Biggest Winners and Losers of the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline

Joel ReuterAugust 2, 2022

Biggest Winners and Losers of the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline

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    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    The 2022 MLB trade deadline has officially passed, and as expected, it was a wild day of wheeling and dealing.

    The big deal of the summer—and arguably one of the biggest in MLB history—came early on Tuesday. The Washington Nationals traded Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres in exchange for a massive return of young talent.

    Other pieces big and small changed hands throughout the day, though the deadline came and went without the Chicago Cubs moving top trade chips Willson Contreras and Ian Happ in perhaps the biggest surprise of the year.

    Sifting through everything that went down in the hours leadig up to the deadline is no small task. It will be years before we can declare a definitive winner and loser in each of this year's deadline deals, but there are some general conclusions that can be drawn.

    Did contenders address their glaring needs? Did selling teams maximize their trade chips? Do individual players find themselves in a considerably better or worse situation?

    Here, we've highlighted the biggest winners and losers in the aftermath of the 2022 MLB trade deadline that featured 18 former All-Stars getting traded.

Quick-Hit Losers

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    Luke Voit (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

    Colorado Rockies

    Despite sitting 12 games below .500, the Rockies were the only team that did not make a trade at the deadline. At this point, should we expect anything less? After floundering the Trevor Story situation last deadline and the Nolan Arenado situation before that, the Rockies have become the gold standard for front-office ineptitude. Closer Daniel Bard, first baseman C.J. Cron and rental starter Chad Kuhl were obvious trade chips, but instead, they all stay put.

    Luke Voit, J.D. Davis and Eric Hosmer

    These three veterans went from clear-cut postseason contenders to teams that will likely be on the outside looking in this October. The San Diego Padres included Voit in the Juan Soto blockbuster after Hosmer exercised his no-trade clause, then shipped Hosmer to the Boston Red Sox. The New York Mets flipped Davis to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for a similar player in Darin Ruf, who now becomes the right-handed hitting side of a DH platoon with Dan Vogelbach.

    Boston Red Sox

    The Red Sox traded away Christian Vazquez and Jake Diekman while also adding Tommy Pham and Eric Hosmer. That's a weird deadline approach for a team that has been in a tailspin for the past month and looked poised to sell. Rental starter Nathan Eovaldi and designated hitter J.D. Martinez were the two most obvious trade chips on the roster, yet they both stayed put.

Quick-Hit Winners

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    Brandon Marsh (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

    Toronto Blue Jays

    Landing groundball machine Zach Pop (18 G, 3.60 ERA, 63.1 GB%) and veteran setup man Anthony Bass (45 G, 16 HLD, 1.41 ERA) in exchange for a diminishing asset in former top prospect Jordan Groshans was a nice under-the-radar move by the Blue Jays. The oft-injured Groshans is hitting a punchless .250/.348/.296 with one home run in 279 plate appearances at Triple-A this year, while the Blue Jays upgrade a bullpen that ranks 15th in the majors with a 3.89 ERA. They also added Whit Merrifield at the buzzer. While he's having a down year with an 81 OPS+ in 95 games, he can still be a key contributor for the stretch run.

    The Brandon Marsh-for-Logan O'Hoppe Swap

    The win-win trade is a rare thing in sports, but this has the potential to be just that. Young outfielder Brandon Marsh fills a massive void in center field for the Philadelphia Phillies, while Logan O'Hoppe immediately becomes the catcher of the future for the Los Angeles Angels after being blocked by J.T. Realmuto in Philadelphia.

    Joey Gallo

    Regardless of whether he returns to All-Star form or continues to struggle at the plate, Gallo no longer has to deal with the relentless negativity that the New York Yankees fanbase has bombarded him with for the better part of the past year. Weight lifted.

Losers: The Baltimore Orioles' Surprise Story

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    Jorge Lopez (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

    After finishing 52-110 last season, the Baltimore Orioles have been arguably the biggest surprise in baseball this season. They had a 52-51 record and a narrow 2.5-game deficit in the AL wild-card standings entering play Tuesday.

    With a 16-9 record in July, the Orioles entered August playing their best baseball of the season. However, that was not enough for the front office to hold.

    No one expected a blockbuster addition, but the upside of a winning season and a playoff push for a young roster on the rise far outweighed the middling returns they ultimately received for fan favorite Trey Mancini and All-Star closer Jorge Lopez.

