Published by: AK98
The MLB trade deadline has officially come to a close, with some teams improving their lot, some teams holding steady, and others rebuilding for the future.
The trade deadline is usually an indication of who sees themselves as “contenders” & who sees themselves as “pretenders.” With that in mind, let’s take a look at the WINNERS and LOSERS from today’s trade deadline…
Trade Deadline WINNERS
Transforming a rudderless team into a championship contender, the Rangers have secured the lead in the AL West; and this was before they snagged ace Max Scherzer before the deadline. The team has made significant commitments over the past two winters, investing over $750 million in players like Jacob deGrom, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray, and Nathan Eovaldi.
The result? An intimidating offense fronted by Seager and Semien, supported by 2023 All-Stars Adolis García, Jonah Heim, and Josh Jung. With the best run differential in the American League, the Rangers are firmly set to make their first playoff appearance since 2016.
New York Mets
It’s hardly apt to see a team unloading their talent as a win, but seeing as their large spending has amounted to ZERO playoff wins since their run a few years ago, the painful but necessary decision was made.
Despite starting the season with a record-breaking payroll, the underperforming Mets decided to take a drastic step back. With the authorization of owner Steve Cohen, the team has exchanged aging pitchers for a group of high-potential prospects.
Shohei Ohtani was the big name all baseball writers had their eye on to move before the trade deadline, but were denied the material. The Anaheim Angels instead decided to let their two superstars (Mike Trout & Shohei Ohtani) attempt one last ride up Mt. Playoffs. And Ohtani could’ve easily been traded. The risk now is that he may leave in free agency for not much more than a draft pick, and their playoff odds, while possible, remain slim.
Making the playoffs is the best (most realistic) outcome for the Angels in their pursuit of returning Ohtani to Anaheim. The Angels, who are typically out of the playoff race by this point in the season, are not far behind in the AL wild card race, and they are expecting the return of Mike Trout. With the electricity a Trout brings to a ball club, an exciting season end could await Anaheim.
Trade Deadline LOSERS
Much like the Rangers, the Orioles have surprised many by being in first place at the deadline. Unlike the Rangers, the Orioles don’t seem to fully recognize their position. The Rangers have shown ambition in strengthening their squad for both the playoffs and potential success thereafter.
The Orioles, however, displayed far less drive, despite possessing more potential trade depth than any other contender. Despite having a wealth of young hitters, none of their top 25 prospects, according to FanGraphs, were utilized to strengthen their team at the deadline.
New York Yankees
The other New York team was far less active and successful at the deadline. The acquisition of one average reliever—Middleton with a 0.0 WAR over 180 MLB innings—and one pitcher with a career 7.20 ERA, will unlikely aid the Yankees in their quest for a seventh consecutive playoff berth.
While still an above .500 ball club with an average chance to slip into the last Wild Card spot, their moves today prove that they are more concerned with saving money & retooling at another time than their normal big splashes during trade week.
Only five games back in the AL West, the Mariners (55-51) were a team I expected more from by Tuesday’s closing bell. They made it clear to their fans that they intend to play the long game. And while trading RP Paul Sewald (closer) won’t necessarily ruin the team’s prospects, the Mariners (who had several options at hand) ended up making a move that seemed to fall short of what others secured for pitchers at this trade deadline (three hitters that don’t jump off the screen).
Despite having some fantastic starting pitchers, the Mariners continue to shuffle the rest of the team without making the decisive actions necessary to assemble a genuine contender.