MLB Trade Deadline 2022: Live Grades for All the Biggest Trades

Zachary D. RymerAugust 2, 2022

MLB Trade Deadline 2022: Live Grades for All the Biggest Trades

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    The Washington Post

    And just like that, Major League Baseball's trade deadline has come and gone.

    If you missed it, among the things you have to catch up on are a megadeal involving Juan Soto and literally dozens of other trades.

    Beginning with a handful of deals that happened during the run-up, we were busy grading all the headline-worthy trades that went down before the actual deadline passed at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The basic question: Did teams buy or sell players at an appropriate price?

    Please note that not every trade is discussed here. Deals made for roster and/or payroll reasons just aren't very interesting to talk about.

    Otherwise, the list will proceed in chronological order from newest to oldest.

Philadelphia Phillies Acquire Noah Syndergaard

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 2

    Philadelphia Phillies get: RHP Noah Syndergaard

    It's back to the National League East for Syndergaard, who of course came up as a flamethrowing ace with the New York Mets.

    "Thor," as he's known, isn't really throwing flames anymore. A fastball that once sat up around 100 mph is now down at 94.1 mph on average. The 29-year-old has also shifted his style, going from chasing strikeouts to chasing ground balls.

    Though this approach translated to a 3.83 ERA in Anaheim, Syndergaard will be pitching in a smaller stadium and in front of a shakier defense with the Phillies. It's a good thing they really only need him to eat innings at the back end of their rotation.

    Grade: B


    Los Angeles Angels get: OF Mickey Moniak, OF Jadiel Sanchez

    The most recognizable name in the Angels' end of this deal is Moniak, who was famously the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft.

    It's nonetheless an understatement to say that Moniak hasn't lived up to the hype. In 47 big league games, he's hit .129 and produced minus-0.9 rWAR. The Angels thus have to hope that the change of scenery will do him well.

    The 21-year-old Sanchez is the real prize here. The switch-hitter only has six home runs at the Single-A level this year, but he recently landed at No. 19 in Baseball America's accounting of the Phillies farm system. Of particular note were his eye-popping exit velocities.

    Grade: B

Atlanta Acquires Raisel Iglesias

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    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 2

    Atlanta gets: RHP Raisel Iglesias

    The Angels only just re-signed Iglesias to a four-year, $58 million deal this past winter. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, that's all on Atlanta now.

    Atlanta's willingness to take on that money signals that the club is confident that the 4.04 ERA Iglesias has this season is a mirage. They may be on to something. The results may not be there, but the 32-year-old's peripherals still include superb swing-and-miss numbers and a walk rate in the 74th percentile.

    Iglesias is effectively filling the late-inning post vacated by Will Smith, who Atlanta dealt to Houston earlier on Monday. In our eyes, that's an upgrade.

    Grade: A


    Los Angeles Angels get: RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Tucker Davidson

    Sans Iglesias in their bullpen, the Angels have Chavez to help pick up some of the slack for the rest of the season.

    Yet the real draw here is Davidson. The 26-year-old lefty's 6.46 ERA in the majors this season isn't much to look at, but he's considered one of Atlanta's better prospects. He's had his fastball up in the mid-90s, with a slider and curveball that are both capable of getting outs.

    Put another way: This deal allowed the Angels to save a ton of money and add some long-term talent to their pitching staff in the process.

    Grade: A

Toronto Blue Jays Acquire Whit Merrifield

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    Date: Aug. 2

    Toronto Blue Jays get: INF/OF Whit Merrifield

    In Merrifield, the Blue Jays have acquired a two-time All-Star with a .286 career average and enough defensive versatility to make Ben Zobrist blush.

    That's the back-of-the-baseball-card reading of this deal, anyway. The reality of it is complicated by the fact that Merrifield, 33, is having a lousy year offensively. He's hitting just .240/.290/.352 with six home runs.

    The right-handed swinger also isn't the impact left-handed hitter that the Blue Jays badly needed, so he's less of a finishing piece and more of a nice guy to have.

    Grade: C


    Kansas City Royals get: INF/OF Samad Taylor, RHP Max Castillo

    It bears noting that the Royals had plenty of chances to trade Merrifield while his value was especially high, but refused to take advantage.

    Thankfully, they didn't come away with nothing in this deal. Taylor is a real prospect who MLB.com ranked as the No. 16 talent in the Blue Jays system. He's known for his plus speed, and you can see as much in the 136 stolen bases that he has through 470 minor league games.

    Castillo, meanwhile, is a major league-ready swingman who posted a 3.05 ERA in nine appearances for the Blue Jays.

    Grade: B

New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals Swap Jordan Montgomery, Harrison Bader

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    Date: Aug. 2

    New York Yankees get: CF Harrison Bader, PTBNL/cash

    The Yankees are evidently quite serious about returning to the World Series for the first time since 2009, as Bader was merely the capper on a run of acquisitions before the deadline.

    He's the answer to the question mark that's been looming over center field all season. At least defensively, as the Gold Glover is a substantial upgrade at a position the Yankees have gotten minus-six defensive runs saved.

    Like Montgomery, the 28-year-old Hader is signed through 2023. Unlike Montgomery, however, he's already locked in to a $5.2 million salary for next season.

    Grade: B


    St. Louis Cardinals get: LHP Jordan Montgomery

    The Yankees surely needed Bader's glove and the cost certainty for 2023 is a nice thing to have, but let's not lose sight of the fact that they gave up one of their better pitchers to do this deal.

    Montgomery, 29, has a 3.69 ERA this season and a 3.77 ERA since the start of the 2021 campaign. Though not overpowering, he's generally been a good bet for five or six good innings. Starters like that aren't in high supply these days.

    With Dylan Carlson holding it down in center, the Cardinals could afford to part with Bader. And they did so precisely because they needed Montgomery in a rotation that still had a whole in it even after the club's addition of Jose Quintana on Monday night.

