Baseball’s trade deadline has come and gone and now it’s time to take stock of what just happened. While we won’t know who really benefited the most from this deadline until later on down the road, that’s not going to stop knee-jerk reactions on who’s better and who’s worse as of right now.
Last year is a prime example since you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who had the Braves as a clear winner of the 2021 trade deadline, but they’ve got the shiny new World Series trophy to show for it. With that in mind, we’re still going to try to find out who could follow in Atlanta’s footsteps of turning trade deadline deals into October glory.
Obviously we have to start with the winners of the Juan Soto Sweepstakes. The Padres were going to be winners based off of picking up Soto alone, but they upped the ante when they managed to get Josh Bell in the same deal. A lot of teams would’ve been happy with simply getting a generational talent like Soto and leaving it at that, but the Padres went above and beyond by also bringing in a hitter of Bell’s caliber
That also wasn’t even the end of it for San Diego. They also added versatile fielder Brandon Drury via trade and this was all after they pulled off a shocker the night before deadline day by trading for shutdown closer Josh Hader. On top of all of that, the Padres did eventually find a way to ship Eric Hosmer out of town — while Hosmer invoked his no-trade clause to avoid going to DC, he agreed to get shipped off to Boston instead. San Diego basically got everything they wanted in the span of two days.
Simply put, this was a masterclass of ambition from not just general manager AJ Preller, but the entire Padres organization. They’ve shown that they’re not afraid of making big moves in order to compete in a division that contains a juggernaut in Los Angeles and moves like these are going to make them a very dangerous opponent come October.
Speaking of ambition, it takes a whole lot of it to see a team that went into the deadline with 70 wins and decide that they still needed to make sure they were even stronger for the rest of the season. That was the mission for the Yankees and they accomplished their goals. They got a really good starter in Frankie Montas, they fortified their bullpen with Lou Trivino and Scott Effross, and they shored up their outfield options by adding Harrison Bader and Andrew Benintendi. They also did this without giving up any of their tippy-top prospects, so they didn’t even mortgage their future in the process of strengthening their squad. It’s almost as if Brian Cashman is very good at his job!
Instead of resting on their laurels, the Yankees appear as determined as ever to end their World Series drought this year. There are kids who would be entering high school next year without ever seeing the Yankees win a World Series title — that’s far too long for the most prestigious franchise in baseball, and this appears to be their best shot to finally return to glory. Plus, New York also managed to give Joey Gallo a smooth landing spot with the Dodgers as he’ll be looking to benefit from a much-needed change of scenery. Even when they’re selling off, the Yankees still look good at the end of the day.
Thanks to the postseason expansion, more teams than ever were open to buying at the deadline rather than selling. One team that’s currently benefiting from the expanded playoffs is the Phillies, who currently find themselves right in the thick of a fight for a wild card berth. Instead of lamenting being 10 games back in the division, they’re fighting for the third spot and appear to be serious about making sure they can get into the tournament.
Philadelphia ended up with a rock-solid reliever in David Robertson, one of the best gloves on the market in the form of Brandon Marsh, and they also took a chance by bringing Noah Syndergaard back to the NL East. The Phillies got definitely better and they have the potential to make a run if they can take advantage of a soft schedule going forward. This had to have been the type of optimism and positive thinking at the deadline that MLB had in mind when they expanded the playoffs and the Phillies are a prime example of one of the positives of the new format.
If we’re judging the haul that the Nationals received, then it would be reasonable to be excited about MacKenzie Gore joining Washington’s organization. With that being said, the Nationals are in this category because it is a certainty that they are going to be worse off for having traded their 23-year-old phenom. It’s a tough situation if Soto didn’t want to stay for both a rebuild and a change in ownership but it also seems to point to a pattern of the Nationals having a tough time keeping superstars around. Washington can now kick their rebuild into high gear, but it’s still incredibly shocking that it’s gotten to this point only three years after winning the World Series.
It’s difficult to complain about what the Mets had going on at the deadline. After all, they did make some decent additions to their roster by bringing in Daniel Vogelbach, Darin Ruf, Tyler Naquin, and Mychal Givens. Their current status as a divisional leader with one of the best records in the NL also makes it tough to really find fault with how New York operated here. With that being said, it just feels like “decent additions” may not be good enough when both their divisional rivals and their potential postseason obstacles pushed their chips to the middle of the table in order to improve. The Mets may end up being just fine in the long run, but this does feel like a missed opportunity to make a serious splash to strengthen their squad.
Twenty nine Major League Baseball teams made trades at or around the trade deadline. This did not include the Colorado Rockies, who were the only team that had absolutely nothing going on. They didn’t buy and they didn’t sell — they stood completely pat. It’d be shocking if it weren’t for the fact that being directionless is completely normal for this franchise as of late. To let you know just how out of the loop the Rockies were, here’s what GM Bill Schmidt had to say:
Asked about the Rockies being the only team to not make a deadline trade, Bill Schmidt said:
“We were also the only club to sign a player to an extension at the deadline; 29 other clubs didn’t sign anybody to an extension.”
Well, no, that’s not true. But honest mistake.
— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) August 3, 2022
Way to be plugged in to what’s going on! The extension that Schmidt was talking about was a two-year extension for Daniel Bard. Yes seriously. The Rockies continue to operate in incredibly mystifying ways that make absolutely no sense to anybody but themselves. Even when the expectations were on the floor, the Rockies somehow manage to be confusing and disappointing.