    It might not seem like the Orioles lost much in the grand scheme of things, but selling in the midst of surprise contention is the type of decision that can be demoralizing to a clubhouse and fanbase alike.

    Holding in 2022 would have done nothing to endanger the Orioles' long-term plans, and it could have been a great show of faith in the current core from the club's decision-makers. Instead, they seem content with this simply being another rebuilding season.

Winners: The Cincinnati Reds' Prospect Haul

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    Noelvi Marte (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

    The Cincinnati Reds continued a fire sale that began during the offseason by shipping out Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Brandon Drury and Tommy Pham at the deadline.

    As a result, their Top 10 prospect list now looks like this, with newcomers in bold:

    1. SS Elly De La Cruz (No. 19 on B/R 100)
    2. SS Noelvi Marte (No. 25 on B/R 100)
    3. LHP Nick Lodolo (No. 42 on B/R 100)
    4. SS Edwin Arroyo (No. 46 on B/R 100)
    5. 3B Cam Collier (No. 79 on B/R 100)
    6. RHP Connor Phillips (Next 50 on B/R 100)
    7. 3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Next 50 on B/R 100)
    8. SS Matt McLain
    9. LHP Brandon Williamson
    10. RHP Chase Petty

    The Reds also added infielder Spencer Steer, who was the No. 9 prospect in the Twins system in our latest update and would crack the Top 10 for a number of teams.

    As a result, they now have a clear-cut top-10 farm system.

Losers: St. Louis Cardinals

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    Jose Quintana (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    The St. Louis Cardinals were heavily linked to both Washington Nationals superstar Juan Soto and right-hander Frankie Montas in the days leading up to the trade deadline. Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman of the New York Post even said rival teams viewed them as a "potential front-runner" to land Soto at one point.

    In the end, they walked away from the 2022 trade deadline with left-handed starters Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery.

    Quintana, 33, has been solid for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season with a 3.50 ERA in 103 innings over 20 starts, making good on a one-year, $2 million deal.

    Montgomery, 29, is controllable through next season and has pitched to a 3.69 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 114.2 innings. The acquisition cost was high, with Gold Glove center fielder Harrison Bader going the other way after a 3.9-WAR performance in 2021 and in the first season of a two-year, $10.4 million deal.

    Quintana and Montgomery are two useful rotation pieces, but they're a far cry from a 23-year-old superstar or a frontline starter who is controllable through next season.

    The Cardinals front office was reportedly unwilling to include young outfielder Dylan Carlson in a package that also included their top prospects, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. In the end, that meant no Soto deal.

    The Cardinals still might be the favorites in the NL Central, but what could have been a franchise-altering trade deadline ended up being all smoke and no fire.

Winners: Houston Astros

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    Christian Vazquez (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    The Houston Astros may not have made a headline-grabbing splash, but there is little question that they improved at the deadline.

    Incumbent catcher Martin Maldonado is highly valued for his defensive game and ability to handle the pitching staff, but adding Christian Vazquez gives them a viable offensive threat at the position and some necessary depth with Jason Castro on the injured list.

    Meanwhile, Trey Mancini has a chance to be a huge upgrade over struggling first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who is hitting only .243 with a 94 OPS+ on the season. His power should also play much better at Minute Maid Park than it did at Camden Yards.

    Finally, adding veteran left-hander Will Smith to a bullpen that was exclusively right-handed with Blake Taylor on the injured list plugs a hole and gives the relief corps a proven late-inning option whom they got to witness firsthand last October.

    The Astros entered the trade deadline looking like the team best positioned to give the New York Yankees a serious run for their money in the race for the AL pennant. While they didn't make as much of a splash as the AL East leaders, they did enough to keep pace in their pursuit of another World Series trip.

Losers: Chicago Cubs

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    Willson Contreras (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

    How will the Chicago Cubs justify not trading Willson Contreras? They found trade partners for relievers David Robertson (Phillies) and Mychal Givens (Mets), but Contreras and fellow All-Star Ian Happ both wound up staying put in perhaps the biggest shocker of the deadline.

    "I just want it to be over," Contreras told reporters over the weekend as he waited to see where he would be playing for the rest of the season, seemingly resigned to his fate.

    After making no effort to sign him to a long-term extension, the Cubs are now poised to lose Contreras—arguably the best catcher in baseball—for nothing more than a compensatory draft pick this offseason.