    Grade: A

Minnesota Twins Acquire Michael Fulmer

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    Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 2

    Minnesota Twins get: RHP Michael Fulmer

    The Twins added a more noteworthy reliever than Fulmer earlier on Tuesday when they acquired All-Star closer Jorge Lopez from the Baltimore Orioles. All the same, there's never anything wrong with a contender continuing to add to its bullpen.

    Fulmer, 29, isn't the same guy who won the AL Rookie of the Year in 2016 and then made the All-Star team in 2017. But he's nothing if not effective. He's pitched to 3.06 ERA over the last two seasons, and he's boosted his velocity of late.

    It's always risky for a contender to deal with an intra-division opponent, but the Twins didn't quite give up a prized prospect to rent Fulmer from the Tigers.

    Grade: B


    Detroit Tigers get: RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long

    Fulmer was rumored to be involved in some wild trades over the years, including proposals for Javier Baez and Alex Bregman.

    Whether any of that was ever true is a good question, yet it still feels vaguely like a bummer that the Tigers didn't cash him at any point when his value was peaking. In waiting until now to move him, they had little choice but to take what they could get.

    To this end, Gipson-Long is a 24-year-old who started with a 1.99 ERA at High-A this season, but who has since been crushed with a 7.17 ERA at Double-A. At least as ranked by MLB.com, he wasn't one of Minnesota's top 30 prospects.

    Grade: D

Boston Red Sox Acquire Eric Hosmer

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    Date: Aug. 2

    Boston Red Sox get: 1B Eric Hosmer, INF Max Ferguson, OF Corey Rosier, cash considerations

    Hosmer was initially reported to be part of the blockbuster that would send Juan Soto and Josh Bell from the Nationals to the Padres. He nixed those plans by exercising his no-trade rights, leaving the Padres to scramble for a Plan B.

    Enter the Red Sox to make an opportunistic pickup. They even got the Padres to pick up all of the $44 million remaining on Hosmer's contract, so he won't even make a dent on the team's payroll between now and the end of the deal in 2025.

    Though nobody will argue that Hosmer, 32, is still the same star that he was in his days with the Kansas City Royals, even he's an upgrade for the miserable Bobby Dalbec/Franchy Cordero platoon the Red Sox have been using at first base. And with a 1.090 OPS for his career to left field, he's a good fit for Fenway Park.

    Ferguson and Rosier, meanwhile, are speedsters who both ranked among the Padres' top 30 prospects at MLB.com. In all, it's a solid deal for both the short and long term in Boston.

    Grade: A


    San Diego Padres get: LHP Jay Groome

    Yup, this is all the Padres are getting back in this trade. That speaks to the position that Hosmer put them when he declined the trade to the Nationals.

    Groome isn't a non-prospect, to be fair, but his stock has tumbled a fair deal since the Red Sox chose him with the No. 12 pick in the 2016 draft. The hard fastball and devastating curve that he had in those days are gone now.

    Even still, the 23-year-old has pitched to a 3.59 ERA in the high minors this season. Even if the Padres don't find any untapped potential in him, he could be useful as an innings-eating starter.

    Grade: C

Seattle Mariners Acquire Curt Casali, Matthew Boyd

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 2

    Seattle Mariners get: C Curt Casali, LHP Matthew Boyd

    The Mariners have a quality everyday catcher in Cal Raleigh, but Luis Torrens has underwhelmed as a partner at the position. Particularly offensively, where the right-handed hitter has just a .487 OPS.

    This is where Casali figures to be of use, especially if the Mariners mostly use him against left-handers. The 33-year-old boasts a .790 OPS against southpaws for his career, and a downright dominant 1.153 OPS this season.

    In Boyd, the Mariners also acquired something of a lottery ticket for the stretch run and, if all goes well, the playoffs. The 31-year-old could be a weapon out of the bullpen if he recovers from flexor tendon surgery in time.

    Grade: B


    San Francisco Giants get: RHP Michael Stryffeler, C Andy Thomas

    Three years ago, Stryffeler was pitching for the Lake Erie Crushers of the independent Frontier League. To go from there to the Double-A level of affiliated ball is impressive enough in its own right.

    What's more, Stryffeler has pitched well with a 2.27 ERA and 57 strikeouts over 35.2 innings this season. This is all in relief, so the 26-year-old may have a future as a bullpen arm.

    The 24-year-old Thomas may be the real prize in this trade. He had a talent for getting on base at Baylor, and it's currently translating nicely in the form of a .400 OBP at the High-A level this season.

    Grade: B

San Diego Padres Acquire Brandon Drury

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 2

    San Diego Padres get: INF/OF Brandon Drury

    First Josh Hader. Then Juan Soto and Josh Bell. And now, Drury.

    Though Drury is far from the biggest name among the Padres' new players, he's joining the team amid the best season of his career. He's already set a new career high with 20 home runs, and he's destroyed left-handers to the tune of a 1.016 OPS.

    The 29-year-old Drury is a rental, but a cheap one in the context of his $700,000 salary. The Padres won't soon be missing the prospect they gave up to get Drury if he helps them make a deep playoff run.

    Grade: B


    Cincinnati Reds get: SS Victor Acosta

    As they initially picked him up on a minor league deal in March, it's a credit to the Reds that Drury turned into a trade chip at all.

    In Acosta, they're getting back an 18-year-old shortstop who had been MLB.com's No. 6 talent in San Diego's system. He's experienced growing pains in the Arizona Complex League after starring in the Dominican Summer League in 2021, yet he remains an eminently projectable prospect with a solid collection of tools.

    Grade: A

Minnesota Twins Acquire Tyler Mahle

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 2

    Minnesota Twins get: RHP Tyler Mahle

    Even if the Twins' starting rotation hasn't been as disastrous as it was during their last-place season in 2021, it's still 26th in the league in rWAR.

