Boulder fortifies playoff run with deadline deals

The Boulder Tree Huggers were late to the trade deadline party but still left with the prettiest girls.

Underused slugging utility infielder Sean Rodriguez, slugging first-round pick shortstop Trevor Story and top-flight starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez will be joining the Tree Huggers in time for the 60-game sprint to the finish, acquired at the July 28 trade deadline following a month that saw Boulder climb into first place in the Westbound Division.

Boulder gave up lefty Alex Wood to Dyersville in exchange; Wood today, with somewhat limited innings, has the best OPS in baseball (.518) among starting pitchers. And to Destin it sent unused all-star outfielder Justin Upton, while also acquiring shutdown closer Kelvin Herrera (who only has 16 innings remaining).

“I wasn’t planning on making any trades,” said Head Hugger John Renbarger, “but with a little luck I feel I was able to really bolster my team for this year at the expense of the future.”

Five total deals were consummated on deadline night:

  • Boulder sends OF Michael Saunders, P Alex Wood and P Colin Rea to Dyersville for P Aaron Sanchez and SS Trevor Story.
  • Destin sends IF Sean Rodriguez and RP Kelvin Herrera to Boulder for OF Justin Upton and RP Fernando Abad.
  • New New York sends RP Jeremy Jeffress to Superior for P Matt Boyd.
  • Margaritaville sends P Adam Wainwright to New New York for P Matt Moore.
  • Destin sends OF Yoenis Cespedes to Bushwood for 3B Mike Moustakas.

The deals helped set the stage for a frantic turn for the homestretch, which sees nine teams sporting 50 wins or more and 12 of the league’s 15 teams still in the playoff hunt with 48 or more wins. Four of those nine teams reside in the Northbound Division, lead by the best-record-in-the-league Margaritaville VolScorpions. (All of the Volcanoes plus anybody who was worth a darn on the Savannah Scorpions this year.) Springfield, on the heels of a 15-win month, and muscling-up Bushwood (a 12-win June) are looking strong at 56 wins, and the rookie-managed Tatooine Rebels are in the hunt with 52 wins.

But the division with the tightest race is the Southbound, where West Atlanta, barely treading water at 51-49, holds a one-game lead over 50-50 Dyersville, which spent deadline deal night setting itself up for next season. Defending division champ South Grand Prairie lies in wait just one game back at 49-51.

In the Westbound Division, Boulder took advantage of Applegate’s 5-15 death spiral to leap into first place with 11 wins at 56-44. Superior also posted 11 wins to nudge above the .500 mark, one back of Applegate and five back of Boulder.

BOULDER 56 44 .560
WEST ATLANTA 51 49 .510
SPRINGFIELD 56 44 .560 +4
BUSHWOOD 56 44 .560 +4
TATOOINE 52 48 .520
APPLEGATE 52 48 .520
SUPERIOR 51 49 .510 -1
DYERSVILLE 50 50 .500 -2
S. GRAND PRAIRIE 49 51 .490 -3
DESTIN 49 51 .490 -3
SATELLITE BEACH 48 52 .480 -4
SAVANNAH 46 54 .460 -6

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