Major League Baseball's annual trade extravaganza has come and gone with a flurry of activity in the days prior to the July 31 deadline that made this one of the more notable trade seasons in recent memory.
While there weren't a lot of marquee names dealt, a number of contending teams did make moves that can benefit them down the stretch. But with the advent of the second wild card team in each league, as well as the price for some rather pedestrian players, the way that teams evaluate themselves and their standing has changed.
The bottom-tier teams like Houston, Chicago (both teams) and Miami held all the cards this deadline and were able to get things going in recent days with deals that had a ripple effect on everything else.
We are here to break all of the trade action down by handing out grades for what all 30 teams did—or didn't—do. Keep in mind that even with the July 31 deadline passed, teams can still make moves until August 31 with the waiver wire process, so there are still trades that will happen.
If a team didn't make a trade, we will base the grade around what that means for them moving forward.
Note: Stats courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted. All of the trade transactions courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.
Acquired: LHP Joe Thatcher, RHP Matt Stites and draft pick (from SD)
Traded: RHP Ian Kennedy (to SD)
Having spent years building bullpens in San Diego, Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers decided to part ways with a starting pitcher who was struggling and they had no use for anymore even though he had two years of control left for a left-handed specialist and an undersized Double-A reliever.
The Diamondbacks haven't been that bad out of the bullpen this year, ranking 10th in saves, 11th in ERA and 14th in strikeouts. But they also have Heath Bell who has given up eight home runs in 40.2 innings.
I can understand that Kennedy, who is a flyball pitcher in a park that can turn those into home runs, may not have been Arizona's ideal starter and there is depth in the rotation (both in the big leagues and minors), but did Towers really have to sell this low on him?
This isn't a move that will make a huge difference for Arizona in its quest to catch the Dodgers in the NL West. It is more likely a way to get something for a pitcher the Diamondbacks knew was going to get a raise in arbitration next year and had a 5.23 ERA this season.
Added: LHP Scott Downs (from LAA)
Traded: RHP Cory Rasmus (to LAA)
Given their comfortable lead in the division, the strength of their bullpen, and a starting rotation that did lose Tim Hudson but got back Brandon Beachy, there wasn't a lot for the Braves to do this deadline season.
Downs does give them some added flexibility late in games as a matchup lefty. He has allowed a .462 OPS to left-handed hitters this season compared to .789 against right-handed hitters.
The Braves have gotten the fifth most innings from their starters this season and boast the best bullpen ERA in baseball, so Downs is just a move to add flexibility and depth. Considering they didn't give up anything of value in Cory Rasmus, that's a good deal.
Acquired: RHP Scott Feldman, C Steve Clevenger (from CHC); RHP Francisco Rodriguez (from Mil); RHP Bud Norris (from Hou)
Traded: RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP Pedro Strop (to CHC); 3B Nick Delmonico (to Mil); OF L.J. Hoes, 2014 Competitive Balance Round A draft pick (to Hou)
The Orioles got an early start on the deadline action by trading for Scott Feldman on July 2 to upgrade their beat up starting rotation. He has been a solid addition for them, providing some much-needed innings to take pressure off the bullpen.
Feldman isn't going to be anything more than a No. 4-5 type starter, but the Orioles desperately needed someone like him and only gave up two arms that, while they can throw hard, have no idea where the ball is going in Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop.
Francisco Rodriguez has had a strong bounce-back season and gives Buck Showalter another reliever to play with down the stretch. He is a rental player and they gave up a prospect in Nick Delmonico who has a chance to be a solid big leaguer but isn't special enough to really get outraged that they traded a position player for a two months of a reliever.
Norris gives them a little more flexibility in the rotation, not to mention two years of control beyond this season.
His ERA of 3.93 is solid, though all of his rate stats, except strikeouts which are significantly lower, are nearly identical to 2012 when he had a 4.65 ERA. Moving to the AL can make it more difficult to record strikeouts, but it also shines a light on how much different his stuff plays in a different league. In the AL East against the Rays, Blue Jays and Red Sox, Norris could be headed for a sharp decline.
