The trade deadline has come and gone. We had some teams making big splashes with an eye on the playoffs, while some began preparing their push for 2023. While some made moves, others sat back and watched. An anonymous MLB Pro Insider has reviewed it all and put together their 2022 MLB Pro Trade Deadline Grades:
American League East
Toronto, Grade: B+ — The Jays (mostly) emptied the farm for some sorely needed arms as they’ve been dropping like flies. Love the Kershaw pickup, but not sure Tate made sense as he wouldn’t start a playoff game. Assets might have been better used for an OF to spell the struggling Ryan Nash.
Baltimore, Grade: B- — The pickup of Leon was a deft one but someone needs to tell ownership that if the season ended today they’d be playing #163 for the final Wild Card berth. There were plenty of options to patch the Orioles offensive holes (1B, CF) without dipping very far into their top-20 prospects
Boston, Grade: A- — A is for aggression! Curious that of the 4 teams in the mix for the last ticket to the dance in the AL, it was the Red Sox who made the big moves. Dipping to the Mets for Bird and Lee was savvy. Larson can start a playoff game and Gary can certainly lock wins down. Pablo and DeLeon are past their prime but don’t sleep on their value off the bench. The minus is because that Pablo contract could be cumbersome later.
Tampa Bay, Grade: C- — I’m all for playing the long-game, but with SUCH a deep farm and with some pretty glaring holes I’m not sure I see why picking up some cheap rentals (at low prospect cost) wasn’t the move. Yes July was bad (9-17) but 8 of those losses were by 1-run or in extras (or both). A dash of good luck and a heaping helping of games against the Yanks (9 left) with an improved team could’ve had Rays in the postseason
New York, Grade: C- – The Yanks really can’t do much, but moving a low-cost guy like Sims should’ve fetched more. Waiting out the contracts seems untenable. Even if you have to retain a chunk, the sooner you get out from the Sanchez/Sano deals and move on the better.
American League Central
Detroit, Grade: A- — The price ticked up, but the Tigers did well in snagging Seager and Gallagher. They’re both better players than they had shown in Miami and make the team that much deeper. Yes, Scalise has had a brutal start to his Tiger career, but no it’s not going to last. Only thing that kept the Tigers from an actual A was they left some meat on the bone and could’ve picked up cheap pen help.
Minnesota, Grade: C — The Twins should make the postseason, even as is. They certainly didn’t help themselves at all. You have a top-5 bat and a top-5 SP and your big move was a cheapie middling middle infielder? That’s a big risk to potentially waste a year with this expensive core. Plenty of lower minors prospect depth could’ve brought in bullpen and infield help.
Kansas City, Grade: B- – Not sure if it was a philosophy change or what, but the Royals dealt one catcher and tried to deal another who was an All-Star but now sits in AAA, potentially sinking his trade value. The return on Rounds was solid, but I feel like Reed and Joe Kelly could’ve added to the prospect pile. Royals are pretty stuck though, not really bad but not going to make a run, so minor deals aren’t too bad.
Chicago, Grade: B- — I like the return for Hauck, two middle infielders with a future and shedding the Barnum deal. The return on Black was nice as well, netting players at the top of their system. I think the Pestano return was a bit light, but shedding money was definitely a priority. Not sure I get the Torkelson trade. 95+ loss pace with Bill Black, et al and even if you spend the savings of those guys you’re not in the post-season in 2023. Only Tink Jones’s deal goes past 2023 so why not spend more judiciously in the offseason, keep Torkelson and them?
Cleveland, Grade: B — Big ups for moving Strasburg, not retaining money and getting very solid prospects back. Honestly, that’s huge for the future of the franchise. Not sure how much effort was made, but if they could’ve found similar takers for Tommy Joseph, Dylan Bundy or Nick Williams, that would’ve pushed them to an A.
American League West
Los Angeles, Grade: B — Look, it’s kind of picking nits to judge these Angels on their deadline moves. They’re on 115 win pace. They made one minor deal swapping prospects. Still, they do face a talent loss in the off-season with their bevvy of veteran stop-gaps hitting FA (Posey, Romero, JD Martinez), plus Mike Trout. Could they have solved a 2023 issue this month?
Houston, Grade: B+ — The pickup of Black was sorely needed. It emptied the top-end of the farm a bit but it was still a move that needed to happen. I feel like they could’ve doubled-down a bit though and picked up another starter as well though. Something crafty like sending the underperforming Arredondo out (the DH is sure to come to the NL in 2023), pairing him with Davis for a catcher and then getting a low-cost DH elsewhere.
Seattle, Grade: B — The Mariners were a bit hamstrung due to the big contracts finally catching up with them. Jordan Walden was a nice pickup, though the prospect cost wasn’t cheap for a couple months of him. I liked the Carson Kelly pickup, mainly because of the currently cheap arbitration number means he could be a Mariner in 2023 and fill a spot at a low cost (compared to your typical Mariner)
Texas, Grade: C — Didn’t make a deal, but therein lies the problem. The Rangers aren’t good, but they have talent. A lot of that talent is unlikely to be on the next Rangers playoff team. So why are they still on the Rangers?
Oakland, Grade: A for effort, B- for the moves — Gotta tip the cap for the volume of deals, and prying Franco from the Marlins at probably 70% of the “fair” cost. I don’t love the Strasburg trade, to be honest. He’s having his worst year ever, is owed a ton of money, and even with him are the A’s in the top 3 of the AL West? That should’ve been the LAST trade in the sequence, like early Summer of 2023, after the A’s know where they stand. They fact they did it now frankly meant losing their closer (Gary) and a solid SP (Larson) to trim the budgetary fat. With Allard likely looking for big money after 2023, the young A’s arms need to step up quickly or it’s going to look like the last time they jumped the gun.
