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Winners, losers and tweeners from trade deadline

At 10 Degrees Headquarters, we've been having a bit of an identity crisis lately. First we drop 25 Degrees coming out of the All-Star break, and today we're going with 30, one for every team in baseball. Next thing you know, it's going to be 180 – totally backward.

For now, 30 is plenty – one degree for every team in the immediate aftermath of the 4 p.m. trade deadline Sunday. Some were losers. Some were tweeners. And some were winners, like the …

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Mike Adams gives the Rangers three dominant lock-down releivers for the late innings.
(Getty Images)

1. Texas Rangers and the most dangerous bullpen in the American League. With closer Neftali Feliz(notes) hot and cold, Rangers GM Jon Daniels spent two top-end prospects to get the best setup man in baseball, Mike Adams(notes), and used two other major league-ready players to get another stone-cold lockdown artist, Koji Uehara(notes). With the mashing lineup, the deep bullpen and the rotation full of power arms – C.J. Wilson(notes), Alexi Ogando(notes), Colby Lewis(notes), Matt Harrison(notes) and Mr. Shutout, Derek Holland(notes) – the Rangers are unquestionable winners, the polar opposite of the …

2. New York Yankees who, with their lack of maneuvering, earn the tag of ultimate losers. It's one thing to balk at ponying up for Ubaldo Jimenez(notes). It's another to go into the season's final two months, plus October, with CC Sabathia(notes) and the Misfits as a rotation. Maybe Bartolo Colon(notes) or Freddy Garcia(notes) can cobble together another half season of good luck, and perhaps Phil Hughes(notes) can find his first half of 2010, and it's possible A.J. Burnett(notes) won't fold. But considering GM Brian Cashman said pitching was the Yankees' No. 1 priority immediately upon losing to Texas last year and he's added only old arms since, New York's weakness is just as glaring as at it was last year. In Cashman's dreams, he's running the …

3. Philadelphia Phillies and not worrying about his arms – or, after the deadline, his bats. The Phillies' trade for Hunter Pence makes them winners even if manager Charlie Manuel counteracts some of the value gain by continuing to play Raul Ibanez(notes) and shipping Domonic Brown(notes) to Triple-A. And the Phillies did trade for Pence at his apex in value, a .370 batting average on balls in play contributing greatly to his numbers this season. Still, the Phillies see holes and value their prospects accordingly: They're fungible, for the most part, and absent of a few awful drafts – of which scouting director Marti Wolever seems incapable – there will be another crop coming soon enough. The Pence acquisition offsets the …

4. Atlanta Braves' blockbuster trade for Wil Nieves(notes). OK, fine. Maybe Michael Bourn(notes) is a little more important. Nieves arrived as depth for Brian McCann's(notes) injury. Bourn comes as the near-perfect puzzle piece for the Braves. He plays center field. He hits leadoff. He's fast. He's an excellent defender. He's exactly what they need, and getting Bourn without giving up one of their four stud pitching prospects makes the Braves unequivocal winners. Consequently, it makes the …

5. Houston Astros thorough losers. And that is after getting Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart, two high-upside prospects, in the trade for Pence. That the Astros would've been winners on that deal alone shows just how bad the Bourn deal was. To send him to Atlanta without getting at least Mike Minor(notes) or Randall Delgado(notes), let alone Julio Teheran(notes) or Arodys Vizcaino, shows a deep misunderstanding by GM Ed Wade of the proper way to rebuild: through high-end talent with a propensity to bust. Even if he is a lame duck, it's better to fail spectacularly than die by paper cuts. And that's what the Astros got: a whole bunch of paper cuts. Makes you wish they would've gone the route of the …

6. Tampa Bay Rays and been happy as tweeners. They listened. They offered. They haggled. They underwent appendectomies. They didn't feel pressure to make a deal for making a deal's sake. They stuck with their players and remembered that the Hot Stove League is called that for a reason. And B.J. Upton(notes) didn't end up with the …

