The trade deadline started early and kept rolling all the way through today’s official deadline. With nearly 20 teams attempting to push for the playoffs, we saw one of the biggest seller’s markets in years with a handful of teams controlling the majority of assets sought after heading into the deadline.
While many trades result in outcomes that evidently benefit both sides, there are some teams that set themselves apart for better or worse.
With the competitive nature of both leagues right now, the direction teams decided to go in played a factor in determining who won or lost. Teams that committed to a path received more credit assuming they got adequate value in moves that pushed them in said direction.
The final stretch of the season figures to be great and the moves made at the deadline will certainly play a pivotal role. You can read about every move made at the deadline on our Deadline Tracker.
Let’s dive into teams that got better and others that failed to execute at the highest level this trade deadline. Winning at the deadline doesn’t necessarily mean getting better this year though, as you’ll see a few teams that essentially gave up this season for the sake of their respective future.
In reality, many teams failed to execute as well they could have led to more losers at this deadline than winners. This list easily could have featured 10 losers but I kept it a little shorter.
Loser: Los Angeles Dodgers
The perennial buyer that is the Dodgers made a bunch of moves, but none that really move the needle the way I see it. They acquired a variety of players such as Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Amed Rosario, Kiké Hernandez, and others. They weren’t able to acquire Eduardo Rodriguez after he opted to use his no-trade clause in order to stay on the East Coast.
The Dodgers added pieces that could be useful for them down the stretch, but they failed to add anything of substance like they often do and their outlook doesn’t feel much different than it did prior to the deadline.
Ultimately, their season will be defined by the players they have returning from injury down the stretch. They’ve got several key players expected back in the coming months and will need contributions from them in order to contend for the World Series with the minimal moves they made at the deadline.
Winner: Texas Rangers
The biggest expectation exceeding team this season has been the Texas Rangers. After spending ample money the past two winters, they were expected to improve but not by even close to this much. They attacked this deadline aggressively and got much better and deeper with their pitching to fight off the Astros, who they’ll be battling with for the division down the stretch.
Well before the deadline, they made a move for Aroldis Chapman. That has proven to be a big add and they just kept going this week.
The Rangers struck a blockbuster for future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer, which was already enough to put them into the winner category, but they weren’t done yet. With Jacob deGrom out for the year and likely next, they plugged that hole with Scherzer.
This past week Nathan Eovaldi went down with an injury that has an uncertain timeline, so the Rangers continued to attack the market and traded for Jordan Montgomery, one of the most underrated starters in the league. They also brought in another reliable reliever in Chris Stratton who came from St. Louis with Montgomery.
Adding two starting pitchers to make their rotation one of the best and deepest in baseball while bolstering the bullpen with two more arms can only be looked at as a huge win for a team with World Series aspirations and the talent to get there.
Loser: New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are perennial buyers and had a chance to either do that or sell and reboot for next season. The only move made by New York was adding reliever Keynan Middleton from the White Sox at the end of the deadline.
This is one of the most disappointing teams because they just didn’t do anything. The Yankees could’ve gone either direction and had a solid deadline, but they did just the opposite. This can only be looked at as a failure for a team that is usually aggressive in making moves of some sort at the least.
Winner: Chicago White Sox
The first team to get the selling market rolling was the White Sox when they sent Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López to the all-in Angels last week. They were able to acquire consensus Top 100 prospect catcher Edgar Quero, who instantly looks like he could become the catcher of the future in Chicago.
This move signaled the team’s commitment to leaning into a rebuild or at least a retool as they’ve fallen out of contention for the AL Central and they’ll now set their eyes on realistically trying to compete again in 2025.
The team continued to sell off veteran pieces by sending Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly to the Dodgers and Kendall Graveman to the Astros at the beginning of this past weekend. They were able to acquire some interesting pieces in those deals especially for expensive veterans with pitcher Nick Nastrini as the headliner coming back from the Dodgers. The moves are essentially no-brainers and sparked a successful deadline for the White Sox
The White Sox continued to pounce today with a sell-move of trading Jake Burger for Top 100 pitching prospect Jake Eder from the Marlins. This move was another excellent one as Burger is at the peak of his value this season, hitting 25 home runs, while Eder is quite possibly the best prospect in the Marlins farm system right now.
While the White Sox could have taken advantage of the market by trading Dylan Cease, I think it’s a reasonable hold if the value wasn’t quite there for it. They did very well in four deals and earned the winner title for that.
Loser: Los Angeles Angels
I get the idea of wanting to build around Shohei Ohtani. In theory, I agree with the concept of trying to go all-in for the best player we have ever witnessed. I’m just not sure the Angels did enough and it could backfire if they lose Ohtani this winter and are set back significantly in the future.
The Angels were able to bring in Lucas Giolito, which should help their rotation a lot, but is he truly the impact player this team needs to move from not being in the playoff picture to a contender? Adding CJ Cron and Randal Grichuk on offense helps as well, but neither are true impact players at this point in their careers.
I just don’t believe that the Angels did enough to justify risking their future for the sake of keeping Ohtani around. They tried and I don’t think that was the wrong decision but I don’t think they’ve set themselves up to make a serious run which could lead to this deadline being a failure.
Winner: New York Mets
While the season has been a huge disappointment in New York, the Mets are doing their best to make the most out of it for the future, utilizing Steve Cohen’s willingness to spend money in order to attain valuable assets.
The Mets were able to utilize their money to trade Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer for excellent value. Read all about those deals with those links, but the Mets essentially brought in two elite prospects in Luisangel Acuña and Drew Gilbert, and another exciting one in Ryan Clifford by eating a lot of the contract money involved with their two veteran arms.
While the Mets may not compete next year, they have set themselves up brilliantly for the future and still have a core on their current roster that will help them compete in two years.
Loser: Baltimore Orioles
The team with the most loaded farm system in baseball and the best record in the American League had the opportunity to add a star or even two at this deadline to make themselves the favorite in the American League. They added Jack Flaherty, which helped their lack of starting pitching strength, but it felt like they could have done a lot more.
They were one of the teams in the mix for Dylan Cease and they could’ve put together a package that the White Sox couldn’t say no to, but it seems they didn’t go that direction. The Orioles are well set up for the present and future but missed a chance to become one of the favorites to win it all this season.
Winner: Houston Astros
Reunion! That’s the outcome of the Astros’ deadline and it’s one that sets them up to compete for the World Series once again. They brought back Justin Verlander from the New York Mets less than a year after he left the Astros after winning the World Series last season. While they gave up a ton of prospect value in possibly their two best prospects, the Astros positioned themselves for a deep run once again and have to applauded for that.
They added one of the best pitchers in the world and the best player dealt at the deadline. This can only be looked at as a win because the Astros will now have Justin Verlander in their rotation for a team that needed help with two starting pitchers out for the year. Also, considering what they are paying Verlander over the next two and a half years, this becomes even more of a win.
Loser: Detroit Tigers
Another case of a missed chance to get some legit value here as the Tigers had multiple appealing pieces and ended up making just one move. They got good value in exchange for Michael Lorenzen but not being able to get an Eduardo Rodriguez trade done hurts and they could’ve moved numerous bullpen pieces for solid value as well.
This feels like a serious miss for a rebuilding team that could have stockpiled more young talent in a market that would’ve returned value.
Fringe Winners: Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres
Fringe Losers: San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners