Updated: Aug 9, 2021
With less than two months to go in the MLB season, teams around the league geared up for the road ahead during the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. Lots of moves were made prior to that July 30 deadline date for teams to either add assets for a playoff push or move towards a future rebuild.
Let’s take a look at which teams came out of the deadline better or worse off than they did before.
Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers didn’t make many trades but there’s little doubt they made the biggest one. Acquiring both Max Scherzer and Trae Turner from the Washington Nationals was a move no one saw coming as it added more firepower for the reigning World Series Champions.
Despite being 37 years old and a free agent at the end of the season, Schrezer is still pitching at an All-Star level and serves as a Trevor Bauer replacement who may not pitch in a Dodger uniform again.
Turner meanwhile still has a year of control left following the season and is in the prime of his career. He also forms a deadly middle infield combo with Corey Seager.
The Dodgers gave up top prospects in Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray in the deal but it’s worth it to bring in two of the top players at their position especially if it means capturing another World Series title.
Loser: Colorado Rockies
Poor Trevor Story.
The Rockies haven’t had the best year in baseball as they were oddly quiet with trades. Despite being one of the worst teams in the MLB and having talent to trade away, the Rockies only made one trade, moving reliever Mychal Givens to the Cincinnati Reds.
Pitchers Jon Gray and German Márquez are both having career best seasons and were potentially at the highest trade value of their careers. As for Trevor Story, this was the Rockies last chance to trade him in a contract season and they chose to not even try to get any prospects for him.
The Rockies are nowhere close to competing especially in the NL West and it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere soon.
Winner: New York Yankees
After a first half where the Yankees struggled to keep up with the Rays and the Red Sox in the AL East, they did a great job improving most spots on the roster while not giving up much value.
The Bronx Bombers started out by trading for outfielder Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers. While he is a strikeout machine, Gallo’s elite power should excel in Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch and he brings a great arm to the outfield. The Yankees held on to their top prospects in this trade with the best prospect they gave up being ranked No. 14 in the team's farm system.
The Yankees followed that trade up by adding another lefty bat in Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo has already heated up since the trade and he brings another solid bat to the lineup with Luke Voit still dealing with injuries.
Pitching depth was also a problem for the Yankees and they made a move to try and fix that by trading for starter Andrew Heaney from the Los Angeles Angels. Heaney has had an up and down career to this point but was reliable during his previous four seasons with the Angels. The Yankees got him when his value was low and while he did have a rough first start in New York, Heaney should aid a struggling rotation.
Loser: New York Mets
Especially after dealing with several injuries right before deadline day, the Mets needed to make the right moves to stay atop the NL East and they didn’t.
One of the best pitchers in the game Jacob DeGrom will likely be out for at least another month, maybe even more. In response the Mets decided to only add veteran starter Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays. Hill isn’t bad as an innings eater but the Mets needed to add one more quality starter to help a tired and thin rotation.
The Mets did make one big move however, acquiring shortstop Javier Baez from the Chicago Cubs. While Francisco Lindor is out for a few more weeks, the Baez trade just didn’t make sense.
The Mets have struggled with taking pitches and scoring runs this season. Baez is a player who swings early in counts and leads the NL in strikeouts. Despite Baez having 24 home runs and a great glove at shortstop, he is not a guy you give up a top prospect in Pete Crow Armstrong for especially since he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Winner: Chicago White Sox
You can never have too much bullpen help and the White Sox loaded up for October before the deadline.
The White Sox chose a strange target in acquiring that bullpen help in the crosstown rival Chicago Cubs. Both Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera went to the White Sox in separate trades.
Kimbrel has looked like one of the best closers in the league during the first half with the Cubs. He boasts an ERA under .5 and has converted on all but two save opportunities. The White Sox will have him under contract until the end of next season where he will form a deadly end of game duo with Liam Hendriks.
Losing infielder Nick Madrigal in the trade will be a tough blow for the future but the acquisition of Cesar Hernandez from Cleveland should soften the blow for at least the short term.
Loser: St. Louis Cardinals
What direction are the Cardinals going in?
Sitting 11 games back of first in the NL Central as well as seven and a half games back of a wild card spot, the Cardinals may have confused their fan base after the deadline.
The Cardinals made two moves before the deadline, both of which saw the team acquiring a veteran starting pitcher. Both J.A Happ and Jon Lester joined the Cardinals with the Happ trade costing more for the team.
Pitcher John Gant was sent to the Minnesota Twins in the trade despite playing well since he was moved to the bullpen during the season. Happ has had a rough season with the Twins posting the worst ERA of his career since his rookie season back in 2007.
The Lester trade didn’t cost as much for the Cardinals but similar to Happ, Lester has had a difficult 2021 season. His first half ERA with the Washington Nationals was the worst of his 15 year MLB career.
The Cardinals could’ve chosen to sell off on veterans Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina in an effort to boost the farm system and that would have been the better long term option. Instead, the Cardinals decided to add more veterans on a team which might be out of the playoff race this season.
Logan Bourandas is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.