MLB Trade Deadline 2021: Live Grades for All the Biggest Trades

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterJuly 30, 2021

MLB Trade Deadline 2021: Live Grades for All the Biggest Trades

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    How did the Cubs do in the Rizzo and Bryant trades? And other questions answered.
    How did the Cubs do in the Rizzo and Bryant trades? And other questions answered.Paul Beaty/Associated Press

    Once the clock struck 4 p.m. ET on Friday, Major League Baseball's 2021 trade deadline had officially come and gone.

    It was a wild one.

    Starting with a handful of trades that happened in the days leading up to the deadline, we were assessing the merits of every consequential deal as they happened and grading them accordingly. The basic question: Did teams buy or sell players for an appropriate price?

    Please note that not every trade got graded. Some trades were made for roster and/or payroll reasons, and thus simply aren't very interesting to talk about. Not as interesting as the big ones, anyway.

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

Atlanta Acquires Richard Rodriguez

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Date: July 30

    Atlanta gets: RHP Richard Rodriguez

    Even if it hasn't been the biggest of the club's problems this season, Atlanta's bullpen hasn't helped by posting a 4.41 ERA and hampering the team's win probability.

    This is where Rodriguez can and should be of use. His strikeout numbers have fluctuated over the last four seasons, but he's put up a 2.98 ERA across 196 appearances. That hints at two qualities: He doesn't walk batters, and his high-spin fastball is tough to square up.

    To be sure, Atlanta paid a relatively steep price to get Rodriguez. But since his club control runs through 2023, he'll have plenty of time to provide return on investment.

    Grade: A


    Pittsburgh Pirates get: RHP Bryse Wilson and RHP Ricky DeVito

    Even if he only has a 5.45 career ERA next to his name, Wilson briefly became a household name last October when he dominated in Atlanta's Game 4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

    Wilson likely doesn't have ace upside going forward, but he could develop into a mid-rotation innings eater between now and the end of his club control. And that's not until 2026.

    Though DeVito is on the injured list, he impressed Baseball America enough with his early-season work to climb to No. 17 on its midseason prospect rankings for Atlanta. More so than Wilson, he may be the guy the Pirates are banking on in what otherwise looks like a modest return for a controllable, talented reliever.

    Grade: C

Atlanta Acquires Jorge Soler

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    Colin E. Braley/Associated Press

    Date: July 30

    Atlanta gets: RF Jorge Soler

    Having acquired Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario earlier in the day, Atlanta nabbed yet another slugging outfielder at the buzzer before the deadline.

    Granted, Soler has been humbled in the two years since he launched 48 home runs in 2019. He's hit only 21 homers since the start of 2020 with a .204/.300/.394 line to boot. However, he also hit six homers in six games between July 20 and 26. 

    If nothing else, Soler's career splits suggest he should fit well in a platoon role opposite Rosario and Joc Pederson. And Atlanta only gave up a relief prospect to rent him.

    Grade: B


    Kansas City Royals get: RHP Kasey Kalich

    Kasich may only be a relief prospect, yet he ranked as the No. 21 talent in Atlanta's system for As one would expect from a player with his profile, he has a big fastball and a good slider to make up for his more or less nonexistent command.

    The short version: The Royals got an actual prospect for a hugely depreciated asset.

    Grade: A

San Francisco Giants Acquire Kris Bryant

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    Paul Beaty/Associated Press

    Date: July 30

    San Francisco Giants get: 3B/OF Kris Bryant

    It was the Giants' turn to make a big-ticket trade after the Los Angeles Dodgers added Max Scherzer and Trea Turner and the San Diego Padres acquired Adam Frazier. At the last minute, they delivered.

    Though he had a rough season in 2020, Bryant added a fourth All-Star appearance this season to go with his Rookie of the Year Award from 2015 and his MVP from 2016. He's a dynamic hitter with an .861 OPS and 18 home runs and a capable defender at third base, first base and in both corner outfield spots.

    Because Bryant is due for free agency, this is about as win-now as trades get. The Giants are buying into a season that has produced the top record in the majors, and which may well lead to a deep playoff run captained by Bryant and incumbent stars like Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Kevin Gausman.