That said, the Orioles really didn't give up anything to get him. Hoes has tools (hand-eye coordination, approach) but can't hit for power. That's a problem for a player who profiles as a corner outfielder.
Acquired: LHP Matt Thornton and RHP Jake Peavy (from Chicago); RHP Brayan Villareal (from Detroit, currently on Triple-A DL)
Traded: SS Jose Iglesias (to Detroit); minor leaguers OF Brandon Jacobs, RHP J.B. Wendelken, RHP Francelis Montas and IF Cleuluis Rondon (to Chicago)
The Red Sox feel the heat from Tampa Bay in the AL East race, not to mention facing questions about what will happen with Clay Buchholz's injury, Jon Lester's consistency, John Lackey's stamina down the stretch after missing all of 2012, opening the door for them to get Jake Peavy from the White Sox without giving up much.
Peavy is injury prone, having only thrown 80 innings so far this season, but he has tremendous upside if he can stay healthy. His ERA is a little high at 4.28 despite having his best strikeout-to-walk ratio since 2009 with San Diego.
If the Red Sox can get Buchholz healthy, keep Peavy off the DL and return Lester to his early-season form, that rotation can be lethal in the postseason. It also benefits them to know that Peavy is under contract for 2014, making this more than just a rental.
In exchange the Red Sox traded Jose Iglesias, a player with tremendous defensive value at shortstop but didn't have a place in Boston with Xander Bogaerts on his way to the big leagues at some point in the near-future.
They also got Matt Thornton from the White Sox on July 12 to offset the losses of Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan in the bullpen. Jacobs was the prospect the Red Sox gave up in the deal. He has power but has never developed the hit tool enough to project as a big leaguer.
Montas is the best prospect the Red Sox traded to Chicago. though his ceiling is limited as a relief-only player. He has a plus-plus fastball that can touch triple digits, though he is still learning to pitch instead of throw hard and has to find a second pitch.
Wendelken has enough pitches to start but has spent most of the season as a long reliever. Rondon has a bench profile, if he gets to the big leagues.
All told, not a lot of value given up by the Red Sox in order to acquire a pitcher who can be a solid No. 2 or very good No. 3 starter if he stays healthy and a lefty specialist.
Acquired: RHP Matt Guerrier (from LAD); RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP Pedro Strop (from Bal); RHP Ivan Pineyro (from Was); RHP Justin Grimm, 3B Mike Olt, RHP C.J. Edwards, Player To Be Named (from TX); RHP Corey Black (from NYY)
Traded: RHP Carlos Marmol (to LAD); RHP Scott Feldman and C Steve Clevenger (to Bal); OF Scott Hairston (to Was); RHP Matt Garza (to TX); OF Alfonso Soriano (to NYY)
As has been the case since Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein came over, the Cubs were very busy the last five weeks trying to bring in young, cost-controlled talent with at least some level of upside.
They didn't get one player who projects to be a star, but Olt could be a solid big league third baseman very soon, Grimm can be an effective back-end starter, Edwards has a great arm and an arsenal that you can project to start even though his very slight frame (155 pounds) could make him a reliever. Arrieta and Strop both have very good arms but little idea where the ball is going out of their hands.
Really, what the Cubs did was try to clear some salary and open more roster spots for some of their young players to get a shot in the big leagues for the last two months. We have already seen the debut of Junior Lake, and more players in the upper levels of the minors will be on the way soon.
But be patient because the real future for this franchise lies in the low levels of the minors with Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant, among others.
Acquired: OF Avisail Garcia (from Det); OF Brandon Jacobs, RHP Francellis Montas, RHP J.B. Wendelken and IF Cleuluis Rondon (from Bos)
Traded: LHP Matt Thornton and RHP Jake Peavy (to Bos)
After being reluctant to sell at the deadline over the last few years, the bottom finally dropped out for the White Sox and forced their hand. They clearly waited too long to get value for a lot of players, but they have done relatively well when you consider what they have traded.
Dealing Peavy was the biggest move and netted a potential starting right fielder with plus power in Avisail Garcia from Detroit in a three-team trade that also included the Red Sox.
