The MLB trade deadline is fast approaching, and the rumor mill is off and running. It can be one of the most exciting and heart-breaking periods of the MLB calendar, as players can go anywhere unexpectedly, teams grow stronger and more formidable (or tear down entirely), and fans of selling teams must say goodbye to their stars and begin to accept their fate of a playoff-free October.
The MLB trade deadline is 6 p.m. ET Tuesday
Until then, you can find details on and reaction to all the deals here.
Mets trade Justin Verlander, reunite him with Astros
Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros are back together once again.
The New York Mets have reportedly traded Verlander to the Astros, reuniting a team and a player that have won two World Series together. Verlander joined the Astros just before the 2017 trade deadline, and stayed there until the end of the 2022 season. He signed a two-year contract with the Mets this offseason, but things went downhill quickly as New York wasn’t able to capitalize on their massively expensive roster.
In return the Mets will receive OF Drew Gilbert and OF Ryan Clifford, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Blue Jays add Paul DeJong after Bo Bichette injury
The Toronto Blue Jays are buying some Bo Bichette insurance.
One day after their All-Star shortstop left a game with a potentially serious knee injury, the Blue Jays traded for St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong, the team announced. Going back to the Cardinals will be relief prospect Matt Svanson.
There’s no replacing Bichette, who is currently hitting .321/.352/.494 with 17 homers, but Toronto is at least adding a veteran option in the now seemingly likely event Bichette has to miss time. DeJong, a former All-Star himself is hitting .233/.297/.412 himself. He’s a free agent after this season.
When Bichette is healthy, DeJong figures to provide depth for a strong Blue Jays infield that also has Whit Merrifield at second base and Matt Chapman at third.
Padres start buying with Rich Hill, Ji-Man Choi
Rich Hill’s long, twisting career has reached a 13th team.
The San Diego Padres are trading for the veteran southpaw as well as first baseman Ji-Man Choi from the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Going back to the Padres will reportedly be pitching prospect Jackson Wolf, outfield prospect Estuar Suero and first baseman/outfielder Alfonso Rivas. Wolf is currently ranked as the 16th best prospect in the Padres’ system.
The Padres had long loomed as a significant seller due to their disappointing season and moveable assets such as Blake Snell, Josh Hader and, potentially, Juan Soto, but a recent run of eight wins in their last 13 games has them at 52-55 and five games back from the third and final NL wild-card spot. They still have a ways to go, but their +62 run differential, third best in the NL, indicates they could get a boost from some positive regression.
Helping that will be Hill and Choi, who will provide reinforcements in problem areas for San Diego. Hill isn’t having his best season with a 4.76 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 119 innings, but the Padres have short on rotation depth for a while. Choi is currently hitting .205/.224/.507 in 76 plate appearances, a decent upgrade over the Padres’ current first base slash line of .220/.303/.364, with a wOBA of .293 that ranks third-worst in MLB.
The 43-year-old Hill will also rank behind only Edwin Jackson for the most teams played for in an MLB career once he takes the ball for the Padres.
What does it mean for the Padres?
The Padres are buying? The Padres are buying.
Even stuck at 52-55, five games and almost as many teams back of the last NL wild-card spot, San Diego seemingly has too much tied up in this season and next to punt. Like the Chicago Cubs, the Padres appear to be declining a crack at a favorable seller’s market in favor of keeping 2023 hopes alive in a chaotic NL race.
They might have drawn a huge bounty for walk-year players such as MLB ERA leader Blake Snell or dominant closer Josh Hader, but instead, the Padres went out on the front foot Tuesday to trade for 43-year-old starting pitcher Rich Hill and first baseman Ji-Man Choi.
The actual additions are reinforcements in the purest sense for GM A.J. Preller. This is a deadline about filling black holes beyond the stars, as strong numbers from Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto & Co. have not been consistently translating to wins.
