Remember Christmas Day as a kid? The feeling that it was the most magical day of the year, and you didn’t want it to be over?
That’s how I felt about the trade deadline on Tuesday.
Okay, so that might be a bit dramatic. But I’ve always loved trade deadline day: the blockbuster trades, the surprise deals, the last minute moves that happen minutes just as the clock strikes metaphorical midnight on the deadline. It’s exciting, man. And this year’s deadline did not disappoint.
There was an added level excitement on Monday evening when reports started circulating that the Nationals were going to trade superstar Bryce Harper. However, by Tuesday morning, Nats GM Mike Rizzo had made a public statement saying that Harper would not be moved before the deadline. But even without the Harper blockbuster, Monday and Tuesday were still exciting days. Here’s a team-by-team summary of some of the big moves made in the days leading up to the deadline:
Cubs deal for veteran Cole Hamels
The Cubs are sending a pair of pitchers to Texas in return for Hamels, who will take Tyler Chatwood’s spot in the rotation. Hamels has a 6.41 home ERA, but the Cubs are hoping that the change of scenery will spark a turnaround for the veteran lefty.
Diamonbacks acquire Eduardo Escobar from Twins
Arizona picked up infielder Eduardo Escobar for three minor league prospects. Escobar can play second, third, and short- all areas in which the D-backs need defensive help. He will also be able to add offensive production; he is on pace to pass his career-high 21 home runs this season. Arizona is in the midst of a three-team race for first in the competitive NL West.
Phillies pick up Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets
The first-place Phillies sent a right-handed pitching prospect to the Mets in exchange for veteran switch-hitting infielder Cabrera. Cabrera has been having a great year at the plate, with 18 home runs and a .488 slugging percentage. He will move over to shortstop after playing second for New York this season.
Houston adds bullpen depth with Twins’ Ryan Pressly
Ryan Pressly is by no means a big-name reliever, but he is a solid righty who boasts a 3.40 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. The defending World Champs are adding pieces here and there to fine-tune their roster as they will have a tough road through the American League playoffs.
Brewers land Moustakas from Kansas City
The Royals’ 2018 season has been over for a while now, and Milwaukee was looking to bolster their offense as they look to overtake first place in the NL Central. The Royals got a good prospect package in return for impending free agent Mike Moustakas. Moustakas, who has hit 20 home runs in this years’ campaign, will take Travis Shaw’s position at third while Shaw will move to second.
Playoff-hopeful Braves snag Brad Brach as O’s unload
Atlanta is currently a game-and-a-half behind Philly for first place in the NL East. Brach has had better seasons (this year his ERA is at 4.85), but he will serve the Braves well as they make a push to get back to the playoffs. In return, the Orioles get an extra international signing bonus slot.
‘Stros pick up suspended Roberto Osuna from Jays
In the most controversial move of the deadline, the Astros again add to their bullpen, this time picking up closer Roberto Osuna from Toronto. Osuna is currently serving a 75-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. The Astros- who supposedly have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to domestic violence- sent three pitchers back to Toronto, including RHP Ken Giles. Osuna is supposed to finish his suspension within the next week; however, he has a court date coming up soon, and the league could extend the suspension based on any new details that come to light in the trial.
M’s bolster ‘pen with Twins’ Duke and Yankees’ Warren
Seattle is making moves to close the four-game gap between them and the first-place Astros, and adding Zach Duke from Minnesota and Adam Warren from the Yankees will certainly add depth to their bullpen. In return, the Twins picked up two solid minor league prospects, and the Yankees added international signing money.
Bronx Bombers take a risk with Lance Lynn
In return for 1B Tyler Austin and a minor league pitcher, the Yankees add another starter to their rotation in Lance Lynn. Lynn has had better years; in fact, his 5.10 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and 1.1 HR/9 ratio are all career worsts. However, in his last 12 starts, he has started to turn things around with a 3.74 ERA and a .233 opponents’ batting average. The Yankees will just have to hope that Lynn will continue to get back to his former glory as they chase the Red Sox in the AL East.
Red Sox add veteran Kinsler to fill hole at second
Speaking of the Red Sox, Boston sent a 2-prospect package to Anaheim in return for Ian Kinsler. Kinsler will man second base for the Sox as they wait to find out if Dustin Pedroia will return this season.
Pittsburgh lands closer Keone Kela from the Rangers
The Pirates were expected to be sellers at the deadline, until they went on an impressive hot streak and moved into third in the NL Central. Instead, they pick up a solid closer from Texas in Kela. Kela has converted 24 out of 25 save opportunities this season. In return, the Bucs send minor leage lefty pitcher Taylor Hearn, a top-10 prospect in their system, to the Rangers, along with a player to be named later.