7. Washington Nationals who so coveted him. He might yet. In the meantime, Washington tried to negotiate a deal for Denard Span, a legitimate leadoff hitter, an excellent center fielder and a great clubhouse presence. The Nationals could've done it for Drew Storen(notes), too, which would've been a coup; though a great reliever, Storen is just that – a reliever – and, as Washington knows, anytime you can trade a reliever for an everyday player of substance, you do it. The Nationals' stubbornness in holding out on Storen makes them losers, even if they did offload Jason Marquis(notes) and Jerry Hairston Jr.(notes) Washington should know better than to hang onto relief pitching. The Nationals' starting catcher arrived last season in a trade involving a reliever with the …

8. Minnesota Twins, whose eagerness to fill their bullpen at the expense of their lineup is so antiquated, so backward, so very silly that the idea they almost did it twice in a row makes GM Bill Smith look like he's in over his head. Turns out his insistence on the inclusion of Storen torpedoed the deal, which, funny enough, makes the Twins winners. Sure, they didn't get rid of Jason Kubel(notes) or Michael Cuddyer(notes). With just 6½ games separating them from first place and a lineup of underachievers they're hoping will break out, Minnesota didn't need to. Because even with their new pitcher the …

9. Detroit Tigers are eminently catchable. Right-hander Doug Fister(notes) was, as writer Joe Sheehan put it, a "middling pitcher," lucky enough to play his home games in Seattle's "canyon of a ballpark." Between that and the Mariners' defense, Fister looks much better than he is. David Pauley(notes) should assist a thin corps of Tiger relievers, but to trade control pitcher Charlie Furbush(notes), the toolsy Casper Wells(notes) and two good prospects is an overpay. Because their rotation is in such flux, they just make it to tweeners, though Detroit's willingness to throw 20-year-old Jacob Turner(notes) on Saturday means they probably could've saved the players sent for Fister and used Turner in the rotation. It's not like rationale matters this time of year, because if it did, the …

10. New York Mets would've traded Jose Reyes. Look at some of the packages for significantly less talented players. Reyes has been the best shortstop in baseball this season, the second-best player in the National League, and for the Mets to keep him around so they can … what, tell him they really like him? Negotiate with him when it's obvious he wants to hit free agency? Get two draft picks should he sign elsewhere? It was a well-intended move that was wrongheaded from the start, and it nullifies the great return of Zack Wheeler the Mets got from the Carlos Beltran(notes) deal to make them tweeners. They did better than their partners in financial ruin, the …

11. Los Angeles Dodgers, who couldn't convince Hiroki Kuroda(notes) to drop his no-trade clause and gave up their top hitting prospect, Trayvon Robinson, an outfielder with pop and plate discipline, to get into the Erik Bedard(notes) three-way deal and land catcher Tim Federowicz and two arms. As is the case with everything Dodger-related this year, they are losers. Hey, at least they got the …

12. St. Louis Cardinals to take on the shell of Rafael Furcal(notes). The Cardinals, inclined to win this season in case it's Albert Pujols'(notes) and Tony LaRussa's final hurrah, already had cemented themselves as losers when they aimed a 12-gauge at their foot and happily pulled the trigger in dealing for Edwin Jackson(notes) and a trio of relievers at the expense of Colby Rasmus(notes), whom the …

Colby Rasmus

13. Toronto Blue Jays happily welcomed into their lineup. The Blue Jays inquired on just about every player available, GM Alex Anthopoulos a virtual octopus with his hands in so many places. Toronto still could chase Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez(notes) after the deadline, as the $39 million left on his contract may prevent him from getting claimed on waivers. Or Anthopoulos could sit still with a strong core, an excellent farm system and an indisputable winners tag at the deadline. Even more than the …

14. San Francisco Giants, who seem perfectly content to offset their Carlos Beltran countermeasure by trading for Orlando Cabrera(notes) to play shortstop. Actually, it's already enough of a black hole that Cabrera can't make it much worse. It's best to focus on Beltran, whose arrival coincided with a three-game sweep by Cincinnati, including a 9-0 beatdown Sunday in which the Giants managed just three hits. Their offense still stinks, and even if they're winners for now, they're just two games up on the …

