Congratulations, baseball fans. You won the 2021 MLB trade deadline.
Although not everyone is going to be thrilled with what their team did or didn’t do, we probably all can agree that this year’s MLB trade deadline was wildly entertaining. Certainly more fun than the 2020 deadline, which was awkward as all heck given the unprecedented circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rumors flew all over the place this week, high-profile players changed teams and the league’s entire landscape changed. As we take stock of the star-studded chaos, let’s highlight three big winners and three big losers from all of the wheeling and dealing.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
The rich get richer. Already equipped with arguably the league’s most talented roster top to bottom, the Dodgers landed the best pitcher available (Max Scherzer) and the best position player available (Trea Turner) in a blockbuster with the Washington Nationals.
The cost? A package centered around two highly touted prospects (catcher Keibert Ruiz and pitcher Josiah Gray) who basically were blocked for the foreseeable, anyway, by Los Angeles’ enviable major league depth.
And oh, by the way, the Dodgers landed pitcher Danny Duffy from the Kansas City Royals, as well.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Remember when it was taboo for the White Sox and Cubs to do business? Clearly, that’s no longer the case in the Windy City, where the crosstown rivals hooked up for a pair of trades that significantly improve the White Sox’s bullpen while giving the Cubs a few talented pieces to help their rebuild.
Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera join Liam Hendriks at the back end of the White Sox’s ‘pen. And although the reinforcements came at a high price, with Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer going to the Cubs for Kimbrel, it’s impossible to overstate the potential impact of those moves on the South Side.
So much happened between Wednesday afternoon and Friday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline that it’s easy to forget the last-place Marlins flipped an impending free-agent outfielder (Starling Marte) to the Oakland Athletics for a young, cost-controlled starting pitcher with an elite prospect pedigree (Jesús Luzardo). The Fish already had a surplus of intriguing arms. Might as well add one more to the mix.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
What just happened here?
It initially looked like the Padres were going to acquire Scherzer, with reports stating they were nearing the finish line in trade talks with the Nationals. Instead, the three-time Cy Young Award winner ended up with San Diego’s biggest division rival, the Dodgers, while the Friars settled for a deadline haul comprised of Adam Frazier, Daniel Hudson and Jake Marisnick.
Those three players should help the Padres, no doubt. But it’s a tough consolation prize after San Diego was linked to Scherzer, José Berríos and Joey Gallo, among others, before the deadline, especially when you factor in the Padres’ other National League West rival, the San Francisco Giants, acquired All-Star slugger Kris Bryant at the buzzer.
Again, what just happened here?
There were rumblings the Rockies might trade Trevor Story, Jon Gray and/or Daniel Bard. Instead, they sat on their hands, a total misstep that’ll look even worse if those three players depart in free agency and leave Colorado to recoup nothing more than draft pick compensation.
Not only did the Mariners miss out on the bigger names they were linked to, like Berríos. They also traded their closer, Kendall Gravemen, in a confounding move that ticked off Seattle’s clubhouse. Throw in Hector Santiago’s 80-game suspension, and yeah, it wasn’t a great week in the Pacific Northwest.