Braves add to outfield with Adam Duvall from Cincy
Like I said earlier, the Braves are in it to win it this year. just a couple of seasons ago Atlanta was the worst team in the league, but this year they may have a real chance. That’s why they added Duvall: defensive help in the outfield and more power at the plate. Atlanta sent a three-player minor league package to the Reds in return for Duvall. (Spoiler alert: they weren’t done yet!)
July 31: Deadline Day
Rays get Pham from Cards in surprise deal
Tampa is in third place in the AL East, but at 20 games out of first and 14 1/2 out of second, they’ll have to try again next year. Which is why it came as a surprise when the Rays decided to ditch three prospects to get outfielder Tommy Pham from St. Louis. Pham will definitely be of value to the Rays in the near future, as he is under team control through 2021.
Cleveland adds outfield depth in Tigers’ Leonys Martin
The Indians are a safe ten games in first in the dreadful AL Central and are hoping to get back to the World Series this year. However, if they had any hope to get past the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros, they needed to buy. Enter Leonys Martin. You may not have ever heard of him, but Martin is having the best offensive season of his career and is a stellar defender in center field. In addition to Martin, Cleveland picked up a minor league right-handed pitcher named Kyle Dowdy, sending minor league shortstop Willi Castro to Detroit. The Indians are depending on Martin to produce at the plate and in the field if they are going to end their World Series drought.
RHP Ziegler returns for a second stint with the D-backs
Arizona made another move as they try to fend off the Dodgers and Rockies. In his first campaign in Arizona, Ziegler held a nice 2.49 ERA. He hasn’t been nearly as good in Miami until recently; in 106 games, he had a 4.36 ERA, but since June 1 he’s pitched to a superb 0.93. The Diamondbacks sent a minor league RHP to the Marlins in return for Ziegler.
Philly grabs catcher Wilson Ramos from Tampa
Ramos is in the middle of his best offensive season and has been swinging a hot bat as of late. He currently has a 2.4 WAR (wins above replacement) and is on pace to break his career high. The Rays will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Dodgers just keep on adding with Dozier
Brian Dozier has averaged 35 home runs in the past three seasons, and has been heating up lately with 21 RBI in 25 games in July. The Dodgers, who have fallen just short of a World Series title the last two years, are done messing around. Dozier and Manny Machado are solid additions to the Dodger infield. LA sent infielder Logan Forsythe and two minor leaguers to the Twins for Dozier.
Cubs add bullpen arm in Nats’ Kintzler
My Cubbies made one last deal for a pitcher before the deadline, acquiring reliever Brandon Kintzler from Washington. Kintzler joins a Cubs bullpen that leads the league in wins and ranking second in ERA. NL Central opponents are batting just .208 against him this season, undoubtedly a big selling point for the Cubs. In 45 games with the Nats this season, the righty has posted a 3.59 ERA with 31 Ks in 42 2/3 innings. Chicago sent minor league pitcher Jhon Romero to DC.
Braves and Orioles deal again: Gausman and O’Day go to ATL
Atlanta again added to their starting rotation by acquiring Kevin Gausman from Baltimore, and O’Day, the veteran reliever, will also boost the bullpen next season after he returns from a hamstring injury. Baltimore added four more prospects, as well as additional international signing bonus slot money.
Pirates acquire Chris Archer in surprise deal
Not many people thought that it would be Pittsburgh landing Chris Archer. However, Archer’s contract includes team options for 2020 and 2021, meaning that not only will he help the Bucs as they make a push for a wild card spot this year, but he’ll be around over the near future to help bring the Pirates back into the playoff picture. In return for Archer, Tampa Bay landed Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows, both of whom have MLB experience.
Brewers land Schoop from O’s in literal last-minute trade
At 2:59 PM on Tuesday, one minute before the trade deadline, news broke that the Brewers had picked up second baseman Jonathan Schoop from Baltimore, who, it seems, sold just about everybody. Schoop is having a relatively quiet season, though his offensive production has picked up since the All-Star Break. He’ll join Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, and Travis Shaw in a loaded lineup. Other NL Central teams, beware. Baltimore received Jonathan Villar, along with two minor league prospects in return for Schoop.
This season’s trade deadline is one that we’ll remember for a while. Baltimore stripped their team down to the bones to get a ton of prospects. Most of the contenders made big moves. Pittsburgh showed that they shouldn’t be counted out just yet. And the Nationals aren’t breaking up with Bryce just yet. Needless to say, a baseball fan can only hope for exciting trade deadlines such as these.
I want to know: Who do you think are the winners and losers from this year’s deadline?