Here is your five-minute review of the breathless 2022 MLB trade deadline. There is only one place to start and as the great Tim Kurkjian said “you can make a case this is the biggest trade in baseball history.”
The San Diego Padres were the winners of the trade deadline by acquiring Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury, Josh Hader and Cam Gallagher. They parted with an unprecedented amount of highly-touted prospects, lost Luke Voit and moved the albatross contract of Eric Hosmer.
Perhaps, the silver medallists in trade deadline dealing were the Philadelphia Phillies. Yes, I know, I’m as surprised as you. They finally added a much-needed centre fielder in the form of Brandon Marsh from the Angels. They strengthened the bullpen by acquiring Cubs’ closer David Robertson, and in a second deal with the Angels, they brought over Noah Syndergaard to reunite with his former Mets colleague Zack Wheeler.
The New York Yankees made the biggest splash in the AL East by taking ace starter, Franki Montas, from the Oakland A’s. 5-foot-9 outfielder Andrew Benintendi, despite being the smallest guy on the roster dramatically improves the Yankees’ on-base ability, while the addition of Harrison Bader, in one of the most intriguing deals of the day, significantly strengthens New York’s late-game defence. The Yankees’ bullpen was bolstered by the arrival of one of 2022’s best relievers, Scott Effross… and 6.34 ERA Lou Trivino.
Trading Trivino and Montas for a healthy package of prospects was not a surprise move for the Oakland A’s although Sean Murphy remaining in Oakland is more confusing. Hopefully, A’s correspondent, Brett Walker, will shed some light on Murphy’s future for us.
Seattle Mariners made an early splash by trading for the best available starting pitcher, Luis Castillo. The price in prospects was heavy, but the Mariners have the 29-year-old, who has struck out 40 over his last five starts with a 1.59 ERA, under team control until the end of next season. Seattle also added erratic slugger, Jake Lamb, in a player-for-cash-considerations deal with the Dodgers.
In 2021, the Atlanta Braves transformed their outfield at the deadline and went on to win the World Series. Their movements this year were not as dramatic, but the additions of Raisel Iglesias, Robbie Grossman, and Jake Odorizzi, will undoubtedly strengthen their postseason chances. And in the case of Iglesias, he could be the Braves’ closer of the future when Kenley Jansen departs.
Despite the anti-vaccine stance which prevented Whit Merrifield from making the recent trip to Canada, the second baseman was acquired by the Blue Jays in the final hour of trading. Cue a deluge of “humourous” social media posts.
Toronto also added a duo of Miami relievers, Anthony Bass and Zach Pop.
According to baseball folklore, you can never have enough pitching, so the St Louis Cardinals dealt from their outfield surplus by moving Harrison Bader for Yankees’ starter, Jordan Montgomery. Earlier in the day the Cardinals had already reinforced their rotation with the addition of All-Star Jose Quintana.
It was busy in the Twin Cities with the Minnesota Twins adding a new closer (Jorge Lopez from Baltimore), a new set-up man (Michael Fulmer from Detroit) and a frontline starter (Tyler Mahle from Cincinnati). Mahle pitches far better away from Great American Ball Park and will line up at the top of the Twins’ rotation with his former Reds’ teammate, Sonny Gray.
Players linked to the Dodgers included Juan Soto, Carlos Rodon, Pablo Lopez and Luis Castillo, so you would have got good odds on their biggest move being the addition of DFA-risk, Joey Gallo from the Yankees. This move eclipsed the Dodgers’ only other deal, that of Chris Martin from the Cubs.
Our very own John McGee opined whether the Boston Red Sox would be buyers or sellers. After yesterday, I’m still not sure. New faces on the Red Sox 25-man roster include first baseman Eric Hosmer, catcher-cum-… actually I won’t finish that joke, Reese McGuire, and an outfielder who takes fantasy football too seriously, Tommy Pham.
