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BtBS staff trade deadline rankings 1-20

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Members of the Beyond the Box Score staff take time to rank all 111 players traded in the week leading up to the trade deadline. This post evaluates the top 20.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

We went through a couple of evaluating criteria before we settled on one that fit best. In the end though, the question we kept asking was, "What kind of impact will this player bring to the franchise, whether that be in the next few months or over the next couple of years?". With that kind of mindset, we began to rank the scores of players traded between July 23rd and the trade deadline.

1. Troy Tulowitzki:

We ranked Troy Tulowitzki the best trade acquisition because he contributes to the Toronto Blue Jays playoff odds this season, and because he should be a long-term contributor. Worrying that he strengthened the Blue Jays’ offensive strength is worrying too much, especially because Tulo plays an above-average shortstop. ZiPS projects him with a 122 wRC+ for the remainder of the season, better than the 115 mark he’s put up so far. And while David Price also has something to do with this, both FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus project the Blue Jays to have the best winning percentage in the American League for the rest of the season—.555 and .544, respectively. Plain and simple: Tulo increases the Blue Jays odds of making the anything-can-happen-offs.

Looking ahead, Tulo has an expensive but team-friendly contract. He’ll make $20 million per year through his age 34 season—years in which Baseball Prospectus thinks he’ll be worth about 18 wins. Even better for the Blue Jays, he’ll take a pay cut to $14 million for his age 35 season, when he should still be productive, and his age 36 season has what should be a very attractive $15 million option. By then, he’ll probably be mixing his time at shortstop with DH. The Blue Jays do lose flexibility with Tulo if things turn sour in Toronto. The trade to the Blue Jays means that Tulo now has a no-trade clause, so they can’t ship him off without his permission first. That agency, however, will also make Tulo more content on an everyday basis, allowing him to focus on his game. That’s a very good thing for the Blue Jays. Eric Garcia McKinley

T2. David Price:

There’s only one thing holding David Price back from number one on this list; a contract extension. That being said, he holds second rightfully. He’s the best pitcher the Blue Jays have employed since Roy Halladay. Furthermore, the future is uncertain, but nobody complained when David Cone didn’t re-sign with the Jays… Michael Bradburn

T2. Carlos Gomez:

Carlos Gomez kind of got lost in the shuffle of bigger trades – namely, the other one he was (almost) involved in. He is a marquis centerfielder and could provide upwards of 7 wins for the Astros before hitting free agency. MB

4. Cole Hamels:

Cole Hamels is ranked pretty highly on our list, which should come as no surprise. He’s been a very good pitcher since 2007, striking out batters at a higher rate than he ever has in a full season, and locked up through 2019, should the Rangers decide to hang on to him that long. Adding Hamels alone probably won’t help the Rangers reach the playoffs, but a rotation of Hamels, Yu Darvish, and Derek Holland in 2016 could make things more rosy in Texas.  - Murphy Powell

5. Johnny Cueto:

There may have been more talented players than Cueto traded at the deadline, but there is a case to be made that no other recently-acquired player will be more important to his team this season than Cueto. He slots in as the number one starter on a Royals team severely lacking front-end starting pitching. A playoff rotation of Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Danny Duffy, and Chris Young could have been the downfall of what is otherwise perhaps the strongest team in baseball. That core is projected to be worth 1.6 wins from this point on in the regular season. Cueto alone projects to be almost as valuable as the other four combined (1.4 wins). With Cueto at the helm, Kansas City may just have what it takes to avenge their Game 7 loss in last year’s Fall Classic. - Tom O'Donnell

6. Ben Zobrist:

It’s pretty clear what the Royals’ big weaknesses were going into the trade deadline: second base and a gigantic black hole in right field. To Omar Infante’s credit, he can at least give plus defense at second base. He might not be able to hit much, but he can defend, which is right up KC’s alley. The problem in right field is that Alex Rios is there--he used to be good, but that’s not really the case anymore. Zobrist had a very strong year at the plate with Oakland, and can play second base and the outfield with some level of competence. He’ll be a free agent at the end of the year, and gives KC versatility until the season ends in November.  MP

7. Scott Kazmir:

In the weeks leading up to the deadline, the Astros appeared to be on their way to their first winning season since 2008, and potentially their first playoff appearance since 2006. In the time since, Houston may have stamped themselves as the favorites in the AL West by acquiring Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, and Scott Kazmir. Though just a rental, Kazmir figures to provide stability towards the front of a suddenly-imposing Astros rotation. His 3.08 FIP  this season would be a career best, and his pitch values suggest continued success. The PITCHf/x leaderboard on Fangraphs ranks both his fastball and changeup as the fourth-best pitches of their kind in the majors this season, with only Zack Grienke having a better fastball-changeup combo. Not many teams can boast a number two starter as talented as Kazmir, which bodes well if Houston does indeed reach the postseason. TO

8. Alex Wood:

Wood isn’t as sexy a name as David Price or Cole Hamels, but he certainly has his merits. He’s totaled 6.4 fWAR already in his young career, posting a 3.17 FIP along the way. Being a young pitcher who throws the way he does, which… I mean, goodness gracious, it’s a miracle he’s not already hurt. So there’s some risk, but the Dodgers got a good, young, cheap lefty for the rotation, and all it cost them was an infielder who is maybe big league ready that they didn’t need in Hector Olivera. This year, he’ll bolster a rotation that has been at least a little bit plagued by the injury bug. And at just 24 years of age, he has three more years of team control, so he could be a huge piece for the Dodgers’ relatively near future. Again, all he cost (essentially) was an infielder that the Dodgers didn’t even need. MP