    Now along comes Mahle, who might already be the best starter the Twins have on paper. The 27-year-old was an under-the-radar ace in 2020 and 2021. He got off to a slow start this year, but he's since put together a 2.83 ERA over his last nine starts. Even time on the IL with a shoulder strain couldn't slow his roll.

    The Twins did pay a pretty penny to get Mahle from the Reds, but a contender's gotta do what a contender's gotta do. It's further consolation that he's not a rental, as his club control runs through 2023.

    Grade: A


    Cincinnati Reds get: 2B/3B Spencer Steer, LHP Steve Hajjar, INF Christian Encarnacion-Strand

    As ranked by MLB.com, these three prospects had been the No. 7, No. 18 and No. 23 talents in Minnesota's system. What's more, all three are having good seasons in the minors.

    Steer has cranked out an .889 OPS and 20 home runs at Double-A and Triple-A. Hajjar, who offers a four-pitch mix highlighted by a plus changeup, has 71 strikeouts over 43.2 innings at Single-A. Encarnacion-Strand has clubbed 25 home runs with a .987 OPS at High-A and Double-A.

    Perhaps the only complaint is that this package pales in comparison to what the Reds got from the Seattle Mariners for Luis Castillo. Perhaps this was the best they could do now, but one does wonder if they regret not capitalizing on the hot market that Mahle had last winter.

    Grade: B

Philadelphia Phillies Acquire David Robertson

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 2

    Philadelphia Phillies get: RHP David Robertson

    No matter where your baseball loyalties lie, the phrase "Phillies bullpen" is liable to make you cringe. It's been that shaky over the last few seasons.

    It can only get better from here, though, as said pen now features one of the best relievers on this summer's market. Even at 37 years old, Robertson is still pumping mid-90s fastballs and snapping off nasty curveballs, all while putting up a 2.23 ERA for the Cubs.

    The Phillies did give up a prospect for Robertson, who's only signed for this year at $3.5 million. But since he's the biggest get in a series of moves meant to shore up the team's most glaring weaknesses, the price doesn't seem too high.

    Grade: A


    Chicago Cubs get: RHP Ben Brown

    Brown was a mere 33rd-round pick in 2017, but even then one could have looked at his 6'6" frame and wondered if he had big potential to grow into.

    Sure enough, the lefty now has a mid-to-high 90s fastball in addition to two effective breaking balls. He's also showed off good control this year, walking only 23 batters in 73 innings at High-A.

    This is, however, a relatively low level for a 22-year-old who's five years removed from being drafted. Brown has Tommy John surgery to thank for holding him back, so there shouldn't be any mistake that he still has developing to do.

    Grade: B

Giants and Mets Swap Darin Ruf, J.D. Davis

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    Date: Aug. 2

    New York Mets get: OF Darin Ruf

    When the Mets acquired Tyler Naquin, they landed a left-handed hitter with mediocre overall numbers but good splits against right-handed pitching.

    Ruf is basically the same kind of acquisition, only right-handed. He hasn't come close to replicating the .904 OPS he gave the Giants in 2021, but his .886 OPS against southpaws is par for the course.

    Ruf, 36, is making $3 million this season with another $3 million due his way in 2023 and then a $3.5 million option for 2024. As Davis, 29, is making $2.8 million with club control through 2024, this has a chance to be a cash-neutral deal.

    Grade: B


    San Francisco Giants get: INF/OF J.D. Davis, LHP Thomas Szapucki, LHP Nick Zwack, RHP Carson Seymour

    If there's reason to think the Giants did better in this deal than the Mets, it has to do with the possibility that Davis is capable of more than he's shown.

    After posting an .845 OPS between 2019 and 2021, his OPS is all the way down to .683 this season. But lying underneath those results is a 58.1 hard-hit percentage that ranks behind only Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez among hitters who've put at least 100 balls in play.

    None of the other three players the Giants got back in this deal are name-brand prospects. Szapucki, at least, has a chance to be more than a throw-in. The 26-year-old is an MLB-ready lefty with a mid-90s fastball.

    Grade: A

Philadelphia Phillies Acquire Brandon Marsh

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    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 2

    Philadelphia Phillies get: OF Brandon Marsh

    Beyond a steady regular in center field, the Phillies have spent much of the season in need of defensive upgrades. The latter explains why they dealt for Edmundo Sosa, and the combination of the two explains Marsh.

    The 24-year-old was one of baseball's top outfield prospects going into last season. He's since played 163 games in the majors and raised questions about his offensive profile in hitting just .239/.299/.354 with 10 home runs. Yet defense has indeed been Marsh's saving grace, as he has seven defensive runs saved in the outfield in 2022.

    Far from a rental, Marsh is under team control through 2027. He thus works as both a near-term boost and a long-term upside play.

    Grade: B


    Los Angeles Angels get: C Logan O'Hoppe

    The Phillies did, however, have to give up a prospect of some note to pry Marsh loose.

    Per MLB.com, O'Hoppe is the No. 86 prospect in baseball. The 22-year-old is seen as a capable defender who also packs a punch offensively, as seen in the .877 OPS that he's posted at Double-A this season.

    Even if one thinks the Angels were too quick to give up on Marsh, it's hard to fault them for wanting to swap a player with known downsides for another player with lots of hypothetical upside.

    Grade: A

Los Angeles Dodgers Acquire Joey Gallo

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    Date: Aug. 2

    Los Angeles Dodgers get: OF Joey Gallo

    Thus ends Gallo's tenure with the Yankees, which will soon be forgotten.

    Whereas the 28-year-old was a two-time Gold Glover and feared slugger with the Texas Rangers, with the Yankees he was a total flop. Gallo played in 140 games with the Bronx Bombers and hit just .159/.291/.368 with 25 home runs.

    The Dodgers are clearly banking on the possibility that a change of scenery will put a charge into Gallo, who's due for free agency at the end of the year. Especially given that their offense leads the NL in runs, it's a low-risk, high-reward bet.

