BTV 2023 Trade Deadline Roundup



Welcome to the 2023 Trade Deadline Roundup. All trades will be added to this article as they are reported.

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August 1

San Diego Padres acquire RHP Scott Barlow ($5.6M) from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for RHPs Henry Williams ($2.2M) and Jesus Rios ($0.1M)

The Padres closed out the deadline by picking up a controllable reliever in Barlow. The 30-year-old has dealt with uncharacteristic command issues, but if San Diego can get him back on track, he’ll be a viable late-inning arm. He’s under team control through 2024, providing the Padres with insurance in case they can’t turn things around this season.

The return for Kansas City seems light, but not overwhelmingly so; the deal was accepted by our model as just a minor underpay. Williams was San Diego’s third-round pick in 2022. The 21-year-old made his professional debut in Single-A this season. Rios, also 21, is still pitching in the complex league. These two arms will be projects for a Royals development system that has had mixed results with young pitchers in recent years.

Arizona Diamondbacks acquire OF Tommy Pham ($1.0M) and cash (approximately $0.7M) from the New York Mets in exchange for IF Jeremy Rodriguez ($0.3M)

The Diamondbacks, heavy on left-handed hitting outfielders, picked up a decent rental righty in Pham to close out their deadline. Potential clubhouse concerns aside, Pham is in the midst of his best season since 2019. He has a 136 wRC+ against lefties and a 127 wRC+ overall. The Mets will pay down half of his remaining contract.

In return, New York received another young lottery ticket in Rodriguez. The 17-year-old wasn’t highly regarded by our primary prospect sources. But any time you can flip a 35-year-old rental for upside, you do it.

San Diego Padres acquire 1B Garrett Cooper ($0.5M), RHP Sean Reynolds ($1.5M) and cash (approximately $1.2M) from the Miami Marlins in exchange for LHP Ryan Weathers ($0.0M)

One of the last deals the Padres snuck in before the deadline was a nice value add. In Cooper, San Diego adds a right-handed hitting first base complement to earlier lefty acquisition Ji-Man Choi. Cooper has struggled to stay healthy and has been slightly below league average at the plate this season, but throughout his Marlins career he showed flashes of plus power and on-base ability. Miami will pay down the rental’s remaining contract to the minimum. Reynolds is a nice story, a tall, hard-throwing converted infielder.

Weathers will be the latest reclamation project for a Marlins development system that has had its share of success stories. The former top prospect is still just 23 and is throwing harder than ever this season. But he’s now three years removed from that prospect status and will be on his final option year in 2024, still without a single run of MLB success. His clock is ticking. It’s surprising the Marlins had to eat Cooper’s contract on top of what already seemed like a lofty price for Weathers, but perhaps they’re just that confident in their ability to fix him.

Miami Marlins acquire 1B Josh Bell (-$11.1M) from the Cleveland Guardians in exchange for IFs Jean Segura (-$7.1M) and Kahlil Watson ($7.8M)

This one is tough to explain. After shipping out Cooper, the Marlins immediately replaced him with another struggling first baseman in Bell. But this one is owed a whopping $16.5 million in 2024 via a player option he is sure to exercise.

If this were a pure salary dump, it would be easy enough to digest. The Marlins were able to offload the struggling Segura in this deal, and while there’s still a gap between the two (Segura is owed about $9.3 million less than Bell, between Segura’s 2023-24 salaries and 2025 option buyout), it would certainly be defensible for Miami to swap Segura for a younger player at a position of need. Bell also hasn’t been quite as bad as Segura this year, and has decent underlying offensive metrics.

But Watson’s inclusion makes this deal baffling. Perhaps Watson’s $7.8M value is a touch high; after all, he’s had his share of on- and off-field issues and hasn’t exactly lit up the lower minors. But he’s still a former first-round pick with all the prospect pedigree that follows. There’s upside here; too much, it feels, for the Marlins to be including Watson just to facilitate a deal that results in them receiving the further underwater veteran in the deal.

For Cleveland’s side, it’s straightforward. The team cut Segura immediately, a sensible move given its infield logjam that it just traded Amed Rosario to clear. The Guardians also just added their first baseman of the future in Kyle Manzardo, whom they hope will be ready late this season or early in 2024. They’ll need to patch first base together in the interim, but it’s not like Bell was setting the world on fire there to begin with. And they add yet another talented player to what is always a well-stocked farm.

This deal was rejected by the model, but it doesn’t seem like a miss. It just feels like an odd move by Miami.

Boston Red Sox acquire IF Luis Urías ($0.4M) from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for RHP Bradley Blalock ($0.5M)

In their only move of deadline day, the Red Sox picked up a decent rebound candidate in Urías. The infielder, originally acquired by Milwaukee in the Trent Grisham deal, has had an abysmal 2023. But he’s still just 26 and coming off back-to-back seasons of a 110 wRC+ and 2.0 fWAR or greater. He’ll go through his second round of arbitration this offseason, and he’s due for at least a marginal raise over his current $4.7 million salary, but if Boston can get him going again, that’s a steal. He’s spent time trying to sort things out in Triple-A this season and has an additional option the team could utilize in 2024 if needed.

In addition to saving about $1.6 million in salary the rest of the way, the Brewers add an interesting pitching prospect in Blalock. He’s a way’s away, but he’s pitching well in High-A and has the repertoire to start. He’ll need to build up his innings totals after a 2022 Tommy John Surgery. Blalock will be Rule 5 eligible this winter.

Los Angeles Dodgers acquire LHP Ryan Yarbrough ($1.0M) from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for 1B Devin Mann ($1.5M) and SS Derlin Figueroa (TBD)

The Dodgers walked away one of the deadline’s biggest losers, as an agreed-upon deal for Eduardo Rodriguez was nixed by the 30-year-old via his no-trade clause. Los Angeles still needed to cover some innings, so it grabbed a cheap fallback in Yarbrough, who can bounce between the rotation and bullpen as needed. The 2024 season will be his final year of arbitration.

Kansas City’s return is about what you’d expect for a depth arm like Yarbrough. Mann, 26, is a bit old for a prospect. But he’s hitting well in Triple-A this season, so the Royals will get a chance to see if he’s just a late bloomer. Figueroa, 19, is another lottery ticket type, at least a handful of years away from even the upper minors.

New York Mets acquire RHP Phil Bickford ($0.0M) and LHP Adam Kolarek ($0.0M) from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for cash (unknown)

Detroit Tigers acquire 2B Eddys Leonard ($1.2M) from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for cash (unknown)

The Dodgers DFA’d Bickford and Leonard to make room for Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly, and the Mets and Tigers respectively scooped them up for cash.

New York had room in its bullpen after its aggressive selling this summer; it also added Kolarek in this deal, who had recently been passed through waivers himself. Both pitchers come with additional years of control, and could figure into the team’s 2024 plans if they pitch well down the stretch.

Leonard, 22, was once a decent prospect, but his progress has slowed in recent years. Still, he’s at least held his own in Double-A, and is a nice free addition for a Tigers organization in need of young hitting talent.

Baltimore Orioles acquire RHP Jack Flaherty ($3.6M) from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for IF César Prieto ($2.4M), LHP Drew Rom ($2.2M) and RHP Zack Showalter (TBD)

Baltimore was linked to big names like Verlander and Dylan Cease, but ultimately settled for a back-end arm in Flaherty. It’s reasonable for Orioles fans to be disappointed; the team had more than enough firepower to make a true impact deal, and instead came away with a pretty uninspiring rental. The organization must be hoping Grayson Rodriguez can click and Kyle Bradish can keep his hot streak going, because otherwise, a playoff rotation headlined by Flaherty and Kyle Gibson isn’t striking fear into any opponents.

That being said, they certainly could have done worse than Flaherty. He is miles from his 2019 peak, but is still a serviceable back-end arm. He walks a few too many batters, and his injury history doesn’t make him the most reliable innings eater, but he’ll give the team a chance to win most times he takes the ball.

Given those shortcomings and his status as a rental, St. Louis did fairly well here. Prieto is a contact-oriented infielder who signed with the Orioles out of Cuba in 2022. He doesn’t have enough thump or defensive prowess to be an everyday starter, but he’s exactly the type of player the Cardinals can extract maximum value from. Rom fits the archetype St. Louis has targeted in its recent trades as a high-strikeout upper-minors starter. The lefty doesn’t quite have the impact stuff of some of the team’s other additions, though, and likely lacks their upside as a result. Showalter, 19, is a likely reliever, making him a fringe prospect.

New York Yankees acquire RHP Keynan Middleton ($0.4M) from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for RHP Juan Carela ($0.9M)

New York Yankees acquire RHP Spencer Howard ($0.0M) from the Texas Rangers in exchange for cash (unknown)

The Yankees’ disappointing deadline consisted of just these two moves. Middleton is a rental with decent strikeout numbers, but issues keeping the ball in the zone and in the ballpark leave him as a replacement-level arm. Howard, a former top prospect, has lost all his shine given his struggles in Triple-A and the majors. He’s on his final option year and was likely getting squeezed off the 40-man in Texas given the team’s deadline additions.

For the White Sox, Carela is pitching well in his second turn at High-A. He’s a lottery ticket, but a decent get for a minor league free agent signing in Middleton.

Los Angeles Angels acquire RHP Dominc Leone ($0.0M) and cash (unknown) from the New York Mets in exchange for IF Jeremiah Jackson ($1.8M)

Leone has a home run problem, making him something like a replacement-level arm. But given the current state of the Angels’ bullpen, that’s an upgrade. He’ll be a free agent following the season. We don’t know how much cash is headed to Los Angeles, and we don’t even know Leone’s exact salary for this year; it’s probably safe to assume New York is just paying him down to the minimum.

Jackson has power and some speed, but hasn’t made enough contact as he’s climbed through the minors. He’s probably a good enough defender to be a bench player at some point, if he can’t make the low-contact approach work in a more regular role.

Pittsburgh Pirates acquire LHP Bailey Falter ($7.8M) from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for UT Rodolfo Castro ($1.8M)

This one barely squeaked through the model, but we’re essentially considering it a miss. The model occasionally becomes fixated on controllable back-end arms like Falter, and they do have value, but Falter’s $7.8M mark is just too high.

He’s a good fit for the Pirates, who had an opening in their rotation after dealing Rich Hill and can see if there’s anything hiding under the hood. The team was stacked with infielders, and only figured to get more crowded when Oneil Cruz returns, making Castro the odd man out. The switch-hitter has some skills though, namely an interesting power-speed combo, and he should find a role in a Phillies organixation with less depth.

Tampa Bay Rays acquire C Alex Jackson ($0.0M) from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for RHP Evan McKendry ($0.0M)

Just a simple depth swap. The Rays needed another catcher after losing Francisco Mejía for the next month or two due to an MCL sprain.

Chicago White Sox acquire RHP Luis Patiño ($0.0M) from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for cash (unknown)

Once a Top 100 prospect and the headliner of the Blake Snell deal, Patiño has since fallen on very, very hard times. He can’t find the zone consistently, and doesn’t miss enough bats to compensate like he did in the lower minors. Even in a season in which the Rays organization was ravaged by pitching injuries, Patiño was never seen as a viable reinforcement. That’s telling.

Given their recent openings at the major league level, the White Sox are a decent landing spot for the 23-year-old. He’s in his final option year, though, so time is running out.

Texas Rangers acquire C Austin Hedges (-$0.8M) from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for international pool space (unknown)

Jonah Heim’s wrist injury left Texas thin behind the plate, and at least they know exactly what they’re getting in Hedges. He’s the modern Jeff Mathis, a backstop who will never hit a lick but whose defensive prowess will keep him rostered year after year.

Milwaukee Brewers acquire LHP Andrew Chafin ($1.3M) from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Peter Strzelecki ($4.9M)

At first glance, this appears to be a curious move for the Diamondbacks, who seemingly need all the relief help they can get. They used Chafin as one of their higher leverage arms, but he struggled to get the job done in July and clearly fell out of favor.

The veteran has a long track record of late-inning success, though, so Milwaukee will give the lefty another shot. He’ll replace Justin Wilson, who suffered a lat injury warming up for his first outing back from Tommy John Surgery. Chafin also has a $7.25 million club option for 2024.

Strzelecki looked like a breakout reliever for the Brewers after his strong debut in 2022. But he took a step back this year and ultimately was demoted to Triple-A. He doesn’t have the velocity most relievers do these days, but he has four quality pitches to keep batters on their toes.

The deal was accepted by the model as a minor overpay, given the gap in salaries and years of control between the two relievers. But I could see arguments either way for this one. This will likely be a trade we reference as we work to fine-tune how the model handles relievers.

Miami Marlins acquire 1B/3B Jake Burger ($20.6M) from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for LHP Jake Eder ($8.6M)

Speaking of trades we’ll need to evaluate further, the Marlins pick up their second rejection here. Burger has settled into an archetype as a high-strikeout, low-walk slugger. Across parts of three seasons, he’s consistently been a 115ish wRC+ hitter, and this year he’s already swatted 25 home runs. At 27, he’s not necessarily young, but still has five years of cheap team control remaining. He also, somewhat surprisingly, ranks in the 71st percentile for sprint speed, according to Statcast.

But on the other hand, his plate discipline is a real concern. His defense is as well, as he’s rated poorly at third base and been given opportunities at first and second as a result. He also has an extensive injury history, dating back to his pro debut in 2018 when he tore his Achilles twice.

The end result is a player who profiles very similarly to how Patrick Wisdom has looked in recent seasons, but four years younger. Team evaluations of a player with that type of volatility are going to vary drastically.

And Eder isn’t an easy one either. The 24-year-old has some helium in his return from Tommy John Surgery, with FanGraphs’ “Prospect TLDR” blurb going as far as to say, “Eder might be lefty Spencer Strider.” But the command hasn’t been there in his return, and post-Tommy John pitchers always come with inherent risk.

The result is two considerably high-variance players swapped for one another. That leaves us with a lot to unpack as we work to figure out exactly why the model had such a large gap between the two, and whether it was correct in doing so.

Houston Astros acquire RHP Justin Verlander (-$11.0M or -$33.8M) and cash ($35.0M or $52.5M) from the New York Mets in exchange for OFs Drew Gilbert ($13.1M) and Ryan Clifford ($7.8M)

Between this move and the Scherzer deal, the model absolutely nailed the two biggest trades of the 2023 deadline. That’s especially impressive given the extensive financial factors at play, not to mention the uncertainty with both players’ 2023 underperformance.

Verlander’s $35 million vesting option for 2025 made him even trickier than Scherzer. If he reaches 140 innings pitched in 2024, it vests and becomes a player option, one which the then-42-year-old righty would be almost certain to exercise.

After internal discussion, we decided to operate under the assumption that an acquiring team would likely limit his innings in 2024 to avoid allowing that option to vest; hence his -$11.0M value on the site, excluding his 2025 salary. But then, as the deal went through, it was reported that the cash headed to Houston would be conditional on that vesting option. We crunched the numbers again, and the model spat out -$33.8M as Verlander’s value with the option vested.

One way, it’s Verlander at -$11.0M and $35.0M cash. The other way, it’s Verlander at -$33.8M and $52.5M cash. Either way, the deal is accepted by the model.

There’s not a ton to say about Verlander’s fit with Houston, given the lengthy relationship the pair had prior to the 2023 season. It’s at least worth noting that, after being outbid for Verlander last offseason, the Astros opted not to add any impact starting pitching to replace him. But in the wake of injuries to Luis Garcia, Lance McCullers Jr. and José Urquidy, they were forced to do exactly that, and sacrifice their top two prospects to do so.

Just like the Scherzer deal, the cash kicked in by the Mets allows them to drastically improve their prospect return. Gilbert and Clifford are excellent outfield prospects, both Top 100 candidates who could reach Queens within the next two years. The Mets have leveraged their greatest strength (their deep pockets) into a much-improved farm system, essentially on the fly. It’s obviously not the position they ever wanted to find themselves in, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

Seattle Mariners acquire RHP Eduard Bazardo ($0.0M) from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for RHP Logan Rinehart ($0.1M)

This is just a depth move, Seattle backfilling after moving Paul Sewald the day prior. Bazardo had been DFA’d by Baltimore.

Philadelphia Phillies acquire RHP Michael Lorenzen ($3.3M) from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for 2B Hao-Yu Lee ($7.8M)

At first glance, Philadelphia didn’t necessarily look like a team that needed to add a starter. But Cristopher Sánchez is approaching a career high in innings pitched, and Ranger Suárez isn’t known for going deep into games, so another arm does make sense – especially one like Lorenzen, who has experience pitching in relief as well.

Lorenzen was an All-Star in 2023, albeit as the lowly Tigers’ lone (and required) representative. He’s been a respectable back-end arm this season, though he’s approaching a new innings pitched threshold himself. He’s a pure rental set to hit the open market this offseason.

At $7.8M, Lee seems like a high price to pay for a back-end rental, especially one that may be used as a swingman. But Lee is a riskier prospect than one might expect from a hitter with his bat-to-ball skills. He has fringe power, and if it develops, he’ll combine it with his hit tool and defensive versatility to be an everyday player. If not, he’s a utility man, and we’ve seen at the major league level how undervalued that powerless utility archetype is, regardless of what other skills may be present. Given the sharp drop-off in value from his best-case scenario to his most likely scenario, it makes sense that he’d have higher variance than most.

Toronto Blue Jays acquire SS Paul DeJong (-$2.5M) and cash (about $3.5M) from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for RHP Matt Svanson ($0.1M)

The Blue Jays had a bit of a scare on Monday night when star shortstop Bo Bichette hobbled off the field with an apparent knee injury. Early reports say he shouldn’t be out too long, but shortstop depth is never a bad thing, especially when it comes this cheap.

DeJong went from DFA candidate to everyday player this season for St. Louis, though he’s cooled a bit since his hot start. He’s been close to a league average bat with an excellent glove. Toronto could do a lot worse for its temporary Bichette replacement. DeJong is owed about $3 million the rest of the way, plus a $12.5 million club option for 2024, which is almost certain to be declined in favor of a $2 million buyout. The Cardinals will reportedly cover half of his remaining salary for 2023, as well as the entirety of the 2024 buyout.

Svanson is a 24-year-old High-A reliever, which is really all you need to explain his low value. But he does have high strikeout rates, something St. Louis has publicly admitted to be targeting.

San Diego Padres acquire LHP Rich Hill ($0.5M) and 1B Ji-Man Choi (-$0.2M) from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for OF Estuar Suero ($3.4M), LHP Jackson Wolf ($2.2M) and 1B Alfonso Rivas ($0.1M)

It looks like A.J. Preller’s Padres, owners of a 52-55 record, fourth place in the NL West and five games back of the third NL Wild Card spot, are buyers! It makes some sense, given Preller’s aggressive tendencies and the team’s positive run differential. But the specifics of this trade still make it a bit of a head-scratcher.

No team will ever be disappointed to add Rich Hill at the deadline. At 43, he’s still a viable major league starter and is regarded as a positive clubhouse presence. But he’s a back-end arm, one likely to get bumped out of a playoff rotation and into the bullpen (if he remains on the roster at all). Choi is even more puzzling, a platoon first baseman who spent most of the year tending to an Achilles injury and has been a below average hitter in his return. Both are rentals and are owed a few million dollars the rest of the way.

Depth additions are fine, but it’s the cost that is puzzling. Rivas is a Quad-A player who has bounced around the league, but Suero and Wolf are legitimate prospects. Wolf, a Double-A lefty, looks like a probable back-end starter, while Suero, a teenaged outfielder, has some prospect pedigree. Preller has been known to break our model, and he has a decent track record of picking the right prospects to trade (the Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove deals come to mind). But still, it seems like the Pirates did very well here.

Kansas City Royals acquire LHP Tucker Davidson ($0.0M) from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for cash

Colorado Rockies acquire LHP Justin Bruihl ($0.0M) from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for cash

Just a pair of rebuilding teams picking up controllable lefties who were DFA’d to make room for trade acquisitions.

Atlanta Braves acquire LHP Brad Hand ($0.1M) from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for RHP Alec Barger ($0.1M)

The Braves are short on lefty relievers, and it seemed like Taylor Hearn would be their temporary solution until their primary southpaws returned from the injured list. But they flipped him for Nicky Lopez, creating a vacancy that will be filled by Hand. Hand has been average-ish for Colorado. If he pitches well, he’s a nice veteran addition for the championship-seeking Braves; if not, he’ll be cut if/when Dylan Lee returns from his shoulder injury.

Barger is a Double-A reliever, not ranked as a prospect but pitching well enough. A small return for a non-elite rental reliever.