    Grade: A


    Chicago Cubs get: OF Alexander Canario and RHP Caleb Kilian

    After all that, the Cubs ended up with two prospects ranked by as the No. 9 and No. 30 talents in San Francisco's system. Notably, neither is in the overall top 100.

    With Canario, the Cubs are banking on a 21-year-old who should have good power once he adds more strength to his 6'1", 165-pound frame. Though he's the lower-ranked talent of the two, Kilian has impressed in 15 minor league outings this year with a 2.13 ERA that comes with 96 strikeouts, nine walks and two home runs in 84.2 innings.

    It's by no means an awful return. But if anyone thinks it's an unworthy return for perhaps the most valuable rental player on the market, just know you're not alone.

    Grade: C

Philadelphia Phillies Acquire Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    Date: July 30

    Philadelphia Phillies get: RHP Kyle Gibson, RHP Ian Kennedy, RHP Hans Crouse and cash

    Caught between the Mets and Atlanta in the National League East race, the Phillies have rightfully determined that their best course forward involved adding pitching.

    Fresh off being named to his first All-Star team, Gibson joins the Phillies with a 2.87 ERA in hand. That makes him a nice partner in crime for aces Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola in theory, though Gibson's iffy peripherals do raise the question as to whether his ERA is on borrowed time.

    Kennedy, a former starter in his own right, has had a successful year in relief marked by a 2.51 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 32.1 innings. He's badly needed in a Phillies bullpen that, while better than it was in 2020, has nonetheless had ongoing issues in 2021.

    Crouse, meanwhile, isn't the top-100 guy he was in 2019. He's nonetheless a nice deal-sweetener who could pay off after Kennedy hits free agency this winter and Gibson's contract finishes next winter.

    Grade: B


    Texas Rangers get: RHP Spencer Howard, RHP Kevin Gowdy and RHP Josh Gessner

    There had been some question as to whether the Rangers could get anything of value for Gibson, so good on them for turning him and Kennedy into a guy who was a top-100 prospect as recently as this spring.

    That's Howard. Even if his 5.81 ERA in the majors isn't much to look at, the ability is there, and evidence that it might eventually translate can be seen in this year's numbers at Triple-A. In six appearances, he has a 1.25 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 21.2 innings.

    Since Howard alone would have been a nice return, it looks even better for the Rangers that they got two more arms. 

    Grade: B

New York Mets Acquire Javier Baez

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Date: July 30

    New York Mets get: SS Javier Baez and RHP Trevor Williams

    Earlier this week, Baez all but told the Mets he wanted to play for them. Evidently, they were listening.

    In the short term, Baez will fill in for fellow shortstop and good friend Francisco Lindor while he's recovering from an oblique injury. After that, he'll slide back over to his old haunt at second base. All the while, he'll hopefully keep making up for his sub-.300 OBP with home runs and stolen bases.

    For his part, Williams has pitched to a 5.48 ERA since his overlooked breakout in 2018. Yet he's also something the Mets don't have in abundance: a healthy starting pitcher.

    Baez is due for free agency this winter, so this is a win-now move for the Mets. But with first place in the National League East in their hands and plenty of players besides Lindor (including Jacob deGrom) due back from injuries, they have a path to play deep into October.

    Grade: B


    Chicago Cubs get: OF Pete Crow-Armstrong

    Though Baez has a recognizable name, it's worth a reminder that his value has depreciated since he was the NL MVP runner-up in 2018 and an All-Star in 2018 and 2019.

    Which is to say he wasn't necessarily worth a top-100 prospect, even packaged alongside Williams. An interesting prospect was perhaps the best the Cubs could do, and Crow-Armstrong fits that bill. He was the Mets' No. 19 pick last year, and his profile is that of a leadoff man with a slick glove.

    Is this nonetheless a disappointing return? Considering that Crow-Armstrong was only the No. 5 prospect in the Mets' system for, the point can definitely be made.

