MLB trade deadline tracker: Grades, analysis, details on every transaction

Date:

MLB trade season is complete.

The action was nonstop leading up to Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET deadline, with all 30 clubs participating in the action. 

Here’s a rundown of all the swaps from the past week, along with grades and analysis for the bigger transactions from FOX Sports MLB writers Rowan Kavner, Jake Mintz, Jordan Shusterman and Deesha Thosar.

AUGUST 1

Orioles land starting pitcher Jack Flaherty from Cardinals

Key stats: 7-6, 4.43 ERA, 109.2 IP, 106 SO, 1.550 WHIP

Who else is involved: St. Louis reportedly receives infielder César Prieto (No. 16 on the Orioles’ top prospects list per MLB Pipeline) and left-handed pitcher Drew Rom (No. 18) in exchange for Flaherty, who will be a free agent after this season.

What it means: In a deal that felt like a team swiftly taking the last seat in musical chairs, the Orioles ultimately did manage to land a much-needed starting pitcher at the deadline. The Cardinals decided to retain younger position players like Dylan Carlson but completed their full-scale send-off of all pending free agents by shipping Flaherty to Baltimore. Flaherty might not have been the best arm available for Baltimore to try to land, but he’ll certainly slot into a rotation in dire need of some upside and innings as the Orioles try to hang on to first place in the toughest division in baseball.

Still just 27, Flaherty has navigated injuries and wayward command issues in his quest to rediscover the remarkable form he showed in 2019 when he led the NL in WHIP and finished fourth in the Cy Young vote at just 23 years old. The whiffs still haven’t quite returned since his early peak, but Flaherty has done an admirable job keeping the ball on the ground this season, which has helped limit the damage from his propensity to issue free passes. While the pure velocity remains average at best, Flaherty has added a cutter this season to help induce weak contact. His slider remains his best secondary offering, but it’ll be interesting to see if the Orioles choose to tweak his arsenal to any significant degree in search of more whiffs. How he performs down the stretch could go a long way toward determining how he stacks up in a crowded free-agent pitching class this winter. As one of the youngest pitchers on the market, he could put himself in a very strong position.

Another batch of prospects head to St. Louis, this time via Baltimore’s loaded farm system. Prieto is a 24-year-old infielder having a fabulous season in the upper minors, with an .868 OPS in 85 games. Among minor-league hitters with at least 330 at-bats, Prieto’s .349 batting average ranks first, an obvious but accurate demonstration of his plus hit tool. He loves to swing the bat and has the contact skills to swing often, as evidenced by his low walk and strikeout totals. Prieto is capable of playing any infield spot and is exactly the kind of versatile bat the Cardinals have gotten the most out of for years. He could certainly impact the big-league club at some point in 2024.

The Cardinals’ remarkable run of trades before the deadline included seven pitchers coming their way, with Rom and Showalter being strong additions to that crop. Rom has methodically climbed the Baltimore system since being drafted out of high school back in 2018 and has consistently posted far stronger strikeout numbers than his raw stuff would suggest. Showalter received a healthy signing bonus out of a Florida high school in the 11th round last year and has gotten off to a fast start in low-A as a 19-year-old. Rom will certainly help much sooner than Showalter, but getting both is a nice way to bring in talent at various levels of the farm. — Shusterman

Cardinals grade: B+
Orioles grade: B-

Diamondbacks acquire outfielder Tommy Pham from Mets

Key stats: .268/.348/.472, 10 home runs, 126 OPS+

Who else is involved: New York gets shortstop Jeremy Rodriguez, who has a .751 OPS is rookie ball this season. He is not considered a top prospect.

What it means: In an abysmal month of June in Queens, during which New York went 7-19, Pham emerged as the club’s first obvious trade chip. He was one of the only reliable bats in the lineup at the time, posting an OPS over 1.000 during the month. Despite his bat cooling off in July, he still sports a 126 OPS+. And now, finally, he joins Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Robertson and Mark Canha in the Mets’ fire sale. 

It’s not a surprise to see him go to an NL West contender. Pham has an .871 OPS against lefties this year, and the Giants have the second-lowest OPS against left-handed pitching, while the Dodgers have been in the market for right-handed bats, as evidenced by their acquisitions of infielders Kiké Hernández and Amed Rosario. Instead, though, it’s the D-backs making another splash to acquire Pham after adding Paul Sewald to help patch up their late innings. 

Outside of Corbin Carroll, Arizona lacks outfield pop. Pham and his strong hard-hit rates should immediately help. The return to the Mets is a bit surprising. Yes, Pham is a rental, but he has crushed lefties this year and was also one of the best hitters left on the market. If the Mets were going with a dart throw, it seemed like a projectable pitcher might make sense to add to the system. Instead, they took Rodriguez, a 17-year-old shortstop currently playing in the Dominican Summer League who is not among Arizona’s top-30 prospects. — Kavner

Diamondbacks grade: A-
Mets grade: C

Marlins get outfielder Jake Burger from White Sox

Key stats: .214/.279/.527, 25 home runs, 115 OPS+

Who else is involved: Left-handed pitcher Jake Eder, the No. 4 prospect in the Marlins’ minor league system per MLB Pipeline, is heading to Chicago in return for the slugging Burger.

What it means: If we accept that the Max Scherzer trade at least mentally prepared deadline observers for the possibility of a Justin Verlander deal, then this big swing from Miami to land one of the biggest swingers in baseball was easily the most surprising deal of the day thus far.

Burger is a certified bopper to the nth degree, a right-handed third baseman who boasts a 99th percentile barrel rate and 25 prodigious dingers in just 88 games played this season. A former first-round pick back in 2017, Burger endured several serious leg injuries in the early parts of his career before finally reaching the big leagues in 2021 and had started to establish himself as an important part of the White Sox lineup with regular playing time this season. He’s certainly never going to win any Gold Gloves at the hot corner, but if the Marlins think he can stick there for now, he’s an immediate massive upgrade over the dismal production they’ve received from veteran Jean Segura this year.

