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Major League Baseball’s trade deadline is officially over and done with. Some teams pulled the trigger on a big trade, while others stood pat and didn’t buy or sell. Baseball now has their script for the rest of season and it’s time to see how it plays out.
Of course we should still see who, on paper, won and lost this year’s trade frenzy. So let’s do that:
Winners: Top Of The American League East
We expected every team in the American League East to buy, and technically, we were right. The thing is, the top three teams (at time of writing) made the most substantial moves.
Both the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles added pitching to help fuel their arms race with Aaron Civale and Jack Flaherty, respectively. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays snagged infielder Paul DeJong from the St. Louis Cardinals in an attempt to bolster the middle of the field.
Each team recognized something they could use, then went out and got it. They didn’t get flashy: they stuck with proven tactics to get the job done.
Losers: The Bottom Of The American League East
There’s a fine line between disappointing (Boston Red Sox) and bad (New York Yankees). Neither one is good, but there is a difference between the two.
Boston fans feel disappointed because they made one move, and that was for infielder Luis Urias. While the move was a positive, they could have used another starting pitcher to bolster the back end of their rotation, as well as a left handed hitting infielder. Fans can take solace in the fact that they’ll have several names including pitcher Chris Sale and shortstop Trevor Story in the next week or two, but still it’s disappointing.
Then there’s the New York Yankees who needed to do something. New York needed help at catcher, in the outfield and on the mound. Instead they wound up with a relief pitcher. With the final Wild Card spot being so close for New York, this surely feels like a punt by general manager Brian Cashman.
Winners: Miami Marlins
Miami is very close to a wild card spot, and needed to get some extra firepower to get there. Acquiring first baseman Josh Bell and third baseman Jake Burger were huge gets in terms of power. Also adding pitcher David Robertson helped solidify the bullpen.
They’ll likely be in a war with the Philadelphia Phillies (who acquired pitcher Michael Lorenzen and infielder Rodolfo Castro at the deadline) until the end of the season. However, moves like the ones Miami made can go a long way in terms of playoff pushes.
Losers: New York Mets
Yes, the New York Mets lost at the trade deadline. Yes, both New York teams were losers at the trade deadline. Finally, yes, the Mets’ season is over.
Everyone knew the Metropolitans were going to sell, however it feels like they didn’t sell enough. Trading pitchers Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and David Robertson, as well as outfielder Mark Cahna were good calls and allowed them to get some really intriguing prospects, but there was more to be had. Catcher Omar Narvaez, pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Jose Quintana, and designated hitter Dan Vogelbach could have gotten them more ammunition for offseason trades while shedding salary.
Met fans think this is the step towards getting upcoming free agent Shohei Ohtani, when realistically, this looks more like a philosophy change. Scherzer’s exiting comments hinted at a realization their fans won’t like. That comment: “I talked to Billy (Eppler, Mets general manager), He goes, ‘No, we’re not. Basically our vision now is for 2025-2026, ‘25 at the earliest, more like ‘26.”
Winners: Texas Rangers
The rich get richer. The Texas Rangers didn’t really need pitching help, but they sure got it in the forms of Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery. Texas also was able to snag catcher Austin Hedges from the Pittsburgh Pirates, adding another depth piece to a good unit.
Texas is a top five team in baseball right now, and while they’re locked in a duel with the Houston Astros for the American League West, their reload may have just given them a slight edge. Slight may not sound like much, but considering how good the Houston Astros have been over the last few seasons, that should say something. The way things are going, we may be heading for a showdown at sundown between these two cowboys.
Losers: Los Angeles Angels
Do you remember in high school that one guy who had a huge crush on a girl and would stop at nothing to try and win her heart? The guy who changed everything about himself, tried to go from nerdy kid to rivaling the star quarterback on the football team, and everything in between? That’s what the Los Angeles Angels feel like right now with Shohei Ohtani’s future hanging in the balance.
While not mathematically eliminated from the American League West or Wild Card races, it’s hard to see Los Angeles really making enough of a push to go far in the playoffs, should they get there. With Ohtani flat out saying that he wants to win, it makes him staying in Los Angeles a long shot at this juncture. They may have been better off trying to prepare for the future, which no team wants to hear, but may be the reality they’ll have to face.
Winners: National League Central
The entire National League Central had an impactful trade deadline. Each team knew what they had to do and did it.
The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers knew they needed a bat each, so they got one (third baseman Jeimer Candelario and Mark Cahna, respectively). Cincinnati knew they didn’t have to use their future to buy wins this season and stood pat. Finally, the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals recognized the core pieces for them to build around and sold what they can to at least start construction.
All five of these teams must have been blasting Ice Cube afterwards, because today was a good day.
Losers: San Diego Padres
The movie Titanic plays on Paramount Network every so often and every time I see even the littlest bit of it, the comparison of the San Diego Padres comes to mind. Both were built to be the biggest and strongest, both were built by someone trying to make their name synonymous with their field, and both sank because of miscalculations from those in a leadership position. The only difference: at least one of them had Leonardo DiCaprio in it.
San Diego, while still in the race for the Wild Card are continuing to underperform. Yet, they felt the need to go into buy mode, acquiring pitcher Rich Hill from Pittsburgh and first baseman Garrett Cooper from Miami. With players like pitchers Josh Hader, Michael Wacha, Blake Snell and Seth Lugo, as well as third baseman Matt Carpenter hitting free agency following the season, what was the plan?
General manager A.J. Preller is basically trying to scoop and pour the water out from the flooded hull of a sinking ship. Now (if he’s retained), he’ll have to rebuild the starting rotation as almost all the names will hit free agency, he’ll have to answer to several players and owners why this team didn’t do well, and he’ll have to answer the question “why did you buy at the trade deadline?” He better hope there’s a floating door or a piece of debris out in those waters, or else he’ll be sinking into the trenches.