The rest of the players acquired have a lot to work on, though, they do add depth to a system that is slowly getting better. Jacobs used to be a top-10 prospect in the Red Sox system because he was loaded with tools, but his hit tool has never developed and dropped his stock significantly.
Montas has a great arm and could be a closer, though he has to pitch more than throw. Wendelken has enough pitches to start, though he has spent a lot of this season working in relief. Rondon is a valuable org. player with a chance to be a bench guy in the big leagues.
All three of the players acquired from the Red Sox in the Peavy deal are in A ball, so it will be years before we know what they ultimately become.
No deadline deals
There were rumblings that the Reds might be in on Giants reliever Javier Lopez, but ultimately the two sides were unable to work anything out before the deadline. They are six games out in the National League Central, but 4.5 games ahead of Arizona for the second wild card spot.
Even though there were some spots the Reds could have added depth, hence the talk about Lopez, but they are solid in all areas and should have no problems being a playoff team. No reason to mess with something that isn't broken.
Added: LHP Marc Rzepczynski (from StL)
Traded: SS Juan Herrera (to StL)
The Indians were in a bad spot this deadline season. They did have a need for another bat and starting pitcher down the stretch, but were limited both financially and in their system because they have virtually no depth.
They decided to split the difference and add a piece to an ailing bullpen in Marc Rzepczynski, who threw just 10 innings with the Cardinals this season due to injuries and poor performance. His ERA is near 8.00, albeit in a very limited sample size this season.
As long as he can stay healthy, Rzepczynski will give the Indians another left-handed weapon to pair with Rich Hill late in games. His ERA should come down in time since his strikeout and walk rates are roughly in line with his career marks and his velocity is still good. He is strictly a matchup guy with a career .221/.298/.310 line against lefties.
Also of interest to a team with limited financial resources like the Indians, Rzepczynski is under control for two more years. They did trade from the one area of great depth in the system by dealing shortstop Juan Herrera.
Acquired: RHP Mitchell Boggs (from StL)
Traded: International signing money (to StL)
The Rockies are still desperate to find pitching, be it starters or relievers, which is why Boggs made sense for them as a buy-low option after having a dreadful start to the season with St. Louis.
Boggs has only thrown 1.2 innings for Colorado thus far, so his impact has been negligible. But at least he is back throwing and his velocity is still very good, though he has never been a huge strikeout pitcher because his stuff sits around the zone and lefties obliterate him (.295/.361/.467).
But the price to get Boggs was minimal, just one of their international signing slots, so even if he is a mediocre reliever that has to be considered a win for this franchise.
Acquired: RHP Jose Veras (from Hou); SS Jose Iglesias (from Bos)
Traded: OF Danry Vasquez and Player To Be Named Later (to Hou); OF Avisail Garcia (to Det); RHP Brayan Villareal (to Bos)
Of all the contenders who needed to make a move for relief help this deadline season, the Tigers were right at the top of the list. They tried going back to Jose Valverde as their closer before that blew up in their face. Phil Coke and Al Alburquerque have disappointed. Bruce Rondon has to find another pitch and some command before he can be trusted.
Jose Veras can join Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly to give Jim Leyland options late in a game. Veras is having an outlier season in 2013 with a 2.93 ERA thanks to a career-low walk rate (2.93 per nine innings) and an unsustainable .240 batting average on balls in play.
But Veras has always had a good arm and is getting more swings and misses this year with a curveball that he throws out of the zone. He can be an effective setup man for the Tigers down the stretch, providing them with 20-25 innings of solid relief work they weren't going to get from an in-house option. He also has an option on his contract for 2014 that could make this more than a rental.
Vasquez is a solid prospect with good upside as a 19-year-old in the Midwest League. He has a good approach at the plate, could grow into some power if he can ever add on muscle and enough arm to play left field. There is such a wide gap from what he is compared to what he could be that it won't kill the Tigers to give him up.
Acquired: OF Danry Vasquez and Player To Be Named (from Det); RHP Kyle Smith (from KC); OF L.J. Hoes, LHP Josh Hader, 2014 Competitive Balance Round A draft pick (from Bal)
Traded: RHP Jose Veras (to Det); OF Justin Maxwell (to KC); RHP Bud Norris (to Bal)
The Astros continued their two-year trend of dealing anyone not under control for the next five years or doesn't fit in their future plans to acquire players who might be able to help them when their window opens in the next few years.