It was no secret that Miami was willing to deal from its wealth of pitching prospects to try to improve its offense amid an unlikely playoff run, so it was just a matter of which talented young hurler the club was willing to deal. Eder was the Marlins’ fourth-round selection in 2020 out of Vanderbilt, and he quickly looked like one of the steals of the draft with a dominant season at Double-A in 2021 before succumbing to Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter. He has continued to look good in his return from surgery this year and immediately slots in as one Chicago’s top pitching prospects, joining the recently acquired Ky Bush and Nick Nastini. Burger may have been a fan favorite, but his defensive limitations and potentially unsustainable offensive approach were likely worth cashing in now to get a potential impact arm like Eder. — Shusterman

Marlins grade: B+
White Sox grade: A-

Rangers nab catcher Austin Hedges in exchange for international bonus pool money

Key stats: .180/.237/.230, 1 HR, 28 OPS+

What it means: The Rangers just revamped their rotation (again), but the player who should be catching Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery is on the shelf. The timetable on a return for Jonah Heim is nebulous right now, and season-ending wrist surgery is still a possibility. Texas has given itself more options and depth at the position with Hedges, a veteran who won’t help at the plate but is known for his ability to handle a pitching staff. Hedges has graded out among baseball’s best catchers in framing and blocking. — Kavner

Pirates grade: B
Rangers grade: B

Phillies get Michael Lorenzen from Tigers

Key stats: 5-7, 3.58 ERA, 105.2 IP, 83 SO, 1.098 WHIP

Who else is involved: Infielder Hao-Yu Lee, the Phillies’ No. 5 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline, is headed back to Detroit per multiple reports

What it means: The last of the obvious sellers to part with its most attractive trade chips, Detroit finally took the plunge on deadline day, sending righty Michael Lorenzen to Philadelphia. The Tigers, which owned not one but two of the better rental starting pitchers on the trade market, secured a solid return in a continued effort to bolster the farm system as part of what has to this point been a frustrating rebuilding process.

Signing Lorenzen to a one-year deal, watching him become an All-Star, and then seeing him deliver three strong outings post-All-Star break leading up to flipping him for a good prospect is an unmitigated win for GM Scott Harris’ relatively new front office in Detroit. It’s pretty much exactly what you’d want to see from a team in the Tigers’ position, so credit them for executing a very traditional strategy of creating long-term value for an organization in desperate need of all kinds of long-term depth.

The Phillies are likely hoping Lorenzen can serve as a more effective version of what they got from Noah Syndergaard at last year’s deadline — that is, someone who can stabilize the back of the rotation for now, before transitioning into a swingman role as October nears. This plan should work nicely for Lorenzen, who is approaching a career-high in innings and already has plenty of experience coming out of the bullpen in his career.

Lee is a high-contact infielder who has primarily played second base but has seen time at shortstop and third base, as well. His 5-foot-9 frame doesn’t offer a ton of pop but his approach and pure hit tool have been highly-regarded by evaluators since signing out of Taiwan as an 18-year-old in 2021. Lee is certainly a nice player to have, though this return feels a tad light considering the price we’ve seen paid for starting pitchers at this deadline, even those slated to be free agents this winter. — Shusterman

Phillies grade: B+
Tigers grade: B-

Astros reunite with Justin Verlander in a blockbuster trade with Mets

Key stats: 6-5, 3.15 ERA, 94.1 IP, 81 SO, 1.145 WHIP

Who else is involved: Outfielder Drew Gilbert, the Astros’ consensus top prospect, and Ryan Clifford, the team’s No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, are headed back to New York in a massive return for the Mets as Houston reunites with its past and future ace.

What it means: Verlander is headed back to Houston and, perhaps, another deep playoff run. The Mets appear headed nowhere in 2023 and, amid a fire sale, without clear direction for 2024.

That juxtaposition culminated Tuesday as the Astros and Mets agreed on a deal that returns the future Hall of Famer to the club with whom he won two World Series and spent five-plus years. The Astros won the Verlander sweepstakes after the 40-year-old waived his no-trade clause and chose a reunion over several other clubs making a push for him in the 11th hour of the deadline, sources told FOX Sports.

The blockbuster trade comes less than eight months after Verlander left Houston to ink the largest annual deal in MLB history, for a Mets franchise boasting the largest payroll in league history.  

With Verlander on the books for $43.3 million this season and next — he also has a $35 million vesting option in 2025 if he throws 140 innings in 2024 — the Mets will assume a hefty chunk of his remaining contract. According to the New York Post, the Mets will send $35 million to Houston for Verlander’s 2023 and 2024 seasons, then half of his $35 million 2025 option if it vests. This would amount to $52.5 million. This trade wasn’t happening without Steve Cohen agreeing to pay down some of Verlander’s bill. 

Houston, meanwhile, adds another frontline starter to one of the stronger rotations in baseball while sitting firmly in the wild-card race and just a half-game back of first-place Texas in the American League West. The reigning champions have gotten stellar performances from a handful of young arms this year but were in the market for a veteran they could lean heavily on come October. 

Their penance up front includes shipping off two of their best prospects. 

In pro ball, Gilbert may have ditched the over-the-top eye-black from his Knoxville days but remains a high-energy, power-speed dynamo that fits great at the top of any lineup. He torched high-A Asheville to the tune of a 1.107 OPS in 21 games before getting the call-up to Double-A, where he’s adjusted more slowly to a less hitter-friendly environment in Corpus Christi (.713 OPS in 60 games). He should stick in center field and wields a big arm that had him scouted primarily as a left-handed pitcher coming out of high school in Minnesota. We’ll see how much power production he ultimately has as he climbs closer to the big leagues, but he checks a lot of boxes for a likely fan favorite in Queens for years to come.

Though not selected until the 11th round of last year’s draft, Clifford received the second-highest bonus ($1.25 million) among all of Houston’s picks behind Gilbert to renege on his commitment to Vanderbilt. His smooth left-handed swing was one of the best in the high school class, and that offensive potential has translated quickly to pro ball where he’s enjoyed an impressive full-season debut, posting a .919 OPS across both levels of A-ball. The one concern with Clifford is that he’s already started playing more first base than corner outfield, so there may end up being added pressure on the bat, but evaluators love what he offers at the plate and only turned 20 a few weeks ago. He’s a really nice addition to a suddenly interesting group of lower-level position player prospects in the Mets’ system. — Thosar and Shusterman

Astros grade: B-
Mets grade: B+

[Read more: Astros reunite with Justin Verlander in blockbuster trade with Mets]

Blue Jays acquire Paul DeJong from Cardinals 

Key stats: .233/.297/412, 13 home runs, 93 OPS+ 

Who else is involved: Right-handed pitcher Matt Svanson, who is outside of Toronto’s top 30 prospects list on MLB Pipeline but has a 1.23 ERA in 29.1 innings in high-A this season, is headed to St. Louis in the deal. DeJong, who is a free agent after this season, gives Toronto depth at shortstop after Bo Bichette suffered a knee injury Monday.

What it means: Bichette leaving Monday’s game with an apparent right knee injury may have thrown a wrench into Toronto’s deadline plans, and opened up an unexpected landing spot for one of St. Louis’ last remaining trade chips. DeJong, who turns 30 on Wednesday, wasn’t a straight rental, but has a $12.5 million team option for 2024 that does not appear likely to be picked up. Now, he’ll head north of the border to potentially fill in for the All-Star Bichette at a crucial time, or at the very least provide valuable depth in the infield for the stretch run.

