MLB trade deadline grades for all 30 teams, from Padres (A+) to Mets (C) to White Sox (F)

MLB trade deadline grades for all 30 teams, from Padres (A+) to Mets (C) to White Sox (F)

The 2022 MLB trade deadline will be remembered for the historic Juan Soto blockbuster deal between the Padres and Nationals, but we also saw the team with the best record trade one of its most consistent starters for an injured center fielder. We saw a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 21 years acquire arguably the best-available starting pitcher on the market. We saw teams that were within three games of playoff position decide to “sell.” We saw big-market teams overpay for mediocrity.

This year’s deadline had it all. Now, it’s time to take stock of how every team fared with my annual trade deadline grades.

These grades are strictly my opinion — nothing more, nothing less. I don’t use analytics or consult with others in determining them. You can agree, disagree or share your own deadline takes in the comments section, so please weigh in.

I assign the grades based on how much teams have improved their situation — whether they’re rebuilding, trying to make the playoffs or pushing to win the World Series. Full disclosure: I’m not a big fan of teams “standing pat,” so rightly or wrongly, I do tend to hold that against them. I’ve always believed there are ways to improve your organization at the trade deadline.

I take into account team needs, positional depth and the available players. I compare what teams did and what they didn’t do, and consider payroll size, the standings and the organization’s goals.

Here are my grades for each of the 30 teams for this year’s trade deadline.

American League East

New York Yankees

Grade: A

Trades: Acquired LF Andrew Benintendi from Royals for LHP T.J. Sikkema, RHP Beck Way and RHP Chandler Champlain; acquired RHP Frankie Montas and RHP Lou Trivino from A’s for LHP Ken Waldichuk, RHP Luis Medina, LHP JP Sears and 2B Cooper Bowman; acquired RHP Scott Effross from Cubs for RHP Hayden Wesneski; traded LHP Jordan Montgomery to Cardinals for OF Harrison Bader and PTBNL or cash considerations; traded OF Joey Gallo to Dodgers for RHP Clayton Beeter.

The Yankees had three main needs going into the trade deadline: 1) Upgrade left field with plus defense and improved bat-to-ball skills, including a better on-base percentage. Enter Andrew Benintendi. 2) Improve the starting rotation. Enter Frankie Montas, one of the best starters on the market. 3) Upgrade and add depth to the bullpen. Enter Lou Trivino and Scott Effross.

The Yankees filled all of their needs, remain the team to beat in the AL and improved their chances of beating the Astros in the postseason. The one deal I didn’t see coming was their last one, the Jordan Montgomery-Harrison Bader trade. If healthy, Bader gives the Yankees a plus or Gold Glove defender at every position, something the Braves had last year when they won it all. My only question is do the Yankees have enough starting pitching depth if they suffer an injury or two during the last couple of months of the regular season. If they don’t, that final deal could be a difference-maker.

I boosted the Yankees’ grade from A- to A because they didn’t include top prospects Anthony Volpe, Jasson Domínguez or Oswald Peraza in their deadline deals. Their best “under-the-radar move” was acquiring Effross, a situational righty reliever with a low, deceptive arm angle, an elite chase rate, and a slider and changeup that opponents don’t hit hard.

Andrew Benintendi (Vincent Carchietta / USA Today)

Toronto Blue Jays

Grade: B-

Trades: Acquired RHP Zach Pop, RHP Anthony Bass and PTBNL from Marlins for INF Jordan Groshans; acquired 2B/OF Whit Merrifield from Royals for INF/OF Samad Taylor and RHP Max Castillo; acquired RHP Mitch White and INF Alex De Jesus from Dodgers for RHP Nick Frasso and LHP Moises Brito; traded RHP Jeremy Beasley to Pirates for cash considerations.

The Blue Jays added speed and versatility with Whit Merrifield, who despite his decline can still steal a bag (15 in 18 attempts) and can play second base, third, right field, center and left. They improved their bullpen depth with Anthony Bass and Zach Pop and paid a reasonable trade price in sending prospect Jordan Groshans to the Marlins in exchange. They also added starting pitching depth by acquiring White (3.70 ERA in 56 innings) from the Dodgers.