    Still, it's impossible to ignore that Gallo is a meager response to the Padres' earlier trade for Juan Soto and Josh Bell. And given how badly Gallo flopped in baseball's biggest market, the league's second-biggest market might not be the right scenery for him.

    Grade: C


    New York Yankees get: RHP Clayton Beeter

    Beeter is not only a prospect, but a pretty good one at that.

    Beeter had been ranked by MLB.com as the No. 15 talent in the Dodgers system. While the 23-year-old has pitched to a 5.75 ERA at Double-A this season, he's also struck out 88 batters in 51.2 innings. That speaks to his dangerous fastball-curveball combination.

    Which is to say that the Yankees actually did it. They took Gallo, whose value had long since depreciated, and turned him into a player who might be of use to the big club one day.

    Grade: A

Toronto Blue Jays Acquire Anthony Bass, Zach Pop

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    Date: Aug. 2

    Toronto Blue Jays get: RHP Anthony Bass, RHP Zach Pop, PTBNL

    Though the Blue Jays bullpen bears a solid 3.89 ERA, that figure obscures its penchant for meltdowns. Only seven bullpens have incurred more of those this season.

    Enter the 34-year-old Bass and the 25-year-old Pop. The former boasts an excellent 1.41 ERA and peripheral metrics that are above average across the board. Pop, whose sinker sits in the mid-to-high 90s, has pitched to a 2.65 ERA since resurfacing from the minors June 23.

    As Bass has a team option for 2023 and Pop's club control runs through 2026, neither player is necessarily a rental. In exchange, the Jays give up a prospect who used to be a big deal but whose stock has tumbled.

    Grade: A


    Miami Marlins get: SS Jordan Groshans

    Apropos of that last note, Groshans topped out as Baseball America's No. 29 prospect heading into the 2020 season, at which time he looked like a power-hitting shortstop.

    Well, he's hit all of eight home runs across 147 games in the minors over the last two seasons. This has dampened expectations for his power, and he faces questions about whether he can stick at shortstop to boot.

    To be fair, the 22-year-old is still a worthwhile upside play for a Marlins organization that needs young hitters to complement its solid collection of young pitchers. It nonetheless seems fair to wonder whether they might have cashed in two of their more valuable trade chips for a safer long-term bet.

    Grade: C

San Diego Padres Acquire Juan Soto, Josh Bell

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    Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 2

    San Diego Padres get: RF Juan Soto, 1B Josh Bell

    The most notable thing the Padres did at last year's trade deadline was whiff on a blockbuster deal, as they nearly had Max Scherzer before the Los Angeles Dodgers swooped in and claimed him for themselves.

    They've had better luck this time around. Soto, 23, needs no introduction, while the 29-year-old Bell has been having an under-the-radar season marked by a .301/.384/.493 slash line and 14 home runs.

    Between Soto, Bell and incumbent Manny Machado, the middle of San Diego's offense features three of the National League's top seven hitters in terms of OPS+. And with Fernando Tatis Jr. on the comeback trail from a fractured wrist, still another impact hitter is set to join the team for the stretch run.

    To be sure, a sizable chunk of the Padres' young talent base is gone because of this trade. But when you're a World Series contender with a chance to get arguably the market's best rental hitter and a modern-day Ted Williams who's controlled through 2024, you take that kind of risk.

    Grade: A


    Washington Nationals get: 1B Luke Voit, LHP MacKenzie Gore, SS C.J. Abrams, OF Robert Hassell III, OF James Wood, RHP Jarlin Susana

    This deal was originally reported to also include Eric Hosmer, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the veteran refused to waive his no-trade clause. Luckily, the Padres had another (and arguably better) first baseman lying around in the person of Voit.

    Otherwise, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo stands to get more or less what ESPN's Jeff Passan said he wanted in a Soto trade: "five or six tippy-top prospects."

    Though Gore, 23, and Abrams, 21, have exhausted their prospect eligibility throughout the course of the 2022 campaign, both rated as top-10 talents in the best of times. Gore has even tasted success in the majors, posting a 3.18 ERA in his first 13 outings of this season. Elbow inflammation landed him on the IL last week.

    In Hassell, Wood and Susana, Washington also gets San Diego's No. 1, No. 3 and No. 14 prospects, respectively, as ranked by MLB.com. Hassell and Wood are also top-100 guys, so it suffices to say that what had been a dismal farm system is looking a lot better.

    Grade: A

Minnesota Twins Acquire Jorge Lopez

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    Date: Aug. 2

    Minnesota Twins get: RHP Jorge Lopez

    Hard-throwing righties Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax have put on a show for the Twins this season, but their bullpen as a whole ranks second-to-last in fWAR.

    As fixes for this depth problem go, it doesn't get much better than Lopez. Armed with a devastating sinker that sits in the high 90s, he's accumulated both strikeouts (27.6 K%) and ground balls (60.0 GB%) amid an All-Star breakout in 2022.

    What's more, the 29-year-old is under club control through 2024. So while the Twins paid a hefty price to get Lopez, making him part of a three-headed relief monster for two-plus years is worth it.

    Grade: A


    Baltimore Orioles get: LHP Cade Povich, LHP Juan Rojas, RHP Yennier Cano, RHP Juan Nunez

    You'd never know the Orioles are 52-51 and only 2.5 games out of a playoff spot. First, it was Trey Mancini on Monday, and now they've willingly surrendered their ace closer. Cynical, to say the least.

    On the plus side, the Orioles did well to get pitching depth back from Minnesota. Though we had their farm system ranked at No. 1 in the majors coming out of the 2022 draft, it was more loaded with bats than with arms.

    The big prize here is Povich, a 6'3", 185-pound lefty who's struck out 12.8 batters per nine innings since turning pro after going to the Twins in the third round of the 2021 draft.

