The MLB trade deadline is upon us, which means it’s time for teams to decide where they stand this season. Are they buyers, trying to shore up for a playoff run? Or are they sellers, looking to stock up for the future?
A few trades have already come down, including the Yankees acquiring outfielder Andrew Benintendi and the Mariners picking up pitcher Luis Castillo. But there are some dominoes yet to fall, and with so many moving parts, there will likely be deals up until the 6 p.m. deadline.
MLB trade deadline 2022: Grading the latest trades
Astros land their first baseman by wresting Trey Mancini from Orioles
Astros get: 1B Trey Mancini, RHP Jayden Murray
Orioles get: RHP Seth Johnson, RHP Chayce McDermott
Rays get: OF Jose Siri
Grades: Astros: A | Orioles: F | Rays: C
The Astros addressed the Yuli Gurriel problem at first base by trading for first baseman and DH Trey Mancini, and they didn’t have to give a lot of up to do it. They traded away Chayce McDermott and Jose Siri to complete a three-team deal with the Orioles and Rays.
In the midst of a playoff chase, the Orioles traded away one of the heart-and-soul pieces of their team in Mancini, whereas the Rays were really more of a tagalong in this deal and got rid of Johnson, who is having Tommy John surgery and will miss all of next year.
Yankees get two-for-one deal on starter and reliever in Montas and Trivino
Yankees get: RHP Frankie Montas, RHP Lou Trivino
Athletics get: LHP Ken Waldichuk, RHP Luis Medina, LHP JP Sears, 2B Cooper Bowman
Grades: Yankees: A- | Athletics: B
Frankly, these weren’t the guys Yankees fans wanted. But they could prove to be the ones they need. Ken Waldichuk is the main source consternation for the Yankees to lose, but getting back a front-of-the-rotation arm and a reliever whose stuff isn’t nearly as bad as his numbers indicate is good news for the Yankees.
The Athletics feel like they should have gotten more out of this trade than they did, and the fact they didn’t shows that the Mariners didn’t somehow break the starting pitcher market with what they gave up for Castillo. Perhaps teams are concerned about Montas’ longevity, but all things told this doesn’t seem like a great trade for Oakland.
Josh Hader gets moved to Padres in blockbuster trade
Padres get: LHP Josh Hader
Brewers get: LHP Taylor Rogers, LHP Robert Gasser, OF Esteury Ruiz, RHP Dinelson Lamet
Sometimes, the biggest trades are the fairest. The Brewers give up ace closer Josh Hader and let Devin Williams officially move into the closing role, and the Padres give up some highly-rated players but no top prospects.
The Brewers got a nice haul back for Hader, including the Padres’ closer Taylor Rogers, an outfielder (to supplant an outfielder that desperately needs help) in Esteury Ruiz, and a reliever who they can mold in Dinelson Lamet. They also get the Padres No. 7 prospect in Robert Gasser. The Padres, meanwhile, get a generally consistent closer coming off a bumpy July. If he can right the ship, he could be a key player if they make a deep run this season.
Rays acquire Garrett Cleavinger from Dodgers for German Tapia in space-clearing move for LA
Rays get: LHP Garrett Cleavinger
Dodgers get: OF German Tapia
Grades: Rays: B- | Dodgers: B+
The Dodgers moved reliever Garrett Cleavinger to the Rays for an 18-year-old outfielder who is playing extremely well in the Dominican League. German Tapia has potential for the Dodgers, whereas Cleavinger, who struggled at the MLB level this year, has pitched well in Oklahoma City for the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate. The jury is still out on if Cleavinger is a Quad-A guy, but the Rays tend to get quite a bit out of their arms.
Yankees give up Triple-A arm for breakout reliever from Cubs
Yankees get: RHP Scott Effross
Cubs get: RHP Hayden Wesneski
Grades: Yankees: A | Cubs: B-
The Yankees addressed their bullpen in an understated way Monday, trading for Cubs reliever Scott Effross. Effross is having a breakout season in Chicago, posting an ERA+ of 158 and an ERA of 2.66. He’s 1-4 on the year, and has a lot of club control left. It’s a great deal for the Yankees. This grade, however, is liable to drop if it’s the only one the Yankees make. Effross isn’t the answer for the Yankees. He could be a nice complementary piece if they make a bigger deal.