In some respects, DeJong’s career arc has consisted of a similar if even more extreme trajectory as his former teammate Jack Flaherty, except as a hitter. Like Flaherty, DeJong found success in the big leagues right away, but has struggled to replicate his uniquely early peak in the years since. He finished second in the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Voting and made the All-Star team in 2019, but his offense fell off a cliff from 2020-2022, leaving him on the outskirts of St. Louis’ infield plans and consistently in trade discussions. A strong start to this season allowed DeJong to reclaim the shortstop job from Tommy Edman, but the former’s performance has fluctuated greatly as the summer has progressed. DeJong still offers rare power for a shortstop and a steady glove, making him an ideal fit for the role Toronto will be asking him to fill.

Svanson is a relief prospect who was recently promoted to Double-A after carving high-A to a borderline laughable degree: a 1.23 ERA in 24 appearances with 36 strikeouts in 29.1 innings. He’s the latest acquisition in a concentrated effort to add pitching depth to all levels of the organization for St. Louis. — Shusterman

Blue Jays grade: B+
Cardinals grade: C+

Padres get Ji-Man Choi, Rich Hill from Pirates

Key stats:
-Choi: .205/.224/.507, six home runs, 91 OPS+
-Hill: 7-10, 4.76 ERA, 119.0 IP, 104 SO, 1.479 WHIP

Who else is involved: LHP Jackson Wolf, No. 16 on MLB Pipeline’s list of top 30 Padres prospects, is heading to Pittsbrugh, along with fellow minor leaguers Estuar Suarez and Alfonso Rivas.

What it means: So much for selling. It’s certainly nothing like last year’s fireworks, but the Padres’ sweep of the Rangers this past weekend evidently convinced them to act more as buyers than entertain offers for pending free agents Josh Hader and Blake Snell. Losing in somewhat embarrassing fashion in Colorado on Monday night to drop to 0-10 (!) in extra-innings did not deter AJ Preller’s commitment to buy on deadline day, even if it was just on the fringes of the roster. 

Choi will hopefully add some more left-handed thump than San Diego has gotten from the likes of fellow DH Matt Carpenter. Hill makes some sense as a pitching-depth addition while Michael Wacha is on the injured list. The bigger takeaway from Hill’s acquisition has nothing to do with how he’ll impact the Padres’ postseason push: Once he appears in a game with San Diego, he’ll have pitched for 13 different MLB teams — just one less than Edwin Jackson’s all-time record. 

Wolf is a solid get for Pittsburgh and likely a big-league contributor in the near future. The 24-year-old lefty made his MLB debut a couple weeks ago but has spent most of this season pitching well in Double-A, with 105 strikeouts in 188.1 innings. Suero is a center fielder with a great frame who won’t turn 18 until the end of this month. His numbers aren’t great in rookie ball this season, but he’s an ideal lottery ticket-type to dream on and a fun inclusion in a trade of this nature. — Shusterman

Padres grade: C+
Pirates grade: B+

Brewers trade reliever Peter Strzelecki for Diamondbacks reliever Andrew Chafin

Key stats: 
-Chafin: 4.19 ERA, 34.1 IP, 49 SO, 1.42 WHIP
-Strzelecki: 4.54 ERA, 35.2 IP, 37 SO, 1.178 WHIP 

One day after adding to their bullpen in a big way by acquiring closer Paul Sewald from Seattle, the D-backs decided to flip a lefty reliever for a right-handed one. Strzelecki has been solid in lower-leverage for Milwaukee, but he hasn’t been quite as good this year as he was as a rookie in 2022, so he heads to Arizona in favor of a more established veteran bullpen arm. Chafin has a team option for $7.25 million for 2024, so he might not be a straight rental. But this is still something of a curious move for a D-backs team that would seemingly want as much pitching depth as possible if they are to remain in the postseason mix. 

For the Brewers, this makes a lot more sense as a win-now move as they hadn’t really found another go-to lefty out of the bullpen since trading Josh Hader a year ago outside of Hoby Milner. Chafin has generally been one of the more reliable southpaw relievers for the past decade. Outside of one disaster outing against St. Louis last week, he’s been as solid as ever in the desert this season with a 4.19 ERA, 3.13 FIP and 32.7% strikeout rate that ranks 20th among all qualified relievers. — Shusterman

Brewers grade: B+
Diamondbacks grade: C+

Marlins get reliever Ryan Weathers from Padres for infielder Garrett Cooper
Marlins get first baseman Josh Bell from Guardians

Key stats: 
-Weathers: 6.25 ERA, 44.2 IP, 29 SO, 1.612 WHIP
-Cooper: 256/.296/.426, 13 HR, 96 OPS+
-Bell: 233/.318/.383, 11 HR, 96 OPS+

Who else is involved: 
-Sean Reynolds, No. 21 Marlins prospect on MLB Pipeline, is heading to San Diego.
-Infielder Jean Segura and infield prospect Kahlil Watson, No. 12 on MLB Pipeline’s list of top 30 Marlins prospects, go to Cleveland.

What these trades mean: It turned out the Jake Burger acquisition from the White Sox was merely the first in a trilogy of downright fascinating moves by the Marlins as they try to improve their team in an effort to hang around in the NL wild-card mix. Fresh off the Burger add, Miami went back to the AL Central corner infield well and landed veteran first baseman Josh Bell from Cleveland.

Adding Bell for Miami might be puzzling on its own but promptly filled the hole at first base left by shipping Garrett Cooper — previously tied with Sandy Alcántara as the longest-tenured Marlin — to San Diego in a separate deal. Bell has been solid if unspectacular this season. He’s similar to Cooper but offers a nice switch-hitting element and more contact to a lineup that could still use more of that beyond Luis Arráez.

From Cleveland’s perspective, this made Monday’s acquisition of top first base prospect Kyle Manzardo a lot more understandable. With Bell likely under contract again next season via player option, it was hard to see how the nearly ready Manzardo would fit with both Bell and certified slugger Josh Naylor in the 1B/DH rotation. Well, now we know.

Better yet, the Guardians were also able to bring in a huge upside talent in Watson, Miami’s first-rounder from just two years ago who seemed desperate for a change of scenery. Things just simply hadn’t been going smoothly for Watson in the Marlins organization, but we aren’t that far removed from him being considered one of the most explosive prep hitters in the entire 2021 draft. The numbers — and behavior — haven’t been pretty thus far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Cleveland can get him back on track and restore his prospect value in due time. At the very least, it’s quite the fascinating gamble to make in a trade return.

