MLB trade deadline winners and losers: Dodgers and Pirates come up big, Nationals and Mets fall flat
The non-waiver trade deadline in Major League Baseball came and went on Tuesday. It was 4 p.m. ET and we’ve got all the deals. I’m now tasked with declaring winners and losers of trade season, though these are obviously subject to change a few years from now! Let’s get to it.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Manny Machado and Brian Dozier were . Dozier is having a down year, sure, but these two are capable of catching fire down the stretch. There’s also some guarding in here against Justin Turner’s injury with the added depth. From where I sit, it was an incredibly successful July for Andrew Friedman and company.
OK, so right up front we have to point out that the Pirates dealing Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow would have landed them a pretty huge return a few years ago, and that trading Gerrit Cole this past offseason wasn’t the move of an expected contender. There also aren’t time machines laying around for Neal Huntington to hop into. Getting a controllable Chris Archer over in the NL Central instead of the AL East was .
The Orioles were at a crossroads heading into July and needed to move in a strong direction. They did. They moved six players (, on Tuesday) and got back 15, beefing up the organizational depth and adding lots of international bonus pool money. It’s a full-on rebuild from here, but it was time to do so and they weren’t shy about it.
Very nice month for Mike Hazen and company. They bulked up their offense and infield depth with Eduardo Escobar and added Brad Ziegler and Jake Diekman to their already-strong bullpen without even giving up too much.
New York Yankees
They have mostly emptied their upper levels of the minors in recent years, but still managed to add two quality relievers (Brandon Kintzler and Jesse Chavez) and a back-end starter in Cole Hamels. Further, the Brewers didn’t get any starting pitching, so that’s a Cubs bump.
General manager Mike Rizzo emphatically said Tuesday that he believes in his team. The only move of substance he made was to trade a relief pitcher. Is that actual belief? Pick a lane, man.
If Rizzo truly does believe in the team, why not be a buyer and try to cover up some of the obvious roster holes, such as at catcher? And if not, they could have taken a 2016 Yankees “rebuild on the fly” approach by dealing Gio Gonzalez, Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson and several others who hit free agency after the season (including Jeremy Hellickson). Even if Rizzo doesn’t want to deal Bryce Harper in hopes of re-signing him, which is understandable, doing close to nothing was pretty terrible.
New York Mets
Speaking of doing close to nothing, yikes. The Mets are one of the worst teams in baseball, and there isn’t much reason to believe a quick turnaround is in the cards. As such, trading Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard and/or Jacob deGrom could have been the jump start the organization needed, especially given how much of a killing deGrom would have brought. Instead, the Mets dealt just Jeurys Familia. Jose Bautista is still on the team, too.
Brewers’ infield defense
The Brewers have an outstanding outfield defense, but they’ve reshuffled their infield, and it’s not going to help their pitchers much. In adding Mike Moustakas, they moved Travis Shaw to second base, where he’d previously never played in his career. Now, in adding Jonathan Schoop, the Brewers could use him at shortstop, where he has very limited experience in recent years and isn’t really suited to play. If they plan to keep Orlando Arcia at short, either Moustakas, Shaw or Schoop will be benched.
Moustakas is a career .251/.305/.429 hitter while Schoop is a career .261/.296/.450 hitter. In order to fit those two bats into the lineup, the Brewers will either have shuttled two players up the defensive spectrum or be sitting one of the guys they gave up value to acquire.
I’ve long been a huge fan of Brewers general manager Doug Stearns, but this month wasn’t his best work.
The Astros have a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to domestic violence, but they traded for Roberto Osuna, who is currently serving a 75-game suspension for allegedly assaulting a woman. General manager Jeff Luhnow said the policy only applies to current employees.
A sampling of comments from the team, via the Houston Chronicle:
On Monday in Seattle, Verlander said he stood by his previous comments and called this trade a “tough situation.” He said once Osuna arrives, the Astros will “go from there.”
In a text on Monday evening, one Astros player said, “I was surprised to see this move made, and I think it’s going to be really uncomfortable. I trust the organization, but this move doesn’t make sense to me.”
Another player said in a text, “We’ve talked about it among ourselves and want to be positive, but if more comes out and he’s done these terrible things, I don’t know how that will go.”
The Astros won the World Series last year, so there shouldn’t be the same desperation to win on the field as there could have been otherwise. And no matter how desperate you are to win, bringing in Osuna involves compromising off the field.
San Francisco Giants
They did nothing. They entered the day .500 and barely in contention. It just feels like they should have tried to add to the team and get better, or else dealt free-agents-to-be like Andrew McCutchen and Derek Holland with eyes on reshaping the roster for next season.