MLB Trade Deadline: Live Grades for All the Biggest Trades

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterJuly 31, 2019

MLB Trade Deadline: Live Grades for All the Biggest Trades

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    Trevor Bauer is now a Cincinnati Red. Let's talk about it.
    Trevor Bauer is now a Cincinnati Red. Let's talk about it.Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Welcome, at long last, to the Major League Baseball trade deadline.

    Now go ahead and settle in for some trade grades.

    We've already graded the biggest trades from the final days leading up to Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline. We'll be adding more as the day moves along.

    For buyers, we considered how well their new pieces fit in and how much they gave up. For sellers, we simply weighed whether they got enough back.

Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros

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    Zack Greinke
    Zack GreinkeFrank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Houston Astros get RHP Zack Greinke; Arizona Diamondbacks get RHP Corbin Martin, RHP J.B. Bukauskas, 1B Seth Beer and INF Josh Rojas

                     

    For the Astros

    Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and now Greinke. The very sound of that should make other American League postseason contenders shake in their boots.

    It says a lot about Greinke that he's actually lived up to his $206.5 million contract. So it goes this season, as he's coming to Houston with a 2.90 ERA and 6.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 146 innings. If he learns something from the Astros' famed analytics arm, he might find still another gear.

    The Astros paid a heavy prospect price for Greinke, but Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reported the Diamondbacks are picking up two-thirds of the veteran's remaining contract to balance the scales.

    Grade: A

                      

    For the Diamondbacks

    According to Baseball America, the D-backs are getting Houston's No. 4 (Martin), 5 (Bukauskas), 8 (Beer) and 16 (Rojas) prospects. One catch is that Martin is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he'll have top-of-the-rotation potential if he comes back strong.

    Bukauskas, meanwhile, is at worst a long-term closer candidate. Beer could be a middle-of-the-order hitter. Rojas may be a usable utility man in the near future.

    In short, let it not be said that Arizona gave Greinke away.

    Grade: A

Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini to the Houston Astros

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    Aaron Sanchez
    Aaron SanchezVaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Houston Astros get RHP Aaron Sanchez, RHP Joe Biagini and OF Cal Stevenson; Toronto Blue Jays get OF Derek Fisher

                         

    For the Astros

    Needless to say, neither Sanchez nor Biagini is as exciting an addition to the Astros as Greinke. Particularly not the former, who's bombed with a 6.07 ERA this season.

    Sanchez is still only 27, however, and he was the American League's ERA champion just three years ago. If they can't unlock Sanchez's talent this year while he helps out the back end of their rotation and, presumably, their playoff bullpen, there will still be 2020 for Houston's analytics gurus to do it.

    Between now and the end of his own club control in 2022, Biagini just needs to keep doing what's worked for him in establishing a 3.86 ERA and 9.0 strikeouts-per-nine rate out of the bullpen.

    For his part, Stevenson is a nice throw-in. The 22-year-old hasn't hit for much power, but his .439 on-base percentage in the low minors hints at a legit hit tool.

    Grade: B

                     

    For the Blue Jays

    Fisher was a well-regarded prospect when he debuted with the Astros in 2017, but he just never caught on in the majors. He owns a .649 OPS in 112 career games.

    On the plus side, Fisher is still only 25, and his Triple-A numbers hint at clear offensive ability. In 238 career games at the highest level of the minors, he owns an .899 OPS, 50 home runs and 40 stolen bases.

    For one basically value-less asset, a just OK trade chip and a low-level prospect, the Blue Jays did well to score a change-of-scenery candidate with Fisher's potential.

    Grade: B

Nicholas Castellanos to the Chicago Cubs

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    Nicholas Castellanos
    Nicholas CastellanosPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Chicago Cubs get RF Nicholas Castellanos; Detroit Tigers get RHP Paul Richan and RHP Alex Lange

                   

    For the Cubs

    Although the Cubs rank third in the National League with a .780 OPS, their offense has been a notoriously up-and-down unit throughout 2019. Some sort of stabilizing force was needed at the deadline.

    The Cubs' hopes that Castellanos can be that guy aren't misplaced. The 27-year-old averaged an .831 OPS between 2016 and 2018. He started slow this year, but he's rebounded with an .841 OPS since May 19. While his defense is poor, the Cubs have Jason Heyward standing by to play right field as needed.

    The Cubs appear to be on the hook for the remainder of Castellanos' $10 million salary, and he'll be a free agent at the end of the year. Between that and the prospect talent they gave up to get him, this is less of a steal and more of a merely solid trade.

    Grade: B-

                        

    For the Tigers

    According to Baseball America, Richan and Lange were the Cubs' No. 12 and 21 prospects. So, chalk up two more solid arms for a Tigers farm system that already had plenty of them.

    Neither profiles as an ace, mind you. Yet Richan, 22, is a solid command-and-control guy who has four usable pitches. Lange is anything but a command-and-control guy, but he has a live arm that could at least fit in a relief role one day.

    In all, a pretty good return for a trade chip that often seemed immovable.

    Grade: B

Sam Dyson to the Minnesota Twins

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    Sam Dyson
    Sam DysonJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Minnesota Twins get RHP Sam Dyson; San Francisco Giants get OF Jaylin Davis, RHP Kai-Wei Teng and RHP Prelander Berroa

                     

    For the Twins

    Although it's notable that the Twins failed to acquire an impact starter for their rotation, getting Dyson for their bullpen will do for an acceptable Plan B.

    The right-hander wasn't as buzzed about as fellow Giants reliever Will Smith, yet he's been plenty good in his own right in posting a 2.60 ERA over the last two seasons. His proclivity for inducing ground balls should especially come in handy if the Twins need a double play in a pinch.

    It's something of a surprise that Dyson cost the Twins three prospects, but his $5 million salary and club control through 2020 make for a good counterbalance.

    Grade: B+

                     

    For the Giants

    At first glance, this is a light return for a late-inning reliever with control beyond 2019. Per Baseball America, none of these three prospects ranked among Minnesota's top 30.

    But if nothing else, the Giants can dream on Davis' power. The 25-year-old has put up a .954 OPS and 25 home runs at Double-A and Triple-A this season. And he's notably been better at the latter level with a 1.112 OPS and 15 homers in only 41 games.

    Teng (20) and Berroa (19) are both younger, relatively anonymous pitching prospects in the lower levels of the minors.

    Grade: B-

Mike Leake to the Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Mike Leake
    Mike LeakeTed S. Warren/Associated Press

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Arizona Diamondbacks get RHP Mike Leake and cash; Seattle Mariners get INF Jose Caballero

                      

    For the Diamondbacks

    He's no Greinke, but the D-backs could have picked a worse veteran to plug into their rotation.

    Leake has been a living, breathing example of the term "league average" for pretty much his whole career. That's still the case in 2019, in which he has a 4.40 ERA. But he's also logged 137 innings and walked only 19 batters all seasons. As such, he's still his usual self in good ways, too.

    The D-backs only surrendered a low-level minor leaguer for Leake. Further, they're on the hook to pay just $6 million of the money remaining on his $80 million deal through 2020, per John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. That makes this a low-risk deal for a low-risk starter.

    Grade: B+

                   

    For the Mariners

    Per Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, there was "minimal interest" in Leake just two weeks ago. So, give the Mariners credit for drumming up some and getting at least one player back for him.

    Caballero, 22, has flashed a good hit tool in racking up a .292 average and .381 on-base percentage in three seasons in the low minors. It may not be a promise of stardom, but at least it's something for the Mariners to work with.

    Grade: B-

Shane Greene to the Atlanta Braves

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    Shane Greene
    Shane GreeneJason Miller/Getty Images

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Atlanta Braves get RHP Shane Greene; Detroit Tigers get LHP Joey Wentz and OF Travis Demeritte

                     

    For the Braves

    The Braves had already upgraded their relief corps with a trade for the underrated Chris Martin on Tuesday. Suffice it to say their trade for Greene will have an even bigger impact on their bullpen.

    After struggling in 2018, the 30-year-old has broken out with a 1.18 ERA and 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings this season. In Atlanta, he could either set up for Luke Jackson or take the closer's role for himself.

    The Braves will control Greene through 2020, wherein he shouldn't get too big a raise over his reasonable $4 million salary. All told, they should get enough value to justify moving two nonessential prospects.

    Grade: A-

                   

    For the Tigers

    Given how badly Greene struggled in 2018, the Tigers must be thrilled they're getting anything for him just a year later. And this return is pretty good.

    Wentz ranked as the No. 16 prospect in Atlanta's system, according to Baseball America. The stuff—namely, a fastball, curveball and changeup—is all there, but the lefty has struggled with his control this season. He's issued 45 walks in 103 innings at Double-A.

    Demeritte wasn't regarded as one of Atlanta's top prospects, but you wouldn't know it from looking at his numbers. His .940 OPS and 20 home runs are music to the ears of a Detroit system that needs bats.

    Grade: B

Mark Melancon to the Atlanta Braves

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    Mark Melancon
    Mark MelanconDrew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Atlanta Braves get RHP Mark Melancon; San Francisco Giants get RHP Tristan Beck and RHP Dan Winkler

                      

    For the Braves

    After Greene, the Braves added still another piece to their bullpen with their swap for Melancon.

    This would have been an exciting move a couple years ago when the righty was still an All-Star-caliber closer. Alas, his time in San Francisco has been marked by injuries and a modest 3.50 ERA. Neither his control nor his talent for limiting hard contact are there anymore.

    Melancon, 34, is making $14 million this year with another $14 million headed his way in 2020. It's not the best look that the Braves gave up two pitchers for him despite not getting any cash from the Giants.

    Grade: D

                     

    For the Giants

    In Winkler, the Giants are getting a guy who can be slotted right into Melancon's vacant spot in their bullpen. The 29-year-old has a 3.68 ERA and a 10.3 K/9 over 117 career relief appearances.

    Beck, meanwhile, ranked as the Braves' No. 30 prospect at Baseball America. Armed with a solid fastball-changeup combination, he's struck out 53 batters in 45.2 innings in the low minors this season.

    In short, the Giants turned an albatross contract into two usable players.

    Grade: A

Corey Dickerson to the Philadelphia Phillies

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    Corey Dickerson
    Corey DickersonJustin Berl/Getty Images

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Philadelphia Phillies get LF Corey Dickerson; Pittsburgh Pirates get international bonus money and a player to be named later

                    

    For the Phillies

    The Phillies initially found a replacement for Andrew McCutchen (torn ACL) in the person of Jay Bruce, but he's since found his own way to the injured list with a strained oblique.

    Enter Dickerson. He's been limited to 43 games by a groin injury. But when healthy, he's raked with a .317 average and a .931 OPS. He also hit .300 last year, and it shouldn't be overlooked that he's a Gold Glove-winning left fielder.

    Throw in how Dickerson is making a reasonable $8.5 million in his walk year, and the Phillies have gotten a pretty good deal on a pretty good rental.

    Grade: A

                     

    For the Pirates

    Could the Pirates have gotten more for Dickerson? Honestly, probably not. Few contenders really needed his bat, and his long injury absence didn't help his value.

    Further to their defense, this trade can't be judged until we know the player to be named later and what the Pirates have done with their extra international bonus money.

    Grade: Incomplete

Tanner Roark to the Oakland Athletics

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    Tanner Roark
    Tanner RoarkJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Oakland Athletics get RHP Tanner Roark; Cincinnati Reds get CF Jameson Hannah

                   

    For the A's

    We liked the idea of an A's trade for Roark. It's nice to find out that they thought so, too.

    Roark will slot into a staff that's done fine with a 4.10 ERA but had a clear need for a reliable veteran innings-eater. That's Roark in a nutshell. He only has a 4.24 ERA this season, but his pitch-to-contact style should work well with Oakland's strong defense and huge home ballpark.

    Roark, 32, is making a hefty $10 million in his final season before free agency, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that $2.1 million of that will be on the Reds.

    Grade: B+

                       

    For the Reds

    Hannah isn't quite a replacement for the kind of talent the Reds lost when they traded Taylor Trammell, but he's not chopped liver either.

    The 21-year-old had been Oakland's No. 7 prospect, according to Baseball America. Despite a general lack of power, he has a strong overall profile built mainly on his hit tool (he's batting .283 at High-A), speed and defense. He could make an impact in Cincinnati as soon as next season.

    Grade: B+

Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black to the Milwaukee Brewers

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    Drew Pomeranz
    Drew PomeranzJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Milwaukee Brewers get LHP Drew Pomeranz and RHP Ray Black; San Francisco Giants get INF Mauricio Dubon

                     

    For the Brewers

    A sudden wave of pitching injuries opened up and obvious need for arms in Milwaukee ahead of the deadline. To this end, the Brewers' deal with the Giants for Pomeranz and Black constitutes easily the riskiest move they've made to solve the problem.

    Pomeranz has recently dominated in four relief appearances with eight strikeouts in 5.1 innings. But if the Brewers are planning on starting him, the 6.10 ERA he had in that role should raise alarms. Black, meanwhile, averages close to 100 mph with his fastball but has trouble controlling his pitches.

    Pomeranz (who's making $1.5 million) and Black (who's pre-arbitration-eligible) won't cost the Brewers much money. But they did cost the team quite a good prospect.

    Grade: C-

                      

    For the Giants

    The Giants just turned a depreciated asset and a Ricky Vaughn clone into the fourth-best prospect in Milwaukee's system, according to Baseball America.

    Dubon, 25, has little power but he makes up for that with a solid hit tool—he's hit .297 at Triple-A this season—plus good speed and defensive capabilities. He could take over at second base for Joe Panik, who's far from the All-Star and Gold Glover he once was.

