I wasn't expecting much from this trade deadline, somehow, and yet in the last 24 hours things became absolutely insane. Stars flew across coasts, teams split up rotations, and a true competitive giant became clear. Somehow the biggest money-spending teams, like the Dodgers and Yankees, went largely without doing anything, which was a surprise, but far from the only one this deadline.
I have a Top 10 set up, as per usual, but first, several honorable mentions:
-Mychal Givens to Colorado, prospects to Baltimore
-Taijuan Walker to the Blue Jays, prospects to Seattle
-Tommy Milone to Atlanta, prospects to the O's [this would have been #10 had he not gotten rocked last night]
AND NOW THE TOP TEN:
#10: Tommy La Stella to Oakland, Franklin Barreto and a prospect to Anaheim:
How it Benefits Oakland: I think the A's had run out of ways to placate Franklin Barreto, as they'd been relying on Tony Kemp at 2nd all year, but even then they needed a bit more flexibility, and this gives them that. La Stella could return to his role as bench-player-extraordinaire from 2018 as well as providing a solid infield bat and essentially being a return to the Jed Lowrie era of utility guys getting starts. Definitely a smart lineup-strengthening move for Beane and co.
#9: Todd Frazier to the Mets, prospects to Arlington:
How it benefits the Mets: Reunites them with a clubhouse presence that can help them advance AND be comfortable in the NY metropolitan area. Frazier's Mets years weren't his BIGGEST, but he still developed a sharp fan following, and became a solid producer for the team. As okay as he was in Texas, he could become even better in Queens and return to his former glory, which could benefit New York along with their other new additions of Miguel Castro and Robinson Chirinos.
#8: Trevor Rosenthal to San Diego, prospects to Kansas City
How it benefits the Padres: One of many attempts to help the Friars' scattershot bullpen in the wake of injuries to Kirby Yates and some inflated ERAs, along with Taylor Williams and Dan Altavilla. Rosenthal is the most stark addition- the former St. Louis closer had a return to form in KC this year with 7 saves and 21 Ks, finally returning to the conversation. Now that he's a factor in the Padres' bullpen, he could either challenge Drew Pomeranz for the ninth inning job or join Williams and Altavilla in the middle-relief journey.
#7: Archie Bradley to the Reds, Josh Van Meter to the D-Backs
How it benefits the D-Backs: Van Meter's a sharp bench player, and he could definitely do well in a bigger role.
How it benefits the Reds: Well, the Reds are another team with bullpen injuries, and even Raisel Iglesias isn't doing as well as usual, so...all-star reliever and closer Archie Bradley will do just fine! The guy's having another fantastic season, he's versatile, and he'll bring a lot to the table alongside Amir Garrett in that bullpen. This move brings them slightly closer to competing in the NL Central.
#6: Robbie Ray to Toronto, prospect to Arizona
How it benefits the Jays: STRIKEOUT ARTIST ROBBIE RAY IS NOW YOUR #2 MAN, TORONTO. Granted, Ray has gotten into some trouble this year, and is struggling to keep opposing offenses at bay, but getting out of the NL West and away from the Rockies, Dodgers and Padres may be better for him. He's still doing a lot of strikeouts, and putting him next to Taijuan Walker, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tanner Roark is a good look for the Jays.
How it benefits Oakland: Like the Ray deal, this one is a lot better in concept than it is numerically this season, hence the lower placing, so you have to put it into the perspective of 'Mike Minor was amazing last year, and hopefully he still has some of that power with him for the last month of the year'. Minor's been slumping so far, and hopefully it's an environmental thing rather than a loss of velocity or anything. Anyway, he'll be a good match for Mike Fiers in the A's rotation, and bring some much-needed experience to that mostly-young crew.
How it benefits Toronto: Gives them a substantial, offensively-talented replacement for Bo Bichette and an eventual DH option once Bo returns. But also, Jonathan Villar in this lineup could make the Jays into the postseason contender this team definitely wants to be. Ray and Walker help, but Villar adds a legitimate star alongside Biggio and Grichuk to bulk the lineup, and this team's chances. It's not an outwardly OMG move like getting Price or Tulo, but it's a lower-key move for a lower-key Jays team. Which I can respect.
How it helps the Ms: Trammell, Lewis and Kelenic in the same outfield? Holy crap. France will fill the utility role Nola had been filling so far. Torrens will hopefully get the starting gig he's been waiting for.
How it benefits the Padres: As this lineup was turning out to be a monolith, the real weak point looked like it would be catcher, even as Torrens came in. Austin Nola is not only a decent catcher, but he's got that sort of lineup x-factor about him where he can get a lot done in a lot of roles, and would probably gain star power within another season or so in Seattle. Putting him in a competitive San Diego team that has a space for him and needs another bat like him is a wise move that, I imagine, is going to warrant me putting this at #3 over Mike Minor and Robbie Ray in a year's time [remember when I said last year that I'd come back to Zac Gallen in a year or so? D-Backs made a steal there]
#2: Starling Marte to the Marlins, Caleb Smith, Humberto Mejia and a prospect to the D-Backs
How it Benefits Arizona- Their only real rotation loss was Robbie Ray, so adding Smith and Mejia to the Weaver-Gallen-Clarke-Young wheel is actually a pretty nice deal.
How it Benefits Miami: This was my biggest shock, because it was a reminder that the Marlins were still trying to compete, even after dealing Smith and Villar. It proved that all the Marlins needed was a big star in the lineup to remain in the conversation, and Starling Marte in that outfield with Magneuris Sierra and Corey Dickerson could be genuinely dangerous. Marte is still a league-caliber bat with some more damage to do this season, and even if the Marlins only make it a short while into the playoffs, having Marte could bring them a little more life than otherwise.
#1, of course: Mike Clevinger and Greg Allen to the Padres, Cal Quantrill, Austin Hedges and Josh Naylor to the Indians
How it Benefits Cleveland: Honestly, in a longer term scenario, the Indians might have gotten more out of this, because Josh Naylor is gonna replace Domingo Santana as DH, Austin Hedges will add another [sub-.200] catcher to the rolodex, and Cal Quantrill should be a steady replacement for Clevinger, at least in terms of likability.
How it Benefits San Diego: So, now the Padres' rotation is Clevinger-Paddack-Lamet-Davies-Richards. That's, uh...that's pretty good, especially for a team that now has a better bullpen, bench and lineup. Clevinger might be the cherry on top of all the other moves, because he gives the team a genuine ace, someone they might have had with Chris Paddack had he gotten off to a better start this year. Clevinger will lead this rotation into the playoffs, where they should be welcomed. Also, Greg Allen is another nice bench bat, along with Moreland.
Huge deadline this year. Lots of odd moves and outcomes. Interested to see how the rest of the season rolls out now.