    Of the other three hurlers in this package, the 28-year-old Cano had a dominant career in Cuba and possesses the mid-90s heat and sharp slider to potentially become a late-inning relief weapon.

    Grade: B

Atlanta and Houston Swap Will Smith, Jake Odorizzi

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    Date: Aug. 2

    Atlanta gets: RHP Jake Odorizzi

    With Charlie Morton and Ian Anderson both trafficking in ERAs north of 4.00 and rookie flamethrower Spencer Strider nearing a new career high for innings, Atlanta needed an insurance option for its starting rotation.

    Odorizzi, 32, fits the bill nicely. He's no longer the All-Star that he was in 2019, but it's good enough that he's pitched well since returning from a lengthy stay on the injured list with a lower-leg injury. He was effective in three of the five starts he made in July, pitching seven shutout innings in two of them.

    As for Smith, Atlanta frankly didn't need him any longer with Kenley Jansen installed in the closer's role and three other left-handers working in other roles in the bullpen. The monetary aspect of this trade also favors the defending champs, who are saving money in swapping out Smith's $13 million salary for Odorizzi's $8 million salary.

    Grade: A


    Houston Astros get: LHP Will Smith

    The Astros, on the other hand, did need a lefty in their bullpen. With Blake Taylor on the IL, it had skewed exclusively to the right.

    Like Odorizzi, Smith is not the All-Star-caliber pitcher that he was back in 2019. The 33-year-old has struggled with free passes and home runs in recent seasons, particularly in 2022 as he's racked up a 4.38 ERA.

    One good thing is that Smith has remained effective against lefty batters in holding them to a .222 average and .696 OPS. Yet even knowing that, it feels like Houston is getting the lesser end of this deal both on the field and payroll-wise.

    Grade: C

Milwaukee Brewers Acquire Matt Bush

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    AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

    Date: Aug. 1

    Milwaukee Brewers get: RHP Matt Bush

    This was the second trade the Brewers made to shake up their bullpen Monday, with the first and more shocking being the one that sent Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres.

    Speaking of the Padres, they drafted Bush as a shortstop with the No. 1 pick in the 2004 draft. He now makes his living as a reliever with well-above-average velocity and spin on his fastball. These things have served the 36-year-old well this year as he's put up a 2.95 ERA with 45 strikeouts over 36.2 innings.

    Despite his age, Bush has two more years of club control beyond 2024. Health permitting, he figures to be a mainstay in Milwaukee's pen after this season.

    Grade: A


    Texas Rangers get: INF/OF Mark Mathias, LHP Antoine Kelly

    Injuries limited Bush to 25 appearances between 2018 and 2021, and he was no sure thing to make the Rangers roster coming into this season. To these extents, it's a small miracle that he turned into a trade chip at all.

    In Mathias, the Rangers are getting a 28-year-old utility man with only 22 games of major league experience. He does, however, boast a .318 average and .938 OPS in 50 games at the Triple-A level this season.

    Kelly, meanwhile, is a legitimate prospect. The 22-year-old was a second-round pick in 2019, and he's pitched to a 3.86 ERA with 119 strikeouts in 91 innings this season at High-A. Though his control needs work, his 6'5", 205-pound frame and mid-90s heater are things the Rangers can dream on.

    Grade: A

Atlanta Acquires Robbie Grossman

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    Date: Aug. 1

    Atlanta gets: OF Robbie Grossman

    Atlanta has been a man down in its outfield since July 25 when right-handed-hitting slugger Adam Duvall was lost for the year to wrist surgery.

    For this, Grossman might not look like the ideal fix. The 32-year-old was a productive hitter in 2020 and 2021, but he's down to a .595 OPS and just two home runs this year. He hit 23 last season.

    Yet the switch-hitting Grossman does have a saving grace in the form of a .999 OPS against left-handers. That's in keeping with his career platoon splits, so Atlanta is on to something if it thinks it can make him the team's new Duvall for the remainder of the year.

    Grade: B


    Detroit Tigers get: LHP Kris Anglin

    At the rate he was hitting, the Tigers are perhaps lucky they got anything for Grossman. Even still, the return isn't much.

    In Anglin, they've gotten a pitcher who's only a year removed from going to Atlanta in the 16th round of the 2021 draft. He initially met with success at rookie ball, but he's since put up a 5.93 ERA at Single-A. Notably, he's walked 19 guys in 30.1 innings.

    Factor in that Anglin is undersized at 5'11", 175 pounds and that his fastball sits in the high 80s, and the Tigers have their work cut out to turn him into any kind of prospect.

    Grade: C

St. Louis Cardinals Acquire Jose Quintana, Chris Stratton

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    Justin Berl/Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 1

    St. Louis Cardinals get: LHP Jose Quintana, RHP Chris Stratton

    The Cardinals have gotten plenty out of Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas this season, but the performance of their starting rotation has otherwise been marred by injuries and disappointing performances.

    Quintana, 33, is a nice stabilizer. Though his productivity was all over the map between 2017 and 2021, he's rediscovered some of his previous All-Star form in pitching to a 3.50 ERA while averaging just over five innings per start this season.

    The 31-year-old Stratton may have a 5.09 ERA in relief, yet he's getting superb spin on his fastball and curveball and drawing frequent swings outside the strike zone. And whereas Quintana is a rental, Stratton is under team control through 2023.

    One minor complaint is that in order to make this trade, the Cardinals sent two promising players to an NL Central rival that could be a player in the division in the near future.

    Grade: B


    Pittsburgh Pirates get: RHP Johan Oviedo, 3B/1B Malcom Nunez

    According to MLB.com, the Pirates got one of St. Louis' 10 best prospects in the person of Nunez. The 17 home runs he's hit at Double-A are indicative of the power he has packed into his 5'11", 205-pound frame.

    Oviedo, meanwhile, had put up a 3.20 ERA with 26 strikeouts over 25.1 innings for the Cardinals. He posseses a fastball that's topped out at 98 mph, and it may play faster than that thanks to the reach afforded by his 6'5", 245-pound frame.

