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The winners and losers of the 2018 trade deadline

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We’re taking a look at some of the biggest losers and winners of the trade deadline this season.

Miami Marlins v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images

The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, and with it comes our analysis of some of the winners and losers of the last couple weeks. Recognizing that a lot of this is subjective, since we will not know the outcome of any particular trade until the end of the season at the earliest, most will take far longer to see the final results. However, it’s still good to take a look at the various trades and see who appears to have come out on top, at least based on what we know today.

Winners

Toronto Blue Jays

Probably the biggest winner of the deadline was the Toronto Blue Jays. Moving John Axford to the Los Angeles Dodgers for right handed pitcher Cody Copping was a decent move especially considering Axford’s performance this year.

They also moved Aaron Loup to the Philadelphia Phillies for 24-year-old right handed pitcher Jacob Waguespack. In another move, they sent J.A. Happ to the New York Yankees for Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney. However, by far the best trade by the Blue Jays and one of the best trades of this deadline saw the Jays ship Roberto Osuna, who’s embroiled in a domestic violence investigation, to the Houston Astros.

What’s so good for Toronto in this deal besides getting rid of a potential PR disaster pending the outcome of the legal case and MLB’s investigation is what they received in return. They received a struggling Ken Giles whose only 27, and still has two years after control after this season, plus two pitching prospects in Hector Perez and David Paulino. A promising return for someone who might not be eligible to pitch this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Although the Pirates are currently outside of contention being three games back of a Wild Card spot, they’ve really set themselves up for a solid run in the next couple of seasons, and they positioned themselves best they could for a postseason run this year.

Pittsburgh acquired Chris Archer from the Tampa Bay Rays for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and a player to be named later. This is what I like about the deal, they didn’t really give up a ton to acquire a potential ace. Glasnow’s rosiest projections expect him to be a solid back-end reliever. He’s been tried him as a starter, and he really struggled; additionally, he’s even struggled in the bullpen, with a combined 5.79 ERA and 4.90 FIP in 141.1 major league innings between starting and relieving.

The second piece Austin Meadows was the Pirates second best prospect according to Minor League Ball, but the Pirates have their outfield locked up until 2020 at the earliest, so if Archer can return to his 2013-2015 form, they won’t miss Meadows too much.

Another big deal the Pirates made was trading Taylor Hearn their 11th best prospect according to Minor League Ball for Texas Rangers closer Keone Kela. I think this deal is spectacular for a couple of reasons. Kela has really come into his own these last two seasons, with at 3.11 ERA and 3.12 FIP, plus he’s 37/39 in save situations. Considering he’s only 25, with three more years of control, and Hearn is already 23 and just reach Double-A this season, the Pirates found a stop-gap if they end up contending this year, plus they’re setup for the next three seasons.

Losers

Cleveland Indians

I think the Indians were a big loser during this deadline. Yes, they did acquire Brad Hand from the San Diego Padres, whose had a solid run the past three seasons, but he’s owed $7 million the next two seasons and $10 million his final season with a $1 million buyout. Furthermore he was just claimed off of waivers by the Padres from the Marlins in the spring of 2016, so he’s not too far removed from absolute failure. I could look past all of that if the Indians didn’t give up the 21st best prospect in all of baseball, Francisco Meija, to get him. Sure, they did receive another reliever Adam Cimber who has been viable for the Padres this season but he’s remained largely untested especially in the thick of a postseason run.

Another puzzling move by the Indians was trading with the St. Louis Cardinals for Oscar Mercado, a 23-year-old outfielder. The Indians badly need to rebuild their outfield but why are they even thinking about rebuilding with the move to acquire Brad Hand, which screams that they are all in on this year’s postseason. You cannot be thinking about rebuilding anything in the short-term if your aim is a deep postseason run.

Houston Astros

The Astros are probably the biggest loser of this years trade deadline. They did acquire Ryan Pressly from the Twins for a couple of prospects, which I think is a good move. They also acquired Martin Maldonado to fill up the catching role, sending Patrick Sandoval to the Los Angeles Angels and some international bonus pool money. But that was all over shadowed by their choice to acquire Roberto Osuna from the Toronto Blue Jays for Ken Giles, Hector Perez, and David Paulino. This move really makes no sense especially for the Astros. Osuna as I mentioned earlier is ineligible to play in the majors until their investigation is complete and if they receive bad news he’ll likely be suspended the rest of the season if not longer.

Furthermore, Houston shipped Giles who is a potential short-term turn-around project considering his incredible numbers year last year which saw a 2.3 ERA and a 2.39 FIP (plus he was 34/40 in save situations). I mention the team control Giles has which makes this all the more illogical. With Giles they have someone whose guaranteed to be eligible for the postseason and Osuna right now is a huge question mark.

Seattle Mariners

To most it was a seemingly a pretty successful deadline for the Seattle Mariners. They acquired Denard Span from the Tampa Bay Rays and Cameron Maybin from the Miami Marlins to help shore up the outfield. Plus they added Alex Colome from the Rays, Adam Warren from the Yankees, Zach Duke from the Twins and Sam Tuivailala from the Cardinals. However, the bullpen wasn’t a big issue at all, they have one of the best closers in the game in Edwin Diaz, and solid backups in James Pazos and Chasen Bradford, all of whom have ERAs and FIP’s below three.

The one glaring issue with the Mariners was their rotation and they didn’t address that at all. Between a declining Felix Hernandez whose best days are behind him, James Paxton is the clear ace in the group. Rounding out the rotation is Mike Leake, Marco Gonzales and Wade LeBlanc, none of which are more than a mid-rotation starter. It’s odd the Mariners didn’t try to add another starter just to shore up the issues with the rotation especially with Hernandez seeing multiple trips to the disabled list. We’ll see how this plays for the Mariners as we move deeper into the second half.

These are just some of the winners and losers of the trade deadline. There were several others that could be mentioned but these are the ones that stuck out to me the most. It’s impossible to predict the future so a year from now, this could be totally wrong however this is how the trades look now only a few days removed from completion. Only time will tell how these trades will play out, so let us see.


Ron Wolschleger is a pitchaholic and a Contributing Writer for Beyond the Box Score as well as Bless You Boys. You can follow him on Twitter at @FIPmyWHIP.