit longer? Did Tampa Bay wait too long?

Grade for Rays: C-

While Smyly and Franklin are no longer prospects, there is potential growth there. Ben Zobrist's name was mentioned in rumors this week and while he wasn't traded, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that the Rays see Franklin as a future utility player in the Zobrist mold -- strong bat with the ability to play a handful of positions.

Smyly has a 3.46 ERA, 1.219 WHIP and 262 strikeouts (81 walks) in 275.2 Major League innings since debuting in 2012. Pitching out of the bullpen last year, the left-hander had a 2.37 ERA and averaged 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He's still getting comfortable as a starter.

The haul isn't a bad one, but you assumed the Rays would get more for a veteran with a 3.18 ERA, 1.142 WHIP and a 3.45 K/BB ratio over seven seasons.

Grading The Deal: Red Sox Send Lackey To Cardinals For Craig, Kelly

By Andrew Perna

Shortly after trading Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes, the Boston Red Sox sent another member of their 2013 World Series starting rotation packing.

Boston dealt Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. Lackey is the second starter the defending National League champions have acquired this week. They landed Justin Masterson in a trade with the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.

Lackey, who will turn 36 in October, has pitched well for the second-straight season coming off Tommy John surgery. He had a 3.60 ERA, 1.231 WHIP and 116 strikeouts (32 walks) in 137.1 innings for the Red Sox.

If you rank them by WAR, Lackey becomes the third-best starter in the Cardinals’ rotation. He contributed 1.6 WAR to the Red Sox, while Adam Wainwright (4.8) and Lance Lynn (1.7) have done more for St. Louis to this point. If Michael Wacha returns healthy in September as expected, the Cardinals will feature a strong playoff rotation with a nice mix of veterans, stars at their peak and youngsters.

St. Louis is in a race with the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates for the NL Central crown. Of those three teams, the Cardinals did the most to boost their chances ahead of Thursday’s deadline.

In addition to Lackey, the Cardinals also acquired minor league left-hander Corey Littrell and cash from the Red Sox.

Lackey is owed a little more than $5 million over the remainder of the season, but could pitch for peanuts in 2015. There is an option in his deal at just $500,000 and he reportedly told the Cardinals that he intends to honor it. That means St. Louis will pay the right-hander less than $6 million (not taking cash received into account) for roughly 40 starts. That’s a bargain in today’s economic landscape.

Grade for St. Louis: B+

The Cardinals won’t pay Lackey much, but they did trade two Major League-tested players for him. Craig has struggled, but many believe his issues are mechanical and can be rectified with work. He is owed more than $26 million through the 2017 season and if he returns to usual form -- .306/.358/.492 in 1,420 plate appearances -- would be a nice piece for what has become a revamped Boston roster.

Craig spends some time in the outfield, which is a position of organizational strength for the Cardinals. Even after trading James Ramsey to the Cleveland Indians in the Masterson deal, they have a few impressive outfield prospects in the pipeline. This trade could mean Oscar Taveras becomes the team’s everyday right fielder. Perhaps in a harbinger of things to come, Taveras homered against the San Diego Padres just hours after the deal.

Kelly is under team control through the 2018 season and despite a disappointing effort in 2014, he provides an intriguing option in the rotation. At 26 and with just 38 Major League starts under his belt, he is still finding his way on the mound. His 4.37 ERA, 1.457 WHIP and 2.50 K/BB ratio this year aren’t very reassuring, but Ben Cherington is banking on that being an aberration.

Grade for Red Sox: B-

At current face value, Craig and Kelly don’t seem like much of a return, but they provide long-term value for the Red Sox. That is especially the case if they are able cure what has ailed the duo this season. Lackey would have been an incredibly cheap and effective starter in 2015, but instead they are able to plug two holes.

Craig, who can also play first base and seems like a perfect replacement for David Ortiz at DH if he ever retires or moves on, will provide an offensive jolt to an outfield that also added Cespedes on Thursday. The combination of Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Cespedes can help mask any defensive shortcomings Craig has in the Fenway Park outfield.

Amid a disappointing season, the Red Sox are attempting to quickly retool for 2015. In a matter of hours they turned Lester and Lackey, who have one combined season left on their contracts, into three Major Leaguers under team control for a combined eight seasons.

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