The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and with it, we see a new look at the playoff races in each league. The good teams stocked up for a pennant chase, while the bottom-dwellers sold in hopes of a better future. Today, we’ve got not one, but two writers bringing you their MLB trade deadline winners and losers. First up is Jake Brockhoff with four winners and four losers from the deadline.
The Rangers are certainly enjoying their jump to contention in 2023. Texas jumped on the scene in the AL this year, and once held a several-game lead on the Astros in the West. They’ve struggled recently, but remain tied. Perhaps those struggles influenced some of their big moves at the deadline.
Texas landed Max Scherzer, Jordan Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Stratton and Austin Hedges before the deadline expired. Their offense was fine, but pitching remained an issue, so the overwhelming amount of pitching acquired here makes sense. They were as aggressive as they needed to be, and have set themselves up well for October.
Flaherty has been solid in 2023, but it hasn’t been his best year. He owns a 4.43 ERA, 106 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.55. Those stats aren’t going to jump off the page, but compared to most of the starters dealt during the deadline, Flaherty looks like a pretty solid option.
In his last five starts, Flaherty owns an ERA of just 3.03. He’s been impressive as of late. Jack’s exit from the Cardinals team that seems to be on the down-turn, to an Orioles team that is very much on the rise makes him a winner at this deadline.
Two weeks ago, the Cubs looked like certain seller’s at this year’s deadline. They were well out of the playoff race, and hopes of a late resurrection seemed over. That was until near double-digit winning streak, and an 8-2 record in their past 10 games gave them a winning record, and placed Chicago just a couple games out off the division and wild-card races
The Cubs weren’t big buyers at the deadline, but they did land Jeimer Candelario, one of the best bats on the market. Their division rivals, the Brewers and Reds, failed to make any major moves themselves as well. The combination of these two lands the Cubbies in the winners section.
The defending champs have gone on a run over the past month, erasing the Rangers’ lead on the division.
A Justin Verlander reunion makes everyone in Texas (besides Rangers’ fans) happy. With Justin in the mix, the Astros rotation feels complete. Texas had their chance to put this team away, and they squandered it. With that in mind, plus the addition of Verlander, the AL West division is anyone’s grabs.
The Yankee’s have been losers in several ways this season. The competitive nature of the AL East seems to have passed them by. A division the pinstripes once had a hold on has now left them in last place with a 55-52.
New York must not feel that luck is on their side. Their record would currently put them in first in the AL Central, a much better fortune than the one they currently own. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Their inability to make any meaningful additions at the MLB trade deadline didn’t help.
No matter how this season finishes out, the Orioles can definitely look at this season as a win. Baltimore went from the cellar of the American League to one of the best teams in all of baseball in very short notice.
The Orioles shouldn’t be considered among the other losers on this list. My qualm with their deadline decision-making revolves around the fact that they did little to help their pitching, aside from adding Flaherty. Flaherty helps, but their lack of established pitching depth aside from him should have been addressed as well.
The Royals have had a rough year, and they’ve found themselves at the bottom of their division throughout it. They did the right thing by selling their better players for prospects, and were relatively active at the deadline.
So what makes them a loser? Point blank, they got very mediocre returns. They landed Cole Ragans and Roni Cabrera in return for Aroldis Chapman. That’s a decent return. However, Nicky Lopez, Ryan Yarbrough, Scott Barlow and Mike Mayers all ended up having disappointing returns. Kansas City sold the players they needed to, but did not get nearly enough as they should have in return. Kansas City was one of the losers from this year’s MLB trade deadline.
Similar to the Orioles situation, Cincinnati should look at this season as a net positive no matter what.
Unfortunately, the Reds also followed Baltimore’s deadline blueprint. A team that is in the hunt for the division and the playoffs, one that could have really used some pitching and bench depth, ended with a measly addition of Sam Moll. Given the Reds’ recent success, they’ve earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt. With that in mind, their deadline moves left a lot to be desired.