Tampa Bay Rays

Grade: C+

Trades: Acquired OF David Peralta from Diamondbacks for C Christian Cerda; acquired LHP Garrett Cleavinger from Dodgers for OF German Tapia; acquired OF Jose Siri from Astros in three-team trade (Rays sent RHP Seth Johnson to Orioles and Jayden Murray to Astros, Orioles sent Trey Mancini to Astros, and Astros sent RHP Chayce McDermott to Orioles); traded OF Brett Phillips to Orioles for cash.

The Rays wanted to improve their outfield production while maintaining their elite outfield defense, which had been hindered by the injuries to Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot, and because rookies Josh Lowe and Vidal Bruján weren’t living up to expectations. David Peralta might be showing his age (he turns 35 later this month), but he can still hit for power (12 home runs, 19 doubles). Jose Siri is a toolsy outfielder who can run and has plus power. He can catch almost everything in the gaps because of his blazing speed, but how much he’s going to hit remains the big question. However, I lowered my grade for the Rays because I didn’t like that they put Seth Johnson, one their top three pitching prospects, in the three-way trade, even though he’ll miss next season after having Tommy John surgery. I think that part of the deal could come back to haunt them.

Baltimore Orioles

Grade: A-

Trades:Traded 1B/OF Trey Mancini to Astros in three-team trade, acquiring RHP Seth Johnson from Rays and RHP Chayce McDermott from Astros (Astros received OF Jose Siri and RHP Jayden Murray from Rays); traded RHP Jorge López to Twins for LHP Cade Povich, RHP Yennier Cano, RHP Juan Nunez and LHP Juan Rojas; acquired OF Brett Phillips from Rays for cash.

The Orioles were only three games back in the wild-card standings when they decided to trade Trey Mancini, who was the most popular player in their clubhouse and is beloved by their fan base. However, in that three-team deal, the Orioles received Seth Johnson, who is one of the Rays’ top pitching prospects. Although Johnson is about to have Tommy John surgery and will miss all of 2023, he has No. 2 or No. 3 starter upside, so this deal could be a huge factor when the Orioles are a stronger postseason threat in 2024. I also loved that GM Mike Elias implied after the trade that he was interested in bringing back Mancini when he hits free agency after this season. That trade will be initially unpopular in Baltimore, but it could pay huge dividends in a couple of years, and if they re-sign Mancini, all will be forgiven.

The Jorge López trade was a no-brainer as the Orioles received four solid pitching prospects in return. That’s selling “high,” which is what the Orioles did on López, who had an ERA above 6.00 in his two previous seasons for Baltimore. And with López gone, Félix Bautista (1.65 ERA in 46 appearances) can take over the closer role. I gave the Orioles “extra credit” in the grade for realizing their window to reach the playoffs realistically starts next year, not this year, and prioritizing their long-term plan.

Boston Red Sox

Grade: D

Trades: Traded C Christian Vázquez to Astros for INF Enmanuel Valdez and OF Wilyer Abreu; acquired OF Tommy Pham from Reds for PTBNL; acquired 1B Eric Hosmer, INF Max Ferguson, OF Corey Rosier and cash considerations from Padres for LHP Jay Groome; traded LHP Jake Diekman to White Sox for C Reese McGuire and PTBNL or cash considerations.

The Red Sox were buying and selling at the deadline, but I’m not quite sure I understood their end game. Vázquez was too important in that locker room, and to their pitching staff, to trade him for two position players who were not even rated in the top 20 of the Astros’ farm system. Then, to turn around and acquire left fielder Tommy Pham, when you already have Alex Verdugo in left and J.D. Martinez at designated hitter, just didn’t add up. Trading for Eric Hosmer and taking on some of his salary in return for gaining two prospects made some sense, but it also will block first base prospect Triston Casas and let Bobby Dalbec know he’s not good enough. Hosmer will probably be released in the offseason, which makes me wonder if all of this was worth two mid-level prospects who will never start for you. Dumping Jake Diekman’s multi-year contract was smart. But overall, for a team so close in the wild-card race, trading Vázquez and adding Pham and Hosmer just didn’t add up for me.

American League Central

Minnesota Twins

Grade: B+

Trades: Acquired RHP Jorge López from Orioles for LHP Cade Povich, RHP Yennier Cano, RHP Juan Nunez and LHP Juan Rojas; acquired RHP Tyler Mahle from Reds for INF Spencer Steer, LHP Steve Hajjar and 3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand; acquired RHP Michael Fulmer from Tigers for RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long; acquired C Sandy León from Guardians for RHP Ian Hamilton.

