Grading Each American League East Team’s Trade Deadline

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    Yesterday was Major League Baseball’s Trade Deadline and it was arguably the most exciting deadline in the sport’s history. Many stars and future stars were traded over the last few days so I’m here to break down and grade each team’s deadline. Here are my grades for teams in the AL East:

    Baltimore Orioles:

    Grade: D+

    Trades: Acquired Tyler Burch from the Phillies for Freddie Galvis. Acquired cash considerations from the Rays for Shawn Armstrong.

    The Orioles are currently rebuilding and many of the players on their roster aren’t set to hit free agency after this year. As a result, there weren’t many “rental” players they could’ve sold off to contending teams but they did sell Freddy Galvis. Tyler Burch, the prospect acquired for Galvis, is ranked as the 35th best Orioles prospect by Fangraphs and has a 35+ Future Value (FV). In AA and AAA this year, Smith has had great swing and miss stuff as seen by his 39.7 K% (18.1 innings) in AA and 42.9 K% in AAA (11.0 innings) where he’s pitched as a reliever. Since many sellers were able to receive quality returns at the Trade Deadline, I think the Orioles could’ve received a pretty decent package for Trey Mancini (Free Agent after the 2022 season) and relievers Cole Sulser (Free Agent after the 2025 season) and Paul Fry (Free Agent after the 2024 season) but the team opted to hold onto them. Additionally, Shawn Armstrong was sold off to the Rays.

    Boston Red Sox:

    Grade: C+

    Trades: Acquired Kyle Schwarber from the Nationals for Aldo Ramirez. Acquired Austin Davis from the Pirates for Michael Chavis. Acquired Hansel Robles from the Twins for Alex Scherff.

    The main addition the Red Sox made over the Trade Deadline was acquiring Kyle Schwarber. At the plate this season, Shwarber has been great slashing .253/.340/.570 with a .382 wOBA, .394 xwOBA, 137 wRC+, and 1.7 fWAR in 72 games. As a team, the Red Sox have a 103 wRC+ which ranks eighth in Major League Baseball. Once Scwarber is healthy and joins the team, he will make their lineup deeper but his fit on the field is a bit questionable. With the Nationals, Schwarber only played left field where he had -3 DRS, -2.4 UZR, and -5 OAA. The Red Sox outfield is already pretty full with Alex Verdugo as the primary left fielder, Jarren Duran and Kiké Hernandez as the primary center fielders, and Hunter Renfroe as the primary right fielder. Additionally, the team’s primary designated hitter is All Star J.D. Martinez. As a result of all these log jams, Kyle Schwarber will try to learn how to play first base. On the season, Red Sox’s first basemen have collectively combined to hit for a 60 wRC+ which ranks last at the position. In addition to Schwarber, the Red Sox acquired relievers Hansel Robles and Austin Davis. On the year, Robles has a 4.91 ERA, 4.82 FIP, 4.75 xFIP, 4.51 SIERA, and -0.3 fWAR across 44.0 innings. Although he’s had a rough year, Robles recently had success in 2018 and 2019 so the Red Sox are hoping he can turn it around for them. As for Davis, his results this year haven’t been too promising (5.59 ERA) but his 4.59 FIP and 4.07 SIERA suggest he’s due for some positive regression. I would’ve liked to see the Red Sox acquire another impactful starter and reliever after seeing what the fellow contenders in their division acquired, but the Red Sox are in a better spot now than they were a week ago and ace Chris Sale is nearing a return to the team.

    New York Yankees:

    Grade: A

    Trades: Acquired Joey Gallo, Joely Rodriguez, and cash considerations from the Rangers for Glenn Otto, Josh Smith, Ezequiel Duran, and Trevor Hauver. Acquired Anthony Rizzo and cash considerations from the Cubs for Alexander Vizcaino and Kevin Alcantara. Acquired Clay Holmes from the Pirates for Hoy Park and Diego Castillo. Acquired Andrew Heaney from the Angels for Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero. Acquired a Player To Be Named Later from the Reds for Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson

    Although the Yankees have been the most disappointing team in baseball this season, they are still well within reach of a Wild Card spot and General Manager Brian Cashman has put them in a great spot to find themselves back in the Postseason. The first move Cashman made was acquiring reliever Clay Holmes. Across 43.0 innings pitched this year (including 1.0 with the Yankees), Holmes has a 4.81 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 3.76 SIERA, and 0.2 fWAR. Although his ERA is high, Holmes’ peripherals show he’s been solid so far this season and is due to have better results going forward. Additionally, Holmes has the second highest ground ball rate among qualified relievers this season (72.4%) behind only Aaron Bummer (73.5%). The biggest move (he’s also a pretty big man) the Yankees made was trading for Joey Gallo along with Joely Rodriguez and cash considerations. Gallo has been one of the best players in all of Major League Baseball this year slashing .220/.377/.484 with a .371 wOBA, .375 xwOBA, 137 wRC+, 2.6 BsR, 14 DRS, 4.4 UZR, 6 OAA, and 3.4 fWAR in 96 games (including one with the Yankees). Additionally, Gallo provides the Yankees with a desperately needed left handed bat which the team had been lacking all season. The Yankees also acquired left handed reliever, Joely Rodriguez. Rodriguez has had a rough year in terms of his results (5.93 ERA) but his 3.71 FIP, 3.26 xFIP, and 3.41 SIERA all suggest Rodriguez is pitching much better than his ERA suggests. In addition to acquiring Joey Gallo’s big left handed bat, the Yankees acquired Anthony Rizzo. In 92 games with the Cubs and one with the Yankees, Rizzo has slashed .252/.350/.457 with a .349 wOBA, .360 xwOBA, and 118 wRC+. Rizzo’s numbers at the plate haven’t been as good as they have been in the past, but he has a .263 BABIP (Batting Average On Balls In Play) which is below his career average (.285) and 2021’s league average up to this point (.291) which suggests he’s getting a bit unlucky. Additionally, the main projection systems on Fangraphs, ZiPS and Steamer, project Rizzo to hit for a 131 and 134 wRC+ respectively over the remaining games he plays this year. Lastly, the Yankees traded Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Reds for a PTBNL. Wilson has been terrible this season, is owed about another million dollars this season, and he has a $2.3 million player option for next season which he is likely to pick up. Since the Yankees have made it a big point to stay under the Luxury Tax threshold and they needed to make room for their later acquisitions, they packaged Cessa, who is having a good season, with Wilson to the Reds for a PTBNL. The Yankees also received cash considerations which will pay the remaining amount of Gallo and Rizzo’s 2021 contracts which made sure the team will stay under the Luxury Tax threshold.