Tampa Bay Rays acquire RHPs Manuel Rodríguez ($3.9M) and Adrian Sampson ($0.0M) and international pool space (unknown) from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for RHP Josh Roberson ($0.3M)

We missed a manual adjustment on Rodríguez; he passed through waivers unclaimed last offseason, and that’s indicative of a lower value than his current $3.9M figure. Adjusting for that brings this deal a lot closer. With that $3.9M value, it’s still accepted as a minor overpay by the Cubs.

Even considering that adjustment, it’s fair to believe the Rays got the better end of this deal. Rodríguez is viable relief depth who has missed bats throughout the minor leagues. He also won’t need to be added to the 40-man until the Rays decide to call him up, and he has an option remaining once they do. Sampson was solid for the Cubs last year, but suffered a knee injury this spring and hasn’t pitched well in Triple-A since returning. He was also outrighted off the 40-man.

In return for those two arms (and some international bonus space), the Cubs receive a fringe relief prospect in Roberson. Maybe there’s something here – he does have big stuff – but the command doesn’t look like it’s going to develop and he’s a 27-year-old getting his first taste of Triple-A. He’ll also be Rule 5 eligible this offseason.

July 31

Arizona Diamondbacks acquire UT Jace Peterson ($2.3M) and cash ($2.0M) from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for RHP Chad Patrick ($0.1M)

The D-Backs immediately turned around and found their Josh Rojas replacement in Peterson, a solid defender at both second and third base. He’s been a below average hitter this season, but has been better since a cold April, and provides on-base skills, a little pop and solid baserunning.

Still, our model may have been a touch high on Peterson, given his $5 million guarantee for 2024. With the cash Oakland is kicking in, the deal is accepted as a moderate underpay by Arizona. For the A’s, Patrick is a marginal prospect, projected as a depth arm at best. They’re likely most excited about the salary relief here.

Chicago Cubs acquire RHP José Cuas ($1.7M) from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for OF Nelson Velázquez ($2.8M)

Cuas is a fun story, a converted infielder who went from FedEx driver in 2020 to MLB reliever in 2022. The sidearmer has seen his velocity tick up this season, and he’ll be decent controllable relief depth for the Cubs.

Velázquez has big raw power, but his plate discipline has limited him in Triple-A and in the majors. He’s at least a solid defender, giving him a higher floor than the Franmil Reyes/Franchy Cordero/Jorge Soler archetype the Royals have tried in recent years.

Cincinnati Reds acquire LHP Sam Moll ($9.0M) and international pool space (unknown) from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for RHP Joe Boyle ($2.0M)

First and foremost, there’s a notable value gap here. The deal is technically accepted by the model as a major underpay by Cincinnati, but the international pool space – the value of which we don’t currently know – likely pushes this one over the edge. For tracking purposes, we’re counting it as rejected by the model.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. The model might be a touch high on Moll, a solid controllable lefty but perhaps one without the potential to be a lockdown late-inning arm. He’s also already 31. Still, left-handed relievers are always a hot deadline commodity, and he’s a good (cheap) fit for a Reds team that expects to compete for years to come.

Boyle, with big-league stuff but monumental control issues, is a higher variance prospect than most. It’s fair to assume the A’s value him above even our “High” value mark of $2.4M. The A’s have targeted similar pitchers in recent moves, most notably by signing Shintaro Fujinami in the offseason and acquiring Luis Medina in last deadline’s Frankie Montas deal. If Boyle can throw strikes, he has mid-rotation upside or better; if not, he’s either a reliever or a career minor leaguer. That variance helps explain the value gap as the A’s likely have him considerably higher if they think they can fix him; early returns on Medina have been promising.

San Francisco Giants acquire OF A.J. Pollock (-$2.2M), UT Mark Mathias ($0.0M) and cash (unknown) in exchange for a PTBNL or cash (unknown)

The Giants are banged up, placing outfielder Mike Yastrzemski on the injured list as one of the corresponding moves to make room for this deal. Pollock and Mathias add cheap depth. With Mitch Haniger out for a while, San Francisco’s outfield skews left-handed heavy, opening up at-bats for Pollock against southpaws.

The Mariners essentially receive salary relief, 40-man spaces to accommodate their earlier Sewald deal, and perhaps a nominal prospect as the PTBNL. We don’t know exactly how much cash they’re sending the Giants, but the deal is accepted by our model even without that figure, and it’ll only bring the deal closer once announced.

Chicago Cubs acquire 3B Jeimer Candelario ($6.1M) and cash (about $1.4M) from the Washington Nationals in exchange for LHP D.J. Herz ($2.8M) and SS Kevin Made ($2.2M)

A week ago, the Cubs were sellers with two of the market’s top chips in Marcus Stroman and Cody Bellinger. Today, they’re trading for one of the best rental bats on the market in Candelario. Life comes at you fast!

It took an eight-game winning streak, but Chicago is firmly in the NL Central and Wild Card mix. Candelario will provide consistency at the corners, where Patrick Wisdom and Trey Mancini have struggled. Candelario is enjoying a bounceback year at the plate and will be a free agent this upcoming offseason. This is also a reunion of sorts, as he was originally a top prospect for the Cubs before he was traded to Detroit for Justin Wilson. Washington will reportedly pay his salary down to the league minimum.

The Nationals continue to add to what has become an excellent farm system. Herz is a deceptive Double-A lefty with command issues and a plus changeup. He projects as a back-end starter, but has a decent floor as a funky lefty out of the ‘pen. At just 20, Made is a former top international prospect who has slowly made his way through the minors and is currently holding his own at High-A. He’s a longer-term project and likely doesn’t have the power to be an everyday player, but he still has plenty of time to develop further.

Milwaukee Brewers acquire OF Mark Canha (-$0.8M) and cash (approximately $3.5M) from the New York Mets in exchange for RHP Justin Jarvis ($1.1M)

In the ilk of their previous Carlos Santana deal, the Brewers add another solid, but unspectacular hitter in exchange for a lower-tier prospect. This time, it’s Mark Canha, a professional hitter whose power has dipped in recent years. He isn’t likely to set the world on fire, but he’s a solid lineup upgrade for Milwaukee. He’s also always been seen as a positive clubhouse presence.

Once again, the Mets kicked in cash to improve their prospect return. This time, they’ll be paying Canha’s 2023 salary down to the minimum, leaving the Brewers on the hook for either his $11.5 million club option or (much more likely) his $2 million buyout.

Jarvis is a nice get for the Mets. His velo has ticked up and it led to a successful run at Double-A, enough to earn him a recent promotion to the minor leagues’ highest level. He might not have the command or pitch mix to start long-term, but the Mets will give him a shot. He’s likely to be big league ready as soon as next year, and he’ll be Rule 5 eligible this offseason.

Arizona Diamondbacks acquire RHP Paul Sewald ($9.0M) from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for OF Dominic Canzone ($3.1M), IF Ryan Bliss ($2.1M) and UT Josh Rojas ($0.4M)

The Diamondbacks were America’s team in the first half, riding rookie star Corbin Carroll to an NL West lead. But they’ve petered off in recent weeks and slipped to third in the division and currently on the outside of the playoff picture. Bullpen issues have contributed significantly to their struggles, but now they add a reliable late-inning arm to hopefully provide stability.