The Twins needed a closer and were willing to overpay by sending four pitching prospects to the Orioles to get Jorge López, who is a difference-maker. López has 19 saves and a 1.68 ERA in 44 appearances, and his ERA drops below 1.00 with a .146 batting average against if you remove his outings against the Twins, as The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman noted. It was a shrewd short-term move, and the Twins control López through the 2024 season. They also decided to pay a significant price to land Tyler Mahle, sending three of their top 25 prospects to Cincinnati to close the deal. And finally, they got greedy, trading a fringe prospect to Detroit to get Michael Fulmer, who gives them even more bullpen depth in Michael Fulmer. While the White Sox and Guardians were doing nothing, the Twins front office made moves that should create more separation in the standings.

Jorge López (Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today)

Cleveland Guardians

Grade: F

Trades: Acquired RHP Ian Hamilton from Twins for C Sandy León.

The Guardians are one game back in the AL Central race and one game back in the wild-card race. They have a solid team, offensively and defensively. They are one of the more fundamentally sound teams in the league. And yet, they made one minor move at the deadline — that’s it. I thought they would make a couple of trades minimum to add at least another bat and bullpen arm or improve their offensive production at catcher. But the Guardians just sat and watched as the division-leading Twins added three significant pitchers to their staff.

Chicago White Sox

Grade: F

Trades: Acquired LHP Jake Diekman from Red Sox for C Reese McGuire and PTBNL or cash considerations

The White Sox had the worst deadline of any contending team. Acquiring lefty reliever Jake Diekman was their lone move and he was considered a salary dump by the Red Sox, who were tired of his seven walks per nine innings. I thought the White Sox needed to address their offense, which has been inconsistent all season, and they needed to add another starting pitcher and another quality bullpen arm. The Twins just blew them away this deadline, and improved their chances of keeping the White Sox at bay in the division race.

Detroit Tigers

Grade: D

Trades: Traded OF Robbie Grossman to Braves for LHP Kris Anglin; traded RHP Michael Fulmer to Twins for RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long.

The Tigers received two fringe prospects, at best, in the two deals they did make, and were asking too much for their closer, Gregory Soto, in the one they didn’t make. With relievers in demand, I was shocked the Tigers didn’t take advantage of the market by dealing Soto, their most tradable asset. According to several GMs, they just priced him too high. The Tigers could have dealt lefty Andrew Chafin and/or righty Joe Jiménez. They missed a golden opportunity to improve their organization’s pool of position players. Another disappointing deadline in the Motor City.

Kansas City Royals

Grade: C

Trades: Traded LF Andrew Benintendi to Yankees for LHP T.J. Sikkema, RHP Beck Way and RHP Chandler Champlain; traded 2B/OF Whit Merrifield to Blue Jays for RHP Max Castillo and INF/OF Samad Taylor; traded 1B/DH Carlos Santana and cash to Mariners for RHP Wyatt Mills and RHP William Fleming; acquired LHP Anthony Misiewicz from Mariners for cash considerations; traded INF Emmanuel Rivera to Diamondbacks for RHP Luke Weaver; acquired OF Brent Rooker from Padres for C Cam Gallagher; acquired OF Drew Waters, RHP Andrew Hoffmann and 3B CJ Alexander from Braves for No. 35 draft pick.

The Royals cleared the path for first-base prospects Vinnie Pasquantino and Nick Pratto when they started the trade deadline early by dealing Carlos Santana to the Mariners in June. They dealt impending free agent Andrew Benintendi to the Yankees and got three solid minor-league pitching prospects back, highlighted by lefty T.J. Sikkema, a talented former first-round pick who has dealt with injuries and made only 14 starts since being drafted in 2019. Righty Beck Way has a solid arm and profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter and Chandler Champlain was more of a throw-in in the deal. I didn’t like the Royals’ returns on the Santana and Emmanuel Rivera deals, and I would not have traded the No. 35 pick for the players they received. However, I did like the Whit Merrifield trade with the Blue Jays, and thought the return of right-hander Max Castillo and infielder/outfielder Samad Taylor was fair for Merrifield at this stage in his career. However, it served as a reminder the Royals were two years too late in trading him, and that cost them.