    Grade: A

Zac Gallen to the Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Zac Gallen
    Zac GallenMark Brown/Getty Images

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Arizona Diamondbacks get RHP Zac Gallen; Miami Marlins get SS Jazz Chisholm

                     

    For the Diamondbacks

    Greinke may be gone. But in addition to Leake, the D-backs are also welcoming a young, talented pitcher in his stead.

    Although Gallen isn't yet a household name, he's improved his stock perhaps as much as any pitching prospect in baseball this year. He dominated with a 1.77 ERA and 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings at Triple-A before joining the Fish and posting a 2.72 ERA and a 10.7 K/9 in seven outings.

    Gallen, 23, had been Miami's No. 3 prospect, according to Baseball America. Now he's under the Snakes' control for the foreseeable future, and all it cost them was a prospect whose stock has gone in the opposite direction.

    Grade: A

                         

    For the Marlins

    Back in June, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill hinted that he would be willing to sacrifice some of the team's pitching depth in order to bring aboard much-needed young hitters.

    That's what this trade is all about, but it would have seemed like a better idea earlier in the season. Chisholm started as arguably Arizona's No. 1 prospect. He's since fallen to No. 3 for Baseball America amid a trying season at Double-A that's featured frequent strikeouts.

    The Marlins must still believe in the 21-year-old's potential, and perhaps time will prove them wise. For now, though, this deal looks lopsided in Arizona's favor.

    Grade: D

Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards to the Tampa Bay Rays

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    Nick Anderson
    Nick AndersonPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Tampa Bay Rays get RHP Nick Anderson and RHP Trevor Richards; Miami Marlins get RHP Ryne Stanek and OF Jesus Sanchez

                         

    For the Rays

    The Rays were a pitching juggernaut earlier in the year, but injuries (notably to Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell) and diminishing effectiveness opened up serious needs on the mound.

    Anderson and Richards are important additions in this regard. The former is a reliever who's whiffed 69 batters in only 43.2 innings. The latter is a changeup specialist who's logged 112 innings this season. Plus, both are controlled all the way through 2024.

    However, these immediate upgrades do come at a sizable cost for the Rays.

    Grade: B-

                     

    For the Marlins

    Stanek may only be controlled through 2023, so the Marlins are losing something in that regard. But what they're gaining is a guy with a high-90s fastball who's proven capable of excelling as both an opener and a traditional reliever.

    Yet Sanchez is the real prize here. Per Baseball America, he had been the No. 4 prospect in a deep Rays system. The 21-year-old been challenged at Double-A and Triple-A this season, but he remains a five-tool talent with All-Star potential.

    In all, not a bad way to make up for the Gallen-for-Chisholm trade.

    Grade: B+

Roenis Elias to the Washington Nationals

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    Roenis Elias
    Roenis EliasAbbie Parr/Getty Images

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Washington Nationals get LHP Roenis Elias; Seattle Mariners get RHP Elvis Alvarado and LHP Taylor Guilbeau

                     

    For the Nationals

    Following Hudson, now comes a left-handed reliever to help with the reclamation of Washington's bullpen.

    Neither Elias' 4.40 ERA nor his 8.6 strikeouts-per-nine rate nor his 1.5 homers-per-nine rate jump off the page. Curiously, he's also been crushed (.990 OPS) by left-handed batters this season, and his career platoon split is basically even.

    Still, hard-throwing lefties like Elias (who averages 94.0 mph) are rare. And this particular example is only making $910,000 and has two more seasons of club control.

    Grade: C+

                      

    For the Mariners

    Why not a higher grade for the Nationals? In part because Elias isn't very good, and in part because he's cost the club still more prospect talent.

    Guilbeau was the No. 14 prospect in Washington's system, according to Baseball America. The 26-year-old has strictly a relief profile, but his 50 strikeouts in 43.2 innings speak to the quality of his fastball-slider combination.

    Bully for the Mariners, whose outstanding farm system now looks even better.

    Grade: B

Daniel Hudson to the Washington Nationals

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    Daniel Hudson
    Daniel HudsonJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Washington Nationals get RHP Daniel Hudson; Toronto Blue Jays get RHP Kyle Johnston

                    

    For the Nationals

    "The Nationals need a bullpen arm" is perhaps the biggest understatement of this summer's trading season. Despite strong work from closer Sean Doolittle, Nats relievers have put up an MLB-worst 5.99 ERA.

    Hudson isn't the best solution to this problem, but he should do his part. Working primarily off a 96.0 mph fastball, he's posted a 3.00 ERA and struck out 48 batters in 48 innings this season. He's been especially tough on right-handed batters.

