The Louisville Long Rifles struck the first major deal of the 2018 season by acquiring star pitcher Max Scherzer from Toronto.
But the Dublin Guinness responded immediately and acquired Paul Goldschmidt in a blockbuster nine-player trade with Cactus Division leader Oakland.
Dublin, the reigning SL champion on a 10-game win streak that has forged a five-game lead over Louisville and St. Louis, sent Christian Yelich, Rhys Hoskins and Brett Gardner along with three draft picks and two prospects to Oakland.
The Athletes, up seven games in their division and tied with the Guinness for the SL’s best record at the time of the deal, included Michael Brantley, Trevor Rosenthal and Dominic Leone along with Goldschmidt.
Dublin’s response came after the Long Rifles struck their big deal, getting Scherzer along with Felipe Rivero and Chris Ianetta from the Tigers for a package of young talent that included Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani as a player to be named later.
A string of trades since Draft Day have several high profiles headed to new homes:
Adam Jones was moved for the second time this offseason, heading from Boston to Las Vegas along with Didi Gregorius for relief pitcher Carson Smith and a package of draft picks.
Louisville picked up George Springer from London, also getting Pedro Alvarez while parting with Julio Urias, Beau Burrows and Bryan Morris.
Boston then dealt a package of six players and two draft picks to Twin City to acquire Starling Marte, Rusney Castillo and aging starter Bartolo Colon.
Then Tijuana joined the mix by snaring Adam Eaton along with Jake Peavy by shipping pitcher Alex Wood and three picks – including two first-rounders – to Flagstaff.
The Louisville Long Rifles acquired a new pitcher for the top of their rotation, landing Jake Arrieta in an eight-player deal with Las Vegas.
Arrieta went 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA last season with the Gamblers, and he appears primed for an even better season in 2016. He joins a Louisville staff that posted a 4.92 ERA and was led in victories by Tyler Matzek‘s five.
In return, Las Vegas landed pitchers Nathan Eovaldi, Wade Miley, Aaron Sanchez, Sean Newcomb and infielder Wilmer Flores. The Gamblers also received seven draft picks, including the No. 3 choice in the upcoming draft and two No. 1 selections next year.
Louisville also gets Jesus Montero and Danny Santana in the exchange.
Louisville starting pitcher Wily Peralta had the roughest of starts, surrendering 17 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 20-7 loss to Compton.
The Outlawz jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Long Rifles tied it in the bottom of the third. Compton answered with 11 two-out runs off Peralta in the top of the fourth. Jason Werth’s tiebreaking RBI single and capped it with a three-run double, with a Wilson Ramos grand slam mixed in between.
Louisville stuck with Peralta to start the fifth and Kyle Seager launched a leadoff solo homer. After a ground out, Peralta plunked Mike Napoli to end his day as Nate Eovaldi entered.
A little over a week after adding an important rotation piece from Louisville, the Oakland Athletes did it again with a major deal to acquire Zack Greinke.
Oakland packaged first-round picks in each of the next three drafts and a player to be named later along with lefty Brett Anderson and prospect Braden Shipley to land Greinke and Mike Morin.
Japanese teenage phenom fireballer Shohei Otani is the PTBNL.
Greinke moves to the front of a rotation ahead of Dallas Keuchel and fellow newly former Long Rifle Phil Hughes.
The blockbuster move easily trumped an earlier Sunday trade that saw Vancouver add Odrisamer Despaigne in a five-player deal with Boston.
The Wildcats sent former Cleveland 15-game winner Trevor Cahill, infielder Alex Guerrero and prospect first baseman Max Muncy to the Braves for Despaigne, minor leaguer Kaleb Cowart and a sixth-round pick.
Despaigne slots into the middle of a deep Vancouver rotation with Chris Sale, Edinson Volquez, Kyle Lohse, Wei-Yin Chen and Hiroki Kuroda.