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MLB Trade Deadline’s Winners and Losers

It’s now August, meaning the MLB trade deadline has come and gone. This was one of the more entertaining trade deadlines in recent history, as 37 different trades took place this July. Some big names changed teams, such as Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, and Cole Hamels, while some lesser-known names changed teams as well. Below I will be analyzing my three winners and three losers of the deadline.

The Winners

Toronto Blue Jays

Boy, did they ever stack up their roster, right?! The Blue Jays are in it to win it in 2015, and proved this to Major League Baseball by trading for All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, along with ace David Price. While the Jays still trail the Yankees in the race for the AL East Crown by 5.5 games, they remain right towards the top of the AL Wildcard Race. Their rotation is now top of the line, as Price fills the ace void nicely, in addition to veterans R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Drew Hutchison. Tulowitzki adds even more firepower to a lineup that already contains plenty of it. A lineup and middle of the order consisting of Tulo, Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion is as dangerous as it can get in the American League. But, there’s one big question surrounding the Blue Jays—will they be able to overcome injuries? Bautista and Tulowitzki have been injury prone over the last few seasons, so their health will remain crucial during the August and September stretch. The Blue Jays also had to pay a hefty price for the likes of Tulowitzki and Price. While Tulowitzki is under contract through 2020, the Jays acquired Price as a rental piece for a high price of elite prospects. I expect the Blue Jays to now make the postseason with these moves. And remember, they also acquired outfielder Ben Revere and reliever Mark Lowe.

Houston Astros

The Astros were able to make some big time moves this July to their already over-achieving team while keeping the vast majority of their top prospects. First, on July 23, the Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from Oakland. Kazmir, a native of Houston, slides in nicely in middle of the Astros rotation, and has not allowed a run in either of his first two starts as a member of the Astros. Then, on July 30, the Astros pulled off a mega deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, trading for center fielder Carlos Gomez and starter Mike Fiers. Starting pitching has been a weakness for Houston all season long, outside of Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, and Collin McHugh. The additions of Kazmir and Fiers fortify the Astros starting rotation for both the present and distant future. Although Kazmir will be a free agent at the end of the season, he may want to remain in his hometown of Houston. The addition of Gomez, who has a year and a half remaining on his contract, gives the Astros an upgrade, both offensively and defensively, in a position of need in centerfield. The Astros have not gotten as much production as they would have liked out of Jake Marisnick and Colby Rasmus, so the addition of Gomez is huge. He figures to slide right to the top portion of the Astros batting order, and he will make a big impact right away. His drive and energy are perfect for this young Astros team.

Kansas City Royals

Already perhaps the best team in the American League, the Royals got even better this July, improving in their two most visible areas in need. First, the Royals needed an ace, even if the ace had to be a rental. They got this ace in Johnny Cueto, who is exactly what the doctors ordered in Kansas City. The Royals rotation has been struggling this season, which has shocked many, seeing how the rotation led them all the way to the World Series a year ago. Edinson Volquez and Chris Young, two journeymen, have led the way for the Royals this season, but they have failed to get consistent production from Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy, and Jeremy Guthrie. The addition of Cueto at the top of their rotation gives the Royals a sure thing at the top of their rotation, especially come postseason time. The Royals were also in need of a bat, primarily a bat that was capable of playing multiple positions. They got perhaps the best super-utility player in the game in Ben Zobrist. Zobrist figures to play a lot of left field the next several weeks while Alex Gordon recovers from injury. When Gordon returns, I expect Zobrist to take away a lot of the playing time from Omar Infante at second base, who has been struggling all season long. Zobrist could also be an option in right field, as well.

The Losers

San Diego Padres

The Padres are a MLB trade deadline loser for their lack of activity, as opposed to their poor trade making ability. The Padres are 9 games out of the NL West division and 6.5 games out of the second wildcard spot, but they figured they still have a chance to make the playoffs. The Padres did not have to sell their entire roster, particularly players with many years remaining on their contracts, but they have many rental pieces available that could have appealed to teams across the league. Justin Upton, for example, could have been the outfield bat that the Astros, Mets, and/or Orioles may have acquired. The Padres made huge headlines this past offseason by making a flurry of moves—Upton, Wil Myers, James Shields, Will Middlebrooks, Craig Kimbrel just to name a few. While some experts may claim that the Padres want to grow with this nucleus, they still clearly need some adjustments to their roster. Kimbrel, for example, is not needed on a team that fails to give him many save opportunities. He could have netted a great return, perhaps from the Yankees who were dangling their top shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo. The Padres may be playing for next year—but does that mean that they could not have still made a deal or two this July?

New York Yankees

How did the Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, and Houston Astros all make big moves while the Yankees did not? The Yankees biggest move of the deadline was acquiring second baseman/outfielder Dustin Ackley from the Seattle Mariners, a former second overall pick of the draft and career .242 hitter. The Yankees starting rotation needed an upgrade or two, and the Yankees failed to make one. Michael Pineda just landed back on the DL, and there is not one Yankee starter with an ERA below 3.00. They were rumored to be looking to acquire closer Craig Kimbrel, but the back end of the Yankees bullpen is already dominant. They could have upgraded in the middle infield as well, outside of the Ackley acquisition, but it just didn’t happen. The Yankees hold a surprising 5.5 game lead in the AL East, so I shouldn’t be criticizing them too much. But for how long will that lead hold?

Miami Marlins

MLB media and executives have been questioning the Marlins for years now. First, it was the mega free agency friendly of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and company, none of which play for the Marlins anymore. Then it was Ozzie Guillen, and we won’t even go there. Then, there were some more free agent acquistions, like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who signed a 3-year, $21 million dollar deal two offseason ago, and got cut a year and a half into the deal. Then there was a good move—hiring Mike Redmond as manager. He’s gone now, and inexcusably replaced by the team’s general manager, Dan Jennings. This July, the Marlins traded some good assets, such as Dan Haren, Mat Latos, Steve Cishek, and Mike Morse. But, they netted very little in return, other than some salary relief. The trades they made this July did not make much sense, and the trades they did not make do not make much sense either.

Image via CBC

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