Hill can step in and provide competent innings, which might be even more necessary if Michael Wacha isn’t ready to return from injury. Choi, who has played only 23 games this year due to injury, will almost certainly represent an upgrade at designated hitter for the Padres. The lefty swinger will likely start against right-handers, the big side of a platoon, and clear a very low bar. San Diego’s DH slot is batting a collective .216/.291/.368 this season, fifth-worst in the majors.
It will take more than this for the Padres to reach October, but this is a start at shooting the moon. — Zach Crizer
White Sox ‘listening’ on Dylan Cease
The Chicago White Sox are reportedly “taking more serious offers” for last season’s AL Cy Young runner-up, Dylan Cease, according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post. Cease, 27, has a 4-4 record this year, striking out 143 batters in 22 starts 119.1 innings with a 4.15 ERA and 1.34 WHIP.
He remains under team control through the 2025 season, earning $5.7 million this year. Despite the drop off from last season, he will garner plenty of interest for the White Sox, who are also reportedly “almost certain” to trade right-handed pitcher Kenyan Middleton and fielding offers for shortstop Tim Anderson. Outfielder Luis Robert Jr. is reportedly the only player Chicago is not willing to hear trades for, and Cease is the team’s next-most valuable offering.
Braves acquire Brad Hand from Rockies
The Atlanta Braves are the best team in baseball, but they’re still getting better. The Braves have traded for Colorado Rockies reliever Brad Hand in a move that will upgrade their bullpen.
Not that they particularly need it. The Braves, an uncatchable behemoth of a team, already has one of the better bullpens in baseball. But the veteran Hand will give them the left-handed depth they need to continue to mow down teams at an alarming pace. The 2023 Braves haven’t had a losing streak longer than four games this season, and they’ve only gotten to four straight losses three times.
Once Hand makes his first appearance for the Braves, he’ll become the first pitcher in MLB history to have played for all five National League East teams.
Justin Verlander is on the market, and the Astros are interested
With the deadline approaching, the biggest name remaining on the market is reportedly still very much in play. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Chandler Rome report that the New York Mets are trying to trade Justin Verlander before Tuesday’s deadline, and the Houston Astros are interested.
Veralander has a full no-trade clause, and he would prefer to return to his former team if dealt, according to the report. Verlander pitched five seasons in Houston, where he won two of his three Cy Young Awards and two World Series rings. He has a close relationship with team owner Jim Crane, per the report.
The Astros entered Monday a game behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, who have made multiple recent moves including procuring the services of Verlander’s now ex-Mets teammate Max Scherzer. Trading for Verlander would amount to a powerful counterpunch in the heated AL West race.
The Dodgers are reportedly also in play for Verlander. Thanks to his no-trade clause, Verlander ultimately holds the cards in terms of where he lands.
Diamondbacks land closer Paul Sewald in deal with Mariners
The Diamondbacks struck a deal with the Seattle Mariners for closer Paul Sewald on Monday, according to the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro. In exchange, the Mariners are receiving infielder Josh Rojas and outfielder Dominic Canzone. Seattle will also get minor-league infielder Ryan Bliss in the deal, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Sewald holds a 2.93 ERA with 60 strikeouts and 21 saves in 43 innings pitched this season, his third in Seattle. He’s eligible to hit free agency after the 2024 season.
Sewald joins relievers Andrew Chafin, Miguel Castro, Scott McGough and Kevin Ginkel in the Arizona bullpen. The Diamondbacks, who led the NL West for much of this season, enter Monday’s series opener with the San Francisco Giants having lost 11 of their past 15 games out of the All-Star break. They lost two of three to the Mariners and are four games back from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division.
Mets continue sell-off, send Mark Canha to Brewers
The New York Mets’ retool continues with a deal to send outfielder Mark Canha to the Milwaukee Brewers, according to multiple reports. The Brewers are sending pitching prospect Justin Jarvis to the Mets in return.
