Yoenis Cespedes and the San Diego Padres holding onto every one of their numerous assets. Most of the activity came in the days prior, and it kept the deadline busy enough to warrant the breathless talk about it.Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline went with a whimper Friday, all the talk of three-way deals and blockbusters fizzling into the Mets acquiring
Here, then, are one-sentence summaries of every team’s deadline dealings, with a few getting an extra paragraph to encapsulate their activity.
New York Yankees: They whiffed going after Craig Kimbrel, who would’ve made their bullpen the finest three-headed monster since Ghidorah, but are calling up Luis Severino to join the rotation, so the AL East’s first-place team just got better.
Verdict: Good job, good effort.
Boston Red Sox: For all of the calls they made – and though they kept quiet, they were trying to get creative – they didn’t have any impending free agents worth much and didn’t want to deal from a core in which they still believe.
Verdict: About right.
Baltimore Orioles: Added Gerardo Parra to their rotating troupe of outfielders, a fine move but not one that brought the impact sort of player a team with a handful of free-agents-to-be needed.
Verdict: Could’ve done more.
Toronto Blue Jays: Crushed a case of Labatt and went shoppin’!
Oh, and: If you’re going out, like GM Alex Anthopoulos might be, best to go out trying to win a pennant. The Blue Jays are in complete flux, with CEO Paul Beeston gone at season’s end and the failed hire of Orioles GM Dan Duquette for the position in the offseason showing little faith in the incumbent GM. Still, ownership allowed Anthopoulos to raid the Jays’ farm system in getting the best pitcher traded (David Price), the best hitter traded (Troy Tulowitzki), two arms to help a bullpen in need of it (Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins) as well as the outfielder they needed (Ben Revere). It was classic Anthopoulos, swashbuckling his way through transactions, hopeful this time works out better than his last big run of maneuvers.
Verdict: They’d better make the postseason …
Kansas City Royals: Really, legitimately, truly bought at the deadline, which is still a shock, because these are the Kansas City Royals.
Oh, and: What they bought is really good. Next to the Blue Jays, the Royals received the greatest boon of short-term talent in Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. Cueto is the starter Kansas City coveted. Zobrist is the Swiss Army knife they desired. And the team with the best record in the AL wasn’t happy to rest on its first-half performance. It’s going for the World Series again.
Minnesota Twins: All they did was trade for Kevin Jepsen, which isn’t exactly the sort of thing a team looking to hold onto its playoff spot does when the team directly behind it in the standings does what Toronto did, but the Twins recognize giving up future talent for this year would be foolish.
Chicago White Sox: Did nothing.
Verdict: Makes sense.
Detroit Tigers: Sold what they needed to sell.
Oh, and: They did a rather excellent job of the selling. Few teams had better assets to offload than the Tigers, and they may have gotten the most of any deadline dealer in future talent. Getting three hard-throwing left-handers, headlined by Daniel Norris, was a reasonable return for David Price. The Mets overpaid for Yoenis Cespedes, sending Michael Fulmer to Detroit. And even JaCoby Jones, the return for Joakim Soria, has a big ceiling. In 72 hours, Dave Dombrowski completely remade Detroit’s bad farm system into something worth following.
Verdict: Two thumbs up.
Houston Astros: Watch what happens when the sellers buy.
Oh, and: As long as Carlos Gomez’s hips don’t lie – “eyeroll” emoji – this is what it looks like when a well-run team never deviates from its plan and executes with great clarity when it’s time. Adding the dynamic Gomez to a team with all sorts of dynamism already – Carlos Correa and George Springer and Jose Altuve are all fun as hell to watch – was a masterstroke, and a rotation of the just-acquired Scott Kazmir, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and two of the Vince Velasquez-Mike Fiers-Collin McHugh-Scott Feldman grab bag could be dangerous. This is your AL West favorite – and, when it’s all said and done, it might be the best team in the AL.
Seattle Mariners: Traded free-agent-to-be J.A. Happ while holding onto Austin Jackson, Hisashi Iwakuma and Fernando Rodney, all the same, for no particularly good reason.
Verdict: About right for them – in the wrong sort of way.
Oakland A’s: They jumped the market in trading Kazmir, Zobrist and Tyler Clippard, and came away with a nice haul of prospects to begin their reload for 2016.
Verdict: About right for them – in the right sort of way.
Texas Rangers: While they gave up a ton of talent to get Cole Hamels, the Rangers didn’t sacrifice their biggest-ticket prospects, and with Yovani Gallardo sticking around, they’re a sneaky bet to make a run at the postseason.
Verdict: Played the market well.
Philadelphia Phillies: Finally.