15. Arizona Diamondbacks, the little team that could and, at the deadline, the little team that did. Jason Marquis is Jason Marquis: a back-end innings eater. Brad Ziegler(notes) is a strong middle-inning reliever who should have the same success against feeble NL West bats as he did against those in the AL West. And with payroll restrictions and limited prospect capital, Arizona GM Kevin Towers earned his team a place among the winners as it tries to beat the odds. In the same boat are the …

16. Pittsburgh Pirates and their balance between now and what's to come. The Pirates have dipped to third place, 4½ games behind Milwaukee and just two above .500, but they're close enough that trades for outfielder Ryan Ludwick(notes) and first baseman Derrek Lee came across as reasonable. It's been 18 years since anybody called them this, so why not: The Pirates are winners. Nobody, after all, expected them to approach the deadline with the moxie of the …

17. Cleveland Indians, who threw caution – and all of their other worldly possessions, really – to the wind in acquiring right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. Not only are the Indians betting on Jimenez to push them past Detroit this year, they're expecting him to anchor their rotation for two more seasons and keep them competitive in an AL Central that may be the only division with three $100 million-plus payrolls but can't bother to have a single team outscore its opponents on the season. That includes the Indians, who mortgaged their top two starting-pitching prospects and a pair of other kids for Jimenez. Forget the criticisms: The Indians are winners, and not just because they went against type as well as convention. They saw a chance to win their division and reached for it, while the …

18. Los Angeles Angels woke up from what must've been a weeks-long nap at 4:01 p.m. ET with the realization they've got no catcher, no third baseman and no relief pitching. Jered Weaver(notes), Dan Haren(notes) and Ervin Santana(notes) can do only so much, and with the Rangers' moves over the weekend, it pushes the Angels into a distinct underdog spot. There is always August, but for now they're losers of the worst kind: ones who needed to make a move and didn't, along the lines of the …

19. Chicago Cubs, who had every reason to gut their roster and held onto … Reed Johnson(notes)? Jeff Baker(notes)? Sean Marshall(notes)? Matt Garza(notes)? Everyone except Starlin Castro(notes)? Jim Hendry, who once negotiated a contract as he was having a stent put in his chest, should've at least tried what Wade did: make an attempt to steer the ship the right way in the future, even if it's for another GM. He didn't. And so the Cubs, too, are the worst kind of losers: the ones who won't trade Reed Johnson. In the same vein but not nearly as bad are the …

20. Kansas City Royals, who, had they dealt all of their desirable pieces, would've been left with an average age of about 24. That's not a joke, either. The Royals' biggest mistake was holding onto Melky Cabrera, who is peaking this year and could've fetched a solid prospect. The Royals have Lorenzo Cain(notes) at Triple-A hitting .319/.390/.520 and playing a boffo center field, and he's only 20 months younger than Cabrera, so at some point they need to find him a spot. The market for Jeff Francis(notes) and Bruce Chen(notes) never developed, and so the Royals are tweeners, eking themselves out of loserdom with the trade of disgruntled Mike Aviles(notes) for potential superutilityman Yamaico Navarro(notes). Whether it's with itty-bitty trades or blockbusters like the …

21. Colorado Rockies pulled off, tweeners are everywhere in the aftermath of the deadline. The Rockies' position is the most curious. Though they didn't seem desperate to deal Jimenez, they certainly were motivated, which makes one wonder: What, exactly, happened? Is it, as the New York Post's Joel Sherman reported, that the team tired of Jimenez – an assertion denied by the Denver Post's Troy Renck? Is it worry that his precipitous drop in velocity portends something worse? Either way, the Rockies ended up with a load of prospects – pitching prospects specifically, which makes their return all the more risky and relegates them to the middle tier, where they're joined by the …

22. Chicago White Sox, planted here more because of the edict from management to cut salary than the moves themselves. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf increased Chicago's payroll to $125 million this offseason. It hasn't translated. And even though Chicago sits just 3½ games back of Detroit, they got rid of a starter (Edwin Jackson) and were primed to dump everyone from Matt Thornton(notes) to Carlos Quentin(notes). It didn't happen, which allows the White Sox to settle as tweeners instead of doing it like the …

