The Orioles finally did what they’ve needed to do for over a year now: sell. They tore everything down, trading six major league guys to jump start their rebuild. After bashing Dan Duquette mercilessly leading up to the Manny Machado trade, I have to admit that, with the exception of one trade, he did a great job.
I have previously gone into the Manny Machado trade, and I think that Duquette came out looking incredible after that. Yes, Manny Machado is one of the greatest baseball players on the planet. However, Duquette was able to acquire a top prospect, Yusniel Diaz, as well as four other solid guys for two months of a position player. That’s an incredible deal for the O’s.
The other deal I loved from the O’s perspective was the Zach Britton deal. I’m not a fan of dealing a player of Britton’s caliber within the division, but for the package that Duquette got, it was a no-brainer. While Dillon Tate doesn’t have the highest ceiling, he will be a really solid pitcher for Baltimore in the future. I also really like Cody Carroll, a reliever that the O’s acquired. He has potentially wipe-out stuff and will be pitching for the big league club in the near future.
Those were Duquette’s two best trades. I like his return for Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day, especially 3B Juan Carlos Encarnacion, though I disagree with their decision to choose to dump the O’Day contract over a better prospect.
I wasn’t a fan of the Jonathan Schoop trade, though they were under the gun, as the trade happened in the final minutes leading up to the deadline. I do like SP Luis Ortiz, who comes in as the O’s 7th best prospect, but not getting one of Milwaukee’s top 4 guys for a controllable young asset such as Schoop feels like a loss.
Another thing to take note of regarding the O’s trade deadline is their acquisition of international slot money. The Orioles are heaving linked to Cuban phenom Victor Victor Mesa, who will be signing this offseason. If they can land him, both the Gausman and Brach trades, in which they acquired slot money, look a lot better.
The Rays definitely win the “weirdest trade deadline” award, but I like what they did. First of all, it’s odd to see a team deal their franchise face in the middle of a season in which they are .500. Secondly, it’s weird to see a team deal their franchise face while also dealing prospects for an established big leaguer. However, I agree with both of those moves that Erik Neander made.
July 25th was a busy day for the Rays, as they traded both Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Andriese away. While Jalen Beeks is a good player, I feel like they may have come away a little light in the Eovaldi deal. The Andriese deal was pretty small, and I feel like these deals were the only ones that weren’t wins for the Rays.
The Rays were in a lose-lose situation with Wilson Ramos. They could have either waited and tried to deal him in August, which is far from a guarantee, or deal him now. The Nats weren’t buying, which significantly lowered their leverage. I’m not going to say this was a bad deal for Tampa Bay, especially not knowing who the PTBNL is from Philadelphia, but it’s a loose end right now.
It’s their other two trades which are their big victories. First of all, Neander’s fleecing of the Pittsburgh Pirates should have its own exhibit in Cooperstown. If you would have told me two years ago that the Pirates would trade Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows for a pitcher, I would have thought that Chris Sale is about to be a Pirate. Now, two years later, they trade those two, who still have a ton of value, and another big piece to be named later, for a struggling pitcher. The Rays came out like bandits in this deal.
I also really like the upside in the Tommy Pham deal. There’s no way around it, the Cardinals have a toxic environment. We saw just the player that Tommy Pham could be last year when he was worth over 6.0 fWAR. We’ve seen over and over again just how players play differently in different environments, and I think this could be the case for Pham. He may not be the player he was last year, but even if he regresses a bit, the Rays got a great player for not a massive prospect cost.
The Diamondbacks are the only “buyer” to make my top three. They didn’t go out and make a super flashy move, but they added really solid pieces to their team, and they definitely kept up with the Dodgers’ flashier ones.
Mike Hazen’s first move, acquiring Matt Andriese, didn’t make headlines. However, Andriese is a solid player, and it can never hurt having a swingman or long reliever in a pennant race. Andriese isn’t going to win you the World Series, but he’s a solid player for a relatively light prospect cost.
Arizona’s flashiest move was acquiring SS Eduardo Escobar from the Twins for three low-level prospects. While two of the guys they traded, RHP Jhoan Duran and OF Gabriel Maciel, have the potential to be impact guys, Escobar fits perfectly in Arizona. Escobar had a major league-leading 37 doubles in Minnesota prior to the trade and now moves to a massive ballpark in Chase Field. Escobar’s game plays a lot better in Arizona then it does in Minnesota, and this was the best under-the-radar trade of this deadline.
They also did what every competing team needs to do, and a lot ignored, in adding to the bullpen. Their bullpen wasn’t awful before the deadline, led by star reliever Archie Bradley, but it wasn’t a major strength. Now it is.
Brad Ziegler, acquired on deadline day from Miami, is not only a Diamondback legend already but also a really good reliever. Ziegler started the season weak, but since his rough start, he’s been absolutely lights out, with a 1.97 ERA in his last 33 appearances. Jake Diekman, the lefty they acquired from Texas. Diekman isn’t perfect, walking a relatively high amount of guys, but he’s been an impact lefty this year for the Rangers, and puts the finishing touches on a great Diamondback bullpen.
I’m not sure whether they are better than the Dodgers, but they are close. I’m not sure you could have put them in the same discussion long-term before the deadline, but now you can.