    The Nats had to give up a solid prospect to get Hudson. But especially considering how close they are to the $206 million luxury-tax threshold, it's some consolation that he's only making $1.5 million.

    Grade: B

                                

    For the Blue Jays

    In exchange for renting out Hudson, the Blue Jays are getting back Washington's No. 21 prospect, according to Baseball America.

    Johnston, 23, will need to further sharpen his control—he's made some progress with a 3.2 walks-per-nine rate at High-A—and develop his changeup if he wants to stick in a starting role. If that fails, his plus fastball and plus cutter could make him a late-inning reliever.

    Grade: B+

Hunter Strickland to the Washington Nationals

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    Hunter Strickland
    Hunter StricklandStephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Date: July 31

    The TradeWashington Nationals get RHP Hunter Strickland; Seattle Mariners get LHP Aaron Fletcher

                     

    For the Nationals

    On the heels of Washington's deal for Elias came yet another trade with the Mariners for yet another reliever.

    In Strickland, the Nationals bullpen is getting a guy who's been limited by a strained lat to only four appearances in 2019. Yet Strickland still has his mid-to-high 90s fastball (it's sitting at 95.6 mph this season) and he doesn't have to worry about sharing a clubhouse with his old nemesis, Bryce Harper.

    The Nats will control Strickland through 2021. But like with the Elias trade, they had to give up a lefty relief prospect to get the deal done.

    Grade: C+

                           

    For the Mariners

    Per Baseball America, Fletcher had been the Nationals' No. 19 prospect. He boasts a good fastball-slider combination, and he's cleaned up with a 4.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio at Double-A this year. The 23-year-old should be ready for the majors by next season.

    Once again, not a bad return for a seemingly unspectacular trade chip.

    Grade: B

Jesus Aguilar to the Tampa Bay Rays

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    Jesus Aguilar
    Jesus AguilarGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Tampa Bay Rays get 1B Jesus Aguilar; Milwaukee Brewers get RHP Jake Faria

                       

    For the Rays

    The Rays have held their own offensively, yet there's always been a clear need for an impact hitter in the middle of their lineup. Preferably, a right-handed one with power.

    In comes Aguilar, who arose as an All-Star en route to an .890 OPS and 35 home runs in 2018. The 29-year-old has unsurprisingly regressed from that performance this season, but he's at least shrugged off a slow start with an .853 OPS over his last 69 games.

    Aguilar will help a designated hitter slot that's produced only a .706 OPS, and he'll stay under Tampa Bay's control through 2022. Not bad, considering this merely cost the Rays a spare part.

    Grade: B

                            

    For the Brewers

    It often felt like the Brewers were retaining Aguilar only because he was out of minor league options. To this end, they're to be commended for trading him rather than simply letting him go.

    What's more, they're getting yet another pitcher who can help their beleaguered rotation. Faria has fallen off the radar since appearing as a promising rookie in 2017, yet the 26-year-old still comes with a pretty good fastball-changeup combination. At worst, he has potential as a late-inning reliever.

    The Brewers have time to unlock Faria's potential. He isn't due for free agency until after 2023.

    Grade: B

Martin Maldonado to the Houston Astros

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    Martin Maldonado
    Martin MaldonadoEd Zurga/Getty Images

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Houston Astros get C Martin Maldonado; Chicago Cubs get INF/OF Tony Kemp

                     

    For the Astros

    This is the second year in a row that the Astros have acquired Maldonado ahead of the trade deadline. The first time around, he clubbed four home runs and graced the team with excellent stretch-run defense.

    Because Max Stassi outranks Maldonado in Baseball Prospectus' all-encompassing catcher defense metric, it's hard to see a true need for Maldonado as a backup to Robinson Chirinos. More depth is never a bad thing, however, and this extra piece only comes with a $2.5 million salary.

    Kemp had his moments for the Astros, but the pressure was on the team to get something for him after designating him for assignment July 26.

    Grade: B-

                                  

    For the Cubs

    The Cubs just traded for Maldonado on July 15, but his services were no longer required once Willson Contreras recovered from a foot injury.

    In Kemp, the Cubs get a utility man they can play until Ben Zobrist is ready to return from his long absence. The 27-year-old can play second base and all over the outfield, and he's put up a halfway-decent .736 OPS over the last two seasons.

    What's more, Kemp is a pre-arbitration-eligible player with club control through 2023. Not a bad return for a one-dimensional rental catcher the Cubs didn't need.

