Dodgers, Yankees among MLB deadline winners

Looking at the best and worst of the action from the Major League Baseball trade deadline.

Raymond Carlin III—X02835
Jul 30

The rich didn’t exactly get poorer at Major League Baseball’s trading deadline Monday, clearing a path for the first Los Angeles Dodgers-New York Yankees World Series since 1981.A stunning last-minute deal for Yu Darvish should make Los Angeles, a big league-best 74-31, a prohibitive favorite in the National League. Darvish will team with Clayton Kershaw to form the top 1-2 punch in anyone’s rotation, and the Dodgers’ overall roster depth is unmatched.Snagging Sonny Gray from Oakland gives New York the front-line starter it needed for its middling starting rotation. Already equipped with the best bullpen of any playoff contender, the Yankees are now a real threat for a 29th World Series title.Other teams, such as Arizona and the Chicago White Sox, aced the deadline in different directions.The Diamondbacks added a power bat two weeks ago in J.D. Martinez and didn’t have to pay much for him.The White Sox further stocked a loaded farm system through the Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals.Meanwhile, there are likely regrets in outposts like Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee and Texas. The Tigers and Rangers either didn’t get enough in the seller’s role or, in Texas’ case, might have bailed on its playoff chances prematurely.As for the Astros and Brewers, both swung and missed in regard to beefing up their pitching staffs. It won’t hurt Houston until October, as it owns a 16-game lead in the American League West, but Milwaukee might have seen its long-shot chances of beating the Cubs in the NL Central take a major hit.Below, the four teams that should pat themselves on the back tonight and the four whose general managers might be in for some second-guessing:WinnersArizona DiamondbacksAcquiring J.D. Martinez from Detroit two weeks ago gave the Diamondbacks the top hitter on the market. Martinez has already popped five homers in his first two weeks with the team and gives Paul Goldschmidt the protection he needed. The top five hitters in the Arizona lineup, especially against right-handed pitching, are as good as anyone’s top five. Minor trades for Adam Rosales and David Hernandez will help fortify middle infield depth and the bullpen, respectively.The Diamondbacks certainly could be questioned for not adding a late-inning reliever, however. The Fernando Rodney Experience has been rocky in late innings this year. His ERA is 5.08, but the D-backs are apparently sticking with him for now. Good luck with that in the playoffs.Chicago White SoxAdditions is the wrong word as this team won’t be in the playoffs this year, or the year after, and maybe the year after that. But set your clocks to 2020, the year general manager Rick Hahn’s trading comes to fruition.In dealing the likes of Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Melky Cabrera, Hahn piled on more prospects. Adding Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease to the likes of Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez means a South Side vs. North Side World Series could happen next decade.The present will be painful. The future could be a lot of fun.Los Angeles DodgersWhat do you give the team that’s already 43 games above .500 and is 62-19 in its last 81 games? How about perhaps the best available starter on the market? In acquiring Yu Darvish from Texas just before the 4 p.m. ET deadline, the Dodgers can now roll out Clayton Kershaw and Darvish for the first two games of any playoff series. Picking up lefties Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani are two sneaky good moves that will aid the bullpen.Even with the Darvish addition, this team has question marks in the rotation. Kershaw’s back injury has lingered over the last two seasons, while Rich Hill is constantly a threat to break out in blisters. Otherwise, what’s not to like? This team may have the best depth 1-through-25 on its roster.New York YankeesTaking a page from the Cubs’ and Indians’ playbooks last October, general manager Brian Cashman loaded up on pitching. Robertson and Kahnle only beef up an already deep bullpen.The big move was acquiring Sonny Gray from Oakland, giving the Yankees a sorely needed front-line starter. The move comes with one caveat, though: Gray’s numbers throughout his career are worse against AL East opposition. Guess where he’s pitching now?The back end of the Yankees rotation is a bit underwhelming — hello, Jaime Garcia, nabbed from Minnesota on Sunday — and also subject to injuries. However, if New York makes the postseason and can take a lead to the sixth inning, look out.LosersDetroit TigersThe Tigers finally dipped their toes into the water of an overdue rebuild. But the Martinez trade didn’t net enough return, a bad way to start what could be a hard process.Detroit did better with Sunday night’s shipping of reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila to the Chicago Cubs. Jeimer Candelario could give the team a better option at third base than Nick Castellanos next year, and 18-year-old shortstop Isaac Paredes has held his own in the Midwest League.Justin Verlander’s contract meant there was no real chance he would be dealt. It also means trading him over the winter won’t be easy, not with that average salary or the diminishing returns. The organization has to commit more than what it did this July to properly restock the organization.Houston AstrosIt didn’t matter what they did or didn’t do at the deadline. The Astros are going to win the AL West. But there is a growing sentiment that their pitching staff might come up short in October.Which means only coming up with Francisco Liriano at the deadline, with the Toronto starter having another rough year and Gray/Darvish on the market, is a disappointment. The plan is to have him come out of the bullpen to give them a second lefty, but can he adjust to bullpen life after a career of starting?Word was they tried hard to pry Zack Britton from Baltimore, which would have given them the lockdown closer they needed in October. But the price of poker was apparently too high and Houston opted to hold the hand it has.Milwaukee BrewersMilwaukee was at one time tied closely to Sonny Gray, who would have loved a reunion with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson. But general manager David Stearns drew the line at top outfield prospect Lewis Brinson, and wasn’t willing to cross it. So the Brewers settled for beefing up the bullpen with Jeremy Jeffress and Anthony Swarzak.Beating the Cubs probably wouldn’t happen with or without Gray, but not adding him lessened their chances. That puts even more pressure on a bullpen that has been up and down.Texas RangersGeneral manager Jon Daniels decided this team wasn’t going anywhere as currently constituted, so they backed up the truck. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy departed for Colorado, followed by Jeffress and the last-minute stunner involving Darvish.The return for Darvish was OK, with second baseman Willie Calhoun the prize of the bunch, but it wasn’t a dollar-for-dollar swap, either. It’s hard to see the Rangers going to an all-out rebuild, but it’s all right to wonder what their next step is going to be in the offseason.