MLB: Grading The 2022 Trade Deadline

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Grading the 2022 Trade Deadline

In what has been a very polarizing trade season, grading the 2022 trade deadline will prove to be a tough endeavor. Many prospects were dealt, along with many Major Leaguers. We also witnessed the blockbuster trade of the decade. How does each notable trade grade out? We’ll give you all of the details as we spend a little time grading the 2022 trade deadline.

Grading The 2022 Trade Deadline

Andrew Benintendi to the Yankees

In the first significant trade of deadline season, the New York Yankees sent LHP T.J. Sikkema and RHPs Beck Way and Chandler Champlain to the Kansas City Royals for LF Andrew Benintendi on Wednesday. The Yankees were in need of some defensive help in the outfield and found it with Benintendi.

Since being traded to the Yankees, Benintendi has gone 1-13 with seven walks for an OBP of .381 through five games. Not only were the Yankees in need of defensive help in the outfield, but more guys that are capable of getting on base at a high clip. Benintendi becomes just the fourth everyday guy for the Yankees with an OBP of .350 or higher.

For the Royals, Beck Way becomes their 12th-ranked prospect, T.J. Sikkema their 21st, and Chandler Champlain their 30th. Many saw this as an underpay for Benintendi, but three pitchers, two of which are expected to be ready next season, is a pretty reasonable return for a role player.

Yankees: B+

Royals: A

Luis Castillo to the Mariners

In the first big surprise of the trade season, the Cincinnati Reds sent RHP Luis Castillo to the Seattle Mariners for SS Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo, and RHPs Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore. Castillo now joins a rotation already containing reigning AL CY winner Robbie Ray and young stud Logan Gilbert.

Castillo is having his best season to date, entering the day with a 2.86 ERA and 90 strikeouts over 85 innings. Four of his 14 starts this season have come against AL opponents, and in those starts, he’s registered a 1.38 ERA with 31 strikeouts over 26 innings. Castillo will slot into the two or three holes in the Mariners rotation nicely, with his first start scheduled for Wednesday against the Yankees.

For the Reds, Noelvi Marte becomes their top-ranked prospect, Edwin Arroyo their sixth, Levi Stoudt 15th, and Andrew Moore not in their top 30. Noelvi Marte ranks 17th overall per MLB.com and Edwin Arroyo 92nd, giving the Reds three prospects in MLB’s top 50 and six in the top 100.

A fringe playoff contender giving up so many highly ranked prospects for a starter that will not be their ace seems like a massive overpay. The Mariners currently hold the third Wild Card spot in the AL, but only ahead of the Guardians by one game. The Reds won this trade.

Mariners: C-

Reds: A+

Josh Hader to the Padres

In the second big surprise of the trade season, the Milwaukee Brewers sent LHP Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres for LHP Taylor Rogers, RHP Dinelson Lamet, and two prospects, LHP Robert Gasser and OF Esteury Ruiz. The Padres improve the back end of their rotation while the Brewers also come away sitting pretty.

Josh Hader is one of, if not the best, closers in baseball. He is, however, in the midst of his worst season to date per ERA+ and traditional ERA. In 37 appearances, he has saved 29 games while pitching 34 innings and striking out 59 batters. He does currently lead baseball in saves, despite his ERA sitting at 4.24 and his ERA+ of 97. His FIP for the season is 3.47, almost a full run lower than his ERA, so he may have been the victim of some bad luck. Expect the change of scenery to turn his season around.

Taylor Rogers will slot into the closer role for the Brewers. He is currently second in the NL in saves with 28, just one less than Hader. Over 42 appearances and 41.1 innings, Rogers has struck out 48 batters and pitched to an ERA of 4.35 with an ERA+ of 87. Rogers’s FIP is even lower than Hader’s at 2.34, so massive amounts of bad luck for Rogers this season. Another good change of scenery candidate in this trade.

Dinelson Lamet is currently a question mark. The majority of his career has been spent as a starting pitcher, but this year, the Padres have exclusively used him as a reliever. Over his career, Lamet has pitched in 82 games with 56 of those appearances being starts. As a starter, he has performed much better with an ERA of 3.78 with 368 strikeouts over 285.2 innings. As a reliever, he holds a career ERA of 6.90 and 42 strikeouts over 30 innings. The Brewers should slide Lamet into the five-hole of their rotation where should he pitch to the level of his career starts stats, he would be the best five-hole pitcher in baseball.

