MLB Trade Deadline Recap and Analysis

MLB’s trade deadline has passed, but not before a flurry of deals went down. Read up on what you might’ve missed and which deals are set to impact the postseason chase.

First, who wasn’t traded? The Angels held onto reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani, who was never likely to be dealt midseason. That they listened to offers for Ohtani indicates there is a real chance they explore trading him in the offseason. Carlos Rodon, Pablo Lopez, Martin Perez, J.D. Martinez, and Nathan Eovaldi were all kept past the deadline, while the Cubs surprisingly held onto both Willson Contreras and Ian Happ despite Contreras being a pending free-agent.

The Headliners

The highlight of the deadline – or maybe the year, or maybe the last few years – was the Padres’ trade for Juan Soto, one of the game’s premier stars at just 23 years old. In a deal that also brought in Josh Bell, San Diego sent MacKenzie Gore, Robert Hassell III, C.J. Abrams, James Wood, and Jarlin Susana to the rebuilding Nationals. The Padres also pulled off a surprise deal on Monday to acquire reliever Josh Hader from the Brewers. Though Hader hit some serious bumps in July, he’s as dominant as any closer in the game when he’s on. In return, San Diego sent its own struggling closer, Taylor Rogers, plus often injured but talented pitcher Dinelson Lamet and two prospects. Hader is under Padres control through 2023. With Soto, Bell, Haderm and more in the fold plus Fernando Tatis Jr. nearing a return, San Diego looks like one of baseball’s most dangerous teams.

Arguably the first major pre-deadline deal went down last Friday, when the Mariners sent three highly-rated prospects for Reds starter Luis Castillo. Seattle beat out some big-market teams to land the top starter available, adding another ace alongside breakout star Logan Gilbert. Castillo is under contract through 2023, so this isn’t just a rental for a Mariners team that hopes to be even better next season. Though giving up infield prospects Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo is a blow to the farm system, Seattle was able to hold onto surging pitcher Emerson Hancock. Look for Hancock to join the rotation next year.

Though the Yankees didn’t land Castillo, they were able to secure the next-best starting pitching option with a deal for Frankie Montas. New York sent Oakland a haul of prospects, headlined by pitchers Ken Waldichuk and Luis Medina. The Yankees also moved Luis Severino to the 60-day IL, so Montas is set to be a critical member of their rotation down the stretch and into 2023. Brian Cashman was active all week, first acquiring Andrew Benintendi from the Royals to bolster the Yankees’ lineup and later trading for side-arm reliever Scott Effross in a deal with the Cubs. New York also got relief help in the Montas deal, which included Lou Trivino. Right at the deadline, the Yankees pulled off a surprise by dealing starter Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals for local product and defensive whiz Harrison Bader. If the Yankees don’t go all the way in October, it’ll be hard to blame Cashman.

The Best of the Rest

The Astros acquired Trey Mancini from the Orioles in a 3-team trade that sent pitching prospects to Baltimore and infielder Jose Siri to the Rays. It wasn’t certain that the Orioles would trade Mancini while sitting just a handful of games out of a wild card spot, but GM Mike Elias chose to play the long game and build for the future – the distant future. Seth Johnson, the highest-rated prospect sent to Baltimore in the deal, is set to miss next season due to Tommy John Surgery. Houston didn’t stop there, grabbing some much-needed offense at the catcher position with a deal for Boston’s Christian Vazquez.

Later Monday night, the Astros dealt starter Jake Odorizzi for struggling Braves reliever Will Smith, who closed out the World Series in Houston nine months ago. While Smith has had a tough year, he’s a lefty reliever who has proven he can stay steady under the pressure of the postseason. The Braves effectively replaced Smith by acquiring closer Raisel Iglesias from the Angels. Atlanta didn’t have to give up much to add Iglesias to their bullpen, but he’s set to make $48 million over the next three seasons. The Braves quietly acquired outfielder Robbie Grossman from the Tigers, a move that doesn’t seem too noteworthy but shouldn’t be ignored after what Atlanta got out of Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario last season.

The Padres didn’t stop at Hader and Soto. They also acquired Brandon Drury from the Padres for prospect Victor Acosta, landing not only another potent bat but a versatile infielder capable of playing at least three positions.

With Jacob deGrom returning tonight, the Mets limited themselves to smaller moves. New York acquired three part-time bats in Daniel Vogelbach, Tyler Naquin, and Darin Ruf, all of whom mostly specialize against right or left-handed pitchers. The Mets also addressed the bullpen by prying Mychal Givens away from the otherwise quiet Cubs.

It was an unusually quiet deadline for the Dodgers, who watched perhaps the only realistic teams they could face in the World Series, the Astros and Yankees, make huge upgrades. LA acquired reliever Chris Martin and bought low on failed Yankees acquisition Joey Gallo, but was that enough in a championship-or-bust season? They even traded Mitch White, who’s filled in well as starting pitching depth this season.

The Red Sox are half-in and half-out. Minutes after trading Vazquez to the Astros, they made a deal for Reds outfielder Tommy Pham. On Tuesday, they acquired a much-needed first baseman in Eric Hosmer. Chaim Bloom tried to explain away the deals as doing what’s best for the franchise while still competing for a postseason berth, but Red Sox fans have to be left with more questions than answers after this deadline.

It was a successful deadline for the Twins, who needed pitching and got pitching. Minnesota gave its bullpen a serious boost by acquiring closer Jorge Lopez from the Orioles. One of this season’s true breakout players, Lopez has a 1.68 ERA and is under contract through 2024. The Twins kept their foot on the gas by trading three of their top-25 prospects for Reds starter Tyler Mahle. While a big price to pay, Mahle also isn’t a rental and was a workhorse for Cincinnati last season. The Twins finished deadline day by acquiring reliever Michael Fulmer from Detroit.

The Phillies came away with everything they hoped to get – a starter, an outfielder, and a reliever. Two came from the Angels, who sent Brandon Marsh to Philadelphia for rising catcher prospect Logan O’Hoppe and later traded Noah Syndergaard for Mickey Moniak plus a prospect. Marsh has struggled of late but was a top prospect just a year ago and is under team control through 2028. Was he worth O’Hoppe, though? Minutes after the Marsh deal, the Phillies landed veteran reliever David Robertson from the Cubs.

The Cardinals lost out on Castillo and Montas but pivoted to Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery. Quintana, a former all-star with the White Sox who bounced around in 2021, is back on track with a 3.50 ERA through 20 starts this season. He could prove to be a difference-maker for a Cardinals team fighting hard for a postseason berth, while Montgomery is under team control through 2023 and is a solid mid-rotation option with retirement an option for Adam Wainwright after this season.

The Blue Jays avoided total disappointment by landing two-time all-star Whit Merrifield from the Royals. Merrifield is having a down season but is under contract through 2023 and would be a major boost if he returned to past form as one of baseball’s top contact hitters and base-stealers. Toronto also acquired pitcher Mitch White from the Dodgers in a move reminiscent of their deal for Ross Stripling in 2020 and landed relievers Anthony Bass and Zach Pop from Miami.

The only team not to make a trade? The Rockies. File that under shocking.

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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