The Trade Deadline is dead. Long live the Trade Deadline. Now, we here at MLB Daily Dish all get a little breather...about 20 minutes or so...before we start to wonder who could still get dealt before the August 31st deadline for players on waivers. As per the annual tradition, here are the annual teams that did a fantastic job upgrading and those who either were paralyzed like a deer in the headlights or chose poorly in their efforts to upgrade either their major league squads or minor league talent. Colloquially, we call them winners and losers.
Teams who did well! (winners)
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels had relatively little in their farm system to work with, so only made improvements on the margins to their Wild Card leading squad. With their odds of making the playoffs north of 77 percent, that is absolutely the right move to make.
There's no sense emptying the minors of talent for an incremental upgrade. Instead, they brought in David DeJesus, David Murphy, and Shane Victorino to help with their LF/DH problems and will use them based on matchups. In exchange, they gave up a replacement level middle infielder, a light-hitting double-A shortstop, and a 20 year old in Rookie Ball. They even wound up with cash in the deals. The Angels played this deadline precisely right.
Toronto Blue Jays
They made the biggest splashes, for sure, and all four players they acquired should be big helps as the Jays push for a postseason spot. Price is actually the best acquisition, in that he's going to provide the biggest upgrade to club. However, Tulowitzki will almost certainly be a boon to the club on both offense and defense for the rest of the year.
Tulo, Mark Lowe, and LaTroy Hawkins (who is 42) are all significant injury risks, however, and all of this will be pretty disappointing if the Jays can't climb into that second wild card spot. After all, the Jays gave up good prospects in Daniel Norris, Jeff Hoffman, and Miguel Castro, amongst others.
The Phillies finally got around to trading Jonathan Papelbon and Cole Hamels. The return for Hamels (and Jake Diekman) was massive, as six prospects came back to Philadelphia, including studs Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro. They also got solid starter Matt Harrison to hold the fort down now, and to potentially move at a later date for more help.
They also found time to unload Ben Revere for a couple prospects. In all, Ruben Amaro showed he might be learning something in what is bound to be his last summer on the job, and infused a good deal of talent into an organization that needed it.
Speaking of which, the Brewers sent off Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, Gerardo Parra, and Jonathan Broxton and wound up with six minor leaguers back, headlined by the boom or bust Domingo Santana from the Astros.
The Brewers were hampered by injuries to Matt Garza and Adam Lind, and ineffectiveness by Kyle Lohse, but did well to infuse talent into the club that could start paying dividends as soon as next year.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals managed to deal for both Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist, and kept a ton of their top minor league talent. Already boasting the best bullpen and the best defense in baseball, they made two of the three best acquisitions.
Cueto provides them with a truly dominant ace to go into a short series, and Zobrist helps first at the corner outfield, and then at second base once Alex Gordon returns. They did have to give up a lot of minor league pitchers to do it, but the Royals figure to be pretty heavy favorites in the Division Series.
Assuming that Carlos Gomez's hip is good to go, the Astros made two big deals to upgrade their team for the stretch drive, also bringing in starters Scott Kazmir and Mike Fiers. Both pitchers miss a lot of bats and will look good in front of Houston's strong defense, which has only gotten better with the arrival of Gomez.
Gomez fills a huge hole for the club in center field, and will provide a terrific bat to add to what will be a very strong lineup come September (when George Springer is presumably back and healthy). I would be very surprised if the Royals and the Astros weren't playing each other in the ALCS this fall.
Teams that were not winners (losers)
New York Yankees
Especially with Michael Pineda potentially being hurt, the Yankees needed to upgrade their starting rotation. Instead, all they got was Dustin Ackley, who should help at second base. Blah, blah, blah, if the boss was alive they would've landed Price, Tulowitzki, and Cueto, blah, blah, blah. Still, for a team with the deep pockets that the Yankees do, to come away relatively empty handed is a huge disappointment.
It wasn't that the Rockies did poorly in trading away Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins. The value they got back is real, and it's likely to help them going forward in a way that an aging, expensive, and fragile Tulowitzki could not.
However, they didn't turn around and flip Jose Reyes to another contender in need of middle infield help, which seems like a huge missed opportunity. They also, in their handling of the Tulowitzki situation, may have permanently damaged the trust with key players like Nolan Arenado who they will want to hold onto for the long term.
San Diego Padres
Four games under .500, 7.5 games out of the Wild Card, eight games back of the AL West, the Padres had to do something. Anything. Instead, GM A.J. Preller seemed to freeze. Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy, and Will Venable all will be free agents next year, and Joakin Benoit has an expensive option that they shouldn't pick up. All were Padres when the clock struck 4:00 Eastern yesterday. Why? Take it away Ken Rosenthal:
#Padres largely standing pat because GM A.J. Preller believes the team can reach the postseason, source says.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2015
The Padres couldn't build a winner in 2015 in spite of their flurry of win-now moves in the offseason, and have didn't capitalize on an opportunity to retool somewhat. And for what? One compensation draft choice, at the most. What an utter, utter failure of management and ownership.
Special Mention: Miami Marlins
The Marlins didn't necessarily do poorly at this trade deadline. In the middle of another disappointing season, they cleared out the expensive dead weight and sent away Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Steve Cishek, and Mike Morse. That's pretty much textbook deadline behavior. And the pitchers (and the infielder) they got back are pretty darn interesting, actually, even if most of them are a ways off. But for the third time in two seasons, they've traded away a draft pick designed to help rebuilding clubs add talent to their organization. And they've made a habit of changing paths midstream at this point and are trading off high priced veterans less than a year after acquiring them for the third season in a row.
They also say ridiculously pompous and alienating things likes:
#Marlins' Mike Hill: "I would hope our fans are educated enough to see what we’re doing here."— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) July 30, 2015
At this point, it's not fair to call the Marlins losers at this trade deadline. But it's entirely accurate to call the entire Marlins organization, from the owner to the manager, losers to their very core.
Special Special Mention: New York Mets
They were on this list until the very last minute, especially for making Wilmer Flores cry, but especially especially for whiffing on both Carlos Gomez and Jay Bruce. But then, as the clock struck midnight....err...4:00, they found themselves with Yoenis Cespedes. Good for them, I guess.