    Grade: C

Chicago White Sox Acquire Craig Kimbrel

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Date: July 30

    Chicago White Sox get: RHP Craig Kimbrel

    The White Sox have a comfortable lead in the American League Central on the strength of perhaps baseball's best pitching staff. They arguably didn't need to do anything, much less add another arm.

    They went ahead and added the best relief pitcher in baseball anyway. Kimbrel is an eight-time All-Star who, after a rough first two seasons on the North Side, has a 0.49 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 36.2 innings in 2021. He's on track to break Zack Britton's ERA record for a reliever in a season.

    With Lance Lynn, Carlos Rodon and Lucas Giolito in their rotation and Kimbrel alongside Liam Hendriks, Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet in the bullpen, the White Sox undeniably have a championship-caliber pitching staff. And because of his $16 million option for 2022, Kimbrel isn't necessarily a rental.

    Grade: A


    Chicago Cubs get: 2B Nick Madrigal and RHP Codi Heuer

    As if it wasn't clear the Cubs have pivoted toward the future, Madrigal is out for the rest of 2021 as he recovers from hamstring surgery. He's nonetheless an interesting centerpiece for Chicago. 

    Madrigal is a former top prospect with a .317 average in 83 major league games, which speaks to his throwback "hit-it-where-they-ain't" style. Yet his lack of power means he'll have to rely on his speed and defense to flesh out his production between now and the end of his club control in 2026.

    Still, the Cubs will be happy if they'll have turned a short-term closer into a long-term contributor at second base. And given that Heuer had a 1.52 ERA last year, he also has the potential to be a mainstay through the end of his control in 2025.

    Grade: B

Atlanta Acquires Adam Duvall

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    Date: July 30

    Atlanta gets: OF Adam Duvall

    Atlanta plugged a major hole in its outfield two weeks ago when it acquired Joc Pederson to spell Ronald Acuna Jr. (torn ACL) in right field. Even then, the Marcell Ozuna-sized hole in left field remained.

    That's where Duvall figures to play most of the time in his return to Atlanta, which had him for two-plus seasons from 2018 to 2020. Albeit with only a .277 OBP, he's flexed plenty of power in hitting 22 home runs this year. He's also an ideal platoon partner for fellow newcomer Eddie Rosario, who's on the next slide.

    In any case, Atlanta now has a better chance of overcoming a four-game deficit in the National League East. If the team wants Duvall back next season, both sides can exercise his mutual option for 2022.

    Grade: B


    Miami Marlins get: C Alex Jackson

    As noted by the position's league-worst minus-1.9 rWAR, catcher has been a major shortcoming in Miami. To this extent, any catching help is good catching help.

    Though Jackson hasn't done much in 19 major league games, he comes to the Marlins with an .864 OPS in parts of three seasons at the Triple-A level. The 25-year-old is also under club control through 2026.

    In other words, the Marlins will have plenty of time to unlock an interesting player.

    Grade: B

Atlanta Acquires Eddie Rosario

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    David Dermer/Associated Press

    Date: July 30

    Atlanta gets: LF Eddie Rosario and cash

    Minutes before the Duvall trade came to light, Atlanta acquired Rosario in a trade that's a straight-up salary dump on Cleveland's part.

    Rosario was a 30-homer slugger as recently as 2019 and had a solid season in 2020, but his 78 games this year have yielded only a .254/.296/.389 line and seven home runs. He's on the injured list with an intercostal strain.

    With a career .808 OPS against right-handers, the lefty-hitting Rosario should nonetheless make for a capable platoon partner with Duvall when he's healthy.

    Grade: B


    Cleveland gets: INF Pablo Sandoval

    Why would Cleveland want Sandoval in this deal? Well, maybe it didn't but said yes to balance the financials.

    In any case, this isn't the end Cleveland had in mind when it inked Rosario to an $8 million deal over the winter. At least the team managed to cut its losses, yet one also wonders if it might have done better in a trade if it had eaten some of that money instead.

    Grade: D

Toronto Blue Jays Acquire Jose Berrios

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    Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

    Date: July 30

    Toronto Blue Jays get: RHP Jose Berrios

    Hyun-Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray each boast ERAs in the low 3.00s through 20 starts, so the Blue Jays have been in good hands whenever they take the mound. Otherwise, starting pitching has been an adventure for Toronto.