23. Florida Marlins and Cincinnati Reds, who share a slot as losers because neither bothered to do anything. The Marlins had plenty of pieces to dump. They're holding onto them so they can look better in the new stadium that no one's going to go to. The Reds are a mess of disappointments, ostensibly alive in the NL Central race but not helping themselves by, say, continuing to bury catcher Devin Mesoraco(notes) at Triple-A while any number of teams would like Ramon Hernandez(notes). The Reds weren't buyers. They weren't sellers. They were just nonentities. At least the …

24. Milwaukee Brewers can take pride in their proactivity as well as their joining the winners column. The Brewers kicked off deadline dealing season by sniping Francisco Rodriguez on the night of the All-Star game. K-Rod has thrown scoreless innings in six of his seven appearances and solidified a festering eighth-inning wound for the Brewers. When Rickie Weeks(notes) went down, GM Doug Melvin went out and acquired Felipe Lopez(notes) and Jerry Hairston Jr. World beaters they aren't. Cheap fill-ins, in this instance, are fine. The Brewers have enough pop to make up for it, an attribute the …

25. San Diego Padres wish they could claim. As long as they're in Petco Park, Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland, the young pitchers they received in return for Adams, should keep them in games enough for any lack of offense to matter. Both are tailor-made for Petco – though what pitcher isn't? – and for one year and two months of a player the Padres picked up off the scrap heap, it's a great return – one of which winners are made. Not trading Heath Bell(notes) is risky. If the Padres offer him arbitration this offseason and he accepts, it gives them an $11 million-or-so closer on a $40 million-or-so payroll. Should he decline, they can recoup draft picks and hope they do what the Nationals have done in recent years, turning Alfonso Soriano(notes) into Jordan Zimmermann(notes) and Adam Dunn(notes) into Alex Meyer. If only their neighbors up the Beltway, the …

26. Baltimore Orioles, could play things so well. The Orioles, bless their hearts, tried. Getting Chris Davis(notes) actually could be one of the best plays of the deadline, as he continues to kill Triple-A pitching and might get a long leash in Baltimore with the trade of Derrek Lee. Davis and Mark Reynolds(notes) in the same lineup is likely to start a new stream of trade winds. The Orioles are tweeners because of Davis' upside and Tommy Hunter's(notes) ability to plug in to the rotation, though the likelihood of success in the AL East is dubious at best. Getting to play in another division allows the …

27. Seattle Mariners to not always try to keep up with beasts and to feel comfortable trading from a strength, their rotation, as they did with the Fister deal. The key is likely the player to be named later – reportedly either Chance Ruffin(notes) or Drew Smyly, two pitchers chosen in last year's draft. Less than a month ago, the Mariners looked like they might be buyers. Making something good out of an asset like Fister almost elevated them to winners, though they should be happy as tweeners, a spot familiar for the …

28. Oakland Athletics, another AL West team that started well and faded. The A's are tweeners more because their lack of activity than what they did. Because that part was good: They snagged first baseman Brandon Allen(notes), a change-of-scene breakout candidate, in the deal for Ziegler. And they were ready to fetch Lars Anderson(notes) for Rich Harden(notes) before the …

Erik Bedard

29. Boston Red Sox took a look at Harden's medical reports and saw instead a skull and crossbones and a red-stamped HAZMAT warning. Naturally, they went for the other heir to Mike Hampton(notes), Erik Bedard, who cost four prospects, a hefty sum for a player with the durability of a dandelion puff. Should Bedard remain healthy, it's actually a coup, but for now Boston secures its place among the losers because if Clay Buchholz's(notes) back appointment Monday doesn't go as they hope, the Red Sox are little more than the Yankees with one extra reliable starter. And they've let the …

30. Texas Rangers catch up to them. The July 31 deadline rewards the aggressive, and even if the playoffs are a crapshoot and the best team sometimes doesn't win, the Rangers have spent money in the draft and internationally so they could do just what they did: play the deadline better than anyone.

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