This is my analysis of the trading deadline and the week leading up to it. I only covered the most important trades and in the end reveal my picks for the “winners” and “losers”.
The New York Yankees acquired J.A. Happ. This is a good move for the Bronx Bombers, as they needed another solid arm in the rotation. There were no aces available for the price that they were willing to pay, so this was the best that they could do. Billy McKinney is a solid prospect, but his stock has fallen and the Bombers have a loaded OF mix with top prospects with the likes of Clint Frazier and Estevan Florial. There was also no room on the Major League team for Brandon Drury, who was only in the Minors because of that, and isn’t even a prospect.
Toronto received two solid prospects for a free agent-to be, which is exactly what a rebuilding team needs.
Milwaukee upgraded their bullpen with their own solid trade. The Chicago White Sox received decent prospects in return as well.
The Chicago Cubs upgraded their rotation though it’s a wash if everyone is healthy and pitching as expected. Texas received a decent return in a solid but unspectacular trade for both sides.
Minnesota traded breakout 3B Eduardo Escobar to Arizona. This is a good move for them as he’s a free agent to be that will likely be overpaid (he’s hard to predict going forward), while Arizona needed help at literally every position that he can play in the IF. Overall it was a good trade for both sides.
Philadelphia improves their bench in a trade that benefits both teams but doesn’t change much otherwise. Philadelphia needed help in the middle infield and the New York Mets had to trade the free agent-to be and received a decent if expectedly unimpressive return.
Kansas City parted ways with Mike Moustakas in a surprising trade. Kansas City received a better than expected return and it was definitely time for them to part with Moustakas. I don’t like this trade for Milwaukee however, as this means playing Travis Shaw at second base, a position that he never even played before as a professional. I think that Milwaukee should’ve targeted a second baseman instead.
Houston acquired an elite new closer in a trade that was horrible for Toronto. They basically gave away an elite closer due to issues that could very well be behind him.
Atlanta acquired Brad Brach from Baltimore. This is a very simple trading deadline deal where a free agent to be goes from a rebuilding team to a contending team. The return was nothing special but also as good as could’ve been expected for Baltimore.
The New York Yankees acquired another starting pitcher in a depth move. Once again a typical trade deadline move. Tyler Austin isn’t really a prospect anymore and is almost identical to Greg Bird. He can however be Joe Mauer’s replacement at 1B for Minnesota next year. Luis Rijo is an interesting player and in my opinion was too much to give for Lance Lynn. More so, Minnesota easily won the trade by simply removing Lynn from the rotation. They weren’t going to re-sign him after the season anyway. The New York Yankees did receive starting pitching help, but gave up an interesting prospect for a struggling player who they might not even re-sign themselves.
Boston added 2B depth in a solid trade where both teams benefitted. The Los Angeles Angels received decent but obviously due to the return unimpressive prospects.
Questionable trade for Texas but a good one for Pittsburgh. There was no need for Texas to trade Keone Kela, and certainly not for an underwhelming return, as I believe that they should’ve received more.
Another questionable trade took place. Adam Duvall strikes out too much and doesn’t hit well for average, though I can see how his power can be good off the bench. He can also replace Nick Markakis after he leaves via free agency (he’s a major regression candidate and Atlanta should let him go). Cincinnati received no longer elite pitching prospects who at best are average bullpen arms and a bench player while selling low on Duvall. Atlanta easily won a trade that made no sense for Cincinnati.
Cleveland finally acquired a CF in a solid trade for both sides.
Philadelphia improved at catcher. Tampa Bay received little in return but it was expected. Good trade for both sides.
Tampa Bay traded Chris Archer to Pittsburgh in a blockbuster. I really don’t like Tampa Bay’s return. Tyler Glasnow doesn’t look like he’ll ever be more than a bottom of the rotation starter and Austin Meadows has been unimpressive in AAA over the last two years and had an unsustainably high BABIP during his call-up this year. He’s in line to replace the struggling Carlos Gomez in right field. Couldn’t they have received a better return or waited for one? Pittsburgh didn’t have room in their crowded outfield for Meadows, or for Glasnow in the rotation. They also now look as a team that can compete for the Wild Card for the next few years.
Baltimore need new management badly as they gave away assets and sold low for basically nothing of relevance in return. They should’ve received a lot more for Kevin Gausman and not sold so low on Darren O’Day, Thea should’ve traded him next year when he presumably won’t be on the DL while being a solid reliever. Atlanta easily won the trade by improving their rotation and bullpen for the next few years. Gausman isn’t an ace but he solidified the rotation and has upside.
Baltimore then made another bad trade. They sold low on Jonathan Schoop and took low level prospects and Jonathan Villar back, who is the big winner of the trade, as he now gets more playing time and a better spot in the batting order. Milwaukee won the trade and heavily improved at second base, but also made their earlier trade for Mike Moustakas pointless, as he now becomes a one-dimensional bench piece, unless they move Schoop to SS which means that their defense becomes even more shaky.
Minnesota traded Brian Dozier to LA in a blockbuster trade. The Los Angeles Dodgers now look like the favorites in the NL after acquiring Brian Dozier and finally being able to bench Chris Taylor. They are however going all-in and must win the World Series with so many key free agents-to be. Minnesota had to trade Dozier due to them being a rebuilding team and him being in his 30’s and hitting free agency after the season, but received an underwhelming return.
Let’s look at the winners and losers (they are NOT rated from best to worst and are not in any particular order):
1. NEW YORK YANKEES
The Bronx Bombers improved their rotation and pitching depth for basically nothing.
2. ATLANTA BRAVES
They improved their rotation and acquired outfield and bullpen help controllable for multiple seasons.
3. LOS ANGELES DODGERS
They now have one of the most loaded lineups in the game, if their bullpen holds up this could go from being a forgettable season to a pennant.
4. HOUSTON ASTROS
They fixed their bullpen by acquiring an elite closer for basically nothing.
5. CLEVELAND INDIANS
They improved their bullpen for this season and the next few and improved in CF. Excellent trade deadline for them.
6. PITTSBURGH PIRATES
The Kela and Archer trades may have won them the deadline. Great moves for this season and the next few.
7. LOS ANGELES ANGELS
They did everything that they could’ve as sellers, saved money and received solid prospects.
1. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
They did nothing, when they should’ve been rebuilding.
2. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
They should’ve traded more players but just sold low on Pham.
3. CINCINNATI REDS
They needlessly traded Duvall and kept Matt Harvey.
4. BALTIMORE ORIOLES
They rebuilt by selling low. Horrible management.
5. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
They didn’t commit in any direction and just somewhat gave up on the season.
6. NEW YORK METS
They lost the one trade that they should’ve won (the Jeurys Familia trade), ad held on to their starters in a pitching starved market.
7. DETROIT TIGERS
They couldn’t cash-in on Nick Castellanos and didn’t trade most of their obvious trade chips.
The rest of the teams don’t fit either list.
Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments and on Twitter at @NeilfromNYC.