American League West

Houston Astros

Grade: A-

Trades: Acquired 1B/OF Trey Mancini from Orioles and RHP Jayden Murray from Rays in three-team trade (Astros sent OF Jose Siri to Rays and RHP Chayce McDermott to Orioles, Rays sent RHP Seth Johnson to Orioles); traded RHP Jake Odorizzi to Braves for LHP Will Smith; acquired C Christian Vázquez from Red Sox for INF Enmanuel Valdez and OF Wilyer Abreu; acquired INF Mauricio Dubón from Giants for C Michael Papierski (May 14)

The Astros improved their offense at catcher with Christian Vázquez, who, like Martín Maldonado, is excellent at game-calling and pitch-framing. Now it’s up to manager Dusty Baker to decide how to use them. Trey Mancini gives them another right-handed bat; he can hit for average and power, and he’ll benefit from a power perspective in moving from the spacious left field of Camden Yards to the small confines in left at Minute Maid Park. I also liked the pick-up of Will Smith because the Astros needed another lefty in the bullpen, and Jake Odorizzi was expendable because Lance McCullers Jr. will soon come off the injured list.

Seattle Mariners

Grade: A

Trades: Acquired RHP Luis Castillo in trade with Reds for SS Noelvi Marte, SS Edwin Arroyo, RHP Levi Stoudt and RHP Andrew Moore; traded RHP Wyatt Mills and RHP William Fleming to Royals for 1B Carlos Santana and cash; traded LHP Anthony Misiewicz to Royals for cash considerations; acquired LHP Matthew Boyd and C Curt Casali from Giants for RHP Michael Stryffeler and C Andy Thomas; acquired INF/OF Jake Lamb from Dodgers for PTBNL.

I think the Mariners traded themselves into the playoffs, practically securing a wild-card berth when they landed Luis Castillo, arguably the best-available starting pitcher on the market. Castillo has been among the top-15 starters for the last few years, and now he is Seattle for this year and next. They gave up three of their top five prospects to get it done, but I like the aggressiveness. It’s a trade they’ll win now and lose later, but after a 21-year playoff drought, it was time to go for it and pay the price. My grade reflects that the Mariners were able to keep Emerson Hancock and George Kirby out of the deal, which was key.

Luis Castillo (Brad Penner / USA Today)

Texas Rangers

Grade: D

Trades: Traded RHP Matt Bush to Brewers for INF Mark Mathias and LHP Antoine Kelly.

Antoine Kelly posted a 3.86 ERA in 19 starts this season at High-A Wisconsin. The lefty allowed 60 hits in 91 innings and struck out 119. However, he also issued 52 walks, and I’m not sure he’ll ever have the command or control to make it to The Show. Mark Mathias is a versatile extra player who appeared in six games for the Brewers this season. He can play all over the diamond, including second and first base. Bush, 36, has put up a 2.95 ERA in 40 appearances with the Rangers and is controllable through 2024. I didn’t get this trade at all for the Rangers. They must think they can develop Kelly better than the Brewers could.

Los Angeles Angels

Grade: C-

Trades: Traded OF Brandon Marsh to Phillies for C Logan O’Hoppe; traded RHP Raisel Iglesias to Braves for RHP Jesse Chavez and LHP Tucker Davidson; traded RHP Noah Syndergaard to Phillies for OF Mickey Moniak and OF Jadiel Sanchez; acquired RHP Touki Toussaint from Braves for cash considerations.

The Angels addressed their long-term catching situation by acquiring Logan O’Hoppe from the Phillies. To get O’Hoppe, they had to part with Brandon Marsh in a prospect-for-prospect type trade that should help both teams in the long run. They traded impending free agent Noah Syndergaard to the Phillies for two extra outfielders, including Mickey Moniak, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Their final trade — sending closer Raisel Iglesias to the Braves for lefty Tucker Davidson and righty Jesse Chavez — was their worst move.

I think the Angels failed to take advantage of the sellers’ market. And they could have pushed for a Soto type package from the Padres for Shohei Ohtani. But, hey, at least they reduced their payroll.