National League East
Washington, Grade: B- — Springer slots in really nicely next to Ed Palmer in the lineup, that was a nice get. Where is the bullpen help though? Brett Marshall is decent, but doesn’t knock socks off. What about the infield? Loren Rogers clearly isn’t it at 1B. Missed chances here, there were probably low-cost options out there which would’ve helped them stave off the Braves.
Atlanta, Grade: C+ — I don’t get the Allard trade. Yes, maybe you won’t be able to sign him after 2023, but trade him in the off-season, not when you’ll need him most (stretch run and postseason). You’d get just as much, if not more since teams aiming for 2023 would be back in the fray, and use him when every out counts. The return was solid enough though, and I can appreciate a good bullpen reworking. Trading any 2022 impact piece seemed like over-worrying about a bad luck month and a half.
Philadelphia, Grade: C- — If the season ended today, the Phillies would make the playoffs. They’re starting the recently MLC-receiving Ronnie Covington, on purpose. Their 2B is hitting under .200. If you sum up the WAR from 1307 At-bats from their two Catchers, and their 3 middle infielders it is 0.8. So they have a great core and surround it with 3 guys who are literally a dime-a-dozen. Plenty of down-system farm guys could’ve given them a better chance to make a run in the strange NL.
New York, Grade: B- — The time had come for more of this. Getting anything for Russell Martin was a win. Greg Bird never fit in NY and it’s good to see the typically pitching-heavy Mets go back to their roots and load up the rotation. Time to go whole hog though, still lots of early 20’s pieces playing with late 30’s pieces. Going to have to at some point pick a lane.
Miami, Grade: C+ — The Wander trade was not a good one. We’ve seen out-of-the-blue studs go for less, but 16 months ago this was the #2 prospect in baseball. Yes, he hasn’t hit in the bigs, but if you’re not going to ride or die with him, then who? Picking up decent assets for Seager and Gallagher was good but the return on McCullers was light. The Marlins seem to sorely need to come up with a concrete plan.
National League Central
St. Louis, Grade: C+ — No, this isn’t because Cruzado got hurt. That was bad luck and the prospects aren’t much to write home about. This is more about not fixing the offense to pair was a great pitching staff. No 1B upgrade? Corner OF? Backup Catcher? Where’s the hustle for a 1st place team with deep playoff run aspirations?
Milwaukee, Grade: C — The Brewers were active, but not a lot of impact moves. Jeffries is a nice, and cheap, backup C. Hauck and Poteet help the pen a bit, but Hauck has weird splits and isn’t THAT great. Nor is Poteet. Not sure how Jonathan Garcia helps. Stockpiling prospects is nice, but it’s time to get a move on in Milwaukee. The winning streak should’ve had them doubling down on now, not dipping a mere toe in the water.
Cincinnati, Grade: B+ — The Reds get a good grade, despite only two minor deals, because they were smart and realized who they are. It’s been an amazing 4 months for them, but I don’t think they’re ticketed for the postseason and were wise to take the gains and leave it at that. The pen needs fixing, most of the offense needs fixing. They’re going to win 15+ more games than expected, and that is good. A good example of when not to buy.
Chicago, Grade: C+ — The Lucroy trade was solid – but where were the other deals like that? Why is Ryan Anderson still on the Cubs? Don Porter? Heck, it’s looking like this rebuild is going to fail to launch and somehow Ed Harris is 29 – maybe cash him in a bit early and reap the benefits (ala the Steve Winter trade which brought Harris to Chicago)
Pittsburgh, Grade: A — The Pirates were wise to cash out, and just getting anything for some of these guys (Scott, Cumberland, etc) was a win. Also a great return on Scalise – shed a big salary and also picked up 2 upper-system players in the process. Now the challenge will be seeing if patience will prevail at Three Rivers or will the 2023 deadline bring buying pieces and the 2024 deadline bring selling those pieces.
National League West
Diamondbacks, Grade: A- — Very nice pickup of McCullers who will definitely start playoff games for them and wasn’t exorbitantly expensive. The offense was already more or less set, so getting a captain and a defensive catcher in Wieters without moving a prospect that matters is great. Only thing they got docked for was I think they could’ve used another lefty in the pen.
Dodgers, Grade: B+ — The Dodgers are really good, they’re just behind a team that is better. Even a big move wasn’t going to change that so the minor moves for depth should help ensure they get to that series with Arizona in October. Simmons was cheap and could do more for the pitching staff than anything. Fulmer was a great buy-low pickup. Musgrove and Fung are solid 1+ inning guys in the pen or starter-injury insurance.
Rockies, Grade: B- — Probably sold low on Kershaw a bit. I’d have kept him, made a run this year and moved him in the off-season. Wouldn’t have hurt the return, though Hershiser is really good. Great return on Walden, I mean if you’re dealing Kershaw, everyone should go who isn’t helping past 2022. Still a sizable money mess leftover from ol’ Trader Eddie’s days – at some point it’s going to be cash-in time on the prime-aged studs.
Padres, Grade: C+ — Not sure I get the deal which sent out Andrelton Simmons, but I liked moving Musgrove for Campusano. Padres are probably another team that needs to decide in-or-out as far as their timeline.
Giants, Grade: B+ — Mostly just moved money around. The Wieters and Cruzado signings didn’t work, but getting something back is better than nothing given how they performed this year, same with the then-injured Fulmer. Loved the Torkelson purchase. The Giants are going to be bad next year too, so getting a top-20 prospect is well worth paying money to guys who, while overpaid, aren’t actually horrible, in a year they will lose 90 games anyhow.