The Mariners’ pitching development machine turned Sewald from waiver wire fodder to stud closer. He doesn’t throw as hard as most of today’s elite late-inning arms, but he’s funky and misses bats with both his fastball and his sweeper. He also comes with an additional season of control, making him a great fit for a young Diamondbacks team that expects its window to be open for years to come.

Arizona had a surplus of left-handed hitting outfielders, making Canzone expendable. He lit Triple-A on fire, but was old for the level at almost 26. Between that and his defensive shortcomings, he profiles as a platoon bat; the Mariners hope he’s just a late bloomer, potentially their next Mitch Haniger. Rojas, the last piece of Arizona’s return in the Zack Greinke deal, has been terrible this year and looks like a bench player at best. But there’s value here if Seattle can get him anywhere near his 2021 performance (108 wRC+, 2.7 fWAR).

Bliss might be the hidden gem to Seattle’s return. The 23-year-old battered Double-A pitching this year, earning a promotion to Triple-A where he has yet to find his footing. He has an impressive hit tool and enough speed to make an impact, but listed at 5’6″, 165, there are reasonable questions about whether he’ll have enough thump to succeed at the big league level. Prospect evaluators don’t yet buy the lofty performance, but there’s at least a chance he’s a Pedroia/Altuve type who can grind out a major league career.

The Mariners needed bats, and they added three interesting ones here. We’ll see how far the go, and whether they consider moving one of their top young arms on deadline day.

Tampa Bay Rays acquire RHP Aaron Civale ($26.4M) from the Cleveland Guardians in exchange for 1B Kyle Manzardo ($21.2M)

The Rays were identified early as a team to watch this trade season, given their pitching needs and extensive firepower on the farm. They struck here, adding the best controllable arm to be moved so far. The deal was accepted by our model as a moderate underpay by the Rays, but the gap is easily bridged if the Guardians are a touch higher on Manzardo than public evaluators (or if either of the two teams are a touch lower on Civale).

Civale doesn’t miss enough bats to be an ace. But the Rays don’t need him to be one. As cliché as it may be, he takes the ball every fifth day and throws quality innings, and given the injuries Tampa Bay’s rotation has suffered, he’s a perfect fit. He comes with two years of control after 2023 via arbitration, and given his low $2.6 million baseline, those years don’t project to be too expensive.

Those years of control made Civale more expensive than any of the rentals on the market, but the Rays have enough on the farm that they barely even feel that cost. Manzardo should be an excellent big league hitter, but seeing as he’s first base-only, he’s beyond blocked on the Rays’ depth chart, which features Yandy Díaz and Isaac Paredes in the big leagues and Curtis Mead and Junior Caminero on the farm. Manzardo also hasn’t put it together at Triple-A; understandable for a player who just turned 23, but perhaps a wake-up call for one who hasn’t struggled yet in his young professional career.

Tampa’s loss is Cleveland’s gain. The Guardians desparately needed a controllable impact bat, especially given disappointing seasons from Josh Bell, Andrés Giménez and Steven Kwan. Manzardo could even replace Bell, depending on how they each perform this year and next. The Guardians’ pitching development machine continues to churn, as they are no strangers to shipping out controllable arms as they enter their later arbitration years. In this case, there were questions over whether Cleveland would pull the trigger on Civale, given just how young and inexperienced the rest of its rotation is. But evidently, the team’s recent addition of Noah Syndergaard made it comfortable enough to make the move.

July 30

Los Angeles Angels acquire OF Randal Grichuk (-$1.1M), 1B C.J. Cron (-$1.1M) and cash (approximately $2.0M) from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for RHPs Jake Madden ($2.0M) and Mason Albright ($0.8M)

The battered Angels received more bad news on Sunday, as outfielder Taylor Ward was placed on the 60-day Injured List after being hit in the face with an errant pitch. They’re in no position to piece together replacement-level production at another position, so the team reunited with a pair of former first-round picks in Grichuk and Cron, both rentals.

Grichuk is a decent short-term everyday option while the team waits for some of its regulars to return from injury. He hits lefties very well and would form a natural platoon with Mickey Moniak once players like Mike Trout return and bump him out of an everyday role. Cron is another attempt to solve the team’s black hole at first base. June trade acquisition Mike Moustakas has been solid enough, but Cron is a nice right-handed complement and allows Moustakas to play more regularly at third base. Cron has been a below average hitter this season, so the Angels are betting on a bounceback here.

The Rockies made another trade! This isn’t a blockbuster by any means, but it is a step in the right direction for a franchise with a reputation for hanging on to its veterans for far too long. They even paid down the pair’s contracts to improve their prospect return, to the point the model saw this as a minor overpay by Los Angeles. Neither Madden or Albright are likely to move the needle, but a team like the Rockies should take chances on dart throws like these in the hopes that at least a few will stick.

Atlanta Braves acquire IF Nicky Lopez ($0.5M) from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for LHP Taylor Hearn ($0.2M)

This one is a head-scratcher, at least for Kansas City. Hearn was available for free on waivers less than a week ago, when the Braves acquired him from Texas in exchange for cash. Lopez obviously doesn’t have a ton of value as a glove-only infielder, but it’s odd that the Royals would flip him for an arbitration-eligible reliever with only one option remaining, rather than targeting a young lottery ticket prospect.

Texas Rangers acquire LHP Jordan Montgomery ($7.4M), RHP Chris Stratton ($1.0M) and international bonus pool money (unknown) from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for RHP Tekoah Roby ($4.7M), IF Thomas Saggese ($2.4M) and LHP John King ($0.1M)

As the Rangers made the Max Scherzer trade official, they also announced that ace Nathan Eovaldi was placed on the Injured List with a forearm strain. That’s a scary injury for any pitcher, but especially for Eovaldi, who has already undergone two Tommy John surgeries. This put the aggressive Rangers right back into the market for a starting pitcher, and they went out and grabbed one of the top remaining rentals in Montgomery, plus a viable middle reliever in Stratton to add length to the ‘pen.

Some Cardinals fans were disappointed in the return here, likely comparing it to the White Sox haul for Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López. But that was an obvious overpay by a desparate team in the Angels, and that can’t be used as the benchmark for the market. There’s also a gap in perception between Giolito, seen as a frontline arm, and Montgomery, seen as a mid-rotation innings-eater – even if 2022-23 performance would favor Montgomery.

Plus, the Cardinals were very clearly targeting different players than the longer-term project the White Sox received in Edgar Quero. Roby is the prize of the return, a Double-A pitcher who could debut as soon as 2024. Saggese, a likely third baseman with an impressive hit tool, is on a similar track, while King is an up-and-down lefty reliever. St. Louis is set on returning to contention in 2024, and was willing to sacrifice some upside in exchange for proximity to the majors. That being said, they still got a fair return here, and Saggese in particular feels like a candidate for Cardinals Devil Magic.