The two prospects the Brewers received immediately rank in their top 10. Robert Gasser is now their eighth-ranked prospect and Esteury Ruiz ninth. The Brewers are NL Central contenders, so it will be interesting to see if they keep those two guys, or flip them for another main roster improvement. All in all, a very good trade for both teams.

Padres: A

Brewers: A+

Frankie Montas to the Yankees

The Yankees were expected to be busy on the trade market and they made another major trade to bring in RHP Frankie Montas from the Oakland Athletics. Making the trip with Montas is RHP Lou Trivino, while the Yankees are sending LHPs Ken Waldichuk and J.P. Sears, RHP Luis Medina, and 2B Cooper Bowman. Montas is slotting into the Yankees’ three-hole in their rotation behind Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes, while Lou Trivino becomes their lead reliever.

Trade rumors have surrounded Montas for years with a trade finally coming to fruition. The right-hander has made 19 starts this season and pitched to an ERA of 3.18 with 109 strikeouts and a 118 ERA+ over 104.2 innings. In four starts against AL East opponents (not named the Yankees) this season, Montas has pitched 25.1 innings with an ERA of 1.07 and 24 strikeouts. He will be a solid number three starter in New York.

Lou Trivino is one of the bullpen workhorses in today’s game. He has made 260 appearances to date and pitched 263 innings. This has been a down season for him, however, in over 39 appearances he holds a 6.47 ERA across 32 innings. Most of his time with the A’s has been spent as their closer, so moving to the Yankees and not having that pressure anymore may turn his season around.

All four of the prospects the A’s received immediately slot into their top 30. Ken Waldichuk is their number three, Luis Medina their seven, J.P. Sears their 19, and Cooper Bowman their 29. Waldichuk also ranks at number 70 in the top 100 list, giving the A’s their fourth top 100 prospect. A solid return for the A’s for their ace and tenured reliever.

Yankees: B

A’s: A

Jose Quintana to the Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals made a trade with division rival Pittsburgh Pirates for LHP Jose Quintana. Going with Quintana to the Cardinals will be RHP Chris Stratton. In return, the Pirates will receive RHP Johan Oviedo and IF Malcom Nunez.

In need of rotation help, the Cardinals traded for lefty Quintana. The veteran lefty is having a career resurgence this year as this is the first time since 2017 that his ERA has been lower than 4.00. Over 20 starts and 103 innings this season, he holds a 3.50 ERA with a 119 ERA+. His FIP is even lower, at 3.23 pitching in front of a better defense should definitely help Quintana’s line down the stretch.

Reliever Chris Stratton is also going to St. Louis. More of a throw-in piece, Stratton has a 5.09 ERA across 40 appearances and 40.2 innings. One bright side for Stratton is his FIP of 3.61. Even though he most likely won’t pitch in any high-leverage situations for the Cardinals, he should also fare better in front of a better defense.

Johan Oviedo is a part of the return for the Pirates. He has been up and down from the Majors to the minors over the past three years, with this year being his first year spent primarily pitching out of the bullpen. Over 14 appearances this season, Oviedo has a 3.20 ERA across 25.1 innings with an ERA+ of 122. Pitching out of the bullpen may be the long-term answer for Oviedo’s success.

Infield prospect Malcom Nunez goes to the Pirates as well and he slots in as their 11th-ranked prospect. As the Pirates highest ranked prospect that can play first base, he may be joining Oneil Cruz, Ke’Bryan Hayes, and Termarr Johnson in what projects to be a very powerful infield.

Cardinals: C+

Pirates: B

Will Smith to the Astros

In a starter for reliever deal, the Houston Astros received LHP Will Smith from the Atlanta Braves in return for RHP Jake Odorizzi. The Astros were in dire need of left-handed pitching out of the bullpen and Smith fits that role perfectly. Odorizzi will be another veteran pitcher for the Braves that will allow them to run a six-man rotation, or move one of their struggling back-end starters to the pen.

