Well, it's over. Another Trade Deadline has come and gone. It took a while to get the party going, but eventually we danced and drank and dealt. And now that the clean up begins, you'll, no doubt, read several deadline recap stories, check out deadline grades and make sure no one at the deadline party broke any of your good stuff. Here's my take...
1. SAN DIEGO. Is there any doubt? Madman AJ Preller may have given away more prospects at a single deadline than any GM in MLB history, but I don't think Padres fans will be thinking about that as they stand shoulder-to-shoulder for sold out games the rest of the year and into the playoffs. No, they'll be enjoying the rapture of watching Fernando Tatis, Juan Soto & Manny Machado batting back-to-back-to-back five times a night for the next three years. Plus, Preller added all-star RP Josh Hader and career-year-having INF Brandon Drury. Maybe history will eventually show that the Nationals won this deal & at some point in the not-so-distant future San Diego is going to go full-Miami-Marlins and tear it all down, but right now all 30 MLB fanbases are jealous of what San Diego added at the deadline.
2. HOUSTON. Damn you, Astros. You went and got better, didn't you? Well, f**k you, you garbage can banging brilliant bastards. Baltimore OF Trey Mancini, Boston C Christian Vazquez & savvy veteran RP Will Smith (Atlanta) shore up any deficiencies the Astros might have displayed, and Houston traded from strengths to land all three pieces. Plus, the additions are all great locker room adds as well. Houston just got better and at very little cost to the present or future.
3. TIE: NATIONALS & REDS. Sellers can win at the deadline, too. And I think both organizations made the most of their crummy circumstances. Washington meant to rebuild around Soto, but young pieces like Carter Kieboom and Victor Robles have failed miserably to live up to expectations, while investments in Patrick Corbin & Stephen Strasburg crashed & burned. Unlike the Angels, the Nats had enough organizational-awareness to know they weren't going to win by clinging to a single superstar player, and they landed a monster package to aid the unavoidable rebuild. Similarly, the Reds started an unpopular rebuild prior to the season. There was no reason to stop short of a full cleanse. Cincinnati got back a nice haul from the Mariners for Castillo, and grabbed three more pieces from Minnesota for Tyler Mahle.
1. BALTIMORE. The Orioles haven't experienced even a decent season since 2016. 115, 108 & 110 loss seasons over that span!! In other words, Baltimore fans have had NOTHING to cheer about in years, but this year they had a fun young baseball team that was competing at a Wild Card contender level. And how is the fanbase and clubhouse rewarded? The team SOLD at the deadline. Fan favorite Trey Mancini and all-star closer Jorge Lopez are both gone. I get "sticking to the plan". I even get not adding. But outright selling? Surely, the team and fanbase deserved better?
2 & 3. CLEVELAND & CHICAGO. A game out of the Wild Card, and Cleveland didn't add a thing at the deadline. Pretty much all-in on winning now, and the White Sox added a left-handed relief pitcher and nothing more. Meanwhile, Minnesota, whose leads in the AL Central have shrunk to 1 & 3 games respectively over the Guardians and the White Sox went out and added a good SP (Tyler Mahle), an all-star closer (Jorge Lopez) & a quality late-inning RP in Michael Fullmer from Detroit. At least, one team in the AL Central wants to win.
1. CUBS. How on earth did the Cubs organization allow Willson Contreras and Ian Happ to put on that emotional, tear-soaked farewell show at Wrigley Field last week if they weren't convinced that the two were being traded? Instead, the deadline came and went, and all the Cubs moved were a few bullpen pieces. Contreras is a free agent at year's end. One has to wonder if his emotional (albeit unnecessary) good-bye convinced the organization to re-sign him at year's end, or if we're going to go through that entire sad showcase again in October?
2. BOSTON. What are you doing? Buying (kinda) on Eric Hosmer & Tommy Pham? Selling on Christian Vazquez & Jake Diekman? I sit here today (deadline day) having no better understanding of Boston's plans for the future.
3. TORONTO. The Blue Jays added Whit Merrifield? The one organization in baseball that doesn't allow unvaccinated players to cross the border & play on Canadian soil just traded for the most adamant "I'm not getting vaccinated" player in the game? Why didn't you just trade for Kyrie Irving, while you were at it?
WHAT CATEGORY DO THE MARINERS FALL WITHIN?
Winners. The Mariners gave up a lot for Luis Castillo, more than I thought it would require. And I, too, wanted Jerry to add a bat. But at the end of the day, the Mariners traded for the second best player that was made available at the deadline. Castillo is a legitimate ace, and he's ours for at least two seasons. Mariner fans can be disappointed that the offensive need on this roster was not addressed, but there is zero reason for outcry. Of the seven teams in the American League competing for the three WC playoff spots, GM Jerry Dipoto did more at the deadline than any of them, and it wasn't even close. Baltimore sold. Cleveland stood pat. The White Sox added a lefty reliever, and nothing more. As I mentioned earlier, I don't know what Boston was doing this week. Tampa Bay picked up a decent-at-best veteran OF in David Peralta & a .171 young hitter. And the Jays added two middle relievers & a 33-year old 2B who apparently will only play during road games for them. Nothing any of them did can even compare to adding Luis Castillo.