    As Oviedo is 24 and Nunez is 21, the Pirates got two players who could be significant contributors for years to come.

    Grade: A

Houston Astros Acquire Christian Vazquez

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    Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Date: Monday

    Houston Astros Get: C Christian Vazquez

    What's the appeal of this trade for the Astros? That's an easy one. Here's how Vazquez's 2022 season compares to that of incumbent backstop Martin Maldonado:

    • Vazquez: 84 G, 318 PA, .759 OPS, 1.8 rWAR
    • Maldonado: 77 G, 262 PA, .581 OPS, minus-0.3 rWAR

    The catch, as it were, is that it's never easy for a catcher to join a new team and get up to speed with a new group of pitchers on the fly. Yet it might help that Vazquez is plenty familiar with the Astros, having faced them in the playoffs in 2017, 2018 and 2021.

    To be fair, the 31-year-old Vazquez doesn't have the same All-Star profile as Chicago Cubs trade chip Willson Contreras. But between his $7 million salary and the modest price the Astros paid to get him, Vazquez nonetheless looks like a good bargain buy.

    Grade: B


    Boston Red Sox Get: INF Enmanuel Valdez, OF Wilyer Abreu

    Valdez and Abreu were real prospects for the Astros, ranking at Nos. 28 and 29 in the organization for MLB.com.

    The obligatory caveat is that the Houston farm system was one of the worst in the majors even before Valdez and Abreu were sent to Boston, yet both players are putting up numbers in the minors this season. Valdez has a 1.016 OPS and 21 home runs over 82 games at Double-A and Triple-A, while Abreu has an .858 OPS and 15 homers in 89 games for the former.

    Those figures allow for optimism that both players have more helium than their MLB.com ranks indicate—and that the Red Sox thus got a reasonable return for someone who had been a mainstay behind the plate since 2016.

    Grade: B

New York Yankees Acquire Frankie Montas, Lou Trivino

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    Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

    Date: Monday

    New York Yankees Get: RHP Frankie Montas, RHP Lou Trivino

    The 3.37 ERA that the Yankees have gotten out of their starters ranks behind only two other teams in all of MLB. More recently, though, things have been shaky outside of All-Star aces Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes.

    Now along comes Montas, who's at least a No. 3 starter in the Yankees rotation. The 29-year-old splitter specialist has had some injury scares this season, but he's otherwise continued to build on an excellent run of pitching that's seen him rack up a 3.30 ERA since the start of 2021.

    The 30-year-old Trivino has a less attractive 6.47 ERA this season, yet he still has mid-90s heat and has also been featuring a new slider that's been effective for him. In other words, he offers upside for the Yankees to mine.

    The price the Yankees paid to get these two looks steep, but not to such a degree that it looks like an overpay. It helps that neither pitcher is a rental, as Montas is controlled through 2023 and Trivino is controlled through 2024.

    Grade: A


    Oakland Athletics Get: LHP Ken Waldichuk, RHP Luis Medina, LHP JP Sears, 2B Cooper Bowman

    For those scoring at home, these four players were the Yankees' No. 5, No. 10, No. 20 and No. 21 prospects, per MLB.com. Waldichuk, who has a 2.71 ERA in the high minors this season, also checks in at No. 70 overall in the top 100.

    It's hard not to compare this four-player package to the one that the Cincinnati Reds got for Luis Castillo. That notably featured not one but two top-100 players: shortstops Noelvi Marte (No. 17) and Edwin Arroyo (No. 92).

    By this standard, Oakland's return feels a little light. Montas seemed to have similar value to Castillo just on his own, and the Reds didn't even include a controllable reliever in the deal that they made with the Seattle Mariners.

    With that said, it's not a bad return for the A's. They basically went for quantity over quality, which is certainly of use to a farm system that had lacked depth.

    Grade: B

Houston Astros Acquire Trey Mancini

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    Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

    Date: Monday

    Houston Astros Get: 1B/DH Trey Mancini, RHP Jayden Murray

    With Yuli Gurriel struggling and Michael Brantley out with a shoulder injury, the Astros needed to find a boost for an offense that isn't quite as dangerous as usual.

    Mancini, who only has a .751 OPS for the season, might look like a modest upgrade. Yet the 30-year-old hit 35 home runs back in 2019, and he stands to benefit from taking aim at the Crawford Boxes in lieu of Camden Yards' newly cavernous left field.

    Seeing as he was open about wanting to stay, leaving Baltimore won't be easy for Mancini. Yet he also seemed realistic about the likelihood of being traded with free agency looming, and one assumes he'll be comforted to play for a World Series contender.

    The 25-year-old Murray is a nice bonus out of the Rays system. He likely doesn't have top-of-the-rotation upside, but his excellent control could sustain him as a back-end innings-eater.

    Grade: A


    Baltimore Orioles Get: RHP Seth Johnson, RHP Chayce McDermott

    This isn't likely to go over well with Orioles fans, and understandably so. Mancini was the team's most beloved player, not to mention an important one amid a year in which the O's have a legit shot at their first postseason since 2016.

    So, is this trade at least worth it for Baltimore?

    MLB.com ranked Johnson as the Rays' No. 6 prospect and had McDermott as. the Astros' No. 12 talent. The trade looks good from that perspective, but Johnson reportedly needs Tommy John surgery, while McDermott has a 5.50 ERA at High-A this season.

    Grade: D


    Tampa Bay Rays Get: OF Jose Siri

    Leave it to the Rays to nudge their way into trade talks between two other teams and come away with an actually useful player.

    Siri, 27, isn't much of a hitter, but he can defend the heck out of center field. He's played 315 innings out there this season and racked up eight defensive runs saved. That gives him a share of the center field lead alongside Cleveland's Myles Straw and Kansas City's Michael A. Taylor.