    Maybe this opens the door for the front office to try to hammer out a last-minute extension over the final two months. Otherwise, the Cubs may have been unwilling to come down from a high asking price, leading to a market that never developed.

    Failing to move Happ is a bit easier to swallow given his remaining club control through the 2023 season. But he's also having the best year of his career and his value may never be higher, so that also feels like a missed opportunity.

    The Cubs will be a bit more watchable than expected over the final two months, but if Contreras walks this winter, it will have come at the cost of a significant prospect haul.

Winners: New York Yankees

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    Andrew Benintendi (Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

    The New York Yankees addressed their biggest needs before deadline day arrived, ensuring the biggest holes on their roster were plugged before Tuesday's activity kicked into high gear.

    The Yankees added Kansas City Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi on July 27 to address their need for a left-handed outfield bat. They acquired the 2022 All-Star for a trio of prospects in Beck Way, T.J. Sikkema and Chandler Champlain who were not part of their elite-level prospect talent.

    With the lineup addressed, they turned their attention to the pitching staff on Monday when they acquired Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino from the Oakland Athletics and Scott Effross from the Chicago Cubs.

    Montas will slot in alongside Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes at the top of the rotation, while Trivino has late-inning experience. Effross has a 2.66 ERA, is averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings and has 13 holds in 47 appearances this season. He's also under club control through the 2027 season.

    Acquiring Montas allowed them to then trade left-hander Jordan Montgomery to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader, who has a chance to be a long-term solution in center field and is signed for a team-friendly $5.2 million in 2023.

    On top of all that, the Yankees also found a taker for Joey Gallo. They sent him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a legitimate pitching prospect in Clayton Beeter, who has 88 strikeouts in 51.2 innings at Double-A with a big fastball-curveball pairing that gives him a high ceiling as a late-inning reliever.

    The Yankees added four key pieces for the stretch run, and the only elite-level prospect they had to give up was left-hander Ken Waldichuk (No. 77 in B/R Top 100) in the Montas/Trivino deal. With that, their standing as World Series favorites has been solidified.

Biggest Losers: Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Joey Gallo (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

    The Los Angeles Dodgers entered play on Tuesday with a 12-game lead in the NL West standings. Even if that holds up and they go on to win their ninth division title in the past 10 years, the San Diego Padres bridged the gap after everything they did at the deadline.

    The Dodgers were finalists for Juan Soto and were squarely in the mix for controllable starters Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas, but they walked away with none of them. That was a massive departure from last summer, when they made the splash of the deadline by acquiring Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.

    This time around, the headlining deal was a buy-low pickup of Joey Gallo in a one-for-one swap with the New York Yankees that sent promising pitching prospect Clayton Beeter the other way.

    Even if Gallo returns to form and makes a major impact in the middle of the lineup, what about the starting rotation? What about the bullpen?

    The Dodgers still have an extremely talented roster and a comfortable perch atop the NL West standings, but they no longer look like clear top dogs in the race for the National League pennant. With the Padres improving dramatically and the Mets welcoming back Jacob deGrom, they have undoubtedly lost a step.

Biggest Winners: San Diego Padres

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    Juan Soto (The Washington Post)

    One year after getting steps from the finish line with Max Scherzer only to lose him to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Diego Padres got their guy when they swung one of the biggest blockbuster deals in MLB history to acquire Juan Soto and Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals.

    It cost them top prospects Robert Hassell III (No. 23 in B/R 100) and James Wood (No. 89 in B/R Top 100), controllable young MLB players CJ Abrams and MacKenzie Gore, and promising young right-hander Jarlin Susana, while slugger Luke Voit rounded out the trade package.

    The Padres still have catcher Luis Campusano (Tier 1) and Jackson Merrill (Tier 2) as solid prospects in their system, along with 2022 draft picks Dylan Lesko and Robby Snelling. The cupboard is by no means bare after two days of wheeling and dealing that also saw them land All-Star closer Josh Hader on Monday and versatile infielder Brandon Drury on Tuesday.

    They also locked up free-agent-to-be Joe Musgrove on a team-friendly five-year, $100 million extension on Monday, making this a wildly successful 48 hours in San Diego.

    Even if they can't close the gap on the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the NL West title, this team is well-positioned for a deep October run and title contention for years to come.

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Monday's games.


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