MLB Trade Deadline Winners and Losers
In past years, bigger names have moved at the deadline, but this year will be remembered as a very busy one. Some names like Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman and Ted Lilly found new homes and many solid prospects were on the move. In sports, it's all about winning and losing, and the deadline is no different.
This year, many of the teams we call "sellers" came out as winners, and some teams that were clear buyers came out as losers. So in the end, who came out on top at this year's trade deadline and who came away disappointed?
We've got all the answers below:
Trade Deadline Winners
YANKEES -- For the cost of not one premium-level prospect, the Yankees netted Berkman, Kerry Wood, and Austin Kearns. No matter what you think those three players will do for the Yankees, they are players with track records, and in Berkman's case with stellar track records. Mark Melancon is clearly the best piece they gave up and there are legitimate doubts about whether his command in the strike zone will come around enough for him to succeed at the big-league level.
The Yankees also added players that could benefit tremendously from the spark of a pennant race. Berkman, in particular, although he may not be the force he once was, still has the juice in his bat to carry a lineup when he's hot. Obviously the Yankee lineup is not one that needs to be carried, but he gives New York yet another patient and very potent bat. As far as Kearns, he's another very typical Yankee addition. Their depth has always been their strength and clearly they refused to settle for a bench that consisted of Colin Curtis and Juan Miranda.
Then there is Kerry Wood, who in my mind is the wild card of the entire trading deadline. He has struggled in 2010, but his stuff is still outstanding and he has the ability to be a shutdown eighth-inning pitcher in New York. If the Yankees can keep him on the field, they've likely not only patched their biggest hole but made it a distinct strength in the process.
ASTROS -- Although they weren't buyers, this was a key trade deadline for the future of the Astros' organization. Notoriously conservative with their prospects, the Astros took some gambles in dealing away Oswalt and Berkman. They also picked up one of the safest and most potent hitting prospects in the minor leagues in Brett Wallace, who has the offensive skills to eventually fill Berkman's shoes very neatly.
The wild card for them is clearly Jonathan Villar, who they landed in exchange for Oswalt. Villar, who we discussed earlier in the week, has the potential to be a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop and provides explosive speed and excitement at the top of the lineup. He's a few years away from the big leagues, but immediately he is one of the highest upside players in the Houston farm system.
RANGERS -- Any team that acquires Cliff Lee mid-season is a winner before even making another move. But in the Rangers' case, they weren't done and were one of the busiest teams on the trade market. Let's not forget they also acquired Bengie Molina, Jorge Cantu, and Cristian Guzman along the way.
And even as buyers they were able to add at least one very interesting prospect, picking up righty pitching prospect Roman Mendez from the Red Sox in exchange for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Considering the limited trade value they figured Saltalamacchia had, the Rangers have to be thrilled with landing Mendez. I had the chance to scout and highly recommend Mendez in my time with Texas last season, and despite his struggles this season, the hard-throwing 20-year-old is a very worthy project. He's known to reach triple digits at times with the fastball, and I had him sitting 93-98 mph last season.
Aside from the good heater, he flashed what appeared to be a split-changeup at 82-86 mph with diving action. It's still an inconsistent pitch, but it showed signs of being a plus offering down the road. His 76-80 mph curveball was even more unreliable, but he mixed in a few that flashed above-average. If he can gain some consistency with his secondary pitches, Texas will have a pitcher with frontline starter or closer potential in Mendez.
When you are looking to add pieces at the deadline and can still add a sleeper prospect, you are really doing your job. And the Rangers' big league additions in Cantu and Guzman in the last two days give them even more offensive depth.
NATIONALS -- It's often difficult to be a winner when you are a seller, especially when the team only makes one significant move in which it gets big league-caliber prospects in return. But Washington is a winner at this year's deadline for two reasons. For one, the Nationals stuck to their guns with Adam Dunn and they deserve a great deal of credit for that. They had every opportunity to move off their high price tag and they didn't budge. Now more than ever, power bats like Dunn have a great deal of value. Without getting a couple premium young players in return, they should not have dealt him.
As far as the other reason, the Nationals may have pulled off the heist of the entire trading season when they landed top catching prospect Wilson Ramos from the Twins for closer Matt Capps. While the Twins filled a big hole very neatly with Capps, you have to credit Washington for landing one of baseball's best catching prospects. The 22-year-old backstop has had a pedestrian season at Triple-A in 2010, but he's the type of talent you figure will come around eventually. Either way, it's clearly a gamble worth taking. Very rarely do you get a shot at a potential elite offensive catcher, and given the Twins' clear strength at the catching position with the presence of Joe Mauer, it was a unique opportunity for the Nats.
Trade Deadline Losers
RED SOX -- The Red Sox explored a number of avenues this year and for the most part came up empty aside from adding Saltalamacchia. And in the process they traded one of the best raw arms in their farm system in Mendez. They seem to be confident that their star players returning will be as good as a major trade, but with the Yankees and Rays rolling along and the Yankees making a few significant moves, Boston is in a very difficult spot heading down the stretch.
GIANTS -- San Francisco was looking in just about every direction for a bat, and in the end came away disappointed. The Giants did come away with two usable arms in Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez, but were unable to address their offense. Unable to pry away Dunn from the Nationals, the Giants looked into Kelly Johnson and Jose Bautista, among others. And although you can't blame them for not wanting to part with some of their young players, with their closest rivals making some key additions, the Giants have to worry about slipping back in the pack.
TIGERS -- It's been a difficult month for the Tigers, as they lost Brandon Inge and Magglio Ordonez to major injuries that made the deadline all the more important for Detroit. The Tigers did add some depth with Jhonny Peralta, who should be able to provide them with some right-handed pop, but they were unable to come away with the big fish they probably needed to fend off the Twins and White Sox with. They did some looking into players like Lilly, Dunn, John Buck and others but were unwilling to part with top prospects like Jacob Turner. Again, it's tough to blame them for that, and any team that has been struck by injuries like Detroit has is going to have a difficult time filling such big holes.
Frankie Piliere spent the last three seasons working as a scout, most recently in the professional scouting department for the Texas Rangers in 2009. He now serves as the National Baseball Analyst here at FanHouse.
VIDEO: Find out who Steve Phillips thinks won big. (More Video: Deadline Losers)