Oakland A’s

Grade: B

Trades: Traded RHP Frankie Montas and RHP Lou Trivino to Yankees for LHP Ken Waldichuk, LHP JP Sears, RHP Luis Medina and 2B Cooper Bowman; traded C Christian Bethancourt to Rays for OF Cal Stevenson and RHP Christian Fernandez; acquired RHP Carlos Guarate from Reds for C Austin Allen.

The A’s got a solid return for Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino. Ken Waldichuk has a mid-90s fastball and a plus slider, and I think he’ll develop into a mid-rotation type starter. Luis Medina can throw 100 mph, but he needs to improve his control and command. Sears is probably more of a lefty specialist; he has a low arm angle and a nasty breaking ball. I thought the A’s would move outfielder Ramón Laureano and catcher Sean Murphy at the deadline, but they kept both when they didn’t receive the offers they wanted. The A’s fire sale is now officially over.

National League East

New York Mets

Grade: C

Trades: Acquired 1B Darin Ruf from Giants for 3B J.D. Davis, LHP Thomas Szapucki, RHP Carson Seymour and LHP Nick Zwack; acquired DH Daniel Vogelbach from Pirates for RHP Colin Holderman; acquired Tyler Naquin and LHP Phillip Diehl from Reds for OF Hector Rodriguez and RHP Jose Acuna; acquired RHP Mychal Givens from Cubs for RHP Saul Gonzalez; acquired C Michael Perez from Pirates for cash considerations.

The best move the Mets made was reinstating Jacob deGrom from the injured list. They couldn’t have made a trade more impactful than that, as he showed Tuesday night by consistently throwing 100 mph and unleashing a nasty breaking ball. The Mets’ success the rest of the regular season and into the playoff will be more about deGrom than any of their deadline trades.

That said …

They acquired two serviceable designated hitters in Daniel Vogelbach, a left-handed hitter, and Darin Ruf, a right-handed hitter. Both of them have power and huge holes at the plate, but as a platoon, it might work well enough, based on the analytics. However, with the Mets’ practically unlimited resources, it seems bizarre this is the direction they wanted to go. Tyler Naquin gives the Mets a solid extra outfielder and another left-handed bat. Mychal Givens gives them a depth bullpen arm. But for a team that’s trying to win the division and potentially go to the World Series, this deadline was a big disappointment. It felt like the club’s scouts were left out of the process, as was the team’s financial might.

Atlanta Braves

Grade: B+

Trades: Acquired RHP Raisel Iglesias from Angels for RHP Jesse Chavez and LHP Tucker Davidson; acquired OF Robbie Grossman from Tigers for LHP Kris Anglin; traded LHP Will Smith to Astros for RHP Jake Odorizzi; acquired INF Ehire Adrianza from Nationals for OF Trey Harris; traded OF Drew Waters, RHP Andrew Hoffmann and 3B CJ Alexander to Royals for No. 35 draft pick; traded RHP Touki Toussaint to Angels.

Extension: 3B Austin Riley, 10 years, $212 million

The highlight of the Braves’ trade deadline was the contract extension they gave Austin Riley, which was a club-friendly deal that should help the Red Sox in their attempts to extend their third baseman, Rafael Devers. The Braves’ best trade happened in the final half-hour of the deadline when they pried away closer Raisel Iglesias from the Angels in a lopsided swap for two pitchers that didn’t fit into their short- or long-term plans. That trade fortifies their bullpen as one of the league’s best again. The Braves also made a few small moves: Jake Odorizzi (3.75 ERA in 12 starts) adds depth to their rotation; Ehire Adrianza provides infield depth; Robbie Grossman grinds out at-bats and will be a solid extra outfielder coming off the bench. The Braves improved their roster and they’re ready to defend their World Series title with arguably a better team than last year’s champs.

Philadelphia Phillies

Grade: B+

Trades: acquired RHP Noah Syndergaard from Angels for OF Mickey Moniak and OF Jadiel Sanchez; acquired OF Brandon Marsh from Angels for C Logan O’Hoppe; acquired RHP David Robertson from Cubs for RHP Ben Brown; acquired SS Edmundo Sosa from Cardinals for LHP JoJo Romero.