    Along comes Berrios, who was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019 and is again pitching at a high level this season with a 3.48 ERA and more strikeouts (126) than innings pitched (121.2). In case you haven't seen it, his curveball is a dandy.

    Should the Jays reach the playoffs, their new-look rotation trio and powerful offense would make them a tough matchup. If not, there's comfort in knowing Berrios will still be around in 2022.

    Grade: A


    Minnesota Twins get: SS/OF Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods Richardson

    It doesn't seem like that long ago that the Twins were reportedly disinclined to trade controllable players, including Berrios. But if that was a smokescreen all along, it's paid off in this deal.

    Martin and Woods Richardson were two of Toronto's best prospects, and they rank at No. 16 and No. 68, respectively, in's top 100. Martin has been especially impressive this year after going No. 5 overall in the 2020 draft, posting a .424 OBP at Double-A.

    Though it isn't guaranteed that either Martin or Woods Richardson will be seen in the Twin Cities this year, Twins fans should expect to see plenty of them in 2022. Hopefully, they'll help the team recover from its lost 2021 season.

    Grade: A

Boston Red Sox Acquire Kyle Schwarber

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Date: July 29

    Boston Red Sox get: LF Kyle Schwarber

    By acquiring Joey Gallo on Wednesday and Anthony Rizzo on Thursday, the New York Yankees put the AL East-leading Red Sox in a position to respond in kind.

    To this end, Schwarber does the trick nicely. He's likely still a few weeks away from returning from a hamstring injury, but prior to going on the injured list he was one of the top hitters in baseball by way of a .910 OPS and 25 home runs. He was even on the periphery of the National League MVP race for a while.

    The big question here might be whether the Red Sox can use Schwarber to fill their hole at first base even though he lacks experience at the position. But even if they have to stick with him as a left fielder and part-time designated hitter, he should provide plenty of thump down the stretch before free agency calls his name.

    Grade: B


    Washington Nationals get: RHP Aldo Ramirez

    The Nationals can't be blamed for not cashing in on Schwarber sooner. When he went on the IL in early July, they were 40-40 and in second place in the National League East.

    Several weeks later, it's commendable that the Nats were able to get an actual prospect for Schwarber. Yet Ramirez, who ranked at No. 19 in Boston's system for, is an injury flier in his own right as he recovers from elbow tendonitis. Even before that, he was likely a couple of years from the majors.

    Grade: C

Los Angeles Dodgers Acquire Max Scherzer and Trea Turner

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Date: July 29

    Los Angeles Dodgers get: RHP Max Scherzer and SS Trea Turner

    It looked for a moment on Thursday like Scherzer would be headed to the San Diego Padres. Instead, he's headed to Los Angeles to become a Dodger. And he's bringing one of the best shortstops in baseball with him.

    As a three-time Cy Young Award winner who has a 2.76 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 111 innings this season, Scherzer needs no introduction. Neither should Turner following his first All-Star selection, but it's worth pointing out that he trails only Fernando Tatis Jr. among shortstops in rWAR since 2020.

    The only catch with the Turner addition is that he and Corey Seager, who's due back soon from a broken wrist, can't both play shortstop. It's a good thing, then, that Turner isn't totally inexperienced at second base.

    The Dodgers had to surrender a significant prospect package to get Scherzer and Turner, but that's what championship-hungry teams are supposed to do. And while Scherzer is on an expiring contract, Turner—who's currently on the COVID-19 injured list—will still be around in 2022.

    Grade: A


    Washington Nationals get: C Keibert Ruiz, RHP Josiah Gray, OF Donovan Casey and RHP Gerardo Carrillo

    With this trade, the Nationals are clearly punting on the rest of the 2021 season. But lest anyone make an argument that they're also punting on 2022, that isn't necessarily the case.

    Ruiz and Gray are both major league-ready prospects, and good ones at that. They rank at No. 41 and No. 42 overall for, and had likewise placed as the Dodgers' two best prospects. Expect to see plenty of them in Washington down the stretch of 2021 as they establish themselves as regulars for 2022.