The Cubs, meanwhile, get the Yankees’ No. 7 prospect Hayden Wesneski. Wesneski has starter potential on the back end of the rotation, but he could be best-suited as a reliever. The trade is a bit confusing for Chicago, who were enjoying a nice season out of Effross and now get a Triple-A pitcher in return, albeit a highly-graded one.
Rays land an outfield bat while Diamondbacks get a prospect
Rays get: OF David Peralta
Diamondbacks get: C Christian Cerda
Grades: Rays: B+ | Diamondbacks: A-
The Diamondbacks had to thin out their outfield roster heading into the deadline, and they did so with a nice return by trading David Peralta to the Rays for catcher Christian Cerda.
The Rays, conversely, needed another bat in the order. Peralta, a veteran, has 12 home runs on the year and should bring some power to tide over the Rays until they get their key players back in the lineup. Cerda is extremely young and far out from being able to make any kind of MLB impact, so this move makes sense for both teams. He’s having a strong season for the Rays at their rookie level affiliate in Florida, but the Rays needed help ASAP.
Phillies get another infielder with no offense from Cardinals for back-end bullpen arm
Phillies get: IF Edmundo Sosa
Cardinals get: LHP JoJo Romero
Grades: Phillies: B- | Cardinals: C
These get these grades because they’re format compliant. The Phillies added another infielder who doesn’t hit well (Sosa has an OPS+ of 49 this year), whereas the Cardinals picked up a reliever in Romero who has hardly seen any MLB action this year. With Johan Camargo in the rotation, it’s hard to see what Sosa brings, but this likely just means the Cardinals were shopping Sosa to anyone buying.
Los Angeles Dodgers trade utility player for middle-grade reliever
Dodgers get: RHP Chris Martin
Cubs get: Utility Zach McKinstry
Grades: Dodgers: C+ | Cubs: C
Nothing too crazy to see in this trade. The Dodgers get a middle-of-the-road reliever for bullpen depth and the Cubs get a decent utility man for a player they signed to move at the deadline. Neither team gets a lot better, but neither one gets a lot worse either.
Seattle Mariners land Luis Castillo for three of top five prospects
Mariners get: RHP Luis Castillo
Reds get: SS Noelvi Marte, RHP Levi Stoudt, SS Edwin Arroyo, RHP Andrew Moore
Grades: Mariners: B+ | Reds: A
The Seattle Mariners acquired Luis Castillo as they try to end the longest active playoff drought in major North American sports, but they had to give up a haul to do it. Prospects Nos. 1, 3, and 5 are on the way to Cincinnati, as the Reds were able to shore up their farm by dealing Castillo. Ultimately, it’s a risk for the Mariners and an investment for the Reds. Good for both teams, probably better long-term for Cincinnati.
Mets and Reds make deal headlined by OF Tyler Naquin
Mets get: OF Tyler Naquin, LHP Phillip Diehl
Reds get: IF Hector Rodriguez, RHP Jose Acuña
Grades: Mets: B- | Reds: C
This grade is almost impossible to evaluate, and it’s much worse for the Mets if it’s the only deadline move they make (unlikely). Naquin is the only Major League player involved in this deal, and his OPS+ is exactly 100 this year, which puts him at about as average as average gets. He’s a decent hitter for power, but part of that is from playing at Great American Ball Park, one of MLB’s most hitter-friendly parks. Diehl was effectively a throw-in for the Mets.
As for the Reds, the get two players outside of the Mets’ top 30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline. Perhaps one of them turns into something eventually, but this is ultimately a footer trade.
Yankees trade lottery tickets for OF Andrew Benintendi
Yankees get: OF Andrew Benintendi
Royals get: LHP TJ Sikkema, RHP Beck Way, RHP Chandler Champlain
Grades: Yankees: A | Royals: B+
The Yankees’ Joey Gallo experiment was an abject failure, so they knew they had to be in on an outfielder at the deadline. As the Juan Soto sweepstakes raged on, New York snuck in and poached Andrew Benintendi from the Royals for three pitching prospects. It’s a deal that helps the Yankees this year and should help the Royals as they rebuild for the future, so Sporting News had both teams graded out well for it.