The trade deadline is done, the new uniforms are being handed out, and the hot takes are just beginning. I'm diving in head-first with these 12 winners and losers from the past week of wheeling and dealing.
If you prefer less of a curated list than a full rundown of the trades and Fantasy implications thereof, I have you covered there, too. Check out our Trade Deadline Tracker forfrom the week that was.
I'll note that it was a relatively quiet deadline. There was no Juan Soto-level blockbuster or a mad rush of deals in the final two hours. The activity was largely spread out over the course of the past week, in fact. Still, there's plenty to react to.
Andres Munoz RP
SEA Seattle • #75 • Age: 24
Though he wasn't traded himself, Munoz was the obvious justification for the halfway-in, halfway-out Mariners to move on from Paul Sewald. Munoz has been a closer-in-waiting dating back to when he was a teenager in the Padres organization, wielding an arsenal not unlike former Mariners closer Edwin Diaz. While it's possible manager Scott Servais eases him into the role just because he's always reluctant to anoint a true closer, time will tell that Munoz really is the only man for the job. Many thought he'd overtake Sewald from the get-go, and now that the Mariners front office has seemingly forced the issue, he could be a top-10 reliever the rest of the way.
CHW Chi. White Sox • #60 • Age: 24
Among those inheriting the closer role because of deadline wheeling and dealing, no one compares to Munoz, but I'll use Santos as a stand-in for the others because he's actually reported to be the guy. We can only speculate for Brooks Raley and Carlos Hernandez. Hernandez of course faces the considerable hurdle of the Royals' historic futility. He simply won't get enough save chances to be worth the squeeze in most leagues. I might have preferred Raley to Santos if not for his meltdown Tuesday and the fact Adam Ottavino didn't follow David Robertson out the door. Santos also has a looming threat in Liam Hendriks, but the three-time All-Star is still building up from a forearm injury and is no sure thing when he returns.
NYM N.Y. Mets • #10 • Age: 22
In nearly 90 percent of the Mets' games so far, one of Tommy Pham and Mark Canha has patrolled left field. Both are gone now, with Pham being dealt to the Diamondbacks and Canha to the Brewers, which leaves a big gaping hole for ... no one in particular. But it just so happens that Mauricio, the prospect who Mets fans have been clamoring to see for months now, has played mostly left field at Triple-A in recent weeks. Notably, the Mets didn't call him up to fill one of the holes created at the deadline, but at this late stage of the season, it pays to wait a couple more weeks. As long as Mauricio doesn't use up his rookie eligibility this year, he has a chance to score the Mets an extra draft pick with his performance next year.
TEX Texas • #52 • Age: 30
The calculus for Montgomery is pretty simple. He was on a losing team before the trade deadline. He's on a winning team now. Of course, the latter is preferred for all pitchers, but for the high-end and low-end types, it makes less of a difference. Montgomery is about as middle-end as they come, so it's not surprising the Cardinals handed him a 6-9 record. The Rangers and their league-best offense should treat him better, particularly if he continues to go six-plus innings like in eight of his past nine starts. And in most Fantasy formats, a win remains the most valuable thing a pitcher can contribute.
Lance Lynn SP
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #35 • Age: 36
This one involves a bit of wishcasting, but it's reasonable given the Dodgers' history of acquiring bad players and making them good. Lynn gives them more to work with than most. The 36-year-old is having a career-worst season, but not in a way that's typical for a 36-year-old. He entered his first start for his new team Tuesday with a career-best swinging-strike rate and a top-16 strikeout rate. As long as he's still capable of missing bats, there's a home for him yet, and you have to think the Dodgers' reasons for acquiring him are more sophisticated than that, even. At the very least, you can trust that they wouldn't have pinned their postseason hopes to him if they thought he would pitch to a 6.50 ERA the rest of the way.
CLE Cleveland • Age: 23
Manzardo probably isn't going to contribute in 2023, but getting him out of the Rays organization may have been the best thing for his future Fantasy value. As successful as they've been, they're less interested in cultivating superstars than squeezing every bit of efficiency out of their roster. They would be happy to hold up Manzardo at Triple-A if they felt like first base was already covered, and since he offers no defensive versatility, there would be no path for him otherwise. They would also sit him against left-handers, most likely, which would severely inhibit his upside for Fantasy. The Guardians, meanwhile, have long ached for more offense and have every incentive to nurture Manzado to his peak form, which could be similar to Vinnie Pasquantino despite what the Triple-A numbers show.