With the deal, the Brewers add a capable bat to their lineup as they’re embroiled in a tight playoff race. Canha, 34, is slashing .245/.343/.381 with 6 home runs, 29 RBI and 7 stolen bases through 89 games this season. Milwaukee entered Monday at 57-49, trailing the first-place Cincinnati Reds by a half-game in the NL Central. The third-place Chicago Cubs are lurking at 53-52, 3.5 games behind the Brewers. The Brewers have control of the final NL wild-card spot, with a half-game edge over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets, who recently jettisoned starter Max Scherzer and closer David Robertson, add another prospect in Jarvis, a 23-year-old right-hander whom MLB.com rated as Milwaukee’s 30th-ranked prospect.
What does this mean for Mets, Brewers?
The smallest-market Brewers have built a run of consistent contention lately with a simple plan of stellar pitching development and just enough offense. They might have stretched that formula as far as it can take them this season, with a team wRC+ of 88 — or 22% below league average for overall offense. The Mets’ willingness to assume the bulk of many outgoing players’ salaries and need to address their increasingly dire dearth of big-league arms made for a good match.
Even a relative down year — or inevitable age decline, depending on how you look at it — from Canha represents an offensive gain for the Brewers. His 107 wRC+ will be fourth-best among Brewers with at least 100 plate appearances and his .343 average is third-best in that cohort. For better and for worse, Canha (34) and the Brewers’ other low-cost deadline addition, Carlos Santana (37), immediately become the two oldest players in the Brewers lineup. With a full decade on dynamic rookies such as Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer, these two might not be the most athletic additions, but they bring a wealth of experience to a club looking to overtake the equally young and exciting Cincinnati Reds.
Meanwhile, in Jarvis, the Mets finally get pitching back as part of their sell-off. The 23-year-old fifth-round pick has made a handful of starts at Triple-A already, and MLB Pipeline expects him to debut next year. It remains to be seen whether that makes the Mets more comfortable moving their last remaining ace in Justin Verlander. — Hannah Keyser
Cubs add Nats 3B Jeimer Candelario to boost playoff hopes
With the NL Central and a wild card in sight, the Chicago Cubs are buying. The Cubs traded for Washington Nationals third baseman Jeimer Candelario on Monday, according to multiple reports. Candelario, 29, is slashing .258/.342/.481 with 16 home runs, 53 RBI and 6 stolen bases through 99 games this season. The Cubs entered Monday four games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central and 3.5 games back of the final wild-card spot in the NL.
In return, the Nationals received shortstop prospect Kevin Made and pitching prospect DJ Herz. Made was the 14th-ranked Cubs prospect, and Herz ranked 16th, per MLB.com.
Giants add Pollock, Mathias from Mariners
The San Francisco Giants are adding to their offensive arsenal by acquiring outfielder A.J. Pollock and utility player Mark Mathias from the Seattle Mariners, according to multiple reports. The return on the trade wasn’t immediately clear.
The Giants entered Monday at 58-48, in control of the NL’s top wild-card spot and two games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. Pollack, a former All-Star, is struggling this year with a .173/.225/.323 slash line, 5 home runs and 15 RBI through 49 games. Mathias slashed .231/.355/.269 with 4 RBI, 3 stolen bases and no home runs in 22 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. The Mariners claimed him off waivers on July 2. He never played for Seattle.
Rays bolster rotation in deal with Guardians
The Tampa Bay Rays began filling in an injury-depleted starting rotation Monday by trading for Cleveland Guardians hurler Aaron Civale, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal will send Kyle Manzardo, a first baseman and top-50 overall prospect in baseball, to Cleveland.
Civale, who missed two months due to injury, has been stellar when on the mound in 2023, tallying a 2.34 ERA that is second-best among starters with at least 50 innings. The underlying numbers don’t support the idea that he will sustain that level of excellence, but the 28-year-old right-hander has been a solid major-league starter and is under team control through 2025. The Rays, in the midst of a high-flying AL East race, have been scrambling to fill out their rotation since Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs went down earlier this season. Civale will slot in and could be particularly important if the Rays decide to demote rookie Taj Bradley for innings or performance reasons.