Will Smith goes to the Astros with an ERA of 4.38 across 41 appearances and 37 innings. A down year for Smith, his first season since 2012 that he has had an ERA+ below 100, he will most certainly face more left-handed batters than right-handed. He has held left-handers to a line of .222/.288/.407 for an OPS of .696 while righties have hit .250/.366/.435 for an OPS of .801.

Odorizzi has dealt with injuries over the past few years and hasn’t made 30+ starts in a season since 2019. Despite that, he has pitched well when healthy this season. Over 12 starts, he holds a 3.75 ERA across 60 innings and a 104 ERA+. Odorizzi slots into the back end of the Braves rotation nicely, and they would be best suited to run a six-man rotation upon his arrival.

Astros: B-

Braves: B-

Juan Soto to the Padres

In the blockbuster trade of the deadline, and many more deadlines to come, the San Diego Padres acquired OF Juan Soto and 1B Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals for 1B Luke Voit, LHP MacKenzie Gore, SS C.J. Abrams, and prospects in OF Robert Hassell III, OF James Wood, and RHP Jarlin Susana. At one point, 1B Eric Hosmer was slated in as part of the Nationals get, but they are on his no-trade list and he declined to be traded there.

What more is there to say about Juan Soto that hasn’t been said already? The best hitter in the game today is on his way to the Padres where he will once again get an opportunity to compete for a World Series championship. This has been a down year for Soto at the plate as he is “only” hitting .246/.408/.485 with 21 home runs and a 158 OPS+ over 436 plate appearances. Soto fits nicely in the Padres lineup with Fernando Tatis Jr. seemingly leading off when he returns, and Manny Machado in the two-hole.

Josh Bell is in the middle of the best season of his career at the plate and he will be looking to carry that success to San Diego. Over 437 plate appearances, Bell is hitting .301/.384/.493 with 14 home runs and a 152 OPS+. Bell is a workhorse. He leads baseball in games played this season with 103, and he has played 140+ games in every full season he has spent in the Majors. He will fill the Padres’ four-hole nicely making their already potent lineup even more powerful.

Luke Voit will be joining his fourth different team in his six-year career as part of the Nationals’ return. The big right-handed first baseman comes to the Nationals carrying a .225/.317/.416 line with 13 home runs and a 113 OPS+ on the season. Voit has been successful at every stop in his career with a 128 career OPS+ and looks to continue that as the Nationals’ defacto best hitter.

Former top prospect MacKenzie Gore will immediately become the Nationals ace once he returns from his stint on the IL. He made his ML debut on April 15th of this season and has since pitched in 16 games, 13 of those being starts, amassing 70 innings, 72 strikeouts, and a 84 ERA+. His FIP is 4.12 on the season, indicating that he has pitched into a slight amount of bad luck. Now a part of the rebuilding Nationals, it does not necessarily bode well for him in the short term.

Another former top prospect, C.J. Abrams looks to also immediately be implanted into the Nationals’ starting lineup upon arrival. Making his debut on April 8th of this year due to the Tatis injury, he has played in 46 games. In those games, he has had 139 plate appearances and hit to a line of .232/.285/.320 with two home runs and a 77 OPS+. He has fared better of late, as in the month of July he hit .294/.324/.412 with an OPS+ on the month of 107.

The Nationals are also getting three prospects that will definitely help jump-start their rebuild. Robert Hassell III is the 21st overall prospect in baseball, and James Wood is the 88th. That makes them the first and fourth-ranked prospects in the Nationals system respectively. Jarlin Susana is still in rookie ball, but should also rank in the Nationals’ top 10 once the smoke clears and play a part in the future of their rotation.

A trade of this magnitude is hard to pin down as one team is the clear winner and one team is the clear loser. Both teams accomplished what they were setting out to do with the Padres improving their lineup tremendously and the Nationals building up their farm system. Of course, with prospects, it’s never a sure thing…

Padres: A+

Nationals: A+

Joey Gallo to the Dodgers

The Yankees were once again working the phones looking to move OF Joey Gallo as they had a surplus in the outfield upon acquiring Benintendi. They found a suiter in the Los Angeles Dodgers and received RHP Clayton Beeter in return. Unloading Gallo and getting one of the other team’s top 15 prospects in the process can only be viewed as a win.