The Phillies had a strong deadline, improving their defense up-the-middle with the acquisitions of center fielder Brandon Marsh and shortstop Edmundo Sosa, the middle of their rotation with Noah Syndergaard and the back end of their bullpen with David Robertson. They landed Marsh in a prospect-for-prospect deal. Logan O’Hoppe was blocked by J.T. Realmuto, and it made sense to swap the 22-year-old catcher for the 24-year-old Marsh, who could develop into their long-term answer in center field. Marsh has not lived up to expectations offensively, but he has much more upside than he showed with the Angels. Sosa improves their infield defense, and Syndergaard and Robertson are significant upgrades to the rotation and bullpen, which are performing well but needed reinforcements. Collectively, these moves give the Phillies a much better shot at securing the final NL wild-card berth, but it’s not enough to catch the Mets or Braves.

Miami Marlins

Grade: C+

Trades: Traded RHP Zach Pop, RHP Anthony Bass and PTBNL to Blue Jays for INF Jordan Groshans.

I thought the Marlins did a terrific job in landing one of the Blue Jays’ top five prospects for a couple of middle relievers. Groshans can play shortstop and third base and has a career .362 on-base percentage in four minor-league seasons. However, I thought they made a mistake by not taking advantage of the sellers’ market for starting pitchers when you have one as good as Pablo López with two-plus years of control.

Washington Nationals

Grade: A

Trades: Traded OF Juan Soto and 1B Josh Bell to Padres for OF Robert Hassell III, OF James Wood, SS C.J. Abrams, LHP MacKenzie Gore, RHP Jarlin Susana and 1B Luke Voit; traded INF Ehire Adrianza to Braves for OF Trey Harris

The Nationals’ return for Juan Soto and Josh Bell was arguably the largest haul of top prospects in any trade in MLB history. Robert Hassell III could win a major-league batting title someday and I expect him to eventually have 20-home run power, too. James Wood (6-foot-7, 240 pounds) could develop into a Yordan Alvarez, Willie McCovey type of power bat. C.J. Abrams will be a high on-base percentage table setter once he develops, and he has the potential to steal 30-plus bases per season. MacKenzie Gore should continue to improve and end up being a No. 2 starter type. The real sleeper in the deal could be Jarlin Susana, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound righty who has a clean delivery, feel and weapons. He topped out at 103 mph in his last start and finished the game at 98 mph. Susana, 18, will be a top 30 prospect in all of baseball by this offseason.

This was a franchise-changing trade that will serve as a cornerstone as the Nationals build their organization back into a legitimate contender sooner than many may think.

James Wood (Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)

National League Central

Milwaukee Brewers

Grade: C+

Trades: Traded LHP Josh Hader to Padres for LHP Taylor Rogers, RHP Dinelson Lamet, LHP Robert Gasser and 2B/OF Esteury Ruiz; acquired RHP Matt Bush from Rangers for INF Mark Mathias and LHP Antoine Kelly; acquired RHP Trevor Rosenthal from Giants for OF Tristan Peters.

The Brewers decreased their chances of winning the World Series this year and next year with the Josh Hader trade because Hader has the talent to be a difference-maker in any postseason series. I thought the return was light and more about quantity than quality. Dinelson Lamet is finally healthy and should help Milwaukee. Taylor Rogers closed for the Padres but will probably serve as a set-up man for Devin Williams. Esteury Ruiz and Robert Gasser should be major-league contributors in a couple of years, but I doubt we’ll be covering them in an All-Star game. Gasser has the most upside of the two prospects. The Brewers made it clear at this deadline that they’re more concerned about contending year in and year out than they are about actually winning a World Series.

(Justin Casterline / Getty Images)

St. Louis Cardinals

Grade: B

Trades: Acquired LHP José Quintana and RHP Chris Stratton from Pirates for RHP Johan Oviedo and 3B/1B Malcom Nuñez; traded OF Harrison Bader and PTBNL or cash considerations to Yankees for LHP Jordan Montgomery; traded SS Edmundo Sosa to Phillies for LHP JoJo Romero; traded C Austin Romine to Reds for cash considerations; traded RHP Carlos Guarate to A’s for C Austin Allen.

The Cardinals were involved in the Soto sweepstakes, but in the end weren’t close to landing him. However, they did improve their rotation by acquiring two lefties, Jordan Montgomery and José Quintana. The Montgomery trade was shocking, but with a farm system loaded with position players, the Cardinals could afford to deal Harrison Bader, their Gold Glove center fielder, for the starter they needed much more. These trades weren’t enough to make the Cardinals a sure-fire playoff team, but they will keep them in the race with the Brewers for the NL Central and with the Phillies for the NL’s final wild-card spot.