    Basically, the newest Ray is just the player they need to fill in for Kevin Kiermaier while he sits for the rest of the season after hip surgery.

    Grade: A

San Diego Padres Acquire Josh Hader

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    Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Date: Monday

    San Diego Padres Get: LHP Josh Hader

    Setting aside that this is a rare impact trade between two playoff contenders, it's a rare instance when a first-place team trades an All-Star:

    Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports

    The Brewers are in 1st place. Josh Hader was an All-Star this year.<br><br>The last time a first-place team traded a player who had been an All-Star for them that year was 2014, when the 1st-place A's traded All-Star Yoenis Céspedes to the Red Sox, for Jon Lester<br><br>h/t <a href="https://twitter.com/EliasSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EliasSports</a>

    Hader, 28, has a league-leading 29 saves in 2022 and the most rWAR of any reliever dating back to his rookie season in 2017. Though he did cough up 13 runs over just 9.1 innings in July, that his velocity held strong indicates it had nothing to do with an underlying health issue.

    Padres relievers only rank 17th in strikeouts-per-nine, so Hader has bonus appeal in San Diego by way of his rate of 15.6 strikeouts per nine innings. And because he's under club control through 2023, he could be part of two playoff runs with the Padres.

    Grade: A


    Milwaukee Brewers Get: LHP Taylor Rogers, RHP Dinelson Lamet, LHP Robert Gasser, OF Esteury Ruiz

    Why would the Brewers trade a closer as accomplished as Hader? It's fair to wonder if his July slump had something to do with it, but there are other explanations as well.

    For one, the Brewers have saved some money by moving the remainder of Hader's $11 million salary. For two, Devin Williams' ongoing dominance in support of Hader made the lefty more expendable than your standard relief ace.

    As the 31-year-old Rogers is an All-Star reliever in his own right, the Brewers also got a good player to fill Williams' shoes in the eighth inning. Otherwise, Lamet is a worthwhile upside play, and Gasser and Ruiz both ranked among San Diego's top 30 prospects for MLB.com.

    While this trade is undeniably a gamble for Milwaukee, it looks like a surprisingly safe one.

    Grade: A

New York Yankees Acquire Scott Effross

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Date: Monday

    New York Yankees Get: RHP Scott Effross

    The last time the Yankees made a pre-deadline deal for a seemingly obscure reliever, it was for Clay Holmes in 2021. Just as that trade has been mighty good for them, Monday's deal for Effross could be as well.

    The 28-year-old doesn't have a bowling-ball sinker that he can run up around 100 mph, but his side-winding arm action puts tons of movement on the sinker and slider he does have. As he has a 2.21 xERA, his actual 2.66 ERA undersells how effective these two weapons are.

    Given how much the depth underneath Holmes has been thinned out by injuries, the Yankees badly need Effross in their bullpen. Yet he's no rental, as he only debuted last year and is under team control through 2027.

    Grade: A


    Chicago Cubs Get: RHP Hayden Wesneski

    Just as he was the No. 7 prospect in the Yankees system, Wesneski has been planted among the Cubs' top 10 prospects at No. 8 by MLB.com.

    The 24-year-old is sturdily built at 6'3", 210 pounds, and he's been getting his fastball into the upper 90s. That and his plus slider have served him well as he's put together a 3.51 ERA over 89.2 innings at Triple-A in 2022.

    Perhaps a return like this for a reliever as talented as Effross doesn't constitute a steal for the Cubs, but it's still a good deal for them. If Wesneski continues to develop into an effective starter, he'll do more to return the Cubs to contention than Effross ever could have.

    Grade: B

Los Angeles Dodgers Acquire Chris Martin

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Date: Saturday

    Los Angeles Dodgers Get: RHP Chris Martin

    As dominant as the Dodgers have been this season, their bullpen hasn't been as reliable as its 3.30 ERA suggests. Craig Kimbrel has been shaky in the ninth inning, and injuries have taken their toll on the depth underneath him.

    Enter Martin. He's allowed more hits (243) than he has innings pitched (226.1) throughout his career, and he's more of a middle reliever than a late-innings type. All the same, he's such a good strike-thrower that his strikeout-to-walk ratio is a sparkling 6.9 for his career.

    The Dodgers gave up a part they didn't really need for Martin, and the 36-year-old likewise isn't going to be a heavy burden on their payroll. He's earning only $2.5 million this season.

    Grade: B


    Chicago Cubs Get: INF/OF Zach McKinstry

    McKinstry had been a bit player for the Dodgers over the last three seasons, getting into 75 games and posting a .665 OPS while mostly playing at right field and second base.

    The plusses with McKinstry are that he's only 27 years old and is under club control through 2027. At the least, he'll be nice utility player for the Cubs to have around in seasons to come.

    As for whether there's any untapped upside here, McKinstry's .323/.401/.550 slash line for his career at the Triple-A level does hint at some. In the best-case scenario, he becomes something like the 2021 version of Adam Frazier.

    Grade: B

Philadelphia Phillies Acquire Edmundo Sosa

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    Scott Kane/Getty Images

    Date: Saturday

    Philadelphia Phillies Get: SS Edmundo Sosa

    Shortstop has been a weakness for the Phillies in 2022. Paced mostly by veteran Didi Gregorius, the position ranks 29th with an output of minus-0.1 rWAR.

    A big reason for that? Poor defense. Phillies shortstop have accounted for minus-nine defensive runs saved, with Gregorius, Bryson Stott and Johan Camargo all landing below zero on an individual level.

    Even if it'll probably be mostly in a late-inning replacement capacity, this is where Sosa can help. He has 13 DRS for his career at shortstop over 737.2 innings. Since he's 26 and under team control through 2026, he'll also be sticking around for a while.

    Grade: C


    St. Louis Cardinals Get: LHP JoJo Romero

    The question with Sosa is whether he'll ever hit enough to ever be more than a defensive specialist. If not, he'll be a player with a low ceiling and a relatively low floor to boot.