While it’s never easy to deal away a former first-round pick, the Marlins were also on the flip side of such an equation in landing the left-hander Weathers, the seventh overall pick in 2018, from San Diego. He’s struggled badly this year at the big-league level but has performed well in the pitcher-unfriendly conditions in Triple-A, where he’s still young for the level despite his considerable amount of MLB experience to this point. He’s under team control through 2027.

Including the Scott Barlow acquisition and the two veterans brought in from Pittsburgh, the Padres had a decent deadline on the whole in the sense that they filled some holes with ancillary role players meant to help support the superstar core. But this deal in particular could end up looking pretty bad if Weathers flourishes with the Marlins the way many pitchers have under their tutelage. He’s been quite bad this season, but he’s still just 23 and throws hard for a left-handed starter. Even if they can develop him into more of a multi-inning relief weapon, that’s a nice piece to add for a rental in Cooper. Reynolds — a power-hitting first base prospect turned hard-throwing reliever — could also be in a big-league bullpen one day, so maybe he balances this trade out down the line. It’s not that San Diego needs Weathers badly right now or even in the near future; he’s just a tough talent to part with for a player in Cooper who will have to make a massive impact on this year’s season for it to have been worth it, should the former put it all together with the Marlins. — Shusterman

Guardians grade: A
Marlins grade: B+
Padres grade: C+

Mets get relievers Phil Bickford and Adam Kolarek from Dodgers for cash considerations

Key stats: 
-Bickford: 5.14 ERA, 42.0 IP, 48 SO, 1.524 WHIP
-Kolarek (AAA): 2.40 ERA, 30 IP, 26 SO, 1.433 WHIP

Angels get reliever Dominic Leone from Mets

Key stats: 4.40 ERA, 30.2 IP, 33 SO, 1.239 WHIP

Who else is involved: New York receives infield/outfield prospect Jeremiah Jackson.

Yankees get reliever Keynan Middleton from White Sox

Key stats: 3.96 ERA, 36.1 IP, 47 SO, 1.349 WHIP

Who else is involved: New York in sending minor-league righty Juan Carela to Chicago.

JULY 31

Cubs acquire 3B Jeimer Candelario from Nationals

Key Stats: .258/.342/.481, 16 HR, 128 OPS+

Who else was involved: The Nats receive LHP DJ Herz and minor-league infielder Kevin Made in the deal. Chicago also received cash considerations from Washington.

What it means: What a difference a week makes! It wasn’t long ago we were talking about slugger Cody Bellinger and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman as two of the biggest potential pickups this deadline. Instead, the Cubs have switched to buy mode after winning eight of their past nine games and moving into striking distance in the NL Central and wild-card races.

It was just last November that Candelario was non-tendered by the Tigers. He has since rebounded from a dismal 2022 season, finding his 2021 form again to become arguably the most desirable hitter in a barren offensive market. Candelario has 16 homers and leads all National League third basemen with 30 doubles. The Cubs could use that pop both at third base and DH. 

Beyond that, he’s also enjoying one of the best defensive seasons of his career. By FanGraphs WAR, Candelario has been the most valuable third baseman in the NL this season. I wondered if that might yield a higher-upside return, but the Nationals did land two of the Cubs’ top-20 prospects in Made and Herz. Made’s defense is his calling card, though the 20-year-old shortstop will need to make strides with the bat to become a big-league regular. Herz, meanwhile, has struck out more than 13 batters per nine innings over four minor-league seasons but probably has to improve his control and command to make it as a starter. — Kavner

Cubs grade: A-
Nationals grade: B

Brewers get outfielder Mark Canha from Mets

Key Stats: .245/.343/.381, 6 HR, 102 OPS+

Who else was involved: The Mets will receive right-handed pitcher Justin Jarvis in the trade, per ESPN. Jarvis is in Double-A and was ranked as the Brewers’ No. 30 prospect by MLB Pipeline prior to the season. 

What it means: The latest departure in the Mets’ ongoing fire sale is Canha. The 34-year-old was expected to be moved by the deadline, so this won’t come as a shock to anyone paying attention to New York’s moves this past week. Canha, a right-handed outfielder, ends his Mets tenure after two years in Queens. He posted a 102 OPS+ in 89 games this season and saw most of his playing time in left field, as well as 13 games at first base while Pete Alonso was on the injured list. Canha is a solid pickup for a struggling Brewers offense given his ability to get on base and post competitive at-bats.

In return, the Mets finally added pitching depth in Jarvis. He was ranked 30th in the Brewers’ organizational prospect list. His minor-league stats won’t turn any heads, but Jarvis just graduated to Triple-A this month, so he’ll give the Mets an upper-tier starting pitching option, which is the organization’s greatest deficiency in its farm system. The 23-year-old, on the younger side for getting promoted to Triple-A, has a 4.27 ERA in 90 games (76 starts) and 385.1 innings. After pitching quite well at Double-A, Jarvis is still finding his footing in the next rung on the ladder, allowing 14 earned runs in 11.2 innings (10.80 ERA) in just three starts at Triple-A. 

At minimum, Jarvis serves as critical starting pitching depth for the Mets who could make his MLB debut as a back-end rotation piece as soon as next year. He’s the type of return expected for a league-average outfielder like Canha, who has a club option for 2024 that the Mets were expected to decline, anyway. — Thosar

Brewers grade: B
Mets grade: B

Diamondbacks get closer Paul Sewald from Mariners (per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal)

Key Stats: 2.93 ERA, 43 IP, 21 SV, 60 SO, 1.023 WHIP

Who else was involved: Arizona traded two pieces off its big-league roster in veteran third baseman Josh Rojas and rookie outfielder Dominic Canzone, who is ranked the Diamondbacks’ No. 19 prospect per MLB Pipeline. Shortstop Ryan Bliss, Arizona’s No. 28 prospect, is also headed to Seattle.

What it means: Like Cleveland’s deal with Tampa Bay earlier on Monday, Seattle decided to sacrifice a crucial component of the current pitching staff in order to acquire longer-term help on offense. As with Civale, it’s a tough pill to swallow to willingly send such a key contributor away while a postseason spot remains in reach, but the difference between the Mariners’ decision compared to the Guardians’ is Seattle is in a stronger position to replace Sewald on the fly. Matt Brash and Andres Muñoz haven’t been as steady as Sewald this year, but each possess obvious ninth-inning stuff that Scott Servais will likely be turning to down the stretch. Even Justin Topa could conceivably be handed the ball in the right scenario; he’s already got two saves this year, just like Muñoz. Topa, in particular, is also a reminder of how good the Mariners have been at consistently developing late-inning contributors from seemingly out of nowhere, making it easy to part with one of their greatest success stories in Sewald.

