5 winners and losers from the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline
The 2021 MLB Trade Deadline came and went, where multiple teams completed blockbuster moves one after another. This trade deadline was one unlike in previous years, as it became as chaotic as NBA trade deadlines thanks to moves from the likes of the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants.
Overall, 10 players who were All-Stars this year ended up being traded at the deadline, which is a new record in a season.
This was expected, especially as plenty of teams aimed to load up for the upcoming postseason, while a plethora of other teams looked to make one key push for the second wild-card spot in their respective leagues.
As usual, there were teams that came away with win-win deals while other teams left fans in sheer shock over what they ended up doing at the trade deadline.
In the big picture, here are five winners and losers from this year’s hectic MLB trade deadline.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Even after winning the World Series last season, Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Andrew Friedman made moves at the deadline that signaled his aspiration to build the next dynasty in MLB.
The Dodgers’ headline acquisition was hauling in Washington Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer via a multi-player deal. The deal was already a major win for Los Angeles, considering that both the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants were looking to package a deal for the three-time Cy Young Award winner. But now, both teams will have to go up against him over the stretch run of the season.
Even as Scherzer is on the back end of his prime, he is still performing like one of the more proficient pitchers in baseball. What should terrify NL West rivals is that Scherzer’s fastball pitch still has legs to it. He is holding opposing batters to a mere .210 batting average against his fastball this season to go along with an impressive 62 strikeouts recorded.
Scherzer’s fastball pitch could be decisive in at-bats against the multitude of power bats in the NL West.
Based only on the acquisition of Scherzer, the Dodgers can already be tabbed as a trade deadline winner. But the additions of Trea Turner and Danny Duffy are like the icing on the cake for Friedman. Turner’s versatility to play multiple positions will be vital out the gate, while Dodgers manager Dave Roberts could rely on Duffy as a possible multi-inning pitcher out of the bullpen come postseason time.
San Francisco Giants
While many are already slotting in the Dodgers as National League favorites following their key trade deadline acquisitions, one can not overlook the San Francisco Giants’ moves on Friday.
The Giants hauled in Kris Bryant in what can be tabbed as a win-now trade. Bryant may only be a rental move for the NL West leaders, especially as he recently touched on being open to re-joining the Cubs even if he was traded at the deadline.
What makes the Giants a clear winner in this trade is that even if they fall short of pulling off a deep postseason run, they did not part ways with any of their coveted prospects to acquire Bryant. The Giants only traded away one top-20 prospect from their farm system in this deal: Alexander Canario. At the least for Chicago, they could soon rely on Canario as a versatile utility player due to his prowess to play all three outfield positions.
The addition of former Los Angeles Angels reliever Tony Watson for San Francisco can not go under the radar. The Giants had no real need for another left-handed pitcher to their bullpen, as the likes of Jarlin Garcia and Jose Alvarez have proved to be reliable relievers for the team in high leverage situations this season. Still, Watson can be a situational reliever with the Giants, which is a role that he often found success in during his half-season run in Anaheim.
New York Yankees
Heading into the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was arguably facing the most pressure that he had faced so far in his run with the team.
With his job potentially on the line, Cashman responded with a trio of key acquisitions. He addressed the need for a potent left-handed hitter by hauling in both Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo.
The two power hitters should bolster the Yankees’ production against left-handed pitchers. As a team, Yankees left-handed batters have totaled for seven home runs against left-handed pitchers this season. Both Gallo (9) and Rizzo (5) have combined for 14 home runs when going up against left-handed pitchers.
On the other hand, the Yankees made a low-risk, high-reward move by acquiring Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney. On paper, one could question why the Yankees would even go out to acquire a pitcher who has posted a 5.27 ERA this season. However, there is potential for him to flourish in the AL East, and it would surely center on his possible continual success with his curveball, which opponents have hit .179 against this season.
The Seattle Mariners have not made the playoffs since their historic 2001 season. One would presume that with the Mariners right in the thick of the AL Wild Card race, team general manager Jerry Dipoto would make some blockbuster moves to give his team a fighting chance in the coming months. But as he did in 2018, Dipoto opted for a conservative stance with the Mariners’ deadline approach.
The Mariners had a glaring need for a veteran starter heading into the deadline. Rather than going all out to acquire an All-Star caliber pitcher, Seattle settled for Pittsburgh Pirates starter Tyler Anderson. Although the Mariners did not have to part ways with any of their high-value prospects, this deal may not be one that will turn heads among their AL West rivals.
Sure, the Dipoto redeemed himself by essentially replacing closer and pending free agent Kendall Graveman with Tampa Bay Rays closer Diego Castillo, who is under team control for three more seasons. But the Mariners also had a need for a versatile outfielder, and they came away from the July 30 MLB trade deadline without such a player.
The Colorado Rockies had a golden opportunity over the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline to provide fans with a clear stance on the team’s long-term future. Instead, the Rockies front office left fans more dazed and confused after such a dud deadline.
The Rockies were heavily rumored to offload star shortstop Trevor Story but ended up keeping him instead, which only left fans scratching their heads as to why they opted not to trade a player who will hit free agency later this year.
More so, the likes of first baseman C. J. Cron and starting pitcher Jon Gray are also on par to be out of a contract this offseason, but the two remained with the team following the trade deadline.
Even if it meant garnering a multitude of mid to low-level prospects for this trio of talents, the Rockies would have been off taking such offers to help accelerate the rebuilding process.
The Rockies front office had already faced notable backlash from the entire Nolan Arenado trade fiasco. Now, fans are left with more questions than answers following the team’s conservative approach at the 2021 MLB trade deadline.
The Rockies essentially much covet compensatory MLB Draft picks instead, so it will be noteworthy to see whether this gamble will pay off in the end.