The long awaited non waiver deadline has come and passed and there certainly was fireworks around the league. Although it can be a little premature to start predicting who won individual trades, especially in deals that involve prospects that could impact a teams future, this assessment is more of a what can you do for me now and in October.
So without any further ado, here are the winners and losers from the 2017 MLB trade deadline:
1. New York Yankees
The New York Yankees were not suppose to be competitive this year. Many critics including myself thought that it was to early and they would fade out as the season progressed. Apparently the players and the front office of the Yankees believe otherwise, and for good reason.
One year removed from being major sellers at the deadline trading the likes of Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees made a complete 180 and were one of the biggest buyers at this years deadline.
After bolstering their lineup and bullpen early in July in a trade that sent Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, and David Robertson to New York, the Yankees continued their all in approach by acquiring Oaklands Sonny Gray in a blockbuster deal.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman deserves a lot of credit for this years deadline. He basically pulled of a heist. Gray has rebounded quite well from an all around terrible 2016 season to post a 3.43 ERA. However the most attractive part about Gray is that he is under team control through the 2019 season. So not only does this make this years Yankees team a threat, it also leaves a bright and promising future ahead.
The price for Gray was surprisingly low. Two of the three prospects traded to the Athletics have suffered injuries that will sideline them for the remainder of the year. The other in Jorge Mateo, has a very high ceiling at short stop but after a very sobering 2016 season he has to continue to work on rebuilding his stock as a prospect. The moves that the Yankees have made have made them more than intriguing. They’re a contender to win the AL East and maybe do more.
2. L.A Dodgers
The Dodgers currently hold a commanding 14 game lead in the NL West, sitting pretty at 74-31. A team like this would be expected to make minor adjustments to provide overall depth. However ,the Dodgers are taking no chances and are set on putting an end to the 29 year championship drought that has plagued them.
The Dodgers pulled of the biggest trade by far: snagging 4 time all star pitcher Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers. But the biggest surprise was that the Dodgers were able to pull this deal off without surrendering any of their top 3 prospects!
The Dodgers were able to hang onto righties Walker Buehler and Yadier Alvarez and outfielder Alex Verdugo. This is not to demnish the value of Willie Calhoun, who I personally believe has an extremely bright future.
Yu Darvish couldn’t have asked for a better landing spot. He’s the perfect temporary replacement for ace Clayton Kershaw who is currently sidelined with a bad back. Darvish however, was brought in to compliment Kershaw when he returns and he should fill that role with ease. Darvish also benefits from a pitcher friendly ball park and a definite upgrade at the catcher positions, something a strike out specialist like Darvish needs to be firing on all cylinders.
Also the Dodgers did a little touching up to their dominate team. They added two lefties to help sure up any holes in the bullpen and both Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani should be able to do that well enough. Once again though, the main takeaway from the deal is how the Dodgers held onto their big prospects and only traded ones that they could afford to see go.
3. Chicago Cubs
For starters I would like to say I was wrong about the Cubs, they seem to have more in the tank then I gave them credit for.
Since Theo Epstein struck a deal with the Chicago White Sox to acquire Jose Quintana, they have been on a tear. Going 13-3 in that stretch while the first place Brewers have been in a slow decline.
So obviously this was a team to invest in and that’s exactly what Epstein did.
The Cubs acquired reliever Justin Wilson and Alex Avila from the Tigers. However, unlike the Dodgers, the Cubs had to dish out some valuable assets. Losing Isaac Paredes was a massive blow. The kid is said to have so much upside at only 18 years old. But every deal comes with a cost and adding Wilson to the bullpen adds a whole new look to the late innings. Wilson also provides some depth for the future as he could become the closer if Davis wants out.
While everyone else (mainly myself) were giving up on the Cubs, Epstein was doing the exact opposite. Showing a team you believe in them is sometimes all they need and the Cubs are showing us that right now.
1. Houston Astros
Adding lefty Francisco Liriano was certainly and interesting choice by the Astros. He’s been struggling since the start of June and that has continued into July. However, the most concerning move for Astros fans should be the ones they didn’t make.
The Astros desperately needed to add a solid dependable arm to their rotation and for some reason they didn’t. With Keuchel dealing with a pinched nerve in his neck that seems to be bothering him even after finishing his DL stint, the Astros are relying on Collin McHugh, who missed the first half of the season due to elbow impingement, and Charlie Morton, who has not been able to stay healthy through this career to eat innings and provide quality outings. For a team that seemed so well rounded suddenly their are a lot of holes in their rotation. Being too passive may cost the Astros big time especially since starting pitching is so Important in October.
2. Boston Red Sox
Since the 4th of July the Red Sox have a 9-14 record which is 4-1/2 games worse than their rival Yankees. With that said, you’d expect the Red Sox to be looking to keep pace with New York as the race for the divisions gets tighter.
Yes the Red Sox added Addison Reed which will certainly sure up their bullpen and provide a reliable bullpen arm not named Craig Kimberl for the Red Sox. However in comparison to the Yankees, their move seems minuscule. Eduardo Nunez will certainly improve their third base situation and provide another bat to their lineup. But with both David Price and Dustin Pedroia sidelined with injuries, the Red Sox should’ve looked to add a rental bat at least.
It’s hard to not think that the Red Sox have taken a step back to the Yankees. For a team with World Series aspirations entering the year, winning their own division even seems unlikely now.
3. Cleveland Indians
After an up and down start to the season the Indians seemed to find their groove, ripping off 9 straight wins. But while everyone else seemed to be out making big moves to improve their teams the only move the Indians made was for reliever Joe Smith. Smith is a very solid reliever and has good depth however, he doesn’t make the Indians all that better.
Seeing Smith as the only acquisition for the Indians was certainly disappointing for Indians fans especially with rumors that the Indians were pursuing both Darvish and Zach Britton. Britton would’ve been a perfect compliment to this years Indians team, creating a vaunted three headed monster in their bullpen. The lack of moves made shows us that the Indians are relying on their own players getting healthy instead of trading for rentals.
Danny Salazar seems to be getting back on track after his DL stint and Kipnis recently had a rehab start showing he may be ready to return to the Big Leagues soon however both Bauer and Tomlin have been putrid with ERA’s of 5.25 and 5.38 respectively. Granted nobody has a better assessment on the health of the players than the team. But depending on players to not only come back fully healthy but perform up to par may be a bit of wishful thinking on the part of Cleveland.