Los Angeles Dodgers:
Acquired: Yu Darvish, Tony Watson, and Tony Cigrani
Going into the final hour of the trading deadline, the Dodgers were set to be the biggest loser of the trading deadline. However, in short order they were able to acquire two solid lefty arms for the bullpen and solidify their rotation by adding perennial All-Star Yu Darvish to the top of the rotation. The two lefties, Watson and Cigrani, are nice pieces and will help provide incremental improvements to the club, but the addition of Darvish will potentially bring a championship back to the City of Angels for the first time since 1988. The Dodgers are currently the favorite to win the World Series, but they were still searching for starting pitching depth, especially with the recent injury to Kershaw. Behind Kershaw, the Dodgers have a slew of solid arms, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Brandon McCarthy, but none of these starters have shown an ability to stay healthy for a extended period of time. In an effort to back up the words of the owner, Magic Johnson, who stated that they would win the title this season, the Dodgers went out and acquired the best starter on the market, Yu Darvish. Darvish brings to the table an electric arm that can dominate opposing lineups unlike any other pitcher on their roster, besides Kershaw. Since entering MLB in 2012, Darvish has been a four time All-Star for the Rangers and continuously ranked near the top of the league in strikeouts. A move to the weaker National League West should only inflate his already solid strikeout numbers. The Dodgers will not need these three hurlers to win the NL West, but if they hope to defeat the defending World Series champion, Chicago Cubs, and the best offensive team in baseball, Washington Nationals, these three will prove vital to their success.
New York Yankees:
Acquired: Sonny Gray, David Robertson, Jaime Garcia, Tommy Kahnle, and Todd Frazier
The Yankees did not wait until July 31 to make one of the biggest moves of the deadline as they acquired David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Todd Frazier from the White Sox on July 19th. The deal has already provided dividends for the club as they have reclaimed first place in the AL East and won nine of their last eleven games. Although they were forced to lose former first round picks Blake Rutherford and Ian Clarkin, Rutherford did not have a future with the club as he is blocked by Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge and Clarkin is a major question mark due to past injury history. Even though Todd Frazier was the biggest name in the deal, Robertson and Kahnle will provide the most benefit to the club. Robertson and Kahnle have both put together nice seasons as they have ERAs under 3.00 and high strikeout totals. Without great starters that are able to give Joe Girardi length, the Yankees will need to rely on Robertson, Kahnle, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman to close out close importnat games in September and October. Along with enhancing the bullpen, the team bolstered the starting rotation with the addition of Sonny Gray. Although Gray is not a legitimate ace on a championship team, he will give the team quality innings and should be able to compete against opposing twos and threes. The Yankees were attracted toward Gray because he has postseason success and has an ERA under 2.00 over his last 6 starts. Unlike Darvish, the Yankees were so engaged in the Gray discussions because he is not a free agent until after the 2019 season, which fits with the team’s youth movement. The team is definitely not complete, but the addition of a very good starting pitcher and good bullpen pieces should push the team into serious October baseball for the first time since 2012. To make matters better for the club, they were able to keep their top flight prospects, Gleybar Torres, Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, and Estevan Florial.
Acquired: Francisco Liriano
Although the Astros made a deal by acquiring Liriano, he is not going to make a big enough impact to significantly improve the team. The Astros were looking at Zach Britton, Brad Hand, Lance Lynn, and Yu Darvish but decided to not make a deal at the deadline. Although some of the best trades are the ones you do not make, the Astros could have used either a starter or a relief pitcher and possessed the necessary prospects and financial willpower to consummate a deal. The team has the best offense in the American League, but everyone knows that pitching wins in the postseason. Recently, the team has experienced trouble in the starting rotation as Lance McCullers is returning to the DL and Dallas Keuchel has just returned, but lasted 3 innings in his first outing. Even just the addition of a specialist like Brad Hand could have significantly helped the team. Last season, the Indians and Cubs showed the importance of having a shut down reliever in the postseason and it will likely be a deciding factor again this postseason. Although the Astros will win their division and make the playoffs, their lack of action at the deadline may be the difference between winning the pennant and going home in the ALDS.
Kansas City Royals:
Acquired: Melky Cabrera
A few weeks ago, the Royals were looking to be sellers at the deadline, but as they say no one can predict baseball. They played a great few weeks and now sit as one of the Wild Card teams. The Royals have the talent to make serious damage in the AL on offense. The team has many of the same players, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, and Salvador Perez, that led them to back to back World Series appearances and the one World Series Championship 2015. However, the team could have become one of the legitimate favorites in the AL, if they had acquired a starting pitcher like they did in 2014 when they dealt three pitching prospects for James Shields. The Royals no longer have a great farm system or the payroll to accept large salary, but they could have traded for a solid rotation piece like Lance Lynn. Lynn would have been a great addition along with Danny Duffy and Jason Vargas to form a good, but not great three headed monster. This team will be able to compete with the AL elites, but without a solid rotation it is hard to see them making a serious run. In addition, this would have been the perfect year to go all in because they will likely lose their best players, Cabrera, Hosmer, Cain, Moustakas, Vargas, and Escobar, this offseason.