Jeremy Jeffress
MLB trade deadline grades: Yankees, Cubs, Brewers lead the way
Jeremy Jeffress

MLB trade deadline grades: Yankees, Cubs, Brewers lead the way

Published Nov. 15, 2016 3:09 p.m. ET

Put down your pencils, the MLB non-waiver trade deadline has passed, and all deals have been turned into the league. There were some winners, some losers, and some teams that opted to sit the round out — but every team is accounted for here.

Check out how your favorite team and its rivals did:

Landing the Yankees' No. 20 prospect for Clippard is a positive, though the Diamondbacks probably could have gotten more for him. Same goes with Ziegler — waiting might have netted a Top-10 prospect from a desperate team. Alas, the Diamondbacks were smart to sell this season. They probably could have done more though — clearly the path they're on  needs some realignment.

Bad contract swaps don't get any points here.


Getting Demeritte, who is now the Braves' No. 9 prospect per, was a good pickup, though. The real question: Why didn't the Braves make more moves? There are plenty of veterans on that team who could have landed a half-decent prospect at the deadline.

It's hard to say what the Braves' plan is here. Do they irrationally think they'll be good next year?

The Orioles didn't have much to offer at the deadline but were able to get a living starting pitcher in exchange for a quadruple-A player. It won't win the Orioles the division singlehandedly, but given the resources at hand, this might have been the best possible move for the O's. Landing Pearce, a soon-to-be free agent who is having a career year at age 33, is the most Orioles move possible. Giving up Heim, a solid minor league catcher, isn't anything to fret over in Baltimore.

The Red Sox are going for it, and they were more than willing to part with a few of the best prospects in their system to get pieces to help them win now. Getting Abad from the Twins should be a nice piece of business — he's one of the best relievers in the game. Giving up Espinoza, who might have been the best arm in the Red Sox's system, for Pomeranz was a bold move that, even with time, looks like an overpay.

• Acquired Mike Montgomery and Jordan Pries from the Seattle Mariners for Dan Vogelbach and Paul Blackburn (July 20)

The Cubs have a stockpile of prospects for this reason — landing impact players who can help them break their 108 year World Series drought. Chapman was the best reliever on the market, and the Cubs paid a heavy price, but ultimately it was a win-win for both teams. The Cubs get an A+ because they have to go for it, and they went out and landed THE guy.  In getting Montgomery and Smith, the Cubs add depth to the bullpen with both a lefty and righty.

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The White Sox could have gotten a lot more for Duke than they did. They also stood pat on cashing in on a tremendous seller's market — for what?

They were able to get some prospects for Bruce, whose time was up in Cincinnati. Given the premium prices on the marketplace, it’s a bit surprising the Reds didn’t demand more from the Mets.

Giving up Frazier is a move the Indians could regret moving forward. The power-hitting outfielder could win a home run title in the coming years. On the flip side, the Indians added arguably the best reliever in baseball this year, who is under team control for another year. The Indians’ farm system won’t miss a beat — it’s pretty stacked — but they’re better positioned to go for the World Series this year. Landing Lucroy would have made this an A+, but alas it wasn't in the cards.

They didn't move Carlos Gonzalez, who would have netted a major haul, but will probably still be able to get a big score in the winter.

The Tigers needed pitching. They didn't get any.

Meh. The Astros unload Feldman, who hasn't been much of an asset to them this year, and get the 20th-best prospect in the Blue Jays' system. The Astros failed to address their starting pitching and centerfield needs at the deadline.

Getting Burns is a good bit of business, even if he was optioned to Triple-A. Given where the Royals are at though and how limited the team's farm system is after the Johnny Cueto trade of last year, it's a bit surprising they didn't do more to cash in on the seller's market.

They could have done anything — anything at all — and gotten better. So I suppose they did get better, but only ever so slightly. Instead, the team with the worst franchise health in the game decided to do a salary swap of starting pitchers with two fringe prospects. There are plenty of veterans on the 40-man roster who could have been moved for even crapshoot prospects. Smith for Castillo was the only such move made, and they probably didn't get fair value given the marketplace. It's becoming readily apparent why the Angels are in the predicament they are in.

Getting Hill and Reddick from the A's without having to give up their A-grade prospects is a best-case scenario. Chavez for Bolsinger is an interesting move for the Dodgers, but an understandable one. The acquisition of Norris probably cost LA just a bit too much to really like. The Dodgers played it pretty safe, and given the prices out there, that was probably the right play.

Andrew Miller (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

The Marlins are in the playoff hunt, but man did they give up a lot to land the starting pitcher they needed. Naylor is the team's top hitting prospect, and Capps is arguably one of the Top 10 relievers in baseball when healthy.