    Grade: B

Trevor Bauer to the Cincinnati Reds and Yasiel Puig to the Cleveland Indians

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    Yasiel Puig
    Yasiel PuigJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    Date: July 30

    The Trade: Cleveland Indians get RF Yasiel Puig, RF Franmil Reyes, LHP Logan Allen, LHP Scott Moss and INF Victor Nova; Cincinnati Reds get RHP Trevor Bauer; San Diego Padres get OF Taylor Trammell

                       

    For the Indians

    Somehow, someway, the Indians did it. They managed to get better despite trading their best pitcher.

    Although it's been better recently, the Indians have been held back by their offense for much of the season. With Puig (who has a .925 OPS since May 24) and Reyes (who has an .847 OPS and 27 home runs overall) now aboard, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez are surrounded by legit firepower.

    The Indians might still miss Bauer, but not if Corey Kluber (arm) and Carlos Carrasco (leukemia) make strong returns off the injured list in the coming weeks. That would point their path squarely in the direction of October.

    If not, they'll at least get to keep Reyes, Allen, Moss and Nova for the long haul.

    Grade: A

                     

    For the Reds

    The Reds almost certainly aren't going to make the playoffs this year, so renting out Puig was the right thing to do. They won't miss him.

    Yet it's odd enough they wanted Bauer now even though they're not in contention. It's even odder they gave away Taylor Trammel in addition to Puig. According to MLB.com, he's the No. 30 prospect in baseball.

    From here, the Reds will either have to flip Bauer for even better young talent or ride him, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray to the playoffs in 2020. Because otherwise, this trade doesn't make much sense for them.

    Grade: D

                     

    For the Padres

    Why would the Padres give up a package headlined by a powerful hitter and the No. 98 prospect in MLB?

    In part because both Reyes and Allen were arguably superfluous to their long-term plans. The former is basically the same hitter as Hunter Renfroe, except with a lesser glove. The latter ranked behind MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patino and Adrian Morejon among the club's top pitching prospects.

    Besides, Trammell is the real prize here. The 21-year-old isn't yet a finished product, but his hit tool and speed could one day make him an ideal leadoff man for a lineup that's already headed by Renfroe, Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr.

    Grade: B-

Chris Martin to the Atlanta Braves

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    Chris Martin
    Chris MartinBrandon Wade/Getty Images

    Date: July 30

    The Trade: Atlanta Braves get RHP Chris Martin; Texas Rangers get LHP Kolby Allard

                      

    For the Braves

    Although the Braves have gotten plenty of grief for their bullpen, it actually ranks third in MLB with a 3.54 ERA since June 1.

    To this end, the rich are getting richer with the addition of Martin. In the second season of a two-year, $4 million deal, he's found a rhythm with a 3.08 ERA and a 10.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. If the move to the National League cures his homeritis, he'll be a truly well-rounded relief threat.

    Per Baseball America, the Braves did have to give up their No. 12 prospect to get Martin. But while that's not ideal, it's some consolation that Allard was one of their lesser pitching prospects.

    Grade: B+

                  

    For the Rangers

    Two years ago, the Rangers took a chance on Martin, hoping his success in Japan would translate to the majors. It did, and they've won a solid prize as a result.

    Allard probably isn't a future ace. But if nothing else, the 21-year-old lefty is an MLB-ready hurler with a decent floor thanks to his ability to throw strikes. He might be seen in Texas in the near future, and he'll stay under team control for many years to come.

    Grade: B

Jason Vargas to the Philadelphia Phillies

20 of 27

    Jason Vargas
    Jason VargasFrank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Date: July 29

    The Trade: Philadelphia Phillies get LHP Jason Vargas; New York Mets get C Austin Bossart

                         

    For the Phillies

    Phillies ace Aaron Nola has shrugged off a slow start to post a 3.02 ERA over his last 18 outings. But as one might glean from its 4.59 ERA, the rest of the Phillies starting rotation has struggled.

    Vargas isn't a panacea for this predicament, but he should help. After flopping with a 5.77 ERA in his first year as a Met in 2018, the soft-tossing, pitch-to-contact southpaw has bounced back with a 4.01 ERA over 94.1 innings this season. And that's despite having to pitch in front of a porous defense in New York.

    As for what the Phillies gave up to get Vargas, suffice it to say it wasn't a blue chip.

    Grade: B

                       

    For the Mets

    In short, Bossart is a 26-year-old non-prospect who profiles as a backup catcher. The 2015 14th-round pick is hitting .195 with a .638 OPS in his second straight season at the Double-A level. Per J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, Bossart's defense is his only real hope of landing in the majors.

