The Los Angeles Dodgers were on a 114-win pace even before they acquired Yu Darvish. Now that they’ve got a potential playoff rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Darvish, Alex Wood and Rich Hill, they’re undeniably World Series favourites.
And yet they paid a substantial price to improve their chances of winning it all, parting with three prospects including Willie Calhoun, a 22-year-old second baseman recently ranked 74th among all prospects by Baseball America. That’s a steep price for a rental, especially in the objectively likely scenario that the Dodgers don’t win their first championship since 1988.
Regardless, the Dodgers feature prominently among the 2017 deadline winners on a day they also added lefties Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani. Around baseball not every team was as fortunate. Here’s a look at some of the clubs that stood out most on deadline day…
The 2017 season didn’t unfold the way the Rangers hoped, but at least they got something substantial for Darvish instead of letting him walk as a free agent. Calhoun, a left-handed hitter who can also play the outfield, was hitting .298/.357/.574 with 23 home runs at triple-A before the trade.
New York Yankees
Like Darvish, Sonny Gray’s a frontline starter who is more than capable of starting playoff games later this fall. Unlike Darvish, he’s controllable beyond 2017, with two arbitration seasons remaining after this one. Gray does more than help the 2017 Yankees, then—his presence allows them to step aside from the bidding for free agent starters this off-season if they so choose.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals will be a much different team next year–probably a much worse team. But before Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer hit free agency, they’re taking one more shot. GM Dayton Moore added Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter and Melky Cabrera ahead of the deadline.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox didn’t do much on deadline day, but they didn’t have to. They already traded all kinds of MLB talent away this month, building one of baseball’s top farm systems in the process.
Boston Red Sox
In Addison Reed, the Red Sox acquire an ideal setup reliever who can handle high-leverage moments along with Craig Kimbrel. The Red Sox still don’t look like a great team along the lines of the Astros or Dodgers, but Reed and Eduardo Nunez deepen their roster for the stretch run and Dave Dombrowski held onto Boston’s best prospects.
In contrast to the Dodgers, the Astros remained relatively quiet on deadline day, with Francisco Liriano headlining their haul. They’re still an elite team that projects as a force in the post-season, and yet they’d look that much stronger with another frontline arm alongside Dallas Keuchel. Instead of adding a top starter, Houston lost one, as Lance McCullers Jr. hit the disabled list Monday.
They traded AJ Ramos to the Mets, but were otherwise quiet, missing out on a chance to build toward 2018 and beyond.
Nobody wants to be in baseball’s murky middle, but that’s where the Orioles appear to be after acquiring Jeremy Hellickson and Tim Beckham instead of regrouping and trading some of their best relievers for future pieces.
San Diego Padres
Credit the Padres for obtaining Matt Strahm and Esteury Ruiz earlier in the month, but they missed the chance to move Brad Hand for a big return on deadline day. Ideally the rebuilding Padres would have found a way to convert Hand, a former waiver claim, into top young talent.
SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are better off today than they were yesterday, so in that sense they come out ahead. At the same time, the struggles of Marco Estrada impacted the right-hander’s value and prevented the Blue Jays from coming away with a bigger haul. While Estrada drew interest, the Blue Jays didn’t end up moving him in a late-developing pitching market.
Still, rival executives said the Blue Jays did well to obtain Teoscar Hernandez for Liriano, who has a 5.88 ERA this season. Some executives weren’t convinced that Hernandez profiles as an everyday big-leaguer, but others praised his athleticism. In the view of one evaluator, the Blue Jays “absolutely” did well to obtain Hernandez for a struggling rental player.
The Blue Jays also obtained minor-leaguers Thomas Pannone and Samad Taylor for Joe Smith, deepening their prospect inventory.