As for the return, it’s no surprise to see Seattle targeting hitters who can help now or very soon. Canzone just delivered the game-winning RBI against the Mariners on Saturday, only a few weeks after making his MLB debut. The 25-year-old outfielder’s call-up came after he torched Triple-A. His outrageous numbers (1.065 OPS and a nearly equal walk-to-strikeout ratio) were surely buoyed by a home park in Reno that is one of the friendliest hitting environments in pro ball. But it’d be hard to fake those numbers entirely. He’s a solid hitter, and he’s looked like one since being an eighth-round pick in 2019.

Bliss is perhaps the most exciting inclusion. A second-round pick in 2021 out of Auburn, the 5-foot-6 middle infielder has enjoyed a massive breakout season that saw him demolish the Texas League, hitting .358/.414/.594 with 12 homers and 30 steals. He represented Arizona at the Futures Game in Seattle a few weeks back and will now likely join Triple-A Tacoma, adding some much-needed infield athleticism to the upper levels of Seattle’s farm system.

The 29-year-old Rojas has been downright dreadful at the plate this year (.589 OPS), though it’s been something of a surprise after two straight seasons of above-average production in Arizona (.746 OPS) in over 1,000 plate appearances. Getting his bat back on track will be important, but his main value is his ability to play basically anywhere on the diamond that isn’t catcher or center field. Seattle has greatly valued such defensive versatility for its bench in recent years; Rojas offers those traits and is under contract through 2026. 

For the Diamondbacks, the calculus is far simpler. With an abundance of position-player depth at the upper levels and a serious need for a shutdown arm in the late-innings, this was a sensible use of resources in an effort to stay in the NL postseason mix. Sewald’s unique release point and masterful deployment of his fastball-slider combo has made him one of the premier strikeout artists in the game. This has been a missing piece for a while now in Arizona, and Sewald slots in nicely to the ninth inning — not just for this stretch run but also for 2024. Whether the players the D-backs gave up come back to haunt them remains to be seen, but this was a logical win-now move and an encouraging one considering the massive step forward the organization has taken in 2023. — Shusterman

Diamondbacks grade: B+
Mariners grade: B-

Rays trade for Guardians RHP Aaron Civale

Key Stats: 2.34 ERA, 77 IP, 58 SO, 1.039 WHIP

Who else was involved: The Rays are sending first baseman Kyle Manzardo, their No. 4 prospect and the No. 37 prospect across all of MLB, to Cleveland in exchange for Civale. The right-handed starter is under team control through the 2025 season.

What it means: In analyzing the Max Scherzer to Texas blockbuster, I remarked how rare it is to see a high-end big-league regular swapped for just a single prospect. Perhaps I spoke too soon. However, while the massive financial implications of Scherzer’s contract undeniably influenced the return for New York, this latest 1-for-1 swap is a much more straightforward exchange of talent and value between two small-market teams who tend to only make trades that meet their carefully calculated standards.

Civale is a fascinating pitcher, a former third-round pick who burst onto the scene in 2019 with 10 tremendous starts as a rookie, looking like the latest and greatest Cleveland pitching development story. In the years since, he had settled into more of a reliable back-end starter, posting a 4.42 ERA in 53 starts from 2020-2022. Though his fastball velocity is comfortably below league average, Civale’s uniquely deep and balanced arsenal has consistently kept hitters off-balance, and he’s found more success than ever in 2023 despite missing a good chunk of the first half with an oblique injury.

His ERA this year in 13 starts is fittingly identical to what it was during his breakout rookie campaign: 2.34. Among 111 starting pitchers with at least 70 innings pitched this season, Civale’s ERA ranks first, though his 19% strikeout rate ranks 88th. He’s certainly due for some amount of regression from a pure run prevention standpoint, but the Rays don’t need him to come in and throw eight scoreless every night. Civale complements the hard-throwing, whiff-monster types like Shane McClanahan, Tyler Glasnow and Taj Bradley nicely. Plus, he’ll be around for a few more seasons.

Those extra two years of team control is surely what enabled Cleveland to access a prospect of Manzardo’s caliber. If you’re a definite first base/DH-type, you gotta rake to really raise your prospect stock — especially as a second-round pick from Washington State who very few people had heard of before his breakout junior year because he played his high school ball in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (!!!). Well, that’s exactly what Manzardo did last year, torching high-A and Double-A to the tune of a 1.043 OPS with a nearly even walk-to-strikeout ratio. His numbers are down from the absurd standard set a year ago, but he just turned 23 and is already in Triple-A. He’ll be big-league ready next year at some point — the question is whether he fits in at first base or DH with Josh Naylor still around. No matter the position, the Guardians are clearly buying the bat.

For as much as this trade fills an obvious need for Tampa Bay, it also exacerbates one for Cleveland considering its ongoing struggle to fill innings while Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie are still on the injured list. A move like this sends a pretty clear signal that 2024 and beyond is more important than this year. Viewed through the lens, it’s reasonable to determine that a potential impact bat in Manzardo under team control for six-plus more years is more valuable than Civale under contract through 2025 — especially with the trio of rookies in Tanner Bibee, Logan Allen and Gavin Williams ready to support Bieber and McKenzie once they return to health. I like Manzardo a lot, though it’s certainly a bit odd to see a team deal away such a crucial piece while still firmly in the mix for a division title. At the same time, perhaps the Guardians believe they can still win the AL Central without Civale while also significantly improving their offensive outlook for the not-so-distant future. — Shusterman

Guardians grade: B
Rays grade: A

Diamondbacks acquire INF Jace Peterson from Athletics

Key stats: .221/.313/.324, 6 HR, .631 OPS+

Who else was involved: Minor-league pitcher Chad Patrick joins the A’s in exchange for Peterson, alongside cash considerations. He currently has a 4.71 ERA with 90 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP with the team’s Double-A affiliate.

Cubs acquire RHP José Cuas from Royals

Key stats: 3-0, 4.54 ERA, 41.2 IP, 52 K, 1.608 WHIP

Who else was involved: The Cubs are sending outfielder Nelson Velázquez to Kansas City. He hit .241 with three home runs in 29 at-bats with Chicago earlier this season.

Reds get LHP Sam Moll from Athletics

Key stats: 4.54 ERA, 37.2 IP, 52 K, 1.407 WHIP

Who else was involved: The Athletics will get reliever Joe Boyle back from Cincinnati. He’s a 6-foot-7, 240-pound right-hander who plays for the squad’s Double-A affiliate.

Giants nab outfielder A.J. Pollock and utility player Mark Mathias from Mariners

Key Stats: 
Pollock: .173/.225/.323, 5 HR, 53 OPS+
Mathias: .231/.355/.269, .624 OPS, 74 OPS+

Who else was involved: The Giants will send cash considerations or a player to be named later to Seattle, per sources. Mathias is expected to be moved to Triple A. 

