August 31 was the last day for teams to add players that they hope to be able to use in the postseason. Last year, the Astro’s acquired Justin Verlander from the Tigers just one month before they began their playoff journey. By the end of the season, he became one of the most important players on a World Series-winning team. August 31 acquisitions definitely matter, so let’s look at what’s happened on Friday.
Josh Donaldson Goes to Cleveland
By late Friday afternoon, it was clear that Toronto was going to trade Josh Donaldson, but the question was where he was going to land. Of course, we now know that Donaldson is headed to Cleveland for the rest of the season. Donaldson didn’t play in Saturday’s game, and he hasn’t played since May 28th due to a strained calf, but he’s reported to be returning to action sometime in the next week. This is good news for Cleveland. Donaldson is a free agent at the end of the season and is a really good hitter. The 2015 AL MVP hit a combined 111 homers from 2015-17 and ended the 2017 season on an absolute tear, hitting 24 homers and slashing .302/.406/.698 over his final 54 games.
Curtis Granderson to the Brewers
The Brewers’ waiver deadline binge finished with the acquisition of one of the most respected clubhouse presences in the big leagues. The question is how much Curtis Granderson has left to help the Brewers during the stretch run. The 37-year-old outfielder has compiled a decent, albeit unremarkable season in Toronto, slashing .243/.340/.429 with 11 homers in 348 plate appearances. He’ll likely serve as a fourth outfielder and pinch hitter for a team already employing Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, and Lorenzo Cain, but he adds to Milwaukee’s strong bench.
Dodgers Acquire Ryan Madson
Madson is a worthy boost for a tired Dodgers bullpen, but it remains unclear how healthy the 38-year-old righthander is. A year after producing a 1.86 ERA and 10.2 K/9 for the A’s and Nationals, Madson has battled injuries and ineffectiveness throughout 2018. He currently sits with a 5.28 ERA and a paltry 2.73 K/BB rate (compared to 7.44 last year) and is coming off of the disabled list due to shoulder irritation. Even with all of these red flags, the Dodgers are willing to take the risk. Since he was activated from the disabled list on Aug. 20, closer Kenley Jansen has a 15.75 ERA with four home runs allowed over four appearances.
Oakland Gets Cory Gearrin
Gearrin will play for his third team in 2018 and will add bullpen depth to an A’s team that may have to consider the Tampa Bay Rays’ bullpen strategy. In the last two weeks, Oakland has lost starting pitchers Sean Manaea and Brett Anderson to the disabled list. General manager David Forst conceded that the A’s are considering the bullpen strategy with some starters, so Gearrin exists as a bullpen reinforcement just in case manager Bob Melvin adopts that strategy.
What will this mean for the post-season? That’s anyone’s guess at this point, but it will certainly make for an entertaining October.