The MLB tradeline is the time of year the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. It can completely reshape the possible playoff landscape.
Of course, not every team gets it right and that’s why we will go over the top five biggest winners and top five biggest losers of the MLB trade deadline.
Winners: Texas Rangers
The Rangers seem to be a lock to make the playoffs and they’ve only solidified their case. They started out by trading for three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. Losing Jacob DeGrom earlier in the season certainly hurt their starting rotation but if you’re going for damage control it doesn’t get much better than Scherzer.
They also acquired Jordan Montgomery to bolster an already solid bullpen that already has names like Aroldis Chapman, and Will Smith. With Jonah Heim battling a wrist injury, they also grabbed catcher depth by trading for Pirates starting catcher Austin Hedges.
Losers: New York Yankees
With the Yankees holding the second-highest payroll heading into the MLB season, there were big expectations coming into the year. Currently dead in the water there seems to be no playoff aspirations this year. Post deadline only set this disappointing season in stone.
The only area they improved was the bullpen. The only problem is they already had one of the best in MLB. Providing no improvement to their lineup easily makes them one of the biggest losers of the deadline.
Winners: Baltimore Orioles
In a tight race in the AL East, the Orioles might have done just enough to come up on top. With their bullpen being one of their biggest needs they went out and traded for reliever Jack Flaherty without having to give up a lot.
It might not have been a last-minute trade deadline move but they also recently got Shintaro Fujinami from the Oakland Athletics to try and open up what many believe is extreme potential. It certainly wasn’t the flashiest of trades but could be ones that move the needle later in the season.
Losers: Cincinnati Reds
Reds fans probably didn’t even think that they’d be competing for a playoff spot this far into the season so the thought of them being buyers intrigues many. By the time the clock struck 6 o’clock on August first those same fans were left confused why they heard no news of any improvements.
With so many NL Wild Card hopefuls making moves to try and give themselves the edge, the Reds could be kicking themselves come October if they’re on the outside looking in.
Winners: Los Angeles Angels
In their last season of guaranteed control with Shohei Ohtani the Angels are showing they want to win and win now. They started out by trading for starting pitcher Lucas Giolito from the White Sox to add more depth to their less-than-ideal rotation.
They didn’t stop there though because they gained two solid offensive bats in first baseman CJ Cron and right fielder Randal Grichuk. With both are expected to become immediate starters the Angels made more significant trades than almost every other team in the league.
Losers: Minnesota Twins
With the division coming down to a battle between the Twins and Cleveland Guardians there was a consensus that the Twins would be buyers to put themselves on top. However, when it came time to pull the trigger, they stayed quiet. Maybe they just never found a deal they were comfortable making but make no mistake they certainly aren’t a playoff lock especially if they can’t steal their division.
Their saving grace could be that the Guardians also made no significant trades for improvement.
Winners: New York Mets
It’s not very often that a team who goes through a fire sale can be considered a trade deadline winner. For the Mets however, they went about it the right way. Because they believed they sat too far back in the playoff race, we saw them offload star pitchers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, as well as outfielder Tommy Pham and outfielder Mark Cahna.
New York saw lots of top-rated prospects come back their way in return. With a completely revamped top-of-the-farm system, the Mets have set themselves up very well for the future and could already start competing come 2025.
Losers: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers made good trades in acquiring Kike Hernandez and Ahmed Rosario but never addressed their biggest need which was starting pitching. They did try though but in this case, the efforts don’t really matter.
They had a trade in place with the Detroit Tigers that would send Eduardo Rodriguez to Los Angeles without having to give up too many valuable pieces. The only problem is Rodriguez enacted his no-trade clause that had 10 teams on it which as you can guess included the Dodgers. It obviously isn’t their fault this happened but it doesn’t excuse that they still walked away with nothing.
Winners: Houston Astros
The Houston Astros must have wanted to take a memory down memory lane because they traded for former players who can make an immediate impact. With an offensive lineup that already features Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, and Jyle Tucker they didn’t need much work on offense.
Trading for the man who just won the Cy Young in Houston last year in Justin Verlander seemed to be a great move. Also bringing back Kendall Graveman brought a familiarity that a struggling Astros team seems to need after winning the 2022 World Series.
Now that we’ve gone over the biggest winners let’s transition to the losers.
Losers: San Francisco Giants
Yet another team in the extremely crowded NL Wild card race didn’t end up doing enough to set themselves apart. They snagged themselves outfielder AJ Pollock but in the grand scheme of things, it’s hard to believe that’s the move that makes the difference.
They’re not a team that needed to trade for a generational superstar but it could be hard for them to keep up with the rest of the Wild Card teams after the deadline.
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