Winners and losers of the MLB trade deadline
An extremely busy trade deadline came and went Tuesday with 13 deals getting done on the final day.
The balance of power in the American and National Leagues may not have been affected greatly, but several teams made clear their decisions to chase a title or go into rebuild mode.
Here’s how we see things shaking out.
— Chris Archer and Kevin Gausman.
The two right-handers leave the brutal AL East for greener pastures in the National League. With his team-friendly contract, Archer, 29, is a nice fit with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’ll continue to call a pitcher’s park home, but he won’t have to face designated hitters such as J.D. Martinez and GIancarlo Stanton on a regular basis.
Ditto for Gausman, 27, who has also shown flashes of brilliance, and should benefit from a change of scenery with the Atlanta Braves. He’ll have better defense and run support behind him, so expect his win total and 4.43 ERA to show some improvement down the stretch.
— Tampa Bay Rays.
Perhaps the most surprising trade of the day came when the St. Louis Cardinals unloaded their 2017 team MVP for a trio of minor-leaguers. Tommy Pham had been critical of the organization for some of its moves — and his disappointing .248 average, 14 homers and 41 RBI helped make him expendable.
The Rays getting Pham, as well as outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow from Pittsburgh for Archer, should make the roster stronger for several years down the road.
— Baltimore Orioles.
The team with the worst record in the AL needed a complete overhaul. And they got it. After trading star shortstop Manny Machado two weeks earlier, the O’s jettisoned Gausman, reliever Darren O’Day (who’s out for the rest of the season) and second baseman Jonathan Schoop. In return, they collected a bunch of prospects to help rebuild their barren farm system. No one knows how the prospects will pan out, but the O’s have fully committed to starting over — and they’ve shed a ton of payroll in the process.
— Los Angeles Dodgers.
After already adding Machado, the defending NL champs addressed one of their few remaining weak spots by acquiring second baseman Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins.
Dozier, 31, won a Gold Glove last season and although he’s hitting just .224 with 16 homers, he does have a history of getting hot down the stretch. For example, he hit a blistering .304/.394/.591 with 21 homers last season after the All-Star break.
— Fantasy owners in NL-only leagues.
A wealth of new talent arrives from the AL for fantasy owners to grab off the waiver wire this weekend.
Archer and Gausman will become fixtures in their new teams’ rotations and put up better overall numbers than they have so far this season.
Dozier and Schoop provide above-average power at second base. (And Schoop could even gain eligibility at shortstop, depending on how he’s used in Milwaukee.)
Wilson Ramos going from the Rays to the Philadelphia Phillies brings in a top-tier catcher once he’s healthy enough to be activated off the disabled list sometime in mid-August.
— Milwaukee Brewers.
Brewers deserve credit for being aggressive. The trade for Schoop would have been fine if they weren’t already planning to move Travis Shaw to second base to accommodate the arrival of third baseman Mike Moustakas. Do they now move Schoop to shortstop — and play two infielders out of position?
It’s possible Shaw could split time with Jesus Aguilar at first base and things will all work out, but what the Brewers really needed to make a run at the World Series was another starting pitcher (or two). Unless they add someone in a waiver trade, they’ll head down the stretch with Junior Guerra, Chase Anderson and Jhoulys Chacin fronting the rotation.
— Washington Nationals.
Were the Nats already good enough to catch the Phillies and Braves in the NL East? They’re only 5 1/2 games behind in the division race, but another starting pitcher and an everyday catcher (Ramos?) would have increased their odds of going deep in the playoffs.
Instead, they made just one subtraction, trading reliever Brandon Kintzler to the Cubs.
The other option would have been to reload for next season by trading free-agent-to-be Bryce Harper, but it only took a few calls to find out no team was willing to give up a king’s ransom to rent Harper for two months.
— Oakland A’s. They were apparently close to a deal with the Detroit Tigers for starting pitcher Mike Fiers, but it ultimately fell through. The A’s are surprising wild-card contenders (two games behind Seattle for the second AL spot) and they could have used the veteran right-hander, who has tossed six consecutive quality starts.
— New York Mets.
It’s understandable that the Mets didn’t want to deal aces Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, but holding onto Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz with several playoff contenders looking to add starting pitching seems curious. Only one NL team has fewer wins this season than the Mets, so it’s hard to see why they’d be so intent on keeping the current squad intact.
Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner