The 2017 Major League Baseball trade deadline has passed. Justin Verlander and Brad Hand stayed put, while Sonny Gray and Yu Darvish will don new uniforms soon.
The impact of most trades will be felt instantaneously. If Darvish pitches well down the stretch, people will say the Los Angeles Dodgers did well to get him. But some deals require years to fully evaluate. We won’t really know if the Chicago White Sox did well to strengthen their farm system for a couple years.
Despite that, we live in a world where instant gratification is needed. So, we here at The Stew have put together a list of the winners and losers of the 2017 MLB trade deadline.
Keep in mind that the end of the trade deadline doesn’t signal the end of all trading. Players can still move via waivers over the next months.
Those possible deals aren’t going to be included here, obviously. We’ll simply look at the team and situations that changed, for better or worse, over the past few weeks. Yes, we’re including deals made over the past month or so, which is why you’ll see Jose Quintana mentioned below.
WINNER: LOS ANGELES DODGERS
The Dodgers might be more than 40 games over .500, but that didn’t stop them from getting even better Monday. They were one of the many clubs to nab a reliever, picking up Tony Watson from the Pirates. As the deadline came to a close, though, the Dodgers made perhaps the biggest move of any team, getting Yu Darvish from the Rangers. Los Angeles was already in great shape heading into the second half. Now, they could feature a playoff rotation that include Clayton Kershaw, Darvish, Alex Wood, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda. The best team in baseball got a lot better. (Chris Cwik)
LOSER: HOUSTON ASTROS
The Astros must feel pretty good about their club in the second half, as they were the anti-Dodgers of the deadline. Instead of capitalizing on their hot start, the team decided to coast into the postseason. Their inactivity couldn’t come at a worse time, as the club has lost Carlos Correa, George Springer, Will Harris, Lance McCullers Jr. and Colin Moran to injury over the past few weeks. Those guys should all be back for the postseason, but the Astros have to hope they can all pick up where they left off without any setbacks. (Cwik)
WINNER: NEW YORK YANKEES
The Yankees didn’t make the most dramatic move of the day. That was the Dodgers. But the Yankees made the second-biggest deal of the day, and it will have more long-term impact. They added Sonny Gray to their ranks, and while questions may persist about Gray’s health and effectiveness after a rocky 2016, Gray syncs up well with the Yankees plan for post-2018 domination. He’s under team control until 2020 and has the potential to take over as the team’s ace. The Yankees’ other moves at the deadline — getting Todd Frazier and David Robertson from the White Sox — help both this year and beyond. The Yankees did a good job of going for it, but kept their eyes on future too. (Mike Oz)
LOSER: BOSTON RED SOX
The Red Sox aren’t “losers” in the same way that everyone else on this list. They’re losers contextually. They’re losers when compared to what the Yankees did — and the Yankees just happen to be the team fighting them for first place in the AL East. The Red Sox are a good team and don’t need too much, but getting Eduardo Nunez and adding Addison Reed to the bullpen seem more like half-measures than “win now” moves. Those guys could help the Red Sox, but with a hole at third base and an ailing pitching staff that includes David Price, the Red Sox could have done more to keep up with the Yankees. (Oz)
WINNER: CHICAGO CUBS
The reigning World Series champs didn’t get off to a great start, but have rebounded lately to take over the lead in the National League Central. The Cubs are aiming to stay in that spot, making trades to strengthen the club at the deadline. The Cubs were wise to pounce on Jose Quintana early, getting a standout starter they desperately needed for multiple seasons. Justin Wilson gives the bullpen yet another dominant arm to help them navigate through the postseason. The pieces are back in place for the Cubs to make a dominant run in October once again. (Cwik)
LOSER: SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
The Giants talked about making a number of their players available at the deadline … and then did nothing. Maybe it wasn’t for lack of trying. In fairness, many of the assets the Giants were rumored to be willing to sell are owed a fair amount of money. That puts the Giants in a strange spot. On one hand, their core is strong. They could compete next year with some more luck. On the other hand, this same core failed to get it done this season. While Madison Bumgarner was hurt, it’s tough to believe he cost them 40 games in the standings. If things continue to go poorly, it could get real bad in San Francisco soon. (Cwik)
WINNER: CHICAGO WHITE SOX