J.D. Martinez stays so Christian Vazquez was the only Red Sox with an expiring contract to leave Boston in a deal which sees him dramatically improve the offensive production from behind the plate in Houston. The Astros had a good deadline, with Trey Mancini moving from Baltimore and Will Smith from the Braves.
It seemed that Willson Contreras was the most likely player to move before the deadline, but the 30-year-old is still the Chicago Cubs’ catcher. The Cubs picked up four prospects in minor moves, although keeping Contreras (and Ian Happ) must feel like a blockbuster deal for Cubs fans.
Across the city, the White Sox spent most of the deadline watching from the sidelines, with a minor deal to acquire Jake Diekman accounting for their only trade.
New York Mets made shrewd yet uninspiring moves to gain the services of Darin Ruf from the Giants and Tyler Naquin from the Reds, having already taken Dan Volgelbach from the Pirates. Mets fans can convince themselves that the return of Jacob deGrom is the equivalent of trading for Juan Soto.
Outfielders David Peralta and Jose Siri were the only major additions for the Rays, who cleared room on their 40-man by DFA’ing the popular Brett Phillips. Phillips wound up on the Orioles later in the day. Baltimore had already accumulated six prospects in the Mancini and Lopez deals. The Orioles now only have two active players on their payroll earning more than $1 million in 2022.
It was quiet in Milwaukee, although they made a unique trade-of-closers which saw the best closer in the game, Josh Hader, get exchanged for not-quite-the-best closer in the game, Taylor Rogers (plus Dinelson Lamet, and two prospects including speedster Esteury Ruiz). The Brewers also picked up Matt Bush from the Rangers.
The Los Angeles Angels improved their farm system and dumped salary. Pitchers Jesse Chavez and Tucker Davidson came over from the Braves for Iglesias. Mickey Moniak and Logan O’Hoppe moved from Philadelphia in the Syndergaard and the Marsh deals.
The Detroit Tigers only added a couple of prospects in the Grossman and Fulmer trades.
With two team-controlled starters in their peak and a handful of one-year rentals, the Cincinnati Reds had the most to trade and, for once, I liked the deals. They parted company with Castillo, Mahle, Pham, Drury, and Naquin, and received nine prospects in return, with Noelvi Marte slotting in at the top of the Reds Top-30.
The Washington Nationals’ return for Juan Soto was always likely to cause controversy but to receive a potential ace in Mackenzie Gore, and three stud prospects in C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III, and James Wood feels like an excellent package considering Soto was not going to sign a contract extension in DC. The inclusion of Bell muddies the clarity of the deal, although Soto for Gore, Abrams & Hassell, and Bell for Wood look like two win-win trades. Add to this the late inclusion of Luke Voit to Washington, and it feels like as much as the Nationals could have hoped for at the start of the day. I realise that my opinion is in the minority here.
I don’t hide my admiration of Farhan Zaidi’s evaluation and negotiation skills, but even I didn’t think he would be able to trade two injured pitchers (Trevor Rosenthal and Matt Boyd), neither of whom had played for the Giants. Catcher Curt Casali also moved, but don’t count out the Giants of re-signing the catcher in the offseason. The return for Darin Ruf from the Mets of J.D. Davis and three prospects seems remarkably good, but Giants fans’ enthusiasm will be concentrated on the non-trade of stud starter Carlos Rodon.
Another team that kept hold of a star pitcher is the Miami Marlins, who found none of the offers for Pablo Lopez compelling enough. They added scuffing minor league shortstop, Jordan Groshans, to their ranks in the Anthony Bass, Zach Pop deal with the Blue Jays.
After the offseason spending spree in Texas to sign Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, the Rangers were more subdued at the deadline, adding just a couple of Brewers’ prospects in exchange for relief pitcher Matt Bush.
And so, 29 of the 30 teams made at least one deal on or just before deadline day. The team, seemingly playing a different game to everyone else, is the Colorado Rockies. This is the same Rockies that refused to trade Trevor Story at the last deadline in favour of a compensation pick, and refused to extend a qualifying offer to Jon Gray in favour of nothing.
Featured image from MLB
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