Manzardo, currently on the injured list at Triple-A, could be ready to help the offense-starved Guardians as soon as he is healthy, and certainly he’ll be part of their equation in 2024. Projected to be a very strong hitter, Manzardo could give the Guardians a much-needed threat in the lineup. Only perennial MVP contender José Ramirez and first baseman Josh Naylor have been significantly above average as hitters for Cleveland this season. Depending on when Manzardo is ready to debut in the majors, this could create a question of where to deploy Naylor and offseason signing Josh Bell, a first baseman and designated hitter.
Angels make more adds around Shohei Ohtani
The deal furthers the Angels’ commitment to building around and attempting to retain Shohei Ohtani after they declined to deal the two-way superstar before the trade deadline.
Rangers stock up, add Jordan Montgomery from Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals traded starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery to the Texas Rangers on Sunday, according to multiple reports. News of the deal broke just moments after the Cardinals traded reliever Jordan Hicks to the Toronto Blue Jays.
St. Louis is also sending reliever Chris Stratton to Texas, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The Cardinals will receive infielder Thomas Saggese and pitchers Tekoah Roby and John King from the Rangers.
Montgomery joins a Rangers team that just acquired three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer from the New York Mets on Saturday. Texas is bolstering its rotation as it looks to maintain its one-game lead over the Houston Astros in the AL West. Texas is playing without injured All-Star starter Nathan Eovaldi, who joined the 15-day injured list Sunday due to arm inflammation. Ace Jacob deGrom is sidelined for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Blue Jays acquire Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks
The Toronto Blue Jays have bolstered their bullpen by agreeing to a deal to acquire St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jordan Hicks, according to multiple reports. Hicks will arrive in Toronto with All-Star closer Jordan Romano on the injured list due to back inflammation.
Hicks, 26, has a 3.67 ERA and 1.512 WHIP with 59 strikeouts and 24 walks in 41 2/3 innings this season. He was tied with Giovanny Gallegos for the Cardinals’ lead in saves, with eight.
The 59-47 Blue Jays are in the thick of the AL wild-card race and five games behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles in the AL East at the time of the trade. The 46-60 Cardinals are in last place in the NL Central.
Braves add infield depth with Nicky Lopez from Royals
The Atlanta Braves announced Sunday that they have acquired infielder Nicky Lopez from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for relief pitcher Taylor Hearn. Lopez, 28, can play multiple positions and will add depth to Atlanta’s All-Star infield. He’s slashing .210/.322/.280 this season with 13 RBI and four stolen bases in 67 games. He has hit just five home runs in five MLB seasons and none since 2021.
Hearn, 28, joins the Royals after pitching a single inning after the Braves acquired him from the Texas Rangers last week. He has pitched 7 1/3 innings total this season, with a 14.73 ERA. He posted a 5.13 ERA in 100 innings with the Rangers last season.
Rangers looking for more after Max Scherzer trade
The Texas Rangers have acquired arguably the biggest name on the starting pitching market with Max Scherzer and arguably the biggest name on the relief market with Aroldis Chapman. But apparently, they aren’t done.
The Rangers are still looking for a starting pitcher and one or two relievers before Tuesday’s trade deadline, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. “They are going for it,” an unnamed executive reportedly said.
Holding a one-game lead in the AL West, the Rangers have plenty of reason to reinforce a pitching staff that is without would-be ace Jacob deGrom due to a second Tommy John surgery.
Cardinals president says Nolan Arenado won’t be traded
Another big name is coming off the board. St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the team will not trade star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who had been rumored to be potentially available.
From the Post-Dispatch:
“I have stated we are not trading him, have not asked him to waive his no-trade clause,” Mozeliak told the Post-Dispatch on Saturday. “So at this time, we are working on building for future success.”
Players not being available has been something of a theme this trade deadline, as the Los Angeles Angels (Shohei Ohtani) and Chicago Cubs (Marcus Stroman, Cody Bellinger) have both been reported to not be selling, despite sitting multiple games back from a wild-card spot. The Cardinals are in an even worse position at 46-59 and 10.5 games back.
