In a perfect world, all trades would result in a win-win scenario for every team involved.
We don't live in a perfect world. There were a handful of clear winners and losers at this year's non-waiver trade deadline.
In most cases, the losers were teams who should have made some trades, but either made the wrong trade (Arizona and Cleveland) or didn't make any trade at all (Seattle).
Winners, on the other hand, either drastically improved their chances at making the playoffs this season (Boston and Baltimore) or successfully restocked their roster and farm system for a better run in a future season (Chicago Cubs).
Read on for a full list of winners and losers, along with an explanation for each.
*Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs and are accurate through the start of play on Wednesday, July 31.
The Red Sox wanted a starting pitcher. That was about the only factual thing we heard until they finally landed Jake Peavy on Tuesday night.
The rumors and speculation about Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. were completely out of control. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes that the Red Sox should trade Bogaerts for Cliff Lee, and within minutes there are 12 dozen articles and blog posts in infuriated response to his opinionated stance.
In the end, they didn't give up Bogaerts or JBJ, or frankly any prospects that are much closer to the majors than you or me.
Flame-throwing Francellis Montas is probably the closest of the three prospects they traded, and he's still pitching for Single-A Greenville. The other two prospects sent to Chicago were right-handed pitcher J.B. Wendelken and infielder Cleuluis Rondon.
Jose Iglesias was the biggest piece they gave up to get Peavy, and as we'll get to in the next slide, that wasn't much of a sacrifice.
As long as he can stay healthy, adding Peavy for such a small price makes the Red Sox one of the biggest winners at the deadline.
The Tigers made two significant moves at the deadline, and they were arguably on the losing side of both of them.
Jose Veras is not the solution to their bullpen problems. He was an above-average pitcher over the past four months with the Astros, but he had been a significantly below-average pitcher over the previous four seasons.
Thanks to the small sample sizes, sometimes relievers are able to change their stripes for an extended period of time—just look at Fernando Rodney's numbers from 2012. But Rodney's 2013 numbers would indicate that mediocre relievers will eventually revert to the reputation they established over their first few seasons in the majors.
In the other trade, the Tigers gave up a strong prospect in Avisail Garcia for a Band-Aid at shortstop.
If Jhonny Peralta is going to be suspended for 50 games, the trade at least makes sense. And with Miguel Cabrera still dealing with a hip/abdomen issue, they're killing two birds with one stone by getting a guy who can play both shortstop and third base.
Jose Iglesias' glove has been mentioned in the same breath as Omar Vizquel's, but his bat is somewhere in the vicinity of Paul Janish and Alexi Casilla in the hierarchy of non-power-hitting middle infielders.
He rode an incredible BABIP from dribblers and bloopers to a .400 average over his first 30 or so games in the majors, but he's batting just .205 in the month of July.
Provided Peralta's looming suspension was the reason for the trade, the Tigers are effectively losing an All-Star-caliber shortstop, two prospects and a player to be named later. All they got in return was one of the least valuable relievers over the past four seasons and a light-hitting, great-fielding shortstop.
Ask yourself this: If they had traded Peralta and those two prospects to the Mariners for Brendan Ryan and Charlie Furbush, would they have been winners or losers?
Let's just take a moment to recap everything the Cubs did at the deadline, as they were the most active team over the past month.
Who they traded away:
- Matt Garza and Scott Feldman were impending free agents that they had no intent of re-signing.
- Alfonso Soriano was a bloated contract they've probably been eager to get rid of since roughly 2008—though they agreed to pay a ton of what's still remaining on the contract ($17.7 million of approximately $24.5 million).
- Steve Clevenger was a catcher in the Cubs farm system since 2006 who did absolutely nothing when he finally made it to the big leagues last season.
- Scott Hairston was effectively a full-time pinch hitter, making $2.5 million per year to bat .179 as a pinch hitter.
- Ronald Torreyes was a once-promising middle-infield prospect who has struggled over the past two seasons.
- Carlos Marmol made Ricky Vaughn look like Greg Maddux.
And in return for all of those expendable pieces, they received seven prospects, four international signing bonus slots, two players to be named later, Matt Guerrier and a good amount of salary relief.
Not a bad haul for a garage sale.
Perhaps disillusioned by their 7-4 record since the All-Star break, the Mariners didn't do a doggone thing at the trade deadline.
Endy Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse, Oliver Perez, Brendan Ryan and Joe Saunders will all be free agents after this season and could have each provided at least some amount of value to a contender. Yet, they all remain Mariners for now.
I would have to guess some of them will be involved in August waiver trades, but standing pat on those commodities at the July 31 deadline while sitting five teams and 8.5 games out of the wild-card chase doesn't make any sense.
I have neither the time nor the energy to give a Twitter follow to every single MLB personality with an informed opinion. It's hard enough to wake up in the morning and catch up on whatever the heck ESPN's Buster Olney was tweeting about at 4 a.m. on a daily basis.
MLBTradeRumors.com has "If it's whispered, we hear it" as their tagline, and that couldn't have been more true than at this year's trade deadline.