    Was Vargas worth more than Bossart? Maybe not, given that he's a 36-year-old with an $8 million salary and a $2 million buyout due this winter. Yet it's hard not to wonder if the Mets might have at least swung him for a younger player with more upside.

    Grade: C-

Jordan Lyles to the Milwaukee Brewers

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    Jordan Lyles
    Jordan LylesGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Date: July 29

    The Trade: Milwaukee Brewers get RHP Jordan Lyles; Pittsburgh Pirates get RHP Cody Ponce

                      

    For the Brewers

    At the least, Lyles is a much-needed warm body for a Brewers rotation that's presently missing Brandon Woodruff, Jhoulys Chacin and Jimmy Nelson. He's also making only $2.1 million on a one-year deal.

    The Brewers must hope the 28-year-old can retain the strikeout spike he had been enjoying with the Pirates. Preferably, he'll do so without his walk or home run rates getting any worse, and his ERA will only come down from its current post at 5.36.

    If not, the Brewers may regret giving up a guy they might have used in the near future.

    Grade: C+

                      

    For the Pirates

    Ponce isn't merely a piece of organizational depth. He's spent 2019 as a full-time relief pitcher at Double-A and put up a solid 3.29 ERA with 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings.

    According to Baseball America's Kyle Glaser, Ponce's fastball (which sits 94-95 mph), cutter and curveball have all played up in relief. Such things should make the 25-year-old a solid major leaguer in the near future.

    Grade: B

Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets

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    Marcus Stroman
    Marcus StromanBen Margot/Associated Press

    Date: July 28

    The Trade: New York Mets get RHP Marcus Stroman; Toronto Blue Jays get LHP Anthony Kay and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson

                     

    For the Mets

    There should be little not to like about the Mets' end of this trade. Stroman has been one of the best pitchers in MLB in two of the last three seasons. That includes this one, wherein he has a 2.96 ERA over 124.2 innings. Plus, the Mets got him without having to give up their most cherished prospects.

    But even setting aside how the 28-year-old might not be happy with the deal, this is a weird one for the Mets. 

    Stroman is unlikely to help the Mets reach the playoffs this season, as they're six games back in the NL wild-card race. They'll have him in 2020 as well, but that may not mean much if they don't build an infield defense more worthy of his ground-ball talent than what they have right now.

    Grade: B-

                       

    For the Blue Jays

    In Stroman, the Blue Jays held a top-of-the-rotation starter who came with youth and club control. In theory, they should have been able to get at least one top prospect for him.

    In actuality, they got New York's fourth- and sixth-best prospects, according to Baseball America

    One plus side is that the Blue Jays now have more pitching depth in a system that has been known more for its bats—e.g., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette—in recent years. Another is that Woods-Richardson is potentially underrated. He's put up an impressive 5.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio as an 18-year-old at Single-A this season.

    Grade: C+

Nate Jones to the Texas Rangers

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    Nate Jones
    Nate JonesCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Date: July 31

    The Trade: Texas Rangers get RHP Nate Jones, international bonus pool money and cash; Chicago White Sox get RHP Ray Castro and RHP Joseph Jarneski

                     

    For the Rangers

    Jones won't be seen in a Rangers uniform this season. He's still recovering from surgery to repair a flexor mass tear in his elbow.

    This is a play for 2020, for which the cash element of the deal will cover part of Jones' $3.75 million salary if the Rangers exercise his option. If he doesn't stay healthy, that will be no big loss. If he does, Texas' bullpen might benefit from Jones' high-90s fastball.

    Considering how little the Rangers gave up and how much international money ($1 million, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News) is in the deal, it's a solid gamble.

    Grade: B

                        

    For the White Sox

    Jones has had one healthy season (2016) out of the last five. So even if they had to throw in some money, the White Sox must be credited for getting something for him.

    Jarneski (19) and Castro (22) are both young hurlers in the low levels of the minors, and neither had been mentioned among Texas' best prospects. Still, perhaps the White Sox noticed a reason behind their combined home runs allowed over 52.1 innings: zero.

    Grade: C

David Phelps to the Chicago Cubs

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    David Phelps
    David PhelpsVaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Date: July 30

    The Trade: Chicago Cubs get RHP David Phelps and cash; Toronto Blue Jays get RHP Thomas Hatch

                        

    For the Cubs

    The Cubs seemed to stabilize their bullpen when they signed Craig Kimbrel, but that hasn't been the case. Their bullpen has a 5.16 ERA since he made his debut on June 27.

    Now along comes Phelps to help get the Cubs pen back on the right track. Or at least, that's what they hope.

    The 32-year-old was an underrated reliever in 2016 and 2017. However, he missed 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery, and his return this season has been marred by reduced velocity.