9. Yoenis Cespedes:

Acquired by the tenuous Mets, Yoenis Cespedes should bring a bigger bat to a lineup lacking punch. It doesn’t hurt that his arm in the outfield will be an improvement over pretty much anyone else the Mets could have thrown out there. The Mets stand very close to the Nationals, so any small boost they can get is great. Cespedes is more than a small boost.  Kevin Ruprecht

10. Mike Fiers:

There was no reason for the Brewers to trade away Mike Fiers. He is a cost-controlled, middle-of-the-rotation arm that has seen his share of ups-and-downs. In a good rotation and with a good offense, the Astros are hoping it’s ups from here on out. MB

11. Mike Leake:

With a 1.25 ERA and a 2.28 FIP in July, Leake increased his trade value as much as any player on the market. Leake is throwing his sinker almost 50 percent of the time this season, the most he has used it since his rookie season. He throws his fastball just 5.7 percent of the time, the 10th-lowest usage rate among qualified starters. The yield has been the second-best FIP and the lowest home run rate of his career. Leake gives the Giants another mid-rotation starter to employ behind Madison Bumgarner, a commodity sorely needed. Chris Heston has been solid, but the rest of the rotation has struggled with consistency and health. The addition of Leake means the Giants will not be as reliant on Matt Cain for important innings down the stretch, which, at this point in Cain’s career, is undeniably a good thing. TO

12. Brandon Moss:

Brandon Moss isn't a great player, and the Cardinals paid a steep price for him, but he's likely to play an outsized role on the team. With Matt Holliday injured and Mark Reynolds apparently not good anymore, Moss's left-handed bat will see fairly consistent play for the next few months. He's basically the opposite of flashy, but the Cardinals had a very obvious hole that was roughly Moss's shape, and he'll do a good enough job of filling that. Henry Druschel

13. Gerardo Parra:

Gerardo Parra is the sneakiest addition at the trade deadline. Amassing 1.5 fWAR with a terrible Brewers team, their front office was astute to sell high to a team in need of a outfield rental. Steamer has him pegged to double the would-be output of Steve Pearce at 0.8 fWAR for the rest of the season.  MB

14. Daniel Norris:

Daniel Norris is one of the most lovable prospects in baseball right now, and his antics are only outshone by his meteoric rise through the minors. Pitching a total of 258 innings in the minors over three seasons before 2015, Norris quickly found ways to succeed at every level. While his ability to locate his pitches got him sent down earlier this year, Norris has four plus pitches that will probably see him stay with the Tigers for the remainder of this season. MB

15. Mat Latos:

Mat Latos brings the potential for stabilization at the backend of the Dodgers rotation. Unsatisfied with two of the best pitchers in the game, the Dodgers need to have high quality throughout the rotation--he and Alex Wood provide that.  KR

16. Hector Olivera:

Trading Alex Wood and Jose Peraza for Olivera wasn’t a tremendously popular move throughout Braves Country, and it’s easy to see why that’s the case. Peraza has been heralded as a top prospect in Atlanta’s system for a couple of years, and Wood was part of a young triumvirate of really nice pitchers, with Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran. But the Braves wanted Olivera when he defected from Cuba in the offseason, so when they could get him at a discount from the Dodgers, John Hart took a chance. If Olivera turns out to be just an average player, Atlanta will get some pretty excellent value out of him, considering he’s owed just $32 million over the next five years. MP

17. Jonathan Papelbon:

The Nationals’ acquisition of Jonathan Papelbon is a bit confusing. Drew Storen is good. Aaron Barrett is good. In fact, when I simply look at their top five relievers in fWAR, I see a lot of quality. I guess there’s nothing wrong with making a strength stronger, and the Royals showed what a lights-out bullpen can be worth in the postseason. The Nats have to get there first. KR

18. Steve Cishek:

Cishek's value took a nosedive this year because of an inability to replicate his arm slot, resulting in a 3.47 FIP and 4.07 xFIP. The sidearm reliever took a much needed trip to AA mid-season, and returned looking like a changed pitcher. In the 14.2 innings between June and July, Cishek had allowed just one earned run. Now it's up to the Cardinals to figure out which version of the sidewinder they have. Justin Perline

19. Aramis Ramirez:

Aramis Ramirez was not exactly a coveted trade chip, but the Pirates are a good fit for him. With Jordy Mercer's injury pushing Jung-Ho Kang from 3B to SS, Pittsburgh was giving more plate appearances to Brett Morel and Pedro Florimon than the ideal amount (zero). Ramirez provides a serviceable bat and defense, and can shift over to 1B if the Pirates don't want to keep running out Pedro Alvarez. This wasn't a high-profile deal, but Ramirez represents a fairly significant upgrade over Pittsburgh's limited alternatives.  HD

20. Brett Phillips:

Part of the package of prospects that went to the Brewers in the Carlos Gomez deal, Phillips has seen his development skyrocket this year. He's a true center fielder that will be able to hit in a major league lineup either near the top of the order or in the six-hole. He also has a cannon for a throwing arm. He should surface as early as next year.sNick Stellini

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Justin Perline is a writer for Beyond the Box Score and The Wild Pitch. You can follow him on Twitter at @jperline.