C.J. Cron 1B
LAA L.A. Angels • #25 • Age: 33
This one is as straightforward as it gets. Cron is a career .307 hitter with a .977 OPS at Coors Field and a career .251 hitter with a .757 OPS everywhere else. He didn't emerge as a must-start Fantasy option until joining the Rockies as a 31-year-old in 2021, and just when it looked like he was regaining that form after a slow start to this year, the deadline has brought everything to a halt. He began his career with the Angels, which gives us a pretty good idea how he'll fare with them, and it's, well, Adam Duvall-like. Joining Cron in this deal was Randal Grichuk, and you could argue he's a loser as well. He wasn't rostered as widely as Cron, though, even when he was still with the Rockies.
Scott Barlow RP
SD San Diego • #58 • Age: 30
In a twisted sort of way, Barlow's loss is all of his investors' gain. Sure, they won't get any more saves from him now that he's sharing a bullpen with Josh Hader, but as it was, Barlow was averaging one every two weeks and getting pummeled in the meantime. He was the Royals' undisputed closer, which is why he's featured here over Scott McGough and Kevin Ginkel, who are out of the saves mix in Arizona following the acquisition of Paul Sewald, and A.J. Puk and Tanner Scott, who are out of the saves mix in Miami following the acquisition of David Robertson.
TB Tampa Bay • #62 • Age: 25
As nice as it was to see Kyle Manzardo moved out of the Rays organization, why oh why couldn't it have been Aranda? The 25-year-old is still cruelly confined to Triple-A despite batting .416 (67 for 161) with 12 homers and a 1.233 OPS over his past 40 games there. His plate discipline is pristine, his exit velocities excellent. He has all the makings of an impact bat and has clearly overstayed his welcome in the minors, but the Rays are just sitting on him, content to squander much of his prime. And seeing as he bats left-handed, who knows if he'll even play every day when he finally gets more than a big-league cameo?
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #83 • Age: 26
Busch is a loser for all the same reasons Aranda is. At 25, he's overdue for an honest big-league opportunity, but he's stuck in an organization that's too focused on the here and now to integrate him fairly. So he's left to mash his heart out at Triple-A and has done exactly that, all while reaching base at a .429 clip. It's probably no coincidence that he and Aranda are stretched defensively, fitting best at first base but attempting to make it work at either second or third. A non-contender would be more inclined to take its lumps on that end so that the bat could meet its full potential.
Jordan Hicks RP
TOR Toronto • #12 • Age: 27
At first glance, Hicks might not seem like a trade deadline loser. He goes from closing games for a disappointing Cardinals team to closing games for a competitive Blue Jays team. But do we actually know he'll be closing games? It's the presumption with Jordan Romano being hurt, but well, that's the other thing. Romano is a ninth-inning fixture for the Blue Jays, and his recent bout with back inflammation isn't expected to sideline him for long. Maybe Hicks could get something like five saves in the meantime, but maybe not. His fastball, which peaks at 103 mph, has long made him out to be a closer-in-waiting, but the actual numbers aren't that dominant -- and never have been. The Blue Jays may decide Erik Swanson is the better choice to fill in for Romano.
PHI Philadelphia • #22 • Age: 31
The truth is Lorenzen was primed for decline anyway. He has a 4.08 xERA and 4.21 xFIP, and he doesn't limit hard contact enough to get away with just 7.1 K/9. He has done a better job of throwing strikes this year, and keeping men off base might work for him at a venue that suppresses power as well as Comerica Park does, but Citizens Bank Park is a different story. A move to a more hitter-friendly venue should only exacerbate the decline. That's the theory, anyway. Just to play devil's advocate, though, I'll point out that Lorenzen's away numbers this year are actually better than his numbers in Detroit. And of course, he's backed by a much better offense now -- one that's made a big winner out of Taijuan Walker, of all pitchers. Maybe we'll look back and say Lorenzen was a trade deadline winner.