The dust has started to settle after this years MLB trade deadline. Details continue to trickle in on several key deals, however, the majority of Tuesday’s action can now be dissected and analyzed.
Here’s a look at the biggest winners now that the 2018 MLB non-waiver trade deadline has passed.
While this seems like a no-brainer given that they acquired infielder Manny Machado during the mid-season break, it’s not the Machado deal that solidifies Los Angeles as a clear-cut winner at this years deadline.
In addition to bringing in the best available shortstop and/or third baseman that was on the market, President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman was also able to add the best available second baseman — Brian Dozier.
Despite having a down year, as mentioned by Jason Kinander, slashing .224/.305/.402 — all of which are career-lows dating back to his first full season in 2013 — the 31-year-old infielder continues to put up power numbers at a position that is typically defunct of the trait. His 16 home runs rank seventh in baseball — two shy of Asdrubal Cabrera who ranks third, and was also recently traded — and he ranks sixth in RBI (52) and fourth in runs scored (65) among all second baseman.
Unlike the American League, where there are multiple teams in the conversation, the National League hasn’t identified who the clear-cut favorite is at this point — this move solidifies Los Angeles, at least on paper, as the team to beat in the senior circuit.
Recognizing that 10 games out of a wild card position was probably not a good sign, the Rays went all-in on the future — the not-so-distant future. After trading right-handers Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Andriese, and left-hander Jonny Venters in the days leading up to Tuesday’s deadline, GM Erik Neander went out and acquired outfielder Tommy Pham — who is under team-control for three seasons — from the St Louis Cardinals. In return, the Rays send a pair of Top-20 prospects.
They then traded Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two of the biggest prospect names we’ve heard in recent years, OF Austin Meadows and RHP Tyler Glasnow.
Midway through 2017, Meadows and Glasnow were both Top-10 prospects according to MLB Pipeline. Not in the Pirates organization — in all of baseball. In fact, they were No. 1 and No. 2 in our rankings of the Pirates farm system.
Glasnow, 24, had recently fallen out of favor with many in the Pittsburgh organization after struggling mighty after making his MLB-debut in 2016. In 85.1 innings, from 2016-2017, he recorded a 6.75 ERA and 5.74 FIP. His K/9 were under one per inning (8.4), and only Jordan Lyles had a higher ERA among all pitchers (min. 80 IP).
Having said that, he’s still young. Perhaps a change of scenery and a vote of confidence from a new club can right the ship. Too often we see teams give up on prospects, trade them or release them, and watch them breakout with another club. Similar to what we’ve seen throughout the careers of guys like Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez.
Meadows, on the other hand, is playing well for Pittsburgh. In fact, his .795 OPS is higher than Ronald Acuna of the Atlanta Braves. Plus, his 39.7% Hard-Contact is higher than the likes of Miguel Andujar and Juan Soto. All three of those guys are in the conversation for Rookie of the Year honors in their respective league. The Pirates had several outfield roadblocks in his way — the Rays are a different story. He’ll head to Triple-A Durham for now, but don’t be surprised to see him as a mainstay before the end of the season.
The biggest ‘win’ for Tampa Bay is that they are receiving prospects and MLB players that will help the team throughout the same timeline as their current top prospects. You could conceivably see guys like Meadows, Glasnow, Brent Honeywell, Jose De Leon, Willy Adames, Jake Bauers, Brendan McCay, Jesus Sanchez, and Brandon Lowe playing alongside each other — that’s an incredible list of top-prospects. All of those guys were ranked among the Top-10 at their position between 2017 and 2018.
It would have been nice to see the Brewers go out and obtain a veteran starting pitcher, they were rumored in the Archer sweepstakes as well as Gio Gonzalez, to help them in their playoff push, however, the club did a nice job of improving their chances for this season — and next year.
After watching the market drop during the off-season, the Kansas City Royals were able to sign third baseman Mike Moustakas to a 1-year $6.5MM deal. On July 28, the Brewers traded away two 24-year-old prospects, OF Brett Phillips and RHP Jorge Lopez, to acquire the former World Series champ. Adding a veteran leader, with October experience, will go a long way for the Brew Crew. Plus it reunites him with his 2015 World Series teammate, Lorenzo Cain.
Adding to their solid bullpen — which includes Corey Knebel, Josh Hader, and Jeremy Jeffress — GM David Stearns brought in another veteran in right-handed reliever Joakim Soria. While playing for a rebuilding White Sox team in 2018, the 34-year-old has put up solid numbers over 38.2 innings. You’d have to go all the way back to 2009 (11.7) to find a season in which he posted a better K/9 rate than the 11.4 clip he reached prior to being traded on July 26. Both of these moves help Milwaukee in their effort to hoist their first World Series trophy. Details of the trade can be found here.
The last move made by the club prior to the deadline not only helps them in 2018, it also puts the team in good position for a 2019 run as well. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop was acquired minutes before the 4pm cutoff. With Baltimore in the midst of a fire-sale, Milwaukee was able to acquire the 2017 all-star infielder, who is under team-control, through 2019, for a guaranteed $9MM.
While many will point out that Schoop has battled injuries recently, elbow bursitis in 2017 and an oblique strain earlier this year, he appeared to regain his all-star form in July. His nine home runs this month are second to Matt Carpenter for the top spot in MLB. In fact, his 19 RBI in July are just three fewer than the season total for the man he is replacing, Jonathan Villar, who heads to Baltimore as part of the deal.
It’s worth noting that the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies made significant strides toward a 2018 run as well. For Atlanta — having basically taken every serviceable member of the Orioles not named Machado, Schoop, or Zach Britton, their surplus of pitching is something that every GM wishes they had. However, it’ll be interesting to see how manager Brian Snitker handles the workload and division of responsibility. The addition of Venters, Brad Brach, and Kevin Gausman add depth to both the rotation and bullpen.
The Phillies, who appear set to battle Atlanta for the division title, added Cabrera and catcher Wilson Ramos, to go along with lefty reliever Aaron Loup, acquired from Toronto.
As for the Baltimore Orioles — they should also be viewed as potential winners. Or at least the GM should. They knew they had to rebuild and they did just that. Take a look at their top prospects heading into this season and compare them to what they have now — one-third of their Top 30 prospects have changed in less than a month.
Dan Duquette, #Orioles executive director of baseball operations: “I hear it’s easier to demolish the entire house and rebuild from the ground up rather than renovating one room at a time.” Machado, Britton, Brach, Gausman, Schoop, O’Day. The Great Baltimore Demolition of 2018.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2018
Expect GM Dan Duquette to be around for at least another few years. It doesn’t make much sense to retool the entire farm system and then bring in a new general manager.