Trading Veras for Vasquez was a smart move. Vasquez is just 19 in High-A and possesses some tools with above-average raw power and bat speed, though his frame hasn't filled out as originally expected and continues to hold his game power down. He also has a solid approach at the plate and with a little work could profile as an average outfielder.
Smith is an undersized right-hander likely destined for a relief role. He doesn't have overpowering stuff but is very athletic and commands three pitches very well. He may not be a late-inning arm, but could be a long reliever.
Hoes has a great approach at the plate and excellent hand-eye coordination, but is limited due to shortage in power. He is a bench guy in the big leagues. Hader, 19 in Low-A, has a solid-average fastball without a quality breaking ball right now, though a slider that can flash above-average, and command issues this season. He does have potential as a No. 4 starter type if he can harness the control and get his slider and changeup working.
Don't sleep on that draft pick they acquired, either. The Orioles had the second pick in the competitive balance round, which could be around 35-40 overall. Next year's draft is much deeper than the previous two, so that could be a very valuable pick.
The Astros have stockpiled a lot of stuff, some good and some mediocre, but it is very interesting. We just won't know the results for a few years.
Acquired: OF Justin Maxwell (from Hou)
Traded: RHP Kyle Smith (to Hou)
The Royals bolstered their outfield depth and bench by acquiring Justin Maxwell from the Astros. He was miscast as a starter in Houston last year despite hitting 18 home runs in 124 games. He has no approach at the plate and strikes out too much to play everyday.
However, given those limitations, Maxwell does have value as a platoon player. Against southpaws Maxwell has a career slash line of .253/.370/.455 with 10 home runs in 253 at-bats. Not a game-changing move, but possibly an effective one to give the Royals options.
Acquired: 2B Grant Green (from Oak); RHP Cory Rasmus (from Atl)
Traded: 2B/SS Alberto Callaspo (to LAA); LHP Scott Downs (to Atl)
A disappointing season made the Angels sellers at the deadline, though they didn't really have much to sell of that brought back much in return.
Grant Green has the potential to be...something. He has good bat speed and a nice line-drive stroke, but doesn't hit a lot of home runs and has a very aggressive approach that gets him in trouble. There is offensive upside in the bat because of the bat speed and swing, but it's not great upside.
Another problem for Green is that he doesn't really have a position. Second base might be his best spot, yet he is below-average there. His bat doesn't profile at DH, so you can't slot him there.
Still, there is enough upside in Green's bat that he could turn into an average big leaguer. Rasmus is a reliever with control problems, which seems to fit the mold for what the Angels look for when they make a midseason trade for a pitcher.
Acquired: Ricky Nolasco (from Mia)
Traded: Steve Ames, Angel Sanchez and Josh Wall (to Mia)
The Dodgers were able to fleece the Marlins who simply didn't want to pay Nolasco anymore by offering three mid-level prospects (at best) in exchange for a solid No. 4 starter. They also made the move very early (July 6) that they were able to get an extra four starts out of him before the deadline.
Considering that the Dodgers already have two guys at the top of their rotation named Kershaw and Greinke who are pretty good, there wasn't a huge need to add an impact starter for the stretch run. They just needed a guy who can eat innings and be effective, which describes Nolasco perfectly.
And since the Dodgers gave up virtually nothing in terms of impact prospects, there is no real risk in this deal. Nolasco is a rental player but didn't come at a price the likes of which some teams reportedly asked for with their starting pitchers.
Acquired: RHP Josh Wall, RHP Steven Ames, RHP Angel Sanchez (from LAD)
Traded: RHP Ricky Nolasco (to LAD)
Surprisingly, the Marlins stayed quiet through the deadline. The odds were always long against Giancarlo Stanton being traded, but they couldn't find a spot for veterans like Placido Polanco or Juan Pierre either.
