Looks like the real winner at the deadline is you because you get to read this magnificent column about trade-deadline winners and losers, you lucky dog.
Wait, no, we're all losers. Because that was a dreadful, boring trade deadline. Where were the pyrotechnics? Where were the panicking GMs? Where were the mystery teams? The biggest name traded right at the deadline was Bud Norris who, again, is basically Brett Tomko without the 10-team career. That's disappointing. You heard our cries, Ruben Amaro, and you looked down and whispered, "No."
But when it comes to the actual winners and losers at the deadline, there are a few of each. Here's our best attempt to collect the three winners and losers of the MLB trade deadline in one place.
Acquired: L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader, Danry Vasquez, Kyle Smith, Player to be named, Comp A draft pick
Shipped off: Bud Norris, Jose Veras, Justin Maxwell
Y'all can drool over your Alison Brie or Bradley Cooper GIFs if you want. I'm gonna be right here, whispering sweet nothings into the ear of the Astros' trade deadline. Love it. Just love it.
My favorite part is that the Astros didn't have much to trade, really, yet they still absconded with more interesting prospects than any other team, save for the Cubs. They turned a generic right-hander (with saves!), a valuable-if-average starter and a generic outfielder into several interesting young players. Those young players might never see the major leagues, but they have much, much better chance of helping the Astros than Jose Veras and Justin Maxwell did in 2014, certainly.
Norris is under contract for next season, so that's a little different, but the Astros still got a good package from the Orioles -- a perfect mix of short-term and long-term chances. L.J. Hoes should start right away, Josh Hader is a promising young left-hander, and the Astros also got a competitive-balance pick at the end of the first round. That was the best return any team has received for Norris since he was sent to the Reds for Ken Griffey, Jr.
For more on the Astros' deadline, please visit Crawfish Boxes
Acquired: Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm, player(s) to be named
Shipped away: Matt Garza
They didn't trade Nate Schierholtz when his value was probably at its highest, and that might look silly in retrospect. But the Cubs had the best trade chip of the deadline in Matt Garza, and they got a substantial haul. I'm not wild about Mike Olt, whose contact issues would have scared me away if I were the Cubs, but he's a pretty good raffle ticket. Really, it's beyond impressive that the Cubs even came close to the package they gave up to get Garza, considering he had two months left on his contract and missed a chunk of time with injury.
The Cubs also don't have to watch Alfonso Soriano anymore. Not that he's a contemptible player or without his uses. But he was on the Cubs for a long, long time. That's a lot of hacking to watch. Agreeing to see other people is probably the best possible thing for both sides at this point.
For more on the Cubs' deadline, please visit Bleed Cubbie Blue
Chicago White Sox
Acquired: Avisail Garcia, Cleuluis Rondon, Francellis Montas, Jeffrey Wendelken
Shipped off: Jake Peavy
Jake Peavy had a nice 2012, but it was bookended by lackluster performances, and he's owed a ton of money next year. Now the White Sox get to play with that money, and they also get a raw, talented prospect in Garcia. It would have been a lot better if they could have shipped Alex Rios off for any salary relief at all, but that's quibbling.
If the rumors that the Sox turned down big-time returns for Alexei Ramirez are true, they probably fall out of the winner's bracket, but I can't penalize them for the speculation. They left July with Avisail Garcia, and they moved injury-prone salary to do it.
Other candidates for this category: Rangers, Padres, and Red Sox. Just liked the other deadlines a little more.
For more on the White Sox at the deadline, please visit South Side Sox
Kansas City Royals
Acquired: Justin Maxwell
Shipped off: Kyle Smith
Okay, so they're five games away from a one-game playoff, which means that Ervin Santana wasn't traded. That's stubborn. Admirable in its self-assuredness, but still stubborn. Dayton Moore is fighting for his job, though, and 85 wins would be a pretty big deal, I'd think, so standing pat isn't criminally insane. At least, not from Moore's personal perspective.
But they were buyers.
Oh, man, they were buyers. And they bought an improved Jeff Francoeur. They gave up one of their better pitching prospects for the privilege. It was amazing. Even by Royals standards, this looks like a hilarious trade. Justin Maxwell can hit lefties a little and play center field. That's a useful player. The Royals didn't need useful. They needed season-changing if they were going to buy. They got someone performing at a replacement level his season. Really, they should just rename the stat WAJM. It's more descriptive, and we wouldn't have to read the "What is it good for?" jokes anymore.
For an upgrade on Jeff Francoeur, the Royals gave away their fourth-best prospect. It's mind-boggling, stunning, undistilled Royals.
And they kept Santana. The other teams don't belong in the same category as the Royals. They have their own tier of deadline loser.
Starting to wonder about Dayton Moore, guys.
For self-flagellation with a Royals twist, please visit Royals Review
Acquired: Jose Iglesias, Jose Veras
Shipped off: Avisail Garcia, Danry Vasquez
Avisail Garcia might have been the most promising young player moved by any team at the deadline, and the Tigers exchanged him for a no-hit shortstop. The good news is that Jose Iglesias is under team control for a long time. The bad news is that Jose Iglesias is under team control for a long time. His career minor-league line is .257/.307/.314, which isn't good at all, even after accounting for his superlative defense. It was easily explained away when he was 20 and in Triple-A, but he's 23 now, and he's never hit at any level. Well, except in the majors this season. Which doesn't seem maintainable.
Add in an interesting teenager going to the Astros for a middle reliever, and the Tigers had one of my least favorite deadlines in baseball. If Iglesias can be half as good with the bat as he's been in 2013, the Tigers will look smart. I'm skeptical, though. He's a CGI-enhanced Brian Bocock.
For more on the Tigers' deadline, please visit Bless You Boys
There were other stand-pat teams that would have been better served if they made a trade or three. The Blue Jays and Giants decided that baseball was stupid, not them, and they implied that they were comfortable bringing similar teams back in 2014. The Braves wanted a starting pitcher to fill in for Tim Hudson, but they didn't get anyone. You can make arguments that any of those teams had disappointing deadlines because of how inactive they were.
But Mariners fans have already made peace with the rebuilding phase. It's not a surprise. It's not something that would jolt the casual ticket-buying fan. It's been like this for a few years. Their playoff chances are less than 1 percent. There was absolutely no reason for them not to deal players like Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales, Mike Morse and Oliver Perez. None of those players are going to bring a compensatory draft pick. Maybe one or two of them stick around. But the C-prospects would have been more useful.
At least the Mariners are going to keep playing Ibanez in the outfield. That means we're all winners! Except for the Mariners.
For more on the Mariners, please visit Lookout Landing