They must have a Twitter handle dedicated to nothing other than following a couple of beat writers from every MLB team and all of the Jon Heymans and Ken Rosenthals of the world. If anyone tweeted or posted anything about a potential trade target, it was on MLBTradeRumors.com with links and everything within roughly four nanoseconds.
Kudos to them for becoming the TMZ of MLB and giving us just one page to refresh every five minutes rather than 50 of them.
Mentioned as serious suitors for both Jake Peavy and Bud Norris, the Diamondbacks were unable to bolster their rotation with a starting pitcher. In fact, they traded away Ian Kennedy in exchange for Joe Thatcher, a prospect (Matt Stites) and a draft pick.
This is just my speculation, but you get the feeling they thought Norris was in the bag and decided to move Kennedy only to have the Norris trade fall through. It's like they broke up with one prom date before confirming with their other prom date, and now they have to go with Tyler Skaggs.
Don't get me wrong; I like Skaggs. It just doesn't seem like he's ready to be a full-time member of an MLB rotation just yet. Certainly not for a team fighting for a playoff berth, at any rate.
I can appreciate their decision to add Thatcher. With Matt Reynolds still on the disabled list, it's been nearly two months of Tony Sipp or bust when they've needed a lefty—and Sipp is just marginally better than the bust option.
Still, patching up the bullpen should've been a secondary consideration behind adding a starting pitcher.
It was a pretty solid week for the Atlanta Braves.
The Nationals and Phillies have completely dropped off the map, giving the Braves a division lead more than twice as large as any other division leader.
They lost Tim Hudson to a fractured ankle on July 24 but got Brandon Beachy back from the disabled list on July 29.
And to top it all off, last Friday they opened up a Waffle House inside the stadium.
Not since Charlie Sheen's reign over March 2011 has anyone experienced so much winning in so little time.
Much like the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Indians were a stone's throw from the playoff picture and desperately in need of some help in the form of starting pitching. Instead of making said upgrade, they grabbed Marc Rzepczynski for the bullpen and called it a week.
At least the Diamondbacks got a good left-handed reliever and only had to give up 20-year-old infield prospect Juan Herrera to acquire him. The Indians are apparently trying to repair their bullpen with a reliever who has a WAR of minus-0.6 since the start of 2012—just barely ahead of Henry Rodriguez and just barely behind Carlos Marmol.
Granted, they didn't give up anything resembling a top prospect to get Rzepczynski, but why even make a trade at all if you aren't going to address your biggest needs?
Phil Hughes, Joe Saunders and Ian Kennedy were either traded or rumored to be available, and each would have technically been an upgrade over Ubaldo Jimenez. Bud Norris would've been the second-best pitcher on the staff if acquired.
The Indians didn't do anything to keep pace with the Orioles or Rangers, and they will likely finish behind both.
Bud Norris and Francisco Rodriguez weren't exactly big acquisitions by normal deadline standards, but they were among the five or six biggest moves at this year's deadline, making the Orioles one of the bigger winners of the week.
Though L. J. Hoes immediately switched clubhouses and was batting second for the Astros on Wednesday, the Orioles were able to make both deals without giving up any of their primary prospects—Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Rodriguez or Jonathan Schoop.
Hoes and left-handed prospect Josh Hader were dealt for Norris, while minor league infielder Nick Delmonico was moved for K-Rod.
Ideally, they would've been able to keep Hoes, Hader and Delmonico for the future—since they were each considered at least a top-10 prospect in the Orioles farm system—but they jumped at the chance to moderately improve their odds of making the 2013 playoffs.
Maybe a few years from now we'll look back on the Norris trade the same way we now look back on Montreal's acquisition of Bartolo Colon in 2002, but for now, the Orioles appear to be a more formidable team than they were a week ago.
On the bright side, they didn't do anything rash to damage the future. There weren't any serious rumors about Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong or any of their great pitching prospects leaving town, and it's good to see that they didn't seem to even consider anything along those lines.
But they should have done something.
It's hard to fault them for not getting a replacement for Yadier Molina, because the injury happened less than 24 hours before the trade deadline and he didn't officially go on the disabled list until about an hour before the deadline. Assuming they weren't planning on shopping for catchers, it's not exactly an easy thing to pull off at the last second.
However, Jon Jay and Pete Kozma have been black holes in the lineup all season. Among the 82 National League batters with at least 300 plate appearances, both Jay and Kozma are in the bottom eight in slugging percentage. (It at least bears mentioning that David Freese is also in the bottom 25 percent on that list.)
They've survived thus far thanks to Molina's near-league-leading batting average, but we're going to start to notice many more warts without Molina around for cover-up. And they already entered play on Wednesday with a six-game losing streak.
The Cardinals have an 8.5-game cushion over the third-place Diamondbacks in the NL wild-card race, so there's little cause for concern there. However, their lack of moves at the deadline may have handed the NL Central to the Pirates on a black-and-yellow platter.