    Because he's posted a 7.89 ERA in parts of three major league seasons, the same might seem to be true of the 25-year-old Romero. Yet Baseball America rated him as the Phillies' No. 5 prospect as recently as 2019, with kudos to his mid-90s heat and solid changeup.

    While Romero lacks the control to be a viable starting pitcher, those two weapons make him a worthwhile upside play as a left-handed reliever.

    Grade: B

Tampa Bay Rays Acquire David Peralta

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Date: Saturday

    Tampa Bay Rays Get: OF David Peralta

    No thanks to the injury bug, the Rays offense has had a rough go of things lately. It produced only 13 home runs and 3.8 runs per game from July 12 to the end of the month.

    To this end, Peralta isn't the same player who hit .293 and clubbed 30 home runs in 2018. Yet the .777 OPS that he put up for Arizona this season wasn't hard on the eyes, and he remains especially effective against righties, to the tune of an .821 OPS.

    Even by Rays standards, the $7.5 million that Peralta is making this year qualifies as affordable. And while they did give up an interesting player to get him, he was far from one of their best prospects.

    Grade: A


    Arizona Diamondbacks Get: C Christian Cerda

    The Diamondbacks were able to hang around .500 for a while there, but a trade of Peralta seemed more and more inevitable as the losses piled up in June and July.

    In Cerda, they're getting a 19-year-old catcher with a .982 OPS and a 30 percent caught-stealing rate in the minors this season. Those numbers look great...but that was over just 20 games at the rookie-level Florida Complex League.

    In other words, Cerda remains more of a project than a proper prospect. That isn't a knock against him, but one does wonder if the Snakes could have done better for the best rental among their inventory of trade chips.

    Grade: C

Seattle Mariners Acquire Luis Castillo

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Date: Friday

    Seattle Mariners Get: RHP Luis Castillo

    Simply put, the Mariners got the best starting pitcher on the market in this trade.

    Castillo, 29, is a two-time All-Star whose 2.86 ERA for this season doesn't capture how hot he's been lately. He'll begin his tenure in Seattle on a five-start run in which he's allowed only six runs and struck out 41 over 34 innings.

    Starting pitching hasn't necessarily been a weakness for the Mariners, but they did need a top-of-the-rotation type and insurance for the event that youngsters Logan Gilbert and George Kirby get burned out by their workloads. What's more, Castillo has another year of arbitration eligibility in 2023.

    Grade: A


    Cincinnati Reds Get: SS Noelvi Marte, SS Edwin Arroyo, RHP Levi Stoudt, RHP Andrew Moore

    Though the Mariners did well to get Castillo from the Reds, they didn't exactly steal him.

    In Marte, Arroyo and Stoudt, Seattle served up its No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 prospects to pry Castillo loose, per MLB.com. Marte is especially highly thought of, checking in at No. 17 overall in MLB.com's rankings.

    There's also some volatility in this package, starting with Marte's less-than-advanced approach and the strong possibility that he'll have to move off shortstop. But even knowing that, to get this much upside for a year-and-a-half of one player makes the Reds' end of this deal look good in its own right.

    Grade: A

New York Mets Acquire Tyler Naquin, Phillip Diehl

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    AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

    Date: Thursday

    New York Mets Get: OF Tyler Naquin, LHP Phillip Diehl

    After hitting a career-high 19 home runs for the Reds in 2021, Naquin sunk back down to earth in posting a .749 OPS and hitting seven homers through 56 games for them this year.

    Naquin does boast an .801 OPS against right-handed pitching, however. The Mets are staffed to take proper advantage of that platoon split, as he figures to spell Mark Canha in left field a few times per week.

    Whereas the 31-year-old Naquin is signed only through this season, the 28-year-old Diehl is under team control through 2027. He can't be described as overpowering, but his fastball-slider combination could make him an effective lefty specialist.

    Grade: B


    Cincinnati Reds Get: RHP Jose Acuna, OF Hector Rodriguez

    Though MLB.com ranked neither Acuna nor Rodriguez among the Mets' top 30 prospects, both have been showing some promise in the low levels of the minors in 2022.

    Acuna, 19, has put up a 2.67 ERA with 48 strikeouts over 33.2 innings at Rookie ball and Single-A. Rodriguez, 18, has played in 28 games at the same levels and produced a .910 OPS.

    They thus look like a pair of lottery tickets, which isn't a bad return for a platoon outfielder and a lefty reliever who isn't even on New York's 40-man roster right now.

    Grade: B

New York Yankees Acquire Andrew Benintendi

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    Adam Hunger/Getty Images

    Date: Wednesday

    New York Yankees Get: OF Andrew Benintendi

    The Yankees have gotten 7.6 rWAR out of their outfield this season, but 78 percent of that has come courtesy of 42-homer slugger Aaron Judge.

    Benintendi is thus aboard to give said outfield more depth, not to mention another excuse to trade struggling slugger Joey Gallo. He doesn't have the kind of power you expect from a Yankees regular, but his Gold Glove defense and .314 average compensate for that.

    The 28-year-old says he's he's "open-minded" about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 so he can travel to Canada to play the Toronto Blue Jays. If so, he stands to help his new team in the short term and perhaps expand his market in free agency this winter.

    Grade: A


    Kansas City Royals Get: RHP Beck Way, LHP T.J. Sikkema, RHP Chandler Champlain

    Coming out of the MLB draft, only one of the five of the Royals' five best prospects was a pitcher. They needed some top-shelf arms in their system, and they got three in this trade.

    According to MLB.com, Way, Sikkema and Champlain already rank among the top 30 prospects in the Royals system. Way ranks the highest at No. 12, a distinction he earns mainly on the strength of a plus fastball.

    In all, a pretty good return for a rental outfielder who doesn't offer much beyond his defense and bat-to-ball skills.

    Grade: A


    Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

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