Mets trade Max Scherzer to Rangers, with RHP’s approval
Max Scherzer said he wanted to talk to the New York Mets brass. We now probably have a pretty good idea about how that conversation went.
The Mets agreed Saturday with the Texas Rangers on a trade sending Scherzer to the AL West contenders, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. SNY’s Andy Martino and the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant initially reported that the two teams were talking.
The deal needed Scherzer’s approval due to his no-trade clause and hit a brief snag related to his option for 2024, but the teams finalized the deal later Saturday.
The Mets made clear earlier this week that they were sellers when they dealt David Robertson to the Miami Marlins. That was the move that caused Scherzer to suggest Friday to reporters that he was rethinking his future with the team, as his priority is to play for a contender, which the 49-54 Mets certainly aren’t.
Per Martino, in return for the three-time Cy Young winner, the Mets receive Rangers prospect Luisangel Acuña, the younger brother of Atlanta Braves MVP frontrunner Ronald Acuña Jr. MLB Pipeline ranks Luisangel Acuña as the No. 44 prospect in baseball and No. 3 in the Rangers’ system.
Scherzer hasn’t been as dominant this season, holding a 4.01 ERA in 19 starts, but the high demand for quality pitching in this year’s thin market presented New York an opportunity to maximize his value.
Marcus Stroman, Cody Bellinger might no longer be on market
The Chicago Cubs were long assumed to be sellers as the trade deadline neared, but a six-game winning streak might spell bad news for other potential buyers.
Now 51-51 and four games back from the final NL wild-card spot, the Cubs are rethinking their inclination to sell, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. That might remove Cody Bellinger and Marcus Stroman, two of the top names on the trade market, from the board.
Stroman is probably the bigger news here given how barren the pitching market is. Lucas Giolito, who is having a worse year than Stroman, netted a top-100 prospect in Edgar Quero and another top prospect in Ky Bush for the Chicago White Sox. Lance Lynn, who has a 6.47 ERA, netted Nick Nastrini, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 9 prospect on MLB Pipeline, and more.
Bellinger, currently hitting .317/.364/.546 in 302 plate appearances, is also in the midst of a resurgent year and would represent an outfield upgrade for several contenders.
The Cubs are now in a territory similar to the Angels, within spitting distance of a wild-card spot and potentially foregoing significant prospect capital for a chance at contention. The San Diego Padres, who sit 2.5 games back from the Cubs with even bigger trade chips, have the same choice to make.
So far, this deadline has been defined by surprisingly high prices for pitchers and middling teams being averse to selling. The two trends are definitely related.
Astros trade for Kendall Graveman, again
For the second time in three seasons, the Houston Astros are acquiring Kendall Graveman at the trade deadline.
The team announced Friday a trade with the Chicago White Sox for the right-handed reliever in exchange for catching prospect Korey Lee.
Graveman will return to the Astros after previously joining them at the 2021 trade deadline via a deal with the Seattle Mariners. That came during a career season, with a 1.77 ERA in 56 innings between his time in Seattle and Houston.
Graveman is in the second season of a three-year, $24 million deal he signed with the White Sox the following offseason, so the Astros will have him for next year as well. He currently holds a 3.48 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 44 innings and will join an Astros bullpen that ranks 14th in MLB with a 3.84 ERA.
As for the White Sox, they have traded away five pitchers in a span of three days and could send out even more players before the deadline. In Lee, they get the No. 5 prospect in the Astros’ system, via MLB Pipeline, and a player who made his MLB debut last season.
Dodgers add Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly from the White Sox
After a few days of rumors about trades involving the Dodgers, it was announced Friday that Los Angeles is acquiring some pitching depth from Chicago.
The White Sox are sending starting Lance Lynn and receiver Joe Kelly to the Dodgers and will receive starter Nick Nastrini (currently in Double-A), reliever Jordan Leasure (Double-A) and OF Trayce Thompson in return.
Also per Bob Nightengale, the Dodgers will have the right to pick up Lynn’s $18.5 million club option or $1 million buyout in 2024.