    Though neither Casey nor Carrillo is a name-brand prospect, both have had solid seasons at Double-A. Casey, in particular, has slashed a cool .296/.362/.462 with 11 home runs and 15 stolen bases.

    Even if this package is good enough for Scherzer and Turner, nobody's about to argue that the Nationals got the better end of what's the biggest deal of the summer so far.

    Grade: B

New York Yankees Acquire Anthony Rizzo

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Date: July 29

    New York Yankees get: 1B Anthony Rizzo and cash

    One of the things that led the Yankees to Joey Gallo on Wednesday is the same thing that also led them to Rizzo on Thursday: a dire need for power from the left side.

    With his 32nd birthday due up on August 8, Rizzo isn't the 30-homer slugger that he was between 2014 and 2017. But he's still a solid hitter who's put up a .792 OPS and 14 home runs, with nine of those coming against right-handers. So if the Yankees keep Luke Voit, who's a career .518 slugger against lefties, he and Rizzo should be good platoon partners.

    The Yankees can also feel satisfied at having robbed the Red Sox of a sorely needed upgrade at first base, as Boston was also interested in Rizzo. And because the Cubs are picking up all of the money remaining on Rizzo's $16.5 million salary, the Yankees are still under the $210 million luxury-tax threshold.

    Grade: B


    Chicago Cubs get: RHP Alexander Vizcaino and OF Kevin Alcantara

    The catch with the Yankees not picking up Rizzo's salary is that it required them to pay a hefty price in terms of prospects. Per, Vizcaino and Alcantara ranked as New York's Nos. 9 and 12 prospects, respectively.

    Though his bout with arm soreness is a red flag, the former has a fastball that touches triple digits, while the latter has an intriguing mix of power and speed. Both have more development ahead of them, but good on the Cubs for turning a depreciated asset into two high-ceiling prospects.

    Grade: A

Los Angeles Dodgers Acquire Danny Duffy

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    Colin E. Braley/Associated Press

    Date: July 29

    Los Angeles Dodgers get: LHP Danny Duffy and cash

    The Dodgers starting rotation was one of the best in baseball when the season opened. But with Dustin May (Tommy John surgery) and Clayton Kershaw (forearm) out with injuries and Trevor Bauer on administrative leave, the "Help Wanted" sign hung clearly going into the last week before the deadline.

    However, whether Duffy can actually help the Dodgers rotation remains to be seen. Though he had been enjoying something of a renaissance with a 2.51 ERA through his first 61 innings, he's currently recovering from a strained flexor tendon. With limited time to build him back up, he might be ticketed for a bullpen role.

    Because Duffy is due for free agency this winter, this is basically a no-risk deal for the Dodgers. So if it works, great. If not, so be it.

    Grade: C


    Kansas City Royals get: Player to be named later

    The Royals had plenty of chances to trade Duffy before now, including in the winter of 2017 when he was fresh off a successful two-year run. "Bury me a Royal" was his response to that chapter of rumors.

    But after so many chances to sell high on the southpaw, this is about as low as the Royals could have possibly sold on Duffy. That's enviable in the sense that such loyalty has always been rare in baseball. But to the extent that they're a rebuilding team that badly needs prospects, it's a pretty bad misfire.

    Grade: D

Toronto Blue Jays Acquire Brad Hand

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Date: July 29

    Toronto Blue Jays get: LHP Brad Hand

    The Blue Jays have been without a de facto closer ever since Kirby Yates had Tommy John surgery in March, which has been an issue for a bullpen that's more vulnerable than its 4.06 ERA suggests.

    For his part, Hand only has a 3.59 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 42.2 innings pitched. It's never a bad thing to add a three-time All-Star, however, and Hand still boasts a nasty slider and has even rediscovered some lost fastball velocity in 2021.

    The Jays subtracted from an area of depth to make this trade, so there should be little room for regret even if Hand doesn't help them return to the playoffs before he becomes a free agent this winter.

