The Lineup: MLB Trade Deadline Grades

Major League Baseball’s trade deadline came and went and as expected, there were some final moves in the last minutes of the 4 p.m. EST deadline. With the additional wild card, there were a lot more buyers in the final week as teams strived to make themselves better for a potential playoff run.

The slogan “Go Big or Go Home” fits perfectly with any kind of trade a professional team makes to take that next step towards a championship. With that said, let’s talk some winners and losers with the trade deadline closed (a player can still be traded if he clears waivers though).

WINNERS:

Los Angeles Angels: A

The Angels loaded up their rotation with the addition of the Milwaukee Brewers’ Zach Greinke, sending Jean Segura and minor league pitchers to the Brewers. The rotation now includes Jered Weaver (2.26 ERA), C.J. Wilson (2.88 ERA) and now Greinke (2.57 ERA). With that trio on the mound and with the likes of Mike TroutAlbert Pujols and Mark Trumbo producing on offense, the Angels are serious contenders for not only overtaking the division-leading Texas Rangers, but also for winning a World Series championship.

Los Angeles Dodgers: A-

Los Angeles proved just how serious they are about making the playoffs by landing Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins. He will join Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier as part of the Dodgers offense. They also acquired a leadoff hitter in outfielder Shane Victorino from the Phillies, who have become sellers sitting at the bottom of the NL East. The Dodgers bullpen received help by adding Brandon League for depth going forward. However, unlike Los Angeles’s other team, the Dodgers failed to strengthen their rotation, as they couldn’t get a deal done for the Chicago Cubs’ Ryan Dempster. The Dodgers are now a team to keep an eye on as the regular season winds down.

Pittsburgh Pirates: B

The Bucs were another team clogging up the lines of other general managers around the league. With the addition of former Astros pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates now have their number one starter. He will be a huge acquisition if they need him in a one-game playoff for the Wild Card winner or as a game one starter in the division series. They hope position players Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez can add some pop to their struggling offense. Keep an eye on these Pirates in the final two weeks, as they’ll look to push or extend their lead for a playoffs appearance.

Detroit Tigers: B-

They addressed their middle infield issue and bolstered their rotation with the acquisitions of Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez, respectively. The Tigers did give up quite a bit for these two, but the organization did say at the beginning of the season they are in a win-now mentality and to do that, you sometimes have to give up top prospects. The offense was never problem, so adding depth to the rotation and solving any previous problems with second base only makes the Tigers favorites in the AL Central heading into October.

LOSERS:

Oakland A’s: D

The Athletics made no high-profile moves as the deadline approached. They became instant contenders in the month of July losing just four – not including tonight’s game against Tampa Bay – and are tied for first in the AL Wild Card and only trail the struggling Rangers by 3.5 games. Their pitching can only carry them so far, as they needed a big bat in their lineup to keep up with the trades the Angels and Rangers in the final minutes of Tuesday’s deadline.

Baltimore Orioles: D

While the Orioles are unlikely contenders for an AL East crown because of the powerful New York Yankees, they are only two games out of a Wild Card spot. The Orioles desperately needed a high-quality starting pitcher if they are going to stay in either race. If they don’t, they are basically throwing the season away.

Chicago Cubs: C

Being one of the worst teams in baseball at the deadline has its advantages – you are able to trade away players for prospects to teams that are in contention. The Cubs were extremely busy in the final 24 hours. On Monday night they dealt Geovany Soto to the Rangers and sent Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to the Atlanta Braves for prospects. In the final seconds of Tuesday’s deadline, the Cubs were finally able to send Dempster on his way to the Rangers. However, the Cubs are still in possession of Alfonso Soriano and Matt Garza. Both Garza and Dempster should have been shut down much earlier. Instead, they both went out and continued to pitch as their trade value dropped, with Dempster snapping his scoreless inning streak and Garza suffering a late injury. I hate to blame the mastermind that is Theo Epstein, but he did not get the best out there for either pitcher.

New York Yankees: C-

Offense is never a problem in the Bronx, but lately pitching has become one. The addition of Ichiro Suzuki and Casey McGhee are not enough to push the Yankees toward a World Series appearance. They will be lucky to escape the division series as they routinely dismiss the rotation at the deadline. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda will not carry them far, as the Yanks should’ve made some serious offers to starting pitchers. The likes of a Dempster or Garza would have been a nice pickup had they been willing to offer the Cubs some sort compensation.

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  • Jamie Bradley

    I have a hard time blaming Epstein. I mean it sucked what happened to Garza, but he DID get a phenomenal return for Dempster – Randall Delgado. It’s not Epstein’s fault that Dempster turned down the trade to Atlanta after originally saying he’d go there. 

  • Joey Felipe

    From the sounds of it, my Tigers might have been contenders for Soriano? I’d love to be able to finally wave goodbye to Delmon.

    • Jamie Bradley

       That’s the rumor. Apparently the Cubs/Tigers are still working on a deal. The chances that Sori clears waivers are pretty good thanks to his huge contract, so a deal might yet get done.