    Tampa Bay Rays:

    Grade: B

    Trades: Acquired Nelson Cruz and Calvin Faucher from the Twins for Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman. Acquired Matt Dyer and Tommy Hunter from the Mets for Rich Hill. Acquired JT Charigos and Austin Shenton from the Mariners for Diego Castillo. Acquired Jordan Luplow and DJ Johnson from the Indians for Peyton Battenfield. Acquired Shawn Armstrong from the Orioles for cash considerations.

    To kick off the trade deadline, the Rays traded for Nelson Cruz and Calvin Faucher. Cruz has been one of the best designated hitters in baseball over the last few years and is slashing .286/.364/.531 with a .374 wOBA, .376 xwOBA, 139 wRC+, and 1.8 fWAR in 85 games with the Twins and six with the Rays. Although the price to acquire Cruz was a hefty one, he makes the Rays’ lineup much better which is needed for them in order to have a chance to make the Postseason and potentially win the World Series. In what seems to be a salary dump, the Rays traded Rich Hill to the Mets for Matt Dyer and Tommy Hunter. Dyer is not ranked as one of the Rays’ top 57 prospects by Fangraphs and Hunter, who is set to become a free agent following the season, is currently on the 60 day IL and likely won’t be able to pitch again in 2021. After trading Hill and now likely losing Tyler Glasnow to Tommy John surgery, the Rays rotation consists of Ryan Yarbrough, Shane McClanahan, Michael Wacha, Luis Patiño, and Josh Fleming. The Rays made no further moves at the Trade Deadline to improve their starting rotation. Diego Castillo had been a staple in the Rays bullpen since 2018 but he was traded to the Mariners for JT Charigos and Austin Shenton. Charigos’ numbers have been somewhat similar to Castillo’s this year but what intrigues the Rays is that Charigos is set to hit arbitration for the first time following the 2022 season whereas Castillo is arbitration-eligible following this season. Additionally, the Rays acquired Austin Shenton who now ranks as their 37th best prospect by Fangraphs and has a 35+ FV. The Rays as a team currently rank 24th in Major League Baseball with a 92 team wRC+ against lefties. Jordan Luplow, who the team acquired from the Indians, has a 143 wRC+ vs lefties since making his Major League debut in 2017. Luplow will likely be used as a platoon player/pinch hitter but he will definitely help improve upon one of the Rays’ biggest weaknesses. Along with Luplow, the Rays acquired journeyman reliever DJ Johnson who will provide the Rays with extra pitching depth. The Rays also acquired Shawn Armstrong from the Orioles who will also provide the Rays with extra pitching depth. Armstrong has an 8.55 ERA, 5.86 FIP, 5.20 xFIP, 4.38 SIERA, and -0.1 fWAR in 20.0 innings pitched this year but had a 1.80 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 4.05 xFIP, 3.57 SIERA, and 0.3 fWAR in 15.0 innings pitched last year.

    Toronto Blue Jays:

    Grade: B

    Trades: Acquired Jose Berrios from the Twins for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson. Acquired Brad Hand from the Nationals for Riley Adams. Acquired Joakim Soria from the Diamondbacks for two Players To Be Named Later.

    In a blockbuster trade, the Blue Jays acquired starting pitcher Jose Berrios from the Twins. In 121.1 innings pitched this year, Berrios has a 3.48 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 3.58 xFIP, 3.74 SIERA, and 2.3 fWAR. Following this season, Berrios is arbitration-eligible for the final time in 2022 and then is set to hit free agency following the 2022 offseason. Since Berrios is under cheap control for the rest of this season and next season, the Blue Jays had to trade a hefty package to the Twins. Although Berrios is a great pitcher, the package the Blue Jays traded may have been too hefty of a price; nonetheless, the Blue Jays rotation has drastically improved by adding Berrios. So far this season, the Blue Jays bullpen ranks 14th in ERA (4.03), 17th in FIP (4.24), 15th in xFIP (4.23), 13th in SIERA (3.94), and 24th in fWAR (0.8). In an effort to improve their bullpen, the Blue Jays acquired Brad Hand and Joakim Soria. In 43.2 innings pitched (1.0 with the Blue Jays), Hand has a 3.50 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 4.70 xFIP, 4.19 SIERA, and 0.2 fWAR. In 29.1 innings pitched, Soria has a 4.30 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 4.16 xFIP, 3.60 SIERA, and 0.3 fWAR. Hand and Soria are both likely to pitch in high leverage situations which the team needs to improve upon. On the year, Blue Jays relievers have combined to lose 21 games which is the seventh most in the Major Leagues this year.


    I am a freshman studying magazine, news and digital journalism at the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications

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    Justin Girshon
    I am a freshman studying magazine, news and digital journalism at the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications


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