MLB Trade Deadline

MLB trade deadline winners, losers: Giants, rivals stay quiet

NBC Universal, Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The NFL is king when it comes to ratings and the NBA has the kind of offseason drama that other leagues could only dream of, but Major League Baseball generally has the most frantic deadline day of the major sports. 

Every team gets involved on some level, and every year, several of the game's biggest stars are moved. It seemed like this year's deadline might include what would have been one of the biggest deadline deals in sports history, but the Los Angeles Angels had other ideas. 

They announced early that Shohei Ohtani wasn't going anywhere, and the buzz around the league didn't really pick up from there. It was a relatively quiet deadline, one that lacked the usual chaos of the final hour and the bombshell trade that gets announced 25 minutes after the deadline.

As we pick our annual winners and losers, that's where we begin ... 

Loser: Fans of an exciting deadline day

The additional wild-card spot will keep a lot more teams around through late September, but it led to a dud of a deadline. 

Asked what he thought of the general action around the league, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi mentioned the parity. On deadline day, there were three NL teams tied for the last playoff spot and two more within five games. 

That list includes the Cubs, who held Cody Bellinger and Marcus Stroman, and the Padres, who have the third-best run differential in the NL and held Blake Snell and Josh Hader despite being 52-55. Both teams actually added depth pieces at the deadline. 

In the AL, there are 10 teams that are at least four games above .500, most notably the Angels, who are three games out of a playoff spot but held the best player potentially on the market (Ohtani) and took a key starter (Lucas Giolito) off the board.

The only team that really gave up while still being somewhere on the periphery of the race was the Mets, which leads us to ...

Winner: Mets fans

It certainly doesn't feel like winning when you trade your Hall-of-Fame co-aces, closer and other pieces, and the most expensive roster in baseball officially gives up on the season in July. But the Mets were a mess with no hope of crashing the postseason, and the Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander moves were a reminder that it's nice to have an owner who doesn't at all care about how much he's spending.

The Mets ate most of the remaining balance of Scherzer's contract, essentially paying more than $30 million for prospect Luisangel Acuña, the younger brother of Ronald Acuña Jr. and a top 100 prospect. They got two more prospects for David Robertson and then shipped Verlander off for the No. 1 and No. 3 prospects in Houston's system, potentially paying more than $50 million for him to pitch for another team.

It's been a wildly disappointing season in New York, so Steve Cohen decided to use some of his spare change and essentially buy a much better farm system. The newcomers rank second, fourth, sixth and ninth on their updated top-30 list

There were rumors, sparked by Scherzer's interview, that the Mets will take a "gap year" in 2024 and wait for the kids to arrive, but that seems to be underestimating Cohen, who very well could dive back into free agency this offseason to refill his rotation. If they use their unlimited resources to restock in the winter, this will have been a slick little rebuild, and Mets fans should be happy about that.

Winner: Bruce Bochy

Bochy traded the golf course for Arlington, and he spent the first half managing a first-place team. At the deadline, close friend and boss Chris Young went out and got Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery. He even threw in former Giant Chris Stratton, so Bochy has one fewer nickname to come up with. 

It wasn't exactly a secret when Bochy retired that he would soon be back in a dugout. The Rangers weren't often listed among the likely suitors, but in Texas, Bochy has found a team that's all-in and should have him back in the postseason mix for as long as he still wants to do this. 

Loser: The NL West

The division has been splash-heavy in recent years, with the Padres going big every offseason and acquiring Juan Soto last deadline, and the Dodgers adding Scherzer, Trea Turner, Manny Machado and others when they've seen an opportunity to take a huge swing. 

The Dodgers fell short in their big pursuits this year. Verlander ended up in Houston and Tigers lefty Eduardo Rodriguez stunned them by using his no-trade clause to cancel a trade. They ended up with Lance Lynn, Ryan Yarbrough, Amed Rosario and reunions with Kiké Hernandez and Joe Kelly, and will count on their infrastructure finding a fix for the struggling veterans.

The Diamondbacks did well to add closer Paul Sewald and outfielder Tommy Pham, but they desperately needed another veteran starter and couldn't find one. The Giants didn't do much at all, adding AJ Pollock and then backing away from the table. The Padres traded for some solid depth pieces, but they remain three games under .500, and if they can't go on a run, they'll regret not flipping Snell and Hader for good prospects before they hit free agency. 

The West should be tight down the stretch, and the division could still very easily provide three postseason teams. But nobody really went for it.

Winner: The people who post those "exclusive first look at Player X in his new jersey" tweets

Verlander went back to the Astros, where he had previously been since 2017. Hernandez and Kelly returned to the Dodgers. C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk returned to the Angels, who took the latter one pick ahead of Mike Trout in 2009. Jeimer Candelario is back with the Cubs after six years away.

Reunions were all the rage, although the Giants passed on an opportunity to bring back Matt Duffy to send the fan base into a frenzy (and possibly reverse a curse). 

TBD: The Angels

This isn't about Ohtani, because they did the right thing. If Ohtani leaves in the offseason, there's nothing they can do to avoid a long and painful rebuild, so it was smart to take one last run with the most unique player the game has ever seen. At the very least, the Angels have given their fans two more memorable months and possibly a front-row seat for a run at 60-plus homers. 

The problem for the Angels is that, while they were pushing their chips into the middle, the Mets decided to send Scherzer and Verlander to the two teams they're chasing in the AL West. If the Angels can't catch the Rangers and Astros, it's a very narrow path to a playoff spot because the runner-up in the AL East is likely to get the first wild card and the AL West runner-up should be in, too. 

Credit the Angels for going for it. But their odds certainly took a hit when the Mets decided to send their aces to Texas. 

Winner: The Braves

They have the best record in the NL by eight games and are the only team in the league that has outscored opponents by more than 100 runs. They didn't need to do much, so they worked around the edges and added bullpen and infield depth. 

The Braves should pretty easily cruise to a division title and home field advantage in the NL. Nobody has really been close to them this season, and nobody got that much closer on deadline day.

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast

Contact Us