Rockies acquire Justin Bruihl from Dodgers for cash considerations

Key stats: 4.07 ERA, 24.1 IP, 19 SO, 1.315 WHIP

Royals acquire Tucker Davidson from Angels for cash considerations

Key stats: 6.54 ERA, 31.2 IP, 31 SO, 1.737 WHIP

Braves acquire Rockies closer Brad Hand

Key stats: 4.54 ERA, 35.2 IP, 41 SO, 1.430 WHIP

Who else was involved: Alec Barger, a right-handed pitcher outside of the Braves’ top 30 prospects per MLB Pipeline with a 3.29 ERA in 38.1 innings in Double-A this season, will go from Atlanta to Colorado.

Rays get Adrian Sampson from Cubs

Key stats: 0-2, 10.17 ERA, 23.0 IP, 22 SO, 1.96 WHIP at Triple-A

Who else was involved: The Cubs also sent minor-league pitcher Manny Rodríguez and international free agent money to the Rays, who send 27-year-old minor league pitcher Josh Roberson to Chicago in return. Neither Rodríguez nor Roberson appear on their respective former teams’ top 30 prospect lists on MLB Pipeline.

Padres get Royals closer Scott Barlow

Key stats: 5.35 ERA, 38.2 IP, 13 SV, 1.552 IP

Who else is involved: San Diego is sending RHP Henry Williams, the club’s No. 10 prospect and a 2022 third-round pick to the Royals.

Dodgers acquire reliever Ryan Yarbrough from Royals

Key stats: 4.24 ERA, 51 IP, 29 SO, 1.196 WHIP

Who else is involved: Kansas City is receiving a pair of prospects: first baseman Devin Mann and shortstop Derlin Figueroa.

Red Sox get infielder Luis Urías from Brewers

Key stats: .145/.299/.236, 1 HR, 51 OPS+

Who else is involved: Boston is sending 22-year-old pitching prospect Bradley Blalock to Milwaukee.

JULY 30

Angels get Randal Grichuk, C.J. Cron from Rockies

Key stats:
-Grichuk: .312/.367/.502, 8 HR, 123 OPS+
-Cron: .259/.300/.473, 11 HR, 96 OPS+

Who else was involved: The Angels are sending right-handed pitcher Jake Madden (No. 8 on MLB Pipeline’s list of top 30 team prospects) and left-handed pitcher Mason Albright (No. 28) in exchange for Grichuk and Cron, two of the Angels’ former first-round MLB Draft picks in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

What it means: The Angels were able to land two arms in one trade in their big deal with the White Sox and now get two more rental pieces from Colorado to help bolster the lineup. It’s become common to criticize the Angels in recent years for not building a competent pitching staff to support the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, but the current version of the team needs offense a whole lot more, especially as long as Trout is on the IL. The scary injury to Taylor Ward that is expected to sideline him for the rest of the season heightened their need for a bat even further. We’ll see how much Grichuk’s quietly excellent production in particular (.861 OPS!) translates away from Coors Field, but he and Cron are both capable of delivering league-average offense. It’s something manager Phil Nevin would love to pencil into his lineup right now. This deal ain’t sexy, but it was an entirely necessary move, so credit to the Angels for jumping on two solid bats in a market that doesn’t have many of those available. 

Despite being selected in the 12th round, Albright received the third-highest signing bonus among the 19 pitchers selected by the Angels in their infamous 2021 “no-hitter” draft. He’s now become the third pitcher from that draft already dealt away in a trade, joining second-rounder Ky Bush and third-rounder Landon Marceaux. Albright’s been solid as one of the younger starters in the low-A California League and is a nice young lefty to add to a system in dire need of pitching talent. A teammate of Albright’s with Inland Empire, Madden hasn’t had quite the same success this year but was one of the best junior college pitchers available in the 2022 draft and has some exciting ingredients to work with, most notably high-end velocity coming from an athletic 6-foot-6 frame. 

For an organization in Colorado that has made more puzzling transactions and roster-building decisions over the past decade than almost any team, credit goes to its brass for doing the obvious thing for once and flipping two of its biggest rental pieces into two intriguing pitchers for the long haul. — Shusterman

Angels grade: B
Rockies grade: B+

Rangers landing Jordan Montgomery from Cardinals

Key stats: 6-9, 3.42 ERA, 121 IP, 108 SO, 1.248 WHIP

Who else was involved: Texas is also acquiring reliever Chris Stratton while sending left-handed reliever John King and prospects Thomas Saggese, and infielder, and Tekoah Roby, a right-handed pitcher, to St. Louis.

What it means: It’s not often that one trade can actually serve as a realistic blueprint for another, but it’s hard not to look at the recent White Sox trade of Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López to the Angels for catching prospect Edgar Quero and left-hander Ky Bush as an obvious parallel for a Montgomery deal if St. Louis chose to package him with a reliever like Stratton. You can debate about the long-term value of each of the players, but as far as performance this year goes — and the fact that all of these players are slated to hit free agency this winter — Chicago’s deal undoubtedly helped set the standard for the kind of return expected for a package of Montgomery and Stratton. That is, the return needed to include considerable prospect value. 

For Texas, this acquisition is very simple. I wrote in my deadline preview of the AL contenders’ needs that the Rangers should be seeking “multiple pitchers who can reliably record outs in Major League Baseball Games.” Well, here you go. The acquisition of Max Scherzer might be the bigger splash, but with Nathan Eovaldi just hitting the IL again, the need for quality innings from every part of the pitching staff is as dire as ever. Montgomery has been one of the few consistent arms for St. Louis this season and is setting himself up nicely for a handsome payday this winter. Texas will hopefully get more from him than the other two lefties in its rotation in Martín Pérez and Andrew Heaney, both of whom have seriously regressed after stellar 2022 campaigns. Stratton is a spin-rate god whose numbers never quite match his raw stuff, but is certainly capable of helping stabilize the sixth and seventh innings for manager Bruce Bochy. 

With fire-balling reliever Jordan Hicks off to Toronto, this leaves right-hander Jack Flaherty and perhaps shortstop Paul DeJong as the other Cardinals rentals likely to move in the next 48 hours. 

With the Giolito/Lopez deal as the benchmark, I think St. Louis did similarly well in acquiring depth and upside in this trade. In one deal, the Rangers dealt away two of the five selections they made in the shortened 2020 draft, each of whom was drafted out of high school that year. Saggese — pronounced suh-JAY-see — is the real prize here. A fifth-round pick in 2020 out of a Southern California high school, Saggese has comfortably performed at each level he’s been assigned to the past three seasons, including an .894 OPS this year as one of the youngest everyday players in the Double-A Texas League. He’s mostly played second and third base but is capable at shortstop, as well, profiling similar to the likes of the Cardinals’ Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan. With Marcus Semien and Corey Seager each locked in for the long haul, and rookie Josh Jung establishing himself as a franchise cornerstone at third base, Saggese was best utilized as trade bait for Texas’ aggressive push for a pennant this season. Fellow Double-A infielder Luisangel Acuña had the same fate and was dealt to New York for Max Scherzer. 