Joey Gallo is the quintessential three-true-outcomes baseball player. Over his 8-year career, he has 452 hits. 189 of those hits have been singles. 170 have gone over the outfield wall. Add that to his 401 career walks and 991 career strikeouts and you get a career line of .201/.328/.473 with a 111 OPS+. This year has been a down year for Gallo, but a change of scenery may get him back on track.

Clayton Beeter ranked as the Dodgers’ 15th best prospect and should be in the Yankees’ top 10. Getting a pitching prospect out of the prospects is a double-edged sword. Either he’s going to be really good and you have a good piece for the future, or the Dodgers know that he will not pan out in the Majors and moved off of him. With the Dodgers’ outstanding track record of developing pitchers, it’s hard to tell, but at this point, it is a good get for the Yankees.

Yankees: B-

Dodgers: C

David Robertson to the Phillies

In the first move the Philadelphia Phillies made that made any sense, they acquired RHP David Robertson from the Chicago Cubs for prospect RHP Ben Brown. Robertson will be joining the back of the Phillies bullpen, which has been much better this year than in years prior, while Ben Brown should spend the rest of this year in AA for the Cubs.

Veteran reliever David Robertson is on the verge of his second stint as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. He signed with the Phillies as a free agent prior to the 2019 season, but that stint was mired by injuries. Over his two years there, he pitched in seven games for a total of 6.2 innings and held an ERA of 5.40. This year with the Cubs, he has appeared in 36 games pitching 40.1 innings with 51 strikeouts and a 2.23 ERA. The Phillies are hoping he can keep that up down the stretch during their playoff push.

Ben Brown was ranked as the Phillies’ 26th best prospect. In a farm system that is near the bottom of the barrel, that isn’t very promising for the Cubs. He may not rank in the Cubs’ top 30 once the smoke clears.

Phillies: A-

Cubs: C

Tyler Mahle to the Twins

In what has been a lackluster trade season for the Minnesota Twins, they made their big splash by acquiring RHP Tyler Mahle from the Reds for prospects SS Spencer Steer, 1B Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and LHP Steve Hajjar. The Twins had acquired closer Jorge Lopez earlier in the day, but trading for Mahle was their biggest move of the deadline.

Tyler Mahle looks to slide into the front half of the Twins’ rotation upon arrival. Thus far this season, he has pitched to a 4.40 ERA with 114 strikeouts and a 104 ERA+ over 19 starts and 104.1 innings. His FIP sits at 3.60 so pitching in front of the superiors Twins’ defense should help him lower that ERA.

Spencer Steer ranked as the Twins’ 7th best prospect while Steve Hajjar was 18th and Christian Encarnacion-Strand 23rd. The Twins’ farm system is one of the better farm systems in baseball, so this will be a good return for the Reds and all three should rank in their top 15. A solid trade for both sides.

Twins: B+

Reds: A

Brandon Drury to the Padres

If you thought the Padres and Reds were done making moves, you haven’t been paying attention. The Padres are acquiring utility man Brandon Drury from the Reds for prospect SS Victor Acosta. The Padres round out their infield as Drury should primarily play second for them and the Reds continue to improve their farm system.

Brandon Drury will be joining his sixth team in his eight-year career and this one might just stick. Currently, in the midst of his best season per OPS+, Drury has a line of .274/.335/.520 with a career-high 20 home runs and a 128 OPS+. If Drury can carry that power over to San Diego, their lineup may have just become the best lineup in the NL.

Victor Acosta was ranked as the Padres’ sixth-best prospect so he should jump into the Reds’ top five. He is, however, yet another shortstop in a long line of shortstops in the Reds’ organization. We will have to wait and see which ones they hold on to and which ones they trade in the future for Major League-ready talent.

Padres: A

Reds: B-

Eric Hosmer to the Red Sox

After declining to be traded to the Nationals as part of his no-trade clause, 1B Eric Hosmer was traded to the Boston Red Sox. Along with Hosmer, the Red Sox will also be receiving prospects in IF Max Ferguson and OF Corey Rosier and cash. The Padres will receive LHP Jay Groome. The Padres needed to move Hosmer from first base after acquiring Josh Bell earlier in the day and this trade does just that for them.

