onday was the non-waiver Major League Baseball trade deadline. As it seems to be the case every year, teams in the playoff-hunt took the opportunity to load up for a run at the World Series while those trending in the opposite direction sold off their players in an effort to stock up on cheap, young talent that might benefit them a couple of years down the road.
The way baseball works now– with the ridiculously large contracts, the collective bargaining agreements, free agency, and compensatory draft picks for free agent losses — it all seems to lead to more and more fire sales, in my opinion. I certainly understand it. Older players are expensive and are usually not under team control for very long. Young guys, on the other hand, are the players you build around, so you might as well stock up on them, especially if your team isn’t going anywhere in the near future.
The New York Yankees, for the first time in decades, took this approach playing the role of seller as opposed to years past where they were buying as many players as possible. This meant the end of the Yankees ridiculously good bullpen. Aroldis Chapman went to the Cubs and Andrew Miller ended up in Cleveland. The Yankees also dealt the seemingly ageless Carlos Beltran to the Rangers in a clear sign they were throwing in the towel on 2016. These were all good moves by Brian Cashman, even if they were out of character for the richest organization in the game. The Yankees are old and their farm system is not the best. They were not going anywhere with the players they had, so they might as well rebuild. It will be interesting to see how the prospects they received in the deals develop.
I really liked what the Rangers did at the deadline. In fact, I would say they took the most dramatic steps to make themselves into the favorite to win the American League. In addition to adding Beltran, they acquired all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy from Milwaukee, further bolstering what was already a potent offense. It was no small feat that the Rangers got both these players without trading what seemed to be their biggest bargaining chip, minor league slugger Joey Gallo. While Texas did not add any starting pitching, which seems to be the big need of every team chasing the pennant this year, their offense should be good enough to win a lot of 6-5 ballgames.
Of course, there were plenty more deals that happened on Monday and the days leading up to it. The Cubs getting Chapman seemed to make the team that most people see as the best in MLB even better. The Dodgers got better with Rich Hill and Josh Reddick as did the Mets with Jay Bruce. It would take me forever to go through everything that happened.
The point here is that a major milestone in every MLB season has passed, and we all should have a better idea of just who will be playing in October. Or at least the teams who have designs on playing in October. Now all those faces in new places have to go out and perform. It should be a lot of fun to see just how they do over the next two months and see which trades paid off and which ones were simply a waste of time.