Instead, the only move made was the one that happened in early July where the Marlins sent Ricky Nolasco to Los Angeles as a way to, shockingly, save money. Their return wasn't great, even if Nolasco was just a rental, as they got three relief pitchers and only one has a good shot at becoming anything in the big leagues.
No matter what the Marlins may try to spin it as, the trade of Nolasco was merely a way to save money. Three relievers, none of whom even projects well as a closer or late-inning arm, is not enough return for a league-average starter.
Acquired: 3B Nick Delmonico (from Bal)
Traded: RHP Francisco Rodriguez (to Bal)
July was an awful month in what has been a dreadful season for the Brewers. They had few valuable trade chips to try and add pieces to a depleted system, and lost their best player to a season-long suspension.
The one move the Brewers were able to make was actually a good one, though it isn't going to dramatically change their fortunes. Delmonico is a player with some skills. He has an above-average hit tool and approach, will take walks and has decent pop.
Delmonico has to find a way to play third base to profile as an average big leaguer. His range and instincts are fringy, while his arm can be erratic too often. His bat is enough to give him a future, but the glove will determine how valuable he is.
Still, to find a potential everyday big leaguer for two months of a reliever represents good value for the Brewers.
Acquired: Player to be named later (from LAD)
Traded: C Drew Butera (to LAD)
Despite some thought that they would end up moving Justin Morneau, the Twins wound up making just one small move to give the Dodgers some depth at catcher.
Normally, with a franchise that is in rebuild mode, that would be cause for outrage from the fan base and analysts. But the Twins are in as good a position when it comes to talent in the system as anyone that they didn't need to make a move just to save money or push anyone up.
I haven't done a formal overview of all the systems at this particular moment, but I would be hard pressed to tell you the Twins aren't No. 1. At the very least they are in the mix, especially with Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano both being top 10 overall talents in the minors right now. No other team in baseball has a 1-2 punch coming up that can match their potential.
The Twins will be a contender again very soon, with or without making a move at the deadline.
No deadline deals
If I were to tell you before the season that there would be any trade interest in Marlon Byrd, you would have laughed in my face (or thought I was crazy for suggesting he was still in the league). But not only did the Mets strike gold with the 35-year-old this season, they overvalued him to the point they didn't move him.
What exactly did the Mets think teams were going to pony up for Byrd? This is a player who, as mentioned, is 35 years old, signed to a one-year deal and coming off an abysmal 2012 season in which he hit .210/.243/.245.
Not only that, but the Mets found nothing for relievers like Bobby Parnell. I am not saying that they should just give these players away, but when you are a franchise in as bad a state as this one, particularly in position player talent in the system, you have to make a more concerted effort to add pieces who might become something.
Acquired: OF Alfonso Soriano (from CHC)
Traded: RHP Corey Black (to CHC)
The Yankees had to add more power, no one can dispute that. They did get Soriano back after a decade spent between Texas, Washington and Chicago, and the Cubs are paying a majority of his salary through next season.
But this is hardly the kind of move we expect from the Yankees, though maybe that's a good thing. This team is going to have a hard time competing with all their injuries and poor performances in the AL East, so why throw young, cost-controlled talent at the problem now?
Soriano can provide something of a boost, even if it is just against left-handed pitching, so that teams have some semblance of respect against an otherwise weak lineup.
Black is a relief-only pitcher with a live arm and two pitches that could play in the big leagues, though there is a lot of effort in his delivery that could cause problems.
Acquired: 2B/SS Alberto Callaspo (from LAA)
Traded: 2B Grant Green (to LAA)
The A's and Angels were making their deal about the same time Jake Peavy was going to Boston, so no one was really paying attention.
Green has been a solid prospect in the A's system with enough offensive upside to profile as an average big leaguer, but for whatever reason the team never seemed sold on him and that's why he didn't get called up until earlier this month and has played sporadically.
But Callaspo does give the A's some flexibility with their infield. He can play multiple positions (second, third and shortstop). If he can slide into shortstop, the A's can move Jed Lowrie to second base, where his defense would be much better and the bat plays well there.