The Dodgers have been in desperate need of arms for their starting rotation. Clayton Kershaw and Dustin May are both injured, Walker Buehler hasn’t fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, and Noah Syndergaard was just straight up awful until he was traded to the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday. Lynn has a 6.47 ERA over 21 starts (119 2/3 innings), which isn’t what anyone would call good, but they don’t need him to be an ace. They need him to be healthy and eat innings, which are two things he can do.
Kelly, a reliever with a 4.97 ERA in 29 innings, won the 2020 World Series as part of the Dodgers. He’s the second member of that team the Dodgers have brought back this week, having traded for utility man Kiké Hernandez on Wednesday as part of a trade with the Boston Red Sox.
Marlins grab David Robertson from the Mets
The New York Mets are officially selling.
Currently mired in fourth place in the NL East at 47-54, the team traded closer David Roberson to the Miami Marlins, it announced Thursday. In return, the Mets will receive infield prospect Marco Vargas, ranked No. 18 in the Marlins’ farm system by MLB Pipeline, and catching prospect Ronald Hernandez, ranked 21st.
Robertson currently holds a 2.05 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 48 strikeouts and 14 saves in 44 innings across 40 appearances this season. His arrival bolsters a Miami bullpen currently led in saves by A.J. Puk, who holds a 4.45 ERA.
It’s a rare trade between divisional rivals but one that makes sense given the relative stations of each team. The 55-48 Marlins are still competitive in the wild-card race, sitting 0.5 games back from the third and final playoff spot. In fact, they’re only one game back from the San Francisco Giants, who hold the top wild-card spot.
Meanwhile, the Mets are languishing at seven games back from that last wild-card spot. It’s a position few expected them to be in this year after they went 101-61 last season.
Padres reportedly listening to offers for Juan Soto, others
Shohei Ohtani once appeared to be the Juan Soto of this year’s trade deadline. With Ohtani now off the board, that title could belong to … Juan Soto?
The San Diego Padres have begun listening to offers for last year’s blockbuster trade acquisition, as well as starting pitcher Blake Snell and closer Josh Hader, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
The Padres reportedly still hope to buy but are hearing teams out in case their situation further deteriorates. A Soto trade is especially unlikely, given that the All-Star outfielder remains under team control through next season, but it’s apparently a possibility. Hader and Snell are both free agents after this season.
San Diego is experiencing one of the most disappointing seasons in MLB. After expecting to contend for the NL West with the likes of Soto, Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, the team sits at 49-54, 6.5 games back of the final NL wild-card spot. Their +51 run differential (third in the NL) indicates they are somewhat the victims of bad luck, but the Padres simply haven’t been the superteam many were expecting.
Soto’s upcoming free agency should play a significant role in any decision to keep him. The 24-year-old is expected to sign one of the richest contracts in MLB history when he hits free agency in 2024, with numbers likely north of 15 years and $440 million. Few teams have spent as aggressively as the Padres in recent years, but the fact that there has been little meaningful chatter about an extension might indicate that they are unwilling to meet Soto’s price. That leaves them with a lot of thinking to do over the next five days.
Brewers add Carlos Santana from Pirates
First baseman Carlos Santana is reportedly heading from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee, according to ESPN.
The Pirates will reportedly receive shortstop prospect Jhonny Severino in return.
Santana fills a major area of need for the Brewers, whether he stays at first base or goes back to mostly playing designated hitter. Milwaukee is low on players at both positions due to injuries to the likes of Rowdy Tellez, Darin Ruf and Jesse Winker. Brewers designated hitters are collectively hitting .194/.297/.241 with an MLB-worst .254 wOBA (weighted on-base average, a catch-all hitting statistic). The first basemen aren’t much better, at .231/.290/.354 with a .281 wOBA, second-worst in MLB.
Santana hasn’t been much better this year, at .235/.321/.412 with 12 homers, but the Brewers will probably take anything close to league average at this point.
Angels nab Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López in first big move
The Angels are indeed going for it.