    Phelps might be a better bet for 2020, in which he could earn between $1 and $7 million via a team option. But for now, the Cubs shouldn't expect too much.

    Grade: D

                        

    For the Blue Jays

    What makes the Cubs' end of this deal even more suspect is that they gave up a perfectly capable and nearly MLB-ready pitching prospect.

    Hatch doesn't have especially flashy stuff or sharp command, and he likewise hasn't done much to impress in his two seasons at the Double-A level. Yet the 24-year-old does have a solid fastball/slider combination that could allow him to succeed in relief if starting doesn't pan out.

    Grade: B

Eric Sogard to the Tampa Bay Rays

25 of 27

    Eric Sogard
    Eric SogardJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Date: July 28

    The Trade: Tampa Bay Rays get INF Eric Sogard; Toronto Blue Jays get two players to be named later

                        

    For the Rays

    The Rays are missing Brandon Lowe and Yandy Diaz from their infield, so they needed a stopgap solution with some versatility.

    That's practically been Sogard's job description for his entire career. And yet to point that out now isn't giving him his due credit.

    The 33-year-old has been a genuinely good hitter to the tune of an .840 OPS and 10 home runs. Consider this proof that anyone can join the Launch Angle Revolution.

    We don't have a full picture of what the Rays gave up to land Sogard. But for now, his league-minimum salary fits nicely on their books.

    Grade: B+

                       

    For the Blue Jays

    On one hand, the Blue Jays deserve credit for turning a notoriously light-hitting reserve infielder into two players.

    On another hand, well, who are these two players? It's unfair to give Toronto a grade until that question is answered.

    Grade: Incomplete

Jake Diekman to the Oakland Athletics

26 of 27

    Jake Diekman
    Jake DiekmanEd Zurga/Getty Images

    Date: July 27

    The Trade: Oakland Athletics get LHP Jake Diekman; Kansas City Royals get RHP Ismael Aquino and OF Dairon Blanco

                   

    For the A's

    Once the A's acquired Homer Bailey for their starting rotation on July 16, they turned their attention to a bullpen that hasn't been as overpowering as it was amid last year's 97-win romp.

    Diekman should help. Although the 32-year-old lefty has a 4.75 ERA, he's struck out 63 batters and has allowed only three home runs through 41.2 innings. His sizzling 95.7 mph fastball deserves much of the credit for that.

    Diekman is earning only $2.8 million this year, and neither of the prospects the A's gave up for him were among their best.

    Grade: B+

                     

    For the Royals

    The Royals got a good deal on Diekman in February after he went bust with a 7.53 ERA for the Arizona Diamondbacks down the stretch of 2018. Yet they surely planned to flip him for prospects at some point.

    Now that they've done so, they deserve their due credit for landing Blanco. The A's didn't need the 26-year-old Cuban—who was their No. 26 prospect, according to Baseball America—but he's opened a few eyes with an .811 OPS at Double-A. Further, his blazing speed fits well with the Royals' priorities.

    Aquino, meanwhile, is a 20-year-old with a fastball that touches in the mid-90s. He might be a major league reliever someday.

    Grade: B

Sergio Romo to the Minnesota Twins

27 of 27

    Sergio Romo
    Sergio RomoDrew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Date: July 27

    The Trade: Minnesota Twins get RHP Sergio Romo, RHP Chris Vallimont and a player to be named later; Miami Marlins get 1B Lewin Diaz

                 

    For the Twins

    The Twins' overwhelming home run barrage has kept them in first place in the American League Central, yet they've recently had a tough time covering up their pitching staff's soft underbelly.

    This is where Romo, who's making only $2.5 million on a one-year deal, comes in.

    While the 36-year-old isn't the All-Star he once was, he's been good enough to muster a 3.58 ERA this season. In light of his .632 OPS opposite same-side hitters, he profiles best as a right-handed specialist.

    Vallimont, meanwhile, is a 22-year-old who's done well with a 3.16 ERA in the low minors this season. He could be either a back-end starter or a late-inning reliever, which makes him a nice throw-in.

    Grade: B

                         

    For the Marlins

    It might seem like the Twins deserve a better grade for their end of this trade. They can't get one, however, because Diaz is no mere throwaway talent.

    The 22-year-old was Minnesota's No. 10 prospect, per Baseball America. Although he's still a few years away from reaching The Show, he's been teasing his impressive power potential with an .879 OPS and 19 home runs at High-A and Double-A this season.

    According to Cooper and Josh Norris of Baseball America, Diaz is also a "smooth" defender. If he straightens out a merely average hit tool, he'll have star potential.

    Grade: A

                      

    Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

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