"Talkin' Baseball" with Matt Ambrose: Winners and Losers of the MLB Trade DeadlineDate: August 1, 2017
By: Matt Ambrose
The 2017 MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and the teams right in the thick of things in the postseason race have made their moves accordingly. Let's take a look at some of the winners and losers from Monday's deadline.
Winner: New York Yankees
The Yankees showed that they're going for it. First, it began with the mega-trade with the Chicago White Sox, which brought Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle all to the Bronx. Then, over the weekend, the team acquired Jaime Garcia, and then on Monday they rounded out their acquisitions by trading for Sonny Gray. We know this team can hit, they have Aaron Judge. The hole in their lineup/defense was at third base, and they solved that with Frazier. Bullpen help is huge come October, and pairing Robertson and Kahnle with Betances and Chapman will be lethal come playoff time. Gray will be their number one guy in the rotation come playoff time, and he has shown in the past that he can pitch in the playoffs. The Yankees just got a lot better in one week's time.
Loser: Houston Astros
The Astros own the best record in the American League and have essentially had their division on lockdown in May. Monday was a chance to build up ammunition for October, but instead GM Jeff Luhnow couldn't pull the trigger on anything significant. They acquired Francisco Liriano from Toronto, and that's it. They needed starting pitching, but struck out on guys like Gray and Lance Lynn and Ervin Santana. Luhnow said he was "disappointed" that the Astros couldn't pull off any deals, and this may cost them come playoff time.
Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are already ridiculous. They started this season 10-12, and since then they have a record of 64-19. Yeah, you read that right. Clayton Kershaw is on the DL, but he has been having a Cy Young season with 15 wins and an ERA just over 2.00. Alex Wood has been having a career year, and Kenley Jansen has been the National League version of Craig Kimbrel. On top of that, they have the electrifying rookie Cody Bellinger mashing balls all over Dodger Stadium. So, they don't need to add anyone, right? Wrong. They trade for Rangers ace Yu Darvish, as well as lefty relievers Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani. This team is chock full of depth, and look like a shoo-in to represent the NL in the World Series.
Loser: Milwaukee Brewers
Another team in the running that did next to nothing. This team had a 5.5 game lead heading into the break, and while their division-rival Cubs made a flurry of moves (we'll get to them shortly), the Brew-Crew did nothing. Well, they did do something, if you consider acquiring Jeremy Jeffress something, which I don't. This team has lost their way in the second half, and the front office showed their hand, essentially acknowledging that they know the Cubs are a better team and there's no way the Brewers can beat them. Sorry Milwaukee, your front office just conceded the division. Enjoy the postseason Chicago.
Winner: Chicago Cubs
Speaking of those Cubs, they went out and made moves before the second half even began. They got the trade wave going by acquiring Jose Quintana from their cross-town rival White Sox immediately following the All-Star break. They have gone 13-3 in the second half, and now lead their division by 2.5 games. To strengthen their playoff hopes, they nabbed lefty Justin Wilson and catch Alex Avila from the Tigers as well. The Cubs vastly underperformed in the first half, and missing the playoffs was not an option. These moves by Theo Epstein prove just that.
Loser: San Diego Padres
For one reason, and one reason alone. They held onto Brad Hand. What is one of the major things teams need come playoff time? Bullpen arms. Perhaps no more lucrative arm was on the trading block than Brad Hand, who not only has a 2.00 ERA in 49 games this year, but is also under team control through 2019. The Padres are terrible, and they could have gotten a big return for the lefty. Trading him this off-season is useless, as the urgency for bullpen arms in far less in the winter months, so the return will be smaller. The Padres missed a golden opportunity here.
Nationals: Their target: bullpen. They went out and got Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler. Mission accomplished. My one concern is the high volume of left-handers in the bullpen. Of their nine relievers, five of them are lefties. Nonetheless, the Nats had a need and they addressed it.
White Sox: Prospects, prospects, prospects. The White Sox are full of them now. Here's a list of players they have traded in the past eight months: Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Eaton. Their farm system has been totally revamped, with the likes of Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, and Eloy Jimenez. This team is bad now, but in three to four years could be very good.
Matt Ambrose is a journalism major from Exeter, N.H. and an Assistant Sports Director at 89.5 FM WSOU. He can be found on Twitter @mambrose97 and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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