Cincinnati Reds

Grade: A

Trades: Traded RHP Luis Castillo to Mariners for SS Noelvi Marte, SS Edwin Arroyo, RHP Levi Stoudt and RHP Andrew Moore; traded RHP Tyler Mahle to Twins for INF Spencer Steer, LHP Steve Hajjar and 3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand; traded INF Brandon Drury to Padres for INF Victor Acosta; traded Tyler Naquin and LHP Phillip Diehl to Mets for OF Hector Rodriguez and RHP Jose Acuna; traded OF Tommy Pham to Red Sox for PTBNL; acquired C Austin Romine from Cardinals for cash considerations.

Reds ownership has finally given their baseball operations department the freedom to rebuild the right way, and GM Nick Krall took advantage of it by pulling off a blockbuster trade when he dealt Luis Castillo to the Mariners for three of their top 5 prospects. Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo are elite middle-of-the-diamond players who are going to hit. Levi Stoudt, who had Tommy John surgery right after he signed in 2019, profiles as a solid mid-rotation starter. His raw stuff screams at you. When he learns how to pitch and locate, watch out. Andrew Moore was more of a throw-in in the deal and looks like a future middle reliever.

The Reds’ next best trade was the Tyler Mahle deal, as they managed to acquire infielder Spencer Steer (the Twins’ sixth-ranked prospect), left-hander Steve Hajjar (No. 16) and infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand, a top 25 prospect from Minnesota. In the final hour before the deadline, they dealt Brandon Drury to the Padres for another promising infield prospect, Victor Acosta. The rest of the Reds’ trades were more about moving payroll and impending free agents. However, collectively, this was the best rebuilding work, in rapid succession, the Reds have had under the Castellini ownership group.

Chicago Cubs

Grade: D

Trades: Acquired INF/OF Zach McKinstry from Dodgers for RHP Chris Martin; traded RHP Scott Effross to Yankees for RHP Hayden Wesneski; traded RHP David Robertson to Phillies for RHP Ben Brown; traded INF Dixon Machado to Giants for RHP Raynel Espinal; traded RHP Mychal Givens to Mets for RHP Saul Gonzalez.

The Cubs were unable to move their top two tradable assets, catcher Willson Contreras and All-Star outfielder Ian Happ, and got modest returns for the three relievers they dealt. They had an opportunity to improve their future but let it slip away.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Grade: C-

Trades: Traded LHP José Quintana and RHP Chris Stratton to Cardinals for RHP Johan Oviedo and 3B/1B Malcom Nuñez; traded DH Daniel Vogelbach to Mets for RHP Colin Holderman; traded C Michael Perez to Mets for cash considerations; acquired RHP Jeremy Beasley from Blue Jays for cash considerations.

The Pirates deserve credit for signing José Quintana for $2 million in the offseason, then moving him at the deadline for younger players in areas of need, but overall, they didn’t do that much at this deadline to improve their major-league team or farm system. I understood their decision to hang onto outfielder Bryan Reynolds and closer David Bednar, but considering it was a sellers market, they might have missed an opportunity to maximize their return on both players.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Grade: D+

Trades: Traded INF/OF Zach McKinstry to Cubs for RHP Chris Martin; acquired OF Joey Gallo from the Yankees for RHP Clayton Beeter; traded RHP Mitch White and INF Alex De Jesus to Blue Jays for RHP Nick Frasso and LHP Moises Brito; traded LHP Garrett Cleavinger to Rays for OF German Tapia; traded INF/OF Jake Lamb from Dodgers for PTBNL.

If Gallo underachieved in a big market like New York, what makes the Dodgers think he’ll figure it out playing in Los Angeles? I’ve always liked his power and that he plays above-average defense in both outfield corners and at first base. But he strikes out way too much, on pitches in and out of the zone. I thought he’d be better off going to a smaller market where there was less pressure.

The rest of the Dodgers’ trades were ho-hum. Granted, they have the best team in the NL and didn’t need to make any moves. However, with several of the NL playoff teams making trades to significantly improve, such as the Padres and Braves, there’s no doubt that some of the Dodgers’ October competition gained ground on them at this deadline.

