Winners and Losers of the MLB Trade Deadline
San Diego Padres
Beginning with the overwhelming winners of the trade deadline, the San Diego Padres pushed all of their chips to the center of the table, compromising their long-term success for immediate title contention, as they traded what might as well be their entire farm system for one Juan Soto. San Diego shocked the baseball world when they traded for Nationals’ superstar outfielder Juan Soto, but they did not stop there. The Padres also acquired first baseman Josh Bell from the Nationals, Brewers’ all-star closer Josh Hader, and as Reds’ third baseman Brandon Drury.
Drury had an immediate impact in his debut as a Padre on Wednesday night as he launched a grand slam in his first plate appearance. If Drury’s debut is a sign for things to come, the future is bright in Slam Diego.
New York Yankees
In a previous article featuring some of the best available players ahead of the trade deadline, I suggested that the Yankees trade Joey Gallo to open an outfield spot for Royals’ all-star Andrew Benintendi… and they did just that. Following the method of addition by subtraction, New York shipped Gallo to Los Angeles which will certainly be a move that benefits both sides, considering Gallo found his tenure in the big apple so demoralizing he left his apartment only to go to the stadium as he felt embarrassed to show his face in public.
Additionally, while signing Benintendi to go along with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton solidified their outfield, the Yankees also traded for Cardinals’ outfielder Harrison Bader. This move gives them more depth, but more importantly allows players like Stanton to DH here and there considering Bader’s speed and supreme defensive ability. In summary, the regular season Yankees will find themselves atop the rankings once again, but will the playoff Yankees predictably find themselves in another postseason debacle or will they finally break through? Only time will tell.
Despite missing out on the best available catcher, Wilson Contreras, the Houston Astros still managed to fill all the holes in their roster by acquiring catcher Christian Vasquez from the Red Sox, outfielder Trey Mancini from the Orioles, and reliever Will Smith from the Braves.
Houston made three quality moves and that is all they needed to do. While teams like the Padres needed to plunge the way they did to stay in the hunt, the Astros understood they already held a prominent seed and were just a few moves away from feeling confident heading into the postseason. Houston did not have to give up much for any of the moves they made and while they did not make as much noise as others, they are right where they want to be to finish the regular season.
The final “winner” of the 2022 trade deadline is the Philadelphia Phillies who traded for Noah Syndergaard and Brandon Marsh of the Angels as well as Cubs’ veteran reliever David Robertson. The Phillies are still in the mix of the National League wild card race and their three moves ahead of the deadline will soon pay dividends in making that final playoff push.
What appeared to be a promising season heading into the all-star break, became an overnight horror story for Orioles’ fans. Rather than taking the route of buying to make a playoff push, Baltimore sold and they sold and they sold some more until their playoff hopes were no more.
The Orioles traded all-star closer Jorge Lopez to the Minnesota Twins as well as outfielder, and face of the Baltimore Orioles, Trey Mancini to the world series-contending Houston Astros. Although playing the long game isn’t the worst idea considering Baltimore has several promising prospects, they did not improve at all this season and their fans should be very disappointed.
Ironically, the Chicago Cubs should have done exactly what I’ve criticized the Orioles for doing—sell. After shipping star players like Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez last season, Chicago had the opportunity to completely clear the decks and set sail for rebuild island by trading Wilson Contreras and Ian Happ ahead of this year’s deadline. But they didn’t.
The Cubs will regret holding onto both Happ and Contreras as the likelihood of Happ going up in value next season is extremely low, and Contreras has only 1 year left on his contract, so a hefty extension in the near future seems almost inevitable. Chicago would have been in much better shape with prospects and picks.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have had an up and down year where they simply cannot find a way to separate themselves from the middle of the pack. Unfortunately for Sox fans, Boston’s activity ahead of the trade deadline can be seen as their season in a nutshell—neither a success nor a failure. For every player they gained, they lost one of greater value.
The Sox needed an outfielder, so they traded for Reds’ centerfielder Tommy Pham, but simultaneously lost catcher Christian Vazquez. With the long-term absence of Bobby Dalbec, Boston traded for Padres’ first baseman Eric Hosmer but lost reliever Jake Diekman to the Chicago White Sox. One positive takeaway from Boston’s deadline is they managed to keep J.D. Martinez, but when looking at all of their moves from a broad perspective, it appears they have given up on this season.
St. Louis Cardinals
In their hunt for starting pitching, St. Louis traded for Pirates’ pitcher José Quintana and paid a steep price for Yankees’ pitcher Jordan Montgomery as they had to give up Harrison Bader. The Cardinals will have to start Dylan Carlson in centerfield for the foreseeable future and although the organization is likely confident in the young star’s ability, he has some pretty big shoes to fill.