Toronto Blue Jays acquire RHP Jordan Hicks ($2.4M) from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for RHPs Sem Robberse ($2.8M) and Adam Kloffenstein ($0.9M)

Much like Texas, the Blue Jays received unfortunate injury news with closer Jordan Romano hitting the Injured List due to a persistent back issue. They also turned to St. Louis for a solution, acquiring one of the best remaining rental relievers in Hicks in exchange for a pair of Double-A arms.

Hicks has long been a fascinating pitcher, generating plenty of ground balls on his triple-digit sinker and whiffs with his plus sweeper. His command can get away from him at times, but when he’s on he’s untouchable. He’s a rental with late-inning experience, and seeing as he hasn’t yet turned 27, he has a chance to parlay a strong second half in Toronto into a lucrative free agent deal this offseason.

The Cardinals continued to stock their upper minors with swing-and-miss arms. Robberse is the headliner, a 21-year-old holding his own in Double-A. He projects as a likely back-end starter, but perhaps he’s a guy St. Louis can extract further value from by way of its consistently solid defense. Kloffenstein has been a prospect for a few years, and he’s seen his ranking decline as he looks more and more like a back-end starter at best. But this season, in his second crack at Double-A, he’s missing plenty of bats, so perhaps the Cardinals see something more here.

July 29

Texas Rangers acquire RHP Max Scherzer (-$16.4M) and cash (approximately $35.7M) from the New York Mets in exchange for SS Luisangel Acuña ($20.1M)

Blockbuster! The Mets continued their sale with their loudest move yet, shipping off ace Max Scherzer (and most of his remaining contract) to the ever-aggressive Rangers in exchange for top infield prospect Luisangel Acuña, younger brother of Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr.

Our model nailed this one, with $20.1M in value heading to the Mets and about $19.3M to the Rangers (depending on the exact cash amount). That’s especially impressive given the many complicating factors at play here.

Scherzer just turned 39, and both his ERA and FIP are over four this season. He’s also battled a neck issue, after missing time due to an oblique injury in 2022. If this is truly the beginning of his decline, then it’s a drastic one; last season he was great, producing 4.4 fWAR in just 23 starts. But the Rangers clearly see a rebound here, and the projections agree, expecting him to improve down the stretch, though perhaps not return all the way to his former peak.

But even considering the questions about Scherzer’s health and performance, the biggest wrench in this deal was clearly his contract. He’s owed about $15 million down the stretch, and then a $43.3 million player option in 2024. Given the magnitude of that guarantee (and his struggles this season) we fully expected Scherzer to exercise that option, and he removed any uncertainty by doing so at the Rangers’ request as one of the conditions of this trade. He’ll also reportedly receive accommodations (specifics of which are currently unknown) in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause to join Texas.

The Mets are covering more than half of his remaining salary, leaving the Rangers with a year and some change of Scherzer for $22.5 million; or, if split proportionately between the two seasons, about $5.6 million down the stretch and $16.9 million in 2024. For someone with Scherzer’s upside, that’s a bargain, hence the significant prospect return for New York.

This is owner Steve Cohen at full strength. He forecast such a move by eating money to improve the Mets’ returns in the Eduardo Escobar and Trevor Gott/Chris Flexen trades, and now he executes the same at a much larger scale. He’s essentially buying a prospect here, injecting a high-upside talent into the farm system in Acuña while simultaneously freeing a bit of money off the books for 2024, when the team will certainly try to return to contention.

Next, all eyes turn to Justin Verlander, on a similar contract but with a third year vesting option (one which his acquiring team could easily prevent). He’s been better than Scherzer and even has a bit of surplus value. A week ago a Verlander trade seemed like a long shot, seeing as he was just signed this past offseason and could be part of a successful 2024 team. But after this trade, all bets are off.

Even in Jacob deGrom’s absence, the Rangers’ rotation has been a strength, and Scherzer adds important length to a group whose members haven’t necessarily been known for their durability. If he can return to form, he’ll make for a formidable 1-2 punch with All-Star Nathan Eovaldi. Texas will next look to upgrade their bullpen, and could use a more trustworthy option than Travis Jankowski out in left field.

July 28

Houston Astros acquire RHP Kendall Graveman (-$4.7M) from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for C Korey Lee ($1.6M)

Graveman was an effective arm down the stretch for Houston in 2021, when they acquired him from the Mariners in a deadline deal. He parlayed that strong year into a three-year contract with the White Sox, and halfway through that deal he finds himself back with Houston.

Graveman has, uncharacteristically, battled command and home run issues this season. To some, that signals the beginning of the decline phase for the 32-year-old. But the Astros believe in him enough to pick him up for the stretch run, paying his remaining ~$2.7 million this year and his full $8 million for 2024, and give up a young catcher on top of that. Our model accepted this deal as a major overpay, and its worth noting that this is the second significant overpay for a reliever during the Astros’ current post-James Click regime (the first being the Rafael Montero signing, which has gone quite poorly so far).

The White Sox continue to find good returns for their veteran arms. The true benefit of this deal is offloading Graveman’s 2024 guarantee, but Lee isn’t a bad buy-low for a team entering a retooling phase. The former top prospect is a plus defensive catcher with power, but the bat hasn’t shown itself in the upper minors, let alone the majors. He was blocked in Houston by young breakout Yainer Diaz, but the White Sox should give him ample opportunity to find his footing in the big leagues, at least as a backup.

Los Angeles Dodgers acquire RHPs Lance Lynn (-$0.4M) and Joe Kelly (-$0.6M) from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for RHPs Nick Nastrini ($7.6M) and Jordan Leasure ($0.1M) and OF Trayce Thompson ($0.4M)

The White Sox have made two trades of a rental starter and reliever to a Los Angeles-based team, and both have been flat-out rejected by the model as overpays. Are these a pair of outliers, two desparate large-market clubs looking to jump the market (and willing to overpay to do so)? Or is this a sign of an extreme seller’s market? Only time will tell.

It’s tough to see any surplus for Lynn and Kelly. ERA isn’t everything (clearly), but two thirds of the way through the season, they’re at 6.47 and 4.97 respectively. They’re both missing a ton of bats, but Lynn is giving up home runs at the highest rate of his career, and Kelly has a long track record of inconsistency despite high K rates.

Even if you like them as buy-lows, it’s hard to argue the Dodgers actually bought low here; they’re taking on the combined ~$10 million the two are owed down the stretch, plus another $2 million in 2024 buyouts, and they traded away a solid pitching prospect on top of that. Los Angeles clearly needed innings covers and, having pushed past the luxury tax threshold late in the offseason, had money to burn. But it’s hard to imagine too many other teams taking on that much money and giving up solid talent.

As they did with the Giolito deal, the White Sox will gladly take advantage of the Dodgers’ desperation. The prize of the deal is Nastrini, whose command issues may limit him to the bullpen, but there’s enough upside if he can stick in the rotation that he’s worth getting excited about. He’s a tier below the Dodgers’ top crop of arms, but immediately becomes Chicago’s top pitching prospect, at least according to our values (and not counting recent draftees).

