In an awkward 2022 MLB trade deadline, the highly-anticipated blockbuster deal finally came but with a snag, while some players expected to move elsewhere stayed put despite already saying their goodbyes.
In the end, the San Diego Padres turned themselves into a super-team with the acquisition of megastar Juan Soto, while the 41-60 Chicago Cubs will not have to clear out the lockers of either catcher Willson Contreras or outfielder Ian Happ.
The National League-best Los Angeles Dodgers and the AL-best New York Yankees even hooked up for their own deal, while teams like the San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Guardians avoided impact moves.
San Diego Padres
Soto was the prize and the Padres did what they needed to do in order to land him. While promising talent undeniably went to the Nationals in the deal, the Padres don’t just get a top offensive performer, they get a 23-year old legitimate star who is under club control for two more seasons. And that move came a day after San Diego landed baseball’s top closer in Josh Hader.
Nothing could derail the destiny-seeking Padres, who even overcame a stall in the proceedings when Eric Hosmer declined to go to Washington by invoking his no-trade clause. The deal got done anyway, in a testament to just how focused the Padres were to get business done. Also on the way: Brandon Drury from the Reds. The time is now in San Diego.
When manager Joe Girardi was fired in early June, it left the 22-29 Phillies with two months to get their act together and show they can be a legitimate playoff contender. Under interim manager Rob Thomson, they did just that, and the club was rewarded with an influx of talent that included right-handed starter Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Brandon Marsh from the Angels, as well as right-handed reliever David Robertson from the Cubs. And the biggest addition is yet to come when Bryce Harper is expected to return later this month from a fractured left thumb.
New York Yankees
It wasn’t just that the Yankees added Frankie Montas, Lou Trivino, Andrew Benintendi and Harrison Bader. They also jettisoned struggling slugger Joey Gallo and added a pitching prospect, Clayton Beeter, who has high upside despite floundering some since he was drafted. The right-handed Montas adds a boost to the rotation while righty Trivino adds punch to the bullpen. The Yankees opened a rotation spot by moving Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals while adding the Gold Glove of center fielder Bader, who also happens to be a New York-area native. New York started the day as the AL’s best team and only got better.
Honorable mention: Atlanta Braves
The World Series champs traded for right-handers Raisel Iglesias and Jake Odorizzi, as well as outfielder Robbie Grossman, and even locked up talented third baseman Austin Riley — all in less than a 24-hour span.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels were already being blasted for wasting the prime years of Mike Trout, and now they are being accused of wasting the ability of a transcendent player in Shohei Ohtani. There was even talk the club could revamp the entire farm system by trading away Ohtani. While Ohtani stayed, Iglesias, Marsh and Syndergaard all were moved Tuesday.
The Angels did get back former No. 1 overall draft pick (2016) Mickey Moniak from the Phillies, but Philadelphia preferred Marsh in their outfield instead. A top catching prospect in Logan O’Hoppe was a nice return, but the Angels need far more talent to become a contender again.
Chicago White Sox
A sexy World Series pick when the season began, the White Sox have been one of the biggest disappointments in baseball and they did nothing at the deadline to jolt their playoff prospects. Maybe the White Sox are counting on the pressure release of the expired deadline to get their clubhouse back in order again. What they didn’t do for that clubhouse is add a player who can help win games. They did land 35-year old left-hander Jake Diekman for the bullpen, but the front office failed to use the trade deadline to their advantage and now have to hope manager Tony La Russa can get more out of the roster.
After starting another rebuild last season when their 2016 World Series stars were traded away, the Cubs were expected to take another step forward by trading All-Stars Contreras and Happ. The duo even had been seen saying emotional farewells over the past week. Tears had been shed. Now that a chance to land additional prospects has passed, the Cubs could still get a compensation draft pick if Contreras signs elsewhere. But keeping their top two trade assets while dealing Mychal Givens, David Robertson, Chris Martin and Scott Effross sent something of a mixed message.
Honorable mention: Luke Voit
When Juan Soto was traded to the Padres on Tuesday, Voit went from a player on a playoff-contending team to one on a team with a legitimate chance to win a World Series. Then Hosmer declined to go to the Nationals and Voit ended up on his way to Washington to complete the deal, winding up on baseball’s worst team in a head-spinning twist of fate.
–Doug Padilla, Field Level Media