Dan Glickman writes about baseball at The Baseball Continuum and the Rochester Red Wings, particularly at Pickin’ Splinters. He’ll provide weekly updates on the AAA Nationals affiliate during the second half of the 2022 season and potentially beyond.
The Rochester Red Wings had a July to forget. After starting the season as one of the best teams in AAA, the Wings were dreadful, 7-17 in July. That includes 11 straight losses to finish the month.
With that in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that when I discuss the Red Wings this week, I’m mostly talking about Tuesday’s trade deadline. As I said last week, the story of the Rochester Red Wings this season may ultimately come down to what happens with Juan Soto. However, that was perhaps a bit too precise of a statement. Instead, the final months of the Red Wings season will probably be decided by the trade deadline.
Here’s the thing about the trade deadline in AAA when the team is a buyer or seller: some part of your team is going to change practically overnight. It could be as small as a player or two, or it could be seemingly a large chunk of the roster.
If your team is a buyer, you may suddenly see the roster’s best pitcher or hitter disappear. This happened at times when Rochester was a Minnesota Twins affiliate. If your team is a seller, it’s the opposite: suddenly, a new awesome player starts taking the field for you. This was the case for the Red Wings for a time last season when Keibert Ruiz arrived in the Scherzer/Turner trade and ran wild for a few weeks for the Red Wings before getting promoted.
Regardless of whether the AAA team is a buyer or seller, there will be roster moves if it involves the parent club in any way. On Monday, when the Nationals traded Ehire Adrianza to Atlanta for Trey Harris, they called infielder Ildemaro Vargas. With a major leaguer traded for a prospect, someone in AAA needed to go up, and Vargas was the player who got the call.
This is not lost on minor leaguers and other minor league personnel. On Saturday, after covering the Red Wings loss to Scranton, I ended my conversation with Wings manager Matthew LeCroy by asking about the trade deadline.
“I know it goes through some of these guys’ minds,” he said. “We got guys here who are younger guys, and we also have guys who are older. They know that at any point in time that if we make a big trade that their time here could be done, I understand that.”
“I also think guys understand that if we trade people that they may have a shot to go to the big leagues to play for the first time.”
On Tuesday, things like that will focus on the minor league level. If Soto is traded, an outfielder like Andrew Stevenson or Josh Palacios may be called up. If Josh Bell gets traded, it could mean a return to the majors for someone like Dee Strange-Gordon, or a long-awaited call for someone like Joey Meneses.