Roby, Texas’ third-rounder in 2020, has been on the IL with a shoulder issue since early June but was holding his own as one of the younger pitchers in Double-A, just as he did a year ago as a 20-year-old in the high-A South Atlantic League. His stuff isn’t overpowering, but he possesses a deep arsenal and a lot of the traits you’d want to see in a pitcher that could fit in the middle of a rotation someday. With Cards general manager John Mozeliak’s stated intention of overhauling St. Louis’ pitching apparatus, this is a logical piece to include in a deal like this.  

Finally, King is noteworthy for having been originally included as part of the Joey Gallo trade to New York two summers ago, but the Yankees were unsure about his medicals and ultimately substituted Joely Rodríguez for him at the last minute. He was a reliable lefty out of the bullpen for the past two seasons for Texas, but struggles this season have sent him back to Triple-A where he currently remains. Under contract though 2026, King now has a chance to re-assert himself as a solid middle relief option in St. Louis. — Shusterman

Cardinals grade: B+
Rangers grade: A-

Blue Jays adding key reliever Jordan Hicks

Key stats: 3.67 ERA, 41.2 IP, 59 SO, 1.512 WHIP

Who else was involved: Toronto is sending right-handed pitching prospects Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein to St. Louis.

What it means: The St. Louis sell-off has begun. This may be a new experience for Cards fan, so let me explain. Teams that expected to contend, but instead fell short of expectations during the season’s first four months, tend to trade away their impending free agents at the trade deadline. That is what the Cardinals have begun to do.

The trading of Hicks is an admission of failure, the first official transactional recognition that the 2023 Cardinals stunk up the farm. That in itself is noteworthy for a franchise that hasn’t pushed the midsummer eject button in over two decades. 

The return is pretty good for two months of a volatile reliever set to hit the open market. Robberse is a Dutch-born starting pitcher who has pitched impressively well as a 21-year-old in Double-A and was one of Toronto’s reps in the recent Futures Game. He profiles as a back-end starter who gets outs with guile and command instead of electric stuff. Kloffenstein was also in Toronto’s Double-A rotation, but looks more like an up-down yo-yo guy compared to Robberse. 

Two big-league controllable starters for two months of Hicks is a great get, but the main story here is that St. Louis is swallowing its pride and planning for tomorrow. Huzzah.

While the departing flamethrowing reliever had a roller-coaster tenure under the Gateway Arch, the 26-year-old has looked much better of late. Since May 8th (an arbitrary cutoff date I chose to make him look good), Hicks has allowed just six earned runs in 26 appearances. He’s limited the walks during that stretch (a big problem for him) without sacrificing for strikeouts.

Hicks throws harder than everyone on planet earth except Jhoan Duran. His average fastball is 101 mph (that’s 162.544 kmh for you Jays fans). Hicks remains an incredibly volatile player, but with Jordan Romano on the IL, Toronto picks up a guy who could catch fire/stay hot to become a core figure in the Jays’ bullpen, as they continue clawing for a wild-card spot. Robberse feels like a steep price to pay for Hicks, a player who could turn into an unusable pumpkin at any time, but that’s the market, I guess. — Mintz

Blue Jays grade: B
Cardinals grade: A-

JULY 29

Rangers to acquire Mets pitcher Max Scherzer

Key stats: 9-4, 4.01 ERA, 107.2 IP, 121 SO, 1.189 WHIP

Who else was involved: Shortstop Luisangel Acuña, the Rangers’ third-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline and Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr.’s younger brother, in a 1-for-1 deal. The deal hit a snag for several hours Saturday evening due to its complex structure, which involved Scherzer waiving his no-trade clause, customary review of the involved players’ medicals and the Mets sending a large amount of money to Texas in order to help cover all but $22.5 million of Scherzer’s remaining contract, including the $43.3 million player option for 2024 that he reportedly opted into as part of the trade.

Rangers reach an agreement to acquire Max Scherzer from Mets

What it means: Rather than keep the most expensive roster in MLB history together and pursue a long-shot run at a wild-card spot, Mets GM Billy Eppler — and owner Steve Cohen — have made their intentions for this deadline clear. In short, the only way to make the most out of this brutally disappointing season is to make significant moves to improve the team’s future outlook. Evidently, trading away pending free agents like David Robertson was not enough. Moving off Scherzer helps add more potential impact talent to a farm system that desperately needs revitalization.

That, too, comes at a major cost.  For the richest owner in baseball, the bill — which is reportedly a whopping $35 million-plus — was well worth the opportunity to further build the Mets’ farm system. To be clear, this was not a deal meant to shed money off the books for the sake of financial flexibility. It was an opportunity to essentially acquire top-end talent through a uniquely expensive vehicle, which in this case is paying someone a lot of money to play for another team. 

Forget the financials, though: What is Texas actually getting in Scherzer right now? This is a team clearly all-in on pursuing a pennant, with the three-time Cy Young winner obviously expected to team with Nathan Eovaldi and front the Rangers’ rotation for the stretch run — a development spawned by Scherzer’s former Mets teammate Jacob deGrom being sidelined for the year following Tommy John surgery.

The risk may have been mitigated financially for Texas, but Scherzer — with both his injury history and signs of slight decline this year — cannot be considered a sure thing at this stage. He’s still capable of delivering dominant outings, but if the Rangers are expecting him to dominate post-trade to the degree that he did two years ago with the Dodgers, they might be sorely disappointed. If anything, the move is another reminder of just how all-in this organization is on winning right now. It might not work, but you gotta respect it. — Shusterman

Mets grade: B
Rangers grade: C+

JULY 28

Astros acquire White Sox reliever Kendall Graveman

Key stats: 3.48 ERA, 44 IP, 42 SO, 1.205 WHIP

Who else was involved: Chicago received minor league catcher Korey Lee, ranked fifth on MLB Pipeline’s list of top Astros prospects.

Dodgers acquire White Sox starter Lance Lynn, reliever Joe Kelly

Key stats:
-Lynn: 6-9, 6.47 ERA, 119.2 IP, 144 SO, 1.462 WHIP
-Kelly: 4.97 ERA, 29 IP, 41 SO, 1.310 WHIP

Who else was involved: Chicago received minor league pitcher Nick Nastrini — ranked ninth on MLB Pipeline’s list of top Dodgers prospects — minor league pitcher Jordan Leasure and outfielder Trayce Thompson.