After reportedly deciding to keep Shohei Ohtani at the trade deadline, the Angels made the first big move by trading for starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and relief pitcher Reynaldo López from the Chicago White Sox.
Giolito was one of the top arms expected to be available at the deadline, when seemingly every contender was expected to be pursuing upgrades for the rotation. López wasn’t a bad addition either, as the flamethrower holds a 4.29 ERA on the year after a career season in which he had a 2.76 mark in 65 1/3 innings.
The trade cost the Angels catcher Edgar Quero and pitcher Ky Bush, who are respectively ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 2 and 3 prospects in a thin Angels system.
Read more about the details here.
What does this mean for the Angels?
If the report Wednesday that the Angels would not be trading Shohei Ohtani didn’t convince fans and rival front offices that the Angels aren’t trading Shohei Ohtani, one of the first major moves of the 2023 trade deadline should. The Los Angeles Angels — owners of a third-place, 52-49 record, who have not made the postseason since 2014 and would not this year if the season ended today — acquired starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and reliever Reynaldo López from the Chicago White Sox in a definitive declaration of Going For It.
As the employers of Ohtani for the next three months, the Angels were destined to be the most interesting team at the deadline — buy or sell. Their ambivalence thus far reportedly slowed down the entire market as other teams waited to see whether they would act aggressively one last time to build a contender around the two-way star or part with him now for the sake of what surely would’ve been a historic haul for a rental. The addition of Giolito, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, is an emphatic signal of the former. Outside Ohtani himself, pitching has been a problem for the Angels. Essentially every team in the buyers column could benefit from another starting pitcher, but the Angels’ rotation is bottom-10 in ERA, WHIP, runs allowed, FIP, (etc.). Giolito’s 3.79 ERA will immediately be second-best among the Halos’ starting staff — behind only Ohtani — and his 121 innings pitched will be the most.
While the Texas Rangers and reigning Houston Astros duke it out for the American League West, the Angels will have to make their way into October through the crowded AL wild-card field. Right now, they’re four games back of the third wild-card berth, one of seven teams either currently in wild-card position or within five games. — Hannah Keyser
Angels reportedly aren’t dealing Shohei Ohtani
The biggest domino of the entire trade deadline reportedly won’t be falling.
The Los Angeles Angels have decided to take Shohei Ohtani off the market after days of internal discussions and fielding offers, according to Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci. Instead, the Angels have reportedly decided to be buyers at the deadline.
The Angels entered Wednesday four games back from the final American League wild-card spot, with former MVP Mike Trout and other key players still working back from injuries. The team hasn’t reached the postseason in eight years, tied for the longest drought in MLB, and still has plenty of ground to make up.
Adding a starting pitcher and reliever will be the Angels’ deadline priority, but they will be competing with half of MLB on that front, and with one of the worst farm systems in MLB as their acquisition war chest.
Ohtani is a free agent after this season and widely expected to land the richest contract in MLB history. Keeping him for the rest of the season can’t hurt the Angels’ odds of re-signing the new face of baseball, but the team will be under even more pressure to show it can win, something Ohtani has spoken about as a priority for his long-term future.
Read more about the details here.
Dodgers add Amed Rosario to their pile of shortstops, deal Noah Syndergaard
The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t come close this year to matching the production they got from Trea Turner and Corey Seager in recent seasons. To fix that, they seem to be going with a quantity-over-quality approach.
The Dodgers agreed Wednesday to a trade with the Cleveland Guardians for shortstop Amed Rosario, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, adding another name to an already crowded depth chart. In exchange, the Dodgers reportedly dealt struggling starter Noah Syndergaard, who hasn’t pitched since June 7.
The initial plan to replace Turner, who departed for the Philadelphia Phillies in free agency, was for former top prospect Gavin Lux to move from second base to shortstop, with trade acquisition Miguel Rojas backing him up. That plan fell apart when Lux tore his ACL in spring training, leaving Rojas as the starter. So far, Rojas has hit an uninspiring .225/.283/.273 with zero home runs in 254 plate appearances, making shortstop a clear area of need for the Dodgers.