Eric Hosmer isn’t the player that he once was, but at 32 years old he will be a good veteran presence in the Red Sox clubhouse. He also brings along a .272/.336/.391 line on the season with 8 home runs and a 112 OPS+. Many underrate Hosmer, but he is still a solid addition to most lineups and will be just that in Boston.

The prospects the Red Sox are receiving spice the trade up even more in their favor. Max Ferguson ranked as the Padres’ 11th best prospect while Corey Rosier was their 26th. Both guys should rank higher in the Red Sox’s system with Ferguson potentially a top 10 prospect and Rosier a top 20.

Jay Groome will be heading to the Padres, a solid return for them but maybe not enough. Groome ranked 11th in the Red Sox’s farm system and was their 6th best pitching prospect. He should stay around 11th in the Padres’ system and we may see him in the Majors as early as September.

Red Sox: B+

Padres: C+

Noah Syndergaard to the Phillies

In a last-minute deal, the Los Angeles Angels sent RHP Noah Syndergaard to the Phillies for OF Mickey Moniak and OF Jadiel Sanchez. The Phillies will be reuniting Wheeler and Syndergaard, former Mets teammates, where Syndergaard will slide into the three-hole of their rotation. The Phillies improve their rotation tremendously and the Angels improve their outfield at the same time.

Noah Syndergaard has had his share of injury woes over the years, but he, as well as now the Phillies, hope that that is behind him. He comes to the Phillies with a 3.83 ERA on the year across 15 starts and 80 innings. His ERA+ sits at 105 for the year, and he is not the strikeout pitcher he once was. More of a groundball pitcher now, which may not be beneficial for him with their porous defense, but the pressure will be off of him now dropping a spot in the rotation.

The Angels will be getting a former number one pick in Mickey Moniak as well as another fringe prospect in Jadiel Sanchez. Moniak should slot into the Angels’ outfield immediately, although he is not a long-term answer for them. Sanchez may never see Major League time. An underwhelming return for what was the Angels’ number two starting pitcher.

Phillies: A

Angels: D-

Harrison Bader to the Yankees

In one of the multiple last-minute deals, the Yankees acquired OF Harrison Bader from the Cardinals for LHP Jordan Montgomery. The Yankees were looking to flip one of their starters for a defensive-minded outfielder, while the Cardinals were still wanting to improve their rotation. Both teams accomplished their goals with this trade.

Harrison Bader is one of the best defensive centerfielders in the game today. He has the speed and the range needed to cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He’s also no slouch at the plate. This year has been a down year for him with a line of .256/.303/.370 and 5 home runs for an OPS+ of 93, but the Yankees don’t need him to be a world beater at the plate.

The Cardinals improved their rotation for a second time today with another lefty in Jordan Montgomery. A solid middle-of-the-rotation starter, he currently has an ERA of 3.69 over 21 starts and 114.2 innings this season to go along with 97 strikeouts and a 104 ERA+. Good trade for both sides.

Yankees: A

Cardinals: A

Whit Merrifield to the Blue Jays

As the clock struck midnight, news continued to pour in of last-minute trades, this time with the Toronto Blue Jays acquiring super-utility man Whit Merrifield from the Kansas City Royals and sending prospects IF Samad Taylor and RHP Max Castillo to the Royals. The Blue Jays get another bat for their potent lineup while the Royals slightly improve their farm.

Whit Merrifield is an iron man. Entering this season, he had played every game in each season dating back to 2019. At the plate, he is in the midst of the worst season of his career as he’s hit a paltry .240/.290/.352 with an 81 OPS+. He will be a great veteran presence in their young clubhouse and the change of scenery should get him back on track.

Samad Taylor ranked as the Blue Jays’ 16th best prospect and Max Castillo was unranked. Samad should move into the Royals’ top 15 at the very least. Max Castillo has spent some time this year in the Majors and has a 3.05 ERA across 9 games and 20.2 innings. He should join the Royals’ Major League club soon.

Blue Jays: B+

Royals: B

This trade season had its ebbs and flows. There were many a lull in the action but the Soto blockbuster, along with the last-minute flurry of moves made it a successful trade deadline. If there is one thing that’s for certain, grading the 2022 trade deadline has proved to be much easier than predicting the 2022 trade deadline!

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