    Grade: A


    Washington Nationals get: C Riley Adams

    Apropos of that last note, Adams was looking up at Reese McGuire and Alejandro Kirk—not to mention the injured Danny Jansen—at the major league level and also rubbing shoulders with Gabriel Moreno, Toronto's No. 5 prospect at, in the minors.

    Hence why he could be spared in a trade, though the Nationals must be satisfied that they got Toronto's No. 17 prospect back for a mere rental reliever. Adams is major league-ready now, with the potential to turn into a power-hitting regular behind the dish.

    Grade: B

Chicago White Sox Acquire Cesar Hernandez

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Date: July 29

    Chicago White Sox get: 2B Cesar Hernandez

    The White Sox began the season with a pretty good second baseman but have been without a reliable regular at that position ever since Nick Madrigal had season-ending hamstring surgery in June.

    Hernandez should fill the gap nicely. He's fresh off winning a Gold Glove in 2020. And while his .307 OBP is below his usual standards, he's set new ones in the power department by slamming a career-high 18 home runs.

    The 31-year-old is making only $5 million this season, and the White Sox might keep him for 2022 via a $6 million team option. It's also a nice bonus that they subtracted a solid player from the closest pursuer they have in the American League Central.

    Grade: A


    Cleveland gets: LHP Konnor Pilkington

    Another thing that makes this deal look good for Chicago is Pilkington's place among its top prospects. Or lack thereof, as he failed to crack the club's top 30 at

    To his credit, though, Pilkington has put up a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A this season. He's notably put in some work on his changeup, and there may be a way for Cleveland to get more consistent velocity out of his 6'3", 230-pound frame.

    Grade: B

New York Yankees Acquire Joey Gallo

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Date: July 28

    New York Yankees get: RF Joey Gallo, LHP Joely Rodriguez and cash

    Simply put, Gallo is a perfect fit for the Yankees.

    He may be yet another all-or-nothing slugger for an all-or-nothing lineup, but the two-time All-Star and Gold Glover is also a sorely needed outfielder and left-handed hitter. He might even be the best outfielder in baseball right now, as his .869 OPS and 25 home runs also come with 4.3 rWAR.

    The cash in this deal should allow the Yankees to stay under the luxury-tax threshold this year, and Gallo will remain under their control through 2022. Factoring in Rodriguez's usefulness against left-handed batters, it's ultimately a deal that offers little to complain about from New York's end.

    Grade: A


    Texas Rangers get: SS Josh Smith, 2B Ezequiel Duran, 2B/OF Trevor Hauver and RHP Glenn Otto

    As ranked by, the Rangers received the Yankees' No. 14 (Smith), 15 (Duran), 23 (Hauver) and 28 (Otto) prospects. That's not a bad haul for a farm system that, even after the MLB draft, only checked in at No. 18 in B/R's most recent rankings.

    Still, it's hard to escape the suspicion that the Rangers would have been better off turning Gallo into at least one proper top-100 prospect. Their fans will be crossing their fingers in hopes that time will prove President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels did the right thing.

    Grade: C

Milwaukee Brewers Acquire Eduardo Escobar

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Date: July 28

    Milwaukee Brewers get: INF Eduardo Escobar

    Even though the Brewers are comfortably in first place in the National League Central, their offense has had plenty of ups and downs in part because of deficiencies on the infield.

    Enter Escobar, who should play primarily at third base while also seeing time at second base. Though his .300 OBP is more or less par for the course for him, he's only two years removed from a 35-homer campaign and already up to 22 long balls this season.

    The catch is that Escobar is a free agent at the end of the season. But by rental standards, Milwaukee didn't pay a prohibitive price to acquire him for two months.

    Grade: A


    Arizona Diamondbacks get: OF Cooper Hummel and INF Alberto Ciprian

    In choosing to deal with the Brewers, the Diamondbacks had to find what they could in a farm system that only ranked No. 24 in MLB after the draft. Slim pickings, in other words.

    In Hummel, they're getting a 2016 18th-round pick who's nonetheless gotten on base at a .435 clip as a 26-year-old at Triple-A this season. Ciprian is more of a wild card, as he's an 18-year-old who's played only 12 games in the Dominican Summer League since signing in 2019.