Chris Taylor and, in a pinch, Mookie Betts provided the rest of the depth behind Rojas until earlier this week, when the Dodgers acquired Kiké Hernández (see below). Hernández can play shortstop but is most valuable as a utilityman, so it’s conceivable that Rosario and Rojas split most of the playing time at short.
Rosario isn’t exactly hitting the cover off the ball either, with a .265/.306/.369 slash line plus three homers and nine steals, but his .303/.345/.477 line against lefties should give the Dodgers a much-needed platoon bat on that side of the plate. His track record, with a .282/.315/.412 line the four previous seasons, also offers hope for him as a bounce-back candidate.
All it cost the Dodgers was Syndergaard, who was one of the worst pitchers in the majors this season, with a 7.16 ERA, until the Dodgers sidelined him due to a blister last month. Maybe the Guardians, who needed pitching, think they can fix him, though it’s also conceivable the Dodgers are covering the remainder of his $13 million salary.
Both Rosario and Syndergaard are free agents after 2023.
Marlins and Twins swap struggling relievers
Sometimes, a trade isn’t about filling a whole so much as finding a fresh start.
The Minnesota Twins acquired reliever Dylan Floro from the Miami Marlins in exchange for reliever Jorge López, the team announced Wednesday.
Floro and López are not having what you would call career years; López, an All-Star with the Baltimore Orioles last season, currently holds a 5.09 ERA, while Floro has a 4.54 mark, the worst of his career in a season with at least 10 innings. There’s reason for hope for each, between López’s previous stardom and Floro’s 2.78 FIP, but this is basically each team rerolling the dice on part of its bullpen.
Mariners add Trent Thornton from Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays traded relief pitcher Trent Thornton to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday in exchange for minor-league infielder Mason McCoy. McCoy will be assigned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
Read more about the deal here.
Dodgers acquire Kiké Hernández from the Red Sox
The Los Angeles Dodgers traded for Boston Red Sox utility player Kiké Hernández on July 25, The Athletic reported. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Red Sox will receive right-handed relief pitcher Nick Robertson and Triple-A relief pitcher Justin Hagenman in return.
Hernández, 31, previously played six seasons with the Dodgers from 2015 to 2020. He was a member of the 2020 World Series championship team. In 86 games this season, Hernández is slashing .222/.279/.320 with six home runs, 31 RBI and three stolen bases.
Braves trade for Pierce Johnson from the Rockies
The Braves acquired relief pitcher Pierce Johnson from Denver in exchange for minor-league RHPs Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon.
Atlanta also added LHP Taylor Hearn from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations.
Read more about the deals here.
Blue Jays acquire Génesis Cabrera from the Cardinals
Toronto traded 19-year-old catching prospect Sammy Hernandez to St. Louis in exchange for Cabrera, who was designated for assignment by the Cardinals on July 17.
Read more about the deal here.
Orioles trade for improving A’s reliever Shintaro Fujinami
Trading for a reliever with an 8.45 ERA from the worst team in baseball typically isn’t the best way to make a splash at the deadline, but you should at least hear out why the Baltimore Orioles did exactly that with Shintaro Fujinami and the Oakland Athletics.
The deal was confirmed Wednesday.
Yes, Fujinami has struggled in his first MLB season after signing a one-year, $3.25 million deal with the A’s. He began the season as a starter and racked up a 14.40 ERA and four losses in four starts before moving to the bullpen. He remains the worst player in MLB by bWAR this season at -2.0 due to his ghastly first two months.
Fujinami has turned a corner since then, though, holding a 3.26 ERA since June 1 with improved velocity and a revamped pitch mix. Reliever performance in MLB can change on a dime, and while it often feels like they’re always changing for the worse, Fujinami has looked like a reliever worthy of a contender for weeks now.
The Orioles sent back left-handed pitching prospect Easton Lucas on their end of the deal. Lucas is not in the Orioles’ top 30 prospects on MLB Pipeline but is currently playing at Triple-A and could provide a quick bullpen reinforcement for Oakland.