The White Sox lost quite a bit of talent on the field, but are hoping to come out as winners in the long run. The team sold off pretty much everything not bolted to the floor in exchange for prospects. Their already strong farm system was solidified with deals for Blake Rutherford, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and others. They even managed to turn reliever Anthony Swarzak into something of value. The White Sox will be bad in the near future, but that was their goal all along. By the time the players they received will make an impact, the team will be on the upswing again. They were wise to tear it all down over the past few months. (Cwik)
LOSER: BALTIMORE ORIOLES
The Orioles entered deadline day four games under .500 … and decided to buy? It wasn’t the type of desperation, all-in buy you might expect from a club in their situation, though. Instead, the team made a few of tentative additions that probably won’t take them anywhere. Jeremy Hellickson is a fine pitcher, but he can’t singlehandedly fix that rotation. And Tim Beckham doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence. Baltimore probably should have sold, but it looks like they want to keep their core together for one more run next season. Monday’s additions didn’t hurt, we guess, but it’s tough to see them going on a furious run after a few modest moves. (Cwik)
WINNERS: EVERY RELIEF PITCHER
If you’re a major league relief pitcher, trade deadline day must produce mixed emotions. With the numbers of relievers who were traded this year — seven on Monday alone — there was probably a little bit of uncertainty. But it’s probably nice to feel in-demand too, right? And relief pitchers were definitely that. (Oz)
LOSERS: EVERY POSITION PLAYER
On trade-deadline day 2017, the only position players at the forefront of a trade were — wait for it — Adam Rosales and Tim Beckham. Maybe it’s just the state of the contenders right now, that pitching is the No. 1 thing on everybody’s mind, but it sure seemed hard to move a position player. (Oz)
WINNER: COLORADO ROCKIES
Here’s a phrase we’re not used to: The Rockies are going for it. Though the moves weren’t exactly headline-stealers, general manager Jeff Bridich managed to fill the team’s biggest needs at the deadline without digging too deep into the minor-league system. Veteran reliever Pat Neshek was acquired in a deal with the Phillies and should help bridge the gap to closer Greg Holland. Neshek was an All-Star this season and fits the Rockies bullpen blueprint as a sinker-slider pitcher. Colorado also added veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Though Lucroy has struggled at the plate, he’s an upgrade for a Colorado team that’s only received three home runs from their catchers this season. He also improves their defense. Both additions figure to help Colorado stay in the driver’s seat for a wild card spot. (Mark Townsend)
LOSER: NEW YORK METS
The team basically swapped A.J. Ramos for Addison Reed. We get why they did it, but it was just a strange move. Ramos is under team control next season, so the club made the move with 2018 in mind. Reed, whose contract is up in months, was expendable, so he was shipped out. And that was it. Neil Walker, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson all stayed even though they will be free agents in a few months. Also, it’s fair to wonder whether getting a closer for next year is really the right move for a team that will probably have other issues. It was just a strange day for the Mets. (Cwik)
WINNER: KANSAS CITY ROYALS
The Royals didn’t make any blockbusters, but that wasn’t necessary. The team capitalized on its recent eight-game win streak and made a number of modest improvements to remain firmly in the wild card race. Melky Cabrera should help the offense, while Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter should contribute on the mound. With Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas looking at free agency in a few months, the club decided to make one last push for the playoffs with its current core. The moves they made weren’t eye-popping, but there’s enough here to keep them in contention. (Cwik)
LOSER: MILWAUKEE BREWERS
It’s been a tough couple weeks for Milwaukee. The team lost its hold on the NL Central, and seems content with that following the deadline. The team picked up Anthony Swarzak and Jeremy Jeffress in deals, but that was it. Swarzak has been effective despite a limited track record, while Jeffress badly needed a change of scenery. His time in Texas was a disaster, and it’s possible he re-discovers his arm back in Milwaukee. In the team’s defense, they had to walk a fine line. The Brewers contended before anyone expected, and didn’t want to mortgage their future in trades for a run this season. It’s disappointing they couldn’t do more, though, even if it sets them up to remain in contention next season. (Cwik)
INC: PITCHER SELFIES IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Both Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish tried starting a new trend this deadline, posting selfies of themselves in their locker rooms. This was met with mixed results. Verlander remained with the Detroit Tigers, though he loses points for tweeting out the Yankees’ wifi password. Darvish, on the other hand, was dealt about 10 minutes after he put up his picture. It’s not the fastest we’ve seen a tweet go horribly wrong, but it’s close.
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