By: Nick Wells, Sam Gagliardi, and Rob Schardt
Nick’s Winner: Atlanta Braves
Atlanta had three needs that were obvious going into the deadline: bullpen help, a consistent starter, and another reliable utility player to add to the bench. GM Alex Anthopolous went after these top needs, strengthening the bullpen by acquiring Brad Brach from the Orioles and Johnny Venters from the Rays for international slot money the Braves can’t even use (thanks Coppy). Then AA went out and got OF Adam Duvall from the Reds for Lucas Sims, Matt Wisler, and Preston Tucker. Wisler and Tucker are out of options, and all three would’ve been unlikely to make the 40-man roster this offseason. Duvall, the former All-Star, has been excellent defensively and his presence will mean that Ender Inciarte will sit out against lefties with Ronald Acuña Jr. moving over to CF. The Braves were frequently mentioned in talks about Chris Archer, but a deal never came to fruition. However, with the deadline getting uncomfortably close with no moves for a starter, the Braves traded INF Jean Carlos Encarnacion, reliever Evan Phillips and catcher Brett Cumberland (along with a little bit of that sweet international slot money that doesn’t mean a whole lot to the sanctioned Braves) for starter Kevin Gausman and reliever Darren O’Day. The latter is currently sidelined (dugouted?) for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury but can help the team beyond 2018. Gausman however can have an immediate impact if the change of scenery and improvement of defensive support can help him relax and just throw filth.
Nick’s Loser: Washington Nationals
The Nats started the deadline day a game under .500 but 5.5 games behind first place, so it would’ve made sense for them to make a move that could put them more solidly in contention. Possibly a move for a catcher, a position they desperately needed an upgrade in. So, they got rid of righty reliever Brandon Kintzler by sending him to the Cubs for pitcher Jhon Romero. That is all. Done. After reports came out that Bryce Harper was available, GM Mike Rizzo came out with a statement saying that “Bryce isn’t going anywhere.” Folks, he’s a free agent at the end of the season, and if the Nationals don’t figure it out and make the playoffs, anywhere is exactly where Harper is going to go. Rizzo believes in what this team can do and thinks they can stick around and compete the rest of the season. It would be a real shame if they didn’t though. An absolute tragedy. Sadly, last night they held BP against the Mets defense, winning 25-4. Did the Kintzler trade fix the Nationals problems? It’s definitely too early to tell, but for now, after not making any meaningful moves to push them forward, they’re LOSERS.
Sam’s Winner: New York Yankees
As much as it pains me to admit it after they eliminated my Indians from the playoffs last year, the Yankees are clear winners this trade deadline. I love what the Yanks did by adding J.A. Happ. They needed a starter and they got the best starter — besides Archer — on the market. Happ, an undeserving — but albeit — allster, has been solid this year with 11 wins, while averaging 10 SO/9 innings. He als has postseason experience. Happ may not pay big dividends in the playoffs, but in a pivotal race to try and beat the Red Soxs for the East title, Happ adds length and dependability to the Yanks rotation down the stretch. Their best move, however, by far that will be far more rewarding come October, was the addition of Zach Britton. If he, alongside Chapman, Betances, and Robertson, can return to the Britton of two years ago, I’m not sure I’v ever seen a more imposing bullpen. If you don’t take the lead on the Yanks before the 6th inning in October, good luck.
Sam’s Loser: Milwaukee Brewers
This reasoning has little to do with what the Brew Crew did do, but all to do what they didn’t do. First, with the addition of Moustakas and Schoop, they now possess one of the most vaunted lineups, 1--9, in all of baseball. However, baseball in October is won because of pitching not hitting. And the biggest weakness the Brewers needed to add was a frontline starter, an ace preferably. Worst, the trade market’s biggest fish, Archer, went to a division rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates who are only a few games behind the Brewers for a Wild Card spot! Not wanting to pony up the prospects, ok I can maybe understand. But after going all in adding good hitters, why not finish the job? Then letting him fall in the lap of your division rival in the midst of a playoff race (!?!) and for the next 3 years (!?!): unforgivable.
Rob’s Winner: Philadelphia Phillies
Personally, I believe the Phillies were winners in this situation. I know it’s a little bit of a stretch, but Wilson Ramos was an All-Star this year. Ramos is currently hitting .297 with 14 home runs, 53 RBI and a .834 OBP. Before Ramos got hurt he was one of the best hitting catchers in the league if not the best. This move caught many by surprise because the Phillies already have Jorge Alfaro at catcher, who many think is their catcher of the future and I believe he is a stud. This move gives the team a veteran presence on the field, who has been around the game of baseball for many years and knows how to call a baseball game. Ramos can most likely help mentor Alfaro and develop him into a top catcher in the league. Ramos hasn’t played since July 14, but when he returns I bet he and recently acquired Asdrubal Cabrera will help the Phillies young team remain in first place and win the division. Also the Phillies would acquire LHP Aaron Loup from the Blue Jays. Loup can bolster the Phillies bullpen that has been doing pretty decent recently. Loop is very effective against lefties throughout his career including only giving up 5 total home runs to lefties in his entire career (565 plate appearances). Bullpens help teams in deep playoff runs, but I believe all these move were great for this Phillies team which can use veteran assistance.
Rob’s Loser: New York Mets
Well, fellow Mets fans, I hate to do this, but once more we lost on the trade deadline. For the past few months all we have seen in the news was that one of the Mets star pitchers would be dealt by the deadline. Well the time came and the team did nothing about it. The most talked about name was Zack Wheeler and where he would end up. I thought the Mets were in the driver’s seat to make a big move happen and they completely balked at moving him. Over his past few starts Wheeler was absolutely dealing with a 3.20 ERA over the last 2 months. He made a strong case that he should be traded to a contender and to be honest I wish he was because he does deserve it. I get it the team does not want to go into a total rebuild, but at least move some parts and get back some prospects for them. Players like Jose Bautista or Devin Mesoraco could have been dealt for prospects but that did not happen either. I do not know what was going on in the front office, but I understand it. It takes a lot of courage to pull the trigger on a move that will bring in the right prospects for a team. The Mets obviously aren't winning anything this year and after getting blown out 25-4 (the worst lose in franchise history), fans are embarrassed and are wondering if the team should have made a move of 2. We also do not know if the team should have moved deGrom or Syndergaard either and got a ton of prospects for them, but I know for one thing, many people maybe unhappy they did because people feel as if the run for the Mets is over and the team's pitchers didn't live up to the hype. I don't hate them not moving those 2 pieces if they didn't get the right players back, but if they did then we will see the effects down the road. I do believe however, that they should have traded a veteran that could help a team down the stretch.
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