Even with a huge lead for the best record, Oakland was not content to stand pat. The Athletes added Sonny Gray to their rotation in a blockbuster trade with London.
The acquisition came at a hefty price for Oakland: the Arsenal get 2015 South League MVP Jose Altuve along with two players to be named later and two future first-round picks.
A month of silence on PGBL trade fronts ended when Chicago and Flagstaff swapped young outfielders Aaron Hicks and Dalton Pompey.
The Elk also picked up a fifth-round pick in the upcoming draft along with Pompey in exchange for Hicks, who hit .198 with six homers and 29 RBIs in 118 games over two seasons with Flagstaff. Pompey has yet to make his PGBL debut.
The trade was the first in the league since London sent Adam Jones, Yordano Ventura and Zach Wheeler to Boston for prospect infielder Corey Seager, the third major move of the offseason for the Arsenal.
Miguel Cabrera is returning to the Confederate Division with the Memphis Melee, who acquired him in a deal with London.
The Melee sent outfielder Joc Pederson to the Arsenal in exchange for Cabrera, Trevor Plouffe and a future second-round draft pick. Pederson has yet to make his PGBL debut.
London gave up four players and two picks to get Cabrera from Louisville before last season. He hit .266 with 22 homers in his lone season with the Arsenal a year after hitting .356 with 51 homers and 145 RBIs for the Long Rifles.
Fresh off their first PGBL World Series championship, the St. Louis Clydesdales made the first move of the offseason, trading outfielder Yasiel Puig to London for outfielder Jason Heyward, infielder Rougned Odor and three future high draft picks.
Puig hit .292 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in the regular season for St. Louis, but only hit .230 with 5 RBIs and no homers in the postseason run. As a rookie in 2014, he hit .337 with 25 homers and 110 RBIs.
Heyward hit .269 over 4 1/2 seasons with the Arsenal, averaging 16 homers and 66 RBIs. Odor has yet to make his PGBL debut. London also set a 3rd round pick in 2017, a 2nd in 2019 and a 1st in 2020 to St. Louis.
The Compton Outlawz got aggressive in their Confederate Division race with St. Louis, swinging a pair of deals that netted Hyun-Jin Ryu, Koji Uehara, Matt Joyce and Drew Stubbs.
Compton sent star outfielder Adam Jones (right) to London along with minor league pitcher Brian Johnson and a draft pick to get Ryu, Uehara and Stubbs. The Outlawz then sent Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison to Vancouver for Joyce, Chad Qualls and minor league catcher Reese McGuire in a deal that included a pick on each side.
Ryu, who struggled to a 3-7 record with a 5.82 ERA with the Arsenal, will take Cobb’s spot in the rotation, while Uehara joins a bullpen that has gotten strong first halves from Dellin Betances (3-1, 1.60, 16 saves) and Jordan Walden (1.04, 4 saves).
Offensively, Joyce and Stubbs will form a platoon tandem looking to improve on Jones’ .249/.277/.449 triple slash that included 14 homers, second only to Chris Carter‘s 16 for Compton. Stubbs hit .429 against lefties and .387 overall for London, while Joyce posted a .280/.390/.415 triple slash with five homers in Vancouver.
Cobb (left) missed three weeks with an injury but went 5-3 with a 3.65 ERA for Compton. He moves into a rotation getting strong seasons from Chris Sale (8-3, 2.65), Odrisamer Despaigne (5-5, 1.98) and Edinson Volquez (6-4, 2.77). Vancouver trails Norris Division co-leaders Chicago and Pittsburgh by 1 1/2 games in the quest for a wildcard berth.