What it means: The Dodgers are betting on their ability to extract the most out of players having down years. All four of their deadline additions have played below replacement-level in 2023 but have demonstrated past productivity and cost relatively little to acquire.

Like the Kiké Hernández deal, their latest move brings back a known commodity and fan favorite who was part of their 2020 World Series club. A mercurial talent, Kelly hasn’t experienced the same level of success he enjoyed with the Dodgers in 2020 (1.80 ERA) or 2021 (2.86 ERA) since joining the White Sox. He sports a 5.59 ERA and 1.47 WHIP over the last two years, both career highs for any stop in the reliever’s 12-year career. He has dealt with groin and elbow injuries this season that have limited him to 29 innings in 2023.

The Dodgers had expressed interest in Lynn for years, but this season is unlike any in the past for the 2021 All-Star, who has a career-high 6.47 ERA. Lynn and Kelly are similar, however, in that their struggles are juxtaposed with an incredible ability to miss bats.

Kelly’s strikeout rate the last two years are the best of his career. While he’s actually throwing harder this year at 35 years old than he did last season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go back to using his curveball more often in Los Angeles. Lynn’s struggles are more confounding. He has allowed more homers and earned runs than any pitcher in baseball this season — and it’s not particularly close — while getting more whiffs than ever before.

It’ll be easier to judge these moves once we find out how much more the Dodgers do in the coming days. They desperately needed to address their pitching staff at the deadline, so the floor-raising fliers make sense. If Lynn finds his past form, he has the talent to start postseason games. Plus, he has a club option in 2024, making him potentially worth more than the typical rental. The Dodgers are betting this reclamation attempt goes better than it did with Noah Syndergaard, who was just dealt to Cleveland for Amed Rosario.

What do the Astros do at trade deadline? Is Blake Snell on the move?

What do the Astros do at trade deadline? Is Blake Snell on the move?

The White Sox, meanwhile, continue doing the necessary work of restocking their farm after getting two of the Angels’ top prospects back for Lucas Giolito earlier this week. In this deal, they turned two scuffling major-leaguers into multiple members of the esteemed Double-A Tulsa pitching staff. Nastrini, a top-10 Dodgers prospect and 2021 fourth-round pick, has struck out more than 10 batters per nine innings at every stop while improving upon the command issues that plagued him at UCLA. Leasure sports a 3.09 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 35 innings at Tulsa. — Kavner

Dodgers grade: B
White Sox grade: B+

JULY 27

Marlins acquire Mets ace reliever David Robertson 

Key stats: 2.05 ERA, 44 IP, 14 SV, 48 SO, 1.000 WHIP

Who else was involved: New York received infielder Marco Vargas and catcher Ronald Hernández, ranked 18th and 21st, respectively, on MLB Pipeline’s top prospects list for Miami.

What it means: If ever there was a sign that the Mets are sellers at this deadline, general manager Billy Eppler made sure nobody would miss it. Word spread that Robertson was traded to the Marlins — the Mets’ NL East foe sitting just ahead of them in the wild-card race — mere minutes after they sat through a 90-minute rain delay, broke a tied game, and managed to beat the basement-dwelling Nationals. Congratulations on the win, but we’re selling, the front office broadcasted. Try again in 2024. 

Ken Rosenthal on the latest trade deadline rumors on the Mets, Padres

Ken Rosenthal on the latest trade deadline rumors on the Mets, Padres

Robertson is one of the top relievers on the trade market, and the Mets in exchange received a pair of interesting minor-league position players. That is in part a puzzling return for the Mets, seeing as how they deeply lack upper-tier arms. Rather than trade Robertson for more pitching, the Mets acquired a pair of teenagers. While it’s worth noting they’re rated a bit more favorably by FanGraphs, it’s surprising the Mets didn’t wait at least a few more days to field superior offers. The deadline itself is still five days away, and Robertson was their best trade asset.

The Marlins, a half-game back of Cincinnati and Philadelphia in a tight NL wild-card race, just gained a proven veteran closer with playoff experience who has been terrific this season. Suddenly, their bullpen looks much improved with Robertson joining another new high-leverage right-hander in Jorge López, whom they acquired from Minnesota earlier this week. The Marlins found the right-handed balance they needed in the relief corps to complement lefties A.J. Puk and Tanner Scott. Plus, Miami earns bragging rights for being on the contending side of an intradivision trade. — Thosar

Marlins grade: A
Mets grade: B-

Brewers trade for Pirates first baseman Carlos Santana

Key stats: .235/.321/.412, 12 HR, 98 OPS+

Who else was involved: Pittsburgh netted 18-year-old shortstop prospect Jhonny Severino.

JULY 26

Angels land RHP Lucas Giolito from White Sox

Key stats: 6-6, 3.79 ERA, 121 IP, 131 SO, 1.223 WHIP

Who else was involved: The Angels also added a valuable bullpen piece in Reynaldo López. In exchange, they sent Chicago their Nos. 2 and 3 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline’s rankings: catcher Edgar Quero, a top-100 prospect by most outlets, and left-handed pitcher Ky Bush.

The Angels going for it with Shohei Ohtani is the right move

The Angels going for it with Shohei Ohtani is the right move

What it means: You can put those Ohtani trade rumors to bed. Mere hours after FOX Sports’ Tom Verducci reported that Ohtani would not be dealt at the deadline, the Angels went into buy mode and acquired arguably the most coveted starting pitcher on the market. It’s a move the Angels would only make if they planned to push for their first playoff berth since 2014 — and to keep their two-way superstar for whatever lies ahead

While it always seemed like a long shot that Ohtani would be dealt, it wasn’t entirely out of the question when this month began. Their pitching staff bolstered, the Angels’ move all but assures Ohtani will finish out his contract year in Anaheim before becoming the most coveted free agent in baseball history this winter. 

And if Giolito helps the Angels play meaningful baseball in October, it will be a move well worth the cost. — Kavner

Angels grade: B+
White Sox grade: A-

Guardians send SS Amed Rosario to Dodgers for RHP Noah Syndergaard

Key stats: 
-Rosario: .265/.306/.369, 3 HR, 89 OPS+
-Syndergaard: 1-4, 7.16 ERA, 55.1 IP, 38 SO, 1.446 WHIP

Twins swap reliever Jorge López for Marlins reliever Dylan Floro

Key Stats: 
-López: 5.09 ERA, 35.1 IP, 27 SO, 1.274 WHIP
-Floro: 4.54 ERA, 39.2 IP, 41 SO, 1.487 WHIP

JULY 25

Dodgers bring back Red Sox OF/IF Kiké Hernández  

Key Stats: .222/.279/.320, 6 HR, 60 OPS+

Who else was involved: Boston received reliever prospects Nick Robertson and Justin Hagenman.

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