Yesterday’s MLB trade deadline was relatively quiet by usual standards, but these are the five biggest winners from the annual dealing derby.
The ever-entertaining MLB trade deadline nearly came and went yesterday without any blockbuster moves. Leading up to the annual last-dash day for upgrading rosters, there was a widespread belief that this would be one of the better trade deadlines in recent history given how tight most of the playoff races currently sit. Instead, it was a relatively slow day, saved only by the last-second deal that sent Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Houston Astros.
Most of the biggest trade chips like Noah Syndergaard, Kirby Yates, Felipe Vazquez and Robbie Ray stayed put. Even some lesser names like Baltimore’s Mychal Givens and Trey Mancini and Toronto’s Ken Giles did not change teams. The New York Mets and San Francisco Giants also decided to stay the course and go for it this season, meaning big names like Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith and Zack Wheeler were not traded.
Despite the relatively slow day of trading, several teams came in with a plan and executed it to a tee, improving their roster and World Series hopes. These are the five biggest winners from the July 31 trade deadline and the days leading up to it.
5. San Francisco Giants fans
There were rumblings leading up to the deadline that the San Francisco Giants had changed course and were planning to trade pending free agents Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith. In the end, the Giants elected to keep their best starter and closer, signalling that they plan to try and make the most of their recent run and fight for the National League’s final playoff spot. We’ll never know how close the Giants actually came to selling their two big names, but all that matters is they kept them.
Giants fans should be happy that the front office decided to keep the group together and make a run at it. I understand the overall consensus that has swept the league is that teams with only a minuscule shot at winning the World Series should trade pieces away at the deadline instead of trying to get into the one-game playoff. There’s some truth to that notion, but the Giants have been playing nearly .700 baseball for close to a month.
It’s been an unexpected rise for the Giants, which should make it all the more enjoyable for the fans for the rest of the season. In addition to keeping Bumgarner and Smith, San Francisco also acquired All-Star second baseman Scooter Gennett and dumped the rest of Mark Melancon’s bloated salary. Gennett might be starting to get his timing down, as he’s hit .306 over the last week.
In a year from now, perhaps it will look foolish in hindsight for the Giants to have stood pat at the trade deadline. Fans, however, should be living in the here and now, and if they’re able to do that, they’ll have a much more enjoyable August and September than if management had pulled the plug on what has been a very exciting run. Baseball is in a better place, in my opinion, when more teams are trying to win right now instead of looking two or three years down the road at all times.