July 30th was the MLB’s trade deadline, and with it came league-shifting chaos. Some teams were looking to improve their team in the short run and there were other teams looking to rebuild their farm system in order to be more competitive in the future. The ensuing drama was some of the most exciting for baseball fans on the calendar.
There were some big names on the trading block this year. Names like Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals, Adam Frazier of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers, and Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies were just a few. Also notably, the Chicago Cubs had a yard sale, with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Craig Kimbrel along with others being in trade talks.
Probably one of the crazier moments in the day occurred when Max Scherzer was heavily rumored to be coming to the San Diego Padres and at the last second, the Los Angeles Dodgers swooped in and stole him, getting both him and Trea Turner from under the Padres’ nose. MLB fans around the world with Twitter notifications enabled must have been in complete shock.
The biggest winners of the trade deadline were undoubtedly the Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays. The Dodgers for sure had the best day, with the previously mentioned Scherzer and Turner trade. While they lost some top prospects in their farm system, the Dodgers solidified their “win now” mentality by adding two stars at their respective positions. The White Sox received reliever Craig Kimbrel from the Chicago Cubs, bolstering their bullpen to one of the, if not the, best in the MLB. His ridiculous 0.49 ERA and 23 saves (only two blown) in a Cubs uniform certainly will help that cause.
The Yankees fixed most of the problems with their starting lineup, adding All-Star powerhouse Joey Gallo and perennial Gold Glove winner Anthony Rizzo; not to mention a much-needed arm for the rotation, Andrew Heaney. The firepower in the Bronx after this move is mind boggling as Gallo is tied for the seventh most home runs in the league (26th), and Rizzo is tied for third on the team (17) behind Gallo and Aaron Judge (23) in home runs. Toronto did the opposite of New York, as they opted to focus on pitching at the deadline. Both Brad Hand from the Nationals and Jose Berrios from the Minnesota Twins will be heading up north. Hand is only one year removed from leading the league in saves in 2020 (16) while Berrios is noticeably improving from his previous campaign.
While all teams hope they come out of the deadline as winners, that’s not realistic. That unfortunate truth applies to the Colorado Rockies. The main reason being that they were shopping Trevor Story and many teams were interested such as the Mets, Yankees, Dodgers and the Padres. The Yankees were thought of to be the biggest buyer (both in team market and potential package) due to their need of a middle infielder. Story is a pending free agent on a bad team that needs to improve their farm system, yet they ended up not trading him at all. It’s also well known he wanted out. “I’m confused and I don’t have really anything good to say about the situation and how it unfolded,” Story told Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post.
Teams like the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets are interesting situations. Both teams needed help and got pieces to do that, but they didn’t improve in the spot they needed to. Both teams needed starting pitching and neither were able to get solidified starters. The Red Sox got Kyle Schwarber, intending to make him a first baseman, and the Mets got Javier Baez from the Cubs, neither of which are pitchers to help them. Regardless, both players are great pickups, though they don’t fit positional needs.
The 2021 MLB trade deadline was indeed, one of the wildest trade deadlines ever. With unexpected moves, legitimately impactful trades, and positional needs filled, the landscape of the MLB has changed and the rest of the season will be incredibly interesting to watch.