The Major League Baseball trade deadline has passed, and what a day of action it was on 31st July.
Plenty of players that were expected to move ended up staying put, while a few – looking at you, Zack Greinke – who were barely mentioned in pre-deadline rumours, ended up switching teams.
Inaction, as much as the headline-making trades, was the story of the deadline. The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers were all quiet, while the Braves and Nationals were extremely busy.
With 50 or so regular season games to play, here are our post-trade-deadline power rankings…
With Greinke, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini on board, the already formidable Astros took another step towards a second World Series title in three years. The front of the rotation – Greinke, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole – will be hard to stop in a playoff series.
Despite a pursuit of Felipe Vazquez, the Dodgers didn’t make a major move on 31st July, instead opting to add Adam Kolarek and Jedd Gyorko, who provide bullpen and infield depth respectively. That’s fine when you’re as good as the Dodgers. The bullpen is a concern, but they’re still the best team in the National League.
The Braves needed bullpen help and they went and got it. Chris Martin arrived from the Rangers on the 30th, while Mark Melancon and Shane Greene were acquired for minimal cost on the 31st. Still 6.5 clear in the National League East, the Braves have the offence and bullpen to challenge the Dodgers for National League supremacy.
Brian Cashman didn’t get the starting pitching the Yankees craved. Well clear in the American League East, though, the 27-time World Series winners are heading to the postseason and have potentially the most intimidating line-up in baseball when fully healthy. Dellin Betances and Luis Severino returning at their best is key.
While they didn’t land any of the bigger names, the Twins completed a trade for Giants reliever Sam Dyson, which gives a boost to their bullpen. The Indians are chasing them, but Minnesota remain strong favourites for the division and the line-up has near-Yankee levels of pop.
The biggest non-Greinke trade of the deadline actually happened on the 30th with Bauer leaving Cleveland. The Indians fixed a weakness with the deal, landing Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes. A lot depends on Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar returning – if they do, they will be a real threat.
The hottest team in baseball in recent weeks, the Nationals finally addressed their messy bullpen. Roenis Elias, Hunter Strickland and Daniel Hudson were bargain additions. Keep up their current form and a wildcard is all but guaranteed.
As ever, the Rays were making deals that no one really expected. Jesus Aguilar was brought in from the Brewers, while star prospect Jesus Sanchez and Ryne Stanek were flipped for Trevor Richards and Nick Anderson. Well in with a shot at the wildcard, the Rays improved on weaknesses and should benefit from the Red Sox’s passivity.
9. St. Louis Cardinals
Another quieter team at the deadline, the Cardinals have been playing good baseball of late and have a lead – albeit a marginal one – over the Cubs and Brewers in the ultra-competitive National League Central.
10. Chicago Cubs
The bullpen is still a worry, but the Cubs improved on positional flexibility with Tony Kemp heading to the Windy City from Houston. Nicholas Castellanos gives them another big bat in the middle of the line-up, too. It’d be a surprise if the Cubs fail to make the postseason, whether that’s from winning the division or a wildcard berth remains to be seen.