Wild wheelings and dealings in baseball

By Steve Sell
August 01, 2018

There have been years the July 31st Major League Baseball trade deadline passed with little more than a yawn.

But Tuesday, there was such a flurry of trades that you almost couldn’t keep up. Watching the MLB Network before the deadline, it seemed every other minute there was breaking news about another transaction being made.

Teams were wheeling and dealing at a frenetic pace, with many big names being moved. Several trades had been made in the days leading up to the deadline and you almost need a scorecard to know who went where.

When the smoke cleared, most of the contenders got stronger and the pretenders continued the rebuilding process as most of the top players who were dealt brought back promising prospects.

Major League Baseball is top-heavy this year as it seems there are haves and have-nots, especially in the American League where three teams could realistically win 100 games and three could lose 100, something that's never happened. The National League is rather muddled, as no team stands out as the power resides in the AL.

Here's the teams that definitely got better:

• Los Angeles Dodgers — The Dodgers secured the No. 1 free agent in future Hall of Famer Manny Machado, but adding Brian Dozier on Tuesday was a good move. LA has a lot of depth and it's in a three-way fight with Arizona and Colorado for the NL West title. I just have a feeling in the end, the Dodgers may gallop away the final 3 weeks.

• New York Yankees — The Yankees loaded up on pitching and now have the deepest staff in baseball. J.A. Happ dominated the Royals on Sunday and always pitched well at Yankee Stadium when he was with Toronto. Adding All-Star reliever Zach Britton gives the bullpen an embarrassment of riches. Just think, former closer David Robertson is now the fourth-best reliever in the pen. I still like the Yankees to win it all, just as I did back in March.

• Pittsburgh — You better not fall asleep on the Pirates. They have been one of baseball's hottest teams over the last month and they added Tampa Bay's No. 1 pitcher Chris Archer, who may thrive in new surroundings. Keone Kela has a big arm who should help the bullpen. The Pirates were almost an afterthought a month ago, but now are the team nobody wants to play.

• Boston — Getting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who can rush it to the plate at 100 mph., may be one of the most underrated deals of the period, especially if Chris Sale's stint on the disabled list lasts longer than expected.

• Milwaukee — The Brewers picked up Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas and Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop, but now they have three players for two positions since Travis Shaw is already there. Maybe Shaw is going to play all over the diamond, but I don’t think they traded for Moose and Schoop just to sit the bench. I’m sure they’ll find a way to make it work. Adding Joakim Soria also was a good move as he’s rebounded from a bad year with the Royals.

As for disappointments, I’m just not used to my St. Louis Cardinals being sellers at the deadline. They parted with talented outfielder Tommy Pham and did nothing to improve their team. While they’re not out of the wild-card race by any stretch, there’s a resigned atmosphere in Cardinal Nation that this is not the year.

As for the Royals, they started early by dealing Jon Jay long ago, followed up with Kelvin Herrera and finally Moustakas. Dayton Moore has a big job ahead and you just wonder how many years it will be before the team is competitive again.