Callaspo is also an underrated hitter. He doesn't have much pop in his slight frame and has a horrible platoon split as a switch hitter, but the approach is good with a career 263-256 walk-to-strikeout ratio. His .252 average this year can be tied to some bad luck thanks to a career-low .254 BABIP despite having his highest line-drive rate (25.6%) since 2008.
I am a bit puzzled that the A's, who have to be very fiscally conservative, traded a player with six years of control. But Callaspo is only making $4.1 million this year and $4.875 million next year, so it is not a huge financial investment.
The A's have gotten virtually no offensive production out of second base this season (.260/.324/.347), so if they can put Lowrie there and use Callaspo at short, that is a huge upgrade for this lineup.
No deadline deals
Enough has been said and written about what the Phillies are—or more appropriately, aren't—doing that I won't pile on too much.
All that can really be said is general manager Ruben Amaro and the front office are completely delusional about the state of the franchise. I have no problem with them asking Boston for Xander Bogaerts to lead a package for Cliff Lee. That makes perfect sense for them, given how great Lee is.
But for this team to not consider dealing Chase Utley, who has chronic knee problems that limited him to 301 games the previous three years and will be 35 next year, in the midst of a bounce-back year is insane.
If Utley wants to be in Philadelphia, the team could have taken a run at signing him in the offseason. But to not even test the market to see what you can get for a great (when healthy) all-around second baseman is foolish.
Then there is the situation with Michael Young. He can still hit some, but should be a DH because he can't play defense. Perhaps something will change in the offseason when more teams want to get involved in trades, but this whole deadline was just one big missed opportunity for the Phillies.
No deadline deals
The Pirates did make a couple of minor moves earlier this month acquiring Russ Canzler and Brian Bocock. I know there are some fans who would have loved to see the Pirates go all-in this season, but the strategy they are employing is much better for their present and future.
Plus, it's not like the Pirates didn't try to get creative. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that they tried to take a run at Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo. They do desperately need another hitter, but there wasn't anyone who could make that much of an impact available nor were bats coming cheaply.
With the Pirates winning now with a lot of surprise performances (A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke) and some luck (see virtually everyone in the bullpen), they might be able to be the Orioles of this season and take a look where they are in the winter.
There was no reason to mortgage any piece of the future right now, especially when this team is set up to be very good for a long time once players like Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco get to the big leagues.
Acquired: RHP Ian Kennedy (from AZ)
Traded: LHP Joe Thatcher, RHP Matt Stites and draft pick (to AZ)
The Padres made one of the smarter moves this deadline season. They traded relievers and a draft pick to acquire a starting pitcher who is perfect for their ball park and is under control for two more seasons after 2013.
Kennedy fell out of favor with the Diamondbacks after posting a 5.23 ERA and 18 home runs allowed in 124 innings. His problems largely come from being a fly ball pitcher in a park where the ball will jump if you leave it up in the zone.
He is not throwing as many strikes as he used to (3.48 walks per nine innings this season), but his velocity is still solid (90.3 on the fastball). Put Kennedy in PetCo Park, where fly balls go to die, and he could put up seasons that are, at least superfically, very good and the Padres have him for two more years.
Thatcher is a 31-year-old specialist reliever who has been decent in the past but having an outlier season in 2013 thanks to an insane 90.3 strand rate. Right-handed hitters have a career .347 on-base percentage against him.
Stites is a Double-A closer with very good control and two solid pitches, but is also undersized at 5'11" and could be homer prone in the big leagues due to lack of plane on his fastball.
A wise investment for the Padres.
No deadline deals
The Giants are a lot like the Phillies, except the Giants have more talent on their big league roster that has just underperformed this year. The Phillies are old with a lot of bad contracts on their hands.
But the basic idea of this deadline season should have been for the Giants to explore more trades than they did. If you can find a suitor for Tim Lincecum, and I can't believe they couldn't, then do it. If you can find a suitor for Hunter Pence, then do it.
This isn't a team or system that is exactly flush with talent. Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval are about the only two proven offensive players with years of peak value left. Matt Cain is having an awful season in which his tendency to give up fly balls appears to have finally caught up to him, though it could just be a one-year outlier.
