AROUND THE HORN: A LOOK AT EACH AL TEAM’S DEADLINE ACTIVITIES

2023-08-09 · 5 min read · MLB/Baseball
Angels starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and Rangers starting pitcher Max Scherzer

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports | AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Following a rather mundane MLB Trade Deadline, teams are now (mostly) set with their squads heading into the final two months of the regular season. Rumours aplenty heading into the first of August, but with Shohei Ohtani staying put in Los Angeles, well, any league-altering moves shall have to wait until the offseason. Here’s a look at each team’s deadline performance…
NEW YORK YANKEES- D-
For a team having as underwhelming a season as the Yankees currently are, management’s this-team-can-win motto is far from the truth. Acquiring Kenyan Middleton and Spencer Howard don’t come close to solving the glaringly obvious holes New York is plagued with. They entered the year without a solidified LF, and opted to not address that during the deadline. Starting Pitching has been a struggle with injuries and poor performance, yet that too was ignored. They entered the day in last place in the AL East, and that’s where they’ll likely end up.
BOSTON RED SOX- D
Boston, likewise with New York, did…not a whole lot. They acquired four total pieces, none of which are MLB-impact players. Justin Hagenman and Nick Robertson are work-in-progress prospects, Mauricio Llovera is a bullpen innings-eater, and Luis Urias is hitting .155 this year. Trevor Story should be back soon to provide some offense, though he has been injury-plagued the last few years. Certainly not buyers, Boston more or less decided to try to squeeze into a Wild Card spot with who they have available.
BLUE JAYS- B+
A Teoscar Hernandez reunion, though a fun idea, was never overly likely. His name will be revisited in the offseason, but for now Toronto spent in two areas; a short-term Bo Bichette replacement and electric bullpen help - all from the St. Louis Cardinals. Paul Dejong will be Toronto’s SS until Bichette is back from the IL, while flamethrower Jordan Hicks and lefty Genesis Cabrera bolster the back-end of the Jays’ pen. In a year where not a lot happened at the deadline, Toronto - though not getting Jack Flaherty - did well in acquiring the best relief arm on the market. Oh, and Trent Thornton’s gone too.
TAMPA BAY RAYS- B-
Having fallen behind Baltimore in the quest for the AL East title, Tampa opted for some pitching help in Adrian Sampson and Aaron Civale, both of whom have had MLB success. Civale’s been quite good for Cleveland (who we’ll talk about later) and arrives just in time as their hard-throwing lefty Shane McClanahan is put on the IL with forearm tightness. A severe drop-off in productivity has hurt the Rays the last few weeks, and the seemingly one-team race AROUND THE HORN: A LOOK AT EACH AL TEAM’S DEADLINE ACTIVITIESfor the division lead is no more - in order to catch Baltimore they’ll have to regain the magic they had to open the year, something their pitching can more than do.
BALTIMORE ORIOLES- A
Baltimore, for all intents and purposes, opened the Trade Deadline window with their deal to acquire Shintaro Fujinami from Oakland - a move that hasn’t yet paid dividends. The only other notable trade was to acquire Jack Flaherty from St. Louis, who looked terrific in his first start with the birds. AAA IF Cesar Prieto is most notable in heading the other way, as Baltimore trades from a position of depth to get a (generally) very good arm in Flaherty.
MINNESOTA TWINS - UNDETERMINED
Minnesota, atop the AL Central with a record of 54-43 on Trade Deadline Day, did…nothing. Their only move came on July 26th, when the club acquired righty Dylan Floro from the Miami Marlins in exchange for Jorge Lopez. It’s nearly impossible to have an opinion on their deadline, as Rob Antony and Thad Levine did nothing while watching the other four Central teams get worse. Addition by other teams’ subtraction, maybe?
CLEVELAND GUARDIANS- C+
At the time, Cleveland - sitting one game out of first in the AL Central - seemed in prime position to push for a second-half surge, if they wanted to. However, they did not. Minus Minnesota, Cleveland joined every other AL Central team in punting on third down and, barring insanity, giving the division to the Twins. Dealing Aaron Civale, Josh Bell, and Amed Rosario all to playoff contenders all but gave a public capitulation to losing, though Kyle Manzardo and Khalil Watson are both very intriguing prospects that could help turn around Cleveland’s roster sooner rather than later.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX - B
