The 2021 MLB trade deadline was one to remember as many franchise cornerstone players were on the move. As with any deadline, there are clear winners and losers of the day, let’s take a look.
Los Angeles Dodgers
This one is obvious. Los Angeles swung a deal with the Washington Nationals landing both Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. Adding Scherzer to their rotation when they are currently without Clayton Kershaw due to injury and the unknown status of Trevor Bauer, who may never throw another pitch as a Dodger, is a huge win. Inserting Turner into the mix lengthens their lineup and with another year of control after this season gives them a consistent presence beyond this season.
New York Yankees
There are two criticisms when evaluating the lineup of the New York Yankees, too right handed and too all or nothing. They addressed the two areas by acquiring Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers and Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs, both are left-handed bats. While Gallo is another all-or-nothing guy, Rizzo has the ability to be more of a consistent source of at least decent batting average. Sure they have some work to do in regards to the playoff hunt, but they can’t be counted out just yet. Additionally, the short porch in right field should be quite nice for both new faces in The Bronx.
New York Mets
The Bronx Bombers were not the only team making moves in New York. The Mets made a big splash of their own, acquiring Javier Baez from the Cubs. At the moment the Mets are without Francisco Lindor, so Baez can slide into the shortstop position for the time being. When Lindor does return Baez can shift to a different position, something he said he would only do for Lindor. Are there concerns with the bat of Baez? Sure, but the Mets do not need him to be The Guy in their lineup, but just another contributor for their offense. While adding another starting pitcher could have helped, they did add Rich Hill and saw the debut of Carlos Carrasco Friday night, two options they could rely on in some capacity down the stretch. At the end of the day it was an overall great deadline for the Mets.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have essentially already won the division, so they were looking to solidify a few positions. Adding Cesar Hernandez was a solid option for a team that would later move the injured Nick Madrigal in a deal that saw Craig Kimbrel moving from the north to the south side of Chicago. Additionally, the team also acquired Ryan Tepera from the Cubs in a deal from the previous day. The White Sox are loading up on their bullpen and now have a three headed monster featuring Liam Hendriks in addition to their new acquisitions of Kimbrel and Tepera. Come playoff time the back end of the White Sox bullpen could be scary.
Let’s face it, the Cubs had to blow it up. They had a roster full of extremely talented players on expiring contracts that extension talks had broken down with. Moving Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Craig Kimbrel, and Ryan Tepera had to be done. While they could open up contact talks after the season when most of the aforementioned names become free agents. In the end the Cubs had to turn the page on the World Series winning core and begin a new era in Chicago.
There was speculation that the Rockies could move Trevor Story and Jon Gray. Flash forward to after the deadline and both players remain in Colorado. If the Rockies were going to actually have a successful deadline they needed to move Story and Gray. The fact both are still on the roster is team building malpractice and they deserve all the criticism they get.
Boston Red Sox
This was an underwhelming deadline for the Boston Red Sox. They had the opportunity to bring two former players back in Anthony Rizzo and Craig Kimbrel, yet the only move they made was for Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber is currently injured, but when he comes back there will be a logjam of where to play him. As everyone knows, Schwarber is defensively challenged. There is another defensively challenged outfielder on the roster in JD Martinez, who is currently their designated hitter. Because of this, putting Schwarber at DH, an option that would make sense for most American League clubs, is not available to the Red Sox.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres were on the cusp of acquiring Max Scherzer until the Dodgers swooped in and got the deal done for themselves. Missing out on a player like Scherzer is bad enough, but losing him to a division rival and one that is looking to create separation is not a great outcome.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals added two pitchers on expiring deals in Jon Lester and J.A .Happ. St. Louis is 9.5 games back in the division and trails by 6.5 games in the Wild Card race. The moves overall are confusing and don’t make a lot of sense. Neither pitcher has been necessarily good this season and are not the answer to fix a rotation they once were. This really seems like they made moves for the sake of making moves.