Even Javier Lopez, a left-handed specialist, would have had enough value to bring something back to the farm system. Instead, they just sat on their hands. They may do something before August 31, so I will give them some benefit of the doubt.
No deadline deals
It was surprising that there wasn't more activity around Seattle, though that could be because the team didn't appear to be ready to part with Raul Ibanez or Kendrys Morales for some unknown reason.
The Mariners have managed to get some offensive production from a few homegrown talents like Nick Franklin and Kyle Seager for the first time in what feels like years, but they still need more to compete in the AL West.
Perhaps the Mariners have just gotten so used to scoring more runs and hitting home runs that they didn't want to mess with it, even if it doesn't really do them any good this year or in the future.
Acquired: SS Juan Herrera (from Cle); International signing money (from Col)
Traded: RHP Mitchell Boggs (to Col); LHP Marc Rzepczynski (to Cle)
The only possible deals even talked about involving the Cardinals revolved around finding another catcher after Yadier Molina went on the disabled list.
Considering their standing as the most talented team and favorites to win the NL Central, not to mention just insane amounts of talent still in their system even with the graduation of Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal, the Cardinals didn't have to do anything to be a World Series favorite.
All they did was got rid of two relievers who they had no spot for anymore, and that seems like a smart play from here.
Acquired: RHP Jesse Crain (from CHW)
Traded: Player to be named or cash considerations (to CHW)
The Rays made one of the most shrewd moves of the deadline season, upgrading their bullpen with the injured Jesse Crain who hasn't pitched since June 29 with a shoulder strain.
It is bold because if Crain returns at some point this season and pitches like he did before getting hurt (0.74 ERA, 46-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 36.2 innings), they have a shutdown reliever for the postseason.
It is not at all risky because of the way the deal is structured. If Crain doesn't pitch, or isn't effective, the Rays are only giving up cash considerations that probably won't amount to anything significant.
Grade: B (would be higher if we had definitive answer when Crain will pitch again)
Acquired: Matt Garza (from CHC)
Traded: Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm and Player to be Named (to CHC)
The Rangers have been a mess lately, between the offense struggling to push runs across the plate and the rotation disappointing thanks to Yu Darvish being on the DL, Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm not fooling anyone, Martin Perez still working his way back, and Alexi Ogando proving he should be a reliever.
They could have made a move to acquire a bat and no one would have batted an eye, but it makes sense that they would target a pitcher like Matt Garza. He has the kind of stuff and competitive nature to slot in right behind Darvish and ahead of Derek Holland to make the Rangers very dangerous in a short series (of course, they would have to get in the postseason first).
But the price was fairly steep for the Rangers, who gave up a potential everyday third baseman (Olt), high-risk, high-reward pitcher (Edwards), solid No. 4 starter-type (Grimm) and another player to be named later.
Garza is a free agent at the end of the season, so a four-for-one deal with the quality of prospects dealt is a bit much even if the Rangers didn't have a spot ready for Olt with Adrian Beltre entrenched at third base.
No deadline deals
The disappointing Blue Jays ultimately decided to stay the course with the talent they have, for better or worse. Even though they could have put Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion out there just to see what could happen, they were never going to get enough in return for them.
Plus, considering a lot of their top players are still under contract beyond 2013 and the hopes they had coming into the year, it is entirely plausible that general manager Alex Anthopoulos bets on 2014 as the time when things turn around.
Of course, that assumes the core group being built around can stay healthy and keep producing at the level expected of them with another year under their belts.
Acquired: OF Scott Hairston (from CHC)
Traded: RHP Ivan Pineyro (to CHC)
No team has disappointed more this season than the Nationals, currently at 52-55 and 10 games out in the NL East, but they are in a very interesting position where they have so many key players under control for the foreseeable future that they couldn't be big sellers at the deadline.
With their system being so thin right now, the Nationals couldn't buy any of the big names rumored to be out there in an effort to boost their offense. That's why the only move they made was to get platoon player Scott Hairston from the Cubs on July 8.
It basically amounts to a nothing move for a team that will shift its focus towards 2014 in the near-future.
If you want to talk baseball, feel free to hit me on Twitter with questions or comments.