Credit where credit’s due, Chicago entered the deadline wanting to shed salary - and they did just that. Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn to the Dodgers, Kendall Graveman to the ‘Stros, and a Giolito/Lopez package to the Angels. They sold, and sold hard - but keeping Dylan Cease was a good move. Burger and Middleton were also dealt (Marlins & Yankees), with a boatload of prospects coming back Chicago’s way. With Grandal off the books this offseason, the White Sox’s massive turnover is well underway.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS- B-
The Royals did nothing sexy at the deadline, with potentially the most notable prospect - Cole Ragans - coming over on June 30th in the Chapman-to-Texas deal, but stockpiling prospects isn’t bad for the rebuilding path the team is on. Exit Yarbrough, Barlow, and Cuas, three unnecessary relievers on a last-place team, as well as Infielder Nicky Lopez. Taylor Hearn and Tucker Davidson will likely fill the two of the lost MLB arms, with young players getting an opportunity to showcase their talent. A B- is generous, but they are sticking to their plan.
DETROIT TIGERS- F
Back-to-back years with an F for Detroit, as they made two moves - only one of which noteworthy; Michael Lorenzen was dealt to Philadelphia for Hao-Yu Lee, a 20-year old Infielder. The club butchered the dealing of Eduardo Rodriguez, the one thing they absolutely, positively, unequivocally could not do. Another year, more disappointment.
HOUSTON ASTROS- A-
Though only making two deadline moves, the Astros managed to keep in the arms’ race with their rivals in Texas as Justin Verlander and Kendall Graveman both return to their old team in an effort to shore up an injured pitching staff. Verlander was excellent with the ‘Stros in his prior stint, and the club hopes to regain some of the same form with Graveman returning too. Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford are two good prospects, as the Mets - though incredibly underwhelming this year - should be happy with the return.
SEATTLE MARINERS- C+
Seemingly self-diagnosing themselves as too far back in the division and behind too many teams in the WC (at the time, anyway), the Mariners opted to trade their closer to Arizona (Paul Sewald) and a starting Outfielder to San Fran (A.J. Pollack). Perhaps this grade is biased with a touch of hindsight, though the M’s did shed money and get a couple decent prospects back in Dominic Calzone and Ryan Bliss. Seattle still has the pieces to get a roll, though the Wild Card race is loaded in the AL.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS- B+
This ranking is based on the effort of trying to make the team better, not the outcome in the days that have followed. Acquiring C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk from the Colorado Rockies is a good attempt at stabilizing an injury-riddled lineup that, at times, has been severely depleted this season. Dominic Leone, though not the arm he used to be, has potential to be a serviceable MLB option too, and none of what they gave up prospects-wise is overly detrimental to their future. The biggest deal the Angels made was sending two top prospects (Ky Bush and Edgar Quero) to the White Sox for Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, though Giolito has had his troubles with the move.
TEXAS RANGERS- A
With a lineup already gifted with a plethora of offensive talent, Texas went out and got exactly what they wanted - pitching. In what will be a race for the AL West with Houston, Max Scherzer, Jordan Montgomery and (though acquired at the end of June) Aroldis Chapman will definitely help. Luisangel Acuna is a lot to give up - keeping this from an A+ deadline - but the Rangers have solidified themselves as a formidable team in the American League.
OAKLAND ATHLETICS- C-
The Athletics made three different one-for-one deals; shipping out Sam Moll (Cincinnati), Jace Pederson (Arizona), and Shintaro Fujinami (Baltimore) in exchange for prospects Joe Boyle, Chad Patrick, and Easton Lucas.
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By: Gus Cousins

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