The winners and losers of the 2018 MLB trade deadline

The 2018 Major League Baseball trade deadline has passed. A flurry of final-hour trades really heightened the intensity in a day that was void of a true blockbuster deal. Chris Archer and Brian Dozier were the biggest names to change addresses, while J.T. Realmuto and Matt Harvey stayed put. Oh, and that Bryce Harper trade talk didn’t go anywhere either.

Keep in mind that the end of the trade deadline doesn’t signal the end of all trading. Players can still move via waivers over the final two months of the regular season. Here, we’re focused on the non-waiver trade deadline and the impacts these deals could and should have on the teams involved. We’ll look at whether the team’s situation has improved from the past few weeks.

Slugging second baseman Brian Dozer was traded to the Dodgers right before MLB's trade deadline. (AP)
Slugging second baseman Brian Dozer was traded to the Dodgers right before MLB’s trade deadline. (AP)


The Dodgers set the tone for the trade deadline by acquiring superstar Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles one day after the All-Star Game. Then they finished it with another bang, adding second baseman Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins. In essence, Los Angeles has rebuilt its lineup again with two of MLB’s hardest-hitting middle infielders. Veteran reliever John Axford was acquired as well, because what deadline would be complete without the Dodgers going crazy and doing everything possible to finally win another World Series? (Mark Townsend)


The Milwaukee Brewers waited until the last second to pull off a trade, but it wasn’t the one people expected. Instead of picking up a starting pitcher, the club acquired infielder Jonathan Schoop from the Orioles. The move puts the team’s infield in a strange place. If Schoop plays second, Travis Shaw doesn’t have a position. If Schoop plays short and Shaw plays second, the team is operating with a rough defense. While there weren’t many aces on the pitching market, the Brewers still could have picked up a useful mid-rotation starter as they fight for a wild-card spot. (Chris Cwik)


The Yankees didn’t pick up a superstar, but they still managed to address a significant need. J.A. Happ gives them a solid mid-rotation starter who could be used as the team’s No. 3 — or even No. 2 — starter in a playoff series. While Lance Lynn’s 5.10 ERA leaves a lot to be desired, he has value as a hybrid pitcher. He can start games for them or be used as a long reliever who cleans up after another starter struggles. We’ve seen the value of those players increase in the postseason in recent years, so Lynn might make more of an impact than people realize. (Cwik)

The Tampa Bay Rays agreed to trade ace Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline. (AP)
The Tampa Bay Rays agreed to trade ace Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline. (AP)


The good news for Chris Archer is that he finally got traded. For the last two seasons he’s been discussed as a possible trade chip, only to remain with Tampa Bay. We’re sure that got old, and we’re sure he didn’t want to deal with that again this winter. The bad news is that he’s headed to Pittsburgh, which many would consider the NL’s version of Tampa Bay. Like the Rays, the Pirates don’t spend much money and rarely make the moves needed to get them over the top. If Pittsburgh isn’t a real contender by this time next year, the process could start over again for Archer. (Townsend)


Can you be a trade-deadline winner when you trade away all your best players? You can, actually. The Orioles set out to tear the whole thing down the past month, starting with the Manny Machado deal and ending with the Jonathan Schoop trade that closed Trade-a-palooza 2018. In all, the Orioles traded six players — the two aforementioned infielders, plus pitchers Kevin Gausman, Zach Britton, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach. In return, they got 15 players — 14 of them minor leaguers — and some international spending money. When you decide to rebuild, it’s important to not botch it. At least in the numbers the Orioles haven’t. (Mike Oz)


The Cleveland Indians were a team that came into the final day before the trade deadline with a clear need — an outfielder. And well, they got an outfielder, but is anybody really excited about Leonys Martin? He’s not bad. He’s just a guy on this fourth team in two seasons. It’s not like we expect the Indians to go out and get Mike Trout, but this is a team that usually takes care of its needs. Its earlier trade to get Brad Hand to help its bullpen is an example. Fact is, the Indians have to get past the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros in the American League and that won’t be easy. (Oz)


The Phillies sprinted to the finish line with a pair of deadline-day trades. The headliner is catcher Wilson Ramos from Tampa Bay. It wasn’t necessarily a position of need, but Ramos represents an offensive upgrade while providing experience alongside Jorge Alfaro. It also blocked him from going to another NL candidate, like possibly Washington. Philadelphia added reliever Aaron Loup in a separate deal with Toronto. Earlier in the week, Asdrubal Cabrera was brought over from the Mets to bolster the infield. (Mark Townsend)

The Astros are understandably catching flack for acquiring Roberto Osuna, who's still serving a 75-game domestic violence suspension. (AP)
The Astros are understandably catching flack for acquiring Roberto Osuna, who’s still serving a 75-game domestic violence suspension. (AP)


There didn’t appear to be a pressing need for Houston, but general manager Jeff Luhnow was still pretty active. There’s no denying that he solidified the bullpen with trades for Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna and Twins setup man Ryan Pressly. But he’s also understandably catching flack for acquiring Osuna, who will soon finish serving a 75-game domestic-violence suspension. It’s not a good look for Houston to so covet a player connected to domestic-violence issues. It’s also not a good look for Toronto to benefit from trading Osuna, rather than cutting him outright once it decided he’s no longer going to pitch for the franchise. (Townsend)


The Mariners general manager did what he does best at the deadline, he made a ton of trades. The team picked up Sam Tuivailala, Adam Warren, Zach Duke and Cameron Maybin before the deadline passed. Those are some underwhelming names, though they will help the Mariners get better. Even if they don’t, that’s just fine. We didn’t pick the Mariners as “winners;” we picked Dipoto. The guy who loves making deals made a ton of deals. Follow your dreams, kids. (Cwik)


Whether the Nationals were buying or selling remained an open question with an hour left until the trade deadline. The team didn’t seem to know. On one hand, people believed the Nats were making players available. On the other, general manager Mike Rizzo squashed reports that Bryce Harper could be on the block. When the dust settled, the Nationals continued to ride that fence. They traded away Brandon Kintzler, but didn’t commit to a full tear down or go all-in. Meanwhile, both the Braves and Phillies did everything in their power to improve. It was just a whole lot of bleh for the Nationals, which accurately sums up their season thus far. (Cwik)


The Cubs completed a surprisingly busy deadline with a trade for veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler on Tuesday. Kintzler gives manager Joe Maddon another experienced option for his bullpen, which looks pretty stacked on paper. Now it will be up to Maddon to sort it out, which hasn’t always been his strong suit. The Cubs also added Cole Hamels over the weekend in a trade that became necessary when free-agent signings Yu Darvish (injury) and Tyler Chatwood (ineffective) flopped. Reliever Jesse Chavez was added in an earlier deal. (Townsend)


While the Dodgers went big again at the deadline, and the Diamondbacks also improved, the Rockies were mostly quiet aside from trading for reliever Seunghwan Oh. That trade will help, but it also highlights how badly they missed the mark spending over $100 million on the bullpen this past winter. Colorado could have used an upgrade at catcher or first base, but will instead rely on internal options getting hot down the stretch. It’s basically the same story Rockies fans hear every year on trade-deadline day. (Townsend)


On the trade front, Boston did well to counter every move made by the Yankees. Boston’s front office filled its biggest need late Monday night, bringing in veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Angels. With Dustin Pedroia’s status uncertain, Kinsler will provide a solid and experienced stopgap. Unfortunately, the Red Sox received some bad news right after the deadline on ace Chris Sale, who will be sidelined at least one start with shoulder inflammation. Perhaps another starting pitcher for insurance would have made this a sure win for Boston. (Townsend)

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