    Are these guys worth fliers? Sure. But should an All-Star infielder have been worth more? There's a case there, too.

    Grade: C

Oakland Athletics Acquire Starling Marte

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    Date: July 28

    Oakland Athletics get: CF Starling Marte and cash

    Even though he's now 32 years old and a half-decade removed from his All-Star and Gold Glove-winning days for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Marte is still going strong.

    In spite of a stay on the injured list with a broken rib, Marte has hit at an excellent .306/.407/.453 clip with seven home runs and 22 stolen bases in 63 games. He's also performed well defensively with five outs above average.

    Between Marte and Ramon Laureano, the A's should benefit from having two dynamic center fielders roaming their outfield. They'll only have Marte through the rest of 2021, however. And even though the Marlins are picking up most of his salary, the A's nonetheless paid a steep price to make this deal happen.

    Grade: B


    Miami Marlins get: LHP Jesus Luzardo

    To be fair, Luzardo has posted just a 4.79 ERA in 31 career appearances in the majors. He also further embarrassed himself by breaking his pinkie finger while playing video games in May, and he's most recently been seen posting an ugly 7.77 ERA in his last six appearances at Triple-A.

    However, it was only last season that some publications had Luzardo ranked as a top-10 prospect on account of his potential for electric stuff and sharp control. He's only 23 and controlled through 2025, so bully for the Marlins for arranging a chance to be the ones to capitalize on that potential.

    Grade: A

Seattle Mariners Acquire Tyler Anderson

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Date: July 27

    Seattle Mariners get: LHP Tyler Anderson

    After seeming to miss the mark with a trade that sent Kendall Graveman to the Houston Astros earlier on Tuesday, the Mariners managed to save face when they turned around and acquired Anderson.

    Though nobody will mistake the 31-year-old lefty for an ace, he's been reasonably dependable in putting up a 4.35 ERA over 103.1 innings this season. The Mariners needed a guy like that in a rotation that has a 4.89 ERA and which is generally thin behind All-Star Yusei Kikuchi.

    Because he's earning just $2.5 million and due for free agency, the Mariners understandably didn't have to give up much for Anderson.

    Grade: B


    Pittsburgh Pirates get: C Carter Bins and RHP Joaquin Tejada

    Considering he was little more than a warm body for their pitching staff when they signed him in February, the Pirates should be commended for getting anything at all for Anderson this summer.

    Regarding what they did get, neither Bins nor Tejada is a standout prospect. But because Bins is a 22-year-old catcher with a .399 OBP across two minor league levels in 2021, he's at least worth watching as he continues his development.

    Grade: B

Houston Astros Acquire Kendall Graveman

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    Date: July 27

    Houston Astros get: RHP Kendall Graveman and RHP Rafael Montero

    As evidenced by their bullpen's negative win probability added, relief pitching has been a major problem for the Astros even as they've staked a claim to first place in the American League West.

    Whereas Montero was recently designated for assignment, Graveman has been dominating with a 0.82 ERA flanked by only 15 hits allowed in 33 innings. He's also whiffed 34 batters while maintaining a ground-ball rate north of 50 percent.

    Needless to say, to get a pitcher like that directly from a division rival was quite the flex on the Astros' part. And it didn't even cost them that much to rent Graveman for the remainder of the season.

    Grade: A


    Seattle Mariners get: INF Abraham Toro and RHP Joe Smith

    When the Mariners dealt Graveman, the immediate reaction within the team's clubhouse was...not great. "Betrayed" was a common word, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.

    Mariners players might feel a little better about it now after Toro went deep in each of his first two games with the team. That could be a case of the change of scenery doing its job for a player who had put up impressive numbers in the high minors in 2019 and 2021.

    Because Toro is still only 24 and controlled through 2025, the Mariners could keep reaping the benefits of this trade for a long time. Smith was more of a salary dump for Houston, but he's been a capable reliever in the past and already has one scoreless outing for Seattle.

    Grade: B


    Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.