Oh, and: They did really well. By taking on Matt Harrison’s contract in the Hamels deal, Philadelphia got much higher-end prospects than it would’ve otherwise. And though neither Joey Gallo nor Nomar Mazara came back, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams and Jake Thompson all have big ceilings. Nick Pivetta was a really nice return for Jonathan Papelbon, and Alberto Tirado, one of the two pitchers coming back for Revere, could be a special bullpen arm.
Verdict: Ruben played it right! (Even if he’s not in charge anymore … )
Washington Nationals: In a market saturated with closers, the Nationals traded for one who is kind of crazy and bumped their effective, should’ve-been-an-All-Star closer to the eighth inning while doing nothing to supplement their position-playing depth problems.
Verdict: Outdone by the Mets? Ugh.
Atlanta Braves: The paucity of bats in their system prompted them to sell a solid starter in Alex Wood and a good prospect in Jose Peraza for the lottery ticket of 30-year-old Cuban Hector Olivera, whose success will make or break this deadline for them.
Miami Marlins: Annual tent sale went according to plan.
Verdict: GM still manager, owners still jokes, players still disenchanted, so pretty much status quo.
New York Mets: Holy hell.
Oh, and: For the disaster that was the failed Carlos Gomez trade – and it was a disaster in all respects – the Mets’ acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes for Michael Fulmer and another prospect erased the awful taste. While they didn’t go as big as the Jays or Royals or Astros, they made a legitimate, concerted effort, which must show how vulnerable they think the Nationals are. Because at just two games over .500, it’s not like the Mets have been world-beaters. And considering what they gave up – Fulmer and Casey Meisner (the Tyler Clippard deal) are both legitimate pitching prospects – an October without any baseball can’t be seen as anything other than a disappointment.
Verdict: Bold, if a bit premature.
Pittsburgh Pirates: This was about as typical a Pirates deadline as possible, in which they don’t make any big moves but fill holes capably, with Aramis Ramirez at third, Joakim Soria in the bullpen, Michael Morse as a bench bat and J.A. Happ to take the injured A.J. Burnett’s place in the rotation.
Verdict: Utilitarian as ever.
Chicago Cubs: As hard as they tried to get Tyson Ross and other controllable pitchers, the Cubs weren’t going to spend tangible assets on just this season, so Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter gave them solid arms at a reasonable price.
St. Louis Cardinals: The cost of Rob Kaminsky for Brandon Moss still doesn’t make a ton of sense, nor does adding Jonathan Broxton to a bullpen deep with arms, though Steve Cishek has a chance to do some damage.
Verdict: Confusing, but they’re the Cardinals and get the benefit of the doubt.
Cincinnati Reds: Even though they’re rich with arms in the minor leagues, the Reds prioritized that in their trades of Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake and did well in doing so.
Oh, and: Not trading Aroldis Chapman didn’t make the most sense – especially with teams gearing up for a playoff run and, as one interested executive said, “Ready to overpay.” He’ll be a plenty good alternative to Greg Holland on the trade market this offseason, though, or at next year’s deadline.
Verdict: One thumb up, with the other reserved for if the pitchers stay healthy.
Milwaukee Brewers: By saying goodbye to Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, Aramis Ramirez, Gerardo Parra and Jonathan Broxton, the Brewers did exactly what they needed to: start over and build around a system with a number of interesting assets, particularly center fielder Brett Phillips.
Verdict: Return for Gomez and Fiers a bit light, though Phillips could be a star.
San Francisco Giants: Getting Mike Leake was a quintessential Giants move that makes them better but might not be enough to win them a fourth World Series in six years.
Verdict: Aw, hell, they didn’t look like they were going to win three others, either.
Colorado Rockies: In trading away Troy Tulowitzki – a solid trade, actually – they managed to disappoint the face of their franchise on the way out of the door as well as his teammates, who happen to be their future core.
Verdict: Fine baseball move, bad people skills.
Arizona Diamondbacks: The failed effort to get Aroldis Chapman left them as one of just two teams not to make any substantive moves, which wasn’t a huge surprise since they’re a fringe contender without any free agents of substance.
Verdict: That weird shoulder shrug thing.
San Diego Padres: Acquired left-handed reliever Mark Rzepczynski from Cleveland.
Oh, and: The Padres – the 49-53 Padres – held on to all of their free-agents-to-be (Justin Upton, Joaquin Benoit, Ian Kennedy, Will Venable), couldn’t move the assets with tangible value (Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, Craig Kimbrel) and are stuck with the contract of James Shields. Yes, it’s true: The Padres’ schedule over the next three weeks goes Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Colorado, Atlanta – the five worst teams in the NL. The Padres are the sixth worst, and expecting a flawed team, no matter how well it’s playing, to not just make up a 7½-game deficit to the second wild card but leap over four teams to do it, borders on lunacy. Most of the Padres’ moves this offseason have gone wrong. The moves they didn’t make at the deadline might be the ones they regret this time around.
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