San Diego Padres

Grade: A+

Trades: Acquired OF Juan Soto and 1B Josh Bell from Nationals for OF Robert Hassell III, OF James Wood, SS C.J. Abrams, LHP MacKenzie Gore, RHP Jarlin Susana and 1B Luke Voit; acquired LHP Josh Hader from Padres for LHP Taylor Rogers, RHP Dinelson Lamet, LHP Robert Gasser and 2B/OF Esteury Ruiz; traded 1B Eric Hosmer, INF Max Ferguson, OF Corey Rosier and cash considerations to Red Sox for LHP Jay Groome; acquired INF Brandon Drury from Reds for INF Victor Acosta; traded OF Brent Rooker from Padres for C Cam Gallagher.

Why was Juan Soto, at 23 years old and under team control through 2024, worth a historic haul of prospects in the biggest deadline deal ever? Read this numbers-driven piece by Jayson Stark if you still don’t get it or realize the unfathomable numbers Soto has put up early in his career. The Padres will control Soto for the next three postseasons, and combined with Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. in their lineup, they have three superstars who can hit the best pitching on the planet.

The Padres literally mortgaged their future and gave up the farm to get Soto, and I would have done the same. They have put themselves in position to win at least one World Series over the next three years. The acquisition of Josh Hader, the best closer in the NL, should be huge in a short playoff series, and the pick-ups of Josh Bell and Brandon Drury extend this potent lineup even further. The Padres practically locked up a wild-card berth and became a significant World Series threat overnight with these moves. They won the deadline.

Josh Bell and Juan Soto (Scott Taetsch / USA Today)

San Francisco Giants

Grade: D

Trades: Traded 1B Darin Ruf to Mets for 3B J.D. Davis, LHP Thomas Szapucki, RHP Carson Seymour and LHP Nick Zwack; traded C Curt Casali and LHP Matthew Boyd to Mariners for RHP Michael Stryffeler and C Andy Thomas; traded RHP Trevor Rosenthal to Brewers for OF Tristan Peters; traded RHP Jeremy Walker to Rays for SS/C Ford Proctor; acquired INF Dixon Machado from Cubs for RHP Raynel Espinal; traded INF Mauricio Dubón from to Astros for C Michael Papierski (May 14)

The Giants’ goal was to improve their defense at the trade deadline, but outside of getting infielder Dixon Machado, they didn’t accomplish it. They had a golden opportunity to trade Carlos Rodón for a huge package of prospects, like the Reds did with Luis Castillo and the A’s did with Frankie Montas, but waited too long to put him on the market. The Giants did a lot of last-minute selling of injured players, such as Trevor Rosenthal and Matthew Boyd, to lower payroll and exposure. It was a bizarre deadline for the Giants’ brain trust, who didn’t meaningfully improve their major-league club or their farm system.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Grade: C+

Trades: Traded OF David Peralta to Rays for C Christian Cerda; acquired INF Emmanuel Rivera from Royals for RHP Luke Weaver.

I thought the Diamondbacks fared well in both of their trades. David Peralta is in decline and was starting to block the Diamondbacks’ outfield prospects, and they were able to add Christian Cerda, a 19-year-old catcher who is hitting .327 in Rookie ball. Emmanuel Rivera, whom they acquired from the Royals, has some tools and he hit 19 home runs combined last season at Double A and Triple A, whereas reliever Luke Weaver had a 7.71 ERA with 24 hits allowed in 16 1/3 innings at the time of the trade, so I like that deal for Arizona. I just wish the Diamondbacks could have done more and found a taker for either Madison Bumgarner or Zach Davies.

Colorado Rockies

Grade: F 

Trades: None

Extensions: RHP Daniel Bard, 2 years, $19 million

The Rockies did not make a single major-league trade at the deadline. Not one! They did not acquire any players to help them for the short or long term. And to make matters worse, they couldn’t even find a taker for impending free agent José Iglesias, which would have opened a pathway for their top shortstop prospect, Ezequiel Tovar, to be promoted to the big leagues. I thought they’d trade reliever Daniel Bard for a prospect, then try to re-sign him in the offseason. However, he wanted to stay, and the Rockies have a hard time saying no to pitchers who want to pitch half of their games at Coors Field.

(Top photo of Juan Soto: Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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