Leasure is a Double-A reliever with command issues of his own, but he might miss enough bats to compensate. After bouncing around the league (including two previous stints with the White Sox) Thompson has found a niche as a short-side platoon outfielder, a nice compliment to some of Chicago’s lefty bats. He’s set to return from the Injured List in the near future, and likely would have been the odd man out in Los Angeles after the Dodgers added Enrique Hernández and Amed Rosario in recent moves.

July 27

Miami Marlins acquire RHP David Robertson ($0.3M) from the New York Mets in exchange for IF Marco Vargas ($3.3M) and C Ronald Hernandez ($0.8M)

Entering 2023, no one would have expected the Mets to be sellers at the deadline, let alone trading their top reliever to the Marlins of all teams. But here we are!

Robertson continues to defy the aging curve. His 2.05 ERA may not quite be supported by his peripherals, but he’s been very good overall. Given his age, rental status and ~$3.5 million remaining on his contract, our model didn’t see much surplus here. But he does have extensive late-inning experience, clearly a priority for Miami.

In return, the Mets receive a pair of teenagers. Hernandez is a 19-year-old catcher hitting well in complex ball, but without much prospect pedigree. Vargas is the real prize. As an 18-year-old also in the complex league, he’s a long ways away, and he may never develop enough power to succeed at the higher levels. But he has exceptional bat-to-ball skills and a plate approach beyond his years. The Mets are adding him just as he starts to pick up helium from our prospect sources, leading to the value gap and our model seeing this deal as a minor overpay by Miami.

The average Mets fan won’t be thrilled about this trade, given it serves as the white flag for a 2023 season once filled with World Series hopes. It doesn’t help that the return package is a half decade away from the big leagues. But Vargas is the type of player the Dodgers and Rays have targeted in similar smaller deals, and that approach has paid dividends for those clubs. We’ll see how it works for New York.

Milwaukee Brewers acquire 1B Carlos Santana (-$1.2M) from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for SS Jhonny Severino ($0.3M)

The Brewers reach the trade deadline in a familiar spot: comfortably in contention in the weak NL Central, but needing to upgrade a lackluster offense. To that end, Santana fits the mold of a typical Milwaukee addition. He’s not flashy or expensive, but presents a clear upgrade for the Brewers. Even his league average batting line is a notable improvement over the team’s current first base production (74 wRC+, worst in the league). Factor in Santana’s plus defense and he makes for a solid addition, even as a rental.

Severino is a prototypical lottery ticket, an 18-year-old shortstop who received a $1.23 million bonus as a 2022 international signee, but didn’t rank highly on prospect lists. All things considered, not a bad get for Pittsburgh, especially in exchange for a veteran rental they signed last offseason.

July 26

Los Angeles Angels acquire RHPs Lucas Giolito ($6.6M) and Reynaldo López ($1.3M) from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for C Edgar Cuero ($20.3M) and LHP Ky Bush ($9.8M)

Just a few hours after reportedly pulling two-way star Shohei Ohtani off the trade market, the Angels shipped off their second-best prospect in Quero in an aggressive move for two rentals – one which our model rejected as an overpay.

Some overpays are head-scratchers that leave us questioning the model. But this one is clear: once the Angels decided to keep Ohtani, they elected to push all their chips in to build a contender during his final year with the team. One can argue whether even a deep playoff run will make any tangible difference in the team’s chances to keep Ohtani long-term. But one could also argue that after losing Ohtani to free agency, it would be a long time before the next Angels contender, with or without Quero and Bush.

Quero enjoyed a breakout year in 2022. His 2023 performance has been a bit more muted, but as a 20-year-old catcher in Double-A. He ranks comfortably among the game’s top 50-60 prospects and is a nice get for the White Sox. He’s also superfluous to the Angels, who expect top prospect Logan O’Hoppe to be their long-term answer behind the dish. The model may have been a touch high on Bush, who projects as more of a back-end starter. But the former second-round pick is still a solid prospect.

Even if you’re on board with the Angels overpaying to push for 2023, it’s fair to quibble with the specific players they targeted. Giolito had a very strong run from 2019-21, but over the last two seasons he has looked more like a #3-4 starter than a true frontline arm. And López broke out in 2022 and has excellent stuff, but the command has disappeared in 2023 and he’s been close to replacement level. The San Diego Padres are firmly on the bubble and may wait until closer to the deadline to act, but it’s fair to wonder if a similar deal could have been made for Blake Snell and Josh Hader. That trade would also have been a significant overpay, but would have provided the Angels with more Field Value (at the cost of higher salaries).

The White Sox did well here to take advantage of the Angels’ desparation. And if they’re going to be this aggressive this early, it’s safe to say the Angels aren’t done adding.

Boston Red Sox acquire RHP Mauricio Llovera ($0.0M) from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for RHP Marques Johnson ($0.1M)

Just a depth deal. Llovera had been DFA’d and is out of options.

Los Angeles Dodgers acquire SS Amed Rosario ($3.6M) from the Cleveland Guardians in exchange for RHP Noah Syndergaard (-$2.2M) and cash (approximately $1.9M)

What a strange trade, huh? In the offseason, the Dodgers lost a pair of shortstops in Trea Turner (to free agency) and Gavin Lux (to injury). Rosario was heavily speculated as a potential replacement, given Cleveland’s surplus of young MLB-ready shortstops. The Dodgers opted for Miguel Rojas, who hasn’t hit at all (54 wRC+). So a week ahead of the deadline, they turned back to Rosario … who also hasn’t hit much (86 wRC+) and has rated poorly defensively, to boot.

Between Rosario and Enrique Hernández, the Dodgers are counting on bouncebacks from a pair of veterans who haven’t contributed much of anything on offense or defense this year. More than anything, that speaks to the weak trade market, specifically for rental bats. On the other hand, Los Angeles has at least raised its floor and still has a week to make further moves.

Cleveland’s side is perhaps even more puzzling. Again, moving Rosario makes sense, as they can now give extended looks to Gabriel Arias, Tyler Freeman and Brayan Rocchio. And they have nearly a full rotation on the Injured List after losing righty Shane Bieber for at least the next 5-6 weeks. But Syndergaard? With diminished velocity, he was able to piece together an okay 2022 season as a back-end starter for the Angels and Phillies. But even after joining the Dodgers with all the developmental tools in the world at their disposal, his velocity dropped another two ticks and the results have been disastrous.

The Guardians are one of only a few teams with a pitching development system to rival the Dodgers, so maybe there’s something there. Or maybe they’re just looking for a veteran innings-eater to join the stock of rookies in their rotation (perhaps even to make an Aaron Civale trade more feasible?). Time will tell, but even with the cash, this one goes through as a minor overpay by Cleveland.

Minnesota Twins acquire RHP Dylan Floro ($1.2M) from the Miami Marlins in exchange for RHP Jorge López (-$0.5M)

A challenge trade! Both teams have had issues in the bullpen, and decided to swap a pair of struggling arms that may fit the other’s needs a little cleaner.

Floro’s estimators look solid, but he’s struggled to prevent runs due in part to Miami’s lackluster defense. That shouldn’t be as big of a concern with the Twins, and Floro should comfortably step right into a late-inning role as a relatively stable presence.

For the Marlins, López is a bit more of a project. He’s been a well below replacement level pitcher since joining the Twins at last year’s deadline. But at his peak in the first half of 2022, he was a better pitcher than Floro has ever been, and his power profile fits today’s game a bit more naturally. Plus, if the Marlins can get him back on track, they’ll have an additional year of team control, while Floro will be a free agent following the season.

July 25

Los Angeles Dodgers acquire UT Enrique Hernández (-$3.5M) and cash (reportedly $2.5M) from the Boston Red Sox in exhange for RHPs Nick Robertson ($0.5M) and Justin Hagenman ($0.1M)

Who doesn’t love a reunion? The Dodgers brought back a fan favorite in Hernández to bolster their offense, which hasn’t performed as they hoped from the right side. One could certainly question whether Hernández will provide much of a boost given his abysmal 2023 season, even against lefties. But he provides depth all around the diamond and there’s hope that a return to Los Angeles, where he spent most of his career, can help spark something in his bat.

The Red Sox were facing a roster crunch with Yu Chang and Pablo Reyes off the Injured List (and Trevor Story hopefully soon to follow). They did well to add a pair of depth relievers by eating most of Hernández’s contract. Robertson in particular is interesting, posting strong Triple-A numbers thanks to an MLB-quality changeup.

July 24

Atlanta Braves acquire RHP Pierce Johnson (-$0.1M) from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for RHPs Victor Vodnik ($1.1M) and Tanner Gordon ($0.1M)

Atlanta Braves acquire LHP Taylor Hearn ($0.0M) from the Texas Rangers in exchange for cash considerations (unknown)

The NL-leading Braves acted early to add depth to their bullpen, adding a pair of flawed high-strikeout arms. Both Johnson and Hearn have command issues, but have the stuff to consistently miss bats. Johnson in particular was solid with the Padres from 2020-21 and, predictably, he’s pitched much better away from Coors this season. He’s certainly not a lockdown late-inning guy, but he adds length to what was already a solid Atlanta bullpen, at a low price.

Hearn was recently DFA’d by Texas. In recent years, he’s bounced between the rotation and the bullpen, but the Braves will likely look to develop him as a reliever. He does have an option remaining. He’ll be much-needed left-handed depth for Atlanta, which has three lefty relievers on the injured list.

July 21

Toronto Blue Jays acquire LHP Genesis Cabrera (-$0.4M) from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for C Sammy Hernandez ($0.1M)

Cabrera is optionable left-handed relief depth who can provide length. He had been DFA’d by St. Louis prior to the trade.

July 19

Baltimore Orioles acquire RHP Shintaro Fujinami ($1.9M) from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for LHP Easton Lucas ($0.9M)

The Orioles, in search of relief arms to bridge the gap to Yennier Cano and Felix Bautista, snagged Fujinami early. He likely won’t be their only addition, but he’s a better add than his unsightly 8.57 ERA would suggest. Fujinami battled control issues throughout his entire NPB career, and they’ve continued stateside, especially when the A’s used him as a starter at the beginning of the season. But since moving to the bullpen, he’s gotten better and better, his 100+ MPH fastball and nasty splitter/slider combo playing up even higher.

Fujinami still has his moments and isn’t a guy you can trust in high leverage every night. But the Orioles already have a pair of dominant high leverage arms in Cano and Bautista. They need middle relief arms to serve as a bridge, and Fujinami should fit that role nicely. Given his early season struggles and rental status, the cost was low; Lucas is a 26-year-old reliever with command issues of his own. He’ll be Rule 5 eligible this offseason.

July 3

New York Mets acquire RHPs Chris Flexen (-$3.0M) and Trevor Gott ($2.2M) from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for LHP Zach Muckenhirn ($0.1M)

Off to a disappointing start, the Mets made a somewhat aggressive early move, adding Gott to upgrade a bullpen that had few arms manager Buck Showalter could trust in higher leverage situations.

The prospect cost was minimal because owner Steve Cohen continued to flex his financial muscle, taking on the entire remaining contract (~$4 million) of recently-DFA’d righty Chris Flexen. This was a pure salary dump; the Mets immediately cut Flexen, and by eating his contract, their only player cost was a DFA’d pitcher of their own in Muckenhirn. Gott comes with an additional year of arbitration, providing value for the team in 2024 should the 2023 Mets continue to disappoint.

The Mariners turn castoffs into above average relievers like nobody else, making Gott somewhat extraneous. We’ll see if they reinvest the savings from moving Flexen, as their season hasn’t gone exactly as planned either.

June 30

Texas Rangers acquire LHP Aroldis Chapman ($7.2M) from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for LHP Cole Ragans ($2.9M) and OF Roni Cabrera ($1.5M)

The Rangers have been one of the American League’s best teams all season, and they want to keep it that way. They helped their cause by acquiring one of the best available relievers in Chapman – and more than a month ahead of the trade deadline to boot.

Chapman is enjoying a complete 180 from his disastrous 2022 season. At age 35, his velocity and strikeout rate are nearing what they were during his peak. Given his age, his 2022 performance and his off-field issues, there is still risk, and his value is limited as a rental. But he’s still an excellent weapon for Texas to add to its bullpen.

For their successful gamble on Chapman, the Royals were rewarded with a pair of interesting young players in Ragans and Cabrera. Ragans is a lefty with high strikeout rates in the minors. He’s essentially MLB-ready and projects as a back-end starter or solid reliever. Cabrera is a total lottery ticket. He isn’t rated highly by any prospect outlets, but the outfielder is off to an excellent start to his career in the DSL. Time will tell for the 17-year-old.

At the time of the trade, there was a bit of a gap in the values heading to each team, with Texas getting the better end of the deal. But Chapman’s strong year has him in line to earn some of the Games Finished and Games Pitched incentives on his contract. Once you factor those bonuses into his salary, the deal looks much closer.

June 24

Los Angeles Angels acquire IF Mike Moustakas (-$0.7M) from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for RHP Connor Van Scoyoc ($0.1M)

June 23

Los Angeles Angels acquire IF Eduardo Escobar (-$2.0M) and cash (approx. $5.5M) from the New York Mets in exchange for RHPs Landon Marceaux ($1.1M) and Coleman Crow ($0.5M)

Battered by injuries (particularly on the infield), the Angels made a pair of late June movies to improve their depth. For the price of three lower-ranked pitching prospects, Los Angeles added a pair of veteran infielders capable of playing multiple positions and, at the very least, raising the team’s floor.

Neither player has hit all that well in 2023. But they’re clear improvements over players like Andrew Velazquez and Michael Stefanic. And the hope is that these two can settle into part-time roles once Anthony Rendon, Jared Walsh and others are healthy and performing.

Flipping Moustakas is obvious for the Rockies; they’re way out of the race and he was a minor league pickup in the offseason. But the Mets decision to trade Escobar is more interesting, and was likely driven by a desire to open up playing time for top prospect Brett Baty. They also chose to eat Escobar’s entire remaining salary to improve their prospect return.

About the Author

Joshua Iversen

Joshua Iversen

Associate Editor of