The MLB Trade Deadline was mayhem to say the least. With an extra wild card spot to get into the postseason this year, teams were scrambling to acquire talent that could be the last piece to make a run, and there was plenty of superstar talent on the market. As for the other end of the spectrum, some were quick to look to add for long-term help as the talent around the game has never been so skilled so early in their careers. Banking on the future could be intelligent in the long-run, or it could be the actions of poor cowardice by ownership. Going all-in now could be too aggressive, or it could be the final necessary piece. Either way, organizations need to have a clear vision and make a statement in the final hours allowed to improve your chances. Here are some of the statements made in the chaos that ensued.
Baltimore Orioles: “We had you fooled there for a minute didn’t we? We’re still the Baltimore Orioles.”
The darling Baltimore Orioles have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season thus far and looked to be building something very promising. After undergoing brutal seasons finishing at or near the bottom of the league in win % for the last 5 years, they were hovering around the .500 mark at the all-star break and in contention for the final American League Wild Card spot. Their preseason over/under win totals going into the year was an atrocious 62.5 in anticipation of being in the most-loaded division, and they already have won 52! With a young core of Cedric Mullins, Trey Mancini, Austin Hays, and calling up their top overall prospect Adley Rutschmann, who looks like an absolute stud, they could easily have been buyers this deadline and really gone for it. It would have been such a fun story for an organization that’s done nothing but tank and keep their wallet closed.
And then they sold. They gave up veteran leader Mancini to the Astros and their All-Star closer Jorge Lopez to the Twins for prospects. Another year of tanking and “investing in the future” ensues in Baltimore, a tale as old as time.
Seattle Mariners: “We would sell our souls to break the playoff drought this year.”
The Mariners skyrocketed into playoff contention right before the All-star break with a 14-game winning streak after we thought they were slaughtered at the hands of Mike Trout in June. Their incredibly active offseason signings look to finally be paying off, and 21 year-old Julio Rodriguez looks like he could be the future of the
There’s a lot of pressure on the Mariners in that they have the longest playoff drought in the four major sports, and they’re well aware of that with how often GM Jerry Dipoto trades year after year. With the momentum of the win streak and that sort of pressure, they went all-in by adding what they think could be the final piece: Reds’ ace starter Luis Castillo. Many thought Castillo was destined to wear the pinstripes in the Bronx, which may have brought up his price tag, but the Mariners didn’t mind. They had one of the most-loaded farm systems of prospects they’ve accumulated over the years, and they sent their first, third, and fifth-best, including highly-touted shortstop Noelvi Marte. It gutted a lot of the up-and-coming talent they had they could be on the same timeline as budding superstar Julio, but the Mariners made a statement with their move for Castillo: they want to break the streak, even if it means having to deal with the juggernaut Yankees, Astros, or Blue Jays in the postseason.
San Diego Padres: “You’re only a small market if you act like it.”
San Diego is the 24th-ranked sports market in America. After losing the Chargers, the Padres are the only team, the straw that stirs the drink for those who have stayed loyal to the market. Oftentimes, the smaller market teams don’t spend as much or invest in the now in comparison to the large-market cities with access to the “brand appeal.”
The Padres just made that a myth.
This is rightfully so, because San Diego is a beautiful free agent landing spot, but over the past several years, we’ve seen this team with no World Series in their history single-handedly make moves financially to scratch and claw their way into being a powerhouse that can contend with the Dodgers and Giants in the division, two older-brothers that have won World Series and have had a history of winning. It started with the Manny Machado contract in 2019, then they’ve dealt for or signed talent of the likes of Eric Hosmer, Sean Maneaa, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, Joe Musgrove, or prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. After seeing promise in this core and having the resources in their farm system built up from their years of rebuilding, they feel they’ve arrived. They’re making the moves that the juggernauts of baseball make to win now.
They traded for Brewers shut down closer Josh Hader. They traded for Reds stud utility player Brandon Drury. What was once the greatest farm system in the league has been torn down!
Then it happened. The big one.
Josh Bell of the Nationals was going to be seen as a highly sought-after trade acquisition as a switch-hitting monster first baseman on a tradeable contract. Not only did the Padres acquire Bell, but they managed to get this guy named Juan Soto, too. The 23 year-old future Hall of Famer, World Series MVP, and with a contract under control for the next two and a half years. Oh, and Fernando Tatis Jr. comes back from his surgery this year, too.
The Padres are here. They’re wearing brown and yellow flashy uniforms and neon alternates as they bat-flip and dance their way to show the Dodgers who the new face of the NL West is. They’re 12 games back, but they’re now the young and hungry shark in the water.
Houston Astros: “New York Yankees? Never heard of them.”
The New York Yankees have been stealing all the headlines in the American League thus far with the best record in baseball and Aaron Judge off to a historic MVP-pace in the largest market. When the Yankees are a juggernaut, all eyes are on the pinstripes.
But you know who has quietly been 3 games back of them and is STILL the reigning AL Champs that has made the ALCS 5 years in a row? The Astros. They’re still here. They never left. And they’re not worried.
However, maybe all of the attention given to the big-market Bronx Bombers made them feel like it was necessary to add even more firepower. They got a veteran leader, Trey Mancini from Baltimore, a man who beat cancer and epitomizes the perfect locker room leader that will fit into a postseason run seamlessly, and added Christian Vazquez from the Red Sox, one of the few offensive-producing catchers left.
The Astros made even more Astros moves. They’re a fortune 500 company.
Cincinnati Reds: “Look out for us in 2027!”
The Reds tore down their roster with the enthusiasm of Andrew W.K. hosting “Destroy Build Destroy” in 2009 as he blows up a random large vehicle laughing maniacally.