Paddack was on an outstanding roll before he was injured (he'll need Tommy John surgery). The return — Rodney, who has a 4.49 FIP for the Marlins.

The Brewers gave up two good players but landed two Top-70 prospects who were arguably 1-2 in the Rangers' system. That's an excellent deal. Brinson has the chance to be 25-25 in the Major Leagues, and Ortiz projects as a possible ace down the line.

The Brewers also fleeced the Giants in the Will Smith deal. Smith is a strong left-handed reliever, but Bickford was the best pitching prospect in the Giants’ system. Getting him for Smith straight-up would have been an excellent trade. Getting Susac, who will slide in for Lucroy behind the plate, is a shrewd move.

Getting prospects for Nunez and Abad were good moves for the Twins, but let's break down the deal they made with the Angels, which netted Minnesota Hector Santiago.

My question: Why?

It's a cash-neutral deal, which makes it a salary dump of Nolasco. But adding in Meyer, who still has promise even though he's been poor at the Major League level, doesn't make sense. The Twins should be picking up prospects, not moving them.

The Mets acquired the National League RBI leader for two prospects, one who is an unproven commodity at the Major League level and the other who was No. 16 in their system, is ridiculous.

It's weird for the Yankees to be in sell mode, but they were masterful in their moves in July. They loaded up an already good farm system and made it elite. Getting Tate for Beltran, Torres for Chapman, and Frazier for Miller might be the three best moves any team made before the deadline.

Moving Hill and Reddick, who are pending free agents, for prospects that are now Nos. 3, 11, and 16 in the A's system (per is really good business. The A's might have been able to get a better prospect from the Dodgers instead of three prospects — none of which is a blue chipper — but sometimes getting more is better.

Ricky Nolasco (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Burns for Eibner trade is a wash. It would have been nice for the A's to unload Billy Butler, but alas.

Why did the Phillies feel the need to hold onto Jeremy Hellickson?

The Pirates were in no-man's land — still in the playoff hunt, but too smart to sit out of a seller's market like no other. A contender trading their All-Star closer is almost unheard of, but getting two plus arms for a two-month rental is a haul. The Niese for Bastardo deal is a wash, but getting Nova from the Yankees gives the Pirates one of the starters they really needed — not an impact guy, necessarily — but for two PTBNL is an excellent deal. Hutchison is a nice return for Liriano, who has been ineffective this year for the Bucs. I doubt we've seen the best of what Hutchison has to offer.

What a waste of two years for the Padres, who finally saw that they were stalling and opted to rebuild (again.) They pulled in a pretty nice haul as well, though the return on Upton and the Kemp deal, in general, left something to be desired. Getting Espinoza for Pomeranz might be the most meaningful deal made this summer five years from now.

The Nunez deal was solid business, but the Giants, in the midst of a bad slide, overpaid drastically for Smith, who, while a rock-solid reliever, should not have been able to net the team's top pitching prospect, which Bickford is. Landing Moore improves an already good rotation, and moving Duffy might prove to be a sell-high play, even wth his poor output this year — though giving up Fox, the team's top international signing last year, has to hurt.

The Mariners, stuck in limbo, failed to land any serious prospects in three moves — Blackburn is the No. 17 player in their system now. No harm, but plenty of 'what if' here.

The Cardinals got Duke, a rock-solid lefty reliever, for a bargain relative to the market. The Cardinals didn't get the outfielder they needed, but they won the one trade they made, so they earned a B.

Lewis Brinson (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Landing Fox, a top international signing and a player the Giants really liked, is a nice return for Moore, though it's surprising that the Rays went for Matt Duffy over some other Giants prospects. Heim, a catcher, was the Orioles' No. 13 prospect, so he was a nice haul for a 33-year-old overachiever and pending free agent.

The Rangers improved their World Series chances the most at the trade deadline, though they failed to address the team's biggest need — starting pitching. They'll instead try to outslug teams when starters 3-5 are on the mound going forward, and they'll have the firepower to do that, adding one of the best catchers in the game in Lucroy and Beltran. The Rangers gave up a lot for the two hitters — Brinson has the potential to be a 25-25 guy at the Major League level and play Gold Glove defense in centerfield, and Tate was the No. 4 overall pick a year ago. The real reason the Rangers landed an A grade — Jeffress. Adding the Brewers' closer to the back end of the bullpen should massively help the worst reliever corps in the American League.

They landed the starter, reliever and outfielder that they needed, and while all three are pretty "meh" the Jays didn't give up anyone of real short or long-term significance to get them, so that's a win.

The Nats acquired exactly what they needed at the trade deadline — a closer. They paid a hefty price for a two-month rental, but they got what they needed. For now, it's a B+, but that grade could drop drastically if the Nats don't go deep into the playoffs.

Clint Frazier during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Petco Park (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)


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