The July 31st major league baseball trade deadline has passed, and it did not lack excitement. Several blockbuster deals revamped teams and shed them in a new light. Taking a look back, here are the winners and losers of the deadline:
Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers won the fight for Manny Machado, and upgraded a retiring Logan Forsythe with Brian Dozier. Both will be free agents at the end of the season, and the Dodgers only gave up 1 top 15 prospect from within their system. Their team doesn’t lose the strong majority of it’s top prospects while solidifying themselves as the team to beat in the NL.
Loser: New York Mets
The Mets have made it clear that they still want to contend next season, but realistically, that’s a terrible decision. I get it, they’d be better if their team could stay healthy, but HOW MUCH better? They’re 19 games under .500, and it’s not like the Phillies and Braves are going to be worse next season. I mean, if they’re seriously going to try that, why not trade Mesoraco and Bautista, who are purely rentals?
The Mets had the chance to sell Degrom, Wheeler, Matz, and Syndergaard, and give their fans something to look forward to in the future, but instead they only shipped Familia and Cabrera out for a couple of “possibly-major-league-ready” relievers.
Winner: Baltimore Orioles
When it comes to prospects, it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket. That is to say, it’s safer and smarter to have 30 good prospects rather than 1 great prospect, and no one followed this mentality better than Baltimore.
The Orioles sold 6 highly sought players in Machado, Britton, Schoop, Brach, O’Day, and Gausman. In return, GM Dan Duquette netted 15 players plus more than $250,000 international slot money. They knew that their season was done, and did a better job at starting their team over than most teams even could have dreamed of.
Loser: Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox made 3 trades this deadline, and all seemed to be perfect. Steve Pearce was acquired to help bat against lefties, and has done just that, posting an OPS north of 1.000. Nathan Eovaldi was traded for to replace an injured Eduardo Rodriguez, and he’s gone 2-0 without allowing a run so far. Even Ian Kinsler was the perfect infield fit with Rafael Devers hitting the DL.
However, none of these are what the Red Sox need: Bullpen help. Craig Kimbrel has become the only consistently reliable guy coming out of the pen, and to think that Eovaldi or Pearce will continue this pace of play is foolish. There inability to upgrade their bullpen may come back to bite them in October.
Winner: Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are really setting themselves up beautifully for the future. Tommy Pham was probably the biggest steal of the trade deadline. His numbers are down from his MVP candidate season last year, but his improved hard contact rate suggests that that won’t be that way for long. They gave up very little for someone who posted a 3/4/5 slashline last season and is affordable for the next 3 years.
They also, to my shock, dealt Chris Archer, and got a great haul back. Austin Meadows is one of the better rookies in all of baseball this year, and Tyler Glasnow had been a top ranked prospect for Pittsburgh.
Loser: Atlanta Braves
The Braves had one glaring issue to fix: the bullpen. They went for it, trading for 4 new wings to help them out, but frankly none of them are all that good. Johnny Venters is a toss up with his injuries, Brad Brach is having by far the worst season of his career, and Kevin Gausman is a terrible starting pitcher option. Oh, and let’s not forget Darren O’Day, whose out for the season with a torn hamstring. Considering how stacked the reliever market was this season, it’s disappointing to see a true contender such as the Braves miss out on their opportunity.
Winner: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies seemed to fill every hole they needed to. They got one of the best infield bats they could have in Asdrubal Cabrera, one of the best offensive catchers this year in Wilson Ramos, and finally got the lefty reliever arm they needed, even if it is someone as mediocre as Aaron Loup. With the Braves hot on their tails, they solved every problem they had rather well and gave themselves a little breathing room.
Loser: St. Louis Cardinals
The Tommy Pham trade is just baffling to me. Your team is GOOD, there’s no need to sell a guy whose one year removed from batting .306 with a .931 OPS, who NOT TO MENTION is costing you just half a million dollars. Yes, you’re probably missing the playoffs this season, and there’s not too much wrong in selling a couple